Do you often wonder what your alternative job may be or are you fortunate enough to be doing what you love? When my husband was eight he wanted to be an editor at The Guardian and guess what, he is. I wanted to be a theatre production designer and guess what…
Margo Selby was destined to become a textile designer.
Margo trained at Chelsea College of Art and Design and The Royal College of Art. Responding to the overwhelming demand for her fabrics following her graduation, Margo began to develop relationships with weaving mills to explore the possibilities of production and launched her first collection in 2003. It was at this point that she united her innovative hand-woven structures with industrial machinery to create the first 3-dimensional fabrics that were to become the trademark of the Margo Selby brand.
Her new Santa Fe collection is perhaps her most innovative and ambitious collection to date - a multipurpose range where some signature patterns have been upscaled and where some textures are embossed and puckered. My favourite is the debut of Margo’s fabric Japanese-inspired panels that magnify her designs.
Otero, Logan and Newton
Otero is made up of interlocking shapes filled with a pinstripe detail and woven using a combination of viscose and heat shrink yarns to create a quilted effect that is soft to the touch.
The Logan fabric is a bold design featuring clear shapes and clean lines. Inspired by Japanese indigo fabrics it is woven using a combination of soft viscose and heat shrink yarns that give the stripes a subtle, embossed effect.
Newton features natural repetitive curves with a nod to Art Deco. Woven using silk and heat shrink yarns these fabrics combine a luxurious shine with a subtle puckered texture.
Thank goodness Margo Selby played with textiles as a child and the history in her family of women making textiles inspired her to find her true vocation.
Tom Housden is a talented hybrid. An architect designer who set up the Hand&Eye Studio in 2011 with the desire to reacquaint designer and maker. He has since developed an innovative and carefully crafted range of work. He seems to have happily married conceptual and craft.
Each item is designed by the studio and then produced in collaboration with small manufacturers, all of whom are masters of their craft. Hand&Eye’s close involvement in the production process underpins all of its designs. This allows great scope for experimentation in the design process and for a hugely intimate understanding of the objects’ material.
Tom’s new A-Beam light is unique. He has taken an industrial concept and made it accessible. This extruded ceramic beam houses the very latest in LED lighting technology. A combination of craft and precision engineering come together in this suspended lighting. The result is a product that adds the warmth and imperfections of clay in to this highly engineered architectural light.
The lamp is made to the highest quality with a tolerance of +/- 1.5mm across its length of 1700mm. The A-beam is a purpose made profile that allows the LED and diffuser to slide in to the section of the lamp. The A-beam is then suspended from two bespoke suspension cables that also provide the power to the lamp. This means there is no third power flex. Clever eh?
In future the Hand&Eye Studio will introduce additional coloured clays to its collection. It is also possible to have the A-Beam glazed to a bespoke colour.
Hand&Eye’s exclusive range is available to view online and buy through the studio. The studio also accepts bespoke commissions.
Hand&Eye is showing at Clerkenwell Design Week 24-26 May, 2016.
Why we should love antique brown furniture by the best in the business. For once I am silent and will listen to the masters.
‘Whenever I’m decorating a house I’m constantly shocked at the prices of new furniture that loses all value as soon as it’s left the showroom. Far more fun, and much more meaningful, to find a good old chair, chest of drawers or table at your local auction or junk shop for a fraction of the price and with infinitely more character. Bridie and I have constantly filled our shop with good bits of William IV and Victorian furniture, which I find are valued even less than Georgian examples but are often rather more robustly made. My only word of warning – be aware of wobbly tables -my absolute pet hatred.’
Ben Pentreath, Ben Pentreath and Pentreath & Hall
‘Antiques have often been over restored and this is why "brown furniture " has developed such a bad reputation. It is not easy to source these finer items, which is why they still fetch good prices. But the bureau and chest of drawers of the mid eighteenth century are cheaper than they have been for 30 years. Buy one with a good colour and it will be a friend for life.
My favourite chest of drawers was made from old scraps, pieces of an old galleon were used for the drawer lining and the show would was made of the walnut that they had. It has fallen apart a few times and lost its feet. My Dad bought it for me when I was training as a restorer. He bought it in a local sale and presented it to me flat packed. I slowly restored it out of hours. It had developed a lovely patina over its hard life. I loved it, I love it. To me that's as beautiful as the finest piece of Chippendale but for different reasons.
Early Georgian and modernist sit very well together; their simplicity and lack of ornament are a good backdrop to most rooms. These can then allow for a bit more ornament in the layering process.’
Max Rollitt, interior designer, antique dealer and bespoke maker
'When using antique furniture the ultimate goal is to create a timeless environment. By its very nature it is not subject to the constraints of fashion and will remain relevant through the ages.
Very few items of contemporary furniture improve with age and handling. With brown furniture this is the reverse, patina is created through the passing of time and constant human interaction. Items pick up scars and war wounds through their journey. To own a small part of history that has been on this planet for over 200 years is something everyone should find exciting.
Look for well drawn untouched pieces that contrary to the doom maker have and will always hold their value.'
Will Fisher, founder and owner of Jamb and Hawker Antiques
To finish with the great Robert Kime, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday.
‘Antiques can be like an old overcoat that tells you about its life. When clients move into a new house, they must feel as comfortable in their rooms as when they put on an old overcoat.’