A close friend of our much-loved ceramist Caro Gates and local to the Att Pynta studio, Rachel Joy Price is a one-woman band lettering artist based in East Dulwich. Her colourfully precise work having caught the eye of Apple and Karl Largerfeld to name but a few, we couldn’t wait to explore the architecturally designed studio come apartment for ourselves.
Rachel’s apartment is in the eaves of an unassuming Victorian house situated on a main thoroughfare. She has lived in the space for many years, the lines of the building have been used to create separate, liveable spaces. For this reason it feels calm and is also flooded with light, even on a relatively dim day. Rachel has only been committing herself to her work full time for the last year and a half and she says that the ability to work from home means everything, with subtle live/work touches found throughout. “The space is definitely led more by it being my studio. There is almost a line down the middle of my dining room table between studio and dining area. I really feel like my space has become my business partner as this is where I started out.”
Rachel’s work is placed amongst other pieces of art throughout her home, including a sign exclaiming “Wet Paint” above her bed, a creation by her grandfather who was also a sign painter and great inspiration to Rachel’s work. The majority of the time Rachel works with objects rather than spaces “So far my creations have mostly been things such as wooden signs, bottle labels, fashion accessories as well as digital work for agencies. I do however have this growing desire to do some more work oriented around spaces, maybe a mural...I'd want to keep it as a mix of objects and spaces though as I like the variety it offers.”
A self-confessed extrovert, living and working alone means that Rachel often ensures she has friends visit during the evening when possible if she doesn’t have plans outside of the house. The open, flexible spaces lending itself perfectly to this. Even so and although happy here Rachel says she’s actually looking to make a move elsewhere next year “It will be sad to say goodbye as I’ve grown my business from here but I need somewhere more practical for my needs right now.” The beauty of this transition being that this also enables her a new spark of creativity within an unexplored environment.
That said Rachel is certain she wants to remain in London “This is the time in my life for me to be here, for all its creative energy; connections and opportunities.” Rachel was born and raised in South London alongside living in Kenya, so it’s no surprise that it feels like home too “I just love the sense of community this area offers.” London is also a good base for Rachel as she often travels across Europe with work and to visit those close to her.
Balancing being environmentally friendly with a quality level of finish can be a tricky process says Rachel. Letter Making in itself is quite niche and for this reason she says there are few good local suppliers of the paints and brushes required to do the job right within time constraints, therefore often sourcing them online. She does however purchase the wood used in her signs from a timber yard in Peckham and other materials from a DIY shop on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich “They’ve gotten to know me well over the last year as I buy such a weird mix of stuff from them...they are the kind of place that have everything!” Rachel also has some top tips for reusing everyday objects in her projects “I used to buy wooden spoons for mixing paint but then realised I could just cut up cardboard boxes into thin strips, which works just as well.” This isn’t the only use for any unwanted cardboard boxes “They are so useful for packing up the signs to send out. As unusual as it may sound, I've even sent a sign in a pizza box in the past. I thought that might have been a fun addition for the customer! I didn’t get any complaints!” Well I know that we’d be more than happy to receive one of the beautiful prints in such a way. To find out more about Rachel’s projects and to purchase a piece for yourself see Rachel Joy Price.
Words and photography by Joseph Walker