Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Timorous Beasties Shop Visit

Last week a few of us from surface design and illustration went to London for a couple of days to meet some designers, and visit some galleries and museums. On the first day we were there we had a trip arranged to see the Timorous Beasties shop near Angel tube station. There we met Kate, who is the shop manager, she runs the shop where people can view and purchase the wallpapers and fabrics. I was really looking forward to this appointment, as I have become really interested in Timorous Beasties over the past few years, since I was first introduced to then in the first year of the degree. And I have found myself writing about them for numerous occasions, for both essays and blog posts, so I felt I had some knowledge of their style, influences and techniques.

Kate told us a brief history of Timorous Beasties and how all three of them had first met when studying at university together, and how they had worked together for a long time.
She also told us about how they don't follow trends, they aren't interested about what is going on in the mainstream textiles industry. I thought that this was really interesting and very brave of them, as most companies follow trends and fashion in interiors because this is most likely to make them more popular and more money. Whereas Timorous Beasties don't follow these trends, they are individual and do whatever they feel passionate about or are inspired by at that particular time.

Kate also told us about some of their new designs including the New York Toile, which I had never seen before and didn't know they that had created a new toile to add to their collection of previous toiles (Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London). Much like their other toiles it depicted images and famous scenery from New York, including people crossing busy roads, the statue of liberty, people sitting in central park, and the famous yellow taxi's. She told us that each of the scenes had been drawn by either Alistair or Paul on various trips to New York. These images and drawings were then turned into small scenes to make up the wallpaper design.

Kate also talked about the process and techniques that Timorous Beasties use to create their beautiful wallpapers and fabrics. She told us how they are still passionate about screen printing, and also keeping the tradition of having everything made and printed in the UK, which I think is really unique and a special tradition to keep alive, as the UK was at the forefront of printing and textiles in the past.
Aswell as the traditional screen printing they also use digital printing as they can introduce much more colour, fine detail and intricacy into their designs, as this couldn't be achieved with screen printing.

Aswell as new deigns such as the New York Toile, they have also been creating beautiful and intricate nets, creating a fresh and interesting take on something that is possibly seen as outdated or old fashioned. The nets are also being produced and made in one of the last lace and net companies in the UK, again they have thought about producing the items in the British tradition.

In the shop there was also a large selection of cushions, mugs, and plates that had a selection of their most famous prints on, such as the bee, a scene from a toile or a butterfly. I really liked the section of ceramics that they had produced and has really inspired me into looking at putting some of my designs onto ceramics for the final show at the end of the year.

I think that one of my favourite collections in the shop was the Ruskin collection, it included lots of different beautiful and interesting exotic birds. 

Overall I really enjoyed meeting Kate and listening and learning from her, and getting an idea of the industry and what it is like to be a designer. I have also learnt that you don't always have to be 'safe' with you designs it's good to step outside the box and don't be afraid to be different and take chances and risks. And to find something that truly inspires you rather than doing it because you feel you have too, because if you produce something that you are interested and passionate about then that passion and interests will translate into your work and designs. I feel that from this visit I have gone away with alot of motivation, and have gone away with a lot of tips and more knowledge on the industry.

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