Amelia’s Magazine | London Design Week 2011: The Best of the Independent Jewellery Fairs

Sian Bostwick Forget Me Not Necklace by Tilly

Sian Bostwick Forget Me Not Necklace by Tilly Wright

The first of my visits was to Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank. Nestled amongst a handful of gift shops and cafes is the Jianhui London jewellery shop. However, from 17th – 25th September, the shop was also home to the Jewellery Designers Collective, or JeDoCo, and featured the work from independent jewellers including MODICA, Jessica De Lotz, Zelda Cave and some amazing statement, tubular cuffs from Rosemary Lucas.

The small shop was crowded with jewellery, and felt like a treasure trove. A super friendly attendant turned out to be Sian Bostwick – a JeDoCo designer. She was a brilliant tour guide around this Aladdin’s cave, but her work also deserves merit. Sian produces her jewellery from a workshop in Kent, and has a feminine and soft signature style.

Forget Me Not Ring by Sian Bostwick

Forget Me Not Ring by Sian Bostwick

It was her Forget Me Not pieces that caught my eye. A combination of brightly anodised Titanium in dazzling blue, paired with delicate silver, in elegant and simple shapes. The Forget Me Not pendant is delicate, yet striking, as the vibrancy of the blue Titanium catches the eye. When I first spotted her work, I thought instantly of Alice of Wonderland – the blue of Alice’s dress, the ever-present background of nature, the flowers. I later read that the story was an inspiration for the collection.

Linnie McLarty’s silver rings caught my attention before I entered the shop, displayed in the front window cabinets. Linnie comes from a fine art background, which I think you can see quite clearly from the collection Take Me I’m Yours, to which her layered silver wire rings belong. The silver wraps beautifully around your finger, but the individual sterling silver strands add depth and interest. Linnie is also comitted to working ethically and responsibily, using 100% recycled silver and gold that is officially certified as fairtrade, which is fantastic.

Take Me I'm Yours Rings by Linnie McLarty

Take Me I’m Yours Rings by Linnie McLarty

Running from the 21st – 25th September was Composite, at the superb Two Columbia Road furniture shop, and on the same road that hosted another great independent jewellery show. I was invited along by designer Bethan Laura Wood, whose work I have been avidly following for a while now.

Bethan Laura Wood Pivot and Push Rings by Janneke de Jong

Bethan Laura Wood’s Pivot and Push Rings by Janneke de Jong

Bethan deserves her own post on Amelia’s Magazine (which I hope to provide one day soon), but briefly she studied at the RCA, and has since set up her own practice, WOOD London, designing and producing a range of beautiful creations from jewellery to furniture. Her work is based on the idea of rediscovering and exploration of aspects of the usual and everyday objects – focussing particularly on colour and pattern.

Bethan Laura Wood Particle Bracelets by Miranda Williams

Bethan Laura Wood Particle Bracelets by Miranda Williams

Bethan was showing her new Pivot and Push ring collection. I was really happy to see that Bethan was on show space duty that day, and she passionately talked to me about the new collection, from conception to the final product. The rings are like delicate snowflakes, in shades of metallics – gunmetal, gold, bronze and rose gold.

Bethan Laura Wood's Pivot and Push Rings

Bethan Laura Wood’s Push and Pivot Rings, photo courtesy of Ella Dror PR.

The rings shimmered below their glass case, tempting me to try them on. Bethan explained the ‘push’ and ‘pivot’ technique was to create interaction between the ring and it’s owner. And as Bethan kindly let me have a trying on session, I found myself enchanted with their movement and design. They are stackable, versatile and for me, utterly desirable.

Push and Pivot Ring by Miranda Williams

One of Bethan’s Push and Pivot Rings, photo by Miranda Williams.

The weekend was over, but enjoying a day off in the week, I went along to see the work of another familiar face. I have been aware of Ros Millar’s work for about a year and half now – finally getting to meet lovely Ros at this year’s Treasure exhibition. Ros was showing her work at 2 different spaces – the Pitzhanger House in Ealing, and also as part of the Bobbles & Bling Pop Up Shop in Clerkenwell, from the 27th September to 1st October. I really like Ros’s work, specifically because I’d wear it. The rings from her Nugget collection are like natural rock formations – rich in colour, and really cool. She was showing these at the Bobbles & Bling shop, where for one week, Modica Jewellery, Amanda Li Hope and Ros, had created a mini boutique. It was based in the Craft Central Corner shop, and showcased new work, aswell as some other special pieces. Ros was showing both her Nugget and Black & Rose collections.

Ros Millar Necklace by Cathryn Nicholson

Ros Millar Necklace by Cathryn Nicholson

Over at the Pitzhanger exhibition it was great to see some diversification in her range with the specially produced One Off pieces. Originally the home of Sir John Soane, who the saw the Pitzhanger manor as an architectural ‘portrait’ of himself, and the house as a reflection of his personal style, from the 21st September – 12 November, it was home to Portraits in the Making. It featured the work of 17 designers, Craft Council award winning artists, who were invited to find new ways of making portraits in their fields of glass, textiles, woodwork and jewellery, with the influence of the design and architectural details in the Pitzhanger Manor. Ros’s large necklace, made from lichen, sponge, rope, silver and bronze, was a great contrast to the work of hers that I had previously seen.

This exhibition was in conjunction with the Hothouse scheme, run by the Crafts Council, which provides a programme of skills and creative development for designers starting out in their careers. It is a fantastic programme, similar to that run by Camden Council which I wrote about a few months ago here. I hope that these schemes, and those similar to them, continue to nurture and develop the talents of these designers, so that I can explore and enjoy the creations of our local designers as I did that weekend a few months ago.

Categories ,Alice in Wonderland, ,Bethan Laura Wood, ,Black & Rose, ,Cathryn Nicholson, ,Composite, ,Craft Central Corner, ,Crafts Council, ,Ella Dror PR, ,ethical, ,fairtrade, ,Forget Me Not, ,Gabriel’s Wharf, ,Hothouse, ,Janneke de Jong, ,Jessica De Lotz, ,jewellery, ,Jianhui London, ,Linnie McLarty, ,London Design Week, ,Modica Jewellery, ,Nugget, ,One Off, ,Pitzhanger House, ,Pivot and Push, ,platform, ,Pop-up Shop, ,Ros Millar, ,Sian Bostwick, ,Take Me I’m Yours, ,Titanium

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Amelia’s Magazine | Top Drawer at Olympia, January 2015: Review

Top Drawer grows ever bigger each year, and this time around there was a new dedicated fashion section, as well as the Spotted zone curated by Charlotte Abrahams, designed to promote up and coming designers.

It was really great to catch up with jewellery designer Clara Francis, interviewed on this website last year. Clara specialises in the old fashioned art of beading, using the technique to create wonderful and unusual statement necklaces, tiaras and earrings.

Just Trade specialise in jewellery made using ethical materials by artisans. These animal pendants are made out of Tagua nut from Ecuador.

I loved the new neon embroidered wash bags by Sew Lomax.

At spotted I found Kent based designer Nancy Nicholson, who makes wonderful retro inspired DIY embroidery kits, some pieces inspired by he work of her mother Joan Nicholson. Love them.

Alfred & Wilde designer Simon Mitchell makes amazing graphic printed homewares, and has recently collaborated with Wolf & Moon to make these new perspex jewellery designs inspired by his love of the Platonic Solids.

These great interactive cards are from Colourcutie, which was launched by designer Anna Rumsby in 2014.

In the greetings card and stationery section of Top Drawer I was drawn to the subtle graphic designs of Ola Studio by Katy Goutefangea, who I first discovered in 2013 during London Design Week. Her lay flat notebooks are a genius idea.

Finally, this eco friendly bamboo fibre plate is from the Anatomical Range by new label Jay, a gift brand designed to appeal to men but just as good for us ladies, from Cubic.

Sadly I did not locate the Wrap Magazine stand which so impressed me last year. Oh yes, and I never even made it to Craft. Hopefully next time!

Categories ,Alfred & Wilde, ,Anatomical Range, ,Anna Rumsby, ,Charlotte Abrahams, ,Clara Francis, ,Colourcutie, ,craft, ,Cubic, ,Joan Nicholson, ,Just Trade, ,Katy Goutefangea, ,London Design Week, ,Nancy Nicholson, ,Platonic Solids, ,Sew Lomax, ,Spotted, ,Tagua nut, ,Top Drawer, ,Wolf & Moon, ,Wrap Magazine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Louise Wilkinson Illustrations and Ceramics: an interview with the designer

Louise Wilkinson ceramics- Lemon Tree dinner plate lifestyle

I first encountered Louise Wilkinson’s inimitable ceramics designs at Tent London last September, and instantly fell in love. The likes of Liberty discovered her beautiful bone china early on, and she has more recently created bespoke illustrations for panelling in the shop at the V&A. I caught up with her to find out more about her career to date, where her inspiration comes from and how she set about putting her illustrations onto china.

Louise Wilkinson ceramics- jug lifestyle

I absolutely adore your debut Maple Collection, inspired by English gardens, Oriental china and a love of nature. How did you construct the designs and how long did the process take to apply them to so many different shapes?
I like to draw a few pencil sketches first on scraps of paper and then at a later stage I draw my artworks on the computer with a pen. I love to create intricate artworks with witty details, often with a narrative. The designs are then screen printed and hand decorated in Stoke on Trent. It took many months to consider the shapes and designs together and then to fit the artworks correctly.

How do you pick the colour ways for your designs?
For my Maple Collection, I chose to have navy blue as the main colour with bold, playful, pops of colours for highlights. I often kept to two colours per design, for instance I liked the combination of a citrus yellow accent with navy blue or a coral red with navy blue.

Louise Wilkinson ceramics-Trees plate

What was the best bit about growing up in Yorkshire?
I loved growing up in the counrtyside, being able to spend a lot of time outside. We lived opposite a large field with lots of trees, me and my sister would often play and run around! I have lived in London over 10 years now, so it is nice to have the balance of London life and also visiting my family up north!

Louise Wilkinson Logo peacocks

You have already led a varied design career, studying illustration before moving into print and textiles for fashion. It sounds like the ideal career I never had! What was the highlight of those first years out of college?
I had always wanted to study Illustration so I took an Illustration degree at University. It was great to learn about the different aspects of image making, and after graduating my first job was working as an illustrator designing the prints, patterns and characters for children’s clothes, drawing everything by hand. I moved to London and worked in the fashion industry as a print and textiles designer, whilst also working on freelance book and magazine illustrations. I learnt a lot about working in different styles, techniques and applications to fabrics. It was great to get to know more about the commercial world and seasonal trends. Kids clothing is a fun area to work in!

Louise Wilkinson ceramics-Apple Tree dinner plate lifestyle

Why did you decide to create your own range and how did you effect that move?
I have been an illustrator and print and pattern designer for over a decade but I had always wanted to create my own artworks – to have a little more creative freedom and work for myself, creating timeless, playful and beautiful pieces. I launched my first collection in Liberty after attending the Best of British open day and it went from there!

Like me you are an avid fan of the illustrations found in children’s books, an aesthetic which I think comes through in your designs. Any favourites that you keep returning to?
Yes I do love children’s book illustrations, I always admired the painted collage technique used in the classic tale of The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is a classic. I also love Alain Gree’s cute illustrations and Russian fairy tales. I’m influenced by the traditional decorative arts, nature, exotic dreamlike places and often by different exhibitions I may visit in London. I love art and illustration, including Japanese and Chinese paintings, Matisse, Henri Rousseau, George Lepape….

Louise Wilkinson ceramics-Trees jug

What are your favourite pieces of homeware to design and why, and what is the hardest thing to design?
I love designing all the pieces, especially the plates and the cups and saucers. I like the flat surface area on a plate, which is like a blank canvas for artwork… and I like the little details you can add to cups and saucers. I’d say teapots can be harder to design for, as they are slightly more spherical.

What could we expect to find if we visited your work studio, can you describe it for us?
I am based in South East London where I have a large wooden desk with a Mac monitor and a pen tablet – it’s nice to have lots of surface area. There are lots of things around such as notebooks and pencil sketches, china samples, boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, brochures, postcards! I have a lot of research in draws and on the walls. I also have lots of magazines and art books because I love looking in books for research rather than always using the internet. Oh and there is always a cup of tea on my desk, I drink too much!

Louise Wilkinson ceramics-Teacups

Why is it important for you to maintain strong relationships with UK suppliers?
I think its great to manufacture as much in the UK wherever possible to support the industry, and it is nice to meet the lovely team in Stoke on Trent who I work with.

When can we expect a new collection from you, and can you share any hints as to what that will be?
I will be selling my exclusive artworks which were created especially for my recent collaboration on the Christmas shop installation at the V&A. I’m also exhibiting at the Modern Show in Dulwich on March 16th 2014. I love this Mid Century design show, which it is local to where I live. I will also be exhibiting at Tent London again, during London Design Week in September.

Louise Wilkinson ceramics-Coral red plates

Do you have any plans to expand into other areas of design and if so what?
I love creating artworks and illustration and this can be applied to many different surface areas. So hopefully new things soon, I have lots of ideas.

Finally, do you have any exciting plans for 2014 – in either business or life – that you can share with us?
Hopefully a few nice trips away, perhaps to Copenhagen or Finland. I may also be getting married this year, which is exciting!

Categories ,Alain Gree, ,Best of British, ,Bone China, ,Ceramic design, ,ceramics, ,Chinese, ,Designer Maker, ,Dulwich, ,Eric Carle, ,George Lepape, ,Henri Rousseau, ,interview, ,japanese, ,liberty, ,London Design Week, ,Louise Wilkinson, ,Maple Collection, ,matisse, ,Mid Century, ,Modern Show, ,Russian, ,Stoke-on-Trent, ,Tent London, ,The Hungry Caterpillar, ,va

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Amelia’s Magazine | A Review of the Three Four Showcase at the Brick Lane Gallery

Geometric wrapping paper - Katy Goutefangea
It was thanks to the joys of instagram that I found out about the Three Four Showcase at The Annexe (part of The Brick Lane Gallery) when print designer Katy Goutefangea commented on one of my images and invited me along to discover her own work on show during London Design Week. Her two toned geometric wrapping paper, above, started life as a hand drawn pattern created using good old fashioned ink and a ruler. Her subtle but very beautiful designs are then printed using vegetable inks on recycled paper, and her matching textiles are screen printed by hand in-house. What a super discovery.

Formica and oak desk by James Tattersall
Cabinet maker James Tattersall has an ethos of constructing playful yet functional furniture, and this sexy Formica and oak desk comes with a handy plan chest drawer.

Wood shelves by Greg Cox
These simple but beautiful wood shelves by furniture maker Greg Cox work really well as a functional feature on the wall.

coat hooks by Guy Brown
Also showing were two fellows who together make up the Room 9 collective. These eye catching coat hooks by Guy Brown have a cool 80s touch.

Guy Brown candle holders
These brass and aluminium candle holders are also by Guy Brown, and were inspired by bombs! His sugar spoons were made cast from wooden models: one roughly hewn by Guy, the other by a professional green wood worker: I love the contrast.

Categories ,Brick Lane, ,Greg Cox, ,Guy Brown, ,James Tattersall, ,Katy Goutefangea, ,London Design Week, ,review, ,Room 9, ,The Annexe, ,Three Four, ,Three Four Showcase

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