I have just spent 2 hours at the
hairdressers and rather than reading all the gossip and fashion magazines I
decided to take my own copy of the
latest edition of the The Colourist. I am so pleased I did.
When they first appeared a few years ago I had my reservations about Bookazines, that cross between a book and a magazine, I suppose it was as much to do with the price as anything.
I had a few questions about this form of publishing, the first being:
If you are going to pay the best part of
£10 why not just buy a book?
A book takes much longer to produce and the information you get in a bookazine is bang up to date.
Why are so many bookazines cropping up, as
the rest of print journalism is very much on the decline.
I think the answer to this is that there are many journalists and designers who are passionate about their subject whether it be design and interiors such as shown in 91 magazine, Rakes Progress the progressive guide to gardens, plants, flowers and The Colourist – which is a cornucopia of design and colour.
have a particular look and feel about them. On the whole the paper is nicer
than run of the mill magazines, they feel like something you want to keep and
they are not full of adverts.
aware that Annie is promoting her chalk paints and ‘The Colourist’ is a great
showcase for them. However the bookazine is, like Annie herself, full of
practical information, design inspiration and examples of how to use
This issue features two of my favourite designers Anni Albers whose work was shown at the Guggenheim Bilbao before transferring to the Tate Modern late last year. Albers is known mainly for her weaving that was created at the Bauhaus although she worked in many other disciplines too.
The magazine covers, what is trending, design classics, inspiration and also homes, including Annie’s own home in France. There are features from abroad plus How-to’s and also includes two stencils that you can use on a project of your choice.
As a bibliophile I am delighted that The
Colourist also includes book reviews.
“It all boils down to sharing my passion
for style and colour. I want to inspire everyone to get creative!” says Annie
The Colourist is a Bookazine and is Annie Sloan‘s latest venture. The current plan is to publish bi-yearly, but don’t quote me on that.
For those who don’t know, a bookazine, as it says on the tin, is a cross between a book and a magazine. It looks magazine like, but is printed on much better paper. At £9.95 it is twice the price of a magazine, but it is a periodical that you will want to keep, as you would a book.
I did wonder if The Colourist would just be a vehicle for Annie to sell more of her excellent chalk paint. The paint does feature, but in such an inspirational and interesting way it doesn’t feel like an advertorial.
After an introduction by Annie, where she espouses her love of colour, the Bookazine is divided into sections starting with The colour hunter. This includes, What is new, Annie’s picks, Designer Focus, Trend watch and a competition.
There are travel features and most importantly Annie’s work with Oxfam in Ethiopia.
There are quite a few How To’s and Make Over’s and a lovely give away, a free style stencil accompanied by step by step photographs showing how to use the stencil, to create a tile table top.
Before I finish this review I think it is important to mention Felix Sloan who is the creative director of The Colourist and Jane Toft, the Managing Editor. Jane is very imaginative and so in touch with the zeitgeist, it was she who started Mollie Makes and The Simple Things. Their combined hard work and design flair has created something truly desirable.
Perhaps Annie should have the final word.
“It all boils down to sharing my passion for style and colour. I want to inspire everyone to get creative!”
In the week that we embraced environmental day, I thought it would be a good idea to post a creative way of using up old Plastic bags. I purchased a simple frame loom from a thrift shop but the similar can be found at Hobby Craft or Tiger or you can make your own using a picture frame and some nails. I displayed the hanging from a broken branch I found in the garden.
Plastic bags in a variety of colours
Cotton warp thread or string
Fat twig or thin branch for hanging
Cut the bag into strips 0.5cm wide. Knot the strips together so you have one long strip.
Thread the loom by tying on the thread at one side and then going backwards and forwards between the top end and the bottom end of the frame. It is important to maintain an even tension. Tie off the thread in the same way as you tied on the thread.
So that the weaving doesn’t fall out when you finish you will need to make a twisted header. Cut a piece of warp thread about two and a half times the width of the warp. Twist the thread round each warp thread in turn. As in the image.
When you get to the end of the warp return in the opposite direction push the threads down and tie off at the end.
Thread the plastic onto the shuttle and then starting in the middle of the warp take the shuttle under and over until you reach one end, then go back the other way.
As you work push down the weft to cover the warp. When you have made a stripe of one colour change to another.
To make tassels cut strips of plastic (blue)about 20cm long. Choose a middle section of the hanging and put the blue plastic behind two warp threads at the same time. Wrap one side round one thread and the other round the other , pull the threads through to the front of the hanging. Add as many of these as you like. Mine was so bunchy that when I hung it up I gave it a bit of a trim.
Weave another block of flat weaving. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to finish off.
Pull the ends off the loom and then thread onto the branch. Cut off the warp threads from the other end of the loom and knot them one to the next one.
Check that you are not creating a waist by pulling in the sides of the warp as you work.
This is the first exhibition to feature her work. She set up her company in 1995 after graduating from the RCA . Before that she worked as a textile designer for the company Esprit. After leaving the RCA she produced a small collection of accessories for Harrods. Originally she was producing hats. After attending a trade show with Orla, her father suggested she venture into producing bags, as he had noticed that he hadn’t seen a single woman wearing a hat but they were all carrying bags!
Her work is inspired by the patterns of the 1950’s and 1960’s, by designers such as Mary Quant, Shirley Craven and Lucienne Day.
Nature is the most significant inspiration for her designs. Each design is developed carefully by drawing and refining the essential organic elements that are the foundation of her repeating designs.
The exhibition is presented thematically rather than chronologically, and explores all aspects of Orla’s creative output, from lifestyle and fashion ranges to use of colour and detail and the geometry of pattern.
The exhibition draws on an archive of over 20 years work, offering visitors incite into her methods and concepts, exploring sketches, mood boards samples and a range of techniques.
The exhibition charts the growth and success of the Orla Kiely brand from her first hats presented in London Fashion Week 1994 through the advent of the iconic Orla Kiely bag in the mid nineties to her freelance work for department stores undertaken from her kitchen table in 1998
Orla’s patterns work on any scale, and the exhibition brings a playful element with super sized dresses alongside tiny dolls in replica dresses.
Her dresses and bags are displayed on the mezzanine floor. What strikes one after a while is that the work has evolved and is still evolving. Pieces from different collections and different years, work well together.
The work is beautiful, original, well thought out made to the highest standards. The exhibition is a must see. It has been put together by Dennis Nothdruff Head of Exhibitions at Fashion and Textile museum and by Mary Schoeser Exhibition curator and Textile historian. There is an excellent book published by Conran Octopus called A Life in Pattern that I shall be reviewing soon on the blog.
I know you as a textile designer and maker, Can you tell us if you went to art school and if so what did you study?
I was born & bred in Brighton. I studied Textile Design at Winchester School of Art (1994 – BA Hons).
Jehane’s own hand drawn designs
How and when did you become an art consultant?
I have curated my fellow artists’ work since first opening my house for the Brighton Festival in 2002. I discovered that I am skilled at selling other artists work and enjoy talking about the creative process. I became a licensing agent in 2004 when my children were born. Through my work as an agent, I have received many submissions from artists that I have not been able to represent for one reason or another Being an art consultant means that my services can be offered more widely. I now offer one-to-one consultancy to emerging and established artists internationally.
You contributed a chapter to the very successful book ‘House of Cards’ did you enjoy the writing process and have you ever written a book of your own.
I loved it! I would love to do a book of my own. It’s on my bucket list.
Can you give us a brief history of how you started out.
I first licensed my own designs in 1992 as a student at Winchester School of Art. I worked as a textile designer in Vienna when I graduated. I set up as a freelance designer back in Brighton in 1996 under the name of Cloth of Gold.
I designed for industry (mainly paper products), made one-off embroidered pieces for private clients, and created hand-made items for small batch production sold to galleries and retail outlets nationally.My designs have sold for textiles, gift-wrap, greeting cards & more. Licensees of my designs include Stewo, Jung Design, Gallery Five, Sanderson Fabrics, Baumann, Penny Black, Collage, Medici, Zoewie, Boots Plc, and The Paper House Group.
My designs have featured on London Underground posters. My retail clients have included Liberty of London, English Heritage, the RSC, and Vienna & Sydney Opera Houses. My one-off embroideries have sold in galleries nationally. I have given many talks about her artwork including at the V & A.
I also had a variety of agents before I set up on my own as an Artists’ Agent.I was always very pro-active, exhibiting at trade fairs and contacting shops/ licensing clients directly.
What is a typical day for you?
Everyday starts with catching up on my Instagram and planning the day’s social media. I will walk down to my workspace at Studio Eleven where I have been for 7 years. I have my own room in a shared studio space of creatives. It’s a great atmosphere and very focused. I currently spend all of my time at a computer although I have started planning a new range of products for my Open House in May. A typical day I would be designing and writing new marketing campaigns, liasing on existing licenses, contacting new clients, and giving creative direction to the artists that I work with.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being immersed in another artists’ work. I enjoy the wide variety of client responses to artwork and the fun of trying to predict who might like what. Most of all I love combining my love of the visual world with conversations
What do you dislike most about what you do?
Being solely defined and seen as an agent. Being a designer is at the source of everything I do.
What made you want to start your own creative business?
I knew it would be the thing I would most regret not doing.
Your business seems to have really grown over the last few years how has this happened?
I have always worked hard. I have never taken time out. More recently, I have spent a lot of time asking myself difficult questions and challenging myself. What is really important to me? I realized that working in an inter-disciplinary manner is hugely important to me. It has guided me to expand my offer. I have been able to promote hard as a result because I am very sure of my vision. This has really helped me to grow my business.
Can you describe your creative process?
It always starts with a response to either pattern, colour, or words. I often need to make associations and connections between things.
What are your biggest challenges?
So much to do, so little time. I also find it hard to send short emails! Focusing on the bigger picture when there are so many details pulling me the other way. Speaking in public – I have lots to say but I get incredibly nervous.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field today?
Work hard. Ask questions, Don’t me scared to put yourself in front of people. Think about your own intent, what is important to you, really important to you? This will be invaluable in guiding your decision making. Present everything visually and beautifully. Attention to detail.
Compared with when you started, do you think it is easier for designers to set up on their own nowadays or more difficult? Why?
I think it is easier. There are more resources and the creative industries are booming. Even though they are marginalized in schools, they are more recognized by the government (and people at large) as being crucial to the economy. 35% of the UK’s income is from the creative industries. Websites and social media make it much easier to be seen and to connect with clients.
Have you exhibited? If so, where?
Yes – all over the country, mainly in group exhibitions but all over 15 years ago.
Liberty of London
Grace Barrand Design Centre
Manchester City Exchange
Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art etc
How do you find clients?
Trade fairs, social media, trade magazines, look at the underneath of products
What are you currently working on?
Planning new products with my designs for my open house
New newsletters for Jehane Ltd
A bespoke licensed range with British Airways i360 and Cressida Bell
A new licensed diary for Waterstones 2019
Talking to New artists for representation
Planning my open house; getting flyers ready to print
You can still purchase pieces of sixties fabric on eBay and very occasionally find them in vintage shops and markets. These cushions were made from one piece of fabric that had four asymmetric circles on it. I decided to cut the fabric into four to make four cushion fronts and make the back of the cushions from plain linen.
You will need
60’s Fabric for the cushion front
Plain cotton or linen for the cushion back you will need two thirds more than for the front.
Cut your fabric into squares so they are the same dimension as the cushion pad plus 2cm seam allowance. If the fabric is flimsy or damaged, back it with interfacing.
From the fabric for the cushion back, measure and cut out two pieces, each the same width as the fabric front but 2/3rds the length.
Neaten along one width seam of each cushion back by turning under by 5mm and under again by the same amount. Sew with a running stitch.
With right sides facing, and overlapping the neatened edges of the cushion backs at the centre back, pin the cushion front to the cushion back round the edge of the square.
With a running stitch, sew the front to the back of the cushion. Turn the cushion through the gap and insert the cushion pad.