Tara Hammond — Co-founder and designer of Slated Homewares talks to Aileen Lee.
What’s your background?
I worked in quite a different industry than I do now, I was a membership secretary for a trade association. It was only when I took a career break to have my children that I really got to indulge in my passion for design.
Slated was born from my love of natural slate as a material.
I was looking for something different for our home and couldn’t find just what I wanted, so this led to my husband and I creating the first piece we ever made together, a slate table runner.
We made the piece for our home as a one-off piece thinking nothing of it, but friends and family absolutely loved it and we soon found ourselves producing them for others.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
After dropping my two children to school I head to our studio, where the first job of the day is dispatch all our orders that will have come in overnight.
It’s then time to check emails, I like to get through these early in the day so that the rest of my day is free to work on whatever project we have going on.
All our slate is cut by hand with a 150-year-old slaters’ knife by my husband Ed in our studio. The process can be slow as each step from cutting to washing to polishing and packaging is done by hand.
Tell us about a recent project or design you have worked on?
I absolutely adored working on a recent project with Powers Whiskey. Working alongside such an iconic brand was an amazing experience.
We absolutely relished the challenge of creating a product completely different to anything we’ve made before — bespoke tasting plates with a twist— that we and the client were delighted with.
What’s your design style?
I love beautiful pieces with a clean minimal look that are as well made and as functional as they are beautiful.
What inspires your work?
My work is completely and utterly inspired by tradition and family heritage.
Ed’s family have been working with slate since the beginning of the 18th century and there’s just something so special about that.
Whereas once our 150-year-old slaters’ knife would have cut slate for some of Ireland’s most iconic buildings, today it is used to cut beautifully refined pieces for use in the home.
What’s your favourite trend at the moment (if you have any)?
For me it’s all about quality materials and not what is on trend.
We’ve had amazing success with our collection of slate and copper pieces. This shows that people appreciate pieces for their beauty and their quality as much as whether a material is trendy or not.
What’s your most treasured possession?
I absolutely love my huge map of Dublin from the pre-1900’s which came from my family home in Dalkey.
It has pride of place hanging in my home and even after all these years it continues to intrigue me.
I could spend hours pouring over all the details in it, everything from the visible changes in the Dublin landscape to the politically incorrect names of institutions dotted all over it are just some of the things that would keep me occupied for hours.
Perfect viewing for when I want to wind down with a cup of tea!
Who would be your favourite designer, or style inspiration?
I’m constantly inspired by so many different things including everything from the places I visit, to the Irish countryside, to the books I read.
What would be a dream project for you to work on?
Since the company was been founded we’ve been overjoyed to have worked with some of the world’s leading brands to create the most beautiful bespoke pieces.
We’re working on some incredible projects that I’m really excited about. I can’t wait to see how they turn out.
Have you any design tips for us?
Something that was instilled in me from a young age was the importance of buying a high-quality product once for a little bit more rather than buying a lower-quality piece at a cheaper price point that will need to be replaced time and time again.
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