Alice Acreman builds on the work of William Morris
I have a small business, Alice Acreman Silks, which I run from my studio in Walthamstow. I hand-paint designs inspired by nature and digitally print the artwork on luxury fabrics to create fashion and home accessories.
I moved here two years ago after visiting William Morris Gallery and finding there were great resources for my business including very affordable haberdasheries and independent shops. Now I’ve settled in, I love the mix of renovated houses, diverse communities and art events happening in the area and am always telling people to come visit this East London gem.
During the pandemic I have embarked upon a wallpaper design project. Initially I was apprehensive about what lockdown would mean for my business, but chose to strive forward with a positive attitude and aimed to use the time at home to get into a big project that I wouldn’t have the time for in my normal routine.
Designing a wallpaper has always be something I wanted to do, especially being inspired by the original textile artist William Morris. I’ve noticed a growing trend for mural wallpapers and after getting some feedback from my social media followers, I chose to work on a tropical scene with my signature plants and animals.
For a few weeks, I worked on painting trees, plants, flowers and vines on large sheets of A1 paper then, as interest from my social media following grew, I went live on Instagram and painted a flying parrot to add to the scene. I filmed from start to finish, talking through my way of working with watercolours, and loved getting live feedback – especially those who said how relaxing it was to watch! I experimented with filming the process and creating short videos set to music on Tiktok and other editing apps which I hadn’t had the time to use before.
Once the hand painted artwork was complete, I used Photoshop to combine all the separate pieces and create a jungle scene. Cutting out each shape to remove the white background is as much a part of the process as painting it. It was a long process but I’m now very happy to say that the ‘Mighty Jungle’ mural wallpaper is now available to buy bespoke, in three beautiful colours. Any size wall or alcove can be filled with the print, which is very easy to install. I also printed a limited number of signed poster prints of four animals which were used with in the design, all available to purchase now.
Although I’m deeply saddened by the loss and trauma brought by the pandemic, I feel lucky to have been able to try to find a way to focus on productivity. I hope others have been able to do the same.