New website – nikifulton.com

If you are still opening my occasional blog post, thank you very much indeed. I’ve found recently that as we all cram more and more information and images into our busy heads, most people crave shorter, snappier posts which is why I am more active on Instagram these days. However, sometimes it is still useful to have a space for slightly longer stories which is why I keep this blog going.

red & grey

It is still very simple colour combos that motivates me to design.

There have been lots of changes at my end which is why the blog has become a bit sparse of late. I’ve been receiving great business mentoring from the Cultural Enterprise Office and Creative Edinburgh and both bodies were keen for me to work under my own name Niki Fulton . So although my registered company remains as unifiedspace (as I still get involved in some interiors projects), my neckware apparel is now all branded under niki fulton and to celebrate the launch of the new website , I’m joining the big guys with a Black Friday cyber weekend with the code BlackFriday2016 for a 20% discount (apologies in delay in getting this post out :/ )

Black Friday on Nikifulton.com

BlackFriday2016 code will give you 20% discount on nikifulton.com until Monday 28th November.

I am also launching several new products and prints at Top Drawer at London’s Olympia in January. Each year, Charlotte Abrahams (author of the book, Hygge, which celebrates life’s simple pleasures) curates a section of the show called ‘Spotted’ and she has kindly invited me into this area – a great opportunity to meet many key retail buyers attending the show.

Top Drawer London

I will be in Spotted Section, Stand 55, please drop by!

The ties are now printed on 100% Irish linen – I’m very happy about the cloth – it has taken a lot of testing to find the perfect linen (so special is this cloth that the mill is actually weaving it specially for the ties). It must be the right surface for the reactive inks to print on to and it has to slide enough to tie a beautiful knot but still remain matt and characterful. It also has to remain in shape (linen can be quite stretchy) but that’s where the tie construction comes in. They are now made by one of Britain oldest tie makers and with a special and rather ingenious slip stitch, the ties will keep their shape. It has been a journey, but worth it, I hope you will agree.

Eclipse linen tie designed by Niki Fulton

‘Eclipse’ 100% Irish linen tie designed by Niki Fulton. Made in Great Britain.

Also joining the range are linen bowties – I’ve been asked so many times for bowties, so they are on the way very soon (possibly even just before Christmas) and silk pocket squares.

The prices reflect the way they are made – high quality fabric, specialist printing and construction and hand finished (oh, and the ties are all ‘self tipped’…but perhaps I’m getting a bit tie geeky now and I should just let you see them and hopefully they will speak for themselves). I hope you will view all the garments in the range as special considered purchases, something that you might keep and pass down the generations.

I’m also happy to report (*boastful alert* – apologies in advance) that the ties have been spotted being worn by guests on BBC television programmes (twice) and if you are into celeb spotting, all I can say is I have two high profile men out there, one wearing a Breton Signal and the other a Prufrock. In fact the Italian celeb said he had  ‘given up wearing ties but the Breton Signal tie has changed his mind’. Okay, enough of this inflated ego talk, I guess I just wanted to justify working in a very niche and probably shrinking sector of apparel.

Still lots to say – I will post again soon about some upcoming Christmas events.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you are up to.

Do you still wear ties and if so for what kind of occasion – every day or just limited to very special occasions such as weddings? It would be great to hear from you. 

 

The Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market

If you are in Edinburgh this weekend it would be great to see you at The Fruitmarket Gallery Design Market which will be running from Friday 10th, (Preview 5-9pm) Saturday 11th, 10am-6pm & Sunday 12th, 10am-5pm. Around 40 independent makers and designers will be showing and selling their work.

silk scarf

‘Love You’ Silk Scarf

 

I’ve been experimenting with some new prints and will be assessing which designs to take forward to the Craft Scotland Summer Show during the  Edinburgh Fringe Festival so I will have several promotions on over the weekend to hopefully encourage feedback.

silk scarf

‘Eden’ Silk Scarf

Most designers bring out a cohesive ‘collection’ each season but because of the way I work, my prints are fairly discordant – you have been warned!

The way it works for me, perhaps you are the same (please let me know, I’m really interested) is that when I am least expecting it (usually when I am about to drop off to sleep), a fully formed image falls into my mind. The next day I go about recreating this image – an image that seemed to appear from nowhere. The ‘mysterious’ image however, can easily be traced back directly to an experience. So as we all have many experiences in life, the ‘pot’ to draw from is pretty extensive (hence the diverse prints). So that’s why, for me anyway, it’s imperative to get out as much as possible and explore because every time I do, my mind is busy in the background drawing from the experience and creating the next print.

So that’s the process or perhaps an explanation.

silk scarf

‘Breton Signal’ Silk Scarf. Photo by Abi Radford

 

The prints are unisex (can a pattern be gender specific anyway?!) so you will see prints on both silk scarves and on linen neck ties.

linen tie

‘Eden’ Linen Tie

I will also be bringing a new product – long wool and cashmere open weave scarves – only a few – so if you would like one, please be quick.

wool scarf

‘Fennel Tangle’ Wool & Cashmere Scarf. Photo by Abi Radford.

Another new product is the wool ‘Charger Pouch’. Ok, yes, I know, that’s a bit specific and they can be used for other purposes too – coins, lens caps, lipstick, jewellery bag – but I find them especially useful while travelling. Having a brightly coloured soft wool pouch to pack my phone charger in (I can’t be the only one who fuddles about in my bag searching for said charger, can I?) is of great comfort. They are designed for the minimalist at heart who craves a block of tactile colour and has a very guilty secret pleasure (sssh, I won’t spill the beans on you but they have a patterned lining – linen off cuts from the ties to be precise, we don’t like to waste at unifiedspace).

wool and linen pouches

Wool (and linen) Charger Pouches

So new prints, new products and many other designers all housed in the Fruitmarket Gallery which of course is also home to Milk Cafe . It would be great to see you this weekend! (10th – 12th June 2016)

If you have a sec, can you tell me what your favourite colour to wear is please?

 

 

 

Now Stocked by Wear Eponymous

Just a quick post today to announce the great news that the full collection of linen ties are now being stocked by Wear Eponymous .

Wear Eponymous

Wear Eponymous brings,

“the cream of current design talent UK wide and beyond. This isn’t the place for fast fashion or disposable purchases, this is the destination for investment pieces, stand-out accessories and unique treats”

Take a look through their site if you are looking for ethically produced independent brands and if you are quick they are currently running a great competition to win a beautiful leather VVA handbag designed by Sarah Haran.

Next post on recent travels to Norway and the London Design Festival coming shortly…

The Journey of a Linen Tie

The Slow Food Movement has been an inspiration to many and knowing that we have superb textile mills in Scotland I was very keen to produce a product with similar credentials. Scroll down and see the faces behind the various stages of production of my new range of linen ties.

Twenty nine miles from Edinburgh lies a bespoke weavers, Peter Greig, which has been weaving from the same site since 1825. 

Stacking the Flax.

Stacking the Flax. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Flax which is used in the production of linen used to be grown in Scotland and Ireland but as Angus Nicoll, Managing Director of Peter Greig explains, our climate is not as well suited as the Benelux countries.

“All the retting that used to happen in Scotland and Ireland was Water retted rather than the standard Dew Retting that is now the norm in the Benelux Countries. The problem with the Scottish and Irish climate is that through July and August we cannot rely on clear skies and warm weather. The climate in Holland, Belgium and France is far more reliable and so the flax straw can be turned daily in the fields and the Dew rets (rots) the straw off the outside of the plant as it is damp in the morning then dried during the day. With our inclement weather the rain comes solidly through all of July and August and the whole plant never dries in the field and as a result the whole plant goes black and rots”

So, the flax is now grown and spun into yarn in the drier European countries before being prepared and woven at Peter Greigs.

Linseed Pods. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Linseed Pods.
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

 

Warping the Yarn Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Warping the Yarn
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving in Progress. Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving in Progress.
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Weaving the Flax

Weaving the Flax

Inspecting the Cloth Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

Inspecting the Cloth
Photo kindly supplied by Peter Greig

And meanwhile, I design the patterns for printing onto the linen from my studio in Edinburgh

Dreaming up my next textile design

Dreaming up my next textile design

Then the plain linen is delivered to sisters Solii and Zoe at BeFabBeCreative, a printing bureau in Edinburgh where they print my designs onto the Fife linen.

Solii Brodie at BeFabBeCreative

Solii Brodie at BeFabBeCreative

From here, I take the printed cloth to Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective, Edinburgh who stitches the cloth into ties. Kalopsia search for industrial equipment that is no longer being used and save the pieces from being scrapped. They refurbish them and the machines are used in their micro manufacturing facility at Ocean Terminal. Zero Waste Scotland are supporting this venture as it is a great example of the merits of a circular economy.

Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective

Nina Falk, Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective

Once the ties are stitched, I package them with the story behind the inspiration for each design and Edinburgh photographer, Abi Radford, photographs them.

Photographer Abi Radford and model Jo Radford.

Photographer Abi Radford and model Jo Radford.

The passionate Gordon Millar of Scot Street Style launched my collection of  ties during Tartan Week in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year and their Edinburgh launch was at Design Weekend at the The Fruitmarket Gallery in May.

I have been working on the concept of linen ties since January so having worked for the last seven months with the wonderful creative people I have introduced you to in this post, it gives me a huge amount of satisfaction seeing the finished product and importantly selling this locally produced tie to people who are searching for ethically produced textiles from Scotland. The ties have a distinct character and attitude (I like to refer to them as my bad boy ties!) and I’ve been told offer some good chic-geek vibes around the office (!) so mix up your wardrobe and add some Scottish linen or if you are fed up with ‘double denim’ go the full hog and start a movement for ‘triple linen’ 😉

Thank you everyone who have helped make and launch the ties and thank you to all those buying them too.

And there is a new design coming out at the end of this week, it’s a special summer tie called ‘Prufrock’, one to be worn with white flannel trousers to walk along the beach…any guesses where the inspiration for this ones lies?

Paint by Conran, Linen From Printed and Co

When I started this blog a few years ago, I came from the paint industry and wrote fairly extensively about colour theory – until I searched the web and realised that I was just adding to a plethora of existing blogs about colour. However, today, I am briefly revisiting the wonderful world of paint.

Paint by Conran from 'Kitchen Garden' range

Paint by Conran from the ‘Kitchen Garden’ range

Being a bit of a Conran ‘groupie’ I knew they were working on adding a paint range Paint by Conran to their brand and I’ve just got around to looking at it today. It was launched last year but I’ve not seen much evidence of it around Scotland so I thought I would share the colour chart with you.

Above are some colours from their Kitchen Garden collection. Having just been at a Textiles Scotland ‘Colours Trends Fashion Interiors’ seminar for Autumn Winter 2016/17 I can tell you that ‘Kitchen Garden’ is extremely close to Anne Richie’s predicted colour trend story named ‘Crafted’ especially with the kingfisher blue hues.

Paint by Conran 'Cottage Garden' range

Paint by Conran ‘Cottage Garden’ range

It goes without saying that Conran would include a good selection of blues to the range and Cottage Garden‘ blues manage to look as British as beloved iconic brand Cornishware.

Paint by Conran with Pear Mug by unifiedspace

Paint by Conran with Pear Mug by unifiedspace

My favourite set of colours comes from the Highland‘ range (deep hues pictured above with tonally compatible paler hues below) inspired by ‘swathes of purple heather, rocky outcrops and hardy windblown grasses’. It contains a beautiful soft grey-purple named ‘Sodden Clover’ (third colour swatch below on top left)  an excellent choice for a calm contemporary space.

Paint by Conran with Botanical DNA print on linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with Botanical DNA print on linen from Printed and Co

If you prefer a warmer palette, you may like the Harvest‘ colours, ‘soft and sun- kissed corn colours combined with deep earthy umbers’. Good pale sunlight colours, excellent for welcoming hallways, although it’s the ‘Giant Bamboo’ (bottom left) that I would like to see as a backdrop to some interesting vintage agricultural equipment hanging in a pared down interior.

Paint by Conran with Flying High Mug by unifiedspace

Paint by Conran with Flying High Mug by unifiedspace

However, if it’s a classic relaxing green that you crave, you will undoubtedly find it in the Orchard Collection, inspired by British Orchards and the seasonal colours of ‘springtime blossom’ through to ‘sodden moss’. A welcome addition pops up rather surprisingly in this set and that is ‘Pippin in Spring’, a beautiful pale pink – a difficult colour to nail as too strong and you have artificial marshmallow, too weak and it’s a dated boudoir. I’ve actually been searching for a non sugary pale pink for a while and I’m very excited to find this.

Paint by Conran 'Orchard' collection

Paint by Conran ‘Orchard’ collection

I’ve already shown you the ‘Kitchen Garden’ colours (below) and despite Conran putting every effort into marketing the colours as quintessentially British, I think this collection should really be name after Sweden’s iconic Dala Horse!

Paint by Conran 'Kitchen Garden' collection.

Paint by Conran ‘Kitchen Garden’ collection.

I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed how well fresh ‘Bud’ green from the Orchard collection sat with my Falling Apples‘ textile which is available from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'Falling Apples' linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘Falling Apples’ linen from Printed and Co

and the Highland collection of colours with Vaki Rocks printed here on Fife Linen.

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

and Kitchen Garden colours with Vaki Rocks in orange colourway

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks on Linen

I’ve enjoyed teaming up some of my textile designs with paint colours from Conran and I think their intelligent choice of colours making up the range will make it a joy for interior designer to work with.

The paint itself is manufactured in the UK by a factory which has been creating paint for 120 years. They say it’s an ‘extremely durable and hardwearing’ paint and I will certainly be trying it out on my next project.

Paint by Conran and Fennel Tangle in Pink Print from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran and ‘Fennel Tangle’ in Pink Print on Fife Linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'Chalk' print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘Chalk’ print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'New Crayon' print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘New Crayon’ print on Fife linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with 'Lines' print on Fife Linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran with ‘Lines’ print on Fife Linen from Printed and Co

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks print on Fife Linen

Paint by Conran and Vaki Rocks print on Fife Linen

I have only one concern…I’m not keen on the name or indeed the colour Conran calls Rancid Apple‘ from the Kitchen Garden collection – but from someone who included a yellow in the ‘Fauvism 55’ palette for Valtti and named it ‘Elephants Nightmare’, I suppose I’ve not really got grounds to object…

Design Market at The Fruitmarket Gallery Opens Tonight

29–31 May 2015

Launch Friday 29 May, 5–9pm

EDUCATION FLYER (New)

Featuring:  A Pair of Blue Eyes – Jenni Douglas; BertyB; Bon Tot; Catherine Aitken; Couple of Ideas; Cyan Clayworks; Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts; Eileen Gatt; Emma Noble; Fiona Daly; Fiona Luing; Genevieve Ryan; Gráinne Broderick Jewellery; Heather Margaret Grace; Jacqueline Bell Jewellery; Jessica Howarth Jewellery; Julia Smith Ceramics; K//M//J//C Designs; Lara Scobie; The Lindstrom Effect; Lisa Arnott; Lucia Castillo; Lucky Cloud Skincare; Lucy McLeod; Mairi Brown, Mhairi Braden; Michaelson; Mrs Booth; Myer Halliday; Nicole Scott; Niki Fulton – unifiedspace; Peony Gent; PickOne; Quilts By Lisa Watson; Rapa Nui; Rebecca Sarah Black; Sarah Diver Lang; Scarlett Erskine Jewellery; Susan Castillo; Tessuti; Ursula Cheng; Victoria Meacham; Workhorse Press; Zyzanna Illustration & Design.

'Blue Jotter' Fife Linen Tie Available from Design Market, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.

‘Blue Jotter’ Tie designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Design Market, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. Photo Abi Radford.

Please come along tonight to see a great variety of makers from across many disciplines. Also launching tonight is the Edinburgh Craft and Design Map – a handy tool for tracking down excellent design in the capital after DesignMarket comes to a close.

Hope to see you there!

Ties Launching at NYTartan Week

I am happy to report that Edinburgh is most certainly riding a creative wave. Being an 80:20 kind of person (specialising in almost ‘getting there’ but often not being able to see the wood for the trees for the last 20% of a project) I have discovered that collaborations are most definitely the way to go.

'Chalk' print on linen designed by Niki Fulton available from Printed and Co

‘Chalk’ print on linen designed by Niki Fulton available from Printed and Co

I met sisters Solii and Zoe Brodie from BeFabBeCreative fabric print bureau in Edinburgh over a year ago and they have proven to be the catalyst for turning my designs and aspirations into physical products. They print my patterns onto a variety of natural fabrics (locally sourced Fife linen being one of my favourites) in the most astoundingly efficient manner. They also own Printed and Co, a carefully curated collection of textile designs stemming from ten U.K based designers, of which I am delighted to be one. Customers can purchase lengths of any of the designs on any of their fabrics allowing the patterns to be used in dressmaking or interiors. Wonderful flexibility and it is all printed to order so no waste either.

'Pear Drops Tan' on linen designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Printed and Co

‘Pear Drops Tan’ on linen designed by Niki Fulton. Available from Printed and Co

So I have a smooth and enjoyable means to produce textile designs but I also wanted to manufacture products. Enter Nina, a Swede living in Edinburgh with an armful of design related Degrees, a Swedish fashion label behind her and honed seamstress skills.

Botanical DNA and Falling Apples available from Printed and Co

Botanical DNA and Falling Apples available from Printed and Co

She is the Creative Director at Kalopsia Collective, an agency that works with textiles from concept to manufacture. Nina knows what I am describing before I even reach the end of my sentence so our collaboration is working like clockwork and I now have silk scarfs, linen make up bags, mens ties (more on that in a sec) and some silk tops in my range, some of which are available from my Etsy Shop (more being listed very soon).

'Chalk' on silk. Designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

‘Chalk’ on silk. Designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

 

'Lines' on silk designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

‘Lines’ on silk designed by Niki Fulton. Available per metre from Printed and Co

But my biggest focus is currently on a niche market, a micro market I suppose. On a trip to Rome last October, I was searching for a replacement watch strap. I popped into a shop selling leather luggage and asked them if they sold watch straps. The manager literally took a step backwards and looked at me square on and said, ‘No! I sell luggage!’ My stupidity seemed to offend him but when I looked rather sheepish he softened his voice and said, ‘you need to visit Marco‘ and directed me to a tiny slim shop with a wise old man sitting under a vintage task light replacing watch straps. Attached to the wall were literally hundreds of shades and widths of beautiful watch straps and of course I found the perfect strap. Mission accomplished. I doubt if anyone would go to that shop and not find precisely what they were looking for. It was therefore very well known and a ‘go to’ destination – nobody would even think to waste their time shopping around. Job done.

With this new mind set I asked where I could buy a pair of leather gloves for my friends 50th birthday, Sergio di Cori, Piazza di Spagna of course. Again, every conceivable colour and length of leather glove were there displayed on beautiful panelled walls. They sold nothing else. Don’t complicate the process, they sell gloves, brilliantly.

So I finally reach the point in telling you this tale. I want to sell linen ties. Linen I hear you say. Yes linen, not silk. I want to design ties less ‘officey’  than silk which will convey more individuality and hopefully more spirit. Laid back formal. I want a ‘Slow Food Movement’ kind of tie. In other words I want a tie that is designed, made and stitched locally on locally sourced linen. Designs that have slowly been forming over, in my case, many years. And this is what I’ve been working on and by the end of this week, six patterns will be finished and be safely delivered into the hands of Scot Street Style who is kindly launching them in New York City during New York Tartan Week. My ties are not tartan in case you were wondering but Tartan Week celebrates all kinds of Scottish business and I am thrilled to have them represented there.

Linen Ties designed by Niki Fulton

Linen Ties designed by Niki Fulton

Below are other bolts of fabric waiting to be made into ties – cloth is cut on the diagonal for ties so these designs will look quite different when they are made up.

So more on the tie development soon and look out for NYTartan Week pictures on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you go to a specialist ‘go to’ shop for anything? 

 

'Eclipse' print designed by Niki Fulton

‘Eclipse’ print designed by Niki Fulton

Richter Red designed by Niki Fulton

‘Richter Red’ print designed by Niki Fulton (as in Richter magnitude scale)

'Cog' print designed by Niki Fulton.  A new take on pinstripe.

‘Cog’ print designed by Niki Fulton. A new take on pinstripe.

 

Christmas Shopping Event

Please join me and artists Michele Mathieson and Nikki Monaghan  for our 2013 Christmas Shopping Event.

Red Leaf Christmas Event

We will be at Red Leaf Studio, 6 Church Wynd, Bo’ness, West Lothian, this Sunday 1st of December from 12 – 4:30pm.

There will be a selection of affordable paintings, prints, homewares and accessories, not to mention home baking, tea and coffee. If you are in the area, it would be great to see you!

Stags on Red Mountain by Nikki Monaghan

‘Stags on Red Mountain’ by Nikki Monaghan

 

Colour Theory Tested

I’ve been keen to produce some designs while experimenting with colour theory.

Pear Drops and Toffee Apples are both designs where I chose analogous colours, i.e hues adjacent to each other on the colour wheel, red and pink for Toffee Apples and green and blue for Pear Drops. As I like simple flat designs, I outlined some of the shapes in black to act as a fence to contain the colours from spreading. You will see where I haven’t done this, the green and blue on the pears blend together and reinforce their similar hue parentage.

Having been blown over by the movement that Sol Le Witt created in his Wall Drawing 1136 I was determined to design something where some physical energy might appear. So for Funky Apple, I butted up complimentary colours i.e opposites on the colour wheel because these are groups of colours that spar beside each other and reinforce their differences causing a perceived vibration which in turn can give a design some energy and movement. As the colour bands are almost circular, I hope your eye will be taken on a journey around the apple.

Before I get too theoretical, there is always a danger in applying theory directly into designs, and almost always a bad idea getting too theoretical when selecting interior paint colours as there are far too many other factors to consider in a space, my final design is simply because I like vegetation and I was keen to see it on a natural linen back ground.

The cushions are all 40 cm square and printed with pigment inks onto a linen cotton blend and will be appearing in my etsy shop soon.

It’s a fabulous sunny bank holiday weekend here in Edinburgh so I’m off to prepare a picnic, with plenty cushions to sit on…

Unifiedspace at Stockbridge Market This Sunday

I am very excited to tell you that unifiedspace will be at the fabulous Stockbridge Market, Edinburgh this Sunday 9th December 10am – 5pm. I have made lots of Christmas Gift Packs and greetings cards so come along, choose your colour combo and get your Christmas shopping sorted!

Christmas bird card

mug range

detail from linen union tea towel

twigs linen union tea towel