January 1, 2017
Ive been working with Ria Rich who screenprints and handpaints her own range of one-off lampshades, cushions and prints for interiors. She has a super little studio/shop over at the Old dairy Craft Centre in Upper Stowe. Since she outgrew her studio in Burns St her work and range of commission pieces has began to sell well.
I loved the haphazard and painterly nature of her work. Earlier last year we talked about working together to produce clothing. However, after my first attempts to teach Ria to sew it became apparent that we would be waiting a long time to become millionaires. She’s better working with the screens and Im better sitting on the sewing machine.
Working with another persons input allows you to consider different colourways, because whether we like it or not we all work with our preferred colour palette. I would pass quickly over a chocolate brown or pale grey preferring always to opt for orange, pink and green . But we were working on neutral backgrounds, something I don’t often do so we had interesting discussions when considering our colour choices. Although they always started with coral.
This range is a complete departure for me. I’m used to working with a lot more “pattern” in terms of surface design and garment structure. I’d had requests from my customers for a looser well designed piece of clothing which had attractive surface design and above all was functional, comfortable and had pockets. We chose linen because as its washed and worn it becomes softer, has a lovely drape and yet is hard wearing. The prints also absorb into the linen and have a “lived in” look, which is very aesthetically pleasing.
I designed a cross over apron dress with large front pockets. This design is based on ones that florists wear and is by no means exclusive. Our combination of hand-painting, printing and surface design elevate them to unique original pieces and you’ll never find two the same.
I like to take cuttings of Swiss embroidered ribbon, vintage trims and buttons to make tags for the pockets, they serve no purpose but look great and our customers love them. I also take snippets of vintage fabrics and incorporate them into the design making petals or larger floral motifs which I can then free machine embroider around.
We’ve called our range Tissu Touchante based on the French linens we use. We have linen in stock which we’re taking to fairs so customers can choose their own and liaise with us when choosing their apron dress. We’re really looking forward to taking our new range out on the road and our first fair is at landmark Arts in Teddington in March with an introduction to the range and our own workshops at The Artists Table night market on Nov 17th in Northampton.
In the meantime you can buy here.