PLAINHJEM DESIGN COLLABORATION
In the later part of 2020 I was commissioned by Yael of plainhjem design to handweave a piece for her home. Yael came across me on Instagram and was drawn by my obsession with texture, one which she shares, and we arranged to meet at my studio to talk all things yarn and colour. This was a particularly exciting commission for me as it was my working outside of my comfort zone and playing around with a lot of neutral colours.
We caught up last week via zoom and had a lovely chat all things design.
CW: Tell us a bit about how you started in Interior Design and how plainhjem design was born?
YS: I have always had a passion for design since as long as I can remember, always very interested in colours and textures. I am a very tactile person, when i see a piece of wood I immediately want to stroke it and feel the grain. It is a very visceral, primitive feeling in my gut. But my career actually started in Psychology and I have been an academic for over 20 years. So I didn't immediately turn to design as a profession but it was always there bubbling away. In my mid 40's, kids at school, I started to rethink and decided to bite the bullet and make the change. I completed a KLC course in Interior Design which I absolutely loved and that sealed the fact that design was for me. I started off working as a freelancer for other people, which I do actually still do now as well, for about a year and then plainhjem was born 6 months ago.
YS: Social media I have not been a fan of in the past so it was a big leap for me to set up a plainhjem instagram account but I have actually love it, and I use it as a scrap book so what you see there is everything I love, and I think people can see my passion there. What I feel really passionate about, and is one of the reason I connected with you, is craftsmanship. For me an object has to have meaning, a connection, made with love and attention. for me that is what it is all about, including the way I like to design. I love connecting with like minded people, who have a passion and are hugely creative. When I saw your work I thought 'yeah she knows what she is doing', it really resonated with me.
CW: What would you say is your style of Interior Design?
YS: I love Scandinavian design, I tend to think I am a minimalist, I don't love clutter, lots of colour and patterns for me is it much more about the texture of something. I love to layer textures of the same tone together, another reason why I was drawn to your work. I am a Scandinavian at heart, I grew up in Denmark so I have a deep connection to Danish design, the Scandinavians are all about craftsmanship. I also love mid century design and I love to bring that together with more contemporary pieces. In a world where we are thinking heavily about sustainability, it is great to rescue something and give it a new life. I am drawn to imperfection so I love to buy second hand piece with more character.
CW: Where do you source your materials and how do you find the brands you work with?
YS: So I have an extensive knowledge of scandinavian brands so I tend to start there. In addition to that I like to find people who make with their hands, so sourcing a joiner, woodworker with the particular item in mind.
CW: Do you find Instagram a good source for this?
YS: It is wonderful, I have found most of the people I have worked with on Instagram. It is a great source to find new, young designers and learn about them. I like to find makers and brands in their earlier stages to work with.
CW: I think that is so great, from my side of it it is such a positive experience for me. Being found and having you take interest in my work and then that developing into a successful commission. That gives me as a new brand so much more confidence.
YS: That is what it is all about for me, working with people, connecting and collaborating and that is the most fun part of any project.
CW: When you are designing how much focus do you put on using sustainable materials?
YS: If I am honest it is not the first thing that drives me in my choice of things, but at the same time I do focus on using natural materials. I adore wood, and teak is now an endangered material so I would not use that as you can't source it sustainably and the Danish companies I work with have stopped using it too.
CW: Is it something your clients are asking/talking about?
YS: Not at all, I think things are slowly changing but have been put on the backburner of people's minds during the pandemic. Once we have come out of the other side of this I think the focus will shift back onto the environment and people will become more conscious.
CW: As a maker it is something I am looking at and am being asked about my shops/marketplaces looking to stock my work. I use recycled yarns, I use up deadstock from mills and I weave everything to size so do not create very much waste, and all of my packaging is recycled.
YS: Yes I try to source locally to where the project I am working on is too. Support the local makers and think about the environmental footprint at the same time.