A few months ago I visited the National Wool Museum in Wales. If you happen to find yourself in that part of the world it's a destination that's well worth a visit. You can follow the process of wool making from fleece to fabric and there's a textile gallery with a large collection of Welsh woollen blankets. The thing that fascinated me most though was seeing how teasels were traditionally used in the combing process to loosen the fibres and so soften the wool.
A series of photographs by Koto Bolofoto for Margaret Howell's new campaign captures the use of these spiky, architectural wildflowers in the woollen industry. The images, which perfectly reflect Howell's strong, quiet style, were taken in Scotland, where the jumpers in the collection are knitted.
Margaret Howell is well known for her love of honest, enduring British design and her support of traditional skills. Her AW12 catwalk show had a distinctly Scottish feel, with lots of tweed and cashmere and models wearing Tam o' Shanters. You can view the show here.
I popped round to visit my friend Caroline, who is a knitwear designer, recently and couldn't resist taking these pictures of her studio space. It's always a treasure trove of colour inspiration with hundreds of spools of yarns arranged in perfect colour graduated order along one entire wall. Vogue tearsheets, moodboards and trend inspirations for whatever she's currently working on occupy the remaining wall space - stripes are Caroline's signature look but I loved the colourful fair isle designs she was working on when I popped round.
Do you have an interesting creative space? If so I'd love to see it.
Here are a few links I loved this week:
The classics circa 2050: which of today's designs will stand the test of time?
Autumn wardrobe temptation in the form of £50 off at my-wardrobe.com with code NEWSEASONTREAT UK (when you spend £200).
Campbell's soup creates limited edition Andy Warhol tins to mark the 50th anniversary of the artist's work.
Images: Design Hunter
The Third Generation furniture project by Jason Fletcher, an Industrial Designer who recently graduated from the MA programme at Central St Martins, attempts to use the industrial process of modularisation to convert waste material and devalued objects away from landfill and into functional components for reuse instead.
The project seeks to contribute to the ongoing dialogue about the re-use of consumer goods through considered design. Each piece is designed or refurbished with standardised connective parts and sections allowing flexibility and variety in use and re-use over time.
I'm not a fan of autumn. I know some people relish its promise of cosy evenings indoors and leaf crunching walks. I don't. I usually dread the back-to-school feeling and the drawing to a close of the summer months that the end of the August Bank Holiday weekend signals. But I'm really quite excited about knuckling down to things this autumn. I'm looking forward to London design week and have lots of exciting work projects in the pipeline.
And one of the things I have always loved about the onset of autumn is that each year when it arrives it seems like a great opportunity to plan an entire new wardrobe (fantasy or otherwise) for the months ahead. So when I was asked if I would like to run a post featuring some of my favourite pieces on the Avenue 32 clothing website I happily agreed.
As usual the handbags were the first thing I checked out. The range on Avenue 32 includes this textured fine leather Pashli bag from Philip Lim and a beautiful contemporary classic python skin oversized tote from Calvin Klein.
This slimfit classic hooded duffle coat by Chalyan is timeless. Made from waxed cotton canvas, it has a detachable quilted inner warmer for the transition from autumn through to winter. Here I've teamed it up with a bright cerulean blue ribbed jumper by Cedric Charlier.
If you are getting married or have a special occasion coming up and are in need of an evening dress there are some beautiful Temperley gowns, like this Edwardian inspired long silk lace gown. I also adore Giles Deacon's ivory swan pleat dress - there's a matching brocade coat too so it would be perfect for a winter wedding.
If I could pick just one thing though it would be a pair of these classic mens' style pyjamas by Poplin. Named after classic style icons like Audrey, Bardot and Marilyn, my own favourites shown here are the blue and white striped Mitford and the Shrimpton in navy cotton with white satin piping. Perfect for autumn evening snuggling.
1. Pashli Satchel by Philip Lim | 2. Python Tote by Calvin Klein | 3. Waxed Cotton Duffle Coat by Chalyan | 4. Blue wool side slit jumper by Cedric Charlier | 5. Long silk crown gown by Temperley | 6. Ivory swan pleat dress by Giles | 7. Mitford short PJs by Poplin | 8. Shrimpton Classic PJs by Poplin
In association with Avenue 32
While humble, heritage inspired design that looks to the reassuring familiarity of the past has enjoyed something of a renaissance over the past couple of years, this is increasingly being counterbalanced by designs that offer a more futuristic outlook.
This faceted P.A. dining chair by Copenhagen and New York based, Soren Rose Studio (above) popped into my inbox yesterday. One of the latest additions to their Park Avenue collection manufactured by De La Espada, it's due to be launched at The Tramshed in London next month.
I've noticed a lot of faceted designs around recently. In contrast to the celebration of the craftsman and the handmade touch that is the hallmark of 'heritage-inspired' design (like the numerous 'modern windsor' chairs that have been launched over the past year or so), these geometric forms hint at a renewed appreciation of science and engineering. As well as referencing the design possibilities created by new digital technologies, they also draw inspiration from the rhythms and patterns found in nature, such as crystal formations and molecular structures.
'One Light Only' by Lee Broom
Sofa by Lazerian.
Neon yellow resin ring by Isharaya.
2D 'faceted' design via Pinterest.
Flexible tactile wood by Elisa Strozyk.
Minimal and architectural, this is a technological beauty that occupies the intersection between science and art, introducing a modern, clean cut edge whilst continuing to cater to our desire for a return to purity and simplicity.