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Monday, 1 August 2011

HAM and a pig called Primrose

New brand HAM is the creation of Jo Robinson, a designer who trained as a fine artist, grew up on a farm in the shires, and once had a pig called Primrose.

Jo captures unexpected moments from the contented lives of a pig, a horse and a rabbit and immortalises them on a range of thoughtfully crafted homewares.

Strongly believing in supporting British industry, Jo has spent time carefully selecting UK suppliers to help craft her products. Her cups are created by a pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, the cards are printed by a family-run press in Herefordshire, all the fabric goodies are Lincolnshire made and the photographic prints are fashioned by Jo’s fair hand.

Jo has been making the photogram prints that form the basis of the HAM designs for over eight years. It all started when she began to put together her wedding list two years ago. Her obsession with home accessories deepened and she saw an opportunity to apply the designs to homewares. Reducing her hours at work to a four-day week in January 2010, she started to draft a business plan. Eight months later she quit her job to concentrate on HAM full time. HAM launched online and with a pop-up store earlier this month. Thanks to Jo for taking the time to answer a few questions about her background, the business and her inspiration.

Where is HAM based?

I split my time between the kitchen in my East London home, an empty barn on my parents farm in Shropshire and the HAM pop-up store at 1.11 Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street. I love working in each space – great to have the variety. And when I'm back in Shropshire it’s very easy to pop out for a bit of animal inspiration!

Do you have an artistic background?

I’ve loved drawing and painting since I was a little girl and am never far from a sketchbook. I studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. After uni I worked for six years in marketing.  

What does the future hold for HAM?

The HAM pop-up store in Kingly Court will showcase the brand’s first collection and is open until 14th August. After that the full range will continue to be available to buy online at HAM will also be at a number of fairs and shows later this year, including the Country Living Christmas Fair in London and Winchester’s Christmas Market in December.

More designs will follow soon too - the Pig will be heading out on some new adventures and I'll be introducing a few more characters to the HAM family! I’m also looking to create new stationery and ceramic products. 


And lastly…which designers and creatives inspire you?

So many to choose from! I’ve always loved Philippe Starck - for the humour and wit he injects into his designs. Right now I am lusting after furniture from British design studio Pinch, in particular their Pendal sofa. I also greatly respect the British lighting company BTC, they make elegant modern classics, this bone china Drop Pendant is stunning. And finally, I love the work of German photographer Matthias Heiderich. His minimal photographs of Berlin, often of the banal, are enchanting and beautiful. He is very skilful with colour and form. I want all his prints! 

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