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Meet the judges - Clarissa Hulse

Clarissa Hulse is one of Britain’s leading textile designers who has evolved her brand to be one of the most successful in the UK with a thriving global market that continues to grow. Clarissa was born in Prague and lived in many countries while she was growing up including Spain, Italy, Greece and Thailand. She believes that these early experiences of different cultures and landscapes as the driving force behind her love of vivid colour and natural design which is the hallmark of her collections.

What role does colour play in your work?

Colour is integral - it is equal to the form and design. My designs are often quite simple and so the colours I choose create an added layer of interest. I do most of my experiments in my designs with colour because it’s where I can push boundaries and be more innovative.

What are your next creative goals?

I would love to work on clothing and scarves again, I also want to write a book, and create more textile art pieces where I can use 100’s of colours and not worry if something can be washed or be practical in any way!

What makes you tick/want to get out of bed in the morning (caffeine aside)?

Every day is a fresh start. Even when things are difficult I get to start again every day. The world is bursting with things I want to do, people to talk to and places to visit. I never want to miss out on the abundance of things I have yet to experience by not getting out of bed!

Highest creative point in the past 5 years?

The collaborations with Harlequin, and working on the photoshoots where I get to see my designs through to completion and installed in a room setting. From a photograph of grasses that I used as inspiration to the big curtains those grasses ended up on is a brilliant journey to see unfold..

Can you tell us about some people who specifically helped you on the path to success in your creative field and what did they do that make a difference?

During my gap year in Brighton I worked in a small textile studio in New York called Miller & Miller. The owner of the studio Mike Miller took me aside one day and said “Clarissa, I’ve been watching you. You don't have any concentration and you don't focus and finish things. You have great natural talent but you need to stick at it until it’s done – get through the tricky bits you don't like doing. If you don’t you talent is worthless”. I suddenly realised that he was right and that I gave up when my work became challenging. His advice still rings true and I have passed on this advice to my kids (not that they listen to me!)

What was it like to be a judge for the first ever Colour in Design Award?

Fun, challenging, overwhelming, tiring – but in a good way. Because the criteria was specifically about colour it was easy to eliminate people quite quickly. Everyone’s work was so different and diverse – from multimedia to ceramics. It made it harder in some ways as we’re not comparing apples with apples, but the winners’ work stood out clearly from the rest.

What would you like to say to the winner?

You have something unique to offer so don't get swayed by trends – stay true to yourself. This is what makes a designer successful. Develop your USP and get to the core of what your work is about. What stood out about your work was that it came from your soul. Never lose that.

Favourite colour?

I worry about this so much – it’s like being asked to choose a favourite parent… but my heart sings with a vibrant cherry pink

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