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On The Sofa With Susi Bellamy

Join us on the sofa with Susi Bellamy to hear how she combined art and furniture in collaboration with George Smith, and discover the beauty of her 2D marbled designs on George Smith pieces.

    Q1. Hi Susi! We’ve noticed that there is a lot of texture throughout your work; please can you explain the significance of this, and how you maintain the integrity of the design when transferring it to materials?
    The texture in my designs comes from the pattern. The deep pile of velvet can bring a rich quality to the design. All the designs come from my original marbled papers and crops or edits of my abstract artwork. By selecting a particular area of the artwork, I can create unique patterns that are like microcosms of the original art.
    Q2. We would love to learn more about the transition from being a practising artist to coming up with the concept of “art for the sofa”. What inspired this shift in your creative focus, and how has it influenced your approach to design?
    After completing my MA in fine art from Northumbria University, I established a studio in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle and began painting large abstract landscapes. I was painting on a large piece of plywood and was struggling with the size of the work, so I took it down to the woodwork studio downstairs and had it chopped into equal-sized squares. This sparked the idea of using the paintings as cushion designs. The idea of ‘art for the sofa’ was born, leading to their success at trade fairs, including getting picked up by Liberty and Heals. This success eventually led me to branch out into wallpaper and fabric, prompting me to approach George Smith.
    Q3. What were the most rewarding aspects of combining your art and furniture with George Smith?
    It was very exciting seeing my designs come to life and transform from 2D to 3D on George Smith furniture. The plumes pattern for the sofas was perfectly centred, which gave them the ‘wow’ factor. I also loved seeing how the pattern was distorted by the deep buttoned features which added extra depth and interest. The result of the joyous colours combined with top quality craftship created a striking visual!

    Q4. What role does your love of colour play in shaping your designs, and how did you use this when working with George Smith?
    Colour is the thread running through my whole collection and to a certain point, my life. It’s what moves, inspires and drives me; so much so that I am planning my first trip to India later this year to discover their wonderful relationship with colour! The idea of my designs coming to life with George Smith was an exciting prospect and the craftship of the furniture meant that the quality was second to none. In some ways I thought of it as an art installation, and this was further endorsed when creating the ‘Art of Marbling’ window at George Smith for the Chelsea Autumn Design Trail.
    Q5. Please could you explain your process for creating hand-marbled designs and how this process contributes to the uniqueness of your work?
    Marbling is created by sprinkling acrylic colour on a thickened water-based liquid called ‘size’ made from a seaweed derivative. I then manipulate the pattern with sticks and combs to create a pleasing pattern. I then lie my treated paper on the surface, and the magic happens when you pull it back and the marbled paper is revealed. There is nothing like the thrill of the ‘pull’! I often work with traditional patterns such as Comb and Bouquet, but I also experiment and create my own unique designs.

    Q6. And lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring designers or artists who aim to infuse their work with the same sense of vibrancy that defines your style?
    My advice to aspiring designers or artists to create vibrancy and uniqueness is not to hold back. Rediscover the childlike quality of fearlessness, then once you create a lively, colourful pattern you can edit it to find an area that works best. Trying to create designs from the entire artwork often doesn’t work – there must be some thoughtful editing in the process.

George Smith Featured Products

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Signature Stool with Castors (Buttoned)
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Georgian Sofa with Fixed Seat
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Console Table
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Soho Baby Buttoned Drum

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