Vanessa Arbuthnott launches Artisan, a collection of contemporary geometrics inspired by the ancient Japanese art of Shibori.
With an established reputation for her modern country designs, Vanessa Arbuthnott has drawn inspiration from a quite different direction for her latest collection, Artisan. The dictionary defines an ‘artisan’ as someone who does skilled work with their hands, and this simple, stylish collection of printed fabrics and wallcoverings has been inspired by the 8th Century Japanese art of Shibori: her original designs were created by folding, shaping and compressing fabrics by hand, then immersing them in a traditional vat of indigo dye.
Vanessa found this a particularly liberating experience: “I usually hand draw my designs so I really enjoyed this different approach, especially as it was my daughter Flora who taught me the wonderful technique. This ancient craft produces stunningly beautiful results, often with unexpected symmetries. You can never totally control the process so the effect is always unique and the designs are only revealed when the fabric is unwrapped. This is the true joy of Shibori.”
Artisan’s striking motifs include daringly bold colourways and multi-directional, allover prints, another new departure for Vanessa. The collection comprises four 100% linen printed fabrics over 26 colourways, plus three re-coloured versions of an old favourite, Simple Ticking Stripe. The collection is suitable for curtains, blinds, cushions and upholstery, and has a fresh, urban edge whilst still retaining Vanessa’s distinctive style.
Japonica: a large flower head with soft, delicate petals in Vanessa’s new Indigo shade, plus Kale and Saffron colourways.
Origami: the name reflects the way this geometric pattern was originally created, by folding the fabric and then dip-dyeing.
Shibori: a smaller geometric floral print in 11 colourways, from soft Pigeon to striking new Tangerine. On closer inspection it is possible to see a flowerhead and at other times a seed head motif, created by a play between positive and negative images.
Momo: named after one of Vanessa’s favourite Japanese words, meaning ‘Peach’, this is a really useful smaller starlike print in five colourways.
Simple Ticking Stripe: this motif from an earlier collection was initially created by hand-printing, and Vanessa felt it coordinated so perfectly with the Japanese-inspired prints that she added three new colours: Sweet Pea, Kale and Forget-me-not.
Having seen the printed fabrics as meterage, Vanessa decided to be brave and, for the first time, introduce complementary wallcoverings too. “As the patterns were quite striking I could see how well they would work on walls as well as fabrics, so I decided to add new non-woven wallcoverings too: three new designs in some of my most popular colourways, two of which, Shibori & Origami, mirror the fabrics. The third, Spotty Stripe, is almost plain, a dotted stripe printed on a slightly textured non-woven ground, which I introduced to meet my customers’ requests for paint!”
The Artisan collection will be available from early September at Vanessa’s flagship store in Cirencester, online via www.vanessaarbuthnott.co.uk, and through a network of stockists nationally and internationally.