I have posted a couple of posts on Quercus & Co which is a newly established wallpaper company in Sydney. Adam Jones the founder and creative talent behind the beautiful wallpaper has kindly agreed for me to interview him and, well time to grab a cuppa, sit back and relax and read on……
How would you describe your work and style?
“I started Quercus & Co earlier this year to design and print wallpaper. I love pattern in general but it’s the all-surrounding eye bending nature of pattern on walls that specifically interests me. I also have a penchant for paper and the quality of marks on paper – inky washes, scratchy charcoal, soft pencil, painterly blobs –it’s these qualities I like to bring to wallpaper. I print with the latest professional inkjet technology onto premium non-woven wallpaper. The digital revolution is incredibly exciting and of course in all honesty, I do love the old school techniques… but a hand-painted watercolour over an entire wall …this is easily done with digital printing.”
What, where and/or who inspires you?
“There are so many things… I’ve devoured magazines like World of Interiors for years – I love the eccentric aristocratic interiors; early/mid 20th artists, both their work and their homes – check out Edward Bawdens house – just delightful!
Edward Bawden’s House
The V & A museum and its textile collection and now Pinterest – it’s brilliant how you can follow through links and find the original images, great for research.”
Where did your love of wallpaper design come from and what makes your style unique to you and Quercus & Co?
“I grew up in the 70s in the UK and like many families our house was covered from top to toe in colour and pattern. Even our ceilings had painted polystyrene patterned tiles (I don’t think these would get past fire regulations anymore let alone the style police). I became short-sighted in my teens and was convinced it was because I had stared at the wallpaper for too long – my eyes would go blurry trying to figure out the pattern and how it had been put together. My grandfather was a jigsaw puzzle fanatic and customized his kitchen table with layers of shallow shelves so that he could work on several pictures at a time. Designing wallpaper is like solving a puzzle, moving the motifs around until they slot into place. As you get older different influences in life pop into your mind and you think ‘ah, that’s where that came from’. I went on to art school and completed a degree at Goldsmiths College, London.
The ‘Quercus style’ is hand-drawn or painted, or hand-crafted, very ‘wabi-sabi’. The designs are printed with a professional inkjet printer in our Redfern studio. I’m very excited about digital printing technology, the possibilities are endless and as with all technology it’s changing at a fast and fabulous pace but at the end of the day it’s basically ink on paper.”
Where did the name Quercus & Co originate from?
“Quercus is the botanical name for Oak Tree, a genus of tree found all over the world and loaded with history and superstition.”
Which is your favorite personal project and why?
“It’s always the next one. My head is constantly swimming with ideas, the hardest thing is staying focused – and completing – what I’m working on.”
What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?
“Having only started this new venture less than a year ago the exciting points are still the small things – each time I see the printer churning out my designs I feel thrilled, and again when I see the wallpaper installed in a room, which can be kind of weird, it has a very different energy than when it’s in the production process – soft and gracious, it feels like someone else made it!”
Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us???
“The latest collection Caravan is inspired by vintage textiles. I ran out of time to explore ‘Shibori’, so this is on the list to finish very soon.
I designed a 4m high scenic-chinoiserie style gold wallpaper for Fat Noodle in the Treasury, Brisbane. It’s being installed this month, I’m excited and nervous!”
Preparation work for the Brisbane Restaurant – Work In progress
If you could have your wallpaper displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?
“I love wallpaper in people’s homes and personally prefer it on all walls not just as a feature. It would be lovely to see it in a grand historic home.”
What would be your dream commission?
“A beautiful, boutique hotel – patterned entirely throughout! It would be great to explore the shift in mood and colour from the reception area to the dining room, the hallways and bedrooms.”
For someone coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places be for them to visit ?
“I take new visitors on a drive along the coast from Clovelly to Watsons Bay. The Gap is one of my favourite places in Sydney, dramatic and sublime no matter what the weather. Lunch at Kitchen By Mike
Kitchen By Mike
Bourke St Bakery
or coffee and cake at Bourke St bakery – easy, low key and very much what locals like to do. White Rabbit Gallery always has something amazing on show.”
Describe your perfect day
“A perfect work day is when I’m drawing or painting a new design, usually on the weekend when I can legitimately shut off all other aspects of the business. Firstly pottering around at home, watering the plants, eating a relaxed breakfast and then later in the day my partner will pick me up from the studio and we to go the beach – Little Congwong on Botany Bay. Just an hour or so of late afternoon Sydney sun is enough to feel like you live on permanent holiday.”
Now as much as I love your work, I love cooking and am always eager to find out a new recipe… what is your favorite dish to cook?
I’m not a great cook but do enjoy experimenting, even unsuccessfully! This is a fool-proof modest dish and very easy to modify depending on what you have in the fridge.
Vine ripened cherry tomatoes
A few cloves of garlic
Torn pieces of proscuitto
Fresh or dried oregano
Liberal amounts of extra virgin olive oil
Pop all the first ingredients onto a baking tray in the oven and roast until the tomatoes are browned and the prosciutto crispy. Toss with the fettucine and sprinkle with feta, basil and a dash more olive oil.
Variations can include added eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, chilli or swap the prosciutto for anchovy or pepperoni or chorizo! The better quality the ingredients, the tastier the flavour.