Spring is springing

I've been busy planting my creative seeds, and pretty soon, a floral burst of colour is ready to emerge.  So, for a bit of behind the scenes, here are a few tasters of what's coming soon and from where it came!

I work in a garden studio, so my walk to work is a mix of plant pleasure, and trying not to get distracted by gardening at this time of year which I love.  When I get there, I either need to sketch and come up with colours and ideas, or work on the computer where much of my digital finishing happens.

Much of this year has been in planning for the trade show 'Pulse' which describes itself as 'the UK’s ultimate boutique trade event for inspiring new gifts, modern living and fashion accessories'. Sampling of new products takes time so I started early. I was very pleased with bone chine mug samples of my Gasholder design and graphic patterns, all hand finished and supporting the UK Staffordshire ceramics industry. These are both developments of imagery which has been popular in art print form and textiles, so I have enjoyed expanding my knowledge of another medium.

'Gasholder' mugs in navy and orange

'Gasholder' mugs in navy and orange

'Flora' mug

'Flora' mug

'Leaf Flow' mug

'Leaf Flow' mug

I love to paint and travel and wanted to create some designs and art based around recent painting exploration in abstract work.

The 'Reyjkavik' series of prints and coasters are graphic interpretations of some paintings I did after a visit to Iceland's capital with it's harbour shapes and the Icelandic appreciation of nature.

If you would like to visit me at Pulse, you have to be a trade buyer and can register on their site. You will find me on Stand L15

I have joined a local dynamic group of artists, designers and makers - Muswell Hill Creatives and we will be popping up in Muswell Hill on Saturday May 6th for a Spring Market.  I am also taking part in the Highgate Fair in the Square on Saturday 17th June.

Please join my mailing list for details of events and I will let you know when products become available. This will depend on orders made at the show which I hope will be fruitful!

1960s Wallpaper

My last visit to the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture was to research the Silver Studio collection and in particular to look at designs from the 1930s and 40s.  You can read my previous post for details of the visit here if you like.

In today's visit, I moved up to date and into the 1960s.  I started by looking at large wallpaper books from a company called John Line Ltd.  Sim, the archivist at MoDA who showed me the work, said these papers wern't mass produced, but produced in a speciality niche way. These were screenprinted so the colours were incredibly dense with a matt chalky quality.    Most designs had 3 colourways.  I was attracted most by the 'dabby' mark making which brought to mind Henry Moore. These wallpapers looked like they might have had African influences. Printed in two colours, a rich dark grey alongside a fresh yet subtle secondary colour.

This print could not have been from any other era but the 1960s.

These yummy  line and stripe designs, felt very contemporary.


Into figurative mode now, but in a very similar colour palette to the stripes, look at these charming bird wallpapers - so lovely!

I'll upload some of the fabrics and colour swatch books I saw too in my next post...

All images shown here are copyright The Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, Middlesex University.  Visit their website: http://www.moda.mdx.ac.uk/

Ginkgo Inspiration

I am working on a piece of work for a new gallery space in Finchley which I wrote about in a previous post.  This is going to be a bit rambly, but I wanted to record and share some of my thinking and process here.

I am equally inspired by nature and urban spaces, but it's when the two clash, that I start to get excited!
In exploring the 'gritty' urban space close to the gallery on Finchley High Road,  I was stunned to find a newly planted row of Ginkgo trees.  I have always admired their leaves, and have started to draw and study them.

I bought this lovely little book at the Natural History Museum last weekend.  In it, I read
'The first vascular plants appeared in the Salurian period, 400 million years ago and began to pump oxygen into the atmosphere.  By the time of the Carboniferous (around 330mya), carbon dioxide was getting scarce and tree ferns evolved with leaves that breathed.  Next came height, with gymnosperms - the ginkgos and towering conifers of the late Permian (250mya) and Jerassic (150mya).
These trees are survivors!

I took this photo during my visit to the Natural History Museum.  I love shadow patterns and distortions.  I have been playing with patterns inspired by the Japanese Katagami stencils I saw at MoDA archive with a view to creating a suspended installation in cellebration of ginkgo leaves.

Someone told me the German poet, scientist, botanist and philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also admired ginkgos and wrote a poem about them in 1815.  
Here it is translated into English. 

This leaf from a tree in the East,
Has been given to my garden.
It reveals a certain secret,
Which pleases me and thoughtful people.

Does it represent One living creature
Which has divided itself?
Or are these Two, which have decided,
That they should be as One?

To reply to such a Question,
I found the right answer:
Do you notice in my songs and verses
That I am One and Two?

ginkgo leaf design entwined by Jo Angell

MoDA - Museum of Domestic Architecture

The Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture is part of Middlesex University.. It houses an archival collection of wallpapers, textiles, books, catalogues, and magazines from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.  Anyone can visit so long as you make a prior appointment to view the collection.

One of Britain's leading commercial design studios from 1880 to 1960 is The Silver Studio and much of the studio's work is stored at MoDA. 
Back in June, I applied to a call for artists and designers to respond to the Silver Studio archive and put forward proposals for work inspired by this collection.
After cruising the MoDA website, I made my appointment.  The staff there are very helpful and had a large collection of archival boxes ready for me, based on my requests, when I arrived.

These lovely delicate objects became my first inspiration! They are Japanese Katagami stencils. 

The founder of the Silver Studio, Arthur Silver, was obsessed with Japanese Katagami stencils.  He collected them and the studio gained inspiration from many of the intricate patterns.  Katagami are made of multiple layers of thin mulberry paper which are bonded with a glue extracted from persimmon.  They were used with resist paste made with rice flour and when dyed, the dye didn't adhere to the areas covered with the paste. 

Next, I looked at some wonderful Art Deco designs.  Many of these were original paintings and drawings made by designers working in the studio.  It was great to see these original artworks close up and imagine designers of the 1930s beavering away on these modern and futuristic creations.

John Churton 1934

Many were charcoal and gouache paint on tracing or thin paper and very lovely.

I was delighted when my proposal was chosen and I am now starting to work on some designs inspired by the collection.  I am planning to create a piece of work which combines laser cut panels with printed fabric designs and will play with light effects as the two merge. The final piece of work will be displayed alongside four other designers' work in a new gallery space, The Hasler Gallery, in North Finchley at the end of this year.  

I'll be updating my blog with the work in progress, and news of related workshops, so do keep watching this space!

Images copyright the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, Middlesex University. Visit their website at http://www.moda.mdx.ac.uk/home

Marimekko and beyond

So there I was admiring this Marimekko cushion, when I learnt I was going to be lucky enough to spend a weekend in Helsinki with my other half.  My designer-taste-buds started watering!
Here are a few of my visual highlights:

Graffiti Finnish style....

How great is this carved bear for a kids playground...

I had to sit on him

Here we go vintage Marimekko in the Design Museum

Fab Marimekko swatch books from the 60s

Wonderful Annika Rimala designs for Marimekko in 1963-4

Lovely bits of art deco

the station interior is fantastic with gems like these green tiles

I think these might be alvar aalto lamps...

These are definately Alvar Aalto lamps, as is the whole building 
in the Akateeminen Kirjakauppa bookshop cafe 
(which by the way has the best spinach quiche I've ever tasted!)

I also visited Tove Jansson's centenary exhibition 
What an incredible woman.  I have to admit I didn't love her early paintings which before the exhibition I didn't even know about. However, the exquisite pen and ink drawings for her illustrated books in the later half of the exhibition are absolutely stunning.

Artist Textiles Picasso to Warhol

An exhbition at the Fashion and Textile Museum
31 January - 17 May 2014

As a textile designer, and a long time lover of 1950s-60s textiles, I tend to know and admire the 'designers' who created them.  This exhibition is specifically related to artists work on textiles of that period and a bit beyond. My art college years were spent looking at paintings by artists including Picasso, Leger and Miro so it was a nostalgic experience and a pleasurable one, discovering some new artists too.

The exhibition notes start with, 'many artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries tried to make their work less elitist and more relevant to the lives of ordinary people.....through industrially manufactured textiles for the mass market'.  Most are screenprinted, they're bold and colourful. They feel optomistic and fresh -  look at 'Harvest Time' below -  a sunny utopian view of town and country.
The exhibition is an international journey through Fauvist, Futurist, Constructivist, Surrealist, Pop Art, illustrative.....

Here are a few of my personal highlights - enjoy!

Detail of 'Deer Season' cotton furnishing textile by Rockwell Kent
Charles Bloom Inc New York   1950

Detail of 'Harvest Time'  cotton furnishing textile by Rockwell Kent
Charles Bloom Inc New York   1950

'A Fish is a Fish is a Fish' by Ken Scott  1951
Cotton border print
This textile by the New York company W.B. Quaintence was subsequently marketed in the UK through Sanderson & Son Ltd.

Fashion textile for cotton summer dress by Alastair Morton  c1949

'Full Measure' by Kenneth Rowntree 1957
Cotton crepe furnishing fabric, Edinburgh Weavers

Eduardo Paolozzi textile 1953

'Notes' cotton fashion textile by Pablo Picasso 1955

'Whithorn' linen furnishing textile by William Scott 1961

Dress made from Joan Miro's textile 'Farmers Dinner' c1955

Skirt made from Fernand Leger's textile 'Acrobats' 1955
D.B. Fuller & Co NY 

'Mr Man and All Over Neon No 2'  by Zandra Rhodes

'Arab Town' by Saul Steinberg 1952
Coset of California

'Frontispiece' by Pablo Picasso 1963
Bloomcraft Fabric, NY 

Sonia Delauney  
block printed silk c1925

 What's suddenly struck me is that there are only two women here amongst about ten men - that's the 'art' world for you?  This led me onto thinking about recent artist's collaborations.  The two which spring to mind are the incredible Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama - not only a woman, but an 84 year old woman! who was invited by Louis Vuitton to create fashion textiles and window displays - I blogged about it here.  Plus the fabulous Grayson Perry who has collaborated with Liberty on a number of projects.

If you're visiting, do pop into the museum shop where there are lots of books and goodies.....including some of my scarves!  All proceeds go to the museum.

Fashion & Textile Museum

'ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol' at the Fashion and Textile Museum

A splash of colour in Bermondsey, close to London Bridge - this is the Fashion and Textile Museum, designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

It's a cutting edge centre for contemporary fashion, textiles and jewellery and has a programme of changing exhibitions and offers courses too. 

Just opened is a really exciting exhibition 'ARTIST TEXTILES Picasso to Warhol' which traces the history of 20th century art in textiles.  I'm delighted that a selection of my silk scarves have been selected to be sold in the museum shop to compliment this exhibition.  How exciting to be mentioned in the same paragraph as some of the artists featured - George Braque, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Sonia Delaunay, Raoul Dufy, Barbara Hepworth, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Ben Nicholson and Andy Warhol!

Salvador Dali 'Number, Please?' textile from Wesley Simpson, c1947

and here's a little taster of details from my scarves...
'Gasholder' printed on silk habotai 

'Geo' blue printed on silk habotai 

'Geo' red printed on silk habotai 

'Leaf flow' orange printed on silk habotai

'Seascape' printed on silk habotai
'Paint' printed on silk habotai


Festive Gift Boutique in Clerkenwell

Can't believe it's December!  A busy time for me, meeting customers at shows and updating the online shop.  This week, I'm part of a pop up shop with nine other fab designers in Clerkenwell, at Craft Central's beautiful gallery space.  I love this area - very buzzing with activity and combining business and creativity.  Great architecture too and superb cafes and restaurants.

MON 9th - FRI 13th 9am - 8pm   
THURSDAY til 9pm - Pop in for a glass of wine!
SAT 14th - SUN 15th  11am - 5pm
33-35 St John's Square EC1M 4DS (map)

One of the exhibitors "LOVE BESSIE" created our wonderful doggy illustration for 
the event and I designed all the graphics around it.  
Please keep scrolling down for pics of the gallery and designers work.

Early in the morning!  The gallery is on the corner behind the lovely rowan tree with plump red berries


Here are a few photos from the gallery - hastily taken on my phone but hopefully gives the general flavour!

my scarves!



my scarves

  Velvet cushions from me



my eyepillows
my lavender mini-pillows
Beanbags and lavender kitties


Costa Rica summer

I was lucky enough to go to Costa Rica this summer with my husband and daughter to tour around with a guide and another family from Los Angeles.  Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005.  The country did this by encouraging eco-tourism with a large collection of national parks where you can both observe and preserve plants, animals and insects.   Whether this is sustainable in the long run is open for discussion as they have more and more visitors.  With my love of learning about plant forms, I had a lovely time...Here are some of my hipstamatic photos which are likely to be the starting point of my next textile collection.

blink pop up gallery - Sat 20 July 2013

'blink' is an occasional pop up gallery event in North London featuring both artists and designers.
I will be there come rain or shine (more likely the latter!) this Saturday 20 July 10am - 6pm
Images show a selection of my original textile designs and products coming with me.
I specialise in digital textile designs, all made in the UK.  I have also recently been experimenting with the ancient Japanese form of fold dying - Shibori, and will be showing a few examples of the soft cotton results which work perfectly as scarves or sarongs.
Hope to see you there!

blink Arts and Design Gallery
Will be back in Crouch End on
Saturday 20th July 10am-6pm
Ahoy shipmates! We’re getting ready to sail back into St. George’s hall, Cranley Gardens with our blink summer exhibition for 1 day only, bringing with it a live mermaid installation!
As always we’re an eclectic mix of over 20 wildly original artists and creators will once again transform this much loved local church hall into a nautical themed gallery showing:

Art. Art Installation. Ceramics.Fashion. Floristry. Furniture.
Jewellery.Photography. Printmaking. Sculpture & Textiles.
So hoist your mainsail, set your compass for Cranley Gardens N10 3AH & 
get on board for Sat 20th July 10-6pm.
For more information see blinkpopuparts on Facebook and twitter

Hornsey Town Hall

I'm usually in a hurry, with a list of things to do....
Today I had an hour to spend in Crouch End, and rather than sit drinking coffee, I decided to amble slowly and look around my locality to see what was going on and how it was faring.

I really like the town hall in the middle of Crouch End, built in 1935, now used mainly as a vintage film set (notable recently for 'The Hour') whilst people/council argue what to do with it.
How had I missed these gates before? They're very much of their period and they remind me of something I would have loved as a child.  I would have stood there deciding which animal I liked the best.
The design appeals to my sense of order and symmetry with little compartments for one and all.

Happy to say the Crouch End Festival will be inhabiting this space for a Craft Fair on June 8th.  I should be taking part showing my digital texiles. Stalls will be both inside and outside the building.

Seek and you shall find.  


Preparing to Show

So, I'm involved in this very local (to me) 1 Day Gallery tomorrow.  
I've displayed my work in a range of temporary spaces.  Somewhere to hang things is always useful - often unavailable.  The curator of the show has encouraged all the exhibitors to embrace an industrial theme.  St George's Hall has a lovely old fashioned atmosphere with a well worn fab wooden floor.  I wanted to create a small area, almost like a small set.  A eureka moment - how about a screen made from pegboard - now that would be flexible. The genius blokes in my local woodshsop knew exactly how to do it.

This is what I love.  Fresh white walls, natural woods and bright colours. 
Hmmm, it's hard to do minimalism when displaying a broad selection of work in different colourschemes. Your space can very quickly look a jumbled mess. 

The traditional solution is to colour group....

or pattern group....


or a random sweetshop mixture....

back to minimalism....

We'll see...tomorrow's another day.
Come and see what I decide to do if you're in the area!

St Georges Hall, Cranley Gardens, Crouch End N10 3AH
10 - 4

Fairtrade with Design in mind

Over the past year I've been doing some freelance graphic design work at the pioneering fairtrade and sustainable fashion company People Tree.  People Tree's aim is to improve the lives and environment of the artisans and farmers who work to make the products. I wanted to support them in this mission. I feel strongly that good design is key to getting people engaged.
I'd never worked in a fashion environment before. I love clothes, and fabrics of course, so I was keen to find out more.

At People Tree, the fabrics are hand and block printed, woven or hand knitted, mainly in India and Bangladesh.  Seeing them at close hand, it's the woven fabrics which are the most unique.

When People Tree keep the looms busy weaving lengths of fabric for their dresses, this halts the potential break up of a family. People would otherwise travel great distances away from their home to seek work.  So, this seemingly old-fashioned process already provides benefits.  I have to admit to being a teeny bit suspicious of people who want things to stay as they are. What about innovation and change I found myself thinking?  What I hadn't completely appreciated was that all this weaving is done without any electricity.  This struck me as generous. Whilst we spew out tons of carbon daily, pure human energy makes these clothes.

Watch how it's done here

I read Safia Minney's book 'Naked Fashion' before working there, and I would highly recommend this as a highly accessible book describing how and why we should all support fairtrade.  On a personal level, I don't think I've ever worked with anyone as energetic or committed to a cause as Safia. She truly has a lifelong commitment to environmental, trade and social justice issues.

Chris Haugton is a fantastic illustrator who's made lots of drawings for People Tree over the years. He has recently launched his own collection of fairtrade rugs called MadeByNode.

I visited the Design Museum this week to hear talks from many of the designers and artists who have created artwork for the rugs.  Great, inspiring night.  Here are my favourites by Petra Borner, Jon Klassen and Clayton Junior.

All are available from the Design Museum Shop
Their video which shows just how much skilled work goes into them

What's really exciting is that you can also design your own rug and they'll make it for you....just got to save up now

Jonathan Saunders

Frustrated by not having enough time at the moment to write a new post, I'm hastily posting some pics from one of my favourite fashion designers - Jonathan Saunders - who always does elegance, good colour and pattern so brilliantly.  This is digital print used in an understated simple, but highly effective way. Pics from his spring 2013 collection shown here.

Craft Central: One Day Designer Sale

London Fashion Week starts 15th Feb.  As a little prologue, Craft Central in Clerkenwell are holding a One Day Fashion Designers Sale featuring 45 designers (scroll down for a selection).
I'll be exhibiting - Do pop along and say hello and see some of my new textile designs.

Craft Central, 33-35 St John's Square, EC1M 4DS  Admission Free

Tuesday 12 February 2013, 12noon to 7pm

Feather silk scarves by Jo Angell   Keep up to date with new designs and feel free to 'like' on my facebook page

This is your chance to buy distinctive fashion, jewellery and accessories from almost 45 UK designers... but don't miss out, it's for one day only! Alongside sneak previews of exciting new work, each designer will offer some great discounts - your last chance to snap up bargains from previous collections.

Delve through tempting innovative fashion, jewellery and accessories... Discover covetable hand-printed bags and purses by Black Cactus; Frilly by Lily’s one-off up-cycled creations; wickedly versatile ethical garments from Outsider and Feng Ho; Suzie Lee’s gorgeous knitwear; Swithbert & Louis’ stunning capes made from quality British wool; and sumptuous vintage-inspired hats from Judy Bentinck, Bee Smith and Rachel Black. Craft Central is renowned for great jewellery design and this show is no exception. Adorn yourself with stunning fine jewellery by Sarah Herriot, Modica by Bronagh Kennedy, Sarah Stafford, Oxx Jewellery, Amanda Li Hope and Mandana Oskoui (amongst other big names).

Find out more and plan your visit here

The designers cherry picked to accessorise you are:
Alludio, Amanda Li Hope, Angela Fung, Annie Ruthven-Taggart, Antonia Ross Jewellery, Bee Smith Millinery, Black Cactus London, Ciara Bowles , Corinne Hamak, Darijus Gerlikas, Day C, De Anna Kiernan, Debbie Carlton, Dinah Gough, ESOTIC jewellery, Feng Ho, Francisco Rico, Frillybylily, Jo Angell Design, Judith Peterhoff, Judy Bentinck Millinery, Karen Fox, Karen Morrison, Kizmet Jewellery, LaParra Jewels, LILWEN clothing, Louve de Nordneg, Mandana Oskoui, MODICA JEWELLERY, nnoodl, Outsider, Oxx, Paula Ortega, Quarter Angel, Rachel Black Millinery, Rosemary Lucas Jewellery, Sara Gunn, Sarah Herriot, Sarah Stafford Jewellery, Sima Vaziry, Suzie Lee, Swithbert & Louis, Wada

My proudest Eco Design moment

Besides the lovely moment when I won an industry sponsored competition, set by a great British wallpaper company, Graham and Brown, my proudest moment was when a roll of the finished paper was taken into the archives of a museum.
The wallpaper was on show as part of an exhibition 'Eco Home' in 2010 at the Geffrye Museum, a wonderful London museum dedicated to the history of the home. 
The 'Eco Home' exhibition hoped 'to address, without preaching, widespread and increasing concerns about ecology and the state of the planet and how this links to our homes and the way we use, decorate and inhabit them.'
A roll of the Bittern Wallpaper, along with a recorded interview with me about the design was taken into the archives at The Geffrye Museum as an example of the eco movement in design.
The three wallpaper designs are based around the Bittern, a bird who's reedbed habitat is seriously under threat from rising sea levels. 
I used mainly pen and ink to draw the birds in order to give a handcrafted feel to the collection.  The colour palette was based on the browns of the Bitterns themselves.  Bitterns are masters of disguise, shrinking to ball shapes or extending their necks to hide in the reeds so the designs combine these two elements.
This is a warm up to other blog posts I'm going to be writing about trying to balance my eco concerns with my love of designing.

Popping Up in North London and beyond

I've been busy preparing for two North London based pop up shops starting this week.
Today I'm off to East Finchley to install a laser cut window installation - starry snowflake themed - appropriate since we had a tiny snow flurry this morning!

In East Finchley, estate agent Prickett and Ellis, have kindly allowed myself, and jeweller Sue Irwin-Hunt (who creates lovely hand made organic jewellery) to take over their 1950s/contemporary styled smart offices for the day (Sat 8th Dec) to fill with our designs and welcome locals with mulled wine and mince pies.  All part of the East Finchley Christmas Festival - lots going on alongside us including a French market.

Meanwhile, a winter wonderland is being created at the Hampstead pop up shop. It's down a lovely little atmospheric Hampstead back street and will feature a collection of berry-picked designers work www.welovehandmadelondon.co.uk. Kicking off this Thurs 6th Dec evening and for long weekends until Christmas.

These are local for me, but I've also been shipping further afield through my   O N L I N E    S H O P!