Abigail Edwards: sustainable styling and piped cushion covers

We speak to stylist Abigail Edwards about her fairy-tale inspired designs, Scandinavian influence and an upcoming book project

Abigail Edwards Victorian childhood fairy-tale wallpaper patterns

Pattern stylist Abigail Edwards has been illustrating wallpapers since 2011.

Advertisement MPU article

Abigail, who’s based in the UK, studied Fine Art before going on to write about interiors for a host of publications, including The Guardian and The Sunday Times. Since then, she’s produced hand-drawn wallpaper designs, which have been sold internationally, and takes commissions on her website.

Rory Dobner personal profile illustration

What are your favourite childhood memories?

Having a rather carefree life; playing outside in the garden and in the woods and fields next to where my family lived in Gloucestershire.

How did you get into interiors styling?

I didn’t really know what it was in the beginning. After seeing beautiful pictures in magazines while I was on the reception desk at a gallery in New York, I applied for work experience at magazines back in London. I did that for a few months before assisting for a while and then eventually I was given my own shoots to style. Styling is a hands-on job.

Do you take this approach when designing your wallpapers?

An idea is usually festering in my head for at least a year before I start to develop it. I start in my sketchbook doing terrible scribbled versions of pattern repeats before something starts working. Then I start drawing the full design life size and I draw it over and over again until I’ve got it right. I’m terrible with computers so I do everything in a very old school way.

Where does your artistic side come from?

I have loved drawing since I was a child and studied fine art painting at art school. I started to miss this side of my life while I was styling but continued to enjoy drawing little illustrations. I find ideas usually come when I’m feeling relaxed; little things start to inspire me, it could be a leaf, a scene in a film, a colour, anything really.

Your designs are detailed and tell stories, just like fairy-tales, through the illustrations. Can you tell us about your ideas?

I have always loved fairytales and I love the romance that comes with them, but also the tinge of darkness. I’m really drawn to the simplicity of Scandinavian design but also really detailed Victorian children’s illustrations – I suppose my designs are unintentionally a blend of the two. Growing up surrounded by woodland means that trees and nature feature quite heavily.

What’s your favourite fairytale and why?

Sleeping Beauty. I have insomnia and I like the idea of falling asleep and waking up to find that everything is okay. I also like the image of nature taking over while the whole kingdom is peacefully sleeping.

When you’re coming up with new ideas, are you inspired by any new trends at all?

I personally try not to follow trends. Working as a stylist I am painfully aware of how, if something is on trend, soon it will be thought of as unfashionable. I prefer the idea of a more sustainable way of life where people don’t feel the need to redesign their homes every year and where products have longevity.

Abigail Edwards forest wallpaper patterns in grey

Can you tell us about your studio space?

I have converted the attic in my flat; it is sunny with wooden floors and white walls and I can only stand up in the middle at the peak of the roof. I have a desk at one end for administration, which is very messy and a desk at the other end for drawing, which is super tidy.

You’ve recently collaborated with Muck Ceramics. Can you tell us more?

I am very excited about this. Rebecca from Muck and I have worked together for a long time as stylists and she started Muck ceramics relatively recently. I love her pots; they’re all handmade by Rebecca in Hackney and she sends them to me to draw feathers on before they go back in the kiln. It was quite a challenge drawing on a rounded surface. We’ve produced them as a limited edition range as they’re so time consuming to create.

Advertisement MPU article

Do you have anything new in the pipeline?

I’ve just launched some new cushion covers at London Design Fair in September from my current range of fabric. They are all made in England and have lovely piped edges. I am also working on a book of pattern which will be published in the spring next year.