Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Desire to Draw

There is something happening in the world of illustration at the moment. Many of our collections, from wallpaper to bags, are by illustrators-turned designers such as Lee may Foster, Megan Price, Daniel Heath and Bebaroque; each very different but all sharing a love for turning their illustrative drawings into functional objects.

This is a trend that sees no sign of slowing down, next month we will be launching new collections by designers who replace the pencil for threads and leather in order to create their illustrations (more on that soon). It was whilst researching the contemporary illustration scene that I came across the House of Illustration, the first museum dedicated solely to the art-form. It's been seven years in the making and they still are fundraising for a permanent building in which to house their collection and hold exhibitions - but in the meantime they have lots of information on-line about illustration and curate exhibitions in host venues such as the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

As you can imagine they are passionate about this subject and write "Illustration is part of our everyday lives, firing our imaginations and evoking memories. It helps us to develop our language and to understand the world around us. And we believe that illustration opens a door to the whole world of arts for everyone."

If you are near London and fancy going to see the very best of contemporary illustrators I would recommend you take a trip to the Best Of British Illustration Exhibition 2009 at London College of Communication (29 July – 12 August) to see over 300 artworks showcasing incredible talents of illustrators who have made a significant contribution to their industry over the last year, including Daniel Pudles’s dramatic editorial image Latitude, Leonard And The Mob, Mind for New Statesman’s Diary Section and also Nishant Choksi’s Winter Roaming, part of Vodafone’s widespread Global airports campaign.

And if you fancy being part of this growing fascination with all things drawn why not have a browse through our site (which is in itself an illustration of a fictional shop) and select your very own piece from the hand-made items we have on display.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Sun Ray - recycled textile jewellery

Sun Ray is a series of necklaces which we commissioned for the Contemporary Folkware exhibition from COOKED; a design collective who are focused on creating pieces inspired by historical designs that are produced ethically and which use recycled materials were possible.

The Sun Ray collection takes inspiration from the ancient Inca jewellery, in particular the sun ray neck pieces that were often made from solid gold and reflected their worship of Manco Capac the Sun God.

Hand made using vintage silks, cottons and braiding these necklaces are so easy to wear and just look stunning on a simple t-shirt or against sun-kissed skin. I just can't resist this type of easy elegance!

£75, available in the Exhibition Room.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Butterfly Catcher

Inspired by St Erasmus' summer collection which feature these beautiful Butterfly Catcher Earrings and following on from last weeks article about the Victorians love of hummingbirds, I wanted to explore the Edwardian craze for collecting butterflies.

As with the Victorians macabre way of showing their interest in nature (see below) the Edwardian era was no different. Butterfly catching was both a serious business and a recreational past-time. Jewellery which used the iridescent wing of a Red Admiral or the Dotted Blue was highly prized. Either simply framed for it's beauty or used in a 'wing-mosaic' to create a larger picture, butterflies were seen as precious as a jewel. 

It's no surprise to see that the Edwardians viewed the activity of butterfly catching important enough for all ages to participate in, with these children of 1901 getting reading for an afternoon of wafting large hooded nets in the air to see what they could land. 

It's a strange thought in these endangered times as I wear these beautiful earrings and plant up butterfly loving plants in my window boxes (not at the same time I may add!) that not long ago the fascination for these creatures was inherently in their colour and form rather than in their ability to flit across the summer sky, an unbelievably fragile thing that is gone as quickly as it's seen. 

Butterfly Catcher Earrings by St Erasmus £44
Available in the Jewellery Department

Friday, 3 July 2009

The Uniform Project - a new meaning for 'the little black dress'

I fell asleep last night reading Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance which is (for those who haven't read it) a brilliant saga that follows the fragile lives of a group of people in 1970's India and in particular those of the slum communities.

It was a bit strange then this morning to awake to my first email of the day from Daily Candy promoting The Uniform Project - an extraordinary charity event conceived and executed by Sheena Matheiken that is raising funds for the Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in the slum communities in India.

Sheena Explains "Starting May 2009, I have pledged to wear one black dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion. Here’s how it works: There are 7 identical dresses, one for each day of the week. Every day I will reinvent the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accoutrements, the majority of which will be vintage, hand-made, or hand-me-down goodies. Think of it as wearing a daily uniform with enough creative license to make it look like I just crawled out of the Marquis de Sade's boudoir."

We LOVE this at The Shop Floor Project - and will be following the different outfits every day with glee!!

Find out more about the project and how you can donate/participate here.
posted by Denise Allan 3 July 2009