Archives for category: Textiles

I have finally finished my most recent upholstery project. As per usual, everything is bespoke. I designed and printed the fabric by hand myself and upholstered the chair from scratch using traditional methods. I am really pleased by the end result, which I think is a very beautiful and quirky little chair.

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The chair is an Edwardian nursing chair that I bought at an auction. It proved to be something of a labour of love when it came to the reupholstering, and provided quite a few challenges. I went through 6 fabric layers on the top panel, from the last layer to what I believe was the original Edwardian upholstery. But I think the end result is striking enough to justify a couple of extra hours of graft. The chair itself is quite unique, and I certainly feel a little emotionally attached to it now after the long process I have been through!

I am really pleased with how the print looks against the dark wood of the chair. I struggled a little when designing this print, as I wanted the imagery to be the right amount of kitsch, and to compliment the gold leaf patterning on the wood. I think the colours have worked especially well to really rejuvenate this chair – and give it a completely new lease of life.

This chair is for sale now in a beautiful and quirky boutique in Dalston called Pelicans and Parrots Black – please go and take a look!

pelicansandparrots.com/

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This is probably the first Christmas that I am living somewhere in London that really feels like home. Especially after a long period of constant moving, I feel vaguely settled, or as settled as anyone can do in London. Unfortunately, I am paying an awful lot of rent money for this privilege. So Christmas is taking on a tragically home-made feel this year. With some help from my very devoted Mum, my modest Christmas tree is now decorated with 24 miniature knitted stockings – I am very glad that is it only 3 foot tall now. And the wonderful knitted paper chain was a gift from a family friend. The flat is certainly starting to look a lot brighter, and slightly more festive in an unusual sort of way.

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Just a small preview of a repeat fabric design that I have recently screen-printed ready to be upholstered onto a very beautiful chair. I feel like this design is a step into a slightly more commercial realm for me, and I am really pleased with how the chair is taking shape – there will be more pictures to follow once it is finished!

I have just finished an incredibly fun project. A trio of cushions as a very personal wedding gift, one of him, one of her and of course, one of them together. And the best this about this brief – to be as kitsch as possible. A challenge I was more than happy to accept. Combining digital print and screen printing proved to be a little more difficult than expected – but I think the end results has meant that it has all been worthwhile. Having never met the couple myself meant that my only option was to create these cushions to my own level of kitsch – so I can only hope that they won’t be too overwhelmed.

Congrats to the happy couple – and I hope they are pleased!

I have just completed a term of evening classes to learn traditional upholstery techniques – and here are the results! I have found the whole process incredibly satisfying. I picked up this nursing chair at an auction and consequently knew nothing of it’s history, except for it’s Edwardian date. It was amazing to see some of it’s past through stripping it all the way back to a wooden frame. And it is equally amazing to think that, due to my own handiwork, it could now last another 100 years. But what made the process really special for me was being able to cover something with my own design. I love the idea of a very traditional piece being juxtaposed by a completely unexpected and modern print.

The kitsch prawn fabric was hand printed by myself (although with some crucial assistance from a wonderfully reliable friend). It was interesting trying to visualise how my print would look applied to a chair during the design process – putting my illustration into a traditional repeat grid helped. And I think the playful print works really well on a smaller nursing chair – although it may now be more suitable for a children’s room!

I am hoping to continue classes to learn other techniques in the Autumn. I love the idea of being able to create something completely bespoke and individual. I am trying to take on as many commissions as possible – so as not to forget everything that I have learnt. So watch this space.

I first came across the work of artist Stephen Wright in a small boutique in Brixton Village called Brixi. A mixture of tapestry and mosaic techniques, Wright’s work is immediately eye-catching and engaging, if not a little on the wild side. As a fan of all things kitsch, the way that Wright combines materials, objects and imagery seemed wonderful to me. Large scale embroidered tapestries have been photographed and interpreted into beautiful prints that have not lost any of their texture and the abstract qualities that make them interesting.

Stephen is currently exhibiting some of his work on the first floor of the legendary patisserie and art gallery Maison Bertaux on Greek Street in Soho until mid June.

Having seen Stephen’s work for the first time, I immediately found out about his current project, the ‘House of Dreams’, from his website. An ongoing project, Stephen is gradually turning the ground floor of his house in East Dulwich into what feels like a living, breathing piece of art. The house has now been bequeathed to the National Trust, and consequently will be open to visitors long after it is completed. Before visiting, and having seen the aesthetic of Stephen’s work and a few images of the house online, I had a fairly good idea of the sort of sensory assault I was expecting. It certainly lived up to those expectations. Instantly visible upon the terraced street, every surface is covered in literally everything – objects from all over the world, ranging from the utterly mundane to the outright bizarre. You could walk around the house for days on end and each time you would still spot a detail that you had overlooked before. However, I also experienced something more, which I hadn’t expected. The house isn’t just an artwork, but more of a museum of Stephen’s life. It is incredibly personal – full of stories and moments from all stages of his life – as well as all of the objects, themes, and issues that are currently consuming him. The combination of this provides an all-encompassing and truly unique story, straight from the artist himself. One might have thought that the house would seem claustrophobic and chaotic, but in a strange way it almost feels like everything is in it’s correct place, which is a true feat. Unfortunately, I was not able to take any photos as work is currently in progress towards a book documenting the House of Dreams and the journey that Stephen has been on, which is a very exciting prospect. But these images taken from an interview with Stephen in ‘Dulwich On View’ should give you a taster.

The House of Dreams is having an open day this Saturday (the 2nd of June) between 11am and 4pm. Booking is required. I felt I had such a personal experience from going there – and strongly recommend it to anyone with an erring towards to kitsch. There will also be another open day on the 7th of July.

http://www.stephenwrightartist.co.uk/house-of-dreams.html
http://www.maisonbertaux.com/maisonbertaux.com/Maison_Bertaux.html
http://dulwichonview.org.uk/2011/01/28/welcome-to-the-house-of-dreams/

Shine Shine has been created by graphic designer Heidi Chisholm. South African born and Brooklyn based, this clash of cultures really comes across in her eye catching repeat patterns. The graphic style is very slick and clean – and there are none of the characterful mistakes that I aesthetically associate with African textiles. However, the bold and often unexpected use of colour seems very typical. And the overall layout of the prints seems to take a lot of influence from traditional ‘commemorative cloths’ of this region. Some how, the two cultural references blend seamlessly to create something quite unique to me.

http://www.shineshine.co.za/
http://www.heidichisholm.com/

I have been a long time fan of Camille Walala’s pop prints, and in particular her tendency towards a ridiculously enthusiastic proverb-of-sorts. Which is why, upon walking into XOYO’s XO bar in Old Street, I had an early assumption as to who had been let loose to redesign the space.

It is definitely an intense space – I felt that I was perhaps walking into Walala’s mind – and nothing is done my halves. High impact is an understatement. But most importantly, it is a lot of fun, and it definitely makes people smile. Although I imagine it may start to feel a bit disconcerting once the night progresses…

Not only that, but Camille is also working on a very intriguing collaboration for Dalston’s ‘Land of Kings’ festival, called ‘The Walala Greasy Spoon’. Check it out here: http://landofkings.co.uk/the-walala-greasy-spoon/

http://www.camillewalala.com/site/
http://xoyo.co.uk/

Dolce and Gabbana are well known for their ability to create a strong and irresistible narrative around their collections. Everything is tied together by a sense that there is a bigger picture. I completely fell for their SS12 campaign, which had such a powerful identity and really spoke to my imagination. However, I was really drawn in by their jewellery campaign. Aside from Bianca Balti looking mind-blowing, the photography style and the setting is so evocative. There is no doubt that the accompanying film was bordering on over-theatrical, but I love the idea that such a dense story can be installed into each piece of jewellery. But for me, I realise that the reason I am so drawn into this collection is because of a reference to Catolicism, and an over-all religious mysticism. This is not just due to the physical jewellery in itself, which relies so heavily upon religious charms and talismans. But the campaigns reference to a way of life and culture which has been defined through the ages by Catholism.

Dolce and Gabanna’s AW12 has just hit the catwalks. And true to form, seems to still look to Sicily for it’s inspiration and stories. Although based upon an incredibly over-embellished and decorative baroque, religious theme, there are still elements that draw me back to a sense of catholicism. The heavy gold embroidery, oversized needlepoint and thick, rich fabrics for me resonate with the Church and clerical cloth. Equally, the silhouettes that have been created from veils, long draped cloaks and ruffled necklines have a similar effect.

Versace’s AW12 collection has taken a slightly darker, and certainly less subtle approach to a similar theme. Glittering Byzantine crosses adorn practically any surface possible. The collection on the whole is incredibly theatrical, and harks to a gothic severity but with a modern stance.

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2012RTW-DGABBANA/
http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2012RTW-VERSACE/
http://fashiongonerogue.com/bianca-balti-dolce-gabbana-jewelry-2011-campaign-giampaolo-sgura/

Freshly graduating from Ravensbourne College, Kit Neale’s first collection has just debuted in Fashion East’s menswear installation at London Fashion Week. Although London Fashion Week is hardly known for it’s subtlety, I really think Neale’s collection is bringing something very new to British Menswear, and seems to hark the arrival of a new freedom within this growing industry. This debut collection has already been widely spoken about, and to great acclaim. Although perhaps a little overwhelming when styled all together, I think the separate pieces are really tongue in cheek and wearable, and the prints are definitely unique.

http://www.kitneale.com/#

http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashionweek/menswear/aw12/article/12772/1/exclusive-kit-neale-menswear-preview-aw12