• Country business

    Meet the winners of the My Country Business Awards 2016: Lauren Aston

    by  • 19/10/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    ready_groupIn May, we launched our seventh My Country Business Awards in association with Not On The High Street, a leading supporter of small businesses. Meet the amazing people who won…

    Category: Home Accessory Crafters and Makers
    Lauren Aston Designs

    Lauren lives with her fiancé Alex Pierson and cockapoo puppy Harry in Devon. She has had a passion for knitting since childhood. ‘My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 11 and I then did a fashion and textile degree at Winchester School of Art where I specialised in knitwear’.

    A visit to the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey, Devon, provided the spark for her business. ‘I saw the passion of the artists and makers and knew it was what I wanted to do. I love hand-knitting and wanted to create as quickly as possible, so I decided to knit super-chunky home accessories on giant knitting needles using lovely unspun merino wool.’

    Lauren Aston Designs launched in February 2015. ‘My work is statement pieces for interiors – cushions, blankets, footstools and lampshades. I had a store-front on Not On The High Street and it took off from there. People hadn’t seen anything like it before – it’s knitting on a different scale! I was thrilled when I heard I’d won. I feel humbled.’

    What the judges said…
    Lauren’s work is original – I hadn’t seen anything like it before and that’s what you need to stand out from the crowd these days. She’s passionate about what she does and seems to have so much fun making her products.
    Sophie Allport, Founder and Owner, Sophie Allport.

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    Meet the winners of the My Country Business Awards 2016: Jasmine Linington

    by  • 12/10/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

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    In May, we launched our seventh My Country Business Awards in association with Not On The High Street, a leading supporter of small businesses. Meet the amazing people who won…

    Category: Not On The High Street’s Emerging Creative Talent Award
    Jasmine Linington Bespoke Textiles

    Jasmine divides her time between London, where she works for an interiors company, and her family home in a village in Kent where she dyes the fibre for her business making beautiful cushions, scarves, shawls and blankets.

    Jasmine finished her degee in textiles at Edinburgh College of Art in 2015. ‘In my final year at university I was inspired by the lovely colours and textures of the seashore. I discovered a wonderful environmentally friendly fibre called Seacell, which contains seaweed, and fell in love with it because of its ability to capture colour and its luxurious touch. I’m now incorporating it into my hand-dyed and embroidered pieces.

    A friend messaged me on winning the award – I hadn’t seen the email so I was very excited! It’s wonderful to think that someone has seen my potential.’

    What the judges said…
    Jasmine Linington is an extremely creative individual with a compelling story and connection to nature, which is artfully reflected in her beautiful work.
    Sally Bendelow, Creative Product Director, Not On The High Street

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    Celebrate wool week with a visit to the first-ever Wool BnB!

    by  • 10/10/2016 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

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    The Campaign for Wool marks its seventh successful year with its annual Wool Week (from today until 16 October), uniting leading interiors and fashion brands for seven days of wool-based activities across the country. We celebrated in style this morning with a visit to the first-ever Wool BnB! Situated in the heart of De Beauvoir Town, London, this fully functioning home brings to life the beauty and benefits of living with our favourite natural fibre, and is well worth a visit.

    From this Wednesday (12 October) until the 16 October, guests will be welcomed into a wonderful world of all things woolly. Every room, from kitchen and bedroom to cosy outdoor shepherd’s hut, is kitted out with wool products designed and made by some of the country’s most talented designer makers – think carpets to cardigans, not to mention cereal boxes and newspapers!

    Particular highlights for us included Melanie Porter’s patchwork-inspired vintage lampshades and fabulous Liberty print carpets by Alternative Flooring throughout – colourful enough to brighten up any room.

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    We also had time for a quick lie-down on Vispring’s wool-filled mattress in the master bedroom. Surrounded by super-soft blankets throws and cushions from the likes of Melin Tregwynt, Art of the Loom and Mourne Textiles, it was a struggle not to nod off!

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    The maker’s room is a craft-lover’s delight. Specially hosted events (bookable via EventBrite) will be taking place throughout this week, including a woolly hat knitting workshop with Innocent on Woolly Hat Day (14 October), a customised patchwork crochet class with London fashion designer Katie Jones and tailoring master-classes with Savile Row’s finest, to name just a few!

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    For more information on the Wool BnB as well as other wool-based events and activities taking place this week, visit campaignforwool.org.

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    Meet Jenni Douglas

    by  • 05/10/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

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    Edinburgh-based printmaker Jenni Douglas’ love of mid-century design, clean lines and bold colours shines in every abstract design. They feature on a range of homewares including mugs, coasters and cushions, or can be bought as wall art – Block Shapes (shown above) is our favourite print, inspired by wooden building blocks Jenni remembers playing with as a child, available to buy at Not On The High Street.

    Where are you based?
    My studio is in the historic Leith area of Edinburgh and was once a biscuit factory! It’s a wonderful space full of character and I work alongside a lovely bunch of talented makers.

    How did you get into design?
    I’ve been fascinated by the idea of things made up in small parts since I was very young. As I grew up, I started to notice the patterns on wallpapers and fabrics and appreciate the individual shapes they were made up from. Designs started making sense and I realised creating my own was something I really wanted to do.

    Describe the design process.
    It usually starts with an idea based around a colour or shape. I tend to carve small sections of lino which I hand press in layers, allowing the colours and lines to merge until a pattern forms. I love the idea of creating something from as few individual elements as possible. I rarely have a set idea of what I’m working on but I’ve learned to be comfortable with that part of the process.

    What inspires you?
    I adore mid-century and Scandi design. Their influences definitely feed into the colour and graphic aspects of my work. I also find living and working in Edinburgh very inspiring. It has such a special energy about it.

    What’s next for you?
    I’m currently working on an exciting new range of fabrics that will be available to buy from my website.

    How would you describe your interior style?
    I’m very sentimental, so my interior style is based around a few key treasured pieces of furniture and artworks, all of which mean a lot to me. As much as I like the idea of a bright, minimal living space, I adore colour and little trinkets too much!

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Colourful, modern and vintage.

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    Meet Helen Rawlinson

    by  • 28/09/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

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    Helen mainly screen-prints her signature designs onto cushions and lampshades, but has recently launched a kitchen textiles range inspired by traditional Moroccan tiles. Bright and bold tea towels, oven gloves and potholders feature a geometric design, introducing a touch of ethnic style to classic country kitchens.

    What made you want to become a designer?
    It’s all I ever really wanted to do! I was interested in drawing and design from an early age so it just seemed the natural way to go for me. I was initially interested in fashion but soon realised I was drawn more towards pattern and print.

    Describe the design process.
    Most of my ideas start as tiny scribbles and sketches on scraps of paper. I use a combination of drawing, cutting stencils and laying out compositions to finalise the designs, with any last minute tweaks done on Photoshop. I’m pretty well set up at the studio for screen-printing. The lampshades are printed in batches and sent away to be professionally finished and the cushions I make myself.

    What inspires you?
    I take photos wherever I go, often of simple things like architectural patterns, tiles, plants, flowers, children’s toys and animals. I’m always inspired by new surroundings and travel as much as I can.

    Describe your interior style.
    Our home is a mish-mash of things picked up at car boots and second hand shops, plus the odd piece of furniture inherited from our family home. I love mid-century modern and Danish designs and the walls are peppered with prints picked up on my travels. I don’t do minimal but try to keep it uncluttered if I can – not always easy with family life!

    What’s your favourite design and why?
    I’d like to think that all my designs have longevity and a classic simplicity. My Moroccan tile pattern has been a best seller for me; I have the whole kitchen range at home!

    What do you love about what you do?
    I’ve loved working with children and adults at screen-printing workshops and hope to do more of this in my own studio.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Eclectic, vibrant and fun.

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    Meet Sami Couper

    by  • 21/09/2016 • Country business • 1 Comment

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    Designer Sami uses specialised dying and painting techniques to bring humble linen to life, creating the most beautiful cushions, make up bags and kitchen textiles, all available to buy from Not On The High Street.

    How did your business come about?
    Art and interiors was always more of a hobby for me. I made my own jewellery, renovated a few houses and designed my own furnishings. Friends and family would always ask where they could buy the things I’d made, and eventually I decided to turn my hobby into a business.

    What’s your working space like?
    When the weather permits I love being able to dye and paint in the garden, but most of the work is done in my home studio. It gets the sun all day and I have my table under the window. The room is filled with stacks and rolls of fabric, cushions and feathers as well as tins of knick-knacks that I’ve collected for inspiration.

    What inspires you?
    I grew up by the sea on the beautiful island of Tasmania, in a rambling old shipyard. It gave me an appreciation of nature and natural forms but also showed me the beauty in manmade materials like steel and concrete. Some of my first designs were made from salvaged finds from my Dad’s old ships and bits found in boat sheds.

    What materials do you choose to work with any why?
    Linen is my ultimate fabric to work with. I love the way it feels and how it wears. It lasts a lifetime and actually improves with age.

    What’s your favourite piece and why?
    My ombre indigo and natural linen cushion (above, £34). The colours look great in any room; deep notes of grey combined with a textured finish, which softens and becomes more comfortable over time.

    What makes your products special?
    Each piece is individually hand-dyed and painted by me in my home studio, making every item truly unique.

    Describe your interior style.
    I sit somewhere between rustic and modern. My house is filled with natural materials and textiles in muted tones, with odd pops of colour and texture. I love things that tell a story, as well as timeless, well-made pieces.

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    Meet Georgia Bosson

    by  • 14/09/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

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    Having completed a degree in Embroidery, Georgia Bosson began to experiment with screen printing and launched her first collection of printed linen textiles in 2013. Her quirky designs feature on a colourful range of homewares and stationery.

    What made you want to become a designer?
    I’ve always made things, from my own dolls as a child to my own clothes now. I love solving the puzzle of turning an abstract drawing or idea into a finished product.

    What’s your working space like?
    I share my studio with four other designers but my space is undoubtedly the messiest! I often work on several things at once as I find this feeds my imagination and helps my designs move forward. Lots of projects mean lots of stuff, so to the untrained eye it can look chaotic, but its just part of my creative process.

    Describe the design processes involved in your products.
    My designs come to life through drawing, playing with materials and sampling. I am a very hands-on designer and need to work with physical samples and materials before an idea comes to life. This means working between my sketchbook, print table and computer before I solidify the design.

    What inspires you?
    My current collection is inspired by felt remnants from industrial die-cutting. I have sacks of them delivered to my studio where they are either turned into limited edition products or used to inspire print designs. I love the challenge that comes from working with a found material and discovering new ways of bringing this waste material back to life.

    What makes your products special?
    All of my products are made in the UK from sustainable linen and organic cotton. They are screen printed in small batches to reduce waste and I strive to incorporate upcycled materials wherever possible.

    What’s been your career highlight so far?
    At the beginning of this year I was commissioned by The White Company to create a series of textile panels for their Marylebone High Street Store. It was a great project because I had lots of freedom within the brief. It was a very fast turn around which meant that the pieces were instinctive and great fun to make.

    What’s next for you?
    I’m completing my new collection, launching in January, inspired by my favourite seaside landscapes. I’m also working on an exciting print collaboration with fellow designer Cecily Vessey which will launch at the end of September.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Wonky, graphic and pattern.

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    Meet Nicola Watters

    by  • 31/08/2016 • Country business • 3 Comments

    Ready_groupNicola’s watercolour artwork adds a subtle seaside touch to any room. Her delicate designs are available as prints as well as on a range of home accessories including fine linen cushions, stationery and bone china mugs.

    Where are you based?
    I divide my time between my farmhouse studio in the Hertfordshire countryside and family homes on the Fylde Coast, Devon and Cornwall.

    Describe your workspace.
    My studio is one of the main reasons we moved to the 18th century farmhouse that is now our home! There are floor to ceiling windows overlooking the garden, a pond and open countryside. It’s so peaceful, just the sound of birdsong, buzzing bees and bleating sheep!

    Summarise your design process.
    I like to find ways to display treasures I’ve collected and often arrange them into collages before painting them. A local printer produces my prints and this year I’ve been able to apply my designs to linen and china. I can’t wait to expand these ranges.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    My Five Blue Mussels watercolour painting (shown above, bottom right). I’ve got such happy memories of this piece. My three children were quite small when I painted this, we’d just returned from a wonderful summer in Cornwall and I’d collected the shells on a day trip to Daymer Bay.

    What’s your most prized possession?
    It would have to be my collections of ‘natural finds’. From flint and feathers to colourful mussel shells, I display them all in glass jars on my studio windowsill and look to them constantly for inspiration.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    New England meets English country farmhouse. Light, uncluttered and with an eclectic mix of paintings and antiques.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Colourist, decorative and still-life.

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    Meet Karen Lowes

    by  • 24/08/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupFor a playful take on coastal style, we love the National Trust’s new Summer Holiday homewares collection designed exclusively by in-house artist, Karen Lowes. Inspiration for her stunning watercolours came from typical British seaside holidays as well as a trip to the remote Northumberland Farne Islands, home to over 37,000 pairs of puffins…

    Talk us through the design process for this collection.
    I went to visit the Islands last July when puffin season was in full swing. They had such a charming way about them; I wanted to get this across in my designs. Using this as a starting point, I began to incorporate other elements of the British coastline, from shells and boats to deckchair stripes, before working closely with the buyers to develop final products.

    Where are you based?
    In the National Trust head office in Swindon. It’s named Heelis, after Beatrix Potter – it was her married name. I’m always out and about at properties and areas cared for by the Trust, trying to absorb as much inspiration as possible. I can be overlooking a dramatic seascape one minute and visiting a stunning 18th century house the next!

    What do you love about what you do?
    Everything! From exploring the amazing places cared for by the National Trust to knowing that the prints and patterns I create will help support them. Every sale contributes to their work as a conservation charity.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    I like space with splashes of colour. White walls and neutral linens with bright artwork collected over the years. I love fabrics too, I own pieces from all over the world which I use as throws.

    What advice would you give to new designers?
    Never stop experimenting. Drawing is such a powerful tool; show and celebrate your knowledge in colour and don’t stop believing in yourself.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Expressive, animated and adventurous.

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    Meet Jessica Hogarth

    by  • 17/08/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupJessica Hogarth trained in printed textile and surface pattern design before setting up her own business in 2012. Based in the picturesque seaside town of Whitby in North Yorkshire, she has endless inspiration for her quirky coastal and architectural designs right on her doorstep! You can buy them from Not On The High Street as prints or wallpaper, as well as on a range of homewares including cushions, coasters and kitchen textiles.

    Describe your workspace.
    I have two studios next door to each other in an old building about 10 minutes walk from the town centre. They both have big old windows making them nice and light, perfect for inspiring creativity.

    What’s your favourite design and why?
    It would probably be my coastal cottages artwork (above, top) which is based on Robin Hood’s Bay, where I grew up. I created the first version of it during my first year of Art College and it was that particular project where my creative style began to fall into place. It’s nice to have a piece of work that has been so heavily influenced by my childhood surroundings.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    I’m a huge fan of Scandi-inspired design. I like things to be functional as well as decorative, but not overly fussy. My walls are plain white and adorned with colourful prints accompanied by warm patterned textiles. I love big windows and high ceilings, too.

    What’s your most prized possession and why?
    I received a Clare Caulfield screen print for my 21st birthday featuring a Paris café scene. Paris is one of my favourite places in the world and Clare’s style is so energetic – it’s a pleasure to have it on my wall.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Quirky yet sophisticated.

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