Archive of ‘textile’ category

Picasso to Warhol

Well the weather outside is frightful but inside the Fashion and Textiles museum is a rather delightful display of artist’s textiles. This new exhibition traces the history of art in textiles throughout the 20th century, showcasing examples of work from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore and Andy Warhol. The result is a dazzling display of colourful, intriguing and inspiring textile design.
 There are cute lipsticks from Zandra Rhodes, simple bullfighting illustrations from Picasso, bugs from Andy Warhol and every pattern in between proving that impressive art doesn’t just have to hang on the walls of imposing museums. Textiles are often overlooked in the world of art but this collection rightly demonstrates that an artist’s talent and eye for detail is just as strong in fabric form. This bright and clever exhibition is certain to brighten up a drab and dreary afternoon. 
 Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol is on at the Fashion and Textiles Museum from 31 January – 17 May
By Amy Peck  

When I Grow Up…

Following on with our When I grow up series, we caught up with textile designer Naomi Tuffery founder of Tuff Love, who specialise in creating stunning digitally printed silk scarves. Read on to find out how she managed to bag her dream job… 

You graduated with a degree in Textiles and Surface Design, was this is always your dream career?
Definitely not! When I finished my A-levels I thought ‘Oh gosh! What am I going to do with my life now?!’ I knew I wanted to do something arty but was unsure of the direction I wanted to go in so decided to do a foundation degree but was told they had no more places at my interview. I immediately thought it had all been a waste of time and that I was back at square one but the interviewer carried on talking with me and looked through my work and thought I was ready to go straight to degree and between us we hand-picked the Textiles and Surface Design on the spot. All of a sudden I was doing a degree! It was very surreal. Luckily when I started the course I fell in love with print design and that was when I knew what I wanted to do with my life. 

Where does your inspiration for your designs come from?
A huge combination of things! I find that it’s pretty random, for example I may stumble across an old photograph and it will inspire a whole collection. All it takes is one initial thought to expand and lead onto other things…

Who would you most love to see wearing one of your designs?
I think I would say Kate Middleton. She has become such a fashion icon and she dresses very smart, classy and sleek – A look that I think my scarves go with perfectly.

Do you have a favourite piece?
I have a couple in the collection that I like the most but if I had to pick I would say my Winter scarf print, partly because of how it came about. Last year I went out to my car and it was completely covered in the most beautiful intricate patterns that had been formed by the ice overnight. I photographed them and used them to design this piece. That then inspired the whole of the Seasons Collection.

 Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My mum. She is so supportive of me and my career. Having her motivate me and keep me positive keeps me going and not let me give up on my dream of being a successful textile designer. I’m getting there one day at a time and I wouldn’t be able to do it without her.
Describe your average day…
Well I work freelance and am building my business up at the moment so I have other part time work around it. This means most days I will work a shift at one of my part time jobs and then I will go home and try to do as much designing as I can in the evenings, or visa versa. I love to design in my room with a big mug of tea and background music or telly. My favourite days are when I have no other work on and I get to work from home all day creating beautiful things! I’m hoping one day I can quit the other jobs and that can be my full working week.

Any advice for our readers wanting to take the plunge for themselves?
Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your business. You don’t want to waste time and money investing in something that is not going to work. You need to look at every aspect of your idea and decide whether it is a good one. When it came to picking my label name it took me ages and before I finally settled with ‘Tuff Love’ I asked most of my friends and family what they thought. They all loved it and I’m so happy I stuck with that one.

Tell us something no one else knows about you…
I spend a lot of my time designing from my bed, drinking tea and eating chocolate! It is work, I promise!

What does the future hold for Tuff Love?
I will definitely be widening my range of products. At the moment I am just selling digitally printed silk scarves but soon I will have hand printed T-shirts available too. Then even further in the future I hope to have even more products!
Oh and as we’ve just released our music issue, we want to know what’s on your ipod at the moment?
 I am in love with ‘Waiting All Night’ by Rudimental! I cannot stop listening to it. It is definitely my favourite song at the moment. 

See more of Naomi’s designs on Etsy and Folksy, and at Nisbett and George

When I Grow Up…

There’s nothing better than uncovering a hidden gem, and you’ll definitely be in for a treat if you take a trip to Yellowstone Boutique in Staffordshire. We caught up with Hannah to find out a little more about  what makes them so unique… and have a peek on her iPod!

For those of us that don’t know, can you tell us a little about Yellowstone?

I opened Yellowstone in March 2011, to showcase work made by new designers and makers who’d invested in University education. It’s all about shouting about fresh, exciting work and getting it out of studios and in to people’s lives. The artists are all British but live all over the country, which opens up my net massively. Right now we are a little gallery (in a little chalet next to a beautiful lake and Italian Garden) and we run an online store too.
How did the idea come about?
At Uni, I was taught to shout about my work and promote myself as an artist, which I think a lot of new artists struggle with. I was seeing incredible work done by shy artists who didn’t have the confidence to get the work out there. I really wanted a space for this work, where the artists didn’t have to there. They’re busy doing the creative bit right?

You studied Fine Art in Cheltenham, have you always wanted to work in a creative job?
I have always been creative, but I think most people are. I’m not really a 9-5 kind of girl (although Dolly Parton is amazing) so an office job would really hold me back. 
However, I am very organised and business minded so I also wouldn’t suit being a full time artist. Yellowstone is the perfect balance for me because I can sit down and do the books, work on stock and ordering, and then the next day spend 4 hours building a display. It keeps all the parts of my brain happy.
Can you describe your average day? 
If my other half is up early, he makes me poached eggs – if bacon is involved then I know it’s going to be a real good day. I open  the boutique at 10am (very civilised) and start the day making sure the displays are all looking inspiring and restock sales from the preview day, then sort the post, do a bit of paperwork and check emails. 
I usually work on my own, so I do my jobs in between chatting and serving customers, which keeps my day busy. I make sure I take time to read my daily blogs and check our twitter, facebook and Pinterest and usually spend an hour emailing artists, planning future shows or researching artists who’ve submitted and maybe another hour checking stock levels.
Before you know it, it’s time to clean up and get the gallery closed down. I usually have to stay and do some framing to replace spaces on the wall so it’s ready to go at 10am the next day.
I head back to my boathouse and eat, sit and read or draw to try and use my time wisely. I also spend a good 20 minutes on instagram looking at designers’ feeds and wishing I’d taken those photos.

What has been your biggest inspiration?
Without doubt, my parents and art lecturers. I find myself being much more inspired by people rather than pieces of work. When someone has the gumption to believe in themselves and get out there and live their dreams, I can’t help but be inspired. My parents always taught me to do what makes me happy, not what I think I should do, or what will make me money. The best advice I’ve ever been given is to find what makes you happy and do it every day. I made what I love, my job. So I think I’ve cracked it.
You work with a lot of talented artists, do you have tips on who we should look out for?
That’s a tricky one because I wouldn’t work with any of them if I didn’t think they were going places… But I think Lucy Harding and Holly Exley are really doing some new and exciting things. They both have a real identity to their work, which is really important for young artists who are hoping to get recognised. 

Illustration by Holly Exley

Tell us something no one else knows about you…
I’m very open and honest so that’s tricky… Unless you went to primary school with me, you won’t know, that I can’t do forward rolls. I have a mind block and panic every time I try. I feel like I’m really missing out.
Have you got any advice for anyone deciding to take the plunge of working for themselves?
I try not to dwell on the negatives of running my own business, or things could get a bit dark. But ‘hold on tight’ might be the best advice. Prepare to give up 98% of your free time, because work doesn’t stop at 5.30pm when it’s your own business. Ask for help and ask questions about things you’re not sure of. Winging it really doesn’t work when setting up, it has to be by the book or you’ll be in a serious pickle. Never open your own business to make money, open it because it is what you love and it will make you happy. Then if you can make a living of it, you’ll be ecstatic. 

And seeing as we’ve just released our music issue… what’s on your iPod at the moment?
So I made a new playlist last night, here’s what is on it. Angus&Julia Stone, The Shins, Lucy Rose, Blur, The tallest man on earth, Laura Marling, Jenny&Johnny, Daughter, Bastille & Johnny Flynn.

Photo Credits: Luke Richardson

Something for the Weekend…

2012 has certainly proved a stellar year for fashion exhibitions. First we were treated to the magic of Ballgowns at the V&A before exploring them further with Hartnell and Amies at the Fashion and Textile Museum. Somerset House has also served up an array of fashionable treats, most recently the Tim Walker: Storyteller exhibition, presented in association with Mulberry and their recently opened installation, entitled ‘Valentino: Master of Couture.’ Showcasing over 100 of Valentino’s bespoke couture creations, the exhibition features designs worn by style icons including Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and is set to be another must-visit.

Constructed in three parts, the exhibition begins with a private look into Valentino’s life, with photographs and other items from his personal archive offering a unique firsthand insight into his creative process and influences. Moving on, the space then becomes a couture fashion show where visitors take to the catwalk whilst viewing an array of Valentino’s stunning designs for themselves. Finally, the exhibition explores the process of putting together a couture collection by shedding light on the craftsmanship behind the catwalk. A series of specifically commissioned films affords visitors behind-the-scenes access to the work of the Valentino atelier and the virtual Valentino Garavani museum gives you the chance to explore the evolution of a true fashion icon. Definitely one not to be missed!

  Valentino: Master of Couture runs at Somerset House from 29th November 2012- 3rd March 2012. Tickets are £12.50/£9 concessions.

By Sarah Farrell