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    HEIRLOOMS FOR THE FUTURE

    'Artist Kristjana S Williams is the best sort of life detective. She contextualizes ‘clues’ that clients give her (a faded sepia image of a grandparent, a graduation or wedding photo, a special gem, map, engraving or architectural drawing) to create heirlooms for the future. Through extensive research - and a year-long questionnaire - she teases out your ‘story’ , capturing the significance of a relationship, building or a landmark.Each commission has its own private iconography. One artwork for a couple took the starting point of the place where the husband proposed. While for the Connaught Hotel, she spent 4 days shadowing the art curator of the hotel, learning about its history. The finished artwork depicts a tree full of fantastical birds and insects, and colourful flora and fauna - each  motif representing a different aspect of the building (from the Michelin-starred chef to the dog who recalls the famous Duke of Connaught).It’s a wonderful way to marry old and new stories. And, in an age of social media, where many of us no longer keep photos albums, a bespoke commission by the Icelandic-born artist is a highly original way to create a collage of your life. ‘I’ve always been drawn to those beautiful old Victorian specimen trays, which use taxidermy and super fine pins to display butterflies and insects,’ explains Kristjana. ‘This is a similar technique and really brings my work to life by adding depth and detail.’To create her limited edition prints, dioramas and original 3D artwork, she builds up layers of text, paint and thread, hand-cutting, folding and pinning elements into place. Her clients, who range from the V&A to Coldplay, count on her to bring their dreams, wishes and achievements to life. The intricacy of the delicate technique means creating each bespoke piece takes between three and six months. The artwork is giclee printed using the highest quality archival paper and inks, so it lasts for decades. Kristjana’s stunningly detailed moodboards can be admired by everybody - but only the owners know the secrets behind every visual ‘clue’. Which is surely the greatest definition of luxury.' Liz Hoggard - Journalist and author (Nominated for Arts and Entertainment Journalist of year (2018 British Journalism Awards)

    One of the most rewarding ways to enjoy Kristjana’s work is to commission an original piece. Adding details such as dates, nicknames, locations or personal interests infuses the work with powerful and unforgettable meaning.

     
     
    ‘One client commissioned a world map for his wife’s 40thbirthday,’ says Kristjana. ‘He sent me a list of personal details that would make it a tribute to her, from the dates of their children’s births, to where they honeymooned and the title of the book she’s writing. I used signage, flora and fauna to fill the map with these magical and unique details. She was absolutely floored.’
     
    This process can be applied to companies too, referencing the business’s heritage, influences and employees. A great example of this is Kristjana’s piece for the Connaught Hotel, in Mayfair London, which now hangs in the Jean-Georges conservatory and was used for all the hotel’s branding from umbrellas to colouring books.
     
     
    ‘It was a wonderful challenge to encapsulate 200 years of this iconic hotel’s history,’ says Kristjana. ‘Studying the sumptuous interior of the hotel and hearing about its heritage from current employees inspired me to create this scene. The setting is a woodland clearing which invokes the same feeling I had at the Connaught - of entering a protective and comforting sanctuary. On top of this I’ve layered a menagerie of animals which represent figures from the hotel’s past and present (the Duke of Connaught features as a regal hunting dog while Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze appears as a tiger).’
     
    The luxurious décor features too – from the zebra and chevron patterns on the butterflies which recall the hotel’s carpets, to the two flying clocks which are a tribute to Julian Opie’s self portrait and sketch of his wife which hang in the famous Coburg Bar.
     
    ‘Private commissions like these are incredibly collaborative,’ says Kristjana. ‘The piece grows organically through many stages and I can work with lots of personal detail, reaching back through time and many generation, or very little.’
      
    How the process works
    1. Select a style you like – are you looking for an escapist scene like the Connaught piece, or a map such as the work at the Shard? The best place to look for inspiration is on Kristjana’s website, or if you prefer you can arrange to visit the studio in West London.
    2. Choose a size and format. Wherever you want to hang your original artwork, we can accommodate your needs, and now have an in-house framing studio to make bespoke commissions even easier.
    3. Visit, call or Skype Kristjana to discuss your desires and inspiration.
    4. Agree on your timeline (usually three to six months) after which you will receive four PDFs of your piece with the design being refined at each stage.
    • 1st PDF – at this stage you’ll agree placement and choice of background – the strength of colour and form.
      • 2nd PDF – By now, the background will have been cemented and some of the personal elements will have started to be created.
      • 3rd PDF – The artwork has started to take a deeper shape and meaning.
      • 4th PDF – We have what feels close to the final piece
    1. The 3-D paper sculpting begins, adding life and detail as each meaningful element is pinned into place.
    The completed piece is sent for framing before your wonderful heirloom is dispatched to you.
     
     
    For more information please call the studio on (0)20 3567 1369 or info@kristjanaswilliams.com.