Chocolate-tasting and screen-printing antics with Thornback & Peel

MbM_Thornback&Peel_event-10Last Tuesday, I was invited to go along to Thornback & Peel‘s exclusive screen-printing evening at their beautiful store in Holborn, where we bloggers got the chance at screen-printing some of their lush designs whilst indulging in chocolate tasting from Creighton’s Chocolaterie and glasses of fizz….how could you decline such an offer! :)

For those of you not familiar with Thornback & Peel, they are London-based designers who create the most beautiful and intricate hand screen printed homeware and accessories.  Their designs have a fun, whimsical play on British imagery strongly influenced by a mixture of Victoriana, Mr McGregor’s garden, Norfolk and Devon……which definitely evokes a sense of nostalgia, that I love most about. (Seriously, how fab is the custard jelly & cake design!?) Juliet Thornback and Delia Peel’s journey to becoming such a success is incredibly inspiring, having started their first collaboration back in 2003 and then setting up their first studio in 2006! You should totally check them out if you haven’t already done so!


The evening kicked off with the screen-printing. We all had a go at printing three of their designs including their latest chicken print for their SS15 collection. The first two (the ‘bird & egg’ and the rabbit) were printed onto cards and then the chicken print onto napkins. I had dabbled in screen-printing once before with Zeena Shah a couple of years ago but I had forgotten how amazing it felt to be so tactile with this printing method. I would happily stay there all day printing! And the paint….I honestly could have walked out with that tub of teal paint it was THAT divine! ;)


It was such a fun evening getting creative and catching up with old and new friendly faces. A heartfelt thank you to Rumour PR, Juliet Thornback, Delia Peel and the T&P girls for having me and being such great hosts. Oh and for the fantastic goody bag too!

For more on Thornback & Peel products, you can hop on over to their website where you can browse through by product type or by design. And you can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all their latest news and events. As for all you chocolate lovers, definitely check out Beford-based Creighton’s Chocolaterie for their amazing concoction of flavours. I’m not a huge chocolate person but I can sure vouch for them after trying their new summer range….FYI that Key Lime Pie one….OMG, yum! You can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too! (warning: you may end up salivating a lot!)

Well, enjoy the rest of your week folks xx

MbM_Thornback&Peel_event-11[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]


[Workshop Shenanigans]: Screen Printing with Zeena Shah

Well, I finally got round to giving screen printing a go! I have wanted to do this for as long as I can remember really and had planned on checking the Print Club in Dalston out when Zeena announced her screen printing workshop sessions. Having done the lino-printing workshop with her before I decided, without any hesitation, to sign up!  Now there are a few ways of doing silk screen printing but in this session we did the paper cut-out stencil technique and not the photo-emulsion one. What this means is you draw out your designs onto paper, keeping in mind the positive and negative parts of your design which dictate what areas you will cut out. The ‘positives’ is the bit you want to print i.e. where the paint goes through onto the fabric and the negatives are the bits you block out/seal off (now I hope I don’t get this the wrong way round!!).  Cutting out stencils using paper is a labour of love but what is truly great about this method is that you can easily set it up and do it at home, skipping out all the photo-exposing-of-designs-on-to-the-screens part of the process and not relying on bigger equipment, dark rooms etc. It’s ideal for those new to screen-printing or for those who fancy doing some quick short runs of printing as the stencils only last about 3 print runs, at tops,which makes this process all the more bespoke! So here’s a look at what went on that day. In the time we had, were able to conjure up two designs; the first illustration of mine was that of a tandem bike with a balloon (you’ll see I used both the positives and negatives to create my prints!) and then the second I did as a homage to shoe lovers like me! :D I’m afraid the photos are captured through my iPhone so they aren’t the clearest but in my defense, it’s not the easiest to document while juggling stencils, paints and screens! Let me know what you think though!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING  webAs you can see in the photos below, each and everyone of us had such a great time busying ourselves over our designs and prints! So much so I don’t think anyone of us cared to leave Zeena’s studio to grab a quick bite for lunch! Now there’s dedication for you! :D Seriously though, I think when you’re in your element and having so much fun creating pretty things I dont think you care much about your tummy or anything else for that matter! As part of the workshop, we were provided with a tote bag and a tea-towel to print on. If you wanted any more you could just buy them off Zeena or you could bring extra fabric or t-shirts yourself. I managed to squeeze in 3-t-shirts, two tote bags and one tea towel……and trust me, I would’ve happily sat there and printed away the entire day! It really was sooo much fun and the immediacy of the printing process especially on fabric is so SO rewarding!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING 2 webI got the chance to meet some lovely and super creative ladies too that day;  from graphic designers to crafters to a vintage furniture restorer! I couldn’t believe that some of them travelled quite the distance just for this event…unlike me who was literally just round the corner! Just goes to show you how popular these classes are!! Anyway, I’ve added a few images of the works of my fellow screen-printing peers just so you can see for yourself how fabulous there were! I’m hoping this will tempt you into signing up to screen-printing classes – whether it’s Zeena’s or some place near you. Zeena has added more workshops that run til September so go check her website out for more details!

BLOG_STRIP_SILK SCREEN PRINTING 3 webThanks again Zeena for this awesome workshop – you’re were totally inspirational and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I left your awesome studio totally buzzing from all the creativity and excitement! As a huge fan of all things ‘printing’ related (from lino printing, to letterpress) I think I may have found my new-found art medium!! ;) I just LOVE how you can transfer all your illustrations and typology onto fabric! I’m hoping to look up some pre-made screens to invest in so I can start churning away more designs from home! It may be a while before I do that but I’ll keep you all posted nonetheless. :D I will follow this post with another to showcase the final products I made…..still dithering on whether to give them away as gifts, sell them or just KEEP them all to myself! :D Hope you enjoyed this xx

Silk Screen Printing Workshop booked!

So I finally went for it!! I’ve been wanting to try screen printing for aaaaaaages but wanted to wait and save a bit before splashing out on a workshop. But thanks to my lovely hubby, I’ve been treated to this workshop run by Zeena Shah…..”see it as an investment” he said! :D Anyway, i’m totally chuffed and even more delighted to be working with Zeena again (she is one talented lady!). I did her lino-printing workshop back in January (click here to see my post) which I thoroughly enjoyed….so as you can imagine….i’m eager to be back in her awesome East London studio and experience the same design process that goes behind her amazing work! So………roll on May!!!! I’m totally itching to start looking at drawing up a few design options already in preparation for this! Eeeeeek  I cannot wait!!!!! xxSCREENPRINTINGworkshop




[Behind the scenes]: Clementine & Bloom

desk 2 WEBI first came across the works of this lovely duo at the ‘Handmade in Britain’ event held at the Old Chelsea Town Hall back in November last year (see my post here) and was immediately drawn to their beautifully embroidered cushions! Clementine and Bloom, a mother-daughter team, who design and make luxury homeware, have only recently emerged into the competitive world of craft and design and have successfully done so with many interests shown in their work and with positive reviews about their work. I simply felt I needed to share more about them and their work on here just so you see what I’m talking about! Here’s my recent interview with them:
  • Tell us more about your backgrounds – have you both always wanted to specialise in printed textiles and embroidery? [Sandra]: I have always been interested in art and have always crafted for personal enjoyment. I decided to study printed textiles after becoming frustrated by the lack of bold colourful fabric designs available. [Sophie]: We have always been creative at home, but the really defining moment for me was at the age of 14 when we took a free machining course at the local sewing shop. Other than the textiles lessons I had had at school this was the first time I could see the potential to be experimental on fabric.
  • What drew you into setting up Clementine & Bloom? We had always discussed combining our skills in the future, after Sophie graduated and the potential for paid employment within embroidery looked unlikely we began to brainstorm. There’s nothing worse than being a creative and then finding yourself idle; idle hands lead to us to make a few items for our own home and then it was just a case of evolving it in to a business.

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  • What five words best describe you and your style of work? [Sandra]: colour, pattern, scale. [Sophie]: texture, experimental
  • What’s the main source of inspiration for your creations? We are inspired by anything and everything from the organic shapes and patterns in nature to the repetitive order and design found in architecture.
  • How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? [Sandra]: When we’re designing a new collection we always start with the research which involves the library and sight visits (museums or even just venturing into the garden.) Then the drawing begins. Once we feel we have plenty of visual material we begin to evolve the images on the computer; for every ten designs we select there are another twenty or so that are either rejected or filed away for the future. I really enjoy the drawing element of the design process the most. [Sophie]: Once all the initial research has been gathered I like to move into materials, experimenting with manipulation, colour and textures. We then bring all these elements together to create our collection. 
  • Is there any craft/art medium you haven’t tried but want to? And why? [Sandra]: I would love to take an upholstery course but haven’t been able to yet just from lack of time! [Sophie]: yes definitely upholstery, then we could combine our love of antique furniture with our bold fabric.

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  • There’s been a huge boom in craft and design in the last few years – would you say it’s been difficult breaking into this competitive world? It has been a difficult time to start a business in the creative industry as established designers who have been working for several years have told us. People have less money to spend at the moment and the huge interest in craft means they want to learn to make things for themselves, however we are taking things slowly and learning so much along the way – one of our family motto’s is ‘Slow and steady wins the race!’
  • What do you like most about your business? And is this a full-time business? We love that we have complete control – from the fabric design to the finished product to what time we begin work in the morning – who doesn’t want to be their own boss? On a practical level we both enjoy the ‘making’ side of the business and love to spend time in the studio screen printing fabric, what they don’t tell you when you start a business is just how much time is dedicated to paperwork and answering emails etc.
  • When you’re not in ‘designer-maker’ mode, what else do you enjoy doing? [Sandra]: I like to visit art galleries and exhibitions on my days off and getting outdoors walking my dog, but my eyes are always open and my mind is always thinking so I’m never sure it actually is switch-off time! [Sophie]: I love hunting through antique shops searching for hidden treasure. I also love nothing more than spending a day in the kitchen cooking up a feast!
  • Have you any tips for like-minded creative individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this field? We would say to anyone who is thinking of entering this field to go for it. The hours are long but when a customer comes along and says ‘I really love this and I want it in my home’ it makes everything worthwhile. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in front of the computer but never under-estimate the value of social media as you can reach so many people in this way.

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  • Are there any designer-makers out there that you find inspirational – if so, who? Too many to list but here are a few. Lucienne Day – innovative and colourful designs, Grayson Perry – colour, detail and not afraid to broach difficult subject matters in his work, Henry Moore – his textiles are colourful and fun and use everyday objects in their design and lastly Anna Maria Horner – bold designs in vibrant colours, lovely!
  • Of your current work, what piece would you say is your favourite? [Sandra]: my favourite design at the moment is the Polka Dot Beetle; I love the colours and the scale means it’s not obvious immediately what the pattern is made up of, I’m planning on covering an old chair in this fabric. But I also love the Gilded Butterfly lampshades and the way they catch the light. [Sophie]: I love the Dancing Beetle pattern, although I consider it to be our ‘neutral’ it’s still a bold, geometric design in a colourway that does not fight with other colours or patterns in your home – this is why I am having my antique French bed re-upholstered in it! I also love the Papilio lampshade, I think it’s luxurious and decadent and unlike other lampshades in the homeware market.
  • What would we expect from Clementine & Bloom in the future? We have another collection in the very early stages of development and are looking at the potential of a wallpaper printed to coordinate with the Entomology range.
  • Finally, where can we find more of your wonderful creations? And can we find you at any craft + design events this year? We have a shop on our website where all the designs are available We have some trade shows planned this year and are also exhibiting in the Launchpad area of Pulse at Earls Court, London in May.
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A HUGE ‘thank you’ to Sandra and Sophie for taking their time out to answer all my questions and for supplying some wonderful photos of their studio and samples of their key work. Aren’t they simply fabulous?! Totally envious of their studio space and all those gorgeous rich colourful textiles!! Anyhow, I sincerely wish you both all the very best for 2013 – not that you need much as you seem to be doing pretty well! And I’m sure i’ll bump into you two again! :) All the best! xx
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