In conversation with: Esther Patterson of Curiousa & Curiousa

Esther Patterson is founder and design director of lighting brand Curiousa & Curiousa. She tells me about her latest collection, launching at Decorex next week and the joy of working with glass

Please describe the Curiousa & Curiousa style. Sculptural light pieces using brave combinations of free-blown colourful glass components. Bringing a sense of the past with an eye on the future

Where are you based? In the Midlands in a rural town called Wirksworth in Derbyshire – just on the edge of the Peak District.

What appeals to you about working with glass? Free-blown glass just sings with colour and authenticity. It’s almost like hot candy shapes that have been captured in time.

Vintage Siren from Curiousa & Curiousa
Vintage Siren wall lights combining chinaware and glass

Tell me about the new Vintage Siren collection? I’ve always loved antique and vintage chinaware. I remember as a kid peering into my grandmother’s china cabinet with ‘special’ pieces on display. Untouchable and very delicate. So now I can’t help collecting old tea-cups and saucers and on special occasions I make a proper pot of tea and drink from a beautiful teacup and saucer. Tastes wonderful.

So the idea of using one-off special plates and bowls and combining these with our hand-blown plates seemed a match made in heaven. Britain has such an amazing history of chinaware and it’s a way of celebrating our heritage and bringing two very British artisanal elements together – glass and ceramic.

These wall lights will be totally one-off lights, reinforcing the idea of cherishing our most loved hand-crafted British made pieces.

Do you have a target customer in mind when you start a design? I’m very selfish – I’m my target audience. Seems to work!

Wavelet pendant lights from Curiousa & Curiousa
Wavelet Pendant from the new Wave collection launching at Decorex

What are your plans for Decorex? I’ve designed the Wave collection. We’re all very excited about them. They will be lit all the way though using LED technology. It’s quite a departure and marks a stepping stone of development with the Curiousa style. We’re also launching a rebrand including a new logo and website. Can’t wait to show everyone.

Do you offer bespoke as well as custom pieces? Yes, we blow all our glass to order so each piece is made specially for each one of our customers. We have so much choice of glass colour, flex and fitting finishes, sometimes it can feel quite daunting for our customer. So we have our designers that help the choosing process. We get some very varied requests and we really try to deliver what people have imagined in their minds eye – there’s never a dull moment.

All Curiousa glass shades are hand blown to order

What’s next? An honest answer? Get through the next couple of years intact as a business and keep loving the work we do. We’ve had challenges before and we’ve got through them so we’re determined to keep on thinking creatively.

You can meet Esther and see the latest Curiousa & Curiousa lighting at Decorex next week

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