Marthe Armitage’s hand-printed perfection
There seems to be a bit of theme forming here at Interior Monologue. I keep discovering these amazing female artisans that I want to shout about from the rooftops. Today, I would like to introduce you to Marthe Armitage. My newest heroine.
She was born in 1930 in England and went to art school to study painting at the Chelsea School of Art. As life would have it, she didn’t pursue her art any further after graduating once marriage and babies came into the equation. Now, 50 years later, life is sure different for her as she is now being heralded for her hand-printed wallpaper that she designs and prints herself in her home in Chiswick, London.
Marthe started to design and print wallpaper over 50 years ago when living in a cottage by the Thames that didn’t have a garden despite her really wanting one. Marthe walked around her neighborhood looking at others gardens for inspiration. When her children were off to school, she started to design her own floral patterns and print them to hang in her own home as her very own garden.
She etched these designs into lino which she then covered with ink and pressed onto cheap paper which she hung round her flat. I remember etching designs into lino when I was in art school and it was quite fun but very grueling work. Marthe realized this wasn’t the most sustainable way to produce her designs so in the 1960s, she invested in an old press that she found for £160. She still uses this machine today!
As I mentioned before, Marthe’s wallpaper was a fairly exclusive secret. Only through word of mouth would her wallpaper make it into the homes of others. It was only when the design company Hamilton Weston asked to represent her in 2004 that things changed for her. On a good day, she is said to be able to produce between four and six rolls of paper. It is the kind of work that requires the utmost of patience and skill. And a true passion for the work, no doubt.
It is hard to believe she is now an 83 year old great grandmother still working on new designs and patterns. She has loads of sketches and has proclaimed that she loves drawing. She has said her wish is to “inspire people to go back to the drawing board.” I feel inspired! In fact, I might go back to lino carvings first.
Marthe has a few designs that could be used in a children’s room. Maybe it is their illustrative quality or just the colors that she uses. The possibilities are endless. What a fantastic room that you could create with her designs. Feels like you could hang this wallpaper in a bedroom and just have a beautiful bed in front of it and you are done. All I know is that I truly love wallpaper and this is some of the most exquisite wallpaper that I have ever seen.
If you are now considering some of Marthe Armitage’s wallpaper for your own home, please be a bit patient. Once a decision is made, it can take three months for Marthe to create an order. But good things come to those who wait and this is worth waiting for.