Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Want to create a timeless Mid Century look in your home?

 Then look no further than the new book ‘Mid-Century Modern Living’

The Mini Moderns Guide to Pattern and Style, by Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire.

In 2006 Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire launched Mini Moderns, the company that specializes in mid twentieth century inspired, applied pattern. They are known for their striking use of pattern and colour across a range of products including wallpaper, fabrics, ceramics and household accessories.

        The designs are inspired by childhood memories, popular culture and the designs of the mid century greats.

        The book kicks off with Keith and Mark’s mid century inspiration. They then break down the key components that make up a mid-century look- including colour, pattern, materials and accents. Chapters are divided into seven interior looks that explore different aspects of mid century design.

     For a quirky bit of fun, a mid century menu is provided to go with each look plus music of the period.

        As they point out, no one wants to live in a museum so they show ways of incorporating their designs with original fifties and sixties pieces – design classics with a few bits of kitsch thrown in. This should result in you being able to make a space that reflects you and the way you wish to live.

         The Mini Modern Mantra

Build your interior around your passions

start with your collections and cherished possessions.

Don’t Fake it

Splash out on one original mid-century piece, rather than a room of poor quality replicas.

Embrace Pattern and Colour

Don’t be scared, it won’t bite unless you want it to!

Mix old and New

High street basics make the perfect foil for junk shop treasures.

Reuse what you can

Adapt, repurpose and repaint to create personalized space that doesn’t cost the earth.

The reader is  shown where to find the inspiration, the elements that make up the following key looks:

Studio townhouse

Bistro fabulous

Let the sunshine in

Granny takes a trip

Ocean Blue

Beatnik Beach House

Scandi Rustic

There is an excellent resources guide at the end of the book. Images from  style icons such as Robin Day, Hans Wenger, Lucienne Day and Gio Ponti are included.

This is a fabulous book and design resource that you will want to dip into time and again with stylish photography by Jan Baldwin.

Mid-Century Modern Living by Mark Hampshire is published by Kyle Books, www.octopusbooks.co.uk, £20. Photography by Jan Baldwin.

Exhibitions, Uncategorized

Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern

This summer the Fashion and Textile Museum is hosting an exhibition ‘A Life in Pattern’ showcasing the work of Orla Kiely

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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!

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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. IMG_1455

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.

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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.

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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 1998IMG_1472
Orla’s patterns work on any scale, and the exhibition brings a playful element with super sized dresses alongside tiny dolls in replica dresses.

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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. IMG_1457

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.

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Meet the Maker, Uncategorized

Meet the Maker Jehane Boden-Spiers textile designer and Art licenser and consultant

Jehan-use this

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.Jehan-2

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.

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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.

Jehanes own work
Jehane’s own work cards and wrapping paper

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.

Ken Eardley
Ken Eardley designs used on laundry bags plates and kitchen ware.

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.

Nancy Nicholson
Nancy Nicholson tins

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.

Cressida Bell
Cressida Bell

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

Ferrers Gallery

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

Artists from open house
Artists from open house

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

& more!

What is next?

An online shop on www.jehane.com

Has social media impacted on your business and if so in what way?

Yes, hugely. It has been the launching pad for my new business Jehane Ltd and has been the main reason that I have attracted the new artists I represent and the new clients I am talking to.

Open House instagram @jehane_openhouse

Uncategorized

Habitat’s Key Trends for Autumn Winter 2017

I would love to work in the Habitat studio, the designers travel the globe going to exhibitions, design shows, markets and workshops seeking inspiration. What a job!

After their initial research, the products are designed and sourced. The company ethos is to celebrate the craft and the skills of the maker and artist. They re-imagine traditional materials and techniques, designing with a sense of fun for those who appreciate contemporary design, but don’t take things too seriously.

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The AW17 colour palette has a new group of matt, chalky and earthy colours. Fennel, Salmon and Paprika are key to the season and create a background for the more saturated brights. New colours include small amounts of Crocus and Satsuma.

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A mix of designs worked in 1970’s colour-ways and paired with accents of bold primaries. A bohemian edge is created with loosley woven, up-cycled sari rugs, hand painted accessories and walnut furnishings.aw17-lftyl-s02-bonham-sofa-green-rgb-300dpi

A new range of black tableware has been developed with bold shapes and strong silhouettes in complete contrast to the usual white dinner service.

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There are thirty new rugs in the collection many made from recycled materials and are re-interpretations of the traditional Indian wool dhurrie first introduced by Habit in the UK in the 1960’s. What is excellent is that as well as a range of designs, there is also a range of prices, so you should be able to find something to suit your pocket.aw17-lftyl-s04-tiling-patterns-the-traditional-wool-dhurrie-redesigned-060-rgb-300dpi

As with so many interior companies they have their own version of the velvet sofa and chairs in deep colours to match the sumptuousness of the fabric and the comfort of the furniture.

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Pattern is everywhere, often taken from tile designs and then translated into contemporary textiles and ceramics.aw17-lftyl-s07-playful-mark-making-textiles-124-rgb-300dpi

 

In case this collection sounds as if it is all highly ethnic there is also the sleek high glamour inspired by 1970’s Italian design. Marble and brass are still key materials and are used to create a feeling of opulence. Some very nice designs here Habitat.

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