Pattern and colour queen Bethan Laura Wood
During London Design Festival in our new Shoreditch studio in London, we previewed the prototype of ‘Jelly’ Salad’, our collaboration with the one and only Bethan Laura Wood. Continuing Bethan’s exploration of food presentation and representation, ‘Jelly Salad’, is a joyous gathering of abstracted vegetables suspended in a jelly sea, immortalised in the form of a Christopher Farr Editions rug. Made using the hooked rug technique, varying heights and textures are achieved by cutting looped areas made from strips of fabric to create textural definition.
We chatted to Bethan to hear more about what catches her eye.
Bethan, we were delighted to partner up with you, intrigued to know what you might come up with. When we presented you with some rugs samples, the hooked rug technique appealed. Tell us about that.
It immediately made me think of cut cabbage! I like how different the visual of the fabric was when it is looped and then cut to show this cross section. I was interested to research more on the traditional american hooked rugs and I liked the way curves were interpreted. I felt that it could be a great partner with my on-going research into food presentation and fake food, with a concentration on the american love affair with Jello!
We’ve been lucky enough to have a sneaky visit to your apartment, and experience some of your personal collection. What makes the grade and wins wall / floor space?
Anything that catches my eye really, normally it is a mix of something graphical with a layering of either texture or pattern or colour and in many cases all three! I often collect things from the different places I visit, so you will find a lot of italian, mexican and japanese things, but really things from all over, from butadiene science model to hungarian folk textile, masks by the wonderful Bertjan Pot and a psychedelic Don Quixote knight (painter unknown), there is room for them all (just about !).
Who are / were your mentors / people that move you in your practice?
Martino Gamper and Jurgen Bey were very important to shaping my identity during my Masters at the RCA and giving me confidence in finding my own language. Nina Yashar the gallerist (of Nilufar Gallery) I have worked with for many years introduced me to a lot of historical italian design. Jaime Hayon was someone whose work I followed from being a student and he was so lovely to me when I met him just after graduating from my BA and he was super kind to invite me to his shows when he was based in London. Of course, Sottsass and others from the Memphis group like the fantastic Nathalie Du Pasquier.
It was very handy developing the artwork with you, as you are local to our East London Studio, that sits in the Shoreditch Design Triangle. Is there anywhere else you’d like to live?
I am very fond of the East End and I don’t think I would want to live in a different part of London, but I would be interested to see what would happen if I did live in a different city. I have super inspired by for example my friend Fabien Cappello who moved to live in Mexico City and now in Guadalajara. The works he has made in response to these spaces and of the craft and industry there is super cool so I would love to see what I would be able to do if I stayed somewhere for a much longer period of time. Maybe the dream would be to have a home in two places!
Christopher Farr x Bethan Laura Wood, ‘Jelly Salad’ is available from January 2023.
Measuring 1.2 x 1.8m, the rug design will be available in two colourways, lime jelly and lemon jelly. CF Editions rugs, including ‘Jelly Salad’, unlike the made to order and bespoke rug design offering, are kept in stock and available through retailers. The rugs will retail at £975, making them accessible to a wider audience.
See more bethanlaurawood.com
Photography by Tom Mannion.