Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Tinsmiths - we don't do useless

On our way to Hay-on-Wye last Friday we stopped off in Ledbury to visit the marvellous Tinsmiths.
Tinsmiths is a shop that is a gorgeous melange of fabrics, housewares and artists prints with a slight smattering of stationery.
As they say, "we try to stock beautiful and timeless things and we are very keen on things that function well; we don't do useless."
We had a lovely chat with proprietor Phoebe Clive, and as we mutually admired the St Judes prints around the walls, she mentioned how great it was to work with Angie and Simon Lewin as they are such lovely people. 
We agreed that business with lovely people is soooo much better!
We also spotted merchandise from the lovely Merchant & Mills by two more friends of ours, Carolyn Denham and Roderick Field (who we then bumped into in Hay on Sunday).
Tinsmiths showroom, built in  a little space between the higgledy piggledy buildings of Ledbury, is a masterpiece of inventive creativity by Alex Clive. It is both quirky and homely, whilst also being modern and fresh - a shed-full of contradiction.
The interior is a stage set of modern British living, a bit like one of the room sets from the Geffrye Museum - inviting, precious and delightful.
Tinsmiths enjoys championing the work of illustrators such as Kate Farley, who has an exhibition coming up next Summer, and printmakers such as James Brown. One of my favourite new illustrator-artists at the moment is Alice Pattullo. Besides her work on the walls of Tinsmiths, she has done some lovely work for Cecil Sharp House in Camden. I notice from Tinsmiths Facebook page that they have just received some new work by Alice inspired by the tradition of the Harvest of the Sea festival linked with London's Billingsgate fish Market.
From Ledbury it was less than an hour's drive to Hay-on-Wye through some lovely lush green countryside, hedgerows dappled with May blossom and cow parsley, the sky rather leaden with 'soft, refreshing rain."

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tapping into illustration

Jonathan has just completed a commission from designer Gill Davies for the identity of lady plumbers, Stirrup & Green. Jonathan's wood engraving captures the spirit of the can-do plumbing outfit serving communities in Wiltshire and Berkshire.
The device was designed to be a single image for the firm's mark as well as work as a unit for a repeat pattern. As patternsmiths it is an absolute joy when one of our clients asks us to create a new and witty repeat.
Gill has used the pattern paper on the Stirrup & Green postcard reversed out of green on the front, green on cream on the back, demonstrating the beauty and versatility of single colour printing. The designers have used a second colour, a deep crimson, to make the company name zing out and creating a great mid-century feel to the palette.
Jonathan has created many repeat patterns over the years including Comet, widely used on our Starch Green products, Goldfish and Three. We are always very pleased to take commissions for patterns, illustrations and design work.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Nine Interesting Things

This week's print of the week is one Jonathan put together using nine tiny blocks. Over the years many of Jonathan's favourite wood engravings have been the little tale pieces designed to begin or finish off chapters, act as symbols or work with type set around them. When he was putting together his first collection for Artists at Home in 2010 he felt these charming but diminutive images didn't quite justify a whole piece of paper on their own - so grouped nine of them into a lovely square of 'interesting things'.
The cockerel, for instance, was originally engraved to illustrate menus at the cafe-bar Fox & Henderson's, lately of  High Street Kensington, named after the engineers on the Crystal Palace (sited opposite before being moved to Crystal Palace). This train, complete with fox and hen, also graced the menus.
The cockerel now appears as one of the icons in our Everyday Stationery box, along with the goblet and the beehive.
Last year we developed some large silkscreen prints using wood engravings as the artwork. We took Nine Interesting Things and enlarged it to make this A1 format print, printed in grey and orange. Using silkscreen techniques enables us to create much larger works and add colour to the print. Our work is currently on show (and for sale) at the Wood at Golden Valley pop-up shop in Hay-on-Wye (up the steps by the castle at Castle Cottage) until Sunday 10th June. Jonathan is also taking part in Artists at Home on Friday 22nd June - Sunday 24th June - do come and visit us then.

Friday, 1 June 2012

The shop is popping!

It's all very exciting! The pop-up shop, masterminded by John and Fran Fishenden at Wood at Golden Valley is now up in a quaint little cottage in Hay-on-Wye.
An absolutely perfect place to visit over the Jubilee weekend - the countryside is perfect at this time of year - and a 10 minute walk from the Hay Festival site.

Should the weather turn a little inclement wander up the steps to the castle, squeeze through the gap in the wall, and take shelter in the geranium-bejewelled porch of Castle Cottage and come in to say hello.

The shop is filled with gorgeous Wood at Golden Valley boards, egg cups, bowls and candles plus delightful prints and felt from Anne Fishenden.
There's also a good range of Starch Green wood engravings, silkscreen prints, stationery and ceramics.
Jonathan and I will be arriving in Hay on Friday 8th and manning the shop on Saturday and Sunday next week. Please drop in.