Wimbledon-based designer and maker Kevin Stamper trained at Winchester College and established his eponymous studio in 1992. Straddling the worlds of art and design, high-tech and tradition and digital and analogue, his work begins with a digitalised photograph or watercolour. This is then translated into a series of dyed veneer squares and turned into an artwork or an object – often carefully crafted wooden furniture. Intrigued, we tracked him down for a chat…
I’m an ex CDT teacher and I have spent 30 years trying to unlearn the design rules I used to teach.
A good day starts at 6am in fresh, warm sunshine and everything just clicks until late in the evening – ending with a cold beer; a bad day never even gets going…
It’s not so much a case of where but when – being open and responsive to new ideas is almost impossible in a busy and sometimes stressful workshop. The most fruitful ideas come through idleness and can’t be forced.
Design ideas seem to come to me fully formed. If I try to develop or adapt them in some way then it lessens them, overcomplicating the original vision. Making obviously involves a level of planning but that’s mostly a combination of common-sense and experience.
The brief moment between establishing the design and starting to make it; all is still possible before the negotiations with wood begin.
Two years spent developing a process to through-dye veneer on a consistent basis was a big one; balancing financial necessity with creativity is probably more fundamental.
Creating a palette of colours to use in the fulfilment of my design ideas. Innovating the process of through-dying veneer worked far better than I ever anticipated and is loaded with potential for the future.
Stick at it and try not to compromise; it isn’t easy, but try to find your own style and keep doing what you do. Eventually people will start to recognise your work and then you’ll be rewarded for making what you love.
Mature design doesn’t compromise and has definition; decoration isn’t required.
A sort of greenish-blue I mix for the dying process, but I try not to use it too much.
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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