The Creative Networker, Studio Rye London
’TO: What is the core concept behind Rye London?
HWP: The studio is essentially a communal cooking and photographic space, where we also host suppers and workshops. I’m very community driven and love the feeling of closeness. It can be hard to work in a creative field and London can be very tough and isolating. I wanted to make a space that removed that feeling, and replaced it with creativity, community and collaboration.
’TO: And who uses your studio?
HWP: Local makers and artists use the studio to develop their work and document their process. Generally, people shoot cookbooks, magazine articles and content for online magazines. I’m also lucky to work with an amazing chef as a part of our “Wilder x Rye London” series – in which we host a supper club with a focus on wild ingredients that have been foraged from the countryside.
’TO: How did you find your location in Gillett Street, East London?
HWP: I had been looking for a space for a while; mainly using agents but they couldn’t quite understand what I was looking for. I wanted it to have beautiful light, feel spacious and have some original features but I was being taken to new buildings and basement studios with barely any light. I started looking through websites myself and came across a small studio just around the corner from my house and got so excited. It looked tiny, but it was beautiful with these huge original windows. It ended up being a lot smaller in person, but the building manager mentioned that another studio had just become available in the building and as soon as I walked in, that was it – it was completely perfect. The light was perfect; it just felt so right.
’TO: What style of architecture is the building your studio is based in?
HWP: The studio is based in an old print factory in Dalston, East London. The area is very eclectic and perfectly encapsulates what London is to me: it’s a real melting pot of cultures and people and it feels alive. The building is old, and has had many previous lives so the rooms and hallways are easy to get lost in. The building is full of other studios, creative agencies, design studios and a café – it has a great sense of community, which really appealed to me. A lot of the planning was scribbled on old envelopes and napkins, and the studio space itself helped to lead the design. I wanted to stay as true to the buildings original features and mostly stripped the space back to what it was.
“Yes, definitely. I think cooking and photography are so interconnected, at least for me. I’m constantly searching for the beauty in the world and looking at all the small details, and cooking and sharing food is another way for me to make others feel happy and connected.”
’TO: What do you create for yourself at Rye?
HWP: I cook a lot when I’m at Rye, and then style and photograph it myself. There’s a lot of recipe developing for others, and content creating. I also plan, and style all the events in the studio. I love the concept of visual story-telling, as I like to create a sense of feeling in my work. I love minimalism, but want to create warmth and connection in my work, which can be difficult, as traditionally they don’t mix.
’TO: You mentioned cooking and photography several times. It seems like both, cooking and photography, are quite important for you. Do the activities have something in common?
HWP: Yes, definitely. I think cooking and photography are so interconnected, at least for me. I’m constantly searching for the beauty in the world and looking at all the small details, and cooking and sharing food is another way for me to make others feel happy and connected. The time, process and care that go into both are equal for me. I see a photograph as a shared moment in time, a snapshot for an experience – and food creates the same connection for me. It all adds up to memories, shared experiences, shared moments and a care for the process.
’TO: What is the ratio of men to women who use the studio?
HWP: It’s mostly women who use the studio – I would say around 70/30 split. I see this as really positive, as it shows that there are so many women working professionally in the creative industry. It’s so inspiring to see so many strong, and talented women starting their own businesses and being so successful. One of the most surprisingly rewarding sides of building the studio has been connecting with these women.
Find the whole story in our second issue titled Sirens. Find it here.