Spectrum x Jemma Lewis Interview
Colour and craft collide with our Spectrum x Jemma Lewis collaboration. The hand painted print was created by UK based Marble Artist Jemma using our brushes during the design process. Featuring our signature Spectrum pinks and greens, the unique marble prints are given a seasonal twist with ‘Golden Palm’ and ‘Velvet Rose’ as the featured hues of the tools.
We caught up with Jemma from her home studio to talk all things marble, colour and design…
We first came across your beautiful work on Instagram and immediately fell in love with your unique style. How did you come to work as a Marbler?
My route to being a paper marbler was a pretty serendipitous one; after completing my degree in Textile Art I undertook a position at a traditional bookbinders in Bath.
We ordered our marbled papers from a local marbling doyenne called Ann Muir.
She had expressed an interest to retire and to sell her marbling business so I was sent along to learn this magical craft from Ann and her assistant Julie.
Unfortunately during my short time there the bookbinders went into administration and Ann sadly passed away. My father David who was semi-retired suggested we set up a marbling studio in my back garden so that I could continue to marble. He worked with me for seven years before completely retiring at which point my husband Craig joined the business.
As a brand we’re hugely inspired by art, fashion and lifestyle when working on new product collections. Where do you get your inspiration for your colour combinations?
I find inspiration to be both limitless and ubiquitous, I've ripped pages out of magazines since I was about 10 years old, amassing files with ideas, inspiration and pretty colour-ways.
Nature is a great inspiration and I love to produce designs inspired by the night sky, crystals and flowers.
You have such a vast range of marbling techniques and patterns across your work. For our collection we decided on the Turkish Spot design after sampling a range of different styles with you. Do you have a favourite style of marbling or one that you would say is your signature?
The Turkish Spot is one of my favourite patterns, it forms the basis of most other designs; the first step before other elements and techniques might be added. One of the custom designs created for Spectrum had a slight twist in that we combed together the first layer of spots to create a veined effect, before adding the final spots.
I do find myself more drawn to the contemporary marbled papers, the ones that are slightly more freestyle and experimental without the rigidness of using combs to create a uniform effect.
I do still love creating traditional patterns but with a modern colour palette, just like the wonderful modern palette that was used for these brush sets.
If I had a signature style I would say it would be coloured base papers and lots of rich metallics!
We were fascinated watching you work with the brushes to create the patterns as part of the design process. As an artist, how important are you tools for the creative process?
The tools we use are so important and a big part of the process. Marbling can be so mercurial that when something works you want to want to hold on to that for as long as you can!
Some of my favourite brushes and very old and mis-shapen and are like a favourite old jumper, but at the same time it's lovely to unwrap a new brush and use it for the first time!
Alongside our brushes we have stylus' which can be anything from an old knitting needle, a piece of battered dowel or the end of a brush, we also have combs which are all handmade using fine pins or needles.
The creative process if definitely our favourite part of designing a new collection. What do you enjoy most about collaborating with different brands?
We love collaborating with different brands, we just love to see the varied and exciting ways that people can build a marbled design into their own creation.
As marbling is deemed a very traditional craft (it is listed as 'Endangered' on the Heritage crafts website) it's always a real pleasure for us to see it being used in such a fashionable and stylish ways, which take it from the pages of old books into mainstream lifestyle.
My favourite part of the process are the physical design days themselves, mixing all of the paints (using gouache) by hand and by eye, often matching to fairly specific colours. Then the designs themselves I let grow fairly organically. I might have written down some ideas but I prefer it to be a physical process, making a sheet, doing the adjustments and seeing where it takes me.
Although of course I have a rough idea I never know exactly what I am going to get at the end of the day / week - so sorting through all the different sheets once they are dried and pressed and deciding which ones to send to the client is great fun.
You can now shop our Spectrum x Jemma Lewis collection.