Lamb and Shirley
I regard myself as a graphic designer. When I respond to the ‘What do you do?’ question at parties, I say I design in two dimensions, but it’s more than that. Everything I do graphically is seen in a three-dimensional space, so I try to see my graphic work in situ and consequently developed an interest in architecture, interior and furniture design.
Twenty years ago I was working on the Next Directory. The production aspect was gruelling. On a short break I visited Hancock on the Massachusetts/New York state borders, where I met my inspiration at the Shaker Village. Shaker buildings were about the use of space. They needed corridors that were wide enough for men on one side, women on the other and space in the middle for angels to pass through.
I spent days in jaw-dropping, eye-popping wonder at the beauty of Shaker interiors. One contemporary observer sums up the appeal: ‘The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the maker’s belief that an angel might come and sit on it.’ That did it for me; I went back to London and set up Shaker Ltd.
Twenty years on that business was sold to Fired Earth. I am still involved with the on-line ‘bespoke Shaker’ business but graphics, my first love, takes up most of my time.
Angels continue to play a big part in influencing my creative process, whether it is photographing them in Nunhead cemetery or buying them in South East Asia. I’m not sure if they inspire my graphic work, but I always leave my visuals on the wall the night before a client meeting so they can see what I’ve been up to.