There is something very pleasing about the chair I have just worked on with Rachel. I love so many things about it so I may come over all gushy! I love that its beginnings are from vintage pattern papers that Rachel found in charity shops, which she scanned in, to form the basis of her digital design, the merging of old and new:
“My work often combines hand-stitching and digital print which is something that I was able to push further than ever before with this collaboration. The pattern was created by scanning in vintage paper embroidery patterns sourced from charity shops, re-purposed to create something new. I love that the design has its roots in embroidery and we came full circle! "
" I've always been drawn to archives and paper ephemera, especially when it comes to textile patterns. There's something about the ordered structure of symbols and grids contrasting with the fluidity of threads that I keep returning to time after time, it seems to be the point where craft meets graphic design.”
We discussed colour-ways at great length, there were so many choices and of course it was difficult to narrow down and make a final choice, such hard decisions to have to make! I am so pleased with our final choice and the wools we chose to hand embroider onto the chair enhance the design wonderfully, jewel like in their quality!
Great too, that we can tweak colour-ways for future commissions should a customer have a particular colour scheme in mind, a rainbow of embroidered Pixel chairs, now that would be really something!
I am really looking forward to my first Selvedge Fair this coming weekend at Charleston in Firle, Lewes, the local element is particularly appealing, having done some shows in London this year that involve several days away from home with the obvious logistical investment. There is something to say for doing a show in your hometown in a place that you love and have been a frequent visitor to in the time that you have lived there. Charleston is a beautiful setting and Selvedge instinctively feels like a very good fit for my latest work. And it is just down the road!
I produced a chair for Charleston several years ago, one of my first commissions in fact, in their Duncan Grant fabric, pictured. Since then it has been quite a journey setting up and establishing my young business in which I work with contemporary textile designers to produce bespoke fabrics for the upholstered chairs we select and work on in collaboration.
My passion for embroidered or embellished chairs has gathered pace this year and I am excited to release my next two chairs in this series. The first piece in this luxury collection is my Georgia Bosson Armchair that was showcased in July at Craftcentral in Clerkenwell. Georgia has manipulated felted wool discs into an organic flowing design onto the back of the chair. The results are stunning, do read earlier journal posts for further background and inspiration behind the design and visit the shop for more details.
Next up are two pieces I have been working on, right up to the eleventh hour, to produce them in time for the Selvedge Fair this weekend, tomorrow in fact! With Rachel Parker we have produced a hand embroidered chair. Rachel’s fabric is designed by scanning in vintage paper embroidery patterns bought in a charity shop and laying her own design over the top of this grid. She then comes full circle by embellishing the fabric with her own hand embroidery. So clever, and such incredible depth to her work. I will write more soon on her inspiration and process.
With EvA Bespoke Textile Studio I have been working with the partnership who are Ellie Mac Embroidery and Amelia Graham Textile Designer in a three way collaboration to produce a stunning piece of heavy weight cotton sateen fabric that is free hand machine embroidered and upholstered onto our chosen chair. More to follow on the work that went into the design and the process of the beautiful embroidered fabric.
Meanwhile the clock is ticking! Looking forward to meeting new faces and old friends tomorrow at Charleston.
I saw some work Georgia had done on Instagram for The White Company that manipulated felted wool discs into a beautiful pattern. Having wanted to explore working with fabrics that are embellished or manipulated in some way I got in touch. And this is where it all started I am very pleased to say.
Georgia says “For this project I was keen to work with the factory who have supplied my felt skeletons for the past three years and it felt like the perfect opportunity to have my own washers cut for the first time and see what I could come up with when working with one shape in repetition.
The final design was inspired by a drawing of fishing nets and the undulating texture that appears when they are bundled together. I wanted to ensure that some of the plain wool fabric visible in the final design so that the flow of the stitching could be fully appreciated.”
The beauty of this chair is that from the front it is a sophisticated and seemingly simple chair with subtle mustard piping to compliment in a luxurious wool from Bute
However from the sides and the back the beautiful embellishment that Georgia has designed and produced is really quite stunning. I love the fact that the chair is being quite shy about its beauty. So of course it would need to find a home where the back could be appreciated too, some space around it, it would be a shame not to.
It has been such a delight to work on these exclusive pieces for the Ravilious exhibition that opened at the Towner Art Gallery on 27th May.
A huge exhibition, I'm going back as I couldn't take it all in on my first visit. 'Ravilious worked within a wide network of artists, friends and lovers influenced by Paul Nash's teaching at the Royal College of Art - Edward Bawden, Barnett Freedman, Enid Marx, Tirzah Garwood, Percy Horton, Peggy Angus, and Helen Binyon amongst others.'
'This exhibition explores how they influenced each other and the significance in this pattern of friendship of women artists, whose place within the history of British art has often been neglected.' The Pattern of Friendship by Andy Friend.
I've learnt so much in these last months and am looking forward to returning to take more of it in. Do go if you're in the South East or come down if you're not, it's really very good!
I’m delighted to have collaborated with Towner Art Gallery to curate a collection of beautiful bespoke chairs, especially created for the exhibition Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, using fabric designs by Enid Marx and Paul Nash. The patterns were originally designed for A Specimen Book of Pattern Papers by Curwen Press and have been recreated in fabric by Hatley Print of Lewes.
It’s been such a privilege to work with Towner Art Gallery on this collaboration and exciting to be able to develop exclusive fabrics with such renowned artists. The inspiration behind the designs lies within the book of pattern papers, thirty-one designs in all. It was difficult to choose from so many beautiful designs which to create into fabrics for our chairs, other artists being Tirzah Garwood, Edward Bawden and of course Eric Ravilious. What lovely decisions to have to make!
I am so pleased to know that, under license and contract with Towner, I can produce more of the chosen fabrics. Also to know, that I have the possibility to be able to develop other artists’ designs for future commissions from customers wanting to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. To own a Paul Nash chair, or a Ravilious chair, or an Enid Marx chair, it’s very exciting to be a part of this.
The Paul Nash Ercol Sofa, below, will be united with a selection of cushions in Paul Nash, Enid Marx and Eric Ravilious designs for the opening of the exhibition ‘Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendhip’ this Saturday 27th May. This piece will remain a permanent fixture at Towner.
Both the Paul Nash Black and White Armchair and the Enid Marx Orange Lines Cocktail Chair are available to purchase, for collection after the exhibition.
Photography thanks to tickingstripephotography
When the conversation started with the Towner to discuss a commission for a bench for the foyer for the upcoming touring exhibition Ravilious & Co: The pattern of Friendship, it soon became apparent that one bench would not be sufficient.
I have always had a bit of a thing for a collection of three chairs, not two, or more or even one. There is something about three. I would also apply this to planting in the garden, pictures on the wall, and vases of flowers on the table. Three as a collection works. They’re a unit, a family and they compliment each other. Importantly they do need to be different to compliment each other. Lucky then that I have the privilege of being able to develop and create three exclusive chairs for this project:)
Enter to the stage my ‘Three Piece Sweet’, or rather, three pieces for this exhibition. The bench will quite literally become part of the furniture at Towner, I am proud to say, a commission for them, whilst the other two chairs will be for sale from me.
The exhibition www.townereastbourne.org.uk explores the relationships and working collaborations between Ravilious and his affiliates, Paul Nash, Enid Marx, Tirzah Garwood and Edward Bawden amongst others.
The inspiration for the fabrics began with the beautiful book, ‘A Specimen book of Pattern Papers’; Curwen Press 1928.
It has been both exciting and difficult to choose just three designs from the thirty one beautiful pattern papers in this gorgeous book. I am reassured in the knowledge that, under license and contract with the Towner, I will have the privilege of developing exclusive fabrics for future commissions.
So the three designs we have selected are; a bold Paul Nash fabric for a lovely Ercol bench I have sourced. Another Paul Nash design for a new chair shape that has some beautiful woodwork. And an Enid Marx Cocktail chair. More on these in the next post, I’m looking forward to seeing them all come together and to see the exhibition as a whole. It opens on May 27th, details in the link above.
Depending on the designer I am working with, sometimes they produce hand-screen printed textiles, or hand woven textiles. I also often work with designers to produce digitally printed fabric. This is where the 'pantone colour fabric sampler' is an essential tool to discuss colour and get the exact match for a particular design.
I and the designer consult the colour chart to discuss and confirm designs. The discussion has often led to the question of why this piece of fabric is not available as a fabric. The colour fabric sampler would be a beautiful fabric in its own right and make a stunning chair too. So I thought why not?
I sourced the fabric from one of the digital fabric printing companies that I work with and a little bit of tweaking was required to create a pattern repeat. Unique and rather special, this fabric is not available by the metre and can only be bought as this one off upholstered pantone desk chair. The frame was powder coated in a dark blue by a local powder coating business offering an unlimited range of colours - great for all future projects!
I am currently in the throes of upholstering this 1970s metal framed desk chair with the pantone colour fabric sampler fabric – it works brilliantly in an office space where chairs are required to be practical an functional, but can often be quite dull.
I want to create practical, functional and comfortable chairs that also offer a showstopper element. Why can't the simple desk chair be something that makes you smile? For most people you go to work and sit in it for up to five days a week. If you're lucky you might work from home or have a studio and it is lovely to have a work space that is cheery and bright – this chair will not only be practical it will be beautiful too and will brighten up your working day!
My first pantone desk chair will be finished in the next few weeks, watch this space, work spaces will never be regarded as dull or boring again!
Just a little excited to be exhibiting at Design Junction 2016, a first for me, to launch six new capsule collections of beautifully reupholstered chairs in collaboration with contemporary textile designers.
So who are the designers? All the pieces that have been produced are exclusive to Elizabeth Rose. The fabrics that have been designed and developed are not available by the metre so each chair is a true exclusive, a one off bespoke piece. A work of art in a chair no less. I cannot wait to unveil them.
This show is the first opportunity to see a collection of three cocktail chairs with Rebecca Hoyes, an inspirational surface pattern designer and colourist specialising in textiles. Rebecca's curiosity about materials and processes is explored by merging traditional and contemporary craft techniques. The results are rich and beautiful, a painterly design in a deep and muted colour palette on luxury velvet fabric.
Another debut collection, I will be showcasing Lou Taylor's gorgeous Swimmers design on a fabulous retro swivel chair, so good. Lou's designs take a playful and graphic approach to iconic subjects, take swimming pools for example! Also with Lou I am excited to launch a trio of rather special chairs that have a chatty theme in common! Think gossip, think talking time...to be revealed.
Also for the first time, a collection of four Bauhaus style chairs the fabric for which has been designed by Emma Jeffs of NandN Wares. Emma layers and blends digital marks to create a tailor made fabric. Each part of the print is engineered for each section of the chair. Totally bespoke and stunning results, the colours and design within draw you in and the more you study them the more you see. Emma is also exhibiting at Decorex16 as part of their future heritage showcase.
You'll also be able to see another very lovely trio of midcentury wooden armchairs with beautifully hand screen printed designs onto panels of linen. Rosie Moss's dreamy designs are hand drawn and this Astronomy collection has a distinctly starry theme. One of my great loves is piping and these chairs deliver on this front.
And another debut, as Autumn approaches what better way to embrace the change in the season than with a mini collection of two beautiful midcentury wooden armchairs with hand woven textile design by Holly Berry. Holly's designs celebrate the heritage and tradition of woven textiles in the UK, at the same time embracing contemporary design and a maximalist colour palette. Gorgeous.
Last but by no means least is a showstopper of a collection, a range of six Ernest Race dining chairs with HelloMarine. Marine's style is bold, colourful and joyful and the hand screen printed designs in three colourways look stunning against minimalist black metal frames.
So many new developments to show to you, I do hope you feel inspired to come and visit. You can find Elizabeth Rose on stand 18a, we look forward to meeting you.
Too good not to share, some beautiful images of the process behind Rosie Moss's designs. Rosie hand draws her work first before experimenting with the composition of the design. She then hand screen prints onto panels of fabric that have been selected and pre-cut to size for the chairs that we have agreed to work on.
When I approached her about this collaboration she suggested the theme of Astronomy, so all things starry and celestial developed. It was a dream project to work on together on with a beautiful end result.
Having coveted Marine's work from afar for some time I approached her with the proposal of a collaboration in which to produce her designs onto fabric for a selected number of chairs. I also love the fact that she is local to me, I live in Lewes, she in Brighton, it's so great to work with talented designers who are on my doorstep, making beautiful products together feels serendipitous! Her giclee print 'Orange Chair is destined for my studio wall and available from www.hellomarine.com
We started out discussing chair shapes from my existing stock and it seemed an obvious choice to go for the Ernest Race dining chairs. Funny how these chairs seem to reflect Marine's style even in their original state: simple clean black metal frame upholstered in the original bright blue vinyl, they already looked striking. The chair seat and back panels could be likened to canvases, akin to Marine's illustrated prints.
We discussed digitally printing fabric, this may well be a project for a future date, but for the time being we decided that hand screen printed fabric would be a good way to launch a small number of chairs. I am keen to work with designers using different methods of fabric production. Having worked on a previous project with digitally designed fabric it was nice to embrace a production method at the other end of the spectrum. And of course I was keen to visit Marine's studio in Brighton to see how it is done.
I asked Marine about the inspiration behind her designs: “Mexican art and native patterns have been a major source of inspiration in my work recently. This pattern is called 'Leon'.” Marine has also recently worked with Heals www.heals.com to produce a limited edition range of cushions in three different designs including the 'Leon' design. “ The geometric pattern adds a modern edge to Mexican art through its bold use of colour”.
Her designs are printed onto acetate. They then go through a process of applying a photo sensitive emulsion to the screen to react to the UV light source which exposes the design. Once this is rinsed off Marine applies the ink to the screen and repeatedly swipes the squeegee with a sweeping motion backwards and forwards to push the ink through the mesh onto the fabric.
Lift up the screen and 'voila' you have the beautiful Leon design, hand screen printed onto natural denim in a gorgeous Matisse blue, bright turquoise and bright green.
Next, over to me to work my magic on the chairs.There lies another post:)
I knew of www.butefabrics.com back from my Habitat days when Tom Dixon, our then Design Director, worked with them to produce some beautiful textured woollen weaves in rich dark colours for Habitat upholstery. We sourced product from all over the world and so for me it was really refreshing to be working with a supplier based on an Island off the coast of Scotland, so wonderful to have such quality produced so close to home.
On a recent visit to see my brother in Scotland I felt an extra excursion to this little Island off the west coast had to be worked into my trip. Thankfully my brother was very accommodating and fell in with my plans. He brought along his wetsuit to go swimming in the freezing cold sea, rather him than me, whilst I had an inspiring visit learning more about this amazing mill and the production techniques and seeing some of the most stunning colourful weaved fabrics. I love that Bute Fabrics is a design led, contemporary, high end producer of beautiful quality fabrics, yet it is tucked away on a small island, accessible only by ferry. It feels all the more special for this.
My work often involves working in collaboration with designers or artists and illustrators to produce bespoke fabrics with which to work on my chairs but I also want to offer my customer a range of existing fabrics to provide more choice and flexibility. I hold a small number of sample look books at my studio, one of which is Bute. I also hope that I may work in collaboration with them in the future as their fabrics can be customised for clients for as little as 100 metres, or 50 metres for piece dyes. So, for that big project that could be on the horizon, I love to think that one day there could be an exclusive design between myself and Bute.
The first thing that struck me when I walked through the door was the incredible noise. It was so loud that we could barely hold a conversation. The first step in the process is the spinner that converts the wool into yarn. This is done by straightening the fibres, before simultaneously pulling and twisting, converting the wool into a fine yarn.
Suzie Johanson is an established designer with over twenty years’ experience working with a diverse range of businesses, design agencies and publishers.
Her work spans projects in brand identity, logo design, web design, publishing and packaging. Whenever her work allows, Suzie always strives to incorporate colour into her design. This is her passion. And it is mine too!
Suzie has wanted to expand her design work to pattern and print for some time, so when I approached her to design the logo (she did a fantastic job!) for my new business venture ‘threepiecesweet’ - collections of three chairs in collaboration with contemporary textile designers - we got talking, and then talked some more. In a very wonderful serendipitous way we embarked on the journey we currently find ourselves on.
Suzie is in the throes of designing some beautiful contemporary patterns which will be unveiled at Artwave 2015 this summer from her home in East Sussex. I’ve been on the look-out for contemporary textile designers with whom I can collaborate with for a while, so I’m very excited we’ve met and started working together. I hope my first collection of ‘threepiecesweet’ with Suzie will be the first of many collaborations to come.
As our project progressed we had the good fortune to discover and work with Hatley Print. Experts in digital fabric printing, they boast an impressive track record of clients in the film industry, interiors, theatre costume, fashion and the art world. They started out as specialists in hand silk screen printing onto textiles and wallpaper for some of the most prestigious creative industries in London.
As technology has evolved towards digital fabric printing, Hatley have positively embraced this development in their work. They have become experts in digital fabric printing, offering a design and consultancy service built on quality and excellence. I had the pleasure of meeting Dan and Rosa at their offices in Lewes last week and came away in awe of what they do. The precision with which they work is absolute. There is no room for error. A hair that might find its way into the machine at any time could ruin the print run and would mean starting again from scratch, throwing away metres of expensively printed fabric.
The digital printing method means that designs and colour possibilities are infinite. Suzie and I feel privileged and excited to be working with them and to have their expertise and knowledge on board.
Above, work in progress, Suzie has chosen a high quality linen on which to print her design. After an initial sample run here she is choosing the final colours with a Hatley colour palette so that they can set up for the first print run.
You can see Suzie's beautiful designs over in the gallery and shop. The final designs were selected by us, produced by Hatley and have been upholstered by me onto gorgeous midcentury cocktail chairs.