wallpaper designer tracy kendall


What starts as a simple idea can turn into a fully fledged creative venture. In 1996 Tracy Kendall came up with the idea of a graphic large-scale cutlery set for her kitchen. Soon it was seen by Isle Crawford, who was then editor of UK Elle Decoration. It was featured in the mag then other mags spotted it, the orders came and now the extensive range of designs have become some of the most distinct of the current wallpaper renaissance.

Which five words best describe you? Tea drinker, organised, hard worker.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since? I was a technician in a couple of art colleges for many years while I brought up my son; I needed a steady wage to pay the bills. It was only when he stopped going to school that I took the risk and left the safety of a job to see if I could make my way with the wallpapers.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Have faith in your designs, often my work does not sell when I first make it because I’ve not shown it well or in the right place, it can take time for people to find a place for my papers. Sometimes it as simple as I don’t have a good photo of the piece therefore people find it hard to see how it can be used.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Making a living from my work, I am very lucky that I design just for myself, not to seasons, fashions or anything else, just whatever I want and I then hope others will like it too, not many designers are allowed to follow their heart that way and make a living from it.
What’s been your best decision? To give the day job, often the more risks I take, the better the pay off, and that applies to my designs as well as financial risks.
Who inspires you? I love Inger Maurer’s work.
What are you passionate about? Being honest in my work, drinking tea, clocks, my collection is quite large and quite mad.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Very sadly, my mother, she died when I was seven and I never really knew her, she was always off limits to me as a child as she was ill. It's only lately that my eldest sister has started to talk about her and she seems like such a interesting and glamorous and lovely person.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I’m not one for dreaming, I am very much a doer, if it needs doing in the studio then I’m there doing it, printing, sewing, paperwork, cleaning, whatever, I was brought up to work hard and when my head hits the pillow, I sleep soundly. The other thing is I really want a greyhound, I dream of that, I had one years ago and she was so lovely. Can’t have one at the moment as I have really silly stairs at my studio and travel there by London buses so it wouldn’t work but when I finally move studios I will have one again, they are such great dogs to look after.
What are you reading? The True History of Tea, I am a mad tea drinker, there is a cup by my side as I type now so my partner thought I might be interested in where it all comes from, just so long as it keeps coming is my main thought.

images courtesy of tracy kendall

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