In the latest in her Meet the Maker series, Juliet Bawden meets the Restored 4 U designer Ildiko Hovath who is Hungarian by birth but now living in Canada and is one of Annie Sloan’s painters in residence.
JB Did you go to art school originally and if so where and what did you study?
IH As English is my second language, please forgive me for any mistakes I make .
I did not received formal training in art school, I’m self taught.
JB Why and when did you move to Canada?
IH I met my husband in Hungary, but he was living in Canada, and I fell in love and followed my heart.
JB Do you practice other crafts besides furniture painting?
I H My interest really is painting and sharing my passion with others.
JB Is your work influenced by your Hungarian roots?
IH My work is definitely inspired by my roots, beautiful old architecture, gorgeous old rustic pieces which I remember seeing in my grandparents house.
JB. What is a typical working day like for you?
IH My pieces usually take a day or 2 to finish but of course sometimes I run into unexpected situations or difficulties.
I’m a morning person so I wake up 6am, get my cup of coffee and go through all my emails and inspirational sources. My studio is in my house so I can start right away. I’m often still working there at 6 or 7 in the evening. I’m lucky to have a husband who’s passionate about cooking😉
JB Did moving to Canada have an impact on your creative life or business?
IH When I moved to Canada I was ready to make some changes and after we bought our first house I was determined to renovate it and make it pretty on a budget. That is when I started finding pieces which needed to be re-imagined and redone and I found myself thinking “ this is very satisfying “ when you turn some unwanted pieces into something beautiful!!
JB Do you run creative workshops?
IH After I became an Annie Sloan Painter in Residence I got lots of invitations from stockists and shop owners to host workshops. I meet lots of great and interesting people through this process!
JB How do you find your clients or do they find you?
IH I meet most of my clients over social media, I find nowadays that is the most important source of business. I manage my own social media at the moment. It is takes up quite a bit of time, but I try to do it in the morning, so it won’t effect my working day and then I get back to it in the evening. Then of course there is “word of mouth “
JB Have you won any design awards?
IH I won a few annual design awards for the Canadian House and Home magazine. I was very excited about that, as I have no formal design training. I have been invited to show my house on the HGTV hosted by Lynda Reeves.
JB If so how has this impacted on your work?
IH It has definitely impacted on my work. I am more confident about what I love and what I’m doing and I am not afraid to express my self and what I love, even if it’s not for everybody.
JB What is the best part of your work and what is the worst part?
IH The best part of my work is when I step back looking at my finished piece and I feel ‘yes this piece represents me’ and I’m in love with it. Then I know whoever will end up with it will love it as much as I do.
The worst part: When I’m sitting in front of a piece waiting for a transformation and my mind is blank!! When your passion is creativity, you are always afraid that one day you may run out of ideas.
JB Who or what inspires you?
IH My inspiration comes from traveling. We took a European tour last year and I saw so much beautiful architecture, old doors, ceramics and paintings. I look at fabrics and other objects. I like to look at different colour combinations and that inspires me to recreate it on a piece of furniture.
JB How long have you been working as a professional designer?
IH I don’t consider myself to be a professional designer, I’m self taught. I’m always looking to evolve my style, which is forever changing.
JB What is next for your work?
IH I’m looking for a shop to open to the public. I envisage it with chandeliers dripping from the ceiling and filled with beautiful ‘one of a kind’ pieces of furniture. I find the internet it is extremely important, as you can get to know other artist all over the world and it has also helped me to gain worldwide recognition.
Words: Juliet Bawden