Edinburgh-based designer Mairi Helena is a rising star in the world of wallpaper, fabric, furniture, and homeware design. Her unique wallpaper designs are inspired by her photographic portfolio featuring the landscapes, colours, and wildlife of Scotland and they’re produced using a variety of printing processes. Mairi Helena spoke to Paint My Home about her inspiration, creative process, and more.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
All my inspiration comes from my travels around Scotland. I started with the east and west coasts, particularly the west coast and islands. I was drawn to the blues of the seas and sky, and the colours of the lichen on the rocks. Back to Nature, one of my more recent collections, was designed during lockdown, so my inspiration came from closer to home and my travels in Edinburgh.
Talk us through the process of how you start to bring your designs to life
I take my camera everywhere I go. When taking photos, I play with the aperture (depth of field) to bring in detail. Next, I experiment and play around with colours and textures. Usually, the shapes in the landscape or finer details triggers an idea. I create my wallpaper designs by building 40 to 50 different layers of photos, some of which are more abstract, while others are more focused.
Once the designs start to take shape, what’s the next step?
I play around with Photoshop, putting different layers together to form the actual design. I work on a repeating block, which has a repeating continuous pattern. After creating a repeating file, I send it to wallpaper printers to get it digitally printed.
How long does the design process take?
The process varies from design to design. By always taking pictures and having them at the back of my mind, I’ve built up a nice collection of images to work with when exploring Scottish landscapes. I sometimes piece together photos taken over several months to build a design.
What’s your favourite collection so far?
I really enjoyed the Back to Nature collection, as I designed it in a different way over a larger scale. I have favourite designs from each collection. Hidden Garden is a favourite from Back to Nature. This design came from spotting butterflies and exploring meadows with my daughter. Hidden Garden is a popular design among customers, too!
What makes your wallpaper designs unique?
I try to capture the colours and textures of Scotland, so my designs are quite subtle but keep a certain look. The subtle details of my wallpaper designs allow you to incorporate the Scottish Highlands in your home. I often receive emails from customers, saying that they spotted details which they hadn’t noticed before!
Do you have any plans for an upcoming collection?
I’m planning a new collection for next year. I hope to work on something slightly different, and I hope to explore new parts of Scotland in the process. I’m also trying out printing on fabrics made from recyclable materials, which will be an exciting new project. Keep an eye out for updates on my Instagram profile and my website.
You’ll also find a selection of paint choices to match with all Mairi Helena’s wallpaper designs on her website, making it easier for you to find the perfect palette to complement the wallpaper you choose for your home. Choose a professional, reliable painting and decorating company like Paint My Home for your wallpaper and interior painting needs.