Made in Britain

How important is it to you to buy products which have been grown or manufactured in your own country? Surely it’s a good way to get people back to work, instil some national pride and cut down on our carbon foot print?

Earlier this year I decided to produce a range of home wares and I was determined to design and manufacture them here in Great Britain. The first designs are a set of kitchen textiles which I think have architectural overtones. I am well aware that the market is awash with decorative kitchen textiles but I was keen to produce something for the contemporary kitchen – my designs can’t be described as pretty, and a friend actually thought they were quite masculine but I was pleased with that, it’s what I intended!

The designs are all screen printed – a long process but the best process for obtaining vibrant colours and colours that stay truer for longer. Digital printing is fine for some things but as it’s strong flat colour that interests me, screen printing was the answer (all the inks are water based causing minimal environmental impact). I decided to print onto linen union because the texture and slubs you find on linen gives the product more character.

So, they are designed and printed in Great Britain (including the brand label which has been woven) but I have paid the cost of taking this route. I hope it works out (I could have had them printed abroad for a fraction of the cost) but it gives me immense satisfaction having them produced here in Great Britain – I hope it is important to buyers too. I thought it was interesting to see that a new Made in UK  logo is set to appear in our shops next year.

My retailers would prefer me not to display the textiles until they have the stock (by the end of the month) which is why I have only inserted a tiny image of my proofs above.

Below are some of the reasons why I like living and working in Scotland. Where do you live and why?

A Collision of Red and Blue

I couldn’t resist buying these crazy little turnips today because they look like someone has sprayed Pantone 16-3520 (aka African Violet) ink at them.

A hue that looks oddly synthetic with “parentage” stemming from both the hot (red) and cold (blue) ends of the spectrum, this form of purple can be difficult to work with.

However, knock some sense into this violent colour with the introduction of  a slab of grey plus a small slice of khaki and you will discover that our purple is instantly anchored and kept right under control by its sensible guards.

Mixing Your Own Paint Colour…and Naming it

Well here it is as promised, the recipe for your perfect grey paint.

I am assuming you are fed up with buying a zillion expensive sample pots in varying shades of grey so I may be able to save you some money.

I know, I know we all mixed grey at kingergarten, yes, black plus white does make grey but it makes an achromatic grey, a cold shade reminiscent of a 1970’s computer casing. If you are after a warm and interesting grey here is how.

Take a trip to your local art shop and buy four tubes of acrylic paint – red, green, yellow and white (if you are after a violet-grey, buy a blue as well).

Mix a spoonful of red and a spoonful of green and you will make grey (a grey which is totally harmonious to our brain because it has equal proportions of red & green, ie balanced). This will make a fairly dark grey so keep adding white until you reach a shade that appeals to you. Thats it.

However, you may be after  a violet-grey which is a very comfortable hue to be around and a great colour as a backdrop. If so add a touch of blue to your mixture.

Alternatively, if you prefer a warmer grey, add a small amount of yellow to the red and green and you will get a wonderful brown-grey which again can be adjusted with the addition of white.

Once you have decided on the grey that you like, paint out a swatch on some thick white paper.

Virtually all paint suppliers have a spectrometer, a machine which can scan a coloured sample and create the exact colour of paint. You then have the added bonus of being able to choose a name for the paint colour you just created. So if at your next dinner party your guests ask if your beautiful walls are “Hardwick White” or “Lamp Room Grey”, you have your chance to sparkle and say, “its a colour I mixed myself”…..

A Nutritious Colour Palette

We all strive to eat a balanced diet, but did you know our bodies also crave a balanced colour palette?

In a room which is predominantly green your brain will feel unbalanced and will begin to compensate for the green bombardment by creating an after image of red (green’s complimentary colour). White surfaces in the green room will begin to appear tinged with red.

In fact, your brain constantly works to create a colour harmony for you. This is why well balanced rooms feel more relaxing to be in because the brain has less work to do.

Edith Anderson Feisner in her book “How to use Colour in Art and Design” cites an interesting example of this effect. A cosmetics company refurbished their showroom with an all- white fresh and lab-like interior. However, instead of the new interior  energising the staff,  absenteeism became an issue. As the main colour of the products (lipsticks and blushers) were a red hue, when the staff, spend long periods of time looking at the products, and then looked up at the walls or each others faces, everything they saw had a green tinge. Realising what was wrong, they redecorated in a blue-green teal and the problem was solved.

However, stare at grey for a significant time and the brain remains perfectly happy. No after image is created. This is because grey is formed by mixing two equal value complimentary colours together (red and green), in other words, the colour grey is a perfect harmony and therefore your brain can relax.

Many people have asked me to name a perfect grey paint for them to use in their interior. Well I have an easy way for you to discover this for yourself. In my next post I will show you how to mix a grey that will sit comfortably with every other colour in the spectrum and is a perfectly balanced “nutritious” grey.