I Can’t Draw…

September 1st 2012

My Lovely friend Hannah Tofts kindly gave me a copy of her new book I Can’t Draw Ways Of Looking


Ways Of Looking

I’ve known Hannah since my Brighton Art college days, she has always been on the look out for found objects, scurrying through ones waste bins in search for discarded plastic bottle tops to fruit packaging. Now living on the beautiful West Coast of Scotland, apart from all her other illustrative projects to keep her busy Hannah has been running art classes to the locals, specially designed to break the mantra of  the “ I can’t draw “ brigade. An amazing and truly inspirational project, her creative zest and positive thinking dribbles from  the pages and always leaves me open mouthed at her energy to create and more importantly to share the buzz!

Hannah's Book

Hannah's Book

All Washed Up Project

Also check out her wonderful animated character ZZebbra


and her blog

Hannah's Blog



Posted in art, books, colour, design, graphic design, handmade

Design*Sponge interview

March 17th 2011

I’m excited to say that the lovely online design magazine Design*Sponge has just published an interview with me as part of the ‘What’s in your toolbox?’ series. This is a peek behind-the-scenes, giving readers an insight into the likes and inspirations of a particular designers. Click here to read my contribution

Thanks so much to Design*Sponge for the feature.


Something from my toolbox!

Posted in books, botanical, colour, craft, design, interior design, pattern, printing, textiles, trends, vintage, wallpaper

Famous in France

November 22nd 2010

We’ve just received our copy of ‘Papiers Peints, le langage des murs’,  a lavish new coffee table book written by Genevieve Brunet. It has a particularly ‘French chic’ take contemporary wallpaper and features our ‘Leaf’ pattern in grey, turquoise and black-gold, as well as profile of the company in the section ‘La nouvelle vague. Classic with a twist’. If your French is up to scratch, it’s worth buying a copy

'Papiers Peints' published by Editions de la Martinière

A spread from 'Papiers Peints' with 'Leaf' and wise words from Emile Zola!

Posted in books, botanical, interior design, pattern, wallpaper

Is Design Criticism becoming extinct?

September 10th 2010

I’m wondering if there’s a self-fulfilling prophesy around this subject. Maybe critical thinking around design isn’t taught widely enough, perhaps writers are scared to have too strong an opinion or fear it might put readers off, and maybe there’s a lack of print outlets?  It’s something that Swedish writer and curator Frida Jeppson has been grappling with and she has just edited an excellent book on the subject called  In case of Design – inject critical thinking. Definitely worth a read.

It was whilst scanning her blog that I found the work of Swedish artist Elisabeth Möllersten who recently graduated from Konstfack University College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm

Her piece ‘Vanitas ‘caught my eye. The silver, porcelain version is elegant and the melting chocolate one seems even more gothic and acts as a critique materialism and over-consumption.

It’s best appreciated as a film:

VANITAS Elisabeth Möllersten 2010

VANITAS Elisabeth Möllersten 2010

Posted in books, design

Very Sanderson

April 20th 2010

For anyone interested in British textiles, Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration is on at The Fashion & Textile Museum until 13th June is definitely worth a visit. It traces the firms development from the very early days to the present to the 150th anniversary Vintage Collection launched this year.

It’s especially fascinating to see the early photogravure papers that were introduced in 1923, way before they became standard in the industry. Sanderson really pushed the boundaries of this technique. The exhibition includes some fine examples of papers that have gravure metallised canvas grounds, which were then surface printed with water-based emulsions. Another paper that shows the range of textured gravure grounds is from 1926 by Harry Watkins Wild – a beautiful peacock print. Look out for it as it hangs in the entrance hall on the way into the exhibition.

There are also some interesting interviews with people significant to Sanderson’s history. Pat Albeck discusses her design Sunflowers that has been re-launched. It was first produced for one of my all time favourite collections, the Palladio, but I think this design really stands the test of time and still looks fresh and contemporary. Elsewhere in the film Albert Riva, Sanderson’s Italian agent who grew up understanding and appreciating the collection and took over from his father in the 1960s, talks with affection about the company.

Accompanying the 150th anniversary celebrations is ‘Sanderson. The Essence of English Decoration’ by Mary Schoeser. She is an authority on textiles and wallpaper and her beautifully illustrated book is a must if you’d like a more detailed look at the company’s history and developments.

'The Essence of English Decoration', by Mary Schoeser

CFA Voysey, William Morris, Picasso, John Piper, Lucienne Day, Norman Hartnel… ‘Very Sanderson’ celebrates a roll call of amazing designers and artists invited over the years to combine innovation with timelessness. Long may it continue!

For more information see the Fashion and Textiles Museum blog and download the Sanderson history timeline.

Posted in books, botanical, design, interior design, pattern, printing, review, textiles, wallpaper

The Joys Of Analogue #2

March 11th 2010

We’ve got a few more weeks before the iPad arrives so I’ll quickly get in some book recommendations of the old-school variety (these might not be available through the iBook store anyway!) Joyce Storey’s book ‘Dyes and Fabrics’ (Thames and Hudson) was my bible when I first set up my print studio, also W. Clarke’s An Introduction to Textile Printing which is quite technical but essential if you want to mix your own dyestuffs. Another great book is ‘Fabric Dyeing & Printing’ by Kate Wells (Conran Octopus) – full of practical hands-on advice. A more recent book I think can be helpful for mixing conventional printing and digital work is Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac’s ‘Digital Textile Design’ (Laurence King Publishing), mixing digital with screen print, ink jet, heat transfer and with very good visual examples in tutorial form.

Posted in books, design, printing, technology, textiles

Loose ends from Premier Vision

March 2nd 2010

What I love about going to Premier Vision is that not only is it a great opportunity to peer ahead, check out trends and see cutting edge technologies that are the results of years of R&D but you get to pick up stuff (literally and mentally) that you might not normally find or have easy access to. Here’s a good example, it’s a beautifully produced colour journal called ‘Le fil du lin & du chanvre’ which gives an overview of how linen and hemp are being used across the board in design.

Le fil du lin & du chanvre, n°03

I also found ‘Geometric’, a brilliant book by Kapitza – a design studio up the road from here set up by 2 sisters. It’s great fun, loaded with 100 pattern fonts (shapes based on the forms of letters in the alphabet) and something I’m definitely looking forward to playing with. Some of the patterns reminded me of the Dutch artist and designer Karel Martens who is a favourite of mine. You can buy the book from the Kapitza online shop:

One last notable mention from Premier Vision: Jakob Schlaepfer’s brand new, awe-inspiring fabric ‘Secret Garden’, a shimmering silver gossamer with iridescent inks printed onto it. It’s one of those fabrics that photographs really don’t do justice to, you have to see it up close and feel it yourself. So, lucky me! Look out for this in the coming years time in clothing and interiors.

Posted in books, design, graphic design, pattern, review, technology, trends

Squares are cool

December 9th 2009

The Pallant House exhibition included a lot of silk square designs by Moore and scarves are something I’ve become interested in again recently. Not only does Liberty have an entire room dedicated to the scarf but they recently collaborated with that quintessential home of the scarf; Hermes (and another icon less well-known for his accessories designs, Ronnie Wood). A couple of weeks ago The Guardian ran a 4-page feature on Hermes scarves coinciding in with the publication Thames & Hudson’s book on the same subject.

What’s great about scarves is that they can be like wearable paintings – their scale seems to offer a lot of creative possibility. And they are a more affordable way of having a little bit of designer luxury and a hint of pattern and colour in these grey times.

Posted in books, colour, fashion, pattern, review