Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Spring Time Flowers by Laura Gray

Here is the latest short essay by our resident decorative arts curator, Laura Gray:

Spring Time Flowers

Flowers are the essence of springtime.  With this beautiful necklace St Erasmus is in good company as floral fabrics and jewellery that evoke nature have been fashionable for hundreds of years.  

Design for Spitalfield silk, watercolour on paper by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1763 (V&A Museum collection)
By the Victorian era, after the classical styles of the first decades of the 19th century, jewellery was often decorated with clearly recognisable flowers and fruit.  These motifs became fashionable with the widespread interest in botany and the influence of Romantic poets such as Wordsworth. As the century advanced the extravagance associated with Victorian design became more pronounced and the delicate early floral designs gave way to more flamboyant and complex compositions of flowers and foliage. 

Bodice ornament in the form of a floral spray of roses, 1850  (V&A Museum collection)

The colours in nature were matched by coloured gemstones, and a 'language of flowers' spelt out special messages.  For instance a pink roses represented perfect happiness and blue violets stood for faithfulness. 

The use of intricately woven metallic threads by St Erasmus calls to mind the metal thread embroidery that was a feature of seventeenth and eighteenth century costume. 


Metallic Shoes, c.1780  (Manchester Gallery collection)

This was the most costly form of decoration and used for the most formal clothing where it would have shone and sparkled in candlelight. 

St Erasmus' Honeycomb Earrings,  

Freshwater Pearls and gold metallic thread 


The complete St Erasmus collection can be seen in Jewellery Room 2

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

new collection - Filigree Flowers, Dancing Deers and Hooting Owls

This morning a box arrived at The Shop Floor Project from sunny Cornwall, full of lovely objects that made us smile (and immediately prompted a two hour dressing up session!)

All the following objects are hand made by the very talented designer and illustrator Lee May Foster. There are new pieces of jewellery, T-shirts, vests and the most striking and useful summer scarves. We hope you like them as much as we do!

Available from The Shop Floor Project

Monday, 6 April 2009

Make a White Rabbit Sculpture

It's spring at last! The bluebells have finally appeared this morning and I saw a rabbit running across the road on the way to the studio. What good timing then, to launch the latest creation from our resident artist Lucy May Schofield.  

Make Your Own White Rabbit (£12.50 each) is a signed artists' multiple, inspired by a 1940's war-time toy pattern and Lucy May's strong desire to be able to sew well.  Each 'kit' is hand printed onto cotton which you can then cut out and sew together to create your own litter of rabbits to sit around the house or simply frame the uncut pattern as you might do a print. 

Lucy May Schofield says of her work:

"The creation of these rabbits was a slow, meditative process. In contrast to the speed of modern life, they each took an age to complete. The first ones were made with frantic haste, in fear of my inability to sew. They seemed to be the antithesis to the relaxed, cathartic past time for which they had been designed in the 1940's. The sewing skills inherent in past generations of women had somehow passed me by. Through perseverance, nine rabbits were born (an average litter) with a little more enjoyment every time. I became addicted to the process of their production, sewing on trains, buses and by moonlight. By rabbit number five I was hypnotised by the repetition, which removed and excused me from everyday activities, transfixed and delighted with each new edition to my brood. My changing state of mind is depicted in the different choices of eyes to choose from"

Signed Limited edition (second edition) of 120

£12.50 each  - Available from Lucy May Schofield's Cabinet