Since launching Quercus & Co in 2012 with a range of wallpaper designs, Adam Jones’s work has appeared in magazines including Inside Out, Home Beautiful, Belle and Vogue Living. Originally trained in textile art, he spent years as a decorative painter and a colourist with Porters Paints, which goes some way to explain his confidence, passion and fine instinct for colour. We’re pleased to feature his range of unique art prints and wall hangings in today’s Quercus & Co sale event (styled above by Adam Powell), and asked him to share his story…
Adam with his Oslo Square wallpaper.
What was the impetus for you to take the leap and start Quercus & Co?
That’s a good question – to be honest I became possessed at that time and I don’t think I would have made it to this stage if something hadn’t switched on in my brain. Starting a business really does require enormous energy and determination. For the first time in my life I now feel centred and focused and know this is exactly what I love doing. Essentially it’s the culmination of my early training in art and textiles and the many varied experiences from all the jobs I’ve done over the years, however age certainly helped – I reached a point where it was ‘what the hell, just get on with it!’
Quercus & Co’s Tapestry wallpaper in Prussian Blue adds depth and character to a contemporary bedroom.
Your wallpaper designs range from lush colour and pattern to delicate pen and ink drawings. What do you think is the common thread running through your work?
The starting point of a design for me is often the drawing or painting technique. I love the way in which ink soaks into the paper or charcoal scratches across the surface. It’s marks on paper – the sharp edges, the blurred smudges, the mistakes and imperfections. This is what interests me most, and is the same for a detailed illustration or a large scale painterly pattern.
Adam at work on his Fair Isle design.
Tell us a little about your creative process, starting with the original artworks?
Working on a new collection starts with how I would like it to feel. It’s not necessarily a specific type of pattern to begin with but a direction I work towards. Once I find various images as inspiration I work on sketches and collages. All of the designs are hand-drawn or painted and once an idea is resolved I draw all the ‘motifs’. These are taken into photoshop and the final design is made from there. The one joy about printing everything myself is the amount of sampling and testing I can do; the most painful thing about printing it myself is the amount of sampling and testing I do!!
Details from Adam’s Sydney studio.
How does the digital printing process work, and how important are the materials you use?
Digital printing is a revelation. I have to say I do love old-school printing techniques (how beautiful is a wood block printed wallpaper where the ink has been pushed to the edges of each colour?) and although digital printing doesn’t have the tactility of traditional techniques, it does offer an endless spectrum of colour and the potential to design in as many styles as you can imagine. The paper I print onto is made from 100% natural and sustainable resources including 30% recycled content. At the end of the day it’s ink, paper and imagination.
The Fair Isle wallpaper range.
Your love of colour and pattern shines through your designs. What impact do you hope they will have?
Colour is incredibly uplifting. There’s nothing practical about what I do – I’m not designing chairs! What I work with is sensory pleasure, playfulness and a connection between how you feel and the space you’re in.
How did your art print range come about, and how does the process differ?
From the outset customers were buying a metre of the wallpaper and framing it as art so it made sense to start printing the designs as artwork. The wall hangings came from seeing an old map in a friends house – the simplicity of timber dowel and printed canvas works perfectly. Easy and safe for shipping too! I’m busting to do scientific and botanical prints (when I have time).
Quercus & Co vintage style wall hangings in Adam’s Sydney studio.
Do you have any tips for framing and/or hanging your prints?
All the art prints are made to fit standard IKEA frames – a perfectly acceptable and affordable option. We print most of the designs in different sizes so a whole collection of them can be hung ‘Salon’ style.
A Kilim wall hanging in Midnight and Tapestry lamp shade in Rose.
Your studio is in Sydney’s Redfern. Is it important to you to be surrounded by a busy & creative community, or could you work anywhere?
I work in a shared space with all types of businesses and it certainly makes for a pleasant and communal work environment. I would say that it is important, it really helps to walk away from what you’re doing for a moment and connect with someone else. I also live 5 minutes from the studio and love the neighbourhood.
The upcoming fabric collection offers great decorative possibilities.
What does the future hold for Quercus & Co?
There are so many plans – the most imminent is the launch of a fabric collection. It’s amazing to see the designs printed onto cloth. There are two base cloths to start: a light linen for drapery and soft furnishings and a heavier-weight textured fabric for upholstery and cushions. Like the wallpaper the fabric will be sold through our trade distributors but we will have cushions for sale on our website. The next collection of designs is also well under way – fresh, light, illustrative, they have a 1960’s / 1930’s vibe if that makes sense – to be launched early next year. Finally, a couple of Christmassy-style colour charts that Elke our current intern has been working on. They’re looking delightful.
Cat or dog?: Cat. I have two – Hattie and Willie
Design icon: I’m loving the opulent 60s and 70s style icons at the moment: David Hicks, Diana Vreeland, Marion Hall Best
Pet hate: Not getting a reply to an email. There’s a disclaimer on some blogs and media websites that say ‘Oh we get so many submissions, if you don’t hear from us we’re really sorry’: isn’t that part of the job?
First job: Pizza Hut (but my second job was in a knitting & wool shop in London, which I loved)
Local secret: A new Vietnamese take-away just down the road on Bourke St – Banh mi pork rolls for $4.50!
Follow Adam on Instagram @quercusandco or via Facebook or Pinterest
Shop the Quercus & Co collection today