From the cover of the Karl Lagerfeld 2016 diary published by Thames & Hudson.
Anyone else agree with him?....apart from me?
I had intended to post a few pictures showing stencilled projects that shared a combination of the colours blue and white but did not realise that I had SO many. I will feature a few partnerships of pale blue and white stencil work and publish darker blues on the next post. My first picture shows stencils AD2 Robert Adam border and AD7 Adam Cartouche
The stag antlers were designed by Bronwen Marshall and made by The Stencil Library for Crown Paint, picture from Crown Paint.
Photo credit. BBC Good Homes magazine. The tumble of cherry blossom was acheived by stencilling JA47 in a custom size, omitting the branches and stencilling the flowers only. The branches are present in the next photo of JA47 from Australia's Inside+Out magazine.
Inside+Out magazine also featured GR65 Pampas Grass stencil from our Garden Room collection. Photo William Meppem.
The Chinese style pattern CH28 was stencilled in white onto the walls of our old shop, the stencil was reused in my kitchen.
This white onto blue stencilled decoration features stencil number DE232 from our range of Art Deco stencils...
and this simple but pretty idea came from garden Life magazine and showed a double sized Forget-me-not stencil from our Garden Room range; we make lettering stencils too.
I was not quite sure whether this photo was blue or lavender but I shall claim it for this feature, the stencil is GMT54 and it appeared on the cover of BBC Good Homes magazine.
Blue and white decoration appears on the floor, wall and furniture in this picture by David Montgomery and Katrin Cargill for Country Living Magazine. The stencils are: Floor stencil pattern is OTT34 a tile stencil from our Ottoman Collection. The design on the table is OTT46 and stencil on walls is CS38 Fern stencil solo.
Ben Kendrick for Country Living magazine used stencil BW25, I used this design on a floor and fireplace in my home.
CH45 Rococo Chinoiserie repeat stencil. I use this design a lot, I have it in black on some cabinets and in taupe on some window shutters
Photo James Merrill via House to Home; featuring our Eslington border stencil and squares from our Big & Bold range of decorating masks.
Stephanie Jones of Me & Mrs Jones painted the blue and white willow pattern on theses shelves. I see that she has a new book published too.
Finally, a guest room in the attic of my home, three shades of blue were blended through oversized elements of our Willow Pattern Stencils.
Hope you liked some of them. More next week!
Whilst it would be nice to jet off to New York City to see the latest exhibition “China Through the Looking Glass” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, unless Mr E wins the lottery, it is not going to happen. So I ordered the book instead. It just arrived. What utter gorgeousness! Possibly one of the
most drool worthy books ever. I admit, I am biased. I love Chinese style, especially the Shanghai look of the 20’s and 30’s that was influenced by the Westerners that flocked to the city to experience its heady delights. Combine art deco and Chinese imagery and I am in heaven. This is exactly the sort of
combination I intend to use in my dining room when I can get around to decorating it. Finding references in books or film is an ongoing passion of mine. There is nothing worse than a disappointing book and nothing better than something that exceeds expectations. This beauty falls into the latter
category thankfully. The exhibition explores the influence and reaches of Chinese style in fashion, art and film. It is so easy to see why it is so influential: the colours! The patterns! What was once terribly exotic is now at once familiar and thank goodness for that. Had we not had the gall to explore
the limits of the globe all those centuries ago, we would have lost a wealth of outstanding decoration for fashion and interiors and more. The book has an extensive bibliography and filmography. I can see my Amazon wish list getting bigger. I collect piano shawls, robes, vintage Chinese tunics, cheongsams and
more. My house is full of vintage Chinese items – mostly chinoiserie, the European interpretation of Chinese style. One of the most coveted wallcoverings has been, for centuries, Chinese handpainted wallpaper. So much so, we designed an extensive range of stencils to create the look yourself. I
intend to give these panels my own interpretation in my Chinese deco dining room. It is a scheme that has been stuck in my head for the best part of two years and the only reason I haven’t launched into it is because the dining room needs a bit of building work first, but it is the room I am most excited about
decorating. This book has me all fired up again (but unfortunately it won’t make the building work happen any quicker). If you are in NYC any time until mid-August, visit the exhibition (and tell us what it was like). I am sure it is a feast for the eyes and mind. If not, order the book, it is entirely yummy too.
Aspire to the principle, behave with virtue, abide by benevolence, and immerse yourself in the arts. -Chinese proverb
Photography in the book by Platon. Photographs of the book by Stephen Egglestone,
When you were a child did you enjoy receiving a new colouring in book and felt tip pens?
Rachel and I prized them and 'colouring in' was a much loved pastime; the more intricate the better. Last year I noticed some fab, colouring books for adults and toyed with the idea of buying them for friends. I declined, thinking that they would not be appreciated but I think I was wrong, very wrong because the best sellers on Amazon at the moment are colouring in books for adults, probably the very ones that picked up then reluctantly put down again.
Basford’s titles Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest are in second and eighth place and other colouring titles take the 4th, 7th and 9th positions; that’s half of Amazon.co.uk’s top 10 taken up by colouring books for adults. “I think it is really relaxing, to do something analogue, to unplug,” said Basford. “And it’s creative." I think the same about stencilling, to me it is colouring in on a much grander scale.
My paints have replaced the felt pens but the outcome is similar, the design has been provided and the interpretation of the design is determined by the user. If I am working on my own projects rather than one for a client I find the act of decorating with stencils to be meditative and enjoyable because I can take my time and let my mind wander.
Stencils CH1 to CH4 Chinoiserie panels.
I may enjoy a radio play or my favourite music, a few hours later I have 'coloured in' a wall, floor or maybe a piece of furniture or fabric.
Stencil JA59 Asters.
'The Mindfulness Colouring Book' suggests that you “take a few minutes out of your day, wherever you are, and colour your way to peace and calm"
I could agree with that.....where's my stencil brush....
Top 2 images from Johanna Basford all others are my own.
Last week I received my first royalty cheque for writing the book Stencil It.
Yaaaaay! I thought this an opportune moment to introduce new readers to the book. Stencil It contains fifteen cut and ready to use laminated stencils so experimentation can be practised as soon as the instruction chapter is read.
In addition there are a further, five stencil patterns included in the book and instruction for cutting the five designs is given in detail. This rose stencil is one of them.
Each of the twenty stencils has a step by step project asscociated with it and there are many inspirational ideas within the pages. Athough the stencils in Stencil It are constrained by page size they can be ordered in larger sizes from our web site. The book can be ordered through The Stencil Library, from Amazon and from other booksellers world wide...both real and virtual. Stencil It is adapted and translated from the UK version and published in several different countries including USA, Canada, Finland, Slovenia, Germany and Croatia.
Wholesale orders for UK shops can be placed with The Stencil Library or from Aurum Press and via MacMillan in the USA. The Stencil It book is suitable for gift shops as well as those that sell paint and lifestyle products.
Ps. Contact your local Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockist, many of them carry this book.
Today I can feel Spring in the air and to celebrate I am giving away my set of Agapanthus stencils.
They were used to decorate this room set for my book Stencil It.
They have been used lightly and offer great potential for one of DesignInspiration's readers to create something fabulous from them. I used just one colour to decorate the wall but you can add as many colours as you like through the stencil. This set might look wonderful stencilled onto fabric as well as walls. The design includes an extendable stem section to offer varying heights of Agapanthus blooms. There are four different sizes which can allow perspective when used together or they can be used seperately to fit different sizes of surface.
If you would like your name to be in the draw please leave a comment on this page mentioning Agapanthus (click on comments at the foot of this post) or comment at our FaceBook page. We will draw a name at random on Tuesday 11th March, 10.00 GMT. Post and pack charges to mail the four stencils are as follows; UK £5.00 GBP, EU countries £7.00 GBP, rest of world £10.00 GBP. If you enjoy our Facebook page then please tell us by clicking the 'like' button.
The real stuff...Agapanthus near our home in Northumberland.
Now THIS is a magazine cover!
Anyone who knows me knows I love my magazines. My "Vogue" collection is infamous (and taking up vast amounts of precious storage space in our garage, much to my hubbie's chagrin). But I find magazines interesting and inspirational and many worth keeping. I have always lamented the loss of the artistic cover though. In fact, I am sure I have mentioned it on this blog before. The beautiful covers of yesteryear, a wealth of creative photography, colour and composition with minimal text have been replaced with generic celebrity portraits on white backgrounds with masses of text. They rarely inspire me to pick up the issue. I recently decided to subscribe to the UK edition of "Harper's Bazaar" and was delighted when the April edition landed on my doormat yesterday. This is more like it! If only all magazines would have beautiful covers like this. This is a subscriber's edition cover so not available off the shelf, but at least it is a start. Rachel
I met author and stylist Megan Morton some while ago at a cafe of her choosing in an artsy suburb of Sydney. I was in Australia to meet our distributors, to do radio and Tv interviews and to talk stencil with the press. There were some lovely magazines and the media were very welcoming to me and my stencils and that is why I was meeting Ms Morton.
I waited for ages in the cafe, the only other customer was a young woman with very shiny hair. When I got up to leave I asked her whether she knew Megan. She was Megan.
"Oh I am so sorry." She said "I did not think that you could be Helen Morris. I didn't expect you to be funky!" I had never been described as funky before, or since and it still makes me smile.
Megan continued "You don't look at all how you sound on the phone, I love your outfit" She was looking for a mature Helen with a tory perm, sensible shoes and a twin set. Actually, I love a twin set but they have never suited me and on this day I was sporting stockings as bright as my hair and wore a lavishly embroidered, tweed mini skirt. Megan and stayed in touch for a couple of years and whenever someone tells me that I do not look as I sound I am again reminded of our meeting.
Rachel brought Megans book Things I Love into our office.I borrowed it to enjoy whilst my roots were being rebrightened at the hair salon...no Tory perm yet. Things I Love is a personal, unusual book and a jolly good read. Pictures of the homes of her friends and collaborators share page space with designer tidbits and useful advice.
Megan shows you how to fold a fitted sheet with skill and precision. She reasons 'When I get home wanting to cry, I head straight to the linen cupboard, open it, inspect the loveliness and sigh to myself 'It's all going to be okay.' The demo is on her Facebook page. The fitted sheet folding is a party trick of our Rachels too, it was taught to her by another one of our stencil team... maybe we need to get out more.
Basically, Things I Love is a book written by Megan Morton about the things she loves and I might just add it to the list of things that I am rather fond of too.
I found a fun interview between Ms Morton and Lucy at The Design Files.
Our Australian distributors are Stencil Gallery, Glebe, NSW.
My friend Jeanne picked this bunch of physalis from her garden for me.
The plants are part of the nightshade family and are pretty nondescript until autumn when their orange lantern-like bracts fill our Northern English flower beds with colour. I used to have a border of them but over zealous weeding finished them off. I could really do with some more.
I place the heads in bowls around the house.
Some people string them with cotton. They fade to a pale biscuit colour then the skeletons of the bracts become exposed and resemble fragile filigree.
We have some pretty stencils of leaf skeletons in our Vintage Collection at The Stencil Library.
The fruit of some physalis is edible.
When I wrote Stencil It I gilded the fruit with edible gold powder as an extra decoration for my stencilled cake.
As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the main elements for my wedding decor was to be an abundance of fresh flowers. I love flowers. I usually have fresh flowers in the house somewhere. It is my little indulgence. In particular, I love traditional English flowers: roses,
and the like. And I love big, informal arrangements. With excellent timing, I found a book called “Vintage Flowers” by Vic Brotherson,
who owns the florist Scarlet & Violet in London, just as I was starting to try and organise ideas in my head. The word “vintage” caught my eye, but once I opened the book, I knew I had found the perfect inspiration for my wedding flowers.
Vic does exactly the type of informal thing I love in flowers. I found most of my suppliers by recommendation, but the florist I chose I knew of already: Marion at JA Stobo Florists, Main Road, Wylam. She always has a great and varied selection of flowers unlike what you usually find in florists. She is also local to me and I tried to use local suppliers for the wedding wherever possible. When I needed some flowers for a photo shoot a couple of years ago, I went there and bought three massive hydrangea heads in the most wonderful shade of blue.
I wouldn’t have found them anywhere else. So in I went armed with my book, hoping Marion would “see” my vision. She immediately got excited by the project. The brief was to make it look as though I had gone out and denuded the garden in the morning. Each arrangement was to be different, there was no colour preferences and arrangements were to look blousy and informal. The only thing I did was collect vintage containers, in particular swan planters (swans mate for life so I thought it was a nice motif),
and give her a list of flowers I didn’t want (nothing too architectural, exotic or modern looking). Then I just had to leave her to it on the day. I saw the bridal party bouquets before the wedding ceremony, but I had to wait to see the table decorations until I walked into the marquee with everyone else. I must admit, I was nervous. When I get an idea, I have a very clear vision of what I want. Usually I execute it myself, but this time I was going to have to relinquish control entirely and hope that Marion had interpreted my vision perfectly. And I am not very good at relinquishing control.
Stephen and I had such fun collecting vintage vases and planters leading up to the wedding. All in all we were able to provide Marion with about 35 of them.
Our pride and joy was the giant swan planter we found on ebay at the last minute. We had been looking and looking and looking, but everything was wrong being either too stylised or too modern. With about a month to go, the perfect one came up, thankfully on a “Buy it Now” option because I don’t think my nerves could have taken an auction this close to the wedding. We instructed Marion to really go to town with him. He was to go on a table right inside the door so you'd see him first.
We were the last to walk into the marquee. We walked in as the DJ announced us and I scanned the room looking at all our fab friends and family who had come to our wedding, some of them from great distances. And then I looked at the flowers. I could have wept with joy. Marion and her team had excelled themselves. The large swan was resplendent.
Even Stephen was impressed. Generally he thinks flowers are nice, but he's a bloke so doesn't give them much thought. But the swan made an impression.
Because Stephen and I had bought a house 6 months ago, we had to use the honeymoon fund to cover solicitor’s fees and stamp duty (tax) so we stayed in Ryton for our post wedding break. It meant that we had the luxury of really enjoying the flowers as I brought them all home. (You can just see the wellies poking out of the boot of my car. I had them on standby to wear with my wedding dress should the weather have misbehaved on the day - one has to be prepared. Thankfully, they stayed in the car as the weather was perfect).
The beautiful foxgloves from the giant swan lasted nearly a month. They provided, as they should, a great deal of joy and for a short spell, I could immerse myself in floral heaven, our house looking as though I had been extremely extravagant with flowers.
We haven’t done anything with our little garden this year because we needed to see what would come up. We moved in in winter when the garden was bare. My hope is to really plant up the garden over the next few years so that I shall have my own source of flowers to use. Already there is an abundance of rose bushes (about 60, but some are not looking so good so may need attention or replacing), hydrangea, foxgloves and a few things I haven’t identified yet not being very up on flowers, much as I love them. I have a lot to learn and a lot to do, but it will be fun.
Photographs by Stephen Egglestone, Helen Morris and Deborah Langford.