Deborah Bowness: walls, paper and inspiration
Deborah Bowness, artist, designer and maker grew up in Yorkshire and has been designing, making and exhibiting wallpaper since 1999. Today she lives and works in St Leonards-on-Sea, on the South Coast of England. Here Deborah has set up a print room, printing wallpapers and dispatching them to clients across the world.
Graduating from Leeds College of Art & Design in 1997 with a BA(Hons) in surface pattern and textile design, Deborah went on to the Royal College of Art in 1999, where she obtained an MA(rca) in constructed textiles. It was at the RCA where Deborah began to challenge preconceived notions of wallpaper and wallpapering. By giving her art everyday use she introduced a new and different perspective on the material.
Deborah has produced an extensive range of individual, non-repeat wallpaper designs. These began with her graduation installation of ‘Hooks & Frocks’ which incorporates photographs of hanging dresses, montaged together and then machine printed at life-size onto drops of wallpaper. The monochrome images are brought to life by adding silkscreened colour and hand painted detail, creating a homage to trompe l’oeil and deliberately shunning the repeat pattern. Deborah’s intention is for her work to interact quietly and playfully with objects and furniture, but not dominate the surrounding environment.
Bowness wallpapers have made a place in history. Acknowledging their innovation and unique design style, these institutions hold examples of work in their print collections:
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Leeds Museums & Galleries Collection, Yorkshire
Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
Wallpaper Museum, Germany
Many publications have featured Bowness wallpapers including
‘The Papered Wall’ by Lesley Hoskins
‘Wallpaper History Review’ by Christine Woods
‘Walls are Talking’ by Gill Saunders
‘Design: The Whole Story’ by Elizabeth Wilhide
Bowness wallpapers have received a number of awards:
Homes & Gardens Design Award, Winner Surface design.
Northern Design Award, Winner best wallcovering.
ICFF Editors Awards, Winner best wall coverings
Crafts Council, Setting up Grant
Royal Over Seas League, Travel scholarship
Devon Guild of Craftsmen, David Canter Memorial grant
Peugeot Design Award, Winner textile category
Crafts Council/100% Design, Bursary
Commissions and collaborations
Deborah welcomes the challenge and inspiration gained through working collaboratively, and has worked on projects with a wide variety of clients including: The De La Warr Pavilion, Habitat, Christian Lacroix, Paul Smith, Polydor, Universal Records, Reebok, Selfridges & Sotheby’s .
A 6 minute 40 second presentation recorded on the 6th September 2018 at the De La Warr Pavillion . ’20 images (almost) 20 years’, reflects on influences and inspirations to chronicle the highlights and learnings from a 20 year career…..