In The Studio – Gemma Kay Waggett

 Gemma Kay Waggett for Heals


Working with arrangements of colour, pattern and shape, Gemma Kay Waggett creates hand-sewn, machine embroidered and screen-printed textiles. Gemma has designed a collection of luxury cushions for our Limited Edition series available in store and online.


What is the inspiration behind the cushion designs?

The patterns on these cushions are derived from a 1986 (the year Gemma was born) educational stamp set of Geometric shapes that I got given for Christmas last year and has proved to be a fantastic tool for exploring pattern.

For my Royal College of Art graduate collection ‘Beyond Woven’ the stamps were the starting point for every design… I tessellated and merged the individual block shapes to create mock woven visuals that were later translated into digital embroidery and print.

Gemma Kay Waggett for Heals

Tell us about your design process

Whatever the weather I spend my days collecting visual inspiration – colours, surfaces and objects.

When I am starting a new project I usually go out and about for a day or two to gather ideas and then hibernate in the studio to process via drawing, painting and collage.

I spend a lot of time looking at and collecting different materials to use as bases for my screen-printed or embroidered outcomes, cotton is my favourite fabric and so I always try to find as many different varieties of this as possible.

The base fabric for the Over and Expand cushion I have used one of my favourite fabrics which is a double sided denim – I have bought an extra 5 metres of it for ‘the cupboard’.

Everyone has a personal reaction to colour, are there any you instinctively avoid?There aren’t any colours I avoid but there is definitely a colour that I am most drawn to and that is navy. In December 2011 I started a pop up shop lifestyle brand called Nothing but Navy – where everything is navy blue – it is my favourite colour and I think it is timeless, ageless and genderless. When shopping I am always the person who asks ‘does this come in navy’ and have a long list of staple items that I regularly choose in navy over any other colour…Although this collection is composed of varying shades of blue and navy is my favourite colour to wear I very much enjoy using colour in my work.

Gemma Kay Waggett screen printing studio

How did you get involved with the Limited Edition series at Heal’s?

Caroline Dulko (Buyer at Heal’s) and I actually did our BA HONS together in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins from 2006-2009 – I came into Heal’s HQ to show her my work after I graduated from the RCA and she told me about the series and it all went from there.

Tell us about the first textile you designed

I have been sewing since I was a child but at my secondary school in Design and Technology – Textiles I first learnt how to use a sewing machine and about different types of fabric and textile techniques…. for my very first project at the school I made a bright purple flower shaped cushion with appliqued felt cut out people on it – I think it took me a whole term to make!

Do you have a design hero that influences your work?

Arguably an artist rather than a designer I absolutely love the work of Gary Hume. I am captivated by the way that he uses textures, colours and shape and hope that one day I will look at a piece of his work on the wall of my house.

Gemma Kay Waggett Screen Print

Do you have any studio superstitions / design quirks?

Not especially but I never turn the light box off (for exposing screens) until I’ve checked the screen I’ve just exposed is okay – just incase!

What 3 words would you use to describe your Limited edition collection for Heal’s?

I think that this collection is



Gemma Kay Waggett’s cushions are available as a limited edition of 25, online and in store.

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