Meet the Judges - Daniel Heath


Daniel Heath is a British award winning independent wallpaper, textile and furniture designer renowned for his illustrative engaging designs and superb craftsmanship. He is also a proud brother of the Artworkers’ Guild of London. An experienced academic he has lectured Textiles at Loughborough, Manchester, Bournemouth, Staffordshire, Bucks New University and Central St Martins and also provides mentoring for young designers through the Crafts Council Hot House scheme.

What role does colour play in your work?

Colour is pivotal to the success of a design. In wallpaper I only use 1 or 2 colours so every element of the design is portrayed in colour – it can make or break a design. I think a lot about how it’s going to look and what its proportions are but need to see it on the paper itself before I make a final decision.

What are your next creative goals?

I want to continue to do things that maintain my interest in craft and materials. I’ve never had a 5 year plan but mostly I never want to be bored of something that has so much potential. It is impossible for me to go to the studio every day and not enjoy it.

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

Rufus my new baby son. He has made sense of what I am doing. I have been taking on a lot of projects without sharpening my focus but now he’s in our lives I can be selective about the things I do without compromising the priorities of home life. I can now be more efficient and focused – it’s very exciting!

Highest creative point in from the last 5 years?

I was featured in the book ‘Makers of East London’ and felt to be included in something that was so important for craft – a journal of my peers - was a substantial achievement. I even gave a copy to my mum!

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?

A lot of people have been generous with advice and opportunities but Maria Speake of Retrouvious stands out as a mentor and interiors guru. Every few years we sit down and she asks: what are you doing?, why are you doing it?, what are you going to do next? Each time we meet it has helped to develop the themes and narratives in my work.

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

Great! I could look at work with a clear focus on colour – the craft of creating it, how the designer was thinking about it and where they had got their influences from. It was important to me to see the continuity of thinking across every process of the design and its impact on the finished work.

What would you like to say to the winner?

Make the most of the skill in your craft and dig a furrow for yourself. Don't worry about trends, they will come and go. Don't follow fashion but be aware of what’s out there. Stay on track and keep referring to where your craft comes from – your heritage.

What is your favourite colour?

Certain colours where difficult for me when growing up because of my skin colouring – so red is out. Green – the whole family of greens. Green is a versatile connector and works with everything. It’s beautiful in glazes and metallics on wallpaper. The colour is huge and encompasses so much. Definitely green.

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