With evocative names like ‘Algae’ and ‘Pompadour’, Made of Matter’s maximalist wallpaper is further proof that sustainable needn’t mean subdued. We caught up with founder and creative director Julia Bancilhon, who explained how it all kicks off with a collage...
Could you explain the name of the collection?
Made of Matter is a play on words. It’s both the matter that makes up everything around us, but it’s also an invitation to look closely at our surroundings and to appreciate them more. It all began with a series of collage artworks that I made a few years ago. These were constructed from a mix of vintage magazines and scrap materials I had found and screen-printed. I loved repurposing these items into artworks.
Tell us about the concept…
I seek to give new life to discarded images and materials. I believe upcycling in design is the way to move forward. At the moment, all of our wallpapers are made by upcycling, but we are also testing different types of waste, which hopefully we can use as the raw material for future collections. To avoid excess waste we only produce our wallpapers to order. Our philosophy is ‘more funk, less junk’.
Where did you study?
I studied Graphic and Media Design at London College of Communication (UAL), with a focus on printmaking.
What inspires your motifs and colour?
My works are an ode to all of the artists, designers, movements and people, such as Hannah Höch, Yayoi Kusama and Quentin Jones, who have fed me and my artistic curiosity for the past 10 years. In fact, they are a celebration of art and design in general. Inspiration also comes from personal memories – moments with my family, my surroundings and travels around the world.
How do you make the patterns?
I use photographic elements taken from old magazines and scrap papers that I’ve collected or found over the years. A theme throughout my work is giving discarded materials a new narrative, allowing them to form shapes and images that are open to various interpretations.
First, I create a collage by hand, which is then scanned into a digital format where I can add in created elements if the work needs it. I then twist everything with a joyful colour palette. A mix of surreal scenes and extracts combine to form the intricate pattern of each paper. These constructive elements only become clear to the viewer when they look closely to discover what lives within.
What are you working on next?
I’m starting to translate artworks onto a new series of enamel tableware and textiles. I have purposefully chosen enamel because it can be used again and again – it’s a sustainable alternative to disposable plastic. With everything I do, I’m trying to link to more responsible consumption and aiming to minimise waste. madeofmatter.co.uk