Hal Haines - perhaps a name you’re not too familiar with just yet however with his delicately-decorated seasonal flower ceramics, it’s soon to be one synonymous with British homeware.
Based in the green hills of the English countryside in East Sussex, the emerging designer has produced a small-run of handmade ceramics in collaboration with Couverture. A multifaceted creative, Hal uses many mediums (illustrations, ceramics and photography) to give his storytelling a platform which in turn has influenced his illustrative approach to surface decoration and the themes he explores within his ceramic pieces.
To celebrate the launch of the collection, we spent some time with Hal to find out more about his background, inspirations and processes.
C: For those who are not familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about Hal Haines? How did you get started and why are you particularly drawn to ceramics
Hal: I graduated from the Glasgow school of art in 2019 with a degree in Communication Design and a Photography specialism. Having worked as a photographer for four years before starting at GSA it had felt like the natural progression for me to continue to do so during and post my degree. I have always been interested in all areas of art and design, so specialising was hard and left many itches unscratched. Fortunately, just before March 2020 kicked off I had begun to work with ceramicist Kate Schuricht, who I have known for years, in an attempt to branch out into another discipline. I did a year of ceramics at school and loved it (to the point that it was something of a joke amongst my friends that as the night at the pub would draw to a close I would start to ramble on about how I should really be making plates for a living). And that’s how it started. I began with casting my moulds from antique platters, inspired by a big floral piece my grandma used to serve her roast lunches on, then spent the spring and summer testing and trialling (and breaking), and launched my first range last October.
C: Could you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your exclusive collection for Couverture?
Hal: My collection for Couverture tells the seasonal story of the flower farm behind my house here in East Sussex. Another lockdown project originally, I began documenting Zoe and her farm last March as something to keep me occupied. Fast forward to now and the floral motifs and colours have very much become a part of my visual language! I wanted this collection to expand on from my flagship range ‘Sussex Garden’, which also depicted the farm.
C: Could you tell us about your creative process as we know you go through a lot of different mediums before arriving at the final hand-painted piece. We’d love to know how much attention goes into each individual piece?
Hal: My creative process is rather expansive, and I think that stems from always wanting to do a bit of everything - bringing together all my interests into one outcome. I’m also a very physical thinker, everything has to be hand written, hand drawn and glued together. This wasn’t well received when I was a student, and I was often told I was messy or that my presentation was disrespectful to my work (to which I always thought surely thats for me to judge!) But this has to be the way I work, flowing organically from one idea to another, then puzzle-piecing them together. In contrast to the inspirational chaos I’m a bit of a perfectionist as well, so once I have made all these stacks of collages and sketches, I have to refine, photograph and rescan them until I get the final outcome exactly how I want.
C: How has the past year changed or challenged your creativity, and what lessons have you learnt for going forward?
Hal: The main creative challenge last year was that all the projects I had anticipated working on were no longer viable. I took it as an opportunity to go back to basics and make work that was exactly what I wanted to be making at that moment in time. Essentially it was a bit of a rebirth. I’ve learnt not to hold back, that it’s always better to have a go and see what happens.
C: What is next for Hal Haines?
Hal: Goodness, who can possibly predict what’s coming next in this day and age. I hope to expand my own ceramic ranges by introducing some new silhouettes, and perhaps another exclusive collection for Couverture? I’m also enjoying my up-cycled lampshade project very much, so some more up-cycling will be on the way as well - furniture could be very fun!
Get your hands on the Hal Haines x Couverture collection here:
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