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In 1800, Stoke Newington was still a patchwork of scattered farms inhabited by herds of cattle, interspersed with market gardens, paddocks and parks. The north London street where Annie Morris’s studio now resides is reputedly one of the oldest in the area, but was once a bridle path connecting two villages. By the Thirties, the city had swallowed up the fields, and a row of buildings was erected by toy manufacturer Waddingtons. Countless editions of Monopoly and Cluedo were made here, then distributed across the UK. The row had a later incarnation as a hummus factory, but since 2010 it has belonged to Annie and her husband, fellow artist Idris Khan.

At first, the pair shared the studio, erecting a wall on wheels to divide the space. But they found themselves constantly pushing the divider back and forth in a silent struggle for more square footage. The war of attrition was finally resolved when the unit next door came up for sale, followed swiftly by another.

Today, the central area is Annie’s domain, occupied by her stack sculptures. Made from foam, plaster, sand and raw pigment, some soar almost to the height of the vaulted glass ceiling. These vibrant totems, with their sense of joyfulness, were initially a means for Annie to process grief as, a few years ago, she and Idris had a stillborn baby: ‘I became obsessed with the ball shape – it came from my drawings that related to my pregnancy.’ Her boulder-like sculptures are celebratory and defiant.

Since she moved into this studio, Annie’s work has expanded. Like sunflowers reaching towards the sun, her sculptures tower taller than ever, and her tapestries and works on paper have stretched to fill the walls.
The studio thrums with creativity, with a brigade of assistants on hand to help Annie and Idris: they have two small children and work is unremitting. A series of Annie’s tapestries was recently hung in The Ned hotel and members’ club, EC2, and several of her sculptures were chosen for the Peter Marino-designed Louis Vuitton store in Paris. Last year saw her exhibit at Winston Wächter in Seattle, ProjectB Gallery in Milan and, in the couple’s first joint show, at Galerie Isa in Mumbai.

‘I like to try things and be around my work so I’m able to see it all,’ she says. ‘We may not live here, but it’s where I always want to be.’

Annie Morris: anniemorris.com

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