Blog, Exhibitions

Out of The Blue

Fifty Years of Designers Guild

Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum 14 Feb -14 June 2020

Out of the Blue is the latest exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. It celebrates the work of the influential design company Designers Guild, that was founded in 1970 by Tricia Guild OBE. Since it’s founding, the brand has evolved into a worldwide company whose products have changed the way we view colour, pattern and texture in our homes.

         Frustrated with the lack of truly contemporary fabrics and wallpapers for interiors, Tricia’s vision was to create a lifestyle, by showing people how to put the different elements of a room together, how colour, pattern, texture and form can combine to create a harmonious space.

From the outset, Guild knew she had to show people how to use her products and thus displays and photography of her new collections are vital tools for communicating the total effect. She has produced many books over the years and has emphasised the importance of plain and semi plain fabrics as being integral to the whole Guild look. Their importance were captured by Elizabeth Wilhide the co-writer of Tricia Guild’s new soft furnishings, which was issued six times between 1990 and 1997 published by Conran Octopus.

         The fashion and Textile museum is not an enormous venue and yet they have very successfully constructed room sets showing the different styles that Tricia Guild has created across the decades.

We are shown where Tricia’s inspiration comes from – her travels to India, Japan and Scandinavia have all resulted in collections of fabrics, wallpaper, furniture and accessories. Her inspiration may come from ancient Indian Textiles or Renaissance – style velvet or a Swedish Gustavian wall treatment, but the resulting interior collection are never drawn from one source alone. Instead each collection is an eclectic amalgam in which harmony exists between East and West, past and present.

‘I’m passionate about a home being comfortable as well as beautiful. Being surrounded by good design is one of life’s pleasures.” Tricia Guild.

In 1975 Tricia split from her husband and business partner, Robin. Tricia continued with the business, working from it’s original King’s Road Chelsea flagship store, and Designers Guild has flourished. The brand is represented in over 80 countries worldwide with a turnover of over £55 million. From the outset Designers Guild has always maintained its own interior design department, based in its stores at Chelsea and Marylebone.

Each project responds to the requirements of an individual client and the architectural setting, whether in London, Paris, Manhattan or Tuscany. The Guild look can be found in a mews cottage or a rood top pied-à-terre, or in period homes and country villas. Tricia’s own homes are often the first place for experimentation with new concepts. 

         Designers Guild is best known for florals and botanicals, but plain fabrics in a multitude of shades and textures as well as a range of geometrics and abstract designs are also vital to the mix.

 The exhibition highlights the techniques and processes vital for making the collections happen. In the quest for innovation, the company uses a variety of printing methods from hand block printing in the early days to rotary screen-printing and most recently digital printing.

         Throughout the fifty years she has been in business, Tricia has championed and collaborated with artists and designers from other disciplines including Howard Hodgkin, Kaffe Fassett and recently Ralph Lauren and Christian Lacroix.

         Never shown before, this exhibition showcases the story of Designers Guild in settings that capture the changing tastes in interiors over the last five decades.

The exhibition is curated by Dennis Nothdruft. Head of exhibitions at the Fashion and Textile Museum and Textile Historian Mary Schoeser, in collaboration with Designers Guild.

Fashion and Textile Museum 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

T: 020 7407 8664

E: info@ftmlondon.org

Please note the Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 11am-6pm ; Sunday 11am-5pm.

There is an excellent book to go with the exhibition published by ACC Art Books at a cost of £30

Blog, Meet the Maker, Uncategorized

Meet the Maker, the Queen of paint, Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan has just launched her third Bookazine , The colourist (hard copy, editorial like a magazine, no adverts like a book). Here is the interview I did with in her, in her eclectic studio and headquarters, about her life, passion and rise to fame. Annie Sloan is known for her paint company and in particular her chalk paints. She also produces at least one book a year on different aspects of painting, decorating and up-cycling furniture. Recently she added a limited edition of printed textiles to her products. 

JB Did you go to art school originally and if so where and what did you study?

AS I went to Croydon art school to begin with and then I finished at reading University, I was at art school for seven years. Stared off doing a foundation, which I actually did for two years whilst I tried to figure out what I was going to do. I wanted to do everything!! In the end I chose Fine Art because Fine Art seems to be the basis of everything.

JB Annie I met you many moons ago when we were both craft authors. Can you tell us how you made the leap from being an author to running your international paint company?

AS Yes I remember well!! I wrote books and I was also going out and painting for people who had commissioned pieces. I had a young family and I wanted to be able to have something that I was doing and making but that could be sold whilst I was still raising my children. I was looking for something, I got the idea for paint from other paints that were around at the time. People were beginning to think back to traditional paints such as milk paints. From that idea I started to think about what I could make, and one thing led to another.

JB What made you want to produce your own paint and was it difficult to find a manufacturer?

AS Once I became keen to make a paint, I happened to mention it whilst out for dinner in Utrecht. I spoke to a Belgium man who just happened to know someone who owned a paint factory and made paint.

JB You have to create a range of colours and obviously some will sell better than others, was it difficult in the beginning to know which ones would sell best?

AS I wasn’t thinking about selling to be honest, I was thinking about what colours I would want and need. Money doesn’t come first.  I was already painting furniture and I was after certain traditional colours that weren’t available. It was important to me that I could mix colours to make other colours, just like an artists paint palette.

JB Can you influence sales of certain colours by presenting a fabulous upcycled project on your web site or blog?

AS We do know that when we get something printed in a popular magazine, we often see an influx in sales of that particular product. I think that’s the same in the shop, if I painted something in Antibes, people would buy more of that colour.

JB You sell abroad do any of your suppliers hold franchises?

If so, how does this work?

AS No we don’t have any franchises at all, the reason being that we are a creative company and I feel to offer someone a franchise is too restrictive. Creative people need to be able have there own style, we just look for wonderful shops to sell the paint, run workshops and be inspiring. We love passionate people to get involved.

JB Are any members of your family involved in running the business and if so what roles do they perform?

AS My husband works with me, he is in charge of the finances. He’s the calm cool one!! My middle son Felix is the Brand Director and has a Graphic Design background, he’s very much like me but also completely different. Felix’s partner Lizzy is also involved in the business, she does the Digital Marketing but at the moment has just had her third baby so she is on maternity leave.

JB What is a typical working day like for you or is there no such thing?

AS No such thing!! Every day is different, tomorrow I am off to Venice, we make some of our woven linens , so I am off to do some colour matching there- it’s important to get these things right! Last week I was at conference in Rotterdam with our European distributors. I was painting yesterday, working on some new products which I am excited about. We are painting furniture for photo shoot in London next week. I am also doing plenty of events this year. (Handmade Fair in London September and  I also do The Country Living Fair). Things are very busy!!

JB One of the reasons I am interviewing successful women who are over forty is that they have often had to take a career break, or had to slow down to deal with child care and or aged parents. Have you ever had to deal with either of these of issues and did it impact on your creative life or business?

AS Yes and no, I didn’t really start the business until my children were a little bit older, I was 42 when I started making the paint and running the business. I wanted be a around when the kids were small so I suppose I put it hold for awhile, I always worked but was able to be there when they were ill and look after them.

JB You run creative workshops at many different events and venues. Do you enjoy doing them?

AS Yes I do! I love meeting people, I find people so interesting.

JB You collaborated with Oxfam producing a colour for them how did this come about?

AS Well it was just one of those magical things. Oxfam are based in Oxford, hence the name Oxford and Famine, and they were looking for a paint company to work with. The discovered that we were also in Oxford, it was a marriage made in heaven. They asked us if we were keen to collaborate and I didn’t even think twice about it.

JB What did it involve and did you enjoy the experience? AS It was one of the most excellent experiences of my life, so impactful. I went to Ethiopia and made a colour inspired by my travels. It makes you realise that people are people, for me it confirmed that money is not what it’s about- it’s about other things. The people there are just amazing, they do need things but they are still vibrant and positive.

JB What is the best part of your work and what is the worst part?

AS Collaborating with some amazing people and groups, it’s just so incredibly special to work with some wonderful people and places. It’s open up so many worlds for me, such as Oxfam. Worst part endless days were there are just so many meetings and I can’t get any painting done.

JB Who or what inspires you?

AS The Punk approach to life is absolutely fabulous- anyone can do anything!! You don’t have to be posh, you just have to be interesting. People inspire me, I talk to everybody and want to find out as much as I can about others.

JB How long have you been working as a professional  designer?

AS I suppose since 1975, so guess over 40 years…oh gosh!!

JB What advice would you give to any designer starting out today?

AS Don’t give up, practice and keep at it. Trust your gut. It doesn’t happen overnight. Someone once criticized me in Art school and it really had an effect on me, don’t let criticism put you off!!

Many thanks Juliet. Photography by Antonia Attwood RCA

Uncategorized

Make your own colour block dipped art

I love the dipped effect, so when I was trying to find an interesting way to give old paintings and portraits a modern twist, dipping them seemed like the perfect project, making pretty much anything look like expensive quirky art.

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What you will need:

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1. Remove the glass and picture from the frame. Take the frame and Rust-Oleum spray paint (we used Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold) and shake thoroughly. Hold the can approximately 30cm from the surface of the frame and spray. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart. Once fully dry, pop the painting back into the frame.

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2. Take a strip of masking tape and press the tape against some fabric to test that it isn’t too sticky (otherwise you may have trouble getting it off the photo without damaging it). Place the tape across the photo and frame and press down lightly.

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3. Using a sponge, dab the paint across the painting and the frame, building up the paint until the lower half of the painting and the frame is covered. Once fully dry, peel off the masking tape and hang!

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Uncategorized

Make your own bathroom shelves using Rust-Oluem paints!

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You will need –

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  1. Ensure the surfaces to be painted are clean, dry and free from grease and contaminants.
  2. Using pliers, remove staples from the outer edges of the boxes.Colour_wash-how_to-2-800x800-1
  3. Give each wine crate a light coat of Rust-Oleum Colour Wash (we used Cloud Blue and Mint Sorbet) and leave this to dry.Colour_wash-how_to-3-800x800-1
  4. Screw the boxes together, alternating colours.Colour_wash-how_to-4-800x800-1

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Press Show Picks, Uncategorized

Embroidery Hoop Wall Art

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Embroidery hoops are perfect for creating your own speedy eye catching wall art. They’re a great stash busting opportunity to use up a collection of much loved fabrics.

You Will Need

  • Old Embroidery hoops
  • Fabric scraps for background and with motifs
  • Plain fabric for motif
  • Bondaweb
  • Scissors

 

Instructions

Step 1

Cut background fabric out with a diameter 4in (10cm) greater than that of the frame.

Step 2

Draw or trace the motif onto the paper side of the Bondaweb then iron onto the reverse of the chosen motif fabric.

Step 3

Cut out the motif, then peel off the backing paper. Place the motif on the backing fabric and iron to bond.

Step 4

Using a contrast colour thread, top stitch round the edge of the motif.

Place decorated fabric over inner hoop, press on outer hoop and tighten screw. Pull fabric through to stretch and cut off excess to neaten.

Tips

  • Before applying Bondaweb to reverse of the fabric, iron the fabric with a hot iron, this will make the bonding process quicker.

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Makes, Uncategorized

How to upcycle a cheap lamsphade

Update a tired lampshade to create your own quirky masterpiece with this easy DIY, and choose from 31 beautiful shades in the Rust-Oeum’s Chalky Finish Furniture Paint range to decorate. It’s perfect for upcycling and can be applied directly onto most surfaces, including wood, without any preparation!

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Step 1 – Remove all material from the lampshade to reveal the wire frame.

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Step 2 – Saw the wooden batons into pieces the same height as the shade, plus some slightly longer and sand the ends to remove any jagged edges.

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Step 3 – Paint the batons with your chosen Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint colours (we used Pumpkin, Ink Blue, Hessian, Chalk White and Clotted Cream) and leave this to dry before applying a second coat.

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Step 4 – Using a glue gun, apply hot glue to the underside of a baton and stick this to the wire shade. Repeat with different coloured batons until the entire shade is covered.

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Uncategorized

Christmas Match Box Scenes

There’s nothing like Christmas approaching to bring out our inner creative diva in you. I have created kitsch Christmas scenes that you’ll look forward to welcoming back every Christmas season. I gathered up a variety of novelties, sentimental scraps, cake decorations, broken costume jewellery of yesteryear and brought them all together to make scenes in these brightly painted boxes. To make something really eye catching the knack is to think Alice in Wonderland, play with scale and perception.

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You will need

Old match boxes in a variety of sizes

Acrylic paint

Command strips

Hot glue gun

Plastic animal toys

Thin polyester wadding

Cake decorations

Paintbrush

Bobble fringe

PVA glue

Glitter

Small bowl

Spoon

Embossed paper cake decoration

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Paint the boxes with 2 coats of acrylic paint, leave to drystep2.JPG

Pour the glitter into a small bowl, paint the animals with a layer of PVA glue, then spoon the glitter over the glued surface, leave to dry

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Cut the polyester wadding into a mountain scape silhouette, stick in place at the back of the box using a glue gun.

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Stick on stars and sequins, trees and the glittered animals.

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Measure round the box and cut the bobble fringe or cake decorating paper to length. Glue in place around the edge using a glue gun. Add Christmas cake messages or costume jewellery to the top edge.

Stick up on the wall using removable Command strips.

Tip

Use up old paint match pots for painting the match boxes.

Round up old scraps of ribbon, children’s mini toys!

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