Spotlight On Ptolemy Mann

Our latest designer spotlight is focussing on artist and craftsperson Ptolemy Mann; whose hand-dyed, woven artworks serve as a modern-day homage to the Bauhaus philosophy.

Influenced by Abstract Expressionism and architectural nuances, Ptolemy’s practice is enriched with an exploration of colour theory, and of the relationships between colours and their effective potential.

From large-scale installations to intimate canvases, Ptolemy’s career and body of works have spanned an impressive 25 years; collaborating with a wide variety of notable brands and institutions. Her upcoming monograph, set to be published in spring 2024, promises to offer a deeper insight into her creative process and artistic philosophy.

Join us as we explore the intricacies of Ptolemy’s artistic practice, exploring her inspirations, weaving process, and the enduring significance of craftsmanship in modern design.

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Left: Vortex Red Geranium, and Right: Peak Ikat Indigo


How did you get into Art and Design?


I did a Foundation course at Maidstone College of Art and then went on to a BA and an MA at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. I was only ever going to be an artist and my parents were very creative and bohemian so it was inevitable. I was always very clear that it was going to be how I earned a living.

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Irregular Wall Blue Green


What inspires your work?


This is a huge question and almost impossible to answer as I’m influenced constantly by so many different things. Currently its ephemeral nature (especially the Aurora Borealis), women Abstract Expressionist painters, colour theory, Bauhaus, abstract painting, architecture (especially Luis Barragan), James Turrell, Peruvian textiles in no particular order.

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Left: Alcha Blue and Right: Chroma Pink Cyan 


You are first and foremost an artist and craftsperson – are there any instances where have you had to adapt your approach or work to cater to more commercial projects?


Absolutely. Every project is different, and I actually enjoy designing although I find the world of retail harder and harder to navigate. I’m not so interested in passing trends – I want my designs to be as timeless as possible. I’m possibly more flexible than most artists and my 6 year training as a weaver has certainly taught me a more complex approach and methodology to design and making. Clients say they want creativity but often the ideas get diluted to suit commercial constraints.

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Peak Ikat Yellow


What is your favourite medium to work in?


I’m currently obsessed with painting on paper which is a relatively new part of my studio practice. I’ve been weaving for 30 years and started painting about 5 years ago which has been very exciting. I’m also now painting ON the hand dyed and woven work which is even more interesting. Saying that I’ve done some great projects with ceramic tiles and digitally printed glass so I’m open to new mediums.

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Peak Ikat Warm Grey


Your work is heavily based around the craft of weaving. Can you tell us a little bit about your weaving process?


Weaving is an insanely complicated and impossible to describe in a few words. It’s a very structured and in many ways restrictive process. There are no shortcuts. It’s also unbelievably slow. Painting (for me) is the opposite; quick, gestural, intuitive. To understand the weaving process, fast the best thing is to view the 2 min film on my website – it brilliantly captures the whole process from start to finish.

Watch here:

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Ikat Grade Gold


You are often described as a craftsperson – what place do you think craft holds in the modern design space and how does that influence your practice?


For me Craftmanship is crucial and central to any good design. Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned in this regard but I believe you have to understand how things are made to make a good design. I find it very disappointing when people just throw an idea at a product without taking the time to understand how the product is made. The design has to be somehow ‘integrated’ and embedded into the making process of an object in my view. It makes a much more interesting and durable end result. Everything I do is founded on a deep knowledge and understanding of both weaving and colour theory. I believe that only when you really have mastered something can you then subvert it (or reject it). I find often with contemporary design there’s an insubstantial quality if the designer hasn’t got the first-hand knowledge of making. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t really matter WHAT the craft is – learning ANY craft is valuable and teaches you something deeper and a methodology of problem solving which is basically what designing something is – its solving a problem.

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor Left: Chroma Yellow Magenta and Right: Irregular Wall Ikat Purple


Quickfire favourites: 


Place – Greek Islands


Food or drink – Negroni


Movie – Recent Favourite – Poor Things

Pictured Above: from Ptolemy’s Collection with Newmor  Ikat Stripe Buff


Ptolemy’s new monograph book will be published on the 9th of May 2024 by Hurtwood Books. You can pre-order it here:

To explore more of Ptolemy’s beautiful work, visit her website at    and follow her practice on instagram

Don’t miss the opportunity to discover her exclusive collection of commercial wallcoverings at

See Ptolemy’s Collection in our digital design brochure here