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

Know your lace!

February 6th 2012

As Hugh Montgomery says in this Sunday’s Independent ” Know your lace cos it’s not just for doilies and dresses ……”

Thanks Hugh.

Know your lace. Hugh Montgomery, IoS, 5th February, 2012

Posted in design, fashion, pattern, trends, uncategorized, wallpaper

Made in the UK, we should be proud

September 20th 2011

At the moment its very much about having a look that ignites a mood, the resurgence of wallpaper way back in 2000 has made it the catalyst for the pattern boom we are seeing today it started on the walls and has spread right across fashion to furniture to ceramics. People are more connected to pattern now in this country, which means they can more easily digest and relate to it in their homes.

Jocelyn Warner Wallpaper Wisteria Silver Blue

Jocelyn Warner Wallpaper Wisteria Silver Blue


Flowers and plants of all sorts are still really powerful in print, they offer a form of beauty that with the right colourway and printing process can create a mood of tranquility and calm even if the repeat size is on the larger scale. I think ( from a designers point of view) that scanners, digital photography / digital printing has revolutionized the way we look at nature “enlarged” and “close up” dissecting images into pixelated abstracts; very much like when photography first hit the art scene when you had photographers such as Karl Blossfeldt taking purposely styled studies of plants. It made people look up close at texture and form, the same has happened now with designers using new technology, you get the chance to get in close to you subjects and this means you can form a closer relationship, generating a different mood.

The colour and tone you can alter at a click of the mouse has revolutionised design and I think the wallpaper and print we see now on the high street possesses some of the finest design and print qualities for a long time. Considering most of these are designed and manufactured in the UK we should be very proud.

Posted in botanical, design, pattern, textiles, trends, wallpaper

Home is where the art is

May 18th 2011

It’s Brighton and Hove Artist Open House time, a unique experience for people to drop in on the lives of artists’ homes and studios.

I managed to visit The Old Forge in South Heighton just the other side of Newhaven in East Sussex. It’s a beautiful flintstone house and a wonderful wild garden setting for the outdoor sculpture of the owner Christian Funnell. Inside the house there are paintings by Sarah Young and Guy Funnell (who I loved) textiles by Wallace Sewell and Cressida Bell to name just a few. If you’re feeling peckish they have got the most scrumptious cupcakes, buns and cups of tea.

The garden at The Old Forge

The garden at The Old Forge. Image courtesy of

After leaving The Old Forge I walked down the lane and stumbled across the most amazing place. South Heighton Pottery is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Ursula and Norman Mommens work and life where they lived. It’s another beautiful Sussex house and studio with pottery buildings and like The Old Forge has a remarkable garden setting,  perfect for displaying sculptural pots and garden seats by the potters Chris Lewis and Chris Ford, and collages by Jane Robbins which you come to first in the studio barn.

South Heighton Pottery

South Heighton Pottery

The garden at South Heighton Pottery

The garden at South Heighton Pottery

A bench in the garden by Chris Lewis

Small figurine

Small figurine

I hadn’t heard of the work of Ursula Mommens before so I was very happy when entering the house to discover a retrospective show of her and her husband’s work including pottery, paintings and sculpture. Ursula was a direct descendent of another famous potter, Josiah Wedgwood and a great granddaughter of Charles Darwin.  She trained at the Central School of Art in London and then at the Royal College of Art in the 1920s and here you’ll see pieces that stretch from these very early days to others made to celebrate the Festival of Britain.

Ursula believed in making pots that people could use on a daily basis; their shape and forms are soft and flowing, taking on the roles of every day objects, jugs, plates, cups and bowls with a subtle, understated beauty. Many of the pots on show in the house are earthenware using a clay body she developed herself with ash glaze.

A display of pots by Ursula Mommens

A display of pots by Ursula Mommens

There are chalky and natural clay feeling vessels with some of the plates on display having dark tan and black hues illustrated with cobalt and iron brushwork. Ursula shared her pottery with Chris Lewis (who also curated this beautiful show) in the later years thus enabling her to work well into her 90’s and she lived to the grand age of 101!

Older Ursula working

An older Ursula still at work

There are also more delicious teas and cakes here all served in wonderful ceramics. If you’re in the area please pop in you will really enjoy it! The exhibition is on every weekend til the end of May and you can find it at:

South Heighton Pottery
East Sussex, BN9 0HL
Tel. 07754814067

Posted in art, design, handmade, review

Li Edelkoort on trends in textiles

May 3rd 2011

The most important event in the furniture design calendar, the Salone in Milan, ended recently. There’s always so much news that comes out of it but now I’ve had a chance to go through everything I thought I’d pick out one thing in particular that caught my eye, the ever wise Li Edelkoort’s exhibition Talking Textiles held at the Spazio Gianfranco Ferré.

Li Edelkoort talking to Domus

Li Edelkoort giving a tour of 'Talking Textiles'. Image courtesy of Domusweb

When Edelkoort gave a guided tour to Domus magazine she made some interesting comments that compare the upsurge in the use of textiles in the home nowadays – “a full-on textile tsunami”  to the 70s when the world had fallen in love with plastic. Thank heavens! Let’s hope this continues as she does sound a word of caution that if the textiles trend doesn’t continue we’re in danger of seeing the end of the industry. And we wouldn’t want that!

You can click on the photograph above to watch the video and designboom has a great selection of images too.

Posted in design, interior design, textiles, trends

Designers for Japan

April 7th 2011

I read the Designersforjapan blog today and thought it was really uplifting that designers are working collectively together to raise funds and awareness for Japan, all proceeds go to The British Red Cross Japan appeal.

This post tells just how daunting the situation is:

Toru Yoshikawa on daily life in Tokyo
I’ve heard that many art exhibitions have been canceled.
 France have decided to stop shipping art works to japan.
Some museums’ yearly budget was cut for affected area restoration.
 Now I really feel that we must think intensively and fundamentally
of 3 years future from now.
 And I believe it will determine 10 years future of this country.
Everything has been affected by the disaster in Japan and how the aftershock is still carrying on in the lives of the Japanese.

Also, as part of the initiative, there is an interesting launch at next week’s Milan Furniture Fair with the Michael Sodeau & Suikosha/Anything at Zegna in Milan stationery range the proceeds of which will going to the disaster fund.

Michael Sodeau/Anything Stationery Collection

Michael Sodeau/Anything Stationery Collection. Image courtesy of designersforjapan

Posted in design, product design

Shopper’s paradise

March 29th 2011

Redchurch Street’s reinvention as the area’s best shopping street seems unstoppable, both APC and Labour and Wait have moved in to join Aesop, Sunspel and Caravan. A.P.C is at number 5a and Labour and Wait further down at number 85.

5a Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ
T +44 (0)207 729 7727

Labour and Wait
85 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Telephone +44 (0)20 7729 6253

Posted in design, fashion, interior design, product design, trends

Robin and Lucienne Day – Design and the Modern Interior

March 29th 2011
Robin and Lucienne Day

Robin and Lucienne Day. Image courtesy of Robin Day

A new exhibition of Robin and Lucienne Day’s work has just opened at Pallant House. As Chichester was the couple’s hometown, this is a perfect place for the exhibition, which draws heavily on a collection of their work owned by H Kirk Brown III and Jill A Wiltse from Denver, USA.

Seeing such big pieces of original fabrics is great. You can really feel the quality of the cottons and linens which in those days were less heavily treated. Being left in a more raw state, the fabrics seem more substantial than ours nowadays. In terms of the size of her repeat patterns, Lucienne worked at a much larger-scale than her forbears and I think that’s what gives her designs their modernity. Looking at them this weekend they appeared as crisp and fresh as in the ‘50s and ‘60s. All the greats are in there, including Rock Rose, Runic, Linden (which my mum and dad had in our house when I was growing up!) and Flotilla, the pattern that Lucienne apparently thought came closest pattern to a painting.

Flotilla by Lucienne Day

Flotilla, 1952, Screenprinted cotton, rayon and linen. Image courtesy of Classic Textiles

Small Hours by Lucienne Day, 1951

Small Hours, 1951. A lovely navy and salmon pink screenprinted cotton. Courtesy of the collection of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III


The exhibition also features Robin Day’s timeless furniture and his brilliant radios including the 1108 for Pye, which won a Design Centre Award in 1966.

Robin Day sideboard for Hille, 1949

Robin Day sideboard for Hille, 1949. Courtesy of Target Gallery, London

Model 1108 radio for Pye by Robin Day

Model 1108 radio for Pye by Robin Day. Image courtesy of the Science Museum

Hand-in-hand with the Day exhibition is A Tonic to the Nation: The Festival of Britain in Pallant House’s De’Longhi Print Room. It marks the 60th anniversary of the Festival that the Days’ were heavily involved with. It features souvenirs, posters and memorabilia.

A Tonic to the Nation is on until 8th May and Robin and Lucienne have taken up residence until 26th June.

Posted in design, interior design, pattern, product design, review, textiles

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

Green Style

March 11th 2011

Something environmentally-friendly that looks great at the same time, the Plumen 001 lightbulb ticks both boxes and has just won the Product category of the Brit Insurance Design awards. We have one in our studio and I love it. The shape is so pretty and the light is powerful enough to work by without too much glare that you can use it without a shade.



Plumen 001 lightbulb by Hulger and Samuel Wilkinson

Posted in design, product design

Swedish style

March 11th 2011

A few days ago I was in snowy Stockholm for only my second ever visit to the city. Luckily I had quite a bit of time to wander around and also squeezed in a visit to Mariefred and its castle, which is about 1 hour away.


Mariefred Castle

The magnificent castle in Mariefred

The old houses of Mariefred

It was -20 degrees and very snowy!

Back in the city, I have been a huge fan of architect, designer and artist Josef Frank since my degree days at Camberwell and so a visit to Svenskt Tenn was a ‘must do’. This time was better than ever as they have temporarily re-located whilst renovating their original store and currently running a pop-up shop in an old Art Deco cinema , the Astoria which is amazing!


Astoria Cinema - exterior

The exterior of the Astoria Cinema

Astoria interior

Interior which has made a feature of the original screen

The Astoria is a great setting for all the products; the stage houses some huge sofas upholstered in the newly launched Josef Frank ‘Marble’ velvets, influenced by the work of Jackson Pollock which he first saw in New York. Have a look at this animation of the Marble 4420 print:


Marble 4420 by Josef Frank

Marble 4420 by Josef Frank. Motion graphic designer Mika Pollack

Where the audience seats used be has been left pretty much as it was (but with the seats removed obviously!) and is eclectically styled. You have to keep reminding yourself that Joseph and Esrid Ericson produced these pieces over 50 years ago because it looks so of the moment right now.

Astoria - main space

Astoria main space and staircase

As you can tell I really, really loved this current shop. It seems to have transformed the Svensk Tenn look, generating a younger feel. I hope they keep it alongside the newly refurbished store. And can we have one in London please?!

Another totally awesome visit was the Nordiska Museum housing Swedish trends and traditions.

I could have spent all day here and will definitely visit again. The folk art rooms are lovely, an artform that blossomed in Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries. They have everything from knitted socks to beautiful Swedish furniture on display.


Nordiska - Folk art detail

A detail of decorative folk art

Folk art socks

Hand knitted socks

Elsewhere is the Nordiska’s interiors section with room sets of each Swedish home setting rather like a cross between our V&A and the Geffrye Museum

One of my favourites was the Table Settings exhibition which is really beautifully put together in little room sets featuring settings from 16th century to 1950’s Here I have taken a few snaps (as they are behind glass they are a bit blurred but some how that makes them look more authentic I think!)–highlighting food and drink and the customs and traditions linked to meals .

Room set at the Nordiska

Table setting at the Nordiska

Posted in architecture, art, design, handmade, interior design, pattern, textiles

Robin Day 1915 – 2010

December 21st 2010

The great designer Robin Day passed away earlier this month . I’d posted something about his equally talented wife Lucienne in April and it’s so sad that they’ve both died this year.

I remember our sitting room at home when I was little had a Robin Day sofa and we also had curtains by Lucienne. Saving up to buy the land and then build our house took 5 years , my parents didn’t have a lot of spare money when it came to the furniture but what they did have was great and lasted all their lives! It was bought from Heal’s which, at that time, was virtually the only place in England where you could modern and contemporary design, rather than antique reproduction.

Robin Day sofa bed for Hille – image courtesy of mark parrish mid century modern

Like many people, another fond childhood memory is of a classroom filled with Robin Day’s stackable chair, found in so many schools up and down the country. I always liked his brilliant  ‘Polo’ chair, which went back into production by Loft in 2000.

Polo by Robin Day

Such a classic it was even featured on a stamp!

Robin Day was an innovator and key part of the British population’s gradual embracing of modern design. As such he was greatly respected by the younger generation of designers like Tom Dixon (also responsible for re-issuing the ‘Forum’ sofa while he was creative director at Habitat) and Matthew Hilton.

It’s lovely to think he and Lucienne had such long, successful lives to still have been around to see how appreciated and influential they were.

Robin and Lucienne Day

Robin and Lucienne Day. Image courtesy of My Deco

Posted in design, interior design, product design