Blog, book review, Book Reviews

The web site Design*Sponge is closing 31st August

To honour a great web site here is a review of the book Design*Sponge At Home

By Grace Bonney

Published by Artisan $35

The brilliant talented and inspirational Grace Bonney is closing down her web site ‘Design*Sponge.’ She was always well ahead of the game when it came to web sites and inspiring content. With this in mind I was thrilled to come across one of her books in a charity shop, Called ‘Design*Sponge at Home’ It came out in 2011

It even has a forward by Jonathan Adler.

In the book’s introduction Grace describes how she set up her web site in 2004 not realizing what a storm would come of it. She had always believed that good design didn’t have to come with a high price tag or with a professional degree.

         Even though no one joined the discussion at first, Grace was delighted to have an outlet to express her love of design and decorating. Within weeks her blog was eliciting comments and e-mails and she felt like she was communicating with a community that she hadn’t previously known existed.

         When she was writing this book she said “Today, I wake up every morning and share news and inspiration from the design world with an audience that could fill Madison Square Garden. (How cool would it be if we could meet up every day like that?) It is quite simply a dream job.”

The first part of the book focuses on one of Grace’s favourite pastimes: sneaking a peek inside some of the most inspiring homes she has seen. Every home featured in the book is packed with ideas that anyone can copy in their own houses. In addition to practical tips on decorating and renovating, you learn about the history behind design classics such as Chesterfield sofa’s and Hudson Bay blankets.

         Inspiration and knowledge is only half the battle when it comes to designing the home of your dreams, so the second half of the book features do-it-yourself projects that have been tested by the team of editors of the book.

There are also Before and After makeovers featured with hints on how to turn a dowdy flea market dresser into a design delight, or on a larger scale, how to transform a dark hole of a kitchen into a modern chic space for cooking and entertainment.

This is the ultimate décor bible. The book includes home tours from artists and designers, clever DIY projects to help personalize your space, step-by-step tutorials on everything from hanging wallpaper to doing your own upholstery, a flower workshop with bouquets for every budget, and amazing before and after transformations.

With hundreds of inspiring tips and photo’s this is the only design book you will ever need.

Below is part of the letter that Grace Bonney has put on her web site prior to the closure of it on 31st August.

‘I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out the right way to close this beautiful, complex, and wonderfully meaningful place that I’ve had the honor of running and contributing to for the past 14 years. I’d written and re-written a letter like this dozens of times until this fall, when someone snuck into my mind and heart, and put everything I would have said onto (digital) paper. That person was Tavi Gevinson and when she closed Rookie she wrote the closing editor’s letter that I had always imagined, down to the very last word.

She talked about the changing publishing world, social media and the endless demand for more and more content (usually sponsored) that resulted in less and less support (financial and traffic) for publishers and their teams. She talked about the privilege and honor of doing what we do, and knowing the choices that would have to be made to keep things afloat would be at odds with the mission of the site (please do read her piece, she outlines the struggle of indie publishing better than anyone I’ve ever read). Most of all, she talked about starting and ending an artistic project with honesty and love at its core. And for me, that is all I have ever wanted.’

So as I finish this blog post I would like to say Thank you for all the joy Design*Sponge has given over the last few years. Juliet Bawden

Blog, book review, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Art of Pressed Flowers and Leaves

By Jennie Ashmore Published by Batsford £16.99 Artworks by Jennie Ashmore, photographs by Euan Adamson.

This is the most unusual and beautiful pressed flower book I have ever seen. It is full of amazing compositions that are reminiscent of traditional American Quilts.

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Early leafwork (1998) using sycamore leaves and fennel seed heads. 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in)

As the publisher describes it, this is a contemporary twist on a traditional craft. It is a must-have guide to pressing flowers and leaves packed with exciting ideas and practical information for creating beautiful botanical works of art.



Kirklea Garden (2017). Rich summer colours using iris and poppy petals with small leaves and flowers. 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in)
 

         Jennie Ashmore, flower artist, breathes new life into traditional flower-pressing techniques with a unique and spectacular kaleidoscope of floral and plant designs, using everything from flower petals and leaves to seaweed and lichen.

 Jennie studied painting and printmaking at Exeter College of Art and for many years taught in art schools and worked in environmental education, conservation and gardening. Her work has always concerned the natural world and she has a strong interest in surface texture, pattern and geometry, which are key to her designs. She teaches workshops and sells her work.


Threave Garden Quilt (2016). This intricate design features plants collected in Threave Garden, a National Trust property in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. 40 x 40cm (16 x 16in)

         The leaf works, guide and inspire through every stage of the process, from working seasonally and selecting the right plants for a vibrant colour, to experimenting with interesting texture and pattern. There are also tips for incorporating watercolour, gouache and other exciting materials into beautiful botanical creations.


Simple landscape using variegated balsam poplar leaves (1998).
13 x 18cm (5 x 7in)
 
 

The art of pressed flowers and leaves will inspire readers to celebrate the beauty of their local landscape, a favourite walk or garden, or even capture special memories through eternalizing wedding bouquets or plants collected on a holiday.

Blog, Press Show Picks, Uncategorized

Dunelm Spring Summer 2019

Dunelm have pulled out all the stops and come up with some lovely home wear product for the end of this year and going into next year. They are even selling artificial cacti, flowers and plants. They had a very personable and enthusiastic Anna from Jar and Fern  running a  terrarium workshop, although she admitted to me this was the first time she had used fake cacti. The results looked pretty impressive.

https://www.jarandfern.co.uk

The Cinnabar collection  includes both soft furnishing and ceramics.

The textures used throughout their range are imaginative and beautiful,  they  include printed , woven and appliqued  textiles.

Love the velvet sofa and button down pouffe.

Blog, Press Show Picks, Uncategorized

Tesco Spring Summer 2019

Steven Rowe the head designer describes of home wares at  Tesco describes spring /summer 2019 

“In Fox & Ivy , the focus is on artisan, with watercolour illustrations, chunky weaves and hand-painted decals elevating the finer details. It’s finished with flashes of matt and shine lustre, alongside a colour palette that’s decadent while remaining light, fresh and floral for the season.”

Blog, Makes, Uncategorized

Create a boho bench

Design by Juliet Bawden Photography Paul Craig

Today’s make is really an Ikea Hack of a Nornas Bench  transforming a rather dull nondescript softwood bench into an on trend vibrant padded seat/coffee table by being creative and painting, dying, and doing some sustainable up-cycling.

Boho Bench copy

 

You will need

Nornas Ikea Bench

2 meters thick wadding

Black paint

Paint brush

Korbond iron on hemming tape

Goldfish Orange machine dye Dylon 

Old velvet curtain

Old rug

Staple gun

Old duvet

Sewing machine and thread

Scissors

Saw

Iron and ironing board

Invisible marker pen Korbond

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Instructions

Step-by-Step

  1. Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.
  2. Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.
  3. Paint the bench black and leave to dry.
  4. Cut a double layer of wadding the size of the bench top, plus enough to drape over the edges. Cut away the corners and then staple the wadding to the underside of the bench.
  5. Press the velvet before using. Drape the velvet over the bench and leaving enough for a 2cm seam allowance, mark with a pen remove the fabric and then cut away the corners.
  6. To give a neat edges to the corners, turn the corners under and iron on the webbing
  7. Place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.
  8. To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet up so it is the size of the bench top.
  9. Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.
  10. Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.
  11. With right sides facing sew the piece of rug with the duvet attached to the other piece of rug. Sew round three and a half sides.
  12. Turn the cover through the correct way and then close the opening by over sewing.

 

Tips. I learnt this trick at art school, when I was stretching frames for printmaking. To get straight edges when stapling, start in the middle of one side and staple to the edge then do it with the other edge and then repeat with the opposite side and then do the other two sides in the same way.

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Blog, Exhibitions

Installations made from recycled waste featured at Maison des Metallos during Paris Design Week

As part of Paris Design week the Maison des métallos held an exhibition of recycled art. The first exhibitor is Sophie Helene. She uses recycled plastic and netting to create her installations many of which are photographed in natural surroundings. The piece above is made from cartridge wrappings.

The work below is made from piecing together Tetrapac that have been opened up and flattened

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The work below is made from different coloured rubber gloves

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This hanging is made from the bases of drinks cans

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Dadave makes art works from recycled computer components.

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Makes, Uncategorized

Sea Side Table lamp and Shade

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This easy to make lamp, is constructed from a cork topped glass jar, filled with sea washed glass, and an old sea chart to make the shade.

You will need

Step1

Ikea glass carafe with cork stopper (£2 from Ikea)

Sea washed glass

Craft knife

Pencil

Tape measure

Bottle lamp adapter (£4.99 from Ryness)

Lampshade kit with 20cm diameter (£8.33 from Dannells)

Old sailing chart or a piece of fabric 645mm x 220mm

Use of a Photo copier

Step2

Follow the kit instructions to make the lamp shade. From a practical point of view sailing charts are quite stiff. It is easier to copy the part of the chart that you like onto photo copy paper and use that to construct the shade.

Step3

Separate the glass into colours. When filling the carafe be gentle as you are using glass. I placed the dark green glass into the carafe first. I then added the pale green and finally the white glass. I filled up the carafe to the top allowing for the cork to still fit in.

Step4

Measure the center point of the cork stopper, and then start cutting away the cork. Keep trying the bottle lamp adapter in the hole, to make sure it fits. When it is a snug fit, put the stopper into the bottle and the adapter into the stopper. Fit the lamp over the top of the base and add a bulb.

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/tableware/jugs-carafes/ikea-365-carafe-with-stopper-clear-glass-cork-art-50351854/

https://www.ryness.co.uk/bottle-lamp-adaptor

https://www.dannells.com/20cm-drum-lampshade-making-kit-337-p.asp

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