Friday, 17 October 2008

Winter Twilight - New jewellery by Lee May Foster

Cornish jeweller, Lee May Foster, has created a new collection for winter, featuring stars, moons, leaping deer, dew drops and feathers.

Inspired by late night and early morning wanderings along the Cornish coast, the collection shines out against the darkness of winter.

Lee May has continued her love of mixing natural materials such as carved stone with vintage materials such as Czech glass and Lucite beads.

Beautiful and mystical, this collection celebrates all that is special about winter.

Prices from £16. Available from the Jewellery Department

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

New Kitchen Linen Department Opens

We are excited to announce the opening of the new Kitchen Linen Department within The Shop Floor Project. We launch with the work of British illustrator Megan Price.

Megan's hand printed tea towels, canvas grocery bags and aprons feature her signature prints inspired by the good old British cafe.

Travelling around the country, paying particular attention to sea side towns, Megan photographs and sketches fading signs, menu boards and items for sale such as cakes and ice-creams. Coming back to her studio in Norfolk she translates these sketches into hand printed textiles using only the best quality 100% cotton twill.

Her canvas bags already have a cult following having been featured in Vogue and Elle France, and the tea towels and aprons are surely going to follow. After a customer told me she had framed her Cafe Culture tea towel in the kitchen instead of using it, I thought 'great idea I'll do that too', but which one to choose?

Now open in The Kitchen Department.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Shake a Tail Feather: Modern Hosiery Collection

Awarded The Scottish Accessory Designers of 2008 by VOGUE.COM, Chloe Patience and Mhairi McNicol's hand printed tights are causing quite a storm!

The Edinburgh and Glasgow School of Art trained pair inspired the launch of our Modern Hosiery Department earlier this year. Today we are excited to launch their second collection inspired by Ostrich feathers, Tattoo parlours and Showgirls - perfect for winter parties or brightening up everyday outfits!

Designed and manufactured in Scotland and made with beautifully soft and strong 80 denier tights they look delicate but can take a lot of dancing!

From £20, available from our Modern Hosiery Department.


Whilst we call our new department 'Modern' Hosiery, finding this beautiful miniature painting by Isaac Olivers from 1615 (from the Victoria & Albert Museum) shows a pair of tights that could easily be included in our collection today.

The man in the portrait is Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset. In the diary of his wife, Anne, she records the many extravagances that led to the mortgaging of their house, Knole in Kent.

Amongst other outlandish pursuits, such as medieval jousting festivals, I imagine that his hand embroidered blue tights (the most expensive dye and pigment in the 17th century) greatly added to his financial difficulties!

Not content with commissioning a portrait by a leading artist of the time, Sackville requested Olivers to use the three most important blue pigments: costly ultramarine (lapis lazuli) for his breeches spangled with moons and suns; smalt (a pigment made from cobalt-coloured glass) for the greyish curtain behind the sitter and blue bice (azurite) for the stockings.

Those were the days, when a pair of blue tights could cause such a commotion!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

New Jewellery Exhibition - Under the Microscope

The new exhibition, which opens today, looks at contemporary jewellery designers who celebrate the idea of the curiosity in all it's forms.

The exhibition is inspired by the early collectors who would sail away to far off lands in search of unknown flora and fauna. The designers in this new exhibition are modern day versions of the old silversmiths who turned exotic curios into brooches, necklaces and earrings like this example of a pair of beetle earrings from circa 1850 (on display at Victoria and Albert Museum).

The designers in the exhibition are

(Fauna Necklace, printed acrylic & pearls £22)

Portuguese born, Manchester based, designer Vanda Noronha is inspired by a rich variety of subjects. Brought up in an inspiring household (both parents are scientists) from an early age Vanda was surrounded by old text books and equipment. She now uses her vast collection of antique scientific prints and illustrations as a basis for her designs. Prices from £12.50

Mexican jeweller Tatiana Sanchez (readers will recognise her from a previous post) embraces the Gothic and macabre in her work, much inspired by the Day of the Dead festival held in Mexico each year. Beautiful hammered and oxidised brass spiders and beetles hand from silver chains finished with pearls and glass beads. Prices start from £34

(Japanese Quails Egg Necklace, Lined with 23 Carat Gold £95)

American designer Stephaine Simek is drawn to the delicate an unusual. Her collection of curiosities range from a Japanese quails egg lined in 23 carat gold, pussy willow catkins to eyelashes and shells that make you sparkle! Her designs actually inspired this whole exhibition, referencing antique items such as an 18th century locket opening up to reveal a rare pressed flower or a ancient fossil turned into a brooch. Prices start from £19

We have been working with New York based jeweller, Erica Weiner, for over two years and her popularity shows no sign of slowing down. Her work fits perfectly with this exhibition as a celebration of the natural world, each piece looking like it's been covered in old gold and should belong in the Ashmolean Museum. Prices start from £18.

All work is on display and for sale in the Exhibition Room until January 5th 2009.