The Queen of Pattern talks digital details.

Design runs deep in Anna Hayman's blood; her ancestors were 19th-century woodturners, and a few even made furniture for Queen Victoria, no less. And yet, at the embryonic stage of her career, it was music that she channelled her surfeit of creativity into, initially training as a pianist.

However, over the years, Anna has incrementally returned to the visual crafts of her forbears, first working in fashion before finally launching Anna Hayman Designs in 2016. The colourful and allusion-rich patterns she creates are first linocut before being printed onto fabrics, wallpapers, lampshades and cushions, all of which riff on her favourite periods of design history – from the halcyon days of iconic BIBA to the Arts and Crafts movement as typified by William Morris. Her home near Lewes, East Sussex, is another dual inspiration, both in its 1930s style, and in its proximity to Charleston Farmhouse, rural outpost, retreat and muse of the Bloomsbury Group.


Here Anna tells us why lockdown has helped to elicit the sharing of more honest – and less picture-perfect – living online, and how Facebook Marketplace is an indispensable resource. Even if she does like chopping up her vintage bounty on occasion.

My favourite website...


For shopping, I always find something to fall for at Rockett St George . Their dark, dramatic, trend-led and feminine aesthetic tickles my fancy every time. I’ve just bought their smoked glass spray bottles for my kitchen and bathroom sprays. They are pretty and tick the sustainability box.

My favourite app...


From a brand point of view, I’ve been investing in Pinterest lately as their newest developments for business integration are quite exciting. It has been key this year for global outreach. Shoppable pins are going to be great for us.

However, naturally Instagram is my favourite pastime and main communication platform, as it is where I built the business and it has much more of a community. It can be strange sometimes as I act as an individual there as well as a business, so there is a balance to be struck, but on the whole it is a fantastic if not sometimes engrossing (!) social tool.


My favourite blog...


I don’t read blogs I’m afraid, but I admire bloggers such as Mad About The House for making such a brilliant success of it and writing two fabulous interiors books.

My Internet hero...


Hmmm, I would have to say @manwithahammer. Watching Greg’s popularity explode and being a part of his renovation process (I am near to completing the design for his small ballroom) has taught me a lot, and I am in awe of his talents and natural charm. I think it helps being male in a female dominated industry.

My favourite podcast...


I used to like Russell Brand’s podcasts but don’t have time for them these days really!

My favourite YouTuber...


I love Leanne Lim-Walker as she has a very current relatable way of engaging and producing can-do content for the viewer. The way she creates her video with thorough how-tos inspires me.

My most recent buy online...


I love Facebook Marketplace for vintage finds. It just has delivered an antique christening gown for £10, which I’m going to (eek!) chop up and use as a curtain for my very short bathroom windows. My home needs a bit of softening and romance I feel and this addition will give the room the ‘vintage charm’ element, even if it does feel a little sacrilegious!

Last book you downloaded or read...


I recently popped into town to buy some hair dye (which didn’t actually work – the lilac looked more purple rinse, haha!). There I randomly met my brother, who I hadn’t seen in a while, and we went into Waterstones. He bought me a beautiful book of Joni Mitchell’s illustrations that accompany her much loved songs. A special book indeed.

Favourite tweeter...


I see Twitter as something for angry guys, not really a place for me.

Favourite Instagrammer...


I’m rather taken with Anna Glover lately – her colour palette and shapes in her artwork are very alluring. I also love Anemone Interiors, who magically sources the most covetable vintage furniture pieces, and always has something new to make me gasp.

Favourite tech gadget...


iPhone 11, for the triple camera.

Most useful digital resource during lockdown...


Luckily work wise I haven’t had to Zoom or adapt my systems much during lockdown – I don’t think I’m alone in despairing of these flawed methods of communication. For family communication, WhatsApp has definitely brought us together like never before

Most inspirational digital resource during lockdown...


I think the changes some Instagrammers have made to their lives and feeds during lockdown, introducing more personalisation, more honesty and less rigidity during this time has been inspiring. It has been heart-warming to see that fewer ‘perfect house’ posts and more genuine lifestyle posts haven’t been detrimental, and in fact have been the opposite, to accounts such as Katie Woods. One wonders whether the looser style will continue as the restrictions are lifted, and what will dissipate over time.

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning...


Email and Instagram, for urgent messages, then I try to avoid it until actual work time.

Last thing you binge-watched...


A Spanish film – Amar – on Netflix had me up till 2am the other night. An interesting and provocative film about young love.

Favourite brands have you discovered online...


Clothing brands such as Bella Freud, Sezane, Esthe and Ulla Johnson.

Social media allowed me to meet...


Garden designer Sarah Mitchenall who I recently worked with on my garden overhaul. She helped us push through the issues/disgreements and begin!

The best digital advice I've been given...


Christmas is just one day, darling – don’t take too much notice of it.

My screensaver is...


Black.

My standout online memory...


Nicola Broughton buying and posting my lampshade back in 2017. This really kicked things off. Also Matthew Williamson doing the same.


My pet online hate is...


Whingeing or apologising about not posting! Nobody cares!

Do you have any online rules or resolutions?


Weekends have become more sacred in the last year as I’ve had more help with the business. It’s a good place to get to, finally.

The Internet. On balance, a force for good or ill?


I don’t believe in good or ill, there is only experience and perception. I like to choose a positive yet rational outlook on it on the whole, as it’s a huge and multifaceted tool. But I wouldn’t have a business without it, so I’m also grateful.

By Nancy Alsop
September 2020

READ MORE

Lucy Uren
Emma Bridgewater
Christina Strutt

Nancy Alsop

Editor

Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

FIND OUT MORE