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Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes endeavors to bring the outside in. At her New Zealand-based textile design studio, Hayes creates wallpapers, fabrics, and prints reflecting the luscious hills and plains of her home country. With a vivid, sweeping style, both soothing and bold, her work, all originally painted or drawn by hand, often traces the landscapes and color combinations of her outdoor excursions. Though Hayes spends as much time as she can outside, she believes interiors can become a respite representative of natural beauty. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Emma Hayes Textiles.

Hayes’ work uses darker tones and sharper strokes to outline shapes and shadows, copying the natural blend of tones and textures found outdoors.

Hayes’ work uses darker tones and sharper strokes to outline shapes and shadows, copying the natural blend of tones and textures found outdoors.

Andrew Joseph: If you had one more hour in the day what would you do with it?
Emma Hayes: I’d dedicate it to painting and drawing. It’s my meditative space, and where the ideas happen.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Emma: That finally we are seeing a greater focus on natural products along with new materials and technologies becoming available that focus on sustainability and end-of-life solutions.

Hayes chooses from a subtle but wide-ranging palette to create soothing designs like the Bloom wall covering.

Hayes chooses from a subtle but wide-ranging palette to create soothing designs like the Bloom wall covering.

Andrew: If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Emma: I’d either be a Tui or a Takahe – these are both native New Zealand birds. A Tui has beautiful feathers of shimmery turquoise and black and a distinctive birdsong. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to fly and I’m a morning person so I think I’d fit in. The Takahe has the most beautiful blue green feathers. It is flightless and was thought to be extinct until it was found in Fiordland, a remote area of New Zealand. Whilst the species is still endangered, for many years efforts to save Takahē have pioneered conservation techniques for protected species in New Zealand and in the world. So I think it’s a little magical, an icon for hope and that demonstrates conservation efforts do help.

Andrew: What are your ideal weekend plans?
Emma: We live in Auckland and as a family often head out for short hikes exploring local forests or for swims at local beaches. The kids love it, there’s usually an ice-cream stop, and I find it so inspiring for my work to be amongst natural color and textures.

All of Hayes’ work is grounded in her natural environment, including the Sediment wall covering, beautifully brooding in a transitioning landscape.

All of Hayes’ work is grounded in her natural environment, including the Sediment wall covering, beautifully brooding in a transitioning landscape.

Andrew: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Emma: In addition to the business, my partner and I are raising our triplet boys. They arrived not long after I started the brand. This makes for a very rowdy family life but one that inspires the need for calm, beautiful spaces within the home and I see this transpiring in my work.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Emma: Beautiful, tactile, organic.


About The Maker | Emma Hayes Textiles is a New Zealand-based design studio with a vision to create beautiful wall coverings and textiles for beautiful spaces. The brand works with residential and commercial interior designers and specifiers around the world. Recent key interior projects include Louis Vuitton retail interiors in Auckland & Melbourne, Nobu Hotel Miami and WME/IMG Offices in New York City. Founder and Creative Director Emma Hayes lives and works in New Zealand, a collection of islands at the edge of the South Pacific and a place from where she draws much of her inspiration. All of her designs start by hand – from paintings, drawings and mark-marking generated in response to the patterns and textures of the surrounding landscape.

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