The Power of Pattern
My last blog entry touched on the new Pentreath & Hall Fine Cell Work needlework cushions with gloriously graphic designs based on stone floor and marble patterns by the great 18th century designer Batty Langley (1696-1751). Such is the enduring power of pattern!
Equally glorious and graphic are the new Margo Selby for Alternative Flooring carpet and runners, inspired by a collection of deflected double weave hand-woven cloths that Margo has been developing on her handloom in her Whitstable studio.
Shuttle Silas, Margo Selby for Alternative Flooring
Shuttle is named after the Shuttle, the tool that carries the thread across the loom weft yarn while weaving.
Margo Selby is an award-winning woven textile designer whose body of work is recognisable for its three-dimensional structure, striking colour and geometric pattern. She weaves pattern into everything she does pushing the boundaries of the warp and weft lines as she explores colour, pattern, structure and repetition whilst developing her trademark graphic designs on her handlooms. She can step outside these boundaries with the new carpet and runners treating the composition of each piece like an artwork.
‘This year we have been collaborating with the first CoolBrands carpet company Alternative Flooring on a new collection of carpets and runners to be launched at Decorex 2014. Alternative Flooring are a unique British carpet manufacturer who have a similar design philosophy to us, in that they believe creating a carpet or textile is both a craft and an art. The way they make carpets is part of a time-honoured tradition and employs the expertise of skilled craftsmen at every stage. The designs for Alternative Flooring are inspired by our woven fabrics. ‘Shuttle’ is derived from our hand-woven deflected double cloth weaves, whilst ‘Fair Isle’ takes inspiration from our silk jacquard collection. Like many of our designs the patterns are inspired by the process of weaving and the uniformed geometric shapes reflect the structured nature of the craft.’
Margo Selby for Alternative Flooring is launched on the Alternative Flooring stand E56 at Decorex and the collection can be viewed online.
You can also read about these new carpets and runners on the Margo Selby Blog
Stitching a Future Together
Pentreath & Hall and Fine Cell Work have joined forces to create a striking collection of needlework cushions to be launched at the London Design Festival.
Pentreath & Hall’s two graphic designs ‘Falling Cubes’ and ‘Tetrahedron’, based on stone floor and marble patterns by the great 18th century designer Batty Langley, are stitched in six bold, bright colour combinations including mixtures of pink, blue, chartreuse and red, alongside softer grey tones.
Ben Pentreath says that;
“Working with Fine Cell Work has been one of the most exciting collaborations of the year, for Bridie and me. We love their brilliant work and it was an absolute pleasure to be asked to design a range of cushions with them. The bold, vibrantly coloured Geometric patterns of our wrapping paper and books worked beautifully, rescaled in needlepoint; and seeing the skill with which our initial ideas have been translated into reality is a joy”.
Fine Cell work is a registered charity and social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework – undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells – to foster hope, discipline and self esteem. This helps them to connect to society and to leave prison with the confidence and financial means to stop offending.
Currently some 250 prisoners in 24 UK prisons are participating in Fine Cell Work workshops or projects and there are numerous prisoners on its waiting lists. Prisoners are paid approximately a third of the selling price of their completed projects.
On undertaking the new designs, one prisoner commented
“I enjoyed the challenge of stitching this design and also seeing the pattern stand out as the tapestry increased. This was when the 3D image became apparent and also grew in perspective.”
‘Tartan sets the tone of the catwalks each autumn season. It’s like a leaf waiting to turn into a blaze of colour. ‘ Well, following on from paisley, I have penned a feature in Selvedge (September) all about its Scottish pal – tartan.
Vivienne Westwood, the original alchemist turned prim to punk and imbued this cloth with a sense of rebellion. But our infatuation is recurrent rather than revolutionary and this enduring textile enjoys regular revivals.
Wendy Dagworthy, the high priestess of British fashion and esteemed former professor at the Royal College of Art advises tartan to be worn in a modern way and she says ‘if mixed with other things like a flower or stripe, tartan works.’ Alternative Flooring follows her edict and mixes its wool tartan Fling and Dotty runners.
Read all about how tartan is back in Selvedge, a beautiful publication devoted to ‘the fabric in your life.’ The feature can also be viewed on my website in the writing section.