London-based illustrator, ceramicist and textile designer John Booth’s happy, colourful designs are making waves in the interiors world. We find out what’s next for his vivid brushstrokes

Portrait of John Booth in studio

You started your design career in fashion – what made you move into interiors? I graduated in fashion print design at Central Saint Martins in 2009, but textile design lends itself really easily to interiors. I never planned to become a ceramicist, it just evolved naturally. My first ceramic commission came three years ago from Studio Voltaire and things just progressed from there – I now sell my pieces in Paul Smith. You can still make interesting designs that are based on art practices, but are essentially homeware.

Multi coloured woven blanket
‘Valatzu JB Face’ blanket, £760, Begg & Co
Begg & Co

How would you describe your aesthetic? My style is joyous.I get a lot of joy from the colours and materials in my work.

Was there a specific influence that sparked your exuberant approach to colour? It has always been there, ever since I can remember. Often it’s thinking about a colour or a combination of bold hues that becomes the starting point for a new piece.

You’ve just launched two throws with Begg & Co – do you approach textiles in a different way to your other work? The conception is the same – it all starts with drawings. I went to the mill with Begg & Co and spoke to the weavers – as these are woven designs rather than printed, there are strict parameters I had to work within. I was drawing when I was there and was told ‘that absolutely won’t work’. Limits take your work in different directions.

John Booth hand painting ceramic rainbow
Stoneware Head Vase
‘Stoneware Head Vase’, £880, House of Voltaire
House of Voltaire

Are you working on any interiors projects at the moment? I’ve just launched ‘Superscene’, a set of limited-edition ornaments with Hem under my brand Supergroup, a collaboration with my studio mate Ian McIntyre. The painted ceramic rainbow,glazed cloud and colour-dipped flower are all quite big – you can buy one or all of them to create a bold vignette of objects.

What’s next for you? The furniture pieces I created with gallery Studio Voltaire – a stripy wooden bed with scalloped edges, a desk and stools – just launched in Selfridges. For 2020, I’ve worked on a bright, graphic fashion collection with Sunspel. I’m hopefully going to do my first book this year with Hato Press, and I’m trying to persuade kitchen brand Uncommon Projects to do more unique pieces of furniture with me – I want to do one-offs.

This article first ran in ELLE Decoration June 2019 issue

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