Introducing Silk Twill & Hopsack Ties

You will probably have noticed a slight sharpening up with the clothes we are currently choosing – the psychologists tell us its connected to the more serious discussions we face in the world. Whatever the reason, I felt it was definitely time to bring out a range of silk ties.

Kiss Kiss graphic silk tie designed by Niki Fulton

Kiss Kiss Silk Tie

I have to confess I did get rather obsessed when it came to choosing a silk base cloth but after several months of testing and trialling different weights of silk with various different printing methods, I finally found a beautiful weighty silk twill to print on. As I’m sure you will know, twill is recognised by its diagonal parallel ridges on its surface – which when made up into a tie sit horizontally (ties are cut on a 45 degree angle). When the knot is tied the silk catches the light beautifully and gives the print an added depth of colour.

Lovewell Silk Tie designed by Niki Fulton

Lovewell Silk Tie

So here is where it gets a little obsessive. I really like silk hopsack too. Hopsack (named after the woven sacks they collected hops in) is a plain, ‘basket’ weave. I love it. It has an understated look about it, has a stunning surface texture, very fine in this case, and is woven but is also sharp. It’s the perfect cloth if you like linen but need something a notch sharper. So the ties are available in a choice of twill or hopsack…the difference is very subtle between the two cloths, the choice is really only there in case you, like me, ¬†have a ‘thing’ about either hopsack or twill ūüôā

Breton Signal Silk Tie designed by Niki Fulton

Breton Signal Silk Tie

There are several new designs plus some of the old favourites have made the silk collection. They are also now available with a standard 8cm or a narrower 7cm blade. Most of the new prints have been inspired by iconic buildings which are all described on the¬†shop¬†but I would love to tell you a little about ‘Freedom’ print just now.

Freedom Silk Tie designed by Niki Fulton

Freedom Silk Tie

Freedom print was inspired by Freedom Tower, in Miami which was built in 1925 and designed by architects Schultze and Weaver. The building was originally constructed as a printing facility for the Miami News but later became an administrative centre for Cuban refugees in the 1960’s.¬†It is¬†¬†is now a prominent museum and¬†cultural¬†centre. The printing facility appealed to me as the tie of course is printed. The design has a slight retro Cuban vibe to it, a nod to the refugee centre, and great to think of a building which has successfully reinvented itself throughout history as ties have done too.¬†

The colour palette is Biscayne Sea blue, bronzed sand to reflect the tower’s render and nearby beach and the deep brown of Cuban cigars. The linear shape and the rectangles represent the many windows of the tall tower.¬†

Several of the new prints have a connection to Miami as I was commissioned by¬†Dr.Stacey Hunter¬†of¬†Local Heroes Design¬†to create new work which would encompass a feeling of contemporary luxury¬†within a ¬†colour palette from Miami’s Art Deco period. It was an exciting commission which triggered a whole series of new work which lends itself to being printed onto silk.

‘Kiss Kiss’ print (first photo) has no real connection to Miami though, I shall tell you about that print next time.

Thanks for reading and if anyone has been to Freedom Tower in Miami I would love to hear about it!

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The Fruitmarket Gallery #DesignMarket 9th -11th June 2017

Delighted to be back for the third year running at the Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market which previews tomorrow, Friday 9th June at 5pm. New work, promotions (and of course a few beverages) will be served at the opening so please join us if you can!

…and remember, the fabulous¬†Milk Cafe¬†will be open with its delicious seasonal lunches and cakes over the weekend.

DM2017_FTP.pdf

DM2017_FTP.pdf

Norway, the Environment and Making Things Last

Norway has the same size of population as Scotland (yes, we know, we keep being told this fact), but with five times as much space and a land where you could expect to live 5 years longer and pay 6% more tax. So I traveled 4◦ North to find out more. And in doing so, I returned to Edinburgh with a reinforced understanding of the importance of considered design and making things last.

Boat Building, Alesund, Norway

Boat Building, Alesund, Norway, 2015

9th Century Viking Ship

9th Century Viking Ship

Visit the Viking Ship Museum¬†in Oslo and you will be struck by the elegance of the 9th Century ships but possibly even more stunned by the fact that they are so well preserved. Built almost entirely from oak and with exquisite detailing, they have certainly stood the test of time. Visit the Art Nouveau town of Alesund on the West coast (Noway’s most important fishing harbour) and the skill continues – ¬†you can spot timber ships being meticulously crafted with a view to lasting another few centuries.

Looking into the Opera and Ballet House From the Roof

Looking into the Opera and Ballet House From the Roof

I’m no architect but it doesn’t take an expert to see that the Norwegians have a healthy appetite for enterprising buildings – take the firm¬†Snohetta¬†,¬†responsible for the stunning¬†wild reindeer pavilion¬†on the outskirts of the Dovrefjell National Park and the¬†Norwegian National Opera and Ballet¬†home in Oslo. The Opera house looks like an iceberg floating on¬†the waterfront and actively entices and encourages you to walk over the structure, even on the roof where you get tantalising glimpses of activity in the building under your feet. It’s not an inanimate public building plonked down, the structure is like a new urban walkway, an adult climbing frame. It’s engaging, connects with the public and is fun.

Walking on the Roof of The Opera and Ballet House, Oslo

Walking on the Roof of The Opera and Ballet House, Oslo

Looking to the Business Sector from the Roof of the Opera House, Oslo

Looking to the Business Sector from the Roof of the Opera House, Oslo

Walk around¬†the¬†suburbs in Oslo and¬†you will see nestled in amongst early twentieth century homes, thoughtful new school buildings. Can you imagine the positive long term impact it will have on the kids being immersed in such considered buildings. They are imaginative buildings – I’m sure if you asked the kids¬†from the school pictured below¬†to draw a house, they will come up with many¬†ideas¬†– not just the classic square with a triangle roof.

A Timber School, Oslo

A Timber School, Oslo

Older Properties in the Suburbs, Oslo

Older Properties in the Suburbs, Oslo

I have to confess that it was while sitting in the cinema in Edinburgh that I decided to visit Norway. I was watching the 2015 film, Ex Machina, and knew as soon as I saw the landscape and architecture in the film that I had to get to wherever it was set at some point in my life. As soon as I was home I googled the film set and found it was filmed in the Juvet Landscape Hotel about a two hour drive East from Alesund.

Phoning the Juvet just intrigued me even more. The super polite but no nonsense owner, Knut, said, “you shall be in a bird box, supper is at 8 o clock in the barn¬†and there is a sauna, but don’t expect cucumber, this is not a spa” …

I don’t want tell you too much about the Juvet, all I can say is go if you can. Everything about it is remarkable and you will meet remarkable people who you will have enriching and fascinating conversations with. The hotel in no way spoils the stunning environment, you can barely see it and once immersed in your bird box, you are utterly dwarfed by nature, it’s the ultimate tonic to a¬†fast machine driven life. Knut told me the area was called ‘the land of the low shoulders’ and he’s right. You leave the place with your shoulders where they should be i.e not wrapped round your ears!

A Room at the Juvet Landscape Hotel

A Room at the Juvet Landscape Hotel

supper in the barn

Supper in the barn – foraged, preserved and respected food

Juvet Landscape Hotel

Juvet Landscape Hotel

And I don’t suppose I need to tell you that the walking here is incredible – they even have huts¬†dotted around the mountains equivalent to the Scottish bothy.

Hillwalking in Norway

Hillwalking in Norway

This post is too long already so I will follow it with another Norwegian post next time but what I was meaning to say was that everywhere I travelled, I noticed people were outside a lot – this I think is the crux. The cafes had blankets so you could sit outdoors, the homes had outdoor spaces, terraces, balconies, the food we were served was grown or caught in front of us, the buildings, both old and new were imaginative and reflected the all important environment. Everything I saw seemed to be high quality and making use of local materials. I know it’s a wealthy county but things were built to last and¬†crucially I sensed that there was still a real connection to the environment and outside world, a real respect for it. This is a country where jumpers suitable for polar conditions are made¬†and still passed down the generations because they don’t fall apart, they last. Some places as we all know have lost this connection in favour of buy cheap and the throw away.

However, I really think this ethos is returning, I certainly see it here in Scotland. People are starting to look again for considered purchases and I’m meeting more and more makers and designers confident in selling their higher priced quality and ethical products. I think we are all slowly realising we don’t need quite as much stuff and are thinking more carefully about what we do buy. Certainly more and more people are taking to the hills in their free time and I’m sure it’s that connection to the great outdoors that is key to the way we think and behave.

 So what do you think? Are you more careful about what you buy and from whom? Do you feel connected to the environment?

I know and understand I’m very fortunate to be able to make these choices and to visit beautiful places but if reconnecting to the great outdoors is key to a higher quality of life for all, that’s got to be a good thing and it’s a resource we all have on our doorsteps.