An artist’s workshop: Richard McAdam of Puddin’head shows us the workings of his studio. Photography: Sam McAdam
Embroided lapin
Richard uses vibrant colours on Belgian linen to create his amazing embroideries. Photography: Sam McAdam
Richard McAdam of Puddin’head. Photography: Sam McAdam

The proof of the Puddin’head

One of the best things about working at hardtofind. is discovering all the fantastically creative people across the country doing their own, unique thing. One such clever person is Richard McAdam of Puddin’head. Richard designs and screen-prints beautiful linen tea towels and cushions, and hand embroiders stunning linen artworks at his Newtown terrace in Sydney’s Inner West. At first glance his designs look like they’re from another era, but on closer inspection, you’ll find a humourous twist. They’re so pretty, in fact, that we reckon his tea towels are more suited to being framed and hung on the wall than for washing up dishes. Richard spoke to us about his design process and the perils of being a perfectionist.

How did Puddin’head start?
I come from an artistic family, so I was encouraged to pursue a creative path in life. I studied drawing and printmaking at the National Art School in Sydney, and became interested in symbology  in artworks. After many years of making illustrations for commercial clients and private commissions, I noticed a shift in the way that people were embracing well-crafted, handmade homewares and saw a new opportunity for my graphic designs.

Tell us a little about your products.
It all starts with the concept, which can spring from having seen an object, a person, or hearing a piece of music. It’s so random – who can say where ideas spring from? Usually, I will research historical references, draw, paint, scan, and spend a long time in Adobe Illustrator replicating etching cross-hatches or the textures of a woodblock print. A successful design would take me an average of 55- 65 hours to complete, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist – many of my initial designs don’t even make it to print! My first products were 100% linen tea towels, but I also print onto Belgian linen which I hand embroider, then stretch over a frame for wall hanging.

What is your favourite part of the job?
Receiving a positive response is always nice! Having my work embraced by customers and other contemporary artists has been so gratifying, and it’s nice to think that something I’ve made is enhancing someone’s home.

What is your favourite product?
At the moment my embroidered products are my favourites, ‘Lapin’ and ‘Antlers’. Every rosette has a slight variation, so each piece has its own personality.

Who does the washing up in your house?
I do (I am the perfect house husband). Since my flatmate works long, late hours (and she’s a perfect housemate), I try to do the housework and pull my weight.

Shop Richard’s beautifully quirky collection here.

‘Antlers’ screen ready for printing. Photography: Sam McAdam
sketch book
Richard’s detailed sketchbook shows the planning involved in the process. Photography: Sam McAdam
Richard printing
The screen-printing process captured beautifully by Richard’s photographer sister, Sam McAdam. What a creative family!
Hanging out to dry
‘Antlers’ tea towels hung out to dry. Photography: Sam McAdam
Some of the artworks available now
Shop the full range of Puddin’head products available here.

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