Liberty London 'In The Studio' Series
Heti Gervis, founder of Heti's Colours, was recently interviewed by Liberty London for their In The Studio series.
To have a look at the visuals that make up Heti's world and to talk about the brands beginnings.
Read the full article is below:
Textile designer and colourist Heti Gervis is on a one-woman mission to make the world a brighter place. Having collaborated with the likes of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs on screen-printed fabrics and painted textiles, she launched Heti's Colours - the exclusive-to-Liberty line of silk scarves, combining bold patterns and vivid colour combinations - in 2014. Keen to explore her vibrant habitat, we swung by her Art Deco artist's studio in London's Crouch End.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BASED IN THIS STUDIO? We've been here for three-and-a-half years now. There are lots of artists in the building; a milliner, a toy maker, a jeweller, some digital people downstairs - it's a real mix. Our floor is where most of the makers are.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF HERE? I live down the road. It was very exciting because it was standing empty for so long and then we heard that some brave people were taking it over, so we came down and took up a space. It's just a really lovely building - we did well.
DO YOU THINK YOU'RE INFLUENCED BY YOUR ENVIRONMENT? Being here is inspiring as you're surrounded by other makers. It's great to be able to go into someone else's space - especially the milliner next door as she's got feathers and other things that are really interesting. It's nice to be with people who are creative and who understand that it's hard doing something like this.
IS THE AESTHETIC OF YOUR STUDIO SIMILAR TO YOUR HOME? Yes! A lot of colour and a lot of bits. Collecting has always been in my blood. I used to collect graphics from paper bags. When I was little I collected checked French pottery from Brick Lane. I think it's nice, I can remember where I've bought each thing.
"I failed my first year in Textiles at Camberwell Arts College because I just did colour!"
IS COLLECTING YOUR PRIMARY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION? Definitely. Particularly collecting books. My father was a big book collector so I was lucky and got a lot of things from him. I'm also inspired by travel. The last collection came from being in South Africa. My husband was working there for nine months, so I went a few times and was amazed by the colour and books. I found an incredible bookshop and bought a book of old botanical drawings, and one of cave paintings. Rummaging is always good. For prints, I look at Japanese graphics and old astronomy pictures. I reinterpret them.
OF ALL THE PLACES YOU'VE TRAVELLED TO, WHICH WAS THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL? India, without a doubt. It's so crazy but I love it. I started out doing colour palettes in America, so I went to India and I dyed fabric for two weeks. That was really amazing because they don't Pantone. You work on colours and you find one that you like and then they replicate it. So, I'd paint and they would start doing the dye and then we would do it together.
COLOUR, HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST IN IT? I painted my first bedroom bright blue and I failed my first year in Textiles at Camberwell College of Arts because I just did colour! The tutors were very 1970s and were into everything that was brown and black. I made this thing that I thought was amazing: a bright pink bit of fabric. They kept saying, 'but it's pink' - and I kept saying back, 'but I really like pink!'. After that I went to Central Saint Martins which was much better as they understood colour and it taught me about textiles that were used: fabric on chairs, fabric on things as opposed to a piece of art that you might have. I love art - but I was trying to do something a bit different.
HOW DID YOU WIND UP BEING A COLOURIST? I started life as a textile designer and started painting lots of stripes. I would hand paint tissue paper in loads of colours, cut them out and then reassemble them as a palette. I saw that people wanted to buy them - Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, Gap - and it wasn't for the stripe, it was for the colour. I'd see my stripes on the wall and saw that they were using them as inspiration. I really enjoyed it but it was hard work.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO LAUNCH YOUR OWN LINE? It was a way of culminating everything I'd been doing. I did the block colour printing under Heti's Colours but I wanted to do more of the designing. It was a way to bring everything I'd been doing for a long time together.
WHY SCARVES? I previously did some colour for ASOS and we hand-dyed in a marketplace in India. We made 1000 metres of different colour fabrics. Clothes are really difficult though. If you're a small business, getting funding is hard - so in a way scarves were perfect because they aren't that big. I've always really liked graphics and records and books, so it makes sense to put everything into a square.
WHAT'S YOUR PRODUCTION PROCESS? We do all our production in Italy. The Italian way of printing and finishing is the best. I've got an amazing factory who are really supportive. As a small business, you aren't producing huge quantities so you need somebody who will support you.
"There is nothing on earth that soaks up colour like silk. It's just beautiful."
WHAT'S YOUR STARTING POINT WHEN DESIGNING A NEW COLLECTION? It's either a place or an era. Often, I'll go to Charing Cross Road where there's a row of old bookshops so I'll spend a couple of days rummaging through there to see what they've got. For my upcoming collection, I spent quite a bit of time at the V&A in the ceramics department. They've got about six rooms that lead on to one other and it's just beautiful. So yes, it's always from a place, or an era, or a museum.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU START THINKING ABOUT A COLLECTION BEFORE WE SEE IT IN-STORE? I've just finished Spring/Summer '19 now, so that will go in store in October/November - but I've been working on it for a few months. The minute you finish one you start on another. It's exciting.
DO MANY PEOPLE WORK WITH YOU HERE? I work with Chloë Browne-Beck, who's based in Australia. She was originally my intern, then employee and then she returned to Australia and we've been able to stay working together. She's brilliant, and does all the Photoshop stuff because I'm not so good at that. Each design is very considered, so we'll spend at least a week on each one. We'll keep going backwards and forwards. Once you've got the first one you can spring off it and then all the colours start coming in to place.
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU SEE A COLLECTION COME TOGETHER? Hopefully happy! I feel the collections are getting better and better. The more you do, the more you hone it down. Each piece is very different but they sit together as a collection. That's something I've really learnt - you need something that flows right from the beginning to the end.
WHAT'S NEXT? We're trying to grow and introduce new pieces like bags and beaded stoles. We're also looking at bringing in graphic knitting. Silk will always be my favourite though, as there is nothing on earth that soaks up colour like silk. It's just beautiful.
FINALLY, CAN YOU SHARE A LIBERTY MEMORY? My dad used to take me shopping at Liberty for my birthday. He was an architect and painter and he loved the shop.