As the second instalment in our maker journals, I'm very happy to be shedding a light on the wonderful work of House of Quinn. I was introduced to Julius' products whilst working in Brighton, and immediately fell in love. We invited Julius to take part in the first Ensemble pop-up, however sadly the timing wasn't quite right. During a catch up over a good old cup of coffee, I discovered that Julius was interested in LDF. We discussed how it can be a rather expensive venture to exhibit alone as an emerging designer, and I floated the idea of a group show. Once we knew Julius was interested in taking part in Ensemble : The Studio we were super happy to have him on board. What we love about House of Quinn is how each piece tells it's own little story and is totally unique. The craftsmanship is impeccable, and his quilts are the most beautiful, tangible object, anybody would be lucky to have one in their home. Heres a little introduction to Julius, his work and where House of Quinn is headed...
How did your making practice begin?
I began making quilts and interior objects in the last two years. I graduated from the University of Brighton with a Fashion Design MA and after I finished my course I fell out of love with the idea that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I remember promising myself at a young age that I was going to make it in the fashion industry and I set my heart on it. But I learnt that things change, and change is a really good thing. I was disillusioned with the prospect of working in fashion and took a year out of making anything to be able to sit down and ask myself “what is it that you want to be doing”. I knew that my life without making was not possible, i just didn't know what it was I wanted to explore. I knew I loved textiles and working with my hands, and I knew I loved experimenting, collaging and building something as I went, I enjoyed the process of playing and composing.
What inspired you to get to where you are today?
House of Quinn as a design studio and online store is a place to make. The ‘House’ part of the brand derives from the fashion houses of Paris and italy, but also as a home for making. A place in which making is only confined by its idea but not by its outcome. Everything I do has a connection or inspiration running through it, but it could sit in your home, wardrobe, house, living space. House, home are interchangeable and House of Quinn is now a home for making and at this moment intime I make interior objects.
My inspirations are varied, when making I refer to my cornish heritage, folklore and the ideas around daily rituals. What people do day to day, it could be the mundane, functional or it could be the emotional and aspirational. Connections to objects are important to me and I am a secret hoarder by nature but also like space. It is conflicting in my small rented apartment where I work and live with my friend. I believe we should have things around us that have connection, or things we have gathered to build our personal stories. But I also believe that it is good for the sole to not have because we are materialistic. Conflicting, but I explore that in my work from time to time.
How did you discover you were into what you do?
I discovered that I adore making and in particular making with textiles from a young age. I was always making with my parents, either building anything from wood with my dad or trying to mimic my mother's knitting and embroidery skills. Making and creativity has always been in the family, and I am trying to make sure it is always part of my life.
What does your day look like when you are making / designing?
It varies depending on what I am up to for House of Quinn. Being a designer, maker and small business owner means that you have to have many hats. All I really want to do is design and make, as that is what makes me happy. I work from home, as I do not have the luxury of a studio. I have one side of the room set up as office and the other side set up as making space for quilting.
What is the best and worst parts about your processes?
I love most aspects of what I do when it comes to creating. My favourite part is when you have put the binding on the quilt and lay it out for a final check. Stand back and take it all in. It is so satisfying. Especially because at the mid way point it can be a bit scary and I end up hating it before I finish it, so I have learnt to keep going to the end because I always change my mind.
I think the worst part for me is possibly working alone, I like to be my own creator, but I really like communal work spaces where other people are doing their thing and you can bounce Ideas around and generally have a chat about creative and non creative things, with tea and a biscuit. I miss that the most from my time in other peoples studios and university.
What made you want to be part of the Studio?
As I mentioned before, I really love being around other creative people and ensemble gives me and my practise the opportunity to do that. Ensemble stands for makers and bringing us together, which was something that drew me to the idea. I really wanted to show at London Design Fair and Ensemble have given me that opportunity, together we can show as a group. Which is not always possible on your own due the amount of work and funding it can take. It has been brilliant working with the other five designers.
How do you feel about collaboration in the contemporary craft industry?
I think collaboration for collaboration sake is tricky. You have to make sure that if you are working with other makers you are complementary and that it brings value to your work, in respect to the idea, process and final outcome. Community within the contemporary craft industry for me is something that I think is very important because when you work alone it is difficult to stay on track and you can easily get disheartened or feel isolated. Community, for me is crucial.
Where do you see your practise going?
I really love working with clients on producing exclusive lines, making quilts and products for homes and houses and creating bespoke commissions. At the moment I am really enjoying quilting and House of Quinn is slowly making a name for itself within this arena. So I would like to expand that more, I would like to see my work in different spaces and unusual settings.
What are you working on or want to work on next?
I am working on the composition aspect of my quilts. Looking at different techniques and playing with shape, colour and space. I really like working on functional objects. Maybe in the future I would like to take these ideas through to furniture or surface design within interior spaces. But I am concentrating on the quilting at the moment and moving that forward as my business is fairly new and still coming into its own.
Advice for young makers
Be focused. Find something you love so much that you would be happy to make hundreds of them. You need to have a passion for what you make, not only because you are making it but because that passion will come through to your audience, buyers and stockists and people who will admire your work. Something that is your personal niche or style. That doesn't have to be one product, but it has to say something about you or the work you create.
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