Florence Saumarez – INQ

Join the founder of INQ on Saturday 23rd May in our Richmond shop and Sunday 24th in Covent Garden, and experience the mesmerising techniques of this dynamic and historic craft. Florence will spend the day creating colourful patterns with paper, ink and water.
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Founded by designer Florence Saumarez and based in Bath, England, Inq specialises in designing and producing hand-marbled papers and products. ​

We combine traditional techniques with a modern aesthetic, producing products that sit as proudly in Georgian townhouses as they do in industrial loft apartments. The long heritage of marbling informs us whilst the freedom of contemporary design inspires us to reinvigorate this endangered craft. The possibilities are endless and joyful.

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Tell us about how you got to where you are?

I trained as an architect but immediately afterwards set up a workshop designing and making furniture. A few years ago, I was wanting to start a new business that would enable me to continue making but would involve less wood dust. It was then, in a serendipitous moment, that I discovered the art of paper marbling.

How would you describe your work in three words?

Considered / Classical / Colourful.

Where do you feel most inspired and who inspires you?

A visit to Liberty and London art galleries every so often fuels my inspiration for months. Baths and showers are also very inspiring places! There are many designers who inspire me for simply being bold, making and putting things out there. A few that come to mind are Faye Toogood, Ashley Hicks and Bridie Hall.

What is your creative process? 

I will arrive at the marbling tank with a clear idea of the papers that I would like to produce. There are enough variables to deal with when marbling, that without a vision, I would meander through techniques and colours and risk not actually nailing anything. I prepare the paper I will be using, sponging on a chemical which will bond the paints to the paper and prevent them from rinsing off. I then mix up my paints and test and moderate them until they are performing as I want them to. Then I marble and take the print. There will usually be multiple attempts before I get a sheet that I am happy with. The trick is then to repeat this until I have the required number of papers.

What materials do you most like to work with? Does it differ depending on subject? 

I work on a tank of carragheen thickened water and I use gouache paints. These materials never change, and they have been used to marble for centuries.

What’s your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievements are yet to come of course! I am just delighted to have got things up and running from a standstill and to have so many ideas that I am itching the execute.

What does the next few years look like for you and what are you most excited about? 

There are many things in the pipeline including some wonderful collaborations which I find extremely energising and exciting. I am also undertaking a building project this year. My brother has designed us the most wonderful home and studio and my partner is living in a caravan and managing the build. I am incredibly proud of both of them and looking forward to working in my new space.

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