7th December 2020
I am so happy to cover the work of artist and wallpaper designer Louise Altman this week. Her wallpaper is the most artisan product I’ve ever had the pleasure of hanging, and it came up excellent as expected. Handmade wallpaper at this level has a few quirks, which i’ll come on to, but hands down this is the pinnacle of handmade wallpaper.
Residing in Essex, Louise completed a print media degree specialising in book arts at The London College of Printing in Elephant & Castle, London. She is drawn to pattern and has a studio at home where she has experimented with printing and creating limited edition artists books for the last 20 years alongside a full-time career in education.
After spending some time learning block printing techniques on fabric in India, Louise wanted to explore the same print techniques to create wallpapers. She went on a weekend wallpaper printing course with Hugh Dunford Wood to learn some basics of wallpaper production. She says she only planned to print her own wallpaper for her home but since lockdown she has had the space and time to develop my skills and create a range of wallpaper designs. Lockdown silver lining indeed!
So far designs are botanical but she has lots of plans for new themes next year.
Louise has a specially adapted padded print bed, based on the ones she was using for block printing in India, and she prints the wallpaper by hand and foot.
On to my review here are a couple of things I noticed that you might too;
- You can really see the ‘hand of the maker’ here – the pattern and print is not homogeneous. I loved this about the paper and this would be the main reason why I would buy it. This does lead me to the next point
- Because the wallpaper is not printed by a machine there are slight differences and this makes the pattern matching quite tricky. Not impossible by any stretch but if you are going for one of the busier patterns, like I did, you are going to need a clear head. Disclaimer – I do like a wallpaper and wine evening.
- The paper is quite thick and the layer of raised ink adds to the thickness more than a digital flat lay. This means its difficult to back roll the paper prior to pasting. I started by back rolling all my sheets, as I always do, gave up and used the tried and tested ‘place heavy thing on paper to stop it rolling up’ method.
- Also because of the thickness you are going to want a slightly longer booking (soaking) time. I found about 8 mins was good for my roll – but always check using a timer method if you are going for a professional hang.
- The wallpaper is paste the paper, sponge-able and Louise advises using a vanish or coating if you are hanging in a high traffic area, bathroom or kitchen – definitely a good idea.
There are 4 current designs – Kathy, Veda, Meghan, and Lucy and colours can be customised. All beautiful, and reminiscent of a slightly more rustic Marthe Armitage who, lets be honest, is one of the greatest living wallpaper designers. So in short, yeah, these are good!
Price £120 per 10m roll
A sample wallet is a good place to start to get a feel for the range. It’s a small fee for the wallet that is refundable against the first order. The wallpaper wallets are all hand bound and contain up to 10 samples and you automatically get added to the mailing list for new samples when new designs are launched.