Wallcoverings and Fabric can really make a statement, and if you want that statement to gently reference inky tides and rivers, moody billowing clouds and confetti-like drifts of petals, then take a look at textile designer Emma Hayes’ products.

“I’m interested in organic shapes that move and build on one another, where dyes are concentrated then disperse and shades move from dark to light,” she says. And working with those ideas you see the potential not just to decorate a room but to infuse a space with a certain quality, to influence emotions and thoughts.

Emma’s work explores the natural world, inspired by New Zealand themes. “Nature has such beautiful patterns and I try to replicate what’s there, but in the way that I see it. I like to make products related to here, which subtly reference New Zealand without being korus or kiwis.”

A design may start as a watercolour, lots of quick hand drawings or paintings, mark making and experimenting using different dyes, before considering how that might transfer to a fabric or a wallcovering, and how different textures and finishes of fabric or paper might change the nature of a design. “We’re very particular about the base papers we work with. They give an interesting tactility. Currently I’m working with paper with a pearlescent finish which is my favourite to really lift a colour.”

Supplying showrooms across the world, she notices that some countries are more used to using wallpaper, “In some places wallpaper is seen as quite a commitment.” However Emma can ease customers into that by customising designs, altering the scale to fit your room, or making different colourways. The Bloom wallcovering is a particular favourite. “It looks amazing, and I like that it’s a mural design, so the user has the flexibility to have the pattern on either the top or the bottom. I enjoy seeing how clients have taken the ideas in my work and incorporated them in their projects in their own way, such as a tidal print we did in a custom colour that was used in a powder room.”

She also loves researching heritage wallpaper, screen printed or hand-painted designs in metallic finishes, which gave a very luxe feel. emmahayes.co.nz