- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.6XeXEVt9.dpuf The Curiosity Project: Curb Your Curiosity: Hannah Nunn

19 November 2012

Curb Your Curiosity: Hannah Nunn

Good morning! Got a case of the Monday blues? My interview with lighting designer Hannah Nunn should help you get inspired for the week ahead-she has some great tips to combat creative block too. 

Hannah's designs were inspired by her range of paper cut greetings cards which graced the shelves of Liberty, Harrods and Paperchase. Playing around with them in the light she began to toy with the idea of using paper cuts for lampshades to enjoy the beautiful textures and silhouettes created by the light. Following months of research and development supported by the Arts Council, Hannah's first nature inspired collection of lamps were launched at the British Craft Trade Fair in 2003 and have gone from strength to strength ever since. Personally, I love them, they're like the best parts of a dreamy woodland walk and warm too!

• Introduce yourself to us!
I’m Hannah Nunn and I make nature inspired paper cut lamps, I run a glowing designer/maker lighting shop called Radiance and I have just authored my first book about craft lighting.

• Describe your style…
I work with a neutral palette and my lamps have a tranquil, calming effect. My designs are simple and graphic.

• What do you love about the medium you work in? 
I have two mediums. Paper and light. When I’m designing I always think about how the light it is going to effect the work I am doing, knowing that it will bring out the warm qualities of the paper and reveal the layers and silhouettes. I often cut on a translucent cutting mat over a light box. It’s brilliant because it’s like drawing with light. I love that light can be so uplifting. I have so many stories of how people say their lights make them happy. Simple pleasures all the way!

 •Where do you find your inspiration- who or what inspires you?
I’m lucky to be easily inspired. Hebden Bridge where I live is surrounded by beautiful countryside and a walk in the woods and fields is enough to get me going. You’ll often find me at ground level taking close up photos of something lovely. This year I’ve been obsessed with grasses so walks have taken rather a long time as there’s a lot of them about! It’s the details that get me going. I love finding so much beauty in small things.

• How do you translate your inspiration into a design?
I make drawings in my sketchbook either from life or from my photos and I play around on the light box layering up shapes and patterns. Most of my designs are laser cut now so I scan my drawings into a vector graphic programme and convert them into black hairlines that the laser can understand. I don’t have a laser cutter myself but I do have a brilliant laser cutting man called Bob and he creates samples for me and puts them in the post. I continue to play with layering up the samples until I’m happy with the design. The final stage is the laminating which secures everything together and adds the bright white layer in each design.

• How do you structure your working day? 
Well pretty much every day is different. I have my workshop in the back of the shop so you never really know what the day will bring and if you’ll get much making done. It helps to go in early to get some making done before opening hours but I do like going out for a walk in the woods first thing to get a bit of fresh air and inspiration because I find it can stay with me all day! I have a lovely assistant called Matt and between us we do what needs doing. We make lamps, greet customers, process and package website orders, answer emails and take photos for the website. We’re always busy. On Mondays and Tuesdays the shop is shut because these are my precious workshop days. I let the phone go to answerphone and go into my own little world. This is when I develop new designs and play with ideas. It’s taken a lot to carve out this creative time in to the working week.

• We all get creative block. How do you combat it?
It helps to try and understand how the creative process works and accept that there are going to be uncomfortable bits. I have noticed that I’m at my most edgy and irritable right before a new idea is about to burst forth! You have to just be with it. I’m often like that at the beginning of a ‘creative day’. Often my answer is to just do ‘something’. Draw, pick up a book from the shelf, put some music on, visit the flower shop, scribble…whatever. It usually gets things flowing again. If it’s a real biggie, morning pages from the Artists Way byJulia Cameron are brilliant!

• Share your favourite tool with us.
Oh that’s difficult. Now I couldn’t be without my cutting knife and my new micro glue dispenser has become something I can’t work without but the most gorgeous of all has to be the Japanese screw punch. It’s beautifully made, lovely to hold and so satisfying to use. You use it to punch holes in paper. When you apply pressure it twists round and drills into the paper. It comes with about 7 different sized holes. I discovered it on a Rachel Hazell book binding course earlier this year and couldn’t believe that no one had ever told me they existed before! A revelation!

• Describe your dream creative space…

© Mark Mahaney

It is spacious with big windows and loads of plants. It has many old wooden plan chests to hold paper and tools, a wall papered wall, a central work bench that you can move around easily and loads of big wooden shelves for books, creations and inspiring things that I have collected. It has small garden full of greenery and a lovely comfy chair to sit with my cats and a cup of tea.

So far I have the wallpaper and the plan chest. Now I need the huge windows and the SPACE! I am actually on the hunt for a big space right now!

• What's the biggest lesson you've learnt on your creative journey so far & what advice would you give to a newbie?
I have learned how valuable passion is. If passion is the force behind your business you will always have the energy to get things done and keep moving and growing. I am so glad that I have always followed it and built my business around it.

On a practical note I wish I had started compiling a mailing list early on. I didn’t learn the true value of one until I was many years into my business. Start one. Straight away and look after everyone who is on it!

• Take us on a crawl of your favourite shops. Where do you like to shop and why? 
I love the creations of  Tsé & Tsé Associées because they have so much colourful quirky lighting. I recently discovered they have opened a shop in Paris so that is a must see next time I visit. Their website is a lot of fun too.

Me and my fellow shopkeeper friend visited Japan in May and we LOVED the shops. Everything was utterly new to us and the creative shop fronts and impeccable displays were so inspirational. I would love to spend every Sunday morning strolling around these shops in Nakameguru in Tokyo.

Magma book shop is a must if I’m in Manchester. It’s full of books and magazines about art, design, photography and illustration. I often come out with a nice smelling book rich in inspiration.


• What's on your bedside table?
A Helen Rawlinson ‘Lollipop’ lamp, my ipod, some Japanese Yen that have been there since my trip in May, a hairdressers appointment card, a glass of water and a cutting knife…not in case I’m struck with an idea and need to cut something out in the night. I just took it up there for something or other and there it has stayed for far too long…like the yen! I think I need to tidy my bedside table.

• Give us a song! Which one song helps you whistle while you work? 
I love learning and singing harmonies so if I need a good sing along I might listen to the Be Good Tanyas.

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