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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Top Drawer, London SS17 ‘Spotted’ Section Stand SP55

If you are in London next week it would be fantastic to see you РI will be exhibiting at Top Drawer , Olympia from Sunday 15th РTuesday 17th January in the Spotted section, stand SP55 Рplease drop by if you can! It is a trade only show and you can register here.

Top Drawer, London SS17

Highlights include BBC2’s Great Pottery Throw Down judge,¬†Keith Brymer Jones who will be throwing pots to a live audience and keynote speakers¬†include¬†Leanne Manfredi from the V&A, Lucy Lines from John Lewis, Bethan Williams-James from Liberty, Sally Bendelow from notonthehighstreet.com¬†and Rebecca Hossain from the Design Museum.

There is also an eco product trail, a GB product trail (which includes my stand, named Niki Fulton), trend tracking fashion shows and loads more too – so wear your trainers, you could notch up several miles!

Like many other exhibitors, I will be launching several new pieces, including the Eclipse print now available in blue plus a brand new collection of bow-ties , both linen and silk pocket squares plus scarves, both silk and wool.

Blue Eclipse Linen Tie by Niki Fulton

Blue Eclipse Linen Tie

Fennel Tangle Linen Bow-tie by Niki Fulton

Fennel Tangle Linen Bow- Tie

Pink Fennel Silk Pocket Square by Niki Fulton

Pink Fennel Silk Pocket Square

Eclipse Linen Pocket Square

Eclipse Linen Pocket Square

…and if you are thinking it’s odd to have graphic prints (Eclipse) and¬†floral prints (Fennel Tangle) in one collection , I have to confess that there are also stripes, abstract and painterly prints (and many colours) …some days I feel very bold and graphic and others lighter and painterly, don’t ask me why, it’s just the way I work so the ‘collection’ is pretty varied but then who wants to wear the same kind of look day in day out ūüėČ

Fennel, a Blouse and a Bag

Have you ever been obsessed with a plant?

I am intrigued with how a plant can become so profoundly influential and evocative. Early memories of brushing past great fronds of wild fennel on the white sand dunes of Northern Brittany have well and truly got into my system.

fennel, Brittany

A few years ago I tried to turn a small corner of Scotland (my garden) into a taste of Brittany by planting fennel and artichoke seeds.  I can now report that both plants thrive in conditions here in Edinburgh and this summer I returned from holiday to find a fennel jungle staring back at me. At this point I was reading a novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers , and I was not surprised to discover the Victorians associated fennel with strength and vigour Рhighly appropriate as my supremely healthy fennel plants had colonised every little crevice they could find, including cracks in the tarmac drive! 

Of course I did the many obvious things with the crop, like eating the bulb, the fronds and the seeds (fresh and dried) and I had huge vases of the decorative stalks in the house which dropped hundreds of beautiful tiny balls of pollen which I gathered to use in a colour study (still thinking of¬†Wolfgang Laib exhibition¬†I saw a few years ago in Washington D.C. ) When I mentioned the pollen to a chef friend from¬†Timberyard¬†he told me the pollen is a great ingredient to add to bread to give it a honeyed aniseed flavour, a good texture and lovely colour. This was news to me but I have since spotted the pollen, often called, The Spice of Angels, ¬†for sale on various specialist spice¬†sites¬†and I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with it in my own kitchen. If you are after more ideas, pump in ‘fennel’ to Kellie’s ¬†Food To Glow¬†blog and you will learn about the anti cancer flavonoids present in fennel and find a multitude of great recipes too.

But now for the other influence the plant has had on me – some new work.

Fennel Tangle, silk

This is my most recent design called Fennel Tangle. I had it¬†printed onto 100% Habotai silk by¬†Solli and Zoe¬†at their brilliant Edinburgh print bureau. Although it’s normally homewares that I am involved in, I decided this print had to be worn. Over at¬†Make Me a Frock, you will find Claire, an incredibly talented seamstress (and also a real perfectionist and poet) who has razor sharp observational skills and I knew she would interpret the fabric into a beautiful garment…and by golly she has. Below are images of the blouse she created for me. I am blown away by the design and microscopic stitches on the extremely fine silk. The blouse has that rare power that very occasionally clothes can give – it’s my new ‘cloak’ of strength and vigour, thank you Claire.

front of blouse

back of blouse

I’ve also added several cotton canvas bags to my¬†shop, one of the designs, surprise surprise features a fennel head.

fennel bag

DSC_0006

What is your favourite plant? Do you have early memories of a particular plant? Have any plants played a role in your work? 

New Textile Range, ‘Pear Drops’ and ‘Falling Apples’

Isn’t it funny how you can be carrying out a fairly mind numbing chore around the house when, ‚ú≥ping‚ú≥, you see something at a certain angle and it sets off the beginnings of a new design?

Well, it was a little group of asymmetric pears that caught my eye this time – I hope you like the end product, soon to be made into scarfs, cushions or any other suggestions you may have!

Pear group

Pear Drops on Silk

‘Pear Drops’ printed on 100% Silk

Big Pear Drop on Poplin

“Big Pear Drops’ on 100% Cotton Poplin

'Falling Apples' printed on 100% Silk

‘Falling Apples’ printed on 100% Silk

I would love to hear what you are working on or what has recently inspired you.

I was thinking of making the silk into scarfs but if you have any other ideas, suggestions welcome!

Have a great weekend.