Monday, 13 April 2015

MAGNOLIA


Magnolias!  Every year they never fail to astound me!  


There are quite a few fabric prints using the magnolia flower - usually a bit chintzy and old fashioned though still pretty in some settings.  But Marimekko get my vote every time with their wonderful Keisarinna print that captures the wild abandon of those huge magnolia blossoms perfectly.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

AT EASTER TIME:

I like Easter.  I like that it doesn't seem so over-wrought and over-hyped as Christmas.  I like Easter egg hunts.  I like that it is four whole days off and I even like that there is a sombre day and a happy day, with an ordinary day in between.  I loved Easter hymns as a child for some reason and, as a crafty mother got very excited about Easter Bonnet Parades!  

Like Christmas, Easter is a time of rich symbolism - much of it dating back to pre-Christian festivals, but today overlaid with rampant commercialism. The main symbols are of eggs and bunnies. Eggs have always been a fertility symbol, and as the earth - in the Northern Hemisphere at least - springs back to life at this time of year, its not hard to understand why eggs were given as gifts - often coloured and decorated - and now, of course, made of chocolate. Rabbits - or strictly speaking, hares - seem to date back to16th Century Lutheran Germany with stories that depicted hares bringing baskets of coloured eggs to good children. Its not absolutely clear why, except that, as the winter recedes and rabbits start to breed (prolifically) they are another obvious symbol of re-birth and spring.

Where there is a symbol, there is also a rich collection of fabric prints - and so, leaving aside the sickly sweet, here is my Easter selection:


Barneby Gates have morphed mad Boxing Hares - here in gold on natural linen - into a florentine trellis.

Gabi Bolton, of Original Little Bird, manages to avoid the sweet and sickly by giving her fabrics a quirky faded vintage feel.  This one is called Bunny Scrapbook.  


Thornback and Peel make large scale and detailed prints on linen.  This one is called Rabbit and Cabbage and takes me straight back to Mr MacGregor's garden.  Here's a close-up:

Peony and Sage make this hand-drawn print called Mr Hare on Flax with Red Dots (I love how specific that name is!)
Peony and Sage also make this pretty print called Feather and Egg.  



Here's another Feather and Egg print - this time from Vanessa Arbuthnott - printed in duckegg and denim on linen.  

HAVE A HAPPY EASTER!

Friday, 20 March 2015

SICILIAN ORANGE




I've just spent some time in Sicily - which I hope goes some way to explaining the time-lag on this blog.  The weather was a little inclement for much of the time, but that didn't seem to detract from the sheer abundance of lush produce everywhere you look. No wonder they are famous for their cuisine! Cauliflowers, fennel, and artichokes filled the markets - whole stalls tumbling with outsize vegetables. You couldn't help but buy and buy and rush home to cook up a pasta with brocolli brodo, or a fennel salad, or artichoke hearts slavered in fresh olive oil.  

But for me, the best thing by far was the citrus fruit - lemon trees groaned with bright yellow fruit; then the 'cedro' - the outsize lemons where you eat the whole fruit: pith, peel and all, dripping with honey. And truckloads of oranges, parked up on the roadside. Sicily is famous for its blood oranges - slices of dark red deliciousness and a kind of metaphor for this beautiful island with its dark heart and history.

With the zing of citrus still fresh in my mind, today I'm channelling oranges!

Marimekko Kivet fabric in pink

Romo Suvi Clementine

An outdoor print by Trina Turk for Schumacher called Sunglass in orange.


Another Schumacher outdoor print designed by Trina Turk and called Sunriza.


A cotton print called Zsa Zsa in Pebble, Chilli and Jasmine by Scion.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

HAPPY VALENTINE!

I've scoured the world (wide web) for some loud and proud and - yes - throbbing heart print fabrics in honour of the impending day of Saint Valentine.  No sacharine sweet St Valentine's here - just large-scale and super colourful love-liness.  Enjoy!

Corita Rose is a textile company based in Dorset, making wonderful, exuberant printed fabrics.  This one is called Amor Yellow, printed on linen with devotional hearts interspersed with blue birds.

This is another Corita Rose fabric, called Medieval Hearts in red, printed on cotton velvet.

South African studio printers, Designkist specialise in digital prints with an African flavour - this one is called Shweshwe Hearts - 'shweshwe' refers to the indigo printed fabrics of traditional South African dress.

I cannot resist this pretty print from Fancy Moon called Corazones Primavera by California-based designers de Leon Group - with lots of little Mexican devotional hearts dancing across the fabric.


Another large scale design of  embroidered hearts in zingy colours on white cotton called (understandably) Sweet Heart by Harlequin.  These folksy embroidered hearts are nearly 20 cm across with rich textured stitching that reminds me of eastern European embroideries.

Umbrella Prints are based in Australia and call this Grand Hearts in Smokey Black, printed on an organic hemp and cotton basecloth.  On a grand scale, these hearts intersect to form a curvy and bold honeycomb pattern.  Here's another shot to give you a better idea:


May your Valentine's Day be filled with love as strong, vibrant and passionate as all these fabrics. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

WINTER BLUES


The first week of February is a hard time of year.  Athough we've been slipping imperceptibly towards spring for sometime now, it hardly feels like it.  The winds are cruel, the days dark and short, and the earth sodden.  But on a rare bright day, it pays to take note of the striking shapes that bare branches cast against the sky, and the beauty of frosted landscapes:



I've been looking at fabrics that evoke the stark beauty of winter in a bid to banish these seasonal blues:

 Boeme's painterly Betula Northern Light is a impressionistic panel of wintery birch trees.

This is a Flockhart print called Winter Flower in blue, evoking that harbinger of spring - the crocus.


 Here's another revival by Flockhart of the work of mid-century textile designer, Eileen Guthrie, called Zig Zag - in grey.

  Lindsay Alker uses lino-blocks to create her designs which are then silk-screened onto heavy linen. This one is called Great Battle Wood in light grey.

 Scandi textile designers generally work hard to banish the winter blues by using huge amounts of bright colour and summery subjects, but Marimekko's Lumimarya is a clean intepretation of nature in winter and is one of my favourite Marimekko prints.

This is another Marimekko print, called Heina, with monochrome bundles of grasses, printed on fine linen. 

Mark Alexander's ethereal printed linen, called Bonsai Moonshine, from the Artisan Prints collection is so subtle and beautiful.  

I feel better already!





Friday, 30 January 2015

KID'S FABRICS THAT ADULTS WILL LOVE!

I have never been a fan of gender-specific, cutsey kiddie's fabric - just as I've never believed in baby-talk.  The best advice I was ever given in the early years of child-rearing, was 'kid's just want to grow up - so let them do as much as they can themselves, as soon as they can'.

Doesn't mean I don't believe in fun, though.  Kid's just want to have fun - as well as grow up.  With that in mind I've been looking recently for some 'grown-up' kid's fabric.  Stuff you - and the kids - wouldn't mind hanging on to long after they've outgrown the tutu's and playmobil.

 Nursery Yellow is a beautifully distressed print from Flockhart, a fabric company that has revived the 1930's designs of the owner's grandmother, Eileen Guthrie.  Timeless!

 Sanderson's St Ives print is a naive, and yet realistic impression of a huddle of Cornish cottages in the town it is named after.

Lotta Jansdotta is a New York based designer who draws on scandi roots to produce clean and bright prints such as this Moira Aqua in her Signature collection for Ashley Wilde.

 Sarah Waterhouse is based in Sheffield and creats sustainable, eco-friendly prints (with Soil Association approved dyes) that are joyful and colourful.  This one,unsurprisingly, is called Waves. 
Apart from having a great name, Skinny Laminx is notable for being the outlet for South African based designer Heather Moore's exuberant prints.  Love this one called Herds, based on rock art from caves in the Western Cape.   

St Jude's produce wonderful fabrics from the work of artist's they admire, including this one called Curiosity Shop by Emily Sutton.

Trust Ikea to take fun - and DIY - to the nth degree! This fabric is called Tidny and is designed to be coloured in with permanent fabric markers.

Monday, 19 January 2015

TOP DRAWER AND HOME EDIT.

There is definitely no rest for the wicked.  No sooner are we into a new year and already the trade shows are upon us.  Top Drawer and Home are geared to the retail gift trade and are huge affairs in the cavernous halls of Olympia, but I managed to spot some great fabrics as I tore around one afternoon last week.  Here is my edit:


Laura Slater makes striking abstract prints on natural linen, from her base in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.  


I was really happy to see Gail Bryson's stand.  She hand screen-prints bright blocks of solid colour onto linen which she makes up into cushions, tea-towels, zipped bags and more.


Thorody's intricately hatched designs printed on linen seem to me to pay homage to an abstract Arts and Craft aesthetic - they call it 'Rustic Modernism'.



I loved the quirky repeat patterns from Orwell and Goode - from a distance they seemed totally abstract and the badgers and foxes only became apparent on closer inspection.


Eva Soneike is of Nigerian descent and has drawn heavily from her West African heritage to design a brilliant range of colourful textiles - love the stylised palms above!


Katie Brown uses industrial inspired images from her native Northern Ireland juxtaposed with fine printing, high quality silk and linen and bright colours to stunning effect.


A personal favourite - I loved these mediterranean-floor-tile-inspired prints from Akin & Suri.
I have just the place to use some of them myself - of which more another time!