Since picking up from New York and decamping to the Ozarks to restore a former seed mill into their live-in studio, Assemblage founders Heidi and Christian Batteau have elevated wallpaper into fine art. To hear Heidi talk about her practice is to listen, rapt, as she speaks of hand-troweled marble and mica plasters, delicate application of precious metal leaf, silk-screening, ink, and resin. In a single commission (Assemblage uses a handmade-to-order manufacturing process), the Batteaus and their team of artisans can combine a multitude of techniques, including some of their own creation.
The studio’s newest collection, Euclid, is available exclusively at Holly Hunt and brings this interdisciplinary fine art ethos together with patterns and textures Batteau found in nature: totems of freestanding tufa limestone, radial imprints reminiscent of Petoskey fossilized coral, the parchment-like face of birch bark. Hand-applied mica wax finishes gently catch light without an aggressive shimmer or sparkle.
Naturally, within each pattern, Batteau also sees the milestones they represent in her team’s creative processes. “With the Euclid collection, we added our first large-scale pattern, Petoskey. A hand-applied plaster fan produces large seamless circles on the wall, and when two panels are hung next to each other it resembles ancient fossils embedded in the surface,” she says. “Tufa also has indistinguishable seams with its organic vertical forms. Betula has an organic varied texture and luster we don’t have anywhere else in our offerings.”
While they may not come signed or with an edition count, Assemblage’s wallpapers bear a ringing endorsement of the handmade and one-of-a-kind. “Every mark you see in the Euclid collection is a record of where the maker’s hand touched the paper. These marks create warmth and cannot be recreated with a machine,” Batteau says. “We strongly believe this is why people are drawn to our work.”
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