A little escape to Cornwall and some design lessons learnt this November...
Posts from the ‘Nature’ Category
When we moved into our 1970s bungalow in Dorset from our terraced Bath Stone 1930s home packed full of character the initial impression wasn’t one of immediate attraction… However we knew that there were plenty of pluses with bungalows. The first being space, the second being all-on-one-level (handy with two tiny children) and the third being detatched. The bungalow was also a 5 minute walk to the beach which was a definite selling point and 3 years on we’re in love with the home we’re working so hard to create. It feels like home.
Here’s a little before & now photo which illustrates our work to date to keep a midcentury vibe but reference its coastal setting with the addition of new window sizes, shutters, cedar wood slatting, a white and grey paint update and tropical landscaping to include banana plants and numerous spiky plants.
Our focus has remained very much on getting the back extension and internal renovation finished but next up is to remove the green tile-hung frontage and replace with cedar wood, update the guttering and to relocate the ugly yellow alarm box! Even though there is a never-ending to-do list we can appreciate how far we’ve come and it was lovely when Michelle from Roxwell Press offered to capture our home renovation project with her customised illustration portrait service.
When the result arrived via post it was incredible to see how she’d really captured the spirit of the place (also kindly future-proofing the portrait with the cedar cladding rather than the current green tiles!). Michelle created the portrait by working from photographs we provided and asked about planting, colours and textures and it was this attention to detail that has ensured such a pleasing portrait which feels like home.
The bungalow always really sings on a bright blue day and it’s amazing to have this captured in the illustration. All that remains is to get it framed and hung. We’re thinking in the kitchen and know it’ll be a talking point!
The good news is that YOU can actually win a customised house portrait worth £100 by entering this competition which is running until 6th October. All you need to do is sign up with your email address to receive her occasional e-newsletters which feature sample sales, competitions and free hand-designed wallpapers for your screen. There is also currently free delivery on all orders (including a single card) at the moment so do take a look at her website or perhaps get an early order in for Christmas cards (if we’re allowed to mention the ‘C’ word yet).
If you’re not lucky enough to win Roxwell Press will offer a discount code to everyone whose signed up to the e-newsletter for the launch of this new house portrait service or you can skip the queue and pre-order with Michelle@roxwellpress.co.uk.
So it’s the summer holidays and we decided to take our boys (aged 2 & 4) to their first festival. Specifically, a four-day childrens festival in Dorset; Camp Bestival. Headliners are as diverse as Mr. Motivator and Dick and Dom to Fatboy Slim so there is something for everyone! We had a exhilarating bonding experience absorbing the sun, colour and fun and we wanted to share some of the vibrancy of our weekend on the blog…
This years huge flag designs were by Angus Watt and were dominating and impressive evoking the desired effect of power, beauty and grace against the beautiful blue skies.
Similarly there was lots of ribbons and material bunting which designated different areas throughout the festival. Streamed up in large swathes they were fun and provided movement and colour as you explored the site.
Confetti. Lots of it! The kids ran around collecting it and its near on impossible not to burst into smiles watching it rain down on you as Mr. Tumble kindly illustrates here…
This years theme was space so there were some wonderful space sculptures which were highly reflective and often lit up with help from multiple sources including fire.
Lasers and glow sticks around the main stage in the warm evenings completed the holiday vibe.
At night the neon lights led you from one area to the next and it felt like an enormous playground for adults and children alike!
By far our favourite design was the two spacemen who shifted colour and light looming in front of the castle…. they were enormous and really evoked the spirit of fun, creativity and passion that the festival provided.
As Dorset-based bloggers there was something so pleasing about experiencing such an exhilarating ‘Outer Space’ experience in Dorset. It was quite unlike anywhere we’ve ever been. Perhaps see you there next year!
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…
We 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.
How 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!
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!
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!
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.
You 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:
These 1960s prints
And this hypnotising 1970s print:
With 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.
Visit 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!
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!
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.
As 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.
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).
I think it’s time for tea now…
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!
‘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.
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.
In the words of #urbanjunglebloggers: Rooooooooooaaaaarrr!
Established in 2010, Chase & Sorensen are East London stockists of beautiful midcentury and contemporary Scandinavian modern design, their ever changing collection is sourced from Denmark every few weeks making it a treasure trove of unexpected delights.
Chase & Sorensen have a new collection from Silke Bonde to share with us which act as a calming anecdote to any #BlueMonday feelings…
Silke Bonde is a Dutch designer and artist based in Copenhagen. Her playful and informal inky style incorporates nature and clean lines which resonate with a Scandinavian aesthetic.
These painterly prints invite the outside in and this sense is reinforced by their titles of ‘Forrest Floor’ and ‘Leaf Lines’.
‘Leaf Lines’ was inspired by the ‘skeleton’ you can discover in a leaf if you look hard enough. The miracle that these lines are unique and variable forming their own natural expression; like tiny pieces of art in your hand.
If you would like to find out more about this collection of prints new to Chase & Sorensen for 2016 then follow them on Twitter & Instagram (and Silk Bonde on Instagram is definitely worth following too!) .
Hope today is a good one.
Roxwell Press is a British stationery company with spirit and soul. Started just one short year ago it’s had a busy year expanding the range which includes cards, prints and a bespoke wedding stationery service! With a bright and bushy Tropical range already out and a new cosy Home range planned for the start of 2016 there’s lots more to see but its the Christmas cards and tags that speak of nature and calmness which feature at #4 on our Christmas Design wishlist.
We started working with Michelle from Roxwell Press a few months ago and love the ethos behind it. As Michelle explains ‘Sending a card is an expression of someone’s love, friendship and connection to other human beings. The hand written correspondence is still an important part of our lives, a meaningful gesture and art form that I would like to help preserve through my stationery range’. This sentiment rings true – an unexpected card through the post or a postcard from someone’s adventurous travels are special and remind us of our friends and family we don’t see as often as we’d like.
Furthermore the detailed beautiful designs on the cards themselves can act as decorations too. There was a lovely feature by Patchwork Harmony recently which explored the art of displaying some of our great UK designers Christmas cards as part of our Christmas decorations which included Roxwell Press designs.
Whilst the news is busy telling us we only connect online these days the #Justacard campaign aims to highlight how just small purchases can help to keep our independent creatives at work brightening up our homegrown design scene here in the UK and it’s a valid point. So go on- sit down, slow down, pick up that pen and write to your friends and family. Send them a piece of beautifully crafted card art personalised by your thoughts, news and well-wishes and spread the warm hygge feeling this season!
Roxwell Press designs are printed in England on environmentally friendly paper, made using wind power. You can buy the Christmas cards individually to make up your own collection or buy designs in boxes of 5. These come packaged with envelopes in beautiful clear perspex boxes.