This month, we chat with artist, illustrator and founder of HAM, Joanna Ham. Jo's playful monochrome silhouettes, brought to life through thoughtfully crafted wares, follows the adventures, escapades and social outings of her favourite character, Rabbit.
Jo is a someday collaborator (and now friend!). Her HAM prints are a bestseller, each one celebrating the fine line between work and play. We hope you enjoy hearing more about what inspires and motivates this talented, inspiring individual as much as we did.
Over to Jo...
What are the top three things you enjoy most about your job?
I love the variety and flexibility that comes with running your own business - it’s so liberating to be the master of your own destiny and to have the freedom to be both creative and commercial, where so often in the past I’ve had to compromise.
One of the hardest things about setting up HAM was saying goodbye to agency culture ... I have though since met and worked with an incredible group of people from all over the world, many of who have become close friends. I love nothing more than visiting our decorators in Stoke, hanging out with our printer in London and catching up with buyers at overseas shows.
Above all I really enjoy making stuff and telling stories that have a positive impact on others. It’s so rewarding when people connect with your designs.
What does design mean to you?
I really feel good design shouldn’t come with a hefty price tag. It’s about finding a visual and practical solution to a need that suits your taste. Like art it’s completely subjective but something I believe all can be a part of.
What/where do you take inspiration from?
The everyday. In particular the stuff we often take for granted... like spending an hour on the swings with your little one, amazing food, a great movie, reading by a log fire, a natter with mates over a huge slice of cake, walking the dog, cooking a big Sunday roast for the family or even just time taking time out to do an exercise class. HAM very much seeks to celebrate life’s simple pleasures – shared experiences we can all relate to that often are overlooked.
Describe your own interior style.
Minimalism meets mid century modern which a good dollop of monochrome.
What new skill would you really love to learn?
I’ve always regretted not being able to play a musical instrument. I’m determined to learn the piano at some point. I’m also desperate to have a go on a potter’s wheel. I’d love to throw my own ceramics – I think it would be great escapism!
What are your top 3 instagram accounts to follow and why?
@emilyforgot is a graphic artist and founder of the Muse Maker blog - her feed is full of wonderfully wacky odes to midcentury design
@Katietreggiden.1 is a design journalist who seriously knows her stuff, representing all walks of design in a really accessible and engaging way.
@charlottetaylr’s surreal minimal interiors are sublime. I’ve just bought a couple of her prints.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
Don’t be afraid to stay true to what you believe in and the kind of work you want to make. Always strive to do different.
What motivates you each day?
Making new work, building a life for our family whereby Stew and I can work flexibly and of course our son, Kit.
Tell us about your dream weekend away - where would you go and why?
I’m a big fan of staycations. Since getting Ted (the dog) and having kids (Kit, 2 and another on the way) we’ve stayed closer to home for holidays. I love exploring the South West coast... whatever the weather. A good hotel, with a Zen-like spa and a dog friendly gastro pub within reach normally ticks all the boxes for us.
What 3 things could you not live without?
Family. Laptop. Lemon and Ginger tea.
What music do you like listening to?
I love quite obscure 90s electronica. I’ve got a lot of Lamb’s albums and, as an art school grad, Belle and Sebastian and Air are always kicking around my playlists. I’ve recently started getting into Janelle Monae - her The ArchAndroid album is pretty epic.
What are your go to fashion must-haves?
Like many designers a large chunk of my wardrobe is dedicated to Cos and New Balance!