8 July 2014
Lydia Hardwick and William Cheshire are co-founders of Nib London. Born and raised in Leigh-on-Sea, UK, they now live in Peckham, with a studio in Brixton Village from which they hand-make beautiful screen-printed stationary. Their papers (created as a by-product of the German beer industry) are specially selected for texture, usability and feel, before being turned into notebooks and cards featuring their signature designs.
We spoke to Lydia and William ahead of their Screen-Printed Notebook masterclass, which forms part of our program for the London Design Festival this September.
How would you describe what you do?
Nib London is a screen-printed stationery brand. Everything we do is made by hand, and designed to be attractive, functional and materially interesting. We only launched in Spring this year, so it is all very new - but going really well!
How and where do you make your work? Can you describe your making process?
Most of the work happens in our studio in Brixton Village. We use hand-painted screens to screen-print our designs, before cutting everything and constructing them into sketchbooks and cards. Lydia is largely in charge of the printing side of things, whilst William does all the cutting, stitching and assembling.
What tools and materials do you use in your work? Do you have a favorite material and is there a tool you couldn't do without?
The papers we use are really great quality and lovely to work with. In terms of tools, there are not that many involved. We screen-print using our own home-made vacuum table, cut things with a Stanley knife and sew things up with linen thread.
What initially sparked your desire to make your work and what drives you today?
Lydia is a visual artist, and William is a composer. Working in these areas, we both know the importance of having a good way to record thoughts. We are both very materially driven people. We love pattern and the quality of hand made things. And so Nib was born out of these interests, and it is our continued interest in these things that drives us to keep making!
Can you remember the first thing you made?
Lydia: The first thing I remember being proud of making was a small ceramic pot when I was about 5 years old. It had a pool of turquoise glass in the bottom, and brown fish on the outside. I was amazed at its solidity.
William: Some horrific perspex keyring. I think it was yin-yang shape.
What do you feel the role of makers and designers is today?
We believe that the current surge of designers and makers returning to the hand-made is fantastic, not only for aesthetic reasons, but because it is of vital importance in a world where the seas are full of Lego.
Who in the world would you most like to buy one of your designs?
Lovers of pattern and people who enjoy good material for its own sake.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
One of the most exciting things on the horizon is our workshop in association with SMP at the forthcoming London Design Festival! We are really looking forward to it and to sharing our techniques with new people.
Join William and Lydia for their Screen-Printed and Stitched Notebook Workshop at the London Design Festival on Thursday 18th September. Booking is now open via Eventbrite and full details can be found on our LDF website.
Images courtesy Nib London