Colours of my Week: The Busy World of Designer-Maker Jo Waterhouse

We first discovered the artist and designer-maker Jo Waterhouse when she was selling ‘toot’ from a stall in Spitalfields Market and writing a charming, witty blog about her experience as a sourcer of covetable, off-beat things. Since then, she’s also progressed her own portfolio of handmade pieces, from framed prints, drawings and books to fabrics and cushions, all with her signature wobbly, hand-drawn look – see some of her collection in the below image of her recent Supermarket Sarah wall. A former student of Dartington College of Arts, she recently joined as a partner of Family Tree shop at London’s cute Exmouth Market and in her spare time she runs Saturday drawing classes, cultivates plants and is often tinkering around with her flat in the most creative and unique way.  We can only imagine she doesn’t sleep much. Below, she shares her week in colour.

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Monday: Using Charcoal

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“I’m working in charcoal a bit at the moment. I know black isn’t always considered a colour but I absolutely love the way it makes shapes and forms stand out. I especially love the matte depth of charcoal, very desirable. AND with charcoal you end up with black grime all over your hands, face and possessions: bit of a bonus.”

Tuesday: Vintage paints from the car boot

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“Today I finally tucked in to these 70s poster colours I found at the boot fair: the hues are just brilliant and the paint has a velvety, chalky quality. The nice thing about buying a pre-owned paint collection is that someone else has chosen your palette for you, which is really nice to work with. We’re working on a new range of florals for the shop (Family Tree on Exmouth Market) at the moment, that’ll be litho printed in CMYK. CMYK offers you the whole rainbow to use but as a screen printer I’m still hiding in the comfort of using just three or four colours. When you restrict your colour choices things end up looking quite nice and old fashioned. Too much colour choice can be scary.”

Wednesday: A home-ish day

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“I stayed home in the morning today to do some work – I love having time at home, to remind me who I am and what I like. I never colour co-ordinate anything in my house, I just trust that if I like it it will go with the other stuff – because I like all the other stuff too. Looking at it all now I realise that I like all my colours really knocked back – sun-bleached and dusty looking colours. This is a large, dusty-coloured throw that I made for my Supermarket Sarah wall. It’s printed on a big old vintage linen sheet that I got on my last buying trip to France for the shop. This particular one didn’t sit quite right with the others so had to come home with me. Oh well.”

Thursday: A bit of blue

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“Blue is my favourite colour at the moment (even though it’s for boys). Naturally I haven’t managed to resist the urge to denim. The denim cushions go off to the shop today and I will miss having them in my workspace. This is a close-up of my tiles design: there are two different types of bleach on this one and I used the reverse of the denim cloth because I like it’s speckley/stripey quality. It was a really lovely challenge to make patterns with different tones of one colour.”

Friday: Creme Caramel

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“This evening I had friends over, I cooked dinner and served creme caramel for pudding – not nasty homemade ones but my all time favourite supermarket 4-pack. Is there anything more beautiful than a creme caramel? The gentle toffee ombre and the glorious Deco fluting. No, there is nothing more beautiful.”

Saturday: A day in Suffolk

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“We go to Suffolk a lot, I love it there. The skies are so big and the landscape is understated and wild. This time the light had a really brooding, dense quality and my camera actually managed to pick it up alright.”

Sunday: A slow day

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“A slow day – though with a little computer work: I’m forever tweaking my site jowaterhouse.com, making changes, getting things perfect. The best piece of colour today was this lettuce. I love it, it’s like someone left a yellow highlighter in the wash with it. Stunning.”



Jill Macnair

About

Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.


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