Contemporary surface-pattern designer, Clare Willard, has chosen to use Formica® High Pressure Laminate (HPL) as her product of choice to create intriguing, unique pieces of work specified for modern interiors by architects and interior designers. Clare creates low-relief surfaces, with an emphasis on simplicity and depth, by using Formica HPL on plywood. By using this versatile treatment she produces intricate designs which can be tailored to small and intimate decorative pieces or scaled up to produce striking, architectural installations.
The jigsaw felt shyrdak rugs of Central Asia are the main inspirations of Clares work, along with the appliqué molas of Kuna Indians of Panama. Clare uses the static, sturdy nature of Formica HPL to create a stunning fluid effect. She creates different surface applications by the metre for use on cupboard doors, feature walls, reception areas and door panelling. The raised bright geometric patterns form a tactile surface which is visibly stimulating. Detailing of the construction of the designs remains visible adding further depth to the work as the layering of the Formica HPL and plywood create a stepped effect.
Clare Willard comments: I have a passion for the unusual, using diverse materials and bringing together new combinations of surfaces and textures. I use methods of layering and intercutting which is similar to the practices employed in textile design and Ive also been influenced by wood working traditions which combined together create an intriguing new technique. Formica HPL provides me with my colour palette. The laminate acts as my paint, providing the desired colour and finish. From gloss to velour, laminate creates a clear and crisp line which is
distinctive of my low relief work, allowing me to create the texture through my designs rather than relying on the actual finish of the laminate.
Two years since finishing an MA in Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, Clares business is looking strong. As well as being a designer in residence at Wolverhampton University through the Craft Council Next Move, she recently won a prestigious award through the David Canter Memorial Fund, which this year funds craft initiatives in wood. This award will fund research which will unleash new possibilities of scale and design.
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