This design is called Chuckery Hill, and is part of Golding's Prince Edward County collection.

This design is called Chuckery Hill, and is part of Golding’s Prince Edward County collection. (Johnny C.Y. Lam)

When is the last time you stopped to study the different hues of lichen on a rock, or ponder plant life in a seemingly unremarkable bog?

That’s how Kate Golding spent two weeks recently in Newfoundland and Labrador — all in the name of home decor.

From impressive icebergs and wild caribou to coastal plant life, the surface pattern designer was searching for inspiration for a new collection of wallpaper, and she found plenty of it in this province.

“Getting to see all the little bushes and berries and moss in the bogs — it was just amazing,” said Golding from her home in Ontario’s Prince Edward County.

Kate Golding on Fogo Island

Kate Golding captures the foliage on Fogo Island. (Johnny C.Y. Lam)

“Also, lots of birds. We also got to see the wild caribou that run on Fogo Island … it was just so much inspiration everywhere I looked.”

Golding, who grew up in England, has drawn on everyday scenes from her adopted home of Ontario for previous work, which includes quirky wallpaper motifs of turkey vultures, water towers and sand dunes.

“I think people are returning to decoration, showing personalities in their homes, I think people got a bit bored of the minimalist look and are really excited to show some personality and have some fun in their house,” she said.

Kate Golding's turkey vulture wallpaper

Kate Golding’s turkey vulture wallpaper design. (Johnny C.Y. Lam)

Golding explored the St. John’s area, the Bonavista peninsula, and Fogo Island from May 20 to June 2, sketching and taking photos of whatever caught her eye along the way.

“I spend quite a lot of my time out and about exploring, going on adventures, walks, looking at the wildlife and the local scenery, and I find the inspiration everywhere I go, really, in architecture as well.”

Stunning scenery

“I [had] never been to Newfoundland before but it’s always been a dream to go,” said Golding.

“We were very lucky and got to see lots of icebergs and actually the coastal plant life was just amazing.”

Kate Golding in St John's

Wallpaper designer Kate Golding sketches at Cape Spear. (Johnny C.Y. Lam)

“The rocks as well, the colouring of them is just spectacular, and all the different tones and the different lichens that appear on the rocks, that was another big source of inspiration as well.”

Now that she’s back at home, Golding will sift through the sketches and photos, and hopes to include eight to 10 designs based on Newfoundland scenery in an upcoming collection.

Kate Golding in Bonavista

Designer Kate Golding sketches at Neil’s Yard cafe in Bonavista. (Johnny C.Y. Lam)

“I definitely want there to be an iceberg print. We had such an amazing experience and it would just be so fantastic. Certainly a bird print — we saw lots of gannets and that was fantastic, and I think it would be fair to say there would be some kind of foliage print. The ground cover on the cliffs was so stunning.”

Artistic process

Golding’s images are hand-drawn with brushes, ink and fine-line pen on thin transparencies on a large light table to create the different layers of colour for a design.

Those layers are scanned into a computer to make the motifs and repeat patterns for the wallpaper.

Kate Golding

Designer Kate Golding works on a turkey vulture drawing. (Johnny C.Y. Lam)

“I want it to fit my vision, but I also want it to work as a repeat pattern so it’s actually extremely time-consuming,” said Golding.

“But I absolutely love it.”

Golding isn’t venturing a guess as to when Newfoundland prints will be available, but currently has a Great Lakes-inspired collection waiting to be launched.


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