A Life In Pattern, Orla Kiely

A Life In Pattern, Orla Kiely

A chance to see the Orla Kiely exhibition at the London Textile Museum was too good to miss. I’d never been to the textile museum and I also really wanted to see the portrait of Zandra Rhodes; that was painted by the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 winner Samira Addo. Sadly, I was too early, and the portrait hadn’t yet made it to the museum when I visited but the Oral Kiely exhibition did not disappoint. The queen of pattern! A master class in colour palette, scale, proportion, balance and pattern repeat at every glance. There was a room with nine or so enormous scaled up coats and dresses, in some of the most iconic designs. Wall after wall of pattern libraries were a real feast to get stuck into. Lots of amazing archival footage of the early days and press cuttings. At the time I had no idea that the fashion side of the Orla Kiley brand was about to go into administration. I did see at a recent furniture show that the designs have now been made into upholstery fabrics, I do hope this iconic brand will stride on.
The ladies swimming is one of my favourite Orla Kiely patterns and I couldn’t help but take a photo of the ever so cool museum floor with its sparkles and stars.

The Fabric Collective

The Fabric Collective

9 Langton Street, London, is where you’ll find the Fabric Collective. They represent the very best hand printed wallpaper and fabric makers. Here you will find the likes of Rapture and Wright, Anna Spiro, Lake August, Penny Morrison and many more artisan designers. What I love about the fabric collective showroom, is that all the fabrics were presented in individual squares. No traditional unwieldy pattern books, making it easy to see the designs, and feel the weight and handle of the fabric. Downstairs, they have a glorious selection of lamp bases and lampshades and at the back of the showroom they have the most beautiful rugs. On the day I visited they were expecting some press photographers and they had a gorgeous selection of Anna Spiro fabrics laid out on their display table. I also remember they were burning a candle by SOH Melbourne, it was the most beautiful candle fragrance I’ve come across in a long time.

Printing Workshops

Printing Workshops

I’ve been on a couple of lino printing workshops, one in 2014 and one in 2018, both with Flora Arbuthnott (via VanessaArbuthnott.co.uk). The workshops took place in the beautiful Cirencester countryside. It’s a real treat to escape the hum drum and daily chores and spend time being creative in the company of other likeminded people, in a truly lovely setting. On both courses I got to experiment with lino printing and screen printing. My top tips for going on workshops would be to go prepared, on most workshops there will be lots of books and sources of inspiration to draw upon but take your note books and ideas. The time goes super- fast , so the quicker you can get going the better! Don’t miss the opportunity to ask lots of technical questions and it’s a good idea to get a list of the materials and equipment you have used on the day for future reference. Don’t wear your best clothes and remember your apron!

 

Svenskt Tenn

Svenskt Tenn

In October I celebrated turning 40 with an amazing trip to Stockholm.  And just by chance, to escape the rain we found ourselves in the wonderful world of the Svenskt Tenn showroom. It was love at first site for me, the furniture, the fabric, the colours and the style. The showroom is just a feast for the eyes, lots of original Josef Frank art work is on display throughout. Interestingly I learned that Josef Frank designed patterns specifically for wallpaper only and patterns that were for fabric only and never interchanged. As well as selling lots of amazing products, Svenkst Tenn is a working interior design studio and I couldn’t resist a peak inside. The client meeting room was round, and the walls were covered in William Morris’s Willow Boughs wallpaper- I guess it all comes from somewhere! Visit if you get chance.