New SS14 fabric collection: Botany

I’m delighted to introduce Botany, my new hand printed fabric collection featuring three brand new designs; Bloom, Bud and Frond.  This collection takes its inspiration from studies of Yorkshire plants and flowers and is printed is fresh Spring and Summer brights and pastels.  I hope you love the new designs and colours and find something here that can add a splash of colour to your home.

Bloom is available in Sunflower, Ticked Pink, Lime Burst and Electric Blue.

In2D SW 03-14 Web-7In2D SW 03-14 Web-10In2D SW 03-14 Web-1untitled-0134-2

Bud is available in Lemonade, Spice, Meadow and Seagreen

In2D SW 03-14 Web-9 In2D SW 03-14 Web-12In2D SW 03-14 Web-3In2D SW 03-14 Web-6

Frond is available in Banana, Tickled Pink, Meadow and Blue Skies 

In2D SW 03-14 Web-8In2D SW 03-14 Web-11In2D SW 03-14 Web-2In2D SW 03-14 Web-5

The collection is available in both my medium and upholstery weight fabrics of hemp and organic cotton and printed in organic inks.  You can find the whole range of fabrics in my Shop.

All photography by In Two Dimensions.

 

Artists Textiles Picasso to Warhol

2014-02-19 14.45.49

This is just the kind of exhibition that comes up once in a blue moon and I just HAD to see it.  I was planning a trip to London for a few meetings and I made it all work so that I could also take a trip to Bermondsey and spend a couple of hours at the Fashion and Textile Museum.  For a fabric designer this exhibition is heaven and whilst I had seen most of the fabrics before in books, there was nothing like being able to actually see them in person.  I had been excitedly waiting for this exhibition for many months and I wasn’t disappointed.

2014-02-19 14.55.03 2014-02-19 14.28.39

2014-02-19 14.58.45

The Fashion and Textile Museum always has amazing exhibitions but this was far the best I had ever seen.  There were many different pieces and both fashion and interiors fabrics were very evenly covered so there was enough to satisfy both interests.  Of course it was the interior fabrics that fascinated me the most but I loved being able to see the fashion prints, especially those that were shown as they were made to be seen, on the wonderful fifties and sixties clothes. The Horrockses dresses were so beautiful, I was happily daydreaming put them on and strutting around the exhibition hall. As a collector of vintage silk scarves, seeing some of the beautifully printed scarves in the exhibition was a real treat.

2014-02-19 15.00.51

2014-02-19 14.33.38

It was lovely being able to see some of my favourite fabrics up close. These were fabrics that I had poured over in books for their design beauty, but now I could study the skilfully printed fabrics and their wonderful texture.  Apologies to anyone who was getting frustrated with a small blonde who had her face inches from the fabrics, I did try to not get in the way but I just had to see the fabrics up close.  Two of the highlights for me was seeing some of the Edinburgh Weavers fabrics and also the beautiful printed Picasso fabrics.

2014-02-19 14.56.50

The study room had a wonderful mini exhibition celebrating the Collier-Campbell archive which was a lovely addition to the show.  I always find the study room a lovely treasure  trove and this look at the work of sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell was no exception, showing a range of mood moods, drawings and fabrics from the collection and accompanied by a video about the sisters work.  Susan sadly died in 2011, Sarah continues to work as a designer, you can see her work here.

2014-02-19 14.49.11

I would highly recommend a visit to the exhibition, whether you are a designer, printer or just fabric obsessed, you will love it.  Take a look at the website to see related talks and events that will be running alongside the exhibition.  Artists Textiles runs until the 17th May 2014.

 

 

Looking towards Autumn

2013-11-26 13.46.40-1

A lot has happened over the past couple of months, hundreds of metres of fabric has gone through the studio and been printed, my ‘new’ and rather fabulous (but slightly damaged) table was installed, I said a sad goodbye to Aimee (my intern) who unfortunately had to leave due to illness but I said a happy hello to Vanessa and James who have joined me to help out with the printing.  There has also been a lot of building going on in the studio as we re-organised the space to make it more efficient and make room for more people to work in there.

Now I’ve just taken delivery of my new SS14 collection screens and I can’t wait to share the new designs with you, you’ll just have to wait a little longer.  For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on the designs for the AW14 though as you always have to be one step ahead of yourself in the world of fabric.  It always feels a bit strange to be so ahead of yourself and looking towards Autumn 2014, especially when we haven’t had any summer sunshine yet. For inspiration I’ve been turning to my hometown of Sheffield and the many shapes and forms on display in our city centre. Here are some of the intriguing pattern I captured with my camera and there is plenty here to get the ideas flowing and keep my sketchbook full.

DSCF7491 DSCF7492 DSCF7498 DSCF7507 DSCF7510 DSCF7512 DSCF7516 DSCF7520 DSCF7523 DSCF7525 DSCF7535 DSCF7537 DSCF7554 DSCF7561

An opportunity

Would you be interested in working for me? I’m looking for some helpers to work with me in my studio in Sheffield.

I’m looking for a person or two who can help with general admin (dealing with orders, stock and packing up fabric orders) and someone with strong arms who can help with screen printing.  These can be two separate positions done by two people or can be worked into one job done by one person.  The screen printing is a physically demanding job due to the size of the screens used and also requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Both of these jobs are suitable for someone who is flexible with their working week so may have other commitments. These are freelance positions and so there are no set hours or days, but any work will be done during the studios usual working days of Monday to Friday and can be done at any time between 7am to 4pm.

I’m looking for someone reliable who wants to work in a busy printing environment and who is interested in either position turning into a more permanent job in the future.

Full training will be provided for the screen printing work.  This position isn’t suitable for someone who is just looking for experience in screen printing, I run internships throughout the year which are more appropriate for that purpose.

(Please note, you must also be able to cope with a very small dog who works with us)

If you are interested then please email me and get in touch with your experience, why you’d like the job and details of your flexibility.

Thanks

 

What a wonderful event

Open Studios

The Yorkshire Artspace Open Studios event was a great success and as usual, a fantastic experience.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been able to take part, last year I was ill and the year before I was in-between studios, so it was great to be back chatting to all the visitors and fellow studio holders.  It was also wonderful to be featured on Our Favourite Places, a website dedicated to all the wonderful things about Sheffield.  I was chosen along with some of my fellow YAS artists, we all had a mini interviewed and were photographed in our studios. Being photographed is always a painful experience for me but Nigel Barker was brilliant and really put me at ease.

Ercol sofa

The preparation for the event starts months in advance but as usual is always a little bit of a rush in the last few weeks, especially as I knew that November was going to prove a very busy month for me.  I knew I wanted to be able to get a few pieces of furniture covered and so I was very glad to be able to get the Ercol sofa and 2 of the G Plan chairs finished.  They were all the stars of the event with lots of people saying such wonderful things about them so the effort was definitely worth it.

g-plan

The only disappointment for me was that I wasn’t able to get the new table fitted in time so the studio was crammed full of table parts which we managed to sneakily hide underneath and behind as many things as we could, luckily I don’t think many people noticed.

Another of the big-hits of the event was the Sheffieldish tea towel, I had hoped to sell a few on the night but they positively flew out of the door!  I think I was lucky that the event is so close to Christmas as many people were buying them as gifts, it was great to hear visitors reading out the many words and trying to figure out what they meant.  Many people told me who the tea towel would make the perfect gift for, or where in the world they were going to send it.  It makes me happy to know that there will be quite a few Christmas pots and pans being dried with Sheffieldish tea towels.

Blue-and-Red-tea-towels

Now with my last event of the year out of the way, the next month will be spent doing nothing but printing as I catch up with wholesale orders.  I can’t wait to do all of this printing on the new table – watch out for a post next week on the set up which will no doubt be full of photos of my messy dismantled studio.

Open Studios 2013

I’m taking part in Open Studios, our yearly event, this Friday and Saturday at Persistence Works, Yorkshire Artspace.

You’ll be invited to look around my studio and will also get a chance to see my current collection of fabrics. I will also have a few items for sale such as notebooks and tea towels.

Please do come and visit if you can, it would be nice to meet some of my readers.

Open Studios 2013 postcard jpg

Mini tour of the South

Printing screens

The past month has flown by. I’ve been busy printing fabrics for both wholesale and retail as well as printing for one of my print services clients, in total over 100 metres of fabric has left my poor little 8 metre printing table. I’ve also run two printing workshops, bought a ‘new’ printing table (which meant a round trip to Edinburgh for my husband and his brother) and I travelled down to the south of the country twice in one week.

Printed fabrics

My busiest week was last week when I went to Plymouth and back and then Farnham and back within a matter of days.  First on the list was Plymouth College of Art where I was teaching as part of the Crysalis Skills Tour. I was invited to be the programme’s eco-friendly printing tutor, my role was to teach and share some of my knowledge of printing using environmentally friendly inks and fabrics.  The session was a full morning of printing, both with exposed and stencilled screens, and the group of students (which included international students as well as UK-based practitioners) were a delight to teach.

2013-10-30 08.03.18 2013-10-30 08.03.52 2013-10-30 08.04.20

After a quick two days back in Sheffield where more frantic printing continued, I was ready to set off down south again for Thread, the festival of Textiles at Farnham Maltings.  I knew of course about Unravel, the famous knitting festival held at the same location, this was a chance to show my work at a specific textiles event so I couldn’t turn it down when invited to take part.

2013-11-03 09.03.00

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve sold at a fair as when I started specialising specifically in fabrics I knew my time at ordinary craft fairs was up.  This was something different though, a textiles fair with an emphasis on hand crafted textiles. I had a great day and met so many lovely people.  The visitors to the event were all wonderful and said so many lovely things about my fabrics.  My fellow stall holders were fabulous too, I was in the great hall downstairs and the group of lovely ladies I was surrounded with were all such a lovely bunch.

2013-11-03 13.20.00

My next door neighbour on one side was the fantastic Floss & Mischief. Genevieve was a pleasure to chat to all day and her work was amazing.

2013-11-03 13.20.20-1

I was also lucky to be situated so close to Helen Foot whose talent as a weaver was blatantly obvious from the glance at the wonderful textiles that were flowing past me during set up. I went away with a couple of her scrap packs, I would have happily walked away with one of these beautiful scarves though.

Here are just a few more of wonderful artists (and lovely people) exhibiting who I was lucky enough to have a chin wag with:

Craig Fellows
Duck and Duffel
Guthrie and Ghani
Jen Moules Textile Design
Namolio
The Little Grey Sheep
Warren and Gamble

Please take a look at their lovely work, I hope to see some of them again at next years event.

 

 

Thread Festival

I’m rushed off my feet at the moment with work and I’m also busying preparing for a few events in October and November.  I just wanted to take a quick moment to tell you about a new textiles festival I’ll be attending on November 3rd. Thread is run by the folk behind Unravel so I’m sure it’ll be a great event. Please do pop by and say hello if you are in the area, I’ll be on a stall in the main hall.

800px-me

Tie-Dye by Shabd Simon-Alexander

Tie-Dye

Tie-Dye by Shabd Simon-Alexander gives us readers a fresh look into tie-dye projects and clothing. The easy to read how-to book gives creative ideas and tips for all the tie-dye fashionistas.

Shabd-Simon-Alexander

The book is laid out in such a way that it entices and encourages the reader to become involved with the projects. The presentation is very clean and the set out is easy to understand which is a must in how-to books.

Whilst having funky and fun designs to follow, it also has a more technical side to it. This includes expert colour guidance and even different fabric types to help give you a sneaky peek at what is achievable.

635_Simo_9780307965738_art_r3

The book contains so many bold and innovative ideas using home found objects as props for creating patterns. This just shows how tie-dye is achievable by anyone who wishes it upon themselves and doesn’t have to use costly objects.

971_Simo_9780307965738_art_r1

One of my favourite things about the book has to be the hints and tips…or the ‘alternative’ boxes placed on the majority of pages. These cheeky ideas have given me inspiration to use other objects and techniques for future tie-dyeing projects.

Reading this book has definitely given me lots of inspiration and ideas. As a tie-dye lover it has helped me to understand more about the tie-dyeing world and has given me a new enthusiasm and some new techniques to work on.

984_Simo_9780307965738_art_r1

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, SHABD SIMON-ALEXANDER

Does experimentation play a part in your different techniques?

Most definitely! Experimentation is my favorite part, and sometimes I’ll make up to 200 tests to find 5 colors or patterns for a collection. Often the ones I love the most were the result of happy accidents.

Did you struggle to engage with the fabric to create such intricate patterns?

Sometimes it’s really easy and just happens quite naturally, while other times it takes me a lot of tries to get the results I’m going for. I tend to try to work with patterns that I enjoy making, not only enjoy looking at, so that the entire process is enjoyable. It’s visible in the end if I’m happy while I’m making it.

I’ve never considered using a bottle to apply the dye to my fabrics, do you prefer this method to the bucket dyeing?

The two methods give you very different results. Bucket dyeing is better for monochromatic pieces, this method has been used for thousands of years. Bottle dyeing is good if you want a lot of colors in one piece, you have more control over where you place the colors and how they overlap with other colors in the fabric.

1769_Simo_9780307965738_art_r2

What is the most extreme object that you’ve used to create a pattern and what effect did that give?

It’s fun to tie different things inside the fabric to create polka dots, I’ve used stones, marbles, and all sorts of pantry items like chick peas, mung beans and rice. You can clamp different objects on the outside of folded fabric to create repeated patterns; in classes students bring in all sorts of items to use for this, like jar lids, washers, hinges, forks, and all different shapes cut out of wood or plastic.

753_Simo_9780307965738_art_r2

Do you enjoy acid washing? Or is tie-dye your passion?

I’ve never done acid washing, I like adding color more than taking it away. I also like using dyes that aren’t too harsh to work with and acid sounds scary!

What is the best method for dip-dyed clothing to ensure an even finish around the item?

Dip dyeing is surprisingly one of the most difficult methods. In order to get really even coverage you need to make sure you never stop moving the fabric or you’ll get a sharp line. The better route is to expect some inconsistencies or imperfections and be happy with the results.

1591_Simo_9780307965738_art_r3-(1)

 

Welcome Aimee

There is a new member to studio 14 in the Yorkshire Artspace…and no this member is NOT another pug. It’s a little intern who goes by the name of Aimee.

252222_10151319337142165_445499062_n

After spending 2 years at Loughborough University studying printed textiles, I’ve decided to take a year out to gain experience in the printed textile business.

I spotted Sarah whilst researching eco fabrics and prints online. I found her prints fascinating and really liked her style and eco values. After numerous emails and a long chat about our joint eye wear fetish, here I am for a year!

I’m very much looking forward to a hands on year and learning all aspects of the printed textile world.