Tuesday, 27 January 2009

In Need of Inspiration?

Dear Saint Valentine,this year will you please bring me some good design!

The Shop Floor Project has put together a little idea’s book for Valentine’s Day to help avoid the nightmare of kitsch merchandise this February.

We have selected a collection of alternative objects that you may want to suggest to love ones or to simply treat yourself to. As with everything in The Shop Floor Project we hope these objects will be treasured and loved for years to come.

For Her

"I'll follow you anywhere"

Migrating Bird Necklace £35
A swift chasing an airplane, silver. By New York based jeweller, Erica Weiner


"Wear your heart on your bag"

'Yes Please' and 'Sweet Sundae' hand printed canvas bags, £19 By Megan Price

"A saying for all occasions"


Proverb Postcards £12.
A set of twelve hand-blocked postcards each
with a saying such as:
“All Good Things Come to He Who Waits”, “Misery Loves Company”, “Birds of a feather flock together”, “Forbidden Fruit is Sweetest”…


"Two little flirting birds"

Pair of swooping Swift Earrings, £13 by Erica Weiner


"For your sweetheart"

Penny Sweet Purse £29, printed leather, all hand-made by Natalie Thakur.


For Him:

"I only have eyes for you!"

Watching Owls T-Shirt £25, hand-printed, ethical T-Shirt by Cornish based designer, Lee May Foster.


"Carve your names in a tree"

A Small Book of Trees, £9.50, Limited edition book by Minna Kantonen.


"You might need me more than you think"

Illustrated card, £2.50 by Lee May Foster

"You are so special to me"

The Special Breakfast Apron £19, Hand printed by Megan Price.

All available from The Shop Floor Project

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Return of the Tea Cup Bracelet

Regular readers of this Journal may remember the article published in December about
ceramicist, Bethan Lloyd Worthington's 'Tea Service' charm bracelets. Well after selling out within days Bethan has created a new limited edition collection. The Birdie Tea Service features that wonderful pea green glaze and gold lustre flourishes, but the snowflake has been replaced by the most delicate little bird.

The cups, jugs and teapots retain the form of 1950's inspired ceramics and are hung on vintage Art Deco brass chains, fastening with a stylish clasp.

£24 each and available from Jewellery Room 1 at The Shop Floor Project.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Introducing Miss Gray and the Nautilus Shell

We are excited to welcome our good friend Laura Gray to the Shop as a regular contributor to the Journal. Laura is an assistant curator at a museum in the North West of England and works with both fine and decorative art collections. She is also a student at Liverpool School of Art where she is researching innovative curatorial practice, both historic and contemporary, in relation to decorative art collections. As an avid visitor to weird and wonderful places all over Europe, Laura is a source of wonderful references and ideas. She is the perfect candidate to write a monthly article for the Journal in which she will select an object from the shop and discuss it within a wider context. Knowing Laura, this could include anything from the French Revolution, her latest obsession, to the oldest museum in Holland!

Below is Laura’s inaugural article, we hope you enjoy it.


The Nautilus Shell
by Laura Gray

Stephanie Simek’s fascination with shells places her in a family tree of collectors, artists and patrons who have loved the iridescent beauty and satisfying geometry of shells, and perhaps even the idea of their concealed miraculous powers.

This necklace, with its allusions to the senses, to the transitory, to sensuality is a wearable still life. The Dutch painters of the seventeenth century cultivated this genre and the composition of their paintings is made up of only a few objects which are very carefully selected and highly prized, such as a cup made out of a shell mounted in wonderfully wrought silver or gold.

Porringer and Nautilus Cup, oil painting by Pieter van Roestraten c. 1660 (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The first arrival into Western Europe of minerals, ivories, ostrich eggs, nautilus shells, and other strange things staggered the imaginations of artists and collectors. Nautilus shells had been revered since antiquity for their beauty, which was now enhanced by goldsmiths who fashioned for these shells stunning and ostentatious mounts.

Nautilus Cup, Silver-gilt embossed and chased, shell, enamel. 16th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The craze for these intriguing objects spread around the royal courts of Europe. They often found a home in the Wunderkammer (the cabinet of curiosity, a privately owned predecessor to the modern day museum) where natural and manmade objects were juxtaposed with scientific instruments, not unlike the shell and silver funnel that hang from Stephanie Simek’s Powder Shell Necklace.

The Powder Shell Necklace calls to mind the gentle and subtle light that can be seen in some Dutch still life painting. Light envelopes the objects as it reveals them to the viewer, reflections and glints are cast by different materials. And like the goldsmith decorating the already sublime nautilus shell, producing an integration of artists expression, exquisite proportions and splendid craftsmanship, Stephanie Simek fills the dainty shell on her necklace with silver dust through a miniature silver funnel.