Now more than ever, we are spending time in bed but not just for sleeping and loving. We eat in bed, watch films, work from our computers, read stories, have sleepovers, skype lovers, create dreams, manage hangovers, make out, hold family discussions, drink tea and have deep and meaningfuls with friends. I wrote this post from bed, stacked high against a conglomerate of pillows and cushions in bold prints, wrapped in a melange of graphic pattern, just the way I like it. Tap, tapping away…
Our beds have become a playground for all matter of activities and Wooden Hills Bedding has just made it a whole lot more fun. Fun in bed! You can’t go wrong then. Tim Stevens has struck gold and every other colour of the rainbow with Wooden Hills, his ultra cool and pick and mix duvets and pillow cases made from a fantastic selection of Dutch wax and created to your specifications are being snapped up by the smartest retailers around. And after seeing them for yourself, I’ll guess you’ll be snapping them up too. Tim took some time out to answer some questions and give us the lowdown on Wooden Hills. Look around, what do your sheets say about you? Maybe its time for an upgrade? Get into Wooden Hills Bedding!
Tell us a little ABOUT your background.
I’m a trained artist, I graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art a number of years ago and alongside a myriad of jobs in different creative industries I’ve also been making my own work, which has included immersive theatre shows, music video, illustration and design. I’m currently a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and run a small screen printing studio with some friends. And now I’m running this bespoke bedding company working with Dutch Wax fabrics.
How did you come to discover Dutch wax? What led you to start designing bespoke bedding?
My old studio was on Ridley Road Market, a well-known African market in Hackney. Every time I went to the studio I’d walk past the Dutch Wax fabric shops and stop in to look at the new designs. I began to notice how odd some of the more illustrative designs were. There was one design I really loved and the more I looked at it the more I could imagine it as a duvet cover for my bed, so eventually I saved up some money (it was £50 for 6 yards) and bought it. I couldn’t afford enough for both sides of the cover so I had to find some cheaper fabric for that, I thought it was great that I had two different patterns and sent it off to my mother Ann, she’s a textile designer, to sew together. Plus some pillowcases to be made from some Dutch Wax fabric I had left over from a video shoot and when I put it all together on my bed I couldn’t believe how amazing it looked and what a big, beautiful centerpiece it was for my room. Then when I slept in it I really felt the quality of the material, it was the nicest fabric I’d ever slept in. For two years I kept thinking ‘every one should have a set of these!’. Then I started to buy more fabric and sew them up with Ann, and one thing led to another… Wooden Hills was born.
Favorite SYMBOL from your current collection? Best SELLER?
Some of the old ones are still my favorites, but the life span of these fabrics is short. Designs come and go really quickly. The Hand of the Holy Ghost Spraying Anti-bacteria Spray was the first one I bought and it still makes me laugh. But the new designs I find are just so weird I love them too. The Electric Table fan is a really good one, it’s a status symbol in African markets to have an electric fan on your stall so the print represents that, and the actual illustration of the fan is such a good piece of illustration, I love that one, and the colours are so vivid. Must admit, Holy Ghost Spraying Anti-bacteria Spray is definitely my favourite especially after seeing a fabulous African woman dressed head to toe in it. True style.
There isn’t really a best seller as the fun aspect of Wooden Hills is the fact you can combine any material in any combination so it’s never the same duvet twice, this makes them totally individual to the client’s desires. Each duvet cover has a different pattern on either side so you can flip it and have a totally new look in bed. And I like to insist the pillow case should never match.
You have an hour to spare on the internet, what sites and blogs will you be SURFING?
I have to keep track of the new designs because there are so many different manufacturers releasing new designs every few months. But they all start with the Vlisco company, they come up with the goods then everyone else follows/copies their ingenious designs. Many of the designs are referencing African politics and current affairs, and very often the interpretation of these topics can be taken as metaphors and African proverbs so it’s hard to make direct links with the imagery. That’s perhaps why they appeal to me so much, I read very different things in the designs. Visit Vlisco’s storytelling platform to discover and share the personal stories and meanings attached to your favourite Dutch wax.
FOOD from the Gods?
A good friend of mine runs a company making his own pastrami, he’s got a stall in Bermondsey called Monty’s Deli and the Reuben sandwich he makes is the best thing I’ve tasted in England. Monty’s Deli trades at my favourite Maltby Street Market – go on a Saturday for London’s best ever food scene.
Dream TRAVEL destination?
When I was a teenager I was lucky enough to go down the river Nile and the ancient and magical feeling I experienced while there is like nothing I’ve ever felt, before or since. I would love to revisit that place again, it’s the cradle of civilisation and the most mystic place on earth. I read recently that the boat Agatha Christie journeyed down the Nile on, which led to her writing Murder on the Nile, is for sale. It was abandoned on the shore of the river after the filming and is now rotting and filled with rats. However, if I were to win the lottery my dream is to buy it, restore it, hold a huge week-long party on it and hire Destiny’s Child to perform for all my friends, every night.
Sunday morning RITUAL?
Alas I’m a great sufferer of hang-overs and quite often find myself moaning on the sofa, retelling stories of the night before to my house mates as they make me a breakfast I don’t deserve. That or watch four films in a row whilst performing repetitive tasks on Photoshop.
Top LONDON spot?
I went to Harrods for the first time in my life after teaching at the RCA the other day. Due to the political leanings of my family I’d always been against the idea of going, but that place blew my mind man! It’s utterly insane and now I want to go back every week just to go up and down the escalators and smell the perfumes which emanate from their toilets. I walked through with a corner shop carrier bag and felt the disdainful looks of the super rich and security guards alike, which I also loved. I found all the staff there to be so lovely even though it was obvious I couldn’t afford the £37,000 vase I was looking at. I was only really looking at it to fulfill a perverse fantasy I was having about bumping into it, then seeing it smash to the ground. Would they make me pay for it?
Your list of stockists reads like a who’s who of RETAIL, including personal favourite Third Drawer Down. You must be pretty chuffed?
I am indeed, I’ve had some luck with Urban Outfitters too. They kindly chose Wooden Hills for a couple of beautifully curated pop-up shops in LA and New York. The events were called Street Bazaar and encompassed not only the work of alot of great independent designers working with Dutch Wax fabrics but they also had some amazing African musicians performing, such as the remaining members of one of my all time favorite bands, a Zambian psych rock band called Witch.
Third Drawer Down getting in touch with me was a dream come true. I especially love the products they created with a designer from the Memphis design team, Nathalie du Pasquier – she’s been a huge influence on me since childhood. So for them to choose my work for their amazing shop was a huge honor. I hope their customers love the bedding too.
What’s next for WOODEN HILLS BEDDING?
My next move is to start working with one of the Dutch wax design companies in Holland that I love. We are creating a range of patterns designed by some of my favourite UK-based illustrators – people I know like Rob Flowers and others I don’t know so well but admire like Stevie Gee. I’ve had quite a few artists and illustrators buying the Wooden Hills bedding, each has said they would love to do a design. So I’m working towards that goal.
Now you must be feeling inspired to have more fun in bed? Embrace pattern and colour in bed for a brighter way to start and finish your day, it makes sense right? I can’t wait to see Tim’s collaborative range coming soon..and will let you know the go, once it happens. Long live Wooden Hills Bedding. x
Read my recent blog post on Vlisco’s latest and possibly greatest collection here.