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Enough With The Pineapples Already!

By Marica

I generally love sharing current décor and design trends with you guys & gals. I usually get super dooper excited when I spot a new buzzing trend online. AND, under normal circumstance, the title of this post would have read “Trend Alert: Pineapples“.

However the problem is… I can’t stand this trend. I blerrie (like the Afrikaans would say) hate those pineapples. Why, just tell me why? What’s with the pineapples? I just can’t right now…

Luckily I’m not alone in this, Rose also has lukewarm feelings regarding the whole pineapple business.

We often spot micro trends that we don’t immediately like but gradually warm to. This, dear readers, is NOT one of those trends. Furthermore, the fact that I’ve see it on every design blog and all over my Pinterest feed has only intensified my dislike.

I guess it is supposed to be playful and quirky and filled with summer fun. I generally like offbeat things but I honestly don’t see the pineapple appeal!

However, we won’t judge you if you do like the pineapple trend. The beauty of design and taste is that it is subjective.

So tell us, have you spotted the pineapple trend too? If so, yay or nay? Love or hate? let us know what you think!

P.S. The strangest thing happened while I was grudgingly sourcing the images for this post – I glanced at the pic of the pineapple wall clock and thought…”actually that’s not half bad, rather cute!” Ugh, save me now.

Graphic Wallpaper – Bold and Individual!

Although any interior designer or decorator worth his or her salt knows the added value of wallpaper, the last two decades the public perception of wallpaper took a bit of a dive. However, in the past five years (thanks to current trends finally reaching Joe Public) wallpaper is back and back in a big way.

You see it everywhere; you know the wallpaper I’m talking about – bold, stylized, graphic and individual. The current wallpaper trends are all about the “wow” factor – no blending in, we want it to make a statement! The trend also incorporates beautiful whimsical and nostalgic designs, and we see many types of wallpaper with either a very definite illustrative, sketchy quality or otherwise realistic, photographic features.

Digital printing has enabled wallpaper designers to go in newer and bolder directions. Furthermore, with the introduction of custom wallpaper – the sky is the limit. You can have anything printed onto wallpaper … talk about the ultimate individual touch!

The truth is, wallpaper conveys an opulence, luxury, and interest that paint just can’t – it creates that added dimension or layer.

Wallpaper also has that unique ability to be “translated” into any design style or statement – gentle organic lines can have a calm, grounded effect, while bold geometrics add vibrancy and oomph to a drab space.

We often find that our friends and clients are all for the idea of wallpaper but are hesitant to commit to plastering a whole room with it. That is what makes the current graphic wallpaper trend all the more special – you only need to apply it to one focal wall and that’s statement enough! A guest loo is also a perfect spot for a bit of wallpaper, it guarantees “wow!”

South Africa has so many awesome trendy wallpaper designers and suppliers – here is some of our favourites…

All these lovely wallpapers can be order through us!

Just drop is a message!

{click on images to be directed to relevant websites}

Graphic designer Sean Crozier of Design Meets Life designed these adorable children’s wallpapers. Sean’s quirky illustrations are absolutely magical!

The talented ladies from Mitat designed this striking wallpaper for Robin Sprong. Simply gorgeous – I can just imagine it in a woman’s clothing boutique or a opulent boudoir.

Another gorgeous wallpaper available from Robin Sprong – this one designed by Michael of Chandler House. Antiques cutlery – doesn’t it just speak of Michael?!

Love this soft sketchy geo designed by Renee Rossouw – also for Robin Sprong.

Wallpaper by Cara Saven Photography │The Design Tabloid

Just two of our friend, Cara Saven’s new wallpaper designs. Don’t you just adore the Vintage postcards and quirky sceptical designs!

And some beautiful sketchy bicycle and heart designs from our sweethearts at Design Kist.

A bold black and white statement – Rickety House by Unwrapped.

Lovely peachy coloured duotone hearts by Handmade by Me. The design is called “Sweethearts” – cute!

Gorgeous leafy wallpaper from Scion!

Some vintage swimwear by Dupenny.

A bit of typography from Wall & Deco.

And of course we had to include some Design Team into the mix as they are the forerunners of this amazing trend!

Leila Fanner’s issiMya – Whimsy African

Marica and I have a fascination with ‘discovering’ new South African talent. They may not be new on the design scene, but new to us. After all, the philosophy of our blog is to uphold and honour our local talented creatives.  The reason for that philosophy by the way, came out of the time that I spent working on the Irish hotel interior design projects. We had to export most of the interior furnishings and finishes from SA.

As a decorator, when I spend a great deal of time sourcing products and fabrics, I come to appreciate just how well our South African creatives compare with those abroad. We bring a unique flavour to the world of design. This is what Marica and I desire to showcase. The burning desire is to continue ‘exporting’ the talents and wares of South African designers to the world at large – the blog being one of the mediums we  use.

I cannot recall just exactly how it was that I recently ‘discovered’ the work of Lelia Fanner – somewhere and somehow on the internet. But I was so thrilled with my discovery, that I hurriedly contacted her to chat to her and today we are proud to introduce you to the ‘Talented Lelia Fanner.’ Her surface designs are striking, inspired by local fauna and flora, trendy, colourful and so much more. But I will leave Lelia to tell you more about herself in the interview below… ENJOY!

As always… yours in service of design… Rose.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from, what makes you tick, how did you get started?

I illustrate, design, paint, print, photograph, create surface patterns, and write as much as is humanly possible.

I dance a lot in my lounge, eat mostly raw food and masses of chocolate and believe love is stronger than hate. I’ve was born an artist and crafter – driving my mother batty as a youngster cutting up my clothes to re-make them in my own way. I sold my first artworks at the age of 10 from my mum’s art studio/gallery. Nowadays, I create designs for business, make my own gorgeous products, paint photograph nature and write about finding your own creative currency.

Q: Do you have formal training or are you self-taught?

I could say self -taught – but that isn’t ever strictly true. My mother, my unknown father, my grandparents and many more wonderful human beings who have influenced my life and were all creative entrepreneurs, have directly and indirectly taught me what I know now.

Q: Tell me more about issiMya (interesting name by the way) and your range of services/products?

Thank you. I’m not sure what it means – it popped into my head while rumbling along a farm road. It’s the name of my Cape Fynbos inspired range of textile designs. As an illustrator and graphic artist – I also design logos and illustrative themes for businesses. Last year I signed up with UK agents Advocate Art, to make a selection of my designs and art available for licensing worldwide.

Q: I notice you use quite a wide variety of mediums in your art pieces – what’s your favourite?

Drawing. Everything starts with a pencil line.

Q: What inspires you and where do you draw your inspiration from?

 Nature and my belief in worlds we cannot see with our physical eyes.

Q: Do you have a particular style and if so could you describe it?

Ridiculous amounts of detail right up against simplicity and extremes in colour, line and form.

Q: I see you have a fabric range in the pipe line – tell us more about it…

Well, there is the protea and fynbos inspired issiMya range – I spent a year on our farm on the west coast creating the initial ink and aquarelle illustrations that I then digitized and turned into patterns. I am totally in love with this range.

Then there’s the newer Natural History photographic collection; west coast and Karoo veld treasures with a sprinkling of man-made finds, naturally weathered into fascinating sculptural objects. They started out as box framed collections available at Cecile & Boyd’s Trade Showroom and The Haas Collective in the Bo-Kaap. The photos I took of each treasure collection inspired a range of fabric designs as well.

I am presently looking for the right fabric house or savvy business person to collaborate with in producing the range. If I don’t find that person/business I am going to launch it myself.

Q: When is it launching?

This year. TBC

Q: Are you considering developing any specific product from the fabric? (Ex. scatter cushions)

I’ve already started with some samples: Gorgeous cushions, gift wrap, gift cards, wallpaper, vinyl wall art and fabric by the meter.

Q: You’ve got some product on Etsy – a relatively unfamiliar avenue for most South Africans. How’s Etsy working for you?

I started my Etsy shop as an experiment in getting myself used to the whole online selling world. I made some sales, then started my website and got thoroughly side-tracked into making that into a gallery /shop / blog. I think in order to make Etsy shops work as a business one has to be dedicated to spending enormous amounts of time online and marketing it everywhere. I’ve only just started with that, so we’ll see.

Q: Tell us five things on your Bucket List…

Buy a farm with mountains and a river running through it, skydive, be in a flashmob dance, find lasting inner peace, and travel into outer space.

Q: Future plans?

All of the above ; )

…and an up-coming photographic exhibition called ‘A Fragile Nature’ – photo’s taken on a road trip to the Karoo.

Check out Leila’s website: here, or drop by her Etsy shop if you want to purchase any of her beautiful stationary and prints!

Be sure to catch our next post as Leila designed something special just for our The Design Tabloid readers!

James Russell on the History of Toile de Jouy

By James Russell

“Saucy!” thought I, as I looked closer at the etched picture that had caught my eye whilst paging through a sample book of Toile de Jouy fabrics. At first glance it was a blue on white monochromatic Pastoral scene of “country folk” frolicking amongst ‘vignettes’ of farm buildings, sheep herding, farming, hunting and the like, but on closer inspection I noticed that one of the young farmers had his hand down the cleavage and was cupping the breast of a maiden, whilst another young lad had his arm up the voluminous skirts of a shepherdess.

Some farming imagery on this lovely ochre and indigo toile fabric.

Modern marketers will tell you that “sex sells” and I’m sure this was as true in the 1700 & 1800’s as it is today. It is also said “that the Devil is in the detail” and I suppose it is ‘the detail’ that first intrigued me about Toile de Jouy. Looking closer at some of the pictorial designs I became interested in the stories behind them. I’m by no means a history buff, but I do have a curious mind that questions.

Les Traveaux de la Manufacture which depicts the actual process of making toile fabrics.

As Europe started trading with India, cotton became a popular fibre for making cloth, so much so that the domestic wool and silk industries in both France & England started to suffer. In 1686 France placed a ban on both domestic & imported cotton fabrics, a ban that was only lifted after 70 years in 1856. After all this time, cotton must have seemed like a brand new commodity to the people of the day! Incidentally, the British also placed a ban on imported chintz (a basic cotton cloth) from 1701, and in 1720 to 1774 on all cotton fabrics, mainly due to cheaper Indian imports (so what’s new?)

On the left: Robinson Crusoe Toile and the right: Le Ballon de Gonesse

Like any entrepreneur, a young German engraver & colourist called Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf and his younger brother, saw the gap and “went for it” setting up a printing press in Jouy-en-Josas, a small village on the banks of the river Bievre, 16.4km south west of Paris. The initial designs, usually of flowers and fruits, were copied from books of engraved prints carved into small wood printing blocks. (One supposes that the laws on copyright were not as strict as they are today.) The clean waters of the (soon to be polluted) river were essential for the mordant printing methods used by the brothers. When they started the factory, the only piece of “furniture” they possessed was the printing press which they used to sleep on at night.

One of Harlequin Fabrics' bold toile ranges.

The initial printing methods used a mordant, a substance used to set dyes on fabrics. Once printed with the mordant, the fabric was then dyed using various vegetable dyes. The fabric was then soaked in an acid such as stale cow’s urine or vinegar that acted as a fixative locking the dye to the printed mordant area of the cloth. It was then washed in the river to remove the loose dye, and dried on pontoons on the river to let the sunlight work as a bleaching agent on the non-dye fixed areas. This process was repeated a number of times until the background colour returned to white or cream and the print stood out.

Contemporary toile wallpapers. The scenes speak of the traditional, the colourways shouts "contemporary".

There is a story, possibly an “urban legend” that Oberkampf sent his brother to Manchester to study (and steal) ideas from the Manchester mills. He is said to have written out his findings on pieces of cloth using a mordant solution which was invisible to the naked eye, but when dyed and treated using their printing method, revealed all. Having established that copyright was not sacrosanct, I’m not above believing in a little industrial espionage was amiss.

A contemporary toile in striking colours.

Using only the best quality cotton fabrics and with his Germanic adherence to detail, demand for the printed cloth (toile) from Jouy (de Jouy) grew rapidly and by 1774, only 14 year later, the company was employing 900 workmen. Over 30,000 wood blocks were utilized in the printing of the fabrics until in 1770 Oberkampf introduced the etched copperplate roller technique of printing fabrics. From then until the factory closed in 1843 some 700 copperplate designs were used. For nearly 80 years the designs from Jouy recorded in pictorial form a kind of journalism that depicted everything from historical happenings, travel (popularizing Indienne, Japonaise and Chinoiserie designs that proposed to picture people & everyday life in those far away lands), fashion trends that reflected the fascination with Egypt, inventions such as the flying balloon, politics, the Court & Royalty, architecture, the classics, modern literature and the arts.

Toile de Jouy Inspired Sneakers

By 1810 Oberkampf had made “toile” a household word/name not only in France, but throughout Europe and America as well. In today’s marketing terms this could possibly be seen as one of, if not the first time, that a “brand name” became synonymous with the product, much like we might say Hoover, Durex or Kleenex today. Many of the designs such as “Les Monuments d’Egypte”, “Les Traveaux de la Manufacture” (which depicts the manufacture and printing process of toile de Jouy), “Le Ballon de Gonesse” (depicting the first balloon flight from Paris to Gonesse) and the Robinson Crusoe Toile are considered classic toile de Jouy designs and were bought over by other French fabric companies when the company closed. Many of these classic designs are still in production today.

On the left a contemporary toile with an urban street scene as subject matter. Right, you have this funky scatter cushion from designlemonade.com - a traditional toile with a contemporary print.

Although there were a number of other companies producing printed cotton fabrics in France, England and later America, none were as popular as Oberkampf’s company. The Napoleonic Wars and the self sufficiency of the American fabric industry contributed to its demise, yet still today companies producing “toile de Jouy” style fabrics continue the tradition of naming each “toile” such as “Glasgow Toile” by Timorous Beasties or the modern version of the “Ballon de Gonesse”. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the balloon flight, the children of Gonesse high school painted a mural of the famous toile as a mural on their school wall. Patrick Frey, then head of Pierre Frey fabrics was so taken with the mural that he bought the rights to the wall and had it converted into a toile.

Here is an awesome local toile design by talented Capetownian, Wendren Setzer (aka The WREN Design). The design is called Darling Toile du Jouy! Love it!

Originally designed as dress fabrics and later used for interior décor, toiles have become perennial, and are now used on anything from wallpapers, ceramics and gum boots to beanbags, directors chairs, lampshades and ‘takkies’. So next time you see a toile being used and are tempted to dismiss it, to take it for granted, to overlook the detail by consigning it to the category of “pretty picture fabric”, look a little closer for the Devil is in the detail along with sex, drugs and rock & roll too!

  

  

Image sources:

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