March 14, 2018
A bedroom conversation between artist Hannah Bays and Emily Stelfox May in the Tracey Neuls bedroom interior.
HB: Emily, You have an education in shoe design can you tell me a bit about that and how you got to designing interiors?
EM: I’m obsessed with leather, it’s an amazing material. After my foundation at St Martins I did the BA at Cordwainers, I finished and moved to New York and ended up renovating a large house Upstate and never looked back. Luckily I still get to work with leather quite a bit and I still have a lot of friends who work in footwear, fun for me to be surrounded by shoes again!
HB: What sort of clients do you design for?
EM: I tend to work on small hospitality projects. I’m just about to start working on a coffee shop near Borough Market and a coffee roaster in East London. Where are you doing your Painting residency?
HB: I’m coming to the end of 3 months at Eton College where I set up my studio. As a painting graduate of the Royal Academy they recommended me for the position. I’ve really enjoyed it.
(Above artwork by Hannah Bays: New Deity, 2016, Oil on canvas 105cm x 80cm) and Slipstream, 2016, Oil on canvas, 200cm x 150cm)
HB: As an interior designer, who or what inspires you at the moment?
EM: I think you can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, but in terms of the way I design I really try not to be lead by trends, I always want my interior projects to have longevity and I try to work with reclaimed materials as much as possible. Nathalie Du Pasquier is my absolute hero though, if I have to name someone.
HB: Yes I just discovered her recently. I get a lot of inspiration from meaty painters like Baselitz and Rose Wylie but I also love design - exploring the full gamut of what paint can do.
Talking of design what’s your bedroom style like Emily, what’s beneath your bed?
EM: My bedroom is intentionally minimal, white with grey concrete floors, white metal bed with plastered in shelving displaying all my shoes, boots and jumpers. The only colour comes from a vintage French sex show poster that is neon pink. I don’t keep anything under my bed anymore, as it’s bad Feng Shui!
EM: What about you – what’s under your bed?
HB: Books mainly. I’ve just finished a couple of Zola novels. He was a close friend to some seminal painters of the 19tth century so it was great to visit the recent Cezanne show at the National Portrait Gallery and find paintings of Zola, having just finished his books. I also have scraps of paper and felt pens under my bed for random ideas that come at night, but now you’ve got me scared about bad Feng Shui so I’ll have to have a clear out.
EM: Can you describe your bedroom?
HB: It sounds like the opposite of yours, haha! Colourful…teeters on the brink of teenage hoard.
EM: What do you listen to in your room?
HB: Right now happens to be Turkish Freakout from the 70’s, and the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, one of my all time favourites. I have quite a lot of records. And some Japanese 70’s funk movie soundtracks.
HB: Are you a morning or nighttime person?
EM: I used to be a night owl but now I’m getting all grown up (old) I like to be in bed at a reasonable hour.
HB: Yeah I’m not gonna lie, I’m more afternoon pigeon these days.
Thank you Hannah and Emily, you are dreamy.
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