Time for a Spring Clean and to add a bit of colour about the place, there’s some wonderful re-issued textiles by renowned designer Lucienne Day.
To mark the centenary of Lucienne’s birth, John Lewis have re-launched the fabrics: Calyx (1951), created for a room setting in the Homes & Gardens Pavilion at the Festival of Britain, Flotilla and Lapis (1952), Graphica (1953), Magnetic (1957) and Silver Birch (1958).
Featuring alongside these are a collection of six cushions, two of which – Flotilla and Magnetic are a limited edition of 100.
The four others available are Calyx, Lapis, the award winning Spectators (1953) and Dandelion Clocks (1953), said to be inspired by photographs of dried flowers in the house of Charles and Ray Eames.
The collection launch contributes to a year-long centenary programme highlighting the different aspects of Lucienne Day’s life and work. There will be events around the UK and a full list can be found at The Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.
The Foundation has also commissioned a ‘Lucienne Day 100 Designs’ poster by Studio Fernando Gutierrezm, featuring previously unpublished images of Lucienne’s work as well as portraits from the Foundation’s Lucienne Day photograph archive.
Also of interest to lovers of 1950’s patterns, is the V&A Pattern Book – The Fifties, available from the V&A Shop. Featuring many of Lucienne’s designs, it comes complete with a CD containing over 70 high resolution images for personal use.
On the lookout for a new coffee table, I found this image online, thinking it was a vintage mid-century piece. However it’s new and from the just launched ‘Triiio’ series of tables by the Danish company Brdr. Krüger.
Originally designed by Hans Bølling in 1958, it was never produced and the prototype languished in his shed! However when approached by Brdr. Krüger (who manufacture his design classic the ‘Tray Table’), Hans revisited his design and it’s now available in a coffee, side and dining version.
With wooden intertwining legs, its glass top floats above, but it’s cleverly anchored by hidden magnets beneath the brass detail on each leg.
Launching now at the international furniture show, IMM in Cologne it will soon be available from Brdr. Krüger and it will be the perfect place to display any of Hans’ wooden toy figurines – or your coffee of course.
I’m still hoping, but as it’s raining here in the South, I think the above is the closest we’ll get.
By illustrator Ferdi Afflerbach, it’s taken from ‘Popular Customs and Festivals in Switzerland’, a booklet produced by the Swiss National Tourist Office in 1986.
It illustrates the festival of Klausschellen, celebrated by schoolchildren of most Glarus communities, who parade through their villages ringing bells and collecting good things to eat.
I found it 30 years later, rummaging in Emmaus, the charity shop in Hove, when I should really have been out Christmas shopping. So although not ringing a bell, I took part in my own kind of festival and collected something good.
Just out from Royal Mail are these colourful Animail stamps. Designed by London studio Osborne Ross, their brief was to design something out of the ordinary, that would appeal to children.
The six stamps, like the 2013 special edition Dinosaur stamps, break out of the usual rectangular format, with parts of their bodies extending beyond the stamp area.
In this case the feature is taken further, with the Animails arms, feet or tails designed to fold round the edge of the envelope, making them hang or cling in place.
I’m a big fan of Royal Mail’s special edition stamps and Animails rank very highly, but my benchmark is their 2003 Fruit & Veg edition.
Designed by London agency Johnson Banks these were rectangular stamps featuring large photographs of fruit and veg, with portions extending top and bottom. DIY fun was supplied with a set of adhesive stickers. You just peeled and stuck any features you wanted, to create a unique stamp.
Again it was probably a range designed to appeal to children, but in true Blue Peter style, it gave everyone the chance to get creative!
Another special edition, launches on July 7th, to mark the 50th Anniversary of Pink Floyd. The range includes these six featuring their most popular album covers.
And if you fancy coming up with an idea Royal Mail also welcomes ideas for future designs.
My latest find is a curvy green Bull made by Lotus Pottery, Devon. He’s a deep olive-green with a daisy motif in soft speckled blue, on either side of his flanks.
The design, by Elizabeth Skipwith, is called Petal on Sage and there is also a blue version, called as you might expect, Petal on Blue.
The bulls clean lines and smooth curves make it very tactile and I love the hint of a tail swished up to the side. His head has simply suggested features and horns sweeping up to points, that have (so-far) avoided any damage!
The bulls were produced in the 1960’s to 70’s in several sizes, ranging between five and thirteen inches. There were slight variations to their shape and being hand-painted and glazed, variations to the colour, which ranged from a light grey-green to olive. The size and style of the daisy also varies, with motifs of leaves, ferns and interlinking circles motifs also featuring. Some bulls can also be found with a few tendrils of hair between their horns.
There were other animals in the series too, a bird, owl, cat and a horse’s head, but it’s the bulls that have proved most popular. I’m on the look out now for more – I fancy a large herd, their differences will make for a great display.
The design was also widely used on a variety of kitchen ware and novelty items, including dishes, bowls, egg cups, vases, planters and candle sticks.
Lotus Pottery, started in 1958 by Elizabeth and her husband Michael, produced a wide variety of designs, colours and glazes, but Petal on Sage proved the most popular.
At the peak of its popularity in the mid-seventies, Lotus Pottery attracted tourists to view the pots being thrown and to buy their products. Sadly the pottery ceased production in 1999, but it’s still possible to find distinctive Lotus ware quite easily.
One to keep that group of people who are keen on print and steam engines happy this summer, is the Big Steam Print project, being organised by Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft.
The project involves turning a 90-year-old steamroller into a giant printing press and taking it out on tour, bringing print into the community.
Over thirty letterpress artists, illustrators, graphic designers and print makers, including Rob Ryan and Angie Lewin, are involved. And they, along with local schools, Brighton University, London College of Communication and artists collectives, will be creating large artworks to be printed beneath the steamroller’s drum.
The project is being crowdfunded through Art Happens and different levels of donations will receive rewards, including a Big Steam Print tote bag, an Anthony Burrill poster and the chance to ride the steamroller over your own print. Steam Heaven.
Also at Ditchling Museum each weekend in May, there is the opportunity to carve your own designs into a collaborative piece, to be printed during the Big Steam Print at Ditchling Village Fair on 18 June.
Printing Tour Dates:
28 March – Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre
23 – 24 April – London Transport Museum, Acton depot open weekend
22 May – Brighton on the Level, as part of Brighton Festival
18 June – Ditchling Village Fair
Plenty for everyone, not just the enthusiasts.