Pattern Occurring Features - Karen Beauchamp

I have been lucky enough to make acquaintance with the talented and inspiring Karen Beauchamp. Karen is the owner of Whitehouse Studio in Argyll Scotland and the former creative director of Cole & Son (wallpaper). Prior to working with Cole & Son Karen independently ran her own wallpaper business for almost 20 years. With such a wonderful background and wealth of knowledge I had too pick her brain.

Karen Beauchamp on the print floor.

Karen Beauchamp on the print floor.

Karen Beauchamp's first Collection for Cole & Son - 1991

Karen Beauchamp's first Collection for Cole & Son - 1991

Anne Marie - Why do you think print and pattern is so important and loved at the moment?

Karen - There is a richness about pattern that is comforting. A room that is wallpapered has a special warmth to it. 

 Anne Marie - What is your favourite part of the design process?

Karen - I think making a brief up for what is required has the most potential for the imagination. 

 Anne Marie - How do you grow as a designer and work through a creative block?
Karen - Go and do something completely different, the ideas develop behind the scenes of the brain and eventually emerge at the end of the pencil. 

Anne Marie - What makes a print iconic/classic?

Karen - There are always surprises, but I do think that a design that has an element of surprise but also has many elements of currently acceptable design features. 

 Anne Marie - Can you shed a little light on why Cole & Son's 'Woods' print has been so widely loved?

Karen - This iconic Cole & Son design is very simple in form being an abstraction from nature which captures peoples imagination because they can use it in so many different locations. I always think of plant and tree designs as being non threatening and easy to live with, this design also has a very retro feeling.

The perception of print on walls has in the past been quite crowded and fussy, and I think that the feeling of space and the elemental simplicity in the design made people look at wallpaper in a different way. Certainly after its appearance in the New Contemporary Collection wallpaper began to be much more popular.

Anne Marie - What is one of your proudest design moments of your career? 

Karen - That is very difficult to identify as there have been so many, but working with Barnaba Fornasetti on the Cole & Son Fornasetti Collection was wonderful. Milan is really the design centre of the world and to be praised there was amazing. 

Anne Marie - What or who inspires you right now?

Karen - I am really concentrating on my direction as a painter so I have discovered a whole new area of creative inspiration. Artists like Jane Human, Michael Honnor and Kurt Jackson are really pushing the boundaries. 

Anne Marie - What is next for you?

Karen - I am working as an artist - Also I am setting up art holidays from my house on the west coast of Scotland. -


Whitehouse Studio

Whitehouse Studio

Whitehouse Studio

Whitehouse Studio

Thank you Karen for all the knowledge and expertise. You are a true inspiration!