Holly Berry – Woven Code

I was really taken by these little squares of woven morse code when I first came across them. As a child I remember being fascinated by this secret language. Weaver Holly Berry has managed to capture some of this quiet mystery, and woven it into something very lovely indeed. Different on each side of the cloth, her blankets and scarves hide secret messages, stories and memories, that can be passed down for generations.

Holly’s larger blankets are woven in a 250 year old mill in Scotland and spell the word ‘LOVE’ throughout them in Morse-code. Her scarves and wraps are woven by hand in her South London studio. Holly can also make something to a bespoke design – tell her the message or story that you want to be hidden in the blanket, and she will make it for you.

I think this is such a fascinating idea – I love the thought of creating something which contains maybe an important family story, or a private message of love, to be kept and remembered.

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This mix of art and function makes these blankets really special I feel. There is a celebration of craft and traditional practice, but which also encompasses the new world, and our love for storytelling and a sense of value.

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“My luxury woven cloths, accessories and blankets are to be used everywhere and anywhere, inside and out, providing the warmth of wrapping yourself up in a protective and decorative layer, and enriching your experience with colour, warmth and love. I wish to create heirlooms that capture memories and stories and encourage an emotive connection between textile and owner.

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I’m always fascinated by where people get their inspiration – Holly seems to find it all over the place – the inspirations gallery on her blog shows a wide variety of sources and starting points, from chalk drawn pavements to note book sketches and piles of old fish crates – colours of skies, slates, and powdery sweets..acidic yellows and oranges adding an edge..there’s a sense of both the urban and the natural world, woven into one..and still that great feeling that always inspires me, of something that has taken time, thought, and a human hand to create.

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You can read more about Holly and her work on her website and blog –

www.hollyberryprojects.com.

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Timorous Beasties

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Some of my favourite wallcoverings at the moment from design studio Timorous Beasties. (Click twice to enlarge)

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1. Birds ‘n’ Bees, Duck Egg Blue. Shimmering, light reflecting, ever so slightly textured, in the most beautiful range of colours. The details in this design, the bird colours in particular, are heavenly.

2. Euro Damask Hand-Print, Reds on Cream.

3. Iguana Superwide, Black on Ivory. An intricate pattern with a hand drawn quality, reminiscent to me of historical botanical book illustrations. Manages to be both sweet and a little nasty.

4. Butterflies, in Ochre. Here are golds, powdery silver hued pinks and mauves, and tiny patches of green that really catch the light. The paper has a lovely textural quality to the surface, like tissue paper.

6. Tree of Life, in Raspberry. A soft, dreamy pattern that has a hint of the past about it, brought to life by smooth ripples of pale pink.

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There are printed fabrics, cushions, lampshades and rugs too, in many different colour choices.

Timorous Beasties also provide a bespoke service, from custom colours to original artwork. All design work takes place at their Glasgow Studio, where they continue to hand-print many of their fabrics and wallpapers.

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www.timorousbeasties.com

Be Lucky!

I love the feeling of a New Year. It’s a bit like the sensations you experience (hopefully minus the dread) at the start of a new school term, where you have your new pencils, unsharpened, your new books, uncreased, and your new school shirt, a bit cardboardy. It is that sense of possibility that I love – a time when you can make all sorts of resolutions (that you probably won’t keep) and imagine all that is going to come. It’s odd how a day can make a difference. A rubbish year the day before can be transformed into a new one, time for a fresh new beginning.

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What a perfect time to find this new fabric from The Colourhouse! The fabric, a linen and organic cotton mix, is named “Be Lucky” – exactly the bright and playful spirit that we need in this wet grey January.  There is a lovely feeling of elegance and nostalgia in this print, whilst remaining relaxed and contemporary, with colours that remind me of peppery mustard fields, bone china teacups and beautiful old pieces of rusted iron.

The Colourhouse, launched at Tent London in 2011, is a small, independent, handprint wallpaper and textile company. Marian’s professional background in interior design and painting and Jo’s in costume for TV and film, gives the collection a really eclectic feel. They are also concerned with environmental sustainability, and aim to minimise the impact of their design and making processes. Keen to celebrate traditional skills in dye, print and making, their base cloths and papers are produced and printed by hand in the UK.

As their name might suggest, these people certainly know colour – almost powdery hues of cardamom yellow, tobacco, duck egg blue, sap green and stone; beautiful, earthy and bright.  I also love their collection of antique, hand woven Italian hemp.  You can also buy feather filled cushions using the Be Lucky print, and more, from their website.

I asked Jo a little more about her work, in particular the “Be Lucky” print.

“My work is based on the English landscape and the creatures that inhabit it, be they urban or rural. One of the best places for me to begin thinking about my designs is on my early morning walk with my dog Jack in Paddington Cemetery, North West London. It’s very peaceful and a real refuge from the mayhem of Kilburn High Road!

“Be Lucky” evolved from my interest in the folklore, myths and sayings that filter through into our modern world today. I love symbols and motifs and I’m fascinated by craft and folk art and the decorative impact they have had on our domestic environment, as well as their history and influence today.”

Can you describe how a design evolves from first inspiration to completed piece?

“My work processes start with research, from a variety of sources. Sometimes visiting galleries and museums (one of my favourites is Kettles Yard, Cambridge), or wandering down Goldbourne Road (the junky end of Portobello Market ) on a Friday, looking for bits of other peoples junk – from lovely old books to a bunch of old embroidery patterns, and bits of linen and china from house clearances. It’s surprising how just gathering a few things can get me going!

Drawing is my starting point and then I cut into the lino – that seems to transform my images into something else….I love the texture and the lines that you get from it. I then print the images off from the lino onto paper and lay them out together to see what works together. I scan them into the computer and start playing around with the imagery in photoshop, and it eventually evolves into a design that I like. The hard bit for me is having to put it into repeat and work to a screen size. But, although is is time consuming, I love the whole process!”

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!