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Block printing and pattern passion with Reigate's Yateley Papers - Designer Style

PUBLISHED: 19:15 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 19:15 10 May 2017

Lever arch files

Lever arch files

GUY_SAVIN

Self-confessed stationery addicts, Trudi Savin and Sophie Morton, combined their love of block printing with a passion for pattern to create Yateley Papers. Janet Donin meets Trudi in their Reigate studio

Trudi Savin and Sophie MortonTrudi Savin and Sophie Morton

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2017

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Tell us how your partnership started?

We met through work. For 10 years I ran block printing workshops in Lingfield for the interiors company Tobias and the Angel and Sophie worked in the Barnes shop. Whenever we met, we’d chat about printing and our ‘wish lists’ which eventually led us to establish Yateley Papers in March 2016.

So do you both have artistic backgrounds?

We may not have gone to art school, but if there’s such a thing as a creative gene, we’ve inherited it, as both our families have an artistic sensibility.

What attracted you to block printing?

We were fascinated by this instant form of design. By using the same printing blocks in different ways - bricking, turning, mirroring – you can create a variety of patterns and the inconsistencies in the dyes create amazing colour variations.

Why do you think there is a need for traditional stationery in today’s techno world?

I believe that many people still love receiving a handwritten postcard or letter on beautiful stationery, even in this digital age. Our papers are an artisan alternative to technology, inspired by hand block printing and the storage products are stylish enough to put on display.

Do you each have your own role within the company?

We share most roles and bounce ideas off each other. Sophie is mainly responsible for the initial designs, while I’m more involved in the printing, but our roles are very fluid.

Where do you find your inspiration?

In anything from the countryside on our doorstep to what we see on our travels - Indian block prints, Moroccan tiles or the amazing patterns in the Al Hambra and the Taj Mahal.

What materials do you use?

All our materials are ethically sourced from the water-based dyes and paints to the high-quality textured paper to cover our products.

So talk us though the creative process…

Sophie designs everything, usually with my input. Having played around with layout and colours, a final design is traced onto a lino block, which is cut out by my daughter, Daisy. I then apply dye to the cut block to print trial samples. When I’m happy, the hand-printed design is sent to digital specialists, who produce the finished paper in quantity, preserving all the design’s quirks and nuances. Finally, the products are made by hand, before covering with the printed paper.

Tell us about the various products…

Beautiful stationery is our passion, which we hope is reflected in everything from our cards and envelopes to our files and storage boxes. We also have a made-to-order lampshade in two sizes. Everything is available seven simple designs in strong and earthy colours.

Describe your studio to us…

We work out of my home on the edge of the North Downs. The studio is a colourful ‘engine room’ festooned with origami stars and skinny paper chains.

Tell us about your workshops?

These day long block printing courses are held in a beautiful Georgian manor house in Bletchingley, where you can also enjoy a delicious lunch. We’ll also be hosting a week-long residential course at Chateau Dumas in Toulouse, France.

How do you relax when not working?

Setting up a new business means we’re pretty much always working! But on free weekends I love hunting for vintage wood blocks, while Sophie says some of her best ideas come from a good stomp in the woods or a long run.

What’s the best thing about living in Surrey?

It’s full of creative people and awash with pretty villages and unique shops, great markets and boot fairs. One of my favourite spots is the top of Reigate Hill, where I regularly meet up with my dog owner friends.

• Yateley Papers. Tel: 07799 627014. Web: yateleypapers.co.uk

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