Julius Arthur, founder of House of Quinn, is one of the five New Makers that TOAST will be supporting and nurturing throughout the year.
I'm terrible at drawing, so I've always used collage to get my ideas across, admits Julius Arthur. The Brighton-based designer has a Masters in Fashion Design and, having originally set up his own menswear label, has now turned his hand to homewares.
One of the reasons I moved out of the fashion industry was because it was so fast-moving, he says. For me, it's important to focus on making products that last, are usable and that people want to have in their homes and become part of their lives, instead of mass producing.
His love for textiles combined with his passion for collage propelled him to create a series of quilted pieces under the name, House of Quinn. I've always had this connection with making things that people have around them, things which build a narrative and an emotional resonance, he explains.
Launched in 2016, House of Quinn is a line of signature quilts, cushions and soft furnishings made by hand out of Julius' Brighton studio using sustainable fabrics. Traditionally, quilt-making made use of textiles, usually leftover scrap fabrics, to make something that was utilitarian, while providing warmth at home.
I've taken the traditional idea of quilts and elevated them with my own modern designs. Julius uses fabrics from end of line production rolls in a bid to be as low-impact as possible. Even the wadding I use is from recycled fibre, he says, animatedly.
I try to ensure the materials I use are sustainable or come from ethical sources. But sustainability isn't just in the materials it can also be in the process. he adds. It can be about keeping old techniques and making sure those techniques are used and taught and shared.
Sharing skills is the next step for Julius who plans to initiate workshops that bring people together, adding another layer the quilt-making process. I find we're so disconnected, ironically, in this technologically-connected world that bringing people into the space and quilting for community is a concept I'd really like to establish.
Julius grew up in Cornwall and all of his collections have influences from the region including Cornish names. His pieces for New Makers are part of his En TIr collection, meaning Of the Land'. Abstract appliqu designs in rich terracotta browns, sandy yellows, and chalky whites are inspired by terra firma, mining tools, and the contours of familiar landscapes. His playful pieces, with their thoroughly modern look, are as fitting draped on a bed as they are hanging on a wall.
As well as his main collections, which have a set theme and colour palette, Julius works on commissions making them personal to the individual. I like to find out about the person and try to put some of their story into the item, imbuing it with some of the owner's personality, he says. It sounds a bit clichd but I want people to make memories with these quilts that can be shared and passed down. I try to make work that has a sense of place and people seem to connect with it.
You can shop Julius' quilt here.
Interview by Andie Cusick. Images by Kendal Noctor and Bella Gladman.