Thursday, 28 May 2009

Mug samples...

Kevin and Philip have just rushed over a picture of our first mug samples - looking pretty good!

We next need to sort out design tweaks, colour fidelity etc (it's all in the firing apparently and can be tricky). Once we sort these things out, and plan the logistics of pricing, storage, packaging etc - it'll be time for a big order and get those kilns burning!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Whoa - badges!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Just returned from a meeting with the lovely Kevin and Philip at Rimmington Vian to discuss making prototypes for a set of mugs. We're planning on one each of six colours to test pattern and colours. 
We took them through the ideas behind Starch Green and our new plan. Since we've been talking Starch Green-ness for at least two years now, they were familiar with the visual approach, and generally very encouraging.
 While we were there we had the pleasure of meeting the charming Charlie (with his green feet from walking on the cut grass this morning), whilst ageing but still adorable Bertie remained calmly in his basket.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Shambles

A treasure trove of Victorian life is up for auction. I tingled with a mix of despair and delight as I read about the little museum, the Shambles in Newent, Gloucestershire, that closed down in November. How had I never managed to see it? And how could I possibly get my hands on some of the goodies?

Auctioneer Simon Chorley has the task of cataloguing all the extraordinary items and bringing them to sale at a four day auction from 18th - 21st May. The range of stuff goes from the charmingly bucolic gardening equipment to a range of printers odds and ends including type cases, some wooden letters and various old presses - and almost everything conceivable in between.

If anyone goes do tell me what you get.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Starch Green Newsletter

Things are coming on apace at Starch Green mansions, so I thought I would just direct you to our Newsletter subscription form, where you can sign-up.

Friday, 8 May 2009


One of the issues I have been grappling with as I convert my archive to digital is how best to display them on the website.

So far, I have scanned them, retouched them, compressed them, tested them in a range of converted file types, and generally mucked about with them, and  then created lower resolution ones for display and review on the website.

By their very nature wood engravings are often quite small, and although look lovely as a print, on screen you often need to see them at a slightly larger scale if you really want to scrutinise them. This leads open the opportunity for anyone to drag a copy off their browser and use it at screen size (are you following?) ie, 'pirate' it.

I have been advised by those that know to show all engravings with a watermark, so I have been experimenting (and bear in mind I need to do this to lots and lots) with watermarks.

The image above is actually a tiny engraving - about an inch square (25x25mm for those that think in metric) - with watermark in place. I guess it's a fine balancing act - not too intrusive, but gets the job done. 

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Joy of Ornament

"Jones showed me that decoration is what is merely added to something, whereas ornament is part of an artefact's essential self," writes Tom Philips RA in his celebration of Owen Jones, compiler of The Grammar of Ornament, in the current RA Magazine

Walking along the Regent's Canal on Monday, it was a joy to see the richness of architectural detail in the bridges along the way, intrinsic to the structures. Equally inspiring was the traditional Narrow Boat typography, with its drop shadows and slab serifs, and the ebullient floral motifs on boats, watering cans, jugs and anything that didn't move quick enough. 

However, just a few metres along the tow path you come to this. I wouldn't dare start describe which ornamental category this might fit into.

Jones' Grammar of Ornament overwhelmed me the first time I saw it and still has the power to absorb and inspire almost endlessly. 
At the V&A until November is 'A Higher Ambition: Owen Jones (1809-1874)', an exhibition on ornament paying tribute to Owen Jones, the compiler of the encyclopaedic tome on the subject.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Press in the shed

Thanks to a dry Bank Holiday weekend, Jonathan has had a very productive time installing our desk-top Albion in the shed - now officially the print shop. 
Along with the joys of clearing out the odd collection of shed-tritus that had built up, and hanging tools in neat rows on the walls, he also added a rather novel 'porch', the roof of which is decoratively edged - rather in the tradition of Victorian shopkeepers used newsprint to decorate their shelves - as recently spotted at the Black Country Museum in Dudley.