Monday, 12 September 2016

BURBERRY MAKERS HOUSE

It's shaping up to be a mammoth month as far as showing is concerned. Like last year the Tassel Queen is here, there, but not quite everywhere. First stop is the Burberry Makers House.
THE LONDON DESIGN FAIR.
Second stop is the newly named London Design Fair, but an old friend in that it incorporates SuperBrands and Tent, which celebrates it's 10th anniversary. We'll be showing an installation on the new floor.



Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A BRIEF RESPITE

Running one's own business can often mean long hours and not much free time let alone actual holidays! I have to improvise and compromise on ways of detangling my brain at the end of a long week.
A long standing method of tranquillising the tension is to meander around museums and galleries. I find looking at artistry of all dipliplines calming, uplifting and inspiring, helping me get back into the Urban Croft with renewed vigour.
Two recent exhibitions that have more than sufficed in evoking all the above responses were Georgiana Houghton-Spirt Drawings at The Courthold Gallery and Winifred Knights at The Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Georgina Houghton was a victorian spiritualist who, with no formal art training, produced the most extraordinary abstract paintings that wouldn't look out of place next to any modern artist and which she always claimed were made whilst in one of her seance trances.

Above, 'Glory be to God' 1864 Georgiana Houghton.

The results are linear spiralling concentrics, like an out of control spirograph. Delicate white hairline marks, like gossamer spiders silk, overlay layers of colourful, primary swirls and give great depth to these paintings. You really feel you are looking into the dark recesses of a tangled mind or another world.
Houghton's art was ridiculed at the time, not for its spiritual nature-those victorians, especially the Pre-Raphaelites [Rossetti was especially interested in parapsychology], loved a bump in the night, even Ruskin attended a seance-but because her work was, visually, so far ahead of its time [most of the exhibits were painted in the 1860s] and mainly because she was a woman.
By complete contrast, Winifred Knights' paintings, a prize-winning, Slade-trainned artist, are considered, calm and serene. Knights was very influenced by Italian Renaissance Art, which is evident in the composition of her pictures. Her aesthetic placement of subject matter is meticulously planned and harmonious. She was also inspired by Rural Socialism, which, depending on your point of view, could be considered no less fantastical than Houghton's spiritualism. I, for one, have never understood this concept of rural romanticism, where baking bread barefoot or rearing rare-breed pigs fed only on imported Iberican acorns is the solution to all one's woes. As His Wellerness once sang 'In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you' whereas in the country no one can hear you scream [unless there's a referendum]
Still Winifred Knights' paintings were very beautiful to behold and made me want to rush home and get my paints out.

A View To The East From The British School At Rome, 1922, Winifred Knights

I did actually manage a little sojourn in the village of Yegen, once home to the British author Gerald Brenan, high up in the mountains of Andalusia, and it was glorious, and yes, I did wonder if maybe I could live somewhere like this. The idea of a hammock under an orange tree could be seen as the epitome of a rural idyl. Sneaking off for shady siestas with my book didn't get much closer to Heaven, but I realised the real luxury was having the time to do it and if I had all the time in the world it would cease to be that.

Above and below, my home for a week in the village of Yegen

The view from my bedroom window

Above and below, simplicity personified in the interiors

Sunset in the Sierra's

Above, a rather hot day on the Med [which incidentally is a great white shark breeding ground-biggest one ever recorded was found by a fisherman off the coast of Corsica]

Above, the little luxuries of life-a hammock, a book and a glass of wine.
Above and below,
Various views of the Sierra Nevada.

I always take paper, pens, pencils and paint when I travel. Sometimes they never make it out of my case, but this time, maybe thanks to Winifred Knights, they were unpacked and utilised. Those mountains were darn difficult to draw though, and without sounding too shamanesque, they were definite shape shifters and changed every time I looked up from my sketch book.
It was the briefest of respites because, as we hurtle with the speed of sound towards The London Design Festival, I have a workload even a beast of burden would have trouble shouldering.
Talking of The London Design Festival I'm showing at The London Design Fair to help celebrate Tent London's 10th anniversary, which is where I launched Jessica Light Trims and Tassels in 2008, so it's welcome homecoming for me. 

Trade tickets available from The London Design Fair.


Thursday, 18 February 2016

CHELSEA DESIGN WEEK 2016

We're on the road again- singing [or rather weaving] for our supper. The loom and I are doing a four day residency at Jonathan Charles during Chelsea Design Week. We will be presenting our new diffusion range, Guernsey, as well as showcasing our passementerie styled by top-end bed-ware company Pad UK.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

SWEET LITTLE 2016

As we tumble headfirst into another year whilst still recovering from the last one, the 'to do' list is already as long as the Yardarm. Burnt out? I feel like a bit of old crumbling charcoal and it's still only January. Still, onwards and upwards as they say.
Let's start the year with some vibrant splashes of colour from two recent exhibitions from two painters, 'John Hoyland- Power Stations' at the Newport Street Gallery, Damien Hirst's new gallery in Vauxhall, and 'Soaring Flight- Peter Lanyon's Gliding Paintings' at the Courtauld Institute.
John Hoyalnd's abstract blocks of colour have obvious Mark Rothko inspiration and the first rooms of the 'Power Stations' exhibition seem to draw heavily on this influence. These paintings are perhaps the least interesting as they lack the intensity and depth that Rothko achieved. It's the last room that really packed a punch with paintings comprised of heavy opaque abstract blocks and shapes in clashing colour combinations. Good rugs, I thought.


Above, three Hoyland paintings from 'Power Stations.

In stark contrast Peter Lanyon's gliding paintings were breath taking and glorious from start to finish. Lanyon took up gliding in the 50's and these etherial landscapes were inspired by the artist's flights over West Cornwall. 
These paintings, with their curving swirls, puffy splodges, and scribbled lines that surround, obscure and dictate the ariel view of the landscapes below, completely immerse you in the atmosphere. If it were possible to paint air, movement, energy and weather then this is what these pictures achieve. The use of colour also adds to the drama. Cold blues from the pallid pale to deep teal merge into blueish polar whites and greys which make you shiver. Whereas clear greens and yellows sing clear bright days. Slashes of tomato red repeat across most of these paintings. I came out wanting to fly.


Above, Peter Lanyon's Gliding Paintings.

Looking back over 2015 it was a bustling year. I moved to Sarf Larndan which, apart from the actual physical aspects of moving ones belongings, was more traumatic than I expected. I'm a North London girl and I crossed the river, but separating live/work put a renewed spring in my step and work has become fun again.
We launched a new collection, Ceylon, and other products at Decorex, as well as showing an instillation for Dulux Colour Futures at Tent London, during the London Design Festival in September. There were collaborations with Liam Treanor and Rachael South on a unique piece of furniture and with Bluebellgrey on an exclusive range of tassels.

Above, 
Thales' bench by Liam Treanor, Rachael South and Jessica Light.
An ash frame with a Danish box weave seat out of hand-woven linen/cotton braid

Above, trims from the Ceylon collection.

Above, one of our new outsize room trims.

The bespoke side of Jessica Light also flourished with projects from clients new and old. Below is a recent project for Knight Design for ten tiebacks to match Mulberry Home Wilderness fabric and shows the process of creating a bespoke design from working drawing to finished product in situ. 


I also went slightly off-piste as a guest on Litopia's Midnight podcast along with the horrortastic Barbie Wilde. I'd never done anything like this before and was unsure what to expect. Historically when I'm nervous I either babble like an idiot or my mouth turns into Velcro and I can't utter a word. It seems neither of those incidents happened on this occasion.

NEW DIFFUSION RANGE
Towards the end of 2015 we launched the first products in our new diffusion range, Guernsey. This collection of tassels, tiebacks and trims, all in marl colour mixes, is part Missoni, part windswept washed out beachcombers and part late 60's children's illustrations.
Above, new Guernsey key tassels.
Available from Jessica Light Shop.
New products being added over the next couple of months.