Having just finished reading an utterly fascinating biography on the extraordinary Gertrude Bell (local lass who, 100 years ago, had a lot to do with the mapping of the Middle East as we know it now and was so knowledgeable of the vast area and its people, she was known by the locals as Queen of the Desert) and loving everything about this ad for Kate Spade, especially the coat,
I now have camels on the brain. When you live in the design world in some way, it is interesting how snippets of images from seemingly disparate sources can form a connective thread that sparks an idea, that leads to inspiration for something full blown, in our case, a decorative scheme. I had never given camels a thought really. I love the 1920s era and am aware, given the exciting developments in the archeological world and the wider opportinities to travel at the time, of the influence of the Middle East, particular Egypt, on design, especially art deco. But camels as a decorative element were not on my radar until I started to see this Kate Spade ad at the same time as I was reading about Gertrude Bell and all of a sudden, I started to see and be inspired by a common theme. I was taken by a 1920s camel tea set I stumbled across but missed as it had already been sold
and I had to leave a rather lovely stone camel sculpture, also from the 1920s, I spied in an antiques store (that even my husband liked) because it was £2000 which well over budget. Coming together in a short space of time, they reminded me of one of our stencils from our Vintage Range that I had always overlooked but now looks very appealing, VN130 Caravan.
Whilst this design could be used as part of desert/middle eastern/north african inspired decor, I can also see it more as an element in a modernist scheme, an homage to when the wonders of the world were starting to open up to everyone a century ago and influencing the design, art and architecture of the time.
We are quite often asked where we get inspiration for our schemes from. As anybody from any kind of design-led world will tell you, it can come from anywhere at any time. It usually starts off a bit abstract, but is something that keeps popping back into our consciousness and from there other pieces of information will be put together with it like a virtual mood board before all of a sudden, the idea is fully formed. In this case, it started with a coat and a curious lady from the northeast of England who liked to go out into the desert on a camel learning about a fascinating area that would become her life's passion and work.