Artist in Residence: West Elm x Natasha Nuttall for #LDF18

I’ve been visiting London Design Festival for a few years now and admiring all of the exhibitions, installations and events with a hint of jealousy; I wanted to be involved, but I didn’t know how. Little did I know it, but 2018 was going to be different from my usual LDF experience! When the team at homeware brand West Elm said that they liked my mural and asked if I’d like to be an artist in residence in-store for LDF, it was as if everything had clicked into place. I said yes, of course!

I packed some paint, rollers and wood and headed to the White City store in Westfield for 2 days of painting, chatting to customers and pretty much living the dream… woo!

West Elm Natasha Nuttall LDFNatasha Nuttall West Elm Artist

On the first day I was coming down the escalator when I spotted a sign at the front of the store with my face on it – it was pretty surreal and made things feel a bit more legit. And of course I needed a photo next to it! My white painting overalls looked a bit out of place in the shopping centre, but it’s all part of the look isn’t it?

Artist in Residence

West Elm had commissioned an artist in residence for each of their UK stores – ceramicist Rebecca Harker in Tottenham Court Road, painter Carne Griff in Kingston and yours truly in White City at Westfield. Our work is all very different but amazing in it’s own right and I was honoured to be picked for the opportunity – my LDF debut as a designer!

Whilst creating our pieces in-store, West Elm customers could watch and enter to win the finished pieces. I had my fingers crossed for a colour loving shopper to give my bold, graphic-inspired piece a new home!

Wall Art CreativeNatasha Nuttall West ElmNatasha Nuttall Creative

Setting the mood

For my inspiration I looked at architecture, graphic design and some of the current season geometric inspired West Elm products. When I visited the store to see the space, I noticed a peachy/coral vase which I colour matched to some B&Q paint (Mai Tai) and built a citrus-inspired colour palette by introducing the bright orange (Pumpkin) and a pink (Love Story).

Carrying 7.5 litres of paint home from B&Q was a work out and a half, blimey! I swear someone told me that it’s illegal to carry paint on the tube, but Google couldn’t answer and I just made sure that I didn’t spill it everywhere… just imagine!

I think the last time I created a physical mood board was at University (nowadays I opt for Pinterest) but I wanted something visual for the shoppers to see. It was a nice change to get my scissors and glue out anyway – did you know that glue sticks can go mouldy?! No, me either until this project ha:

Moodboard West Elm

West Elm Artist in Residence West Elm Artist in Residence

I think a lot of people expected me to do something with triangles but, whilst I was tempted, I wanted to try something different.

To paint my piece, I took it apart and spread the rings across the whole table – I think this confused a lot of people and made it hard for them to imagine the final piece, oops!

At the end of day 1, I nervously peeled my first round of tape off. I found a few leaks where I hadn’t sealed the tape on the edges, but overall I was further along than I’d planned to be. This was a good position to be in as it meant that I could relax a bit for day two and fully enjoy the experience.

Making art and friends

If you’ve met me, you’ll know that I love to talk. With a few years of practice schmoozing at blogging events and one of the best skills I’ve picked up is being able to make conversation with anyone. During the residency in-store I met some cool people – shoppers passing through, students and fellow creatives. I had a really lovely chat with Charlotte (@charstextiles), a fellow colour lover. On day 2 I was surprised by an internet friend, Jessica aka @msjessicap_. It was so lovely to see a familiar face – it really made my day!

West Elm Artist in Residence

I know paintbrushes are a standard tool for most artists but I prefer to use rollers – it gives me a smoother finish. Each colour had 4 coats of paint to achieve a flat, even finish and then I’d removed the tape and hope for the best!

Natasha Nuttall DesignNatasha Nuttall West ElmWest Elm Natasha Nuttall

With all coats completed and the paint dry, it was time to take the tape off for the big reveal. I was really nervous at this point! Luckily, the tape removal went to plan and the lines were straight and crisp. I was very happy with the finish:

West Elm Artist in Residence

Et voila: my 3D wall art piece. I can’t wait to see it up on someone’s wall! What do you think? Could you see it hanging in your pad – Bedroom? Hall way? Studio? Get in touch if you’d like to to create something for your home.

Thanks to West Elm for having me – it was a great experience and has given me some ideas for future projects! Watch this space…


  • Chloe

    26/09/2018 at 6:00 pm

    I LOVE what you created! I love how you’ve said you weren’t going for triangles, hmmm I can definitely see some in there ahaha! I was so gutted I couldn’t make it down and see you, the days at LDF totally ran away with me! Congrats for such an exciting project 🙂 x

    • Natasha Nuttall

      27/09/2018 at 9:26 am

      Awww thanks Chloe! Ahaha yes, I mean the triangle is still there, just not as obvious! That’s ok, LDF is always so full with so much to see – hopefully I’ll be doing something next year! Fingers crossed 🙂 x

  • Greg McIndoe

    27/09/2018 at 5:48 pm

    Love the final piece Natasha! That colour combination is lush 🙂! So lovely to see you blogging about something you have created too – can’t wait to see what you make next!

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