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Posts from the ‘flowers’ Category

Tiny Trees | Big Memories

If you’re on Instagram then we’re pretty sure you will have heard of ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’. We love this brand for their quirky take on bringing postable greenery into our homes in the forms of seasonal flowers, wreaths and even, well, Christmas trees! Each of the above arrives in a narrow slim box which easily fits through a standard letterbox.

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How the Christmas trees arrive through your letterbox

First up this year is ‘The Drew’ which arrives with a collapsable pot, moss and ribbon. You can choose what decorations you’d like it to come with for a little extra sparkle – be that baubles, fairy lights, deluxe beauty treats (yes really!), robins or jingle bells.

We couldn’t resist the stunning reflective hues of the mini baubles and fairy lights so this was our combo to get started with for a design-led looking mini tree in our kitchen.

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The Drew with shimmering papers and baubles. It’s Christmas in a box!

Kitchens can be tricky spaces for bringing festive cheer to as there’s the safety issue of adding flammable materials to a kitchen as well as the practicality issue of lots of ornaments and banners precariously taped or balanced. The idea of a mini tree which could sit on the worktop, be easily moved and watered once a week seemed perfect. The fairy lights are battery operated making it a really easy portable tree.

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We had an enamel Orla Kiely pot which seemed ideal for this tiny tree in the kitchen

For our kids room we wanted something fun which they could embellish to really make it their own. We opted for ‘The Jack’ with its colourful string of festive jingle bells and fairy lights which when initially decorated by our three year old looked like this:

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The bells jingle which was an added delight for the boys

And was later embellished with lego to look like this..

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It’s a sturdy little tree which withholds the daily redecoration process from the kids!

The great thing about these mini trees is you can move them around their room to set up different festive scenes (sometimes it is also ceremoniously walked to the playroom with new embellishments added). It becomes a living breathing part of Christmas the kids can enjoy looking after.

You might have clocked our first review of a mini-tree last year (if not you can read it here) and we just wanted to update you that we potted it up last year and it’s been very happy. We’ve added a few of the baubles from last year as a welcome by our front door! Once Christmas is over pot yours up and help the little fella grow so you’ve got a Christmas tree for years to come!

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Last years tree still going strong and adding to the outdoor Christmas decorations this year

If you fancy your own tiny tree or want to surprise a loved one to get them in the festive mood (especially if they’ve only got a small space) then enjoy 10% off your first order by signing up to the Bloom & Wild newsletter (scroll to the bottom of their ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’ homepage to sign up).

Or for a daily fix of floral follow them on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

For transparency we were sent these trees by Bloom & Wild for the purposes of photography and to share on the blog as part of our Christmas series. We’re huge fans of the minimal packaging, clever seasonal designs and practicality they bring to the flower delivery market! 

Monthly Musings | Isobel Barber

Meet Isobel. A Dorset Papercut Artist who is sure to brighten your feed with her creativity. After graduating in Textile Design from the Arts University Bournemouth in 2012 her work has evolved into illustration and paper cutting. Isobel took five from wielding a scalpel and scissors to explain what inspires her and her unique work…

Picnic- Isobel BarberWe love your playful bright style. After graduating in textile design how did you end up going down the illustration and paper cutting route? 

I’ve been obsessed with drawing, colouring, creating, cutting and sticking from the word go so I’ve always known that I wanted to work in a creative field. Whilst at university I became absorbed in intricately cutting, layering and sticking coloured paper as a way of designing colourful patterns and prints in my sketchbook.

I think it was my Final Project in my last year of studies which was my ‘light-bulb’ moment. I designed and engineered a collection of Elizabethan inspired collars solely from card and paper which I had printed onto and cut into. I loved the versatility of the shapes and forms I could creative by manipulating the card and paper and was hooked from there. Paper as an illustrative medium was also becoming popular around this time with the likes of Rob Ryan and his detailed paper cuts popping up so this definitely inspired me too.

Studio snap no2How would you describe your vibrant style? 

Colourful and playful with a sprinkling of sophistication through the three-dimensional intricate detail. My work most definitely requires a steady hand!

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What topics or themes do you return to in your work? 

Obviously a lot of the time, the theme of my work is defined by the clients brief. However, when I’m playing or working on a self initiated brief, a recurring theme is most definitely food! I find it such a colourful, vibrant subject matter and being a total foodie is probably a contributing factor too! The scale skin of a fish, the segments in a citrus fruit, berries bursting with colour… I find the inspiration from natures patterns and colours is endless!

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What inspires you about Dorset countryside and coastline in particular? 

I have a concerning habit of imagining how everything I see would look constructed out of paper, so I feel very lucky to have the ability to sponge inspiration from pretty much everywhere I go! I’m very drawn to colour, so colourful signs in particular inspire me, from bunches of wild flowers when I take the dog for a walk to rows of colourful beach huts along the Dorset beaches.

Some of my favourite Dorset towns also lend themselves as inspiration for my work. I have a range of paper cut prints, including a view over the harbour in Swanage and the famous steam railway chugging down the hill away  from Corfe Castle in the Purbecks, two of my absolute favourite spots.

What other contemporaries are inspiring you right now with their creativity? 

Fellow Paper Cutter wise, I adore the work of Jared Schorr. He works more two-dimensionally, but his work is just so much fun! He creates the sweetest little characters and worlds from card and paper and I really admire his imagination.

I follow lots of current illustrators on social media and two of my favourites at the moment are Holly Exley and Danielle Knroll. They both work in watercolour, but their styles are completely different. Holly creates the most intricate and realistic paintings with food and wildlife as recurring themes and I think her work is just gorgeous. Danielle paints in more of a whimsical style and I love the playful subject matter of her paintings and her use of vibrant colour combinations and patterns within her work. I’m also very inspired by set designers for their compositional and three-dimensional design qualities – there is a lot to be inspired from right now!

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If you’d like to discover more about Isobel then you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website or blog

 

 

 

A Life In Pattern | Sheila Bownas

 

We were lucky enough to be sent a copy of ‘A life in Pattern: The Life & Work of Sheila Bownas’ exhibition catalogue this month and it’s exactly as the foreword states: We now have access to a little piece of design history transferred into a very modern context. 

sheilabownas_pages_PRINTYou could be forgiven for not having heard of Sheila Bownas (1925 – 2007) but for the last few years ecomodernstudios have been following this incredible brand born from a body of works from a designer of the same name. The story is one that many of us might dream about; a treasure trove discovery of the life works of an unknown yet prolific designer. However not many of us would have the drive and determination to piece together the history in such an methodical and authentic way. This is exactly what happened to Chelsea Cefai back in 2008 who on a spur of the moment decision at an auction became the guardian of over 200 hand-painted patterns from the 1950s onwards.

The post-war period was a time of great vision, colour and pattern as British people embraced new styles. Sheila’s designs were bought by various textile and wallpaper manufacturers to include Liberty London, Marks & Spencers and Crown Wallpaper but these were never released under her name so she remained under the radar. This was of course in stark contrast to the star designer of that time Lucienne Day but was nonetheless common for the era and indeed to some extent today. These colourful designs seem as applicable today as they did then and our obsession with the colour and pattern of the 1950s onwards shows no sign of diminishing with popular brands such as Orla Kiely and MissPrint to name a few… and Marimekko, who’ve well, kept on going!

Included in the 65-paged colour catalogue is a fascinating essay by Design Historian Lesley Jackson who gives a detailed account of the designs within the context to which they were conceived. She states ‘to encounter all these facets within the oeuvre of one individual is rare, but it is this diversity that makes the Sheila Bownas archive such a rich resource.  What is especially rewarding about dipping into this archive is that wonderful designs that did not receive exposure originally are being given a second chance to shine’.

The catalogue is such a detailed and beautiful account of Sheila’s work and here’s a few of the beautiful patterns we couldn’t help but share starting with this 1950s design below:

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These 1960s prints

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And this hypnotising 1970s print:

SB 1481With permission from the family of Sheila Bownas selected British artisans have used these original designs to create furniture, textiles, lighting and ceramics. What a legacy for an artist who never once had a retrospective in her lifetime. As Lesley Jackson so aptly put its in her essay ‘as well as appealing to be current vogue for eclecticism, the designs lend themselves to multiple applications in terms of style, colour and scale’ and you can see this yourself by visiting their online store. We couldn’t agree more.

IMG_0980Visit the exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum until 3rd September 2016 and if you can’t make the exhibition but would like a copy of the catalogue then call the gallery on 01788 533217. Priced at £15 the catalogue also includes a beautiful A5 Sheila Bownas print.

Please note there are limited free tours of the exhibition by Chelsea Cefai which are detailed here – we’re very much hoping to make one of these!

You can follow the journey with Chelsea on Twitter and Instagram or read more about Sheila Bownas in MidCentury Magazine in Issue 05 and also here.

 

 

 

 

Design Trip | Wallpaper London

How could you not relinquish control to a guide which states it's 'a precise, informative insider's checklist of all you need to know about the world's most intoxicating cities'...

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Taz Pollard | It’s A Human Thing

This week we spoke with Taz of Taz Pollard Ceramics who works from North Devon. This British designer has had a busy few years creating handmade vibrant ceramics inspired by shapes from cola bottles to drainpipes. In 2013 she was shortlisted for a Confessions of A Design Geek bursary and won the One Year On award at New Designers in 2014. Her work has also been sold through a number of galleries and design shops to include Heals in Tottenham Court Road and Future and Found so she’s one busy lady!

So Taz – how do you come up with such original ‘ceramic with attitude’ designs? You’re obviously bold with colour and materials so where does your exploratory process start? 

Most of my ideas start with historical ceramics and looking at how we value objects. Plastics are the new ‘everyday pottery’ something which is used and discarded with little regard to its design or origins. I find it interesting that you can take a fairly mundane object such as a disused piece of drainpipe or an old plastic bottle and create something beautiful within it.

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Given your bold use of colour in your ceramics what impact do you think using colour in the home has? 

Bright splashes of colour are so uplifting and cheerful. I think using accessories, vases and soft furnishings are such a great way of injecting a bit of colour into the home but with the neon in this range less is definitely more! Neon is a bit of a head turner…

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You describe your work as ‘perfectly imperfect’ reflecting the fact the pieces are handmade. What do you think being handmade adds to a product? 

Being handmade brings life to a piece, a bowl which is perfectly round is easily ignored by the brain as we already understand the shape and move on subconsciously; a bowl which undulates holds the viewer for longer as the brain tries to work out what it is seeing. It’s a human thing, a reflection on the human condition you could say, it’s our beautiful imperfections which makes us stand out. For me it’s also about investment, when I hold a handmade mug I know someone has invested time, love and thought into that piece and it definitely makes the tea taste better!

What eco credentials to your work do you have and do these inform your designs? 

Ceramic production is a very non-eco sector which desperately needs investment and innovation, particularly in kilns and firing. I am very lucky to have a studio at Woodlands in North Devon which was sustainably built and low impact with a passive energy business centre which we regularly use.

FullSizeRender 3So, what products are next in the pipeline? 

I am currently working on my new ‘spirits range’ which will be launched at Clerkenwell Design Week (24th-26th May 2016). The range includes shot cups, tumblers, olive trays and a large tray in porcelain with bold royal blue and gold touches. Come and say hello!

If you want some ceramics with attitude in your life then visit the blog, Not On The Hightstreet or link with Taz on social media to include Instagram and Twitter.

Please note Taz sent us a drainpipe vase to photograph to accompany the interview. All photos ecomodernstudios. 

 

 

 

 

Working with Soul | Roxwell Press

There’s such a home grown talent when it comes to design and illustration in the UK and Roxwell Press is a prime example. Recently featured in the fascinating Letters to Adeline #WomanCan series Michelle Evans started her stationery company in 2014 and in a short time has been busily building up her range of products which include themes such as  Tropical, Home, Christmas and a bespoke Wedding stationery design service. We’ve been working with Michelle over the past six months and thought it would be nice to showcase her work on the blog for those looking for British artwork made with soul for the home.

The latest Home range focuses on what it really means and the prints below entitled ‘Spring Florals’ and ‘Teatime’ evoke the calmness you feel when you’re at home. Your little nest to see the world from which is why architecture and design is so important in helping our sense of well-being!

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Stories are close to Michelle’s heart too. Her creative approach to work has developed over the years from working in graphic design to film sets and it’s this experience which helps direct her new ranges seated in celebrating life’s little joys.

FullSizeRender-2 copy 2As Michelle so rightly puts it in the Letters to Adeline interview ‘Keepsakes are such a valuable part of our lives and our stories… The handwritten correspondence is still an important part of our lives, a meaningful gesture and art form which I would like to help preserve through designing beautiful stationery’. If you’ve ever discovered a long-forgotten letter in an attic you’ll instantly value this idea. In a disposable world the idea of post, of handwritten letters and cards still has meaning, it is something which can exists outside of our digital lives.

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Michelle recently offered subscribers a personalised service on prints for a limited time only. If you want to keep in the loop for these offers then sign up for her monthly newsletter!

So if you’re looking for a company who celebrate the quintessentially English rituals then you should definitely check out Roxwell Press. Also if you’re London based then on the 15th-17th May Michelle will also be debuting Roxwell Press at Pulse London with new cards (she’ll be on stand K43).

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I think it’s time for tea now…

Follow the latest Roxwell Press news on Instagram and Twitter. You can buy via the website or Etsy.

 

 

 

A thriving little indoor jungle!

We’ve never been involved in #urbanjunglebloggers before but have long since loved the shot of green they instill into our social media feeds.

Each month you’re challenged to photograph your house plants in different ways to celebrate all that they bring to our home environments (mood-lifting colour, clean healthier air and a connection to the outdoors to name a few). This month it’s all about the urban jungle with some cheeky animal folk getting in on the act.

Despite the inevitable hilarity of these challenges its a great motivation to pot up some succulents, ferns, air plants or spider plants for your home. Studies suggest there are benefits aside from the aesthetic; lowering blood pressure and increasing concentration as per this recent article in the Guardian on how houseplants have charmed a new generation of gardeners.

Scroll down to see how we got on with bringing a little jungle to our children’s room!

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‘J’ is for Jungle! This fabric letter is from the brilliant Kitty McCall and sits against a spiky aloe vera plant potted up in a terracotta pot which we sprayed copper and let drip dry.

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The kids love playing amongst the pots with their dinosaurs, peg figures and a cheeky wooden Kay Bojesen bear with moveable arms and legs which can lead chase from behind the pots! The ‘J’ hanger is from Anthropologie with their wonderful letter products.

If you’d like to join in on the planty antics then sign up for the Urban Jungle Bloggers monthly newsletter or follow on the usual social media suspects including Instagram!

In the words of #urbanjunglebloggers: Rooooooooooaaaaarrr!

Blooming lovely!

With a spring in our steps we’re headed towards Valentine’s Day. Whether or not you’re ‘with’ someone it’s nice to reach out and show you care, and flowers can bring a bit of unexpected magic to this rather grey month.

We covered Bloom & Wild on our blog at Christmas with their amazing letterbox tree (this clever miniature system means our mini tree is now planted out in our garden for next year). We love following the growth of this British company which is bringing design and colour into our lives in a way which feels fresh and unique.

Founded in 2013, this innovative online florist has recently been included in the exciting Bloomberg Business Innovators 2016 list (really worth a gander), which assembles together ‘the people changing how the UK lives, works and thinks’. Quite a feat! For Bloom & Wild it’s all about moving with each month – bringing new colours, tones, scents and inspirations to grow throughout the year and providing opportunities to send flowers without the rigamarole of being ‘in’ to receive them.

For Valentine’s this year Bloom & Wild opted to offer an alternative to the red rose cliché with the ‘Lizzie’ which is inspired by Rose Quartz (a Pantone colour of 2016). Pantone characterise this as a colour with the ability to sooth:

‘As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent’.

pantone-13-1520-rose-quartz-1024x640This pastel shade is calming and quietly strong and this fits with the sense you get unravelling your ‘Lizzie’ blooms and glimpsing at what they will become. Blush roses are paired with cream lisianthus, pale pink alstroemerias and fragrant eucalyptus to provide you with a very note-worthy floral display… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves!…

IMG_7923The blooms arrive in a slimline box which fits neatly through a letterbox, wrapped beautifully with a gold ribbon, so it feels like a treat from the off. Each flower has a delicate net to protect it meaning unravelling these beauties feels like a calming and indulging ritual allowing you to appreciate each individual stem.

IMG_7954Over the next few days you can enjoy the arrangement filling out as the buds open out- this allows you to enjoy them in full flower for longer and we love that they provide you with a little note on tips on how to arrange and trim the different stems to get the best from your display.

IMG_7963So, if you want some floral fun in your life then we recommend following Bloom & Wild on Twitter or Instagram! On Instagram especially they have a monthly competition using the hashtag #letterboxflowers. Their favourite flower picture wins 3 months of flowers as well as often something very beautiful from a British company they really rate too (it’s essential oil natural Neom candles this month!). All good fun and gets you celebrating the good stuff – bringing colour and nature into your home!

The Lizzie flowers were complimentary but all words and thoughts are ours.