Barbara Brown, Heal’s “golden girl”, is celebrated at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester

I have wanted to go to the Whitworth art gallery for years and finally made it! The gallery space couldn’t be better to showcase the first solo exhibition of the work of Barbara Brown, who designed printed textiles for Heal’s for nearly two decades in the 60’s and 70’s.

Barbara Brown studied at the Canterbury College of Art and then at the Royal College of Art in London. Tom Worthington, Heal’s fabric Director spotted her at her degree show and she went on to produce her first commercial fabric for them entitled “Sweetcorn” in 1958.

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Sweetcorn (1958)

Printed textiles in the 1960’s for furnishings evolved thanks to Modern architecture, painting and sculpture. Huge and bold patterns emerged and Barbara Brown was the champion of that new aesthetic. In the early part of that decade two artists were to influence the world of textile design amongst others with the Op art movement- Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely- with the graphic and geometric abstraction that caught the eye.

The wall of black and white graphic hung textiles at the Whitworth really represent the power of her work.

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Ikebana (1970), Precision (1970), Gyration (1970), Automaton (1970), Construction (1966), Alpha (1966)

Barbara Brown won awards from the Council of Industrial design with fabrics such as “Spiral” and “Automaton” but my favourite fabric at this exhibition, which I had never seen before is “Decor” produced in 1967. The wave like pattern was inspired by geology but I simply love the colour combination.

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Decor (1967), screen-printed mercurised cotton

Don’t you think these fabrics don’t seem to have aged and would still fit in our interiors in a small dose?

The Barbara Brown exhibition is on till January 2018 at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

 

Want a nicer problem to have? Own a piece of history.

I just went to the cinema this week and before the film started, an advert came on which I though was arresting and funny. It’s the new advert for Euromillions lottery, “Nicer problems to have (watch the video)” an avid DIY-er installed a gigantic water fountain with putti in the middle of his palatial hallway and tries to fix it in the middle of the night.

This made me think of some wonderful, gigantic pieces of architectural salvage I saw at Lassco’s Three Pigeons. If you have the space and the means these could be yours.

Want a nicer problem to have? Own a piece of history.

A visual feast – Decorex textile trends 2016

Decorex in Syon Park, London is the most wonderful resource for designers. You can find anything from soft furnishings, carpets, interior accessories to furniture and architectural detailing.

Here are my picks of the must see brands in the furnishing fabric category.  They are fabrics which have great visual power, which are beautifully crafted or make a difference to our planet. Many of the companies are British, we are definitely masters at textile design.

A visual feast – Decorex textile trends 2016

“The Day That” was

Since 2015 Gavan Goulder, founder of The Day That, and his team have been capturing images of sunrises- that’s more than 3,700 since then. You can purchase images of your special day such as your child’s birth, your wedding anniversary, your first kiss…and give them to your loved ones. “The Day That” was

The discovery of the century?

Back to the 14th century BC…

Most people are familiar with the well know burial chambers in the Valley of the Kings discovered by Howard Carter in 1922- that of King Tutankhamun. The burial chambers are magnificent and are painted with scenes showing the young pharaoh’s burial rituals. The colours used all have a different symbolic meanings.

The discovery of the century?