Art in the skies

November 23rd 2016

With November being the month for looking at the skies, gunpowder and Lewes being my home town I thought I’d use the occasion to look at the exceptional work of artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who creates unforgettable art experiences, with  the unusual medium of gunpowder.


Starting with gunpowder exploding canvases he moved to site specific explosions:

‘I want to reflect on the experiences of the human race from a larger perspective of the universe and to remind us that we are not alone in the universe and that there are other eyes looking at us from this infinite universe.’


He has perfected his gunpowder art, no one does it like him and through his art he expresses all our shared childhood dreams with a true expression of human emotion.

“More than a thousand years ago, when the Chinese discovered gunpowder, they were actually looking for an elixir to make them immortal.” But Cai, despite the spectacle that his gunpowder paintings and explosion events have been known to whip up, isn’t out for immortality. “I don’t think any art is meant to be kept forever, immortal on the earth that we inhabit. What I attempt to achieve is a sense of the eternal from the ephemeral—to inspire a conversation with the greater universe.” Artsy Oct 10th 2016


Talking about his installation Heritage 2013 from Falling Back to Earth:

‘The work took a long time to conceive and produce, says Cai. “It’s like being pregnant – once you give birth, your child has a life of their own and they are no longer a part of your body. They have their own destiny.” And what does he think of his baby? “It looks better and exceeds my expectations. When I first conceived this work I thought it would be related to environmental issues that we have here on Earth. But once the work was finished I realised that it relates to broader issues, such as our position within the universe.”

Cai Guo-Qiang work that you might like to look at:


Poppy Series Hallucination No. 1

Art work that exists for mere moments



Head On

Conceived for the Deutsche Bank Collection, the work was inspired by Berlin and its history, its message is generally valid. “I wanted to portray the universal human tragedy,“ says Cai, “resulting from this blind urge to press forward, the way we try to attain our goals without compromise,”



‘Sky Ladder’

Cai Guo-Qiangmakes a 500m ladder of fire to connect the Earth to the universe.


Read more about Cai work on his blog:

and watch more at:


Talking about not being alone in the universe The Guardian Science states that there are 20 times more galaxies in the universe than previously thought bringing it up to a mind blowing 2 trillion, of which 90 % of the galaxies have yet to be studied with the analysis reaching back more than 13bn years, about the time of the Big Bang which is thought to have given birth to the universe. Food for thought when watching Cai’s  work, shinning a vibrational message for human kind into outerspace, now that’s what I call Space Art !!

The surprising find is based on 3D modeling of images collected by the Hubble Space Telescope. Photograph: Nasa/PA


Posted in art, colour, natural elemnts

SS 13 Scarves

March 15th 2013
SS13 Leaf 138 x 138cm Silk or Wool

SS13 Leaf 138 x 138cm Silk or Wool

Very excited about our new SS13 Scarf collection. Digitally printed on beautiful super fine silks and wool fabrics in juicy fruit colours for putting a little bit of sunshine into your wardrobe.

SS13 Lace Scarf 138 x138cm Silk or Wool

SS13 Lace Scarf 138 x138cm Silk or Wool

A selection of colours in store and on line at Liberty

Posted in colour, fashion, pattern, printing, textiles, uncategorized

Inspiring Asia

October 6th 2012

This week I listened and saw 3 interesting and fresh things from Asia that were new to me.

Vogue’s Chinese Editor Angelica Cheung’s video for NOWNESS is a refreshingly modern view on fashion,  it was great to hear her comment on being a working mother and how she has reflected upon this with her work at Vogue …”that since the birth of her daughter her veiw on the modern woman had changed and if she wanted her daughter to become a certain kind of woman that she aspired to then she needed to make sure her readers could become that kind of woman” .

Korea Vogue asked fashion photographer Kim Kyoung Soo to realise a series of fashion portraits based on the  traditionnal Korean costume, Hanbok. These beautiful photos capture a stillness that is so tranquil, I love the colour palettes against the neutral back ground. Images can be seen at  Gallery Paris Beijing


And lastly the number one hit of Korean pop singer PSY, a nice note to go out on on a Friday, I LOVE IT !







Posted in colour, fashion, music, photography

WOW! Barbara Hulanicki

September 25th 2012

Visited the Barbara Hulanicki at the Brighton Museum and was “wowed”!!!

The exhibition captures her energy and design essence, the displays are creative and unstuffy, theres a very ‘Biba’ red wall  with dresses and jackets to try on and imagine the fun of the Biba world.

The show has 3 or 4 brilliant films that portray the creative dynamism of Barbara’s life, one big creative outpouring of fashion illustration, fashion, textiles, interiors, architecture, hotels, cosmetics….starting from her Brighton Art College days right up to her present day endeavours with Top Shop, Habitat and George at ASDA.



Barbara Hulanicki

Not to be missed !

Posted in architecture, art, colour, design, fashion, interior design, pattern, textiles

AW 13 14 Colours

September 24th 2012

Its inspiring to visit Premiere Vision although its always just after London Fashion Week and just before London DesignWeek so no chance for sight seeing or shopping in Paris!

Its hard to sum it ALL up as there is soo much visual information being thrown at you but I will keep it short….

Here are some points from my note book, some times its hard to understand my scrawl and my descriptions so bear with ………

Ornamental Excess Tapestry and Historical, think Gothic and Pre Raphaelite with homage to the Brotherhood – embellished and embossed velvets, oranges, brown – reds, copper, green, smokey blacks, Dandy Jacquards,

Armour influences in its construction shapes / linkage and metallic shines and also in weave constructions.

Patterning in tile formats ie stamp like image repeated in all variations of repeats; 1/2 , 3/4, mirrored etc….

Cement encaustic tiles  Gothic /Victorian/Alhambra.

Tudor / Celtic emblems.

Mathematical patterns “accumulations of micro patterns”.

Trees en mass and dense forests scenes – dark and mysterious landscapes and my favourite Nocturnal Gardens- think dark and moody foliage and flowers, lots of shadow and watercolour brush strokes.

Basket weaves, tapestry Jacquards, knobbly wools, some amazing wild and wooly furs, felted wools for coatings, needle punched knits and very, very chunky sweater knits.

Still life- vases with floral displays, Dutch Masters.

Softly disappearing prints/florals and Tartans

I find it useful to put the colours down in to a collage format,  painting them into strips and then adapting in Photoshop and then writing some notes that I picked up from the show. Quite often the colours I’m drawn to are already in my print palette for example this season its  copper , we used it for Copper Kaleido and I will certainly be looking at using this again for my home range and also for my scarves.

AW 13 14 Collage


Nocturnal Gardens

Nocturnal Garden 2

Posted in colour, design, fashion, pattern, printing, textiles

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

Inspiring Colours for SS13

August 24th 2012
Roof Tops of Skopelos

Roof Tops of Skopelos

A wonder through the town of Skopelos, pink, red and mint green

orange, mint and interesting grid pattern.

Orange and Blue

I set myself a little project whilst on holiday in Greece to see how many things I could take pictures of that weren’t of the blue sea, white sand, white washed houses, blue doors, painted furniture etc… i.e. that weren’t the typical post card images of Greece. I have to say I didn’t get that far with it as the sea and white washed houses are so tempting to snap at….. but I’m glad I did take a few as its really refreshing to look at them now I am back at home and I realise I have 100’s of the same looking white houses and same blue sea!!! Here are a few that I thought fit the colours predicted for Spring Summer 13.

Posted in architecture, colour, design, pattern, photography

Amazing Poppies

May 31st 2012

Poppy Buds


Opened up poppy, although it's a bit windy I managed to hold onto this beauty !

Waiting for a kind bee!


Posted in botanical, colour, photography

After The Storm…

May 18th 2012

The sea seems to be having fun with all this stormy weather.

I found some great pieces along the beach, it  somehow reminded me of Buddhist prayer flags , not sure why maybe the erosion and washed out look of  the material and the way they are draped?

Beautiful and still now but the sea must have thrown them out with some force!

Thought you might like to see these photos they are taken along the South Coast, where sometimes I get the chance to walk my dogs.

Stormy weather at Newhaven

Throw outs from the sea, Eastbourne.

Beach washing line


Gorgeous Green Throw

Colours for SS13

SS13 colour gold


Posted in colour, natural elemnts, photography

Floating in Venice

May 11th 2012

Smell the wisteria.

Vintage wisteria Venice

Grand Canal 'don't look now'

Venice April 12


My recent trip to Venice was blighted with rain, but this didn’t seem to matter as it still felt like a film set.

So much wisteria, the rain just made it smell more heavenly!

When I get a minute I will post some more.

Posted in botanical, colour, vintage

Susan Collier

May 24th 2011

It is very sad to hear the news that Susan Collier tragically died just a few weeks ago before the opening of their retrospective at The National Theatre and just ahead of the re-launch of the Collier Campbell brand. The textile diva sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell had worked together for 50 years producing textile designs for Habitat, Yves Saint Laurent, Cacheral, Liberty, Marks and Spencer, Jaeger to mention just a few of the top names the duo worked for.

 Bauhaus roller-printed cotton furnishing fabric designed by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced by Liberty 1972

Bauhaus roller-printed cotton furnishing fabric designed by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced by Liberty 1972

Collier Campbell Bird fabric

Collier Campbell Bird fabric. Another of my favourites showing their painterly approach.

During the 80’s when I was studying textiles at Camberwell their work was thought of as some of the best around as it portrayed a painterly style that was so very lacking in the majority of prints available on the high street, distinctive for its large brush strokes and thoughtful mark making with accentuated textures all beautifully executed into flowing repeats.

As is quite often the case with textile designers their names are not known to many but most of their work would be widely recognisable and commonly found in the British household, from duvet covers and curtains to make up bags and scarves, a Collier Campbell print is iconoclastic of that time.

Do pop down to the South Bank and check out more. The exhibition is on until July 3rd but if you can’t make, have a listen to the interview about their work on Radio 4 Women’s Hour.

Susan Collier

Susan Collier. Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Posted in colour, interior design, pattern, textiles, vintage

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

Future Style – a round-up from Premiere Vision Spring-Summer 2012

March 11th 2011

Returning from Paris laden down with brochures, swatches and info packs it’s taken a little to digest but here’s my take on last month’s Premiere Vision show.

Florals were a strong presence again, described as ‘bucolic’ at times, other times they were more painterly. There was a dominance of tropical motifs (either palm trees or parrots!), tribal/ethnographic prints and geometric patterns.  In terms of colour, there were loads of really modern-feeling warm brights, sometimes perhaps inspired by Pop Art and Jackson Pollock. Edges of fabrics were often frayed, scalloped or laser cut in ways to deliberately enhance the qualities of the material.

Fruit has been an emerging trend recently (see Stella McCartney’s lemon print dress below) and featured again, mostly lemons, strawberries and cherries but sadly on fabric, these don’t count towards your 5-a-day.


Citrus print dress by Stella McCartney

Citrus print dress by Stella McCartney.

Another growing trend that we’ll still be seeing a lot of this winter and next spring is sequins. Prada featured them in its forthcoming winter collection, large and like fish scales!


Prada's large sequins

Extra-large sequins featured in Prada's Autumn/Winter 2011-12 show. Image from

At Premiere Vision there was a real sense that fabric manufacturers are continuing to experiment with sequins even more in terms of how they are applied and the possibilities of combining them with other techniques and materials.

The best thing about Premiere Vision is that it’s an opportunity to see first-hand what the very best manufacturers are doing and check out the newest innovations and creative technologies. My favourite of the show was Jakob Schlaepfer. Two of their fabrics particularly caught my eye. One was a layered piece with a butterfly print layered onto chiffon with scalloped sequined edges.


Sketches at Premiere Vision

Trying to capture the intricate and delicate Jakob Schlaepfer fabric in my sketchbook!

The other was covered in white sequins that were reversible by touch. On the back they were digitally printed with a floral pattern. It’s hard to describe but it was really amazing. Here are a few images:


Sequinned reverse fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Visitors to Premiere Vision play with the reverse print sequin fabric. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Intricate fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Detail of one of Jakob Schlaepfer's intricate fabrics. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Intricate Fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Another 'haute' fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Posted in colour, pattern, printing, review, textiles, trends

Premiere Vision Autumn/Winter 2011 – 2012

September 30th 2010

The other day when I popped over to trends and fabrics fair Premiere Vision in Paris I scribbled down a few observations I thought worth sharing.

The most noticeably recurring trend was for fabrics that felt very luxurious and soft, yet weighty at the same time – whether cashmeres, silks, shearling or boiled wool. And there seems to be less and less separation between textiles for interiors and fashion.

There were lots of surreal, fairy-tale inspired prints – artist Frederique Morrel combines this with another trend; tapestry.

Image © Frederique Morrel

She also has an exhibition on at the Galerie Chevalier where she’s using 18th and 19th century tapestries to create a series of animals, if you’re in Paris, I’m sure is worth seeing.

The inspiring thing about Premiere Vision is seeing the key themes brought to life in huge styled and curated spaces. These included ‘Disruptive Weaves’ (tight yet soft textures), ‘Deceptively Austere’ (antiqued looking super-soft boiled wools), ‘Luxurious Heaviness’ (faux fur and satins), ‘Fierce Softness’ (strong velvets) ‘Natural Knop’, ‘Beyond Tradition’ (contemporary, sculptural lace), ‘Strange Nature’ (spooky, leaf-less trees) and ‘Zoo’ (bizarre monkey and bird imagery)

Last time I was there, blues were a key colour and they’re still very much in evidence, especially turquoises – often combined with yellows and golds, and sky blues. The other colour that seemed to pop up a lot was a burnt orange as well as misty pinks and reds. A palette called ‘Candied Fruits’ summed this up. Here’s my take on the new colours, which I’m thinking of exploring:

A palette of colours I'm playing with

Posted in colour, design, fashion, pattern, review, textiles, trends

Red hot

September 17th 2010

All summer I was meaning to check out this year’s Serpentine pavilion. French architect Jean Nouvel was in charge of the latest garden addition and what an amazing job he’s done…

A view of the pavilion

Nouvel's pavilion with matching flowers!

A view of the pavilion from the gallery

The pavilion as seen from the gallery

Red has so many associations with Britain and London in particular with our red buses, Beefeaters and so on. But the colour doesn’t just mean tradition, it’s sexy and is definitely having a bit of a moment right now. Along with camel, red has been bubbling under for a while and is a colour we’re going to see a lot of this season, in both fashion and interiors.

For me, red is a colour I’m quite careful with in my work; it can really dominate. Yet even here where it’s such a dense, dare I say ‘true’ red, it doesn’t appear overpowering.

The structure has very bold geometric shapes, the steep slopes and slanted angles give the red its sharply tailored footprint.

Pavilion in detail

The structure and geometry in detail

With seating under retractable awnings it is a great place to stop and just feel the space. With a café and ping pong tables outside, it has a real sense of fun and warmth that will cheer one up even on these rainy days as we head towards autumn.

Pavilion with ping pong tables

A table tennis game at the pavilion

Posted in architecture, colour, trends