Wednesday
Jul102013

We Covet: Collier Campbell

We discovered the work of designing sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell whilst researching the design of a vintage Liberty scarf we found at a thrift shop. It had an abstract pattern of checks and swirling stripes which seemed unusual for Liberty. A few hours spent chasing rabbits down an internet hole later, we learned that this pattern (see the cushion pictured above), called "Bauhaus," appeared on silks and cottons and is the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert museum in London. And that it was created by was created by the siblings in 1972. (A tapestry entitled “5 Choirs” by Gunta Stolzl, who worked at the Bauhaus in the 1920s and 1930s, inspired it.)

Although the mystery of its maker was solved, we delved deeper into the history of the partnership, intrigued by the working relationship between the two sisters. Born in Manchester, their love of color and line came from their somewhat bohemian parents, who encouraged their daughters' love of painting and also fostered a deep appreciation of nature.

It was Collier who first got into the textile design business. In interviews she said her greatest inspiration was Matisse, and when she realized that she was never going to be a painter, she decided to cheer up drab post war fabrics by becoming a "Matisse for the masses."

After apprenticing for various designers, Collier decided to take her portfolio to the famous Liberty of London. The company immediately purchased six designs and commissioned more. Collier then took her younger sister on as a trainee to help deal with the demand. Campbell went on to art school, and then rejoined her sibling at Liberty in 1968.

The designs represented a big break from most printed textiles at the time, which aimed for precision reproduction. Collier Campbell lines looked more like brushstrokes than prints. They made bespoke fabrics for Yves Saint Laurent's first ready-to-wear collection. They also produced textiles for designers such as Jean Muir and Cacharel and furniture collections for Marks & Spencer. Eventually, they left Liberty and started their own concern, Collier Campbell.

The designs represented a big break from most printed textiles at the time, which aimed for precision reproduction. Collier Campbell lines looked more like brushstrokes than prints. They made bespoke fabrics for Yves Saint Laurent's first ready-to-wear collection. They also produced textiles for designers such as Jean Muir and Cacharel and furniture collections for Marks &Spencer. Eventually, they left Liberty and started their own concern, Collier Campbell.

While most folks may not recognize the name (at the time, Liberty did not credit designers) if you grew up in England (or in Canada with Anglophile parents) in the 1970s, you would immediately remember the patterns. Intense and painterly, they represented a bold break from the ditsy florals of Laura Ashley and Liberty itself. And ironically, while they left Liberty to get some recognition, they never shared which sister was behind which design (though speculation is that Collier was behing the more angular graphics like  Bauhaus while Campbell was responsible for flowing images of birds and flowers such as the iconic Egyptian Bird pattern pictured on the cosmetic purse pictured at the top of the page)).

Collier died in 2011, on the eve of a huge retrospective exhibition of their work and the publication of a book The Collier Campbell Archive. Campbell continues to work as a textile designer. The Collier Campbell London brand offers a selection of scarves, cushions, ceramics and stationery.

[images, colliercampbell.com]

Friday
Jul052013

Covet Garden Indiegogo Thank You Page: Week 6

[photo by Kim Jeffrey from Tomi and Karim's home in Issue Eight]

Our Covet Garden Home Indiegogo crowd funding campaign ends tomorrow at Midnight. Not only did we reach our goal, but we surpassed it, all thanks to the readers who wanted to make a special print edition of Covet Garden a reality! Here a few more names to add to the Covet Garden Contributor Wall of Fame:

Becky Bays, Karen Bell, Carol Bright, Donna Catalfamo, Shelley Crouch, Lucy Daley, Elizabeth Dorbin, Pilar Garcia, Kateri Giasson, Nancy Gilbert, Kirsten Gundlack Levinson, Diane Hall, Jan Halvarson, Daniel Harrison, Gillian Hillerud, Rendell Hourigan, Michael Humphries, Areti Kiriakis, KOKITO, Lindsay Lauckner, Nancy Lovering, Kari Measham, Jessica McEwen, Erin McGann, Tracy Miller, Terri Moreland, Mitra Mortazavi, Sue Muir, Cassandra Nicolaou, Jenn Playford, Chantal Richard, Keri Rinne, Mia Ena Risojevic, Sarah Samms, Mika Sato, Cheryl Scinocca, Louise Simonsen, Steph Spiers, Suzan Stoddard, Crysta Schwager, Dawn Yager, Manuela Yarhi, Nicole Young.

And, as always, not-so-secret salutations to the anonymous contributors!

There is still time to contribute to the campaign and take advantage of great perks such as having your own issue of Covet Garden Home delivered directly to your door, a Katy Dockrill-designed tote bag, an Alanna Cavanagh print and tea with the Covet Garden team. You can also help raise awareness of Covet Garden Home by using the social media links on our campaign page.

Wednesday
Jul032013

Issue 36 is Now Live!

[photo: Jodi Pudge]

The July/August issue of Covet Garden is a treat! This month we feature the space of interior designer Jenn and her daughters Willa and Beatrix. We've always said that Covet Garden doesn't feature spaces that have been styled by designers, but we couldn't resist the opportunity to pull back the curtain and see how a professional actually lives, works and experiments in their own environment.

And we couldn't have had a better guide than Jenn: Her flexible philosophy to space, budget and design inspired us to mix it up in our own rooms and her personal aesthetic also informed our Style and Inspiration pages. Plus, Jenn and the girls' playful approach to life (picnics on the roof!) was the jumping off point for this month's al fresco entertaining projects.

One more note: We're taking August off to work on the special print edition of Covet Garden, Covet Garden Home. If you want to pre-order a copy of our half-magazine, half-book, all treasured object, visit our Indiegogo campaign page by July 6th!

Tuesday
Jul022013

Sneak Peek 2: Refreshing Lemon Curd Cups

[photo: Ashley Capp]

To get you even more excited about the July/August issue of Covet Garden (which goes live tomorrow), here's a preview of one of our picnic party projects. This tempting recipe is by LeeAnne Wright.

Lemon Curd Cups

6 egg yolks, yolk and whites separated
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, zested and juiced
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pats and chilled

  1.  Add about 1-inch water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium-size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Add citrus juice to measuring cup and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup.
  4. Add juice and cornstarch to egg mixture and whisk smooth.
  5. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
  6. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Whisk in lemon zest and transfer mixture to clean serving containers. Serve immediately or cover each by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Before serving, you can also top with a meringue (see below). Makes about 2 cups lemon curd, serves 8.

Meringue

1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp icing sugar, sifted

  1. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy, then increase the speed to high and gradually pour in the sugar and icing sugar and continue whipping just until the whites hold a medium peak when the beaters are lifted.
  2. Top lemon curd with meringue. To brown meringue, place in a pre-heated to 350°F oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not leave unattended.

Makes 8.

Monday
Jul012013

Sneak Peek: DIY Project

[photo: Ashley Capp]

For our July/August issue (which goes live on Wednesday), we made some award ribbons for a family picnic party. They were so cute and easy-to-make that we were inspired to create these fancier flower badges. Here's how you can make your own prize-winning pins.
 

MATERIALS

felt (we chose 3  different colours)
buttons
glue
pin back
scissors
needle
thread
marker

[project step photos: Lynda Felton]

1. Using the  marker, draw a 5 petal flower on each colour of felt—one at roughly 6" wide, the second at 4.5" wide and the last at 3" wide. Cut out the flower shapes.

2. Place each layer on top of one another to form flower.

3. Pinch the back of the layers together and stitch into place. This will give the flower a loose, puckered look.

4. Sew a button on the front centre of the flower.

5. For the ribbon tails (optional), draw 2 rectangles on 2 diiferent colours of felt (roughly 6 and 5" long). Cut out the shapes and glue the smaller tail on the to larger tail.

6. Sew tails into place at back of flower.

7. Sew pin back into place at back of flower.