Natural beauty

Being able to find out more about the the creative influences in a wallpaper design is a real pleasure and gives a real insight to what inspires the collections. 

Here we find out more about artist and designer Elizabeth Ockford from The Paper Partnership. Elizabeth is based in a studio in rural Sussex. She uses an array of mediums and techniques to produce a distinctive style for her collections of contemporary wallpapers and fabrics. 

Elizabeth Ockford from the Paper Partnership
Elizabeth at work in her studio
Highbrook Collection
Close up on Elizabeth’s artwork from the Highbrook Collection.


Q: How do you balance your commercial work with your artistic work?

A: Many of the Intaglio printmaking techniques, which I use in my prints, are useful when creating textures and interest in wallpapers. In fact, my love of metallic finishes and patina appear in both sides of my work.

In recent months, my work with The Paper Partnership has taken over my life somewhat but this is OK. There will always be an artist inside me and I know my painting will be still be there when I get time to go back to it.

Q: What was your inspiration for the Danehill collection or were you given a brief?

A: My only brief was to continue to create designs that I like, and might use myself; this is the criteria for all my design work. The leafy design in Danehill is a direct lift from a lovely tree at the back of my old studio, which I drew onto one of my etchings. As soon as I saw this, I realized that I’d love to reproduce it as an all-over wallpaper.

Other influences come from zeitgeist that I experienced in the fashion and interiors world at the time – glitter finishes and simple linear geometrics with interesting surface textures. 

The colours I have chosen are directly related to the latest interiors trends. Mustard yellow, dark blue and warmer metallic tones are all around us at the moment – copper, in particular, works so well with a darker blue.  

I find that a damask is timeless so, in this instance, I tried to give it new appeal. The result was beautiful – an aged metallic patina where I softened it with a shading of depth of colour across the image.

I have designed this collection to appeal to both classic and contemporary interiors. So many of us live in houses, which feature rooms with different characters, and it’s good to be able to create a collection which can appeal to more than one decor personality in a home. 

Danehill Collection
The leafy design Nutley from the Danehill Collection
Highbrook Collection
Coleton from the Highbrook Collection.


Q: What are you reading at the moment?

A: I’ve just finished At the Edge of The Orchard by Tracey Chevalier and I’m now reading TinMan by Tracy Winman. I’m part of a book club – it has been going years. It provides for a close-knit group of friends as well as impetus to make myself read. I get really lost in books – I find they become pictures in my mind as I am reading.

At the Edge of the Orchard book

Q: What’s the last Art exhibition you went to see?

A: Basquiat at the Barbican.

Q: When not working how do you relax?

I enjoy watching films or good television dramas. I particularly like ones that have a strong sense of style such as Mad Men or The Crown. I also have a 4 3/4 yr old and a young dog- so I often relax with lots of muddy country walks 🙂

Q: Do you work digitally as well as by hand?

Yes. I draw /paint/print by hand and then scan and manipulate into repeat on the Apple. But I never work solely digitally – I find it loses the element of error that the human eye can detect, it becomes too perfect and loses its beauty. After all, the most beautiful faces are never symmetrical.

Q: Do you have you own wallpaper designs in your home?

Usually. But I’ve been in my new house for a only year and what with getting the business going and my son starting school in September, plus building work, we haven’t got round to it yet. I can tell you that I plan to use Danehill, Highbrook and Brighton in my home this Spring, so watch this space!

More like this…