Louise Hill Design

Friday night took me to a friend's house high above the city.  I snapped a photo of the view from the 35th floor before going into her flat. I slipped off my FitFlops, enjoyed the cool marble on my feet and called out hellos as I walked into her to gorgeous place. Her place is a home with airy, spacious rooms, dome and tray ceilings, crown molding--character , charm and calm. In her entry she had a large print from an artist I discovered here at a doctor's office: Louise Hill. My friend and I chatted about Hill's work, how interesting and layered the images are and then we settled in for a girl's night and a proper catch up.

Saturday morning drove me downtown for errands. On the Grab ride to the Central Business District, my friend messages me, "Timely" with the image below.

An OPEN STUDIO DAY at Louise Hill's?!! I had a spot of time between appointments, so I headed to the Wessex Estate neighbourhood. I arrived just before twelve. The haze was lighter than it has been. As I walked around the building from the road toward the entrance, I spotted a rooster on the long lawn.

You can hardly see the black dot of the rooster between the center tree and the trunk on the left. 
The area was quiet, calm, seemingly far removed from the noise of the city. The old buildings were build in the 1940s and according to my driver housed British military for some time during the colonial period here.  Louise Hill's studio space is in Blenheim building, so named after the famous palace.  The entrance, charmed me.

A friend was to meet me there, so I perched outside and took in some sunshine and birdsong while I waited. Eventually, I wandered into the studio to wait.  That is when the magic started. 

Louise Hill  is a collector. She loves patterns and embroidery and prints: flowers and birds and teacups and tea thermoses and fabric. I wandered the studio and peered into the curio cabinets that house the actual items and props she makes into images for her layered pieces when suddenly I came across this delightful shelf: 

and this

and these

Oh the Victorian-esque Millefleur! Look at the Rosewater Glycerin ,one of my favourites, and the Lilly of the Valley, one of Mom's. 

I remember when Crabtree launch the new packaging for that line and the reset that had to happen with stock in the shop. College friends will remember my decade at Crabtree and Evelyn on  the posh Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida. I worked for my friend, Sue Cote. Most holidays you could find me in the back of the shop  making wreaths with dried flowers and making spectacular bows with wired silk and satin for towers of packages. I  worked holidays and college breaks through my twenties. The product packages on Louise's shelves held some of my favorites from that time--- oh the lingering scents! 

Louise and I shared Crabtree product memories.  I still have Nantucket Briar and South Hampton Rose drawer liner paper in the dressers I brought to Singapore from Florida. 

I had not read Louise's website before visiting the studio. Had I done that, I would have known she was a packaging designer for Crabtree.   I wonder if artists, like some authors, feel a bit of exasperation when we arrive with delight in their work but unaware of their life stories. 

I'm glad I didn't know ahead of time.  There was some magic at work in the sharing of our stories. 

She brought out  her packaging sketch book from that time and talked me through her career journey from paper to digital production: fascinating. She was designing the very packages in her twenties I was wrapping, buying and selling in mine--who knew that would make my heart sing.  

Her work from the La Source collection!
The glycerin line... her work!

Learner and artist that I am, I had so many questions: about her materials, her studio, her processes and how she found her voice. We started with Crabtree common ground and ventured into much more. We talked and laughed and I got the goods on some of the inks she uses (always looking for the perfect, gold, I am). 

It was a pink stone moment today's studio visit. I felt cocooned in a bubble of conversation surrounded by beautiful things lovingly curated.  I went to the studio with the intention of purchasing one of the prints from her Singapore collection which I love. I ended up with so much more than the delightfully playful and bright prints I brought home with me: Hong .Kong Mahjong and  Hong Kong Taxi.

Louise Hall's work inspires me. It lifts my spirits and feeds my soul. She is connected to the source and her work communicates playfully her purpose and passions. How grateful am I to have spent some time with her today. 

Now to shift the chicken wall hanging Mom quilted and find a proper spot for these works. Aren't they spectacular?

If you'd like to see more of her work, visit her online or follow her on Instagram @Louisehilldesign and Facebook


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