THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Inspired by... blog

26 posts categorized "Crafts"

13 February 2014

Craft Central's FASHIONED exhibition for London Fashion Week

Add comment Comments (0)

It's always a pleasure visiting Craft Central. The staff are friendly and there's a great buzz of creativity - designers and makers are definitely flourishing at this Clerkenwell spot.

Craft Central's latest exhibition FASHIONED - features fashion, jewellery and accessories made in the UK. Here are my highlights including inspiring British Library collections. 

If you're  thinking about starting a creative business or if you're already established, the Library has loads of resources to both inspire your next designs and help your business grow. Visit our Business & IP Centre for more information and follow me on Twitter @BL_Creative for updates.

Grace Hamilton

Grace's inspirations are derived from looking at the boundaries of beauty and disgust. Creating three dimensional objects, conceptual and wearable jewellery.  

Grace Hamilton

Grace Hamilton - Kefal necklace 

Watersnake_NatMis226

Southern water snake, hand-coloured copperplate engraving from George Shaw and Frederick Nodder's The Naturalist's Miscellany, 1796 

Boa-NodMisc51

Great boa, hand-coloured copperplate engraving from George Shaw and Frederick Nodder's The Naturalist's Miscellany, 1796

Hetty Rose

Hetty set up the company in 2007 and was selected to exhibit at London Fashion Week in her first season. You can learn how to make your own pair of kicks at her shoemaking workshops

Hetty-Rose-Shoe-Designer

These were the shoes Hetty had on at the launch. So pretty. 


Hetty-Rose_Bella-shoeHetty-Rose_Rosa-shoe

Hetty Rose Kimono Collection 4 - Left - Bella, right - Rosa

Olga-Hirsch_J3409b

British Library Olga Hirsch collection of decorated papers, Japanese blockprint,  J.3409b via ImagesOnline

Olga-Hirsch_J3409c

British Library Olga Hirsch collection of decorated papers,  Japanese blockprint,  J.3409c via  ImagesOnline


Bridget Harvey

Bridget designs and makes adornments for body and space. Specialising in mixed media and exploring material possibilities, she makes wearable sculptures using mostly hand made multiples. Her work investigates ideas about time and play in design, making and mending.

Bridget-Harvey_Jewellery-designer

Bridget-Harvey_The-Geometrics-Vol-1

Bridget Harvey - The Geometrics Volume 1

British-Library-Flickr_Atlas-historique_002096841

From the British Library's Flickr Commons, Atlas historique et etnographique du Royaume de Serbie ..., 1885

Yelena Loguiiko

Yelena’s collection draws inspiration from history, art, the cultural heritage of European nations and contemporary influences.

Yelena Loguiiko_SS14


Yelena-Loguiiko_SS14_2    Yelena-Loguiiko_SS14_1


Yelena Loguiiko SS13 collection

George-Barbier_Kh1793
   George-Barbier_Kh3639  

Gazette du Bon Ton, George Barbier, 1921 via ImagesOnline 

For those of you interested in fashion, I'm hosting Puttin on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age as part of our Spring Festival celebration of fashion, film and design. Click here for more info. 

30 September 2013

Webinar series for creative businesses with The Design Trust

Add comment Comments (0)

I've come across a lot of creative businesses run by small teams or one individual. It's a common challenge for these businesses to create new work and take care of the business side.

Elizabeth Carrick, designer of womenswear label Blonde + Ginger, said her biggest challenge is "Needing to do everything yourself and trying to be good enough at it all! I love the designing and the creative side of the business but I need to develop my skills in other areas, such as marketing. You are never going to be great at every role you need to do but you can’t afford to not try your very best."

This afternoon I ran into Eleanor Lewis-Bale of letterpress label Marby & Elm. She's been so busy doing business admin like invoicing and packaging that she hasn't had time to explore and be creative. She finally made it to the Library to look at our typography collection for inspiration.

To help creatives get organised, learn business essentials and stay sane(!) we've partnered up with The Design Trust to deliver a FREE webinar series. These are perfect for pre-start and start-up creative businesses including freelancers, sole traders, practitioners in design, crafts, fashion, photography, video and film.

Webinar 1: Create your business plan for your first year
Thu 17 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
You can write a business plan to get finance or funding, but also to plan ahead and prioritise your workload.  Think of a business plan as a roadmap for your journey. In the end you will have the tools to create a business plan that you will be proud of and will be using regularly.

Webinar 2: Your first 10 steps in marketing
Thu 31 Oct, 11.00 - 12.00
We'll look at how to do practical market research and why niche marketing is essential for small businesses. You'll get loads of practical tips and marketing actions that you can use to help get your business started on the right track

Webinar 3: How to cost and price your work 
Thu 7 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00
Pricing your products or services isn’t easy. You might not know how to do the maths, or you find it hard to put a value on your creative ideas. This is a step-by-step session on how pricing and costing works. Learn about different models, international pricing, discounting, premiums and more. 

*Webinar 4: First steps to creating your brand and choosing a business name 
Tue 19 Nov, 11.00 - 12.00 
Choosing a business name is a big part of the creative and business process. But naming your business (or even just a new collection!) can be tricky.
We'll cover how to create your own brand based on your values and ideal clients.  We'll share case studies and practical tips. *Part of Global Entrepreneur Week  

We'll end the series with an event at our Business & IP Centre on Selling creatively online (save the date 7 February, booking link coming soon). 


MasterTDTLogo_saved-for-web



18 September 2013

London Design Festival - Craft Central's Imprint exhibition

Add comment Comments (0)

As part of London Design Festival, our friendly partners over at Craft Central launched Imprint, a cross-disciplinary exhibition of print design. I popped over last night to have a look. Here are my highlights:

Craft-Central-Imprint-Exhib

Don't let the rain keep you from visiting! The exhibition is open until 21 September from 10.30 - 18.30 (Craft Central 33-35 St John's Square, London EC1M 4DS. Tube: Farringdon or Barbican)

4-Craft-Central-Imprint-exh

DesignK's Tea for One Table - "Handmade in England and inspired by traditions like afternoon tea, these cheery designs melt our hearts." I agree!  

5-Craft-Central-Imprint-Exh

Katie Brown - Silk scarves designed and finished in Northern Ireland, printed in Macclesfield. On my Christmas wishlist. 

2_Craft-Central-Imprint-Exh

Stylist Marlies Winkelmeier and designer Alice Fleger of Dandelion Tree admiring Thornback & Peel designs. 

3_Craft-Central-Imprint-Exh

Thornback & Peel's shop is just down the road from the British Library. We'd love for founders Juliet and Della to visit the Library and check out our print collection

6-Craft-Central-Imprint-exh

Eleanor is behind the Hampstead-based letterpress design studio Marby & Elm. I immediately thought of the Library's Evanion Collection of Victorian ephemera when I saw her designs. The type she uses has a very similar style and feel to Victorian posters and handbills produced for plays, exhibitions and circuses. When I told Eleanor I worked at the Library she squealed with delight and plans to come in and check out our typography collection. 

There is so much for designers to be inspired by at the Library. Check out our FREE show & tell of our gorgeous Exotic Prints and Drawing Collection. I could see a lot of the birds and flowers in the collection designed for a scarf, table or wallpaper and hopefully then sold at Craft Central!

23 August 2013

Hidden Treasures - Unique and rare British Library collections

Add comment Comments (0)

This week the Library took part in Hidden Treasures, a national initiative to celebrate collections in UK museums and archives. Our expert curators and conservators selected some unique items to illustrate the variety in our massive collections. It was a very popular event and for those of you who weren't able to join us, here are some photos.  

Bowl_Yantra-Shelfmark-Or168

Yantra - A miniature ceremonial bowl used in Buddhist rituals in honour of the deceased. Made of blackened brass, Khom script. Maker unknown, (1916) Shelfmark Or.16864 

Rubaiyat-of-Omar-Khayyam

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
 - Book cover tooled with gold and inlaid with topazes, turquoises, amethysts, garnets, olivines and an emerald. Stanley Bray (1989). Shelfmark  C188c27  

Satchel-for-Quran-Shelfmark

Goat skin satchel - Storage for a late 18th early 19th century Sub-Saharan Africa Quran.  Shelfmark Or.16751
 
Index_Andy-Warhol

Index - Pop-up book by Andy Warhol (1967). Not yet catalogued.  

Bhagavata-Purana-manuscript

Bhagavata Purana - Hindu religious text, Sanskrit on silk paper (18th century). Shelfmark Add MS 16624

The-Whole-Book-of-the-Pslam

The-Whole-Book-of-the-Psalm

The Book of the Psalmes - Embroidered silk binding (1640). Shelfmark C143a10
The British Library has a substantial collection of English embroidered book bindings dating from the 14th century to 20th century. I wonder, what is the significance of the severed head? If you know, holler at me on Twitter @BL_Creative

Kammavaca-Burmese-sacred-te

Kammavaca -  Buddhist sacred book in Pali language (Burmese square characters) on 14 sheets of ivory leaves decorated in gold and red lacquer. (1750-1825) Shelfmark Add.15291

These rare and beautiful items are wonderful inspirations for designers and makers. Learn more about researching our collections for your designs at our Fashion Forecasting workshop.  

20 August 2013

Alice in Wonderland-inspired ceramics and prints by Eleanor Stuart

Add comment Comments (0)

I met designer Eleanor Stuart last week at PopUp Piccadilly where she was selling her Alice in Wonderland-inspired collection of plates, prints and cards. The Library holds the original Lewis Carroll manuscript of Alice in Wonderland and we also have it available online through our award-winning Turning the Pages software which Eleanor used for her research. Here she tells up more about her work.

BL Alice2
 
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your designs? 

When I first came upon Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and the illustrations by John Tenniel, I was struck by how intricate, surreal and detailed each drawing was. What I was particularly taken with was the expressions each character had that tell a story in themselves; from the rather angry looking Queen of Hearts to the nervous and very late White Rabbit to the mischievous Tweedle Twins.

The inspiration for re-working and adding my own touches to the original work was a feeling that these original illustrations were being lost in a sea of cartoon versions of Alice in Wonderland far removed from these wonderful originals. The originals are also quite small and in black and white, so I felt there was a great opportunity available to revive the illustrations, bring them sharply back to life and add colour, quotes and my own little spin to the work.

We love when people use our collections to make something new. Can you tell us about how you used the Library for research? 

When researching Tenniel’s original illustrations, I used the British Library’s online Turning the Pages application to see Carroll’s original illustrated manuscript. What I had not previously realised is that Carroll had even illustrated his original work, and it was interesting to see that Tenniel’s illustrations do bear a close resemblance to those featured in the original manuscript.

I think the British Library and its collection is an inspiration in itself: knowing all these great works of literature penned by authors both British and from afar are housed within this one huge building full of rabbit warrens and glass columns full of old books where you can find and stumble upon almost anything in the world of literature is pretty amazing.

BL Alice3

BL Alice5

I like that image - the British Library full of rabbit warrens! What fun! So what has been your biggest challenge as a small business?

Patience! With my designs and illustrations completed, and the ideas I always have swimming around in my head, I always want to realise them instantly which is of course not entirely doable. Learning to slow down and appreciate the processes involved with realising an idea has been something I have come to enjoy. For example when I was in the process of having my Alice Collection of fine bone china plates produced, it was so rewarding to be able to visit the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent to see how this traditional British industry is still applying traditional British techniques and sensibilities to the work they produce, and I feel this attention to detail and quality of work really shows in my pieces.

What does “Made in Britain” mean to you? 

“Made in Britain” is so important to me, I put it on my logo! Not only am I proud to be made in Britain having grown up in lovely Richmond, but I love that through the work I create I can support British industry and help to keep the skills we have in this country alive and current. I have met such enthusiastic, incredibly helpful and skilled crafts people in my search for suppliers to help create my products, which is such a rewarding experience.

I also feel “Made in Britain” is important not only to British people, but internationally as well. I have found when selling internationally and in Britain that the stamp of authenticity and that relationship between my product and globally recognised institutions such as ‘The Potteries’ in Stoke-on-Trent is really important to people. Not only British people wanting to buy British, but international customers wanting to buy into the quality and skills they associate with the British craft and creative industries.

I have also found other designers and illustrators are equally as passionate about that “Made in Britain” stamp of approval as I am. I have come to know and admire some really great people on my journey into the world of design and illustration including Jo Robinson from HAM who creates fun animal themed screen prints made by her own fair hand in London, Cecily Vessey who designs wonderful London themed illustrations across a range of ceramics, and Sara Smith (my neighbour at PopUp Piccadilly!) whose selection of colourful, gilded and illustrated teacups are really rather beautiful – and made in Stoke-on-Trent.

BL Alice6

BL Alice9

The shop has been super busy, I hear. What kind of feedback are you getting?

I have had some really amazing feedback; I would say it has been one of the best things I have done as a small business in terms of exposure, testing the market and meeting other like-minded designer/makers. (Rupert Laing from Shortbread House has made mine and my fellow designers stay at PopUp Piccadilly particularly enjoyable with an ever refreshed supply of delicious shortbread samples to hand).

As a predominantly online business, coming out from behind my computer screen and meeting my customers, showing them my products and being able to have them touch and feel the quality of each item has been a really rewarding experience. I have also had a great response from potential retailers, so that is an exciting direction I am looking forward to taking my business in - with Alice and her surreal, mad and late friends in tow!

Images courtesy of Eleanor Stuart.

Check out this video from the PopUp Piccadilly launch:  

  

18 August 2013

Interview with Michael Jacobsen author of The Business of Creativity

Add comment Comments (0)

Entrepreneur and businessman Michael Jacobsen is becoming a regular at our Business & IP Centre, advising creative practitioners on how to keep rooted in business essentials and inspiring them to innovate and grow. He is the author of the popular book The Business of Creativity - An expert guide to starting and growing a business in the creative sector. Want to earn a living doing what you love? Check out Michael's book. Or come to the Library and meet him! He’s literally mobbed after events – people are so keen to ask him questions and learn from his experiences. He kindly gave us this interview:

What do you think are the biggest challenges today for small businesses in the creative industries?

Businesses in the Creative Industries need to realise that they are, in fact, in business. If you wish to make your life’s work your passion and your passion your income stream, you need to make some adjustments to your mindset and your structure.

A lot of Creative Sector businesses think they are selling their soul but the reality is - why not continue your gift to the world and earn your living from it at the same time? It’s just a mindset shift!

What advice would you give recent graduates from fashion, graphic design or film?

Don’t leave with an employee mentality. If you want to get a job sure, that’s fine, but don’t think that is your only option.

In Britain there is so much assistance available to you to start a business (which can involve being a contractor or freelancer also). Have  a good think and work out what you want to do with your life, but count this as a real option!

Students are taught to get jobs and are rarely encouraged to work for themselves! This is a mistake!

What is your take on the creative industries sector in the UK? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

The UK Creative Sector is the best in the world. Look at William Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Indigo Jones and in this century James Dyson, Jamie Oliver and Simon Cowell.

The business community and the City need to realise that the Creative Sector is investable, and the reticence to get fully behind it (as they do the tech sector ) is a weakness and is hampering the growth of a sector that produces major financial returns and is one of the oldest sectors in the world!

Which entrepreneurs do you follow?

I love True Entrepreneurs who take risks and are all consuming passionate about their work. I love Elon Musk, Founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors and Space X. He is a major risk taker and fervently passionate about his companies’ vision.

I also really rate Simon Cowell. He has not only made a successful brand out of himself, but he has changed the face of television globally. People may not all like his shows, but the fact is he is a risk taker and has made a success of it in terms of finances but also in terms of legacy! 

You co-founded Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage. Are you a dancer too?

I have a trainer and do Pilates and Yoga also. I think if I do them daily until 2025 I may be ready to do the Dirty Dancing ‘lift’!

Michael is running a masterclass on his book The Business of Creativity on 26 September at our Business & IP Centre. For more information and to book your place click here.

 



 

14 August 2013

PopUp Piccadilly puts British start-ups on the map

Add comment Comments (0)

I have never purchased anything on Piccadilly except for cake. That’s about to change now that PopUp Britain has set up shop on 213 Piccadilly. PopUp Britain gives start-ups and micro businesses from all over the UK the opportunity to get their products onto the high street.

The initiative offers 30 retail start-ups a one week opportunity to sell their products at the Piccadilly shop. It will run until the end of August. Other PopUps have thrived in Poulton-Le-Fylde, near Blackpool, Camberley in Surrey, Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire as well as several around London.

Co-founder Emma Jones said: “We want to put British start-ups on the map and this store in Piccadilly will be a showcase of the passion and creativity that’s out there in this country.” (Emma also runs the popular StartUp Saturday at our Business & IP Centre where she helps aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to turn their ideas into a business.)

PopUp Britain Piccadilly August 2013

The brands selling at PopUp Piccadilly this week are:

P&CO CLOTHING Cool, minimalist T shirts and accessories made by young Birmingham graduates.
BLONDE + GINGER Limited edition women’s garments from fabric made in British mills.
SARA SMITH English bone china cups and saucers finished in 18 carat gold made in Stoke-on-Trent.
YOLKE Fashion and home wares designed by two former Central St Martin’s graduates.
ELEANOR STUART Quirky illustrated ceramics and prints made in Norfolk and Kent.
SHORTBREAD HOUSE A family-run firm based in Edinburgh that makes shortbread biscuits.  Small traditional firm – first time in a pop-up! 
LOST PROPERTY OF LONDON Salvaged fabric lovingly transformed into stylish yet practical accessories.
MORROW’S OUTFITTERS A resurrected family brand started in 1912. Stylish socks made in Leicestershire.
BONE & RAG Dog accessories including leads and hand-made dog beds covered in British fabrics.
DASHING TWEEDS Tweeds manufactured in mills across England and made into elegant gents jackets.

Here is an interview with the team behind Dashing Tweeds:

Can you talk about the inspirations behind your designs?

Founder and photographer Guy Hills: The main concept of Dashing Tweeds is updating traditional British sports wear and making it relevant for today. We have taken the best of the past in terms of the performance of woven wool for sporting purposes and made it better and more wearable. Tweed is an ideal fabric for any pastime, its hard wearing, breathable, relatively waterproof and dries faster than cotton.

Sporting tweeds were designed to blend with the country side and they are also the way men wear colour, we have made them urban by choosing the colours of town and also creating modern exciting colourful designs as the renaissance in menswear continues and the joy of colour at last returns. We have increased to use of tweed by creating reflective Lumatwill fabric which we use in our cycling and evening wear.

Woven Textile Designer Kirsty McDougall: When beginning ideas for fabric collections, I look at a range of media including film, painting, photography, magazines. As a textile designer I always reference textural quality as I feel designing a woven textile is 50% visual and 50% tactile. For this I can research other fabrics old and new and a variety of other materials and yarns. I use digital media and the real thing - obviously digital media falls down on anything textural or tactile.

 DashingTweeds_1

Describe your design process. Do you take photos, draw by hand, use a tablet to sketch?

KM: For our new Autumn/Winter collection I was interested in looking at textural qualities to complement our other flatter, more graphic fabrics. I looked at abstract expressionism and the texture of paint. Also the texture of paint on fabric. I used a range of media to paint with and then translated these through a jacquard software programme.

How important is it that your products are made in Britain?

KM: "Made in Britain" is important in terms of sustaining and evolving the industry in this country. Through our products being made here we can achieve good relationships with our suppliers, weavers and finishers and hopefully contribute to a healthy and forward looking UK textile industry.

What has been your biggest challenge as a small business?

GH: The biggest challenge at the beginning of our small business is all the multitasking one needs to do. Luckily Kirsty and I cover a broad range of expertise. I really enjoy the brand creation, photography and marketing aspects but I have to say the tax and VAT side of things I find challenging. We both love the design side.

What kind of feedback are you getting at PopUp Britain?

GH: So far it's been a very successful event. The location in Piccadilly ensures a constant stream of people and as the shop is by Jermyn Street, one of the centres of menswear, we having been getting high calibre buyers dropping in, most of them seem very impressed by Dashing Tweeds and indeed have been buying.

What other designers do you follow?

GH: I keep my eye on the menswear luxury market in general. When I was first buying clothes I loved Vivienne Westwood and I treat myself to Missoni jumpers in the summer. I'm now more focused on personal styles rather than designers, there is a growing trend of men returning to tailoring and hence becoming their own designers I'm interested in anyone with a strong personal style from any walk of life. I find it much more refreshing seeing what an individual wears rather than people designing for a market. The joy of Dashing Tweeds is seeing men take the fabric to their tailor and having something unique created.

DashingTweeds_2

Photographs courtesy of Dashing Tweeds

28 June 2013

Goodbye to our jewellery designer in residence

Add comment Comments (0)

Our six month jewellery residency with Sarah Warsop has now come to an end! There have been lots of great outcomes: she discovered new areas of the collections including experimental music notation from the 1960s, created a new jewellery range and completely overhauled her website.

Sarah's background is in dance and design, and she spent months researching different types of notation and mark making at the Library to inspire her new range.

You can watch our video of Sarah's time at the Library.  Also, a huge thanks again to our excellent partner Artquest for all their help with the project! 

 

British Library/Artquest Jewellery Designer in Residence from Artquest London on Vimeo.