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.

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.

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.

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.


How to show off your glassware – tips & tricks

I love showing off beautiful glassware whether it is drinking vessels or vases. We are often too precious about glassware and relegate it to the cupboard and forget to use it.

If you collect glasses or have glasses of different styles and colours find an alcove or a shelf where you can show it off. I know you have to do more dusting but then you can easily transfer it to a table or if friends pop round for a drink. Have them to hand.

How to show off your glassware – tips & tricks

Creating gorgeous displays with same size frames

Here are a few tips on how to use same size frames to showcase your photos or art and create amazing display walls.

A staircase is often a great place to show photographs or artwork. If you use same size frames it gives you the illusion of an elevated space- so good if you don’t have very high ceilings. Start hanging from about 20 cm above your skirting boards.

Creating gorgeous displays with same size frames

Decorating tip – thin shelving

Thin shelving with a lip or a photo shelf is a great love of mine. It can easily be put up in a space that doesn’t have much depth and can be painted the same colour as the wall to blend in. It is also very economical to buy. You can use it instead of a bedside table if you don’t have a big bedroom – you can keep your water, book, glasses (if you need them!) and phone close by!

Decorating tip – thin shelving

Teacher gift ideas for the end of term

6 great gift ideas to thank your children’s teachers at the end of the school year.
Click the links for individual products

1. Sweet Lullaby or Orange Patiserie Naturally Fragrant Candle by Lola’s Apothecary – Beautiful candles with amazing scents. You can purchase them from our Lola’s Apothecary range here


2. Summer candle – Beautiful unscented candle in a glass container


3. Square candleholder/vase – Small and cute metal candleholder


4. Writing set-hand made paper – Cards in Nepalese hand made paper and screen printed, 6 x A6 cards and envelopes with a scalloped edge folder


5. Peapod Graphite Object – A small beautiful graphite sculpture to use like a pencil


6. VII Bruxelles leather disco purse – A small leather purse in silver colour made by a designer brand