At Home with Emma J Shipley

Emma J Shipley
Emm J Shipley

Emma J Shipley's fantastical designs are the perfect update for any space. She shares her top tips on introducing bold color to your home and why she would love to see her designs in David Attenborough’s bedroom below…

What first inspired you to become a designer and what keeps you interested today?

I’ve always loved drawing and color… I studied Textiles and found I could combine my other passions for nature and fantasy stories, to create unique designs. I love the challenge of starting a new collection and not knowing how it will end up… That blank page is full of possibilities.

Of all your designs do you have a most favorite and why?

It’s difficult because each and every one has a different meaning and is attached to a different memory. I particularly love Zambezi as it was inspired by a magical trip to Botswana and Victoria Falls so always brings back those incredible memories.

Emma J Shipley
Emma J Shipley

What is your favorite room in your home is and why?

My bedroom… I’m a secret sloth and love a long lie-in (surrounded by my fantasy bedding and a plethora of pillows, of course). If my cats come and join me then all the better.

If you could see your designs in any home space whose home would it be and why?

I would love to be in a nature lover or conservationist’s home to remind them of the magic of nature - of course Attenborough would be the dream.

If you weren’t a designer what would you be doing? I would love to be a nature photographer or a children’s book author and illustrator.

Emma J Shipley
Emma J Shipley

You’re known for bold use of color, what tips do you have on introducing more color into the home?

Go with soft furnishings and accessories like pillows, throws and bed linen. It’s such an easy way to add color and transform a space without making bigger changes. You can also do this incrementally and see how it makes you feel… start with a couple of bright pillows, it will do wonders for your mood.

We love your furniture collection, how did that come about and do you have any plans to expand it?

I was working with Clarke & Clarke on fabric collections, and having seen people use them so much for upholstery, we really wanted to offer some ready-made chairs. We found a lovely supplier producing classic but modern shapes that I loved, and so created a range, using my favorite designs from my fabric collections.

Emma J Shipley
Emma J Shipley

Can you tell us about the process from initial design concept to finished product- how long can it take?

It takes a really long time from initial concept… I usually do in-depth research, ideally including travel. I then pull together other references and inspirations for the collection, before working on a drawing for a few weeks. This is then scanned and colored digitally, before being sampled of fabric and finally made into products. Depending on the product, that development process can be as much as a year.

What does 2021 have in store for you and your brand?

Everything feels a bit up in the air at the moment, and it feels difficult to make concrete plans with everything that’s going on, but I feel lucky that we have really loyal supporters who are fans of the brand, and have kept our business going through this tough year! Having said that, we have new collections launching in February, a new website coming, and we will be continuing our collaboration with World Land Trust, where we are donating trees for wildlife habitat. I would also love to do some events in 2021 to be able to meet our supporters again in the flesh. Watch this space…

Explore the Emma J Shipley collection available now.