Hawthorne & Heaney we are excited to reveal our new venture in producing Bespoke Bridal Fabrics. For the past 5 years, our company has produced the most beautiful embroidery! We have had a lot of experience working in the Bridal industry and through this, have gained an understanding of what is needed to bring a designers idea to life.
We have really established our love and passion for couture. If you are a bridal/couture company, or just someone looking for bespoke bridal embroidery then give us a call on 020 7637 5736 to book an appointment to view our couture samples at our studio in central London.
We would also be happy to come to your studio to show you some of our work!
Please email email@example.com or call 020 7637 5736 to make your enquiry.
Just as you enter the V&A from the Grand Entrance on Cromwell Road, to your left you will come to this wonderful exhibit about the life of John Lockwood Kipling, Father of the famous poet, Rudyard Kipling. It’s not all that often that you get the opportunity to see this kind of Indian heritage, but on display at this exhibition, your senses are spoilt. Historical pictures of India through the Victorian ages, fused together with Lockwood Kipling’s own illustrations, structural designs and photography of his students in Mumbai.
Exhibition entrance, courtesy of V&A
This exhibition is great for those with keen interests print, architectural design, upholstery, embroidery, textiles (etc) and are in need of inspiration from this rich culture and its prominent history, or those that just want to expand on their knowledge of art history. The exhibit is atmospheric and full of vibrant information, you can easily lose yourself in here for a few hours, it is a fascinating period of history.
Lockwood Kipling was always an active social campaigner for the preservation of Indian arts and crafts, he even brought much of that skill he learnt in India back to England where he worked as an architectural sculptor for the V&A. The terracotta panels created by Lockwood can still be seen on the exterior of the grand V&A building. The perfect place to hold an exhibition about his colourful life.
Exhibition poster in the museum tunnel and exhibition leaflet from H&H visit to V&A
His passion for the preservation of Indian culture and skill is apparent throughout the entire exhibit, and it is wonderful to see techniques that have been used in traditional Indian culture for centuries. By including the work of his students at the Mayo College, Ajmer, the exhibit shows how his passion and knowledge has been transferred onto his students.
Kipling moved to India in 1865 when the country was under British rule, and at the time the economy was quite unstable. He recognised this uncertainty in his students and encouraged them to channel these feelings into their creativity.
In 1851 he trained as a designer and modeller, which gave him the knowledge which he took to India and applied this to the traditional crafts which he learnt and was able to design beautiful Mosques, some which still stand today.
Painting: Entrance to the Mosque of Wazir Khan, by Mohammed Din, 1880, by Mohammed Din. Displayed at the exhibition
The intricate detailing on the architectural work is magnificent to see and his illustration style is timeless! He has captured a moment via drawing as if it were a photograph. A series of images seen at the exhibition depicts local craftsmen doing their everyday using the said skills making creations which later on Lockwood would go on to do himself.
Illustration: A wood carver from the North West Provinces of British India, by Lockwood Kipling, 1870.
Displayed as a series of natural drawings of craft workers.
If you are interested in how artistic crafts and merit is applied throughout different cultures, or just intrigued to see how ancient skills that are ingrained in the wonderful Indian culture have progressed and evolved over the past 200 years, then this exhibition is a must see.
In addition to our own classes and exhibiting work at Anderson and Sheppard, we also were demonstrating goldwork at Smythson’s LCW event. They had a series of craftspeople set up in store to show some of the process that their items go through.
At the front of the store, Meg was positioned, drafting and embroidering the Smythson’s ‘S’ into a bespoke badge. This piece will have been drafted, raised, appliqued and embroidered with cutwork bullion.
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On another counter, one of their book binders was stationed, explianing the properties of the binding process that thie products go through, the importance of using 2 types of glue for each piece and why they have maintained their hand processes over using machines. Finally they had another lady applying the tissue linings into their envelopes which also all done by hand.
They also had a lady doing freehand calligraphy, where you could write down your name for her and she would draw it out on a card for you to take home.
London Craft Week opens London’s studios and shops giving you an insight into the amazing industries around the city. By inviting you to see what amazing crafts happen, often behind the scenes with demonstrations and viewings and showing you skills and techniques traditional and recent. Hawthorne & Heaney have been very busy soaking up all that London has to offer this week, so far we have visited:
Nest design at Blacks Club- Soho.
This is an extraordinary interior company, with delightful staff explaining the fabric origins, methods of designing and previous client projects. Nest have an amazing collection of fabrics from all over the world; linens, velvet, silks, lace as well as dyed materials such as shibori and Tussar silk.
If you love fabrics and a variety of them it’s definitely worth heading over to Nest at Blacks to talk about the collection of beautiful samples as well as the great projects they have made.
Example of a client project in Spring Restaurant, Somerset House (photo taken from Nest design.co.uk) Beautiful lines of stitch, layering and vintage lace are highlighted as well as different opacities of linens.
Christian Louboutin -Mayfair
The Christian Louboutin shop was demonstrating leather tassel making which is part of their personalisation service of the shoe. The construction of these leather tassels was amazing to watch, the demonstrator did not speak English however the skill he had constructing the leather strips into delicate but fun tassels was a great process to watch and learn. It inspires you to have a go at making such decoration as he made it look so easy. (definitely isn’t easy!)
Example of the hand made leather tassels on a boat style shoe.
As you approached Fretta the window display was a wall of work of art with a painter part way through painting a full size design of flowers and leafs
The experience in Fretta was a treat with very helpful staff showing you around the shop, explaining fabrics, as well as browsing the beautiful luxury fabrics.
I spoke to Lucia Surace (CRM & Marketing Manager) who was able to show me through the personalisation of the collection and previous examples of embroidered items. The quality of fabrics they have there are so lovely, these including, bed linens made from egyptian cotton, throws and blankets made from cashmere, wool and silk, as well as table linens and towels.
Clients for the embroidery personalisation are often for mass for example for cruise ship towels.
Above right: example of embroidered towels, part of their personalisation service.
Above left: table linens with the popular lace hole boarder.
Above: photo of Fetta’s embroidered table linen.
I found Fretta well worth a visit to see the style and quality that they produce and to learn from the staff there.
The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles – At Temple Gallery
Above image: Example of traditional Thai embroidery on garments in at Temple Gallery
The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles was founded by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit within the Grand Palace grounds in Bangkok and officially opened in 2012. This will be the museum’s first London visit, celebrating the Khon, Thailand’s oldest narrative dance forms. This exhibit is placed in the most beautiful building, Temple Gallery, located just a short walk from Temple Station. On display at the exhibit is a wonderful array of various examples of the skill which has been used to make such magnificent garments, passed down through generations, to even make garments suitable to be worn by people now.
Images above: Examples of the traditional Thai garments on display, as well as a close up of the lavish accessories
In this exhibit, we see cultures come together. There were embroidery techniques that have been apparent in our own culture for centuries, examples of this we see in our heritage museums. What a treat it was to see them on traditional Thai garments in such a wonderful building, and just like us, the skill of all of this has been lovingly passed on through generations, person to person.
Images above: examples of Goldwork on a traditional Thai collar
The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles was founded on Her Majesty’s efforts to ensure the preservation of Thailand’s textile arts for future generations. In 1976 the museum was established with the objective to help people in rural areas to gain supplementary income and in doing this, Her Majesty realised just how wonderful and truly unique the hand woven silk by villagers is.
Making A Mackintosh – At Mackintosh
Above Image: Equipment used by Mackintosh
Glasgow has always been known for its work ethic and producing hand made goods and of course its tireless war efforts. Hard working Glaswegians have been producing Mackintosh coats since 1824!
Above Image: Demonstration of the rubber glue being applied to pattern pieces
On entering, I was warmly welcomed by the lovely Factory and Production Managers of the Mackintosh factory in Glasgow, Scott Sheridan and John McGuire who have worked for the Mackintosh factory for 40 years. They gave me a fantastic demonstration on how the pattern pieces are glued, attached and arranged to ensure that they are functional and waterproof.
Above Images: Glue being applied to the button-fly of the coat, then the piece is folded over and a heavy rolling tool is applied to ensure the two pieces have stuck with no air bubbles
The demonstration was very engaging, it was so informative seeing how much time and care goes into one coat. On a basic coat, there is 25 pattern pieces, and each one is passed through different departments in the Glasgow factory before completion. I watched on as they applied glue to the pattern pieces with their index fingers, using a lot of force and pressure to get the technique correct, using the same tools and glue that the people who did it before them would have used.
Above Image: Example of the pocket patterns, tin of glue and traditional rolling tool
It is very obvious on going to this exhibit to see that Mackintosh is a company of tradition and efficiency. It was a treat for me to be able to see this tradition which has carried on through different generations and also have explained to me how the company has expanded to keep up with popular demands, cultural and even climate changes through the years. Such as detachable collars/hoods, varying fabrics and changes in the way we use our coats and what for. The traditional Mackintosh coats are still made in Glasgow, with the same glue and the same equipment as they always have been.
Shoe Making at Edward Green
Above images: Left: Demonstration of Andy Peach sewing the two front pieces that make the shoe. Right image: See front seam for example of what Andy is currently working on
Above Image: Close up of stitching on shoe, done with boar hair
Northampton has always been closely associated with shoemaking and that became very apparent to me upon entering this exhibit at Edward Green and seeing the demonstration. Andy Peach, a fantastic hand sewer who has worked making shoes for Edward Green for over 30 years gave me and a small audience a fantastic demonstration. He was very honest about his work and the methods which he uses. I was able to see him begin the sewing of the two front parts of the shoe together. He carefully inserts a sharp tool into half of the leather, which is the best calf’s leather which has been cut by hand. He then threads Chinese boar hair into that hole to attach the two pieces. He says that they use boar’s hair as over time cotton would rot and these shoes are made to last a lifetime!
Above Image: Example of the “stirrup” and Andy wearing the shoes pictured above which he is also making
The stirrup is used traditionally to keep everything attached to the knee where most of the work is happening, effectively working like an elastic band, keeping both hands free to focus on the stitching. He works on this piece for 15-20 minutes and tells me that this one small area of the shoe can take up to 2 hours to be completed, which it then it goes on to other departments to be finished and finalised by the staff at the factory in Northampton. The handwork that must go into one pair of shoes was exquisite to see.
Emblem by Rose At St James Pavilion
Above Image: The screen printing equipment Rose works with
Emblem by Rose is a beautiful independent, up and coming screen printing company. Everything Emblem states to do, is done by Rose entirely on her own, and speaking with her on Thursday made that evident to me. Visitors were even able to commission their own ties if they should wish to. This alone made me feel like Rose is very passionate about what she does and communicates what Emblem as a small independent company is all about.
Above Images: Rose Demonstrating the printing process with screen and also squeegee
Sadly I didn’t get to this exhibit in time to see any demonstrations, but Rose was wonderful to speak with. She really engaged with her audience and spoke honestly about her work and why she is so passionate about making bespoke designs for her clients. She spoke of how she is always trying out new techniques with mixed media and programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator to make her work more efficient and durable for the client. All imagery is designed and drawn by Rose, before being transferred into a screen to be printed onto silk scarves. Despite not having any demonstration, Rose was very good at explaining the printing process to me, she was a delight to speak with.
London Craft Week will be finishes on Sunday 7th May so see what you can before it is all over this year, click here to go to the website for full listings. We can not wait to see what next year will bring!
Fellow embroiderer, artist and designer Laura Lees is usually found creating highly colourful, fine art pieces furniture pieces but she took a little time away from her usual pursuits to speak with us about her work:
Hawthorne & Heaney: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, we’d like to start by asking you the question we get asked quite a lot of how did you get into embroidery originally?
Laura Lees: I applied for a city and guilds embroidery course when I was 17 and fell in love with it then. I found my skills at drawing not exceptional but confident. I found a new level of ability with the needle and thread superior than that of drawing with a pencil.
H&H: And what is it that inspires you?
LL: The way you can transform something from the ordinary to the extraordinary. I love the feel of the threads, the sound the scissors make when they’re cutting fabric, the quality of line and the battering noise and speed of my beloved Bernina industrial sewing machine. most importantly, I love the clarity of heart and mind, the skill involved and the the fact that i am always learning.
H&H: What would you like your students to take away from your class?
LL: A real sense of achievement, pride and enjoyment.
H&H: Where can we see more of your works?
LL: I am preparing for an exhibition to take place at the end of the year, inspired by dutch author Joris Luyendijk s book ‘Swimmimg with Sharks’ which demistifys the financial world of the city banks. This resonated deeply with me, having amongst many others lost my fashion label in the 2008 crash. I explore the ‘smoke and mirrors’ architectural language of finance by descending on what must be the least understood environment in Europe: the City of London. Taking the habitat of the so-called and self-described Masters of the Universe as my inspiration and translating the visceral world that lives and survives by opacity into tangeable abstract textiles.
H&H: Anything coming up in the pipeline you can share with us?
LL: I have recently launched The Mighty Stitch corporate workshops, The Mighty Stitch embroidery workshops teach teams a new skill, engendering engagement and motivation, ultimately creating a bespoke embroidered piece of art for your workplace. • Simple, supportive instruction • No experience needed, anyone can take part Participants are encouraged to be playful and experimental – the workshops facilitate collaboration, communication, storytelling, mindfulness, and, most importantly, making a mess! Enhanced work environment we all need a bit of that, i think .
H&H: Thanks again, I’m sure we will be seeing much more of you with all that come up!
Laura also has a Workshop coming up in April which will give the participants the opportunity to be a part of Laura’s work as the pieces created on the day will be encorporated into a new piece which will be exhibited at the RIBA as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Follow the link to secure your place for this intriguing and unusual opportunity:
‘The Riba workshop is a full day, immersed in urban embroidery. We will focus on how a city evolves through its inhabitants by learning freehand machine embroidery, hand stitching and applique. The outcome is to create an embroidered image of a building or architectural structure.
Afterwards, I will explore how a city is fabricated by stitching together the individual and diverse pieces made by workshop participants into a new work to be exhibited a the RIBA as part of @londonfestivalofarchitecture.
All artwork will be returned to the participants after the exhibition. This workshop is part of the programme of events inspired by the exhibition ‘Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square’.
Urban Tapestry with Laura Lees, 22 & 23 April, 11am to 4pm RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD Booking at architecture.com/Workshop ‘
For quite some time now, we have been playing around with the idea of developing a machine embroidery that would communicate some similar ideas to traditional military style goldwork but in a crisper, more modern way. In true Hawthorne & Heaney style, we didnt just want to go in for a little sample that we could get to work on a small scale, but a big piece that would really hit you in the face, so we settled on a version of the Privy Councillors Coatie.
We wanted the piece to not only have a rich gold look of the original piece , but also the different heights to the stitching and surface details that come with applying bullion individually.
The colours are worked in layers, adding layers of padding between colours to create light relief.
Following these processes, the machine then goes back into to add additional details :
Once all of that is done, we give it a little tidy up and it is complete. To give you a sense of scale this piece is 45 cm high which would be the left hand side of a mens jacket. It is really exciting for us to see a large scale outcome for this technique which has defiantely sparked some subsequent ideas, so stay tuned to see what we do next…
The word vulgar is used to describe common people, lack of sophistication or good taste and reflects someone making explicit or offensive reference to sex or the body.
The “The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined” exhibition curated by Judith Clark and Adam Phillips displays famous looks from the fashion world dating back from the renaissance to current day fashion. The exhibition definitely gets you questioning about why is vulgar such a sensitive area in fashion and what makes something vulgar?
By looking at the definition of vulgar as being common, it also explores the ideas of fashion being common, has it ever been unique? By trying to be different, your fashion exaggerating then turning into a vulgar taste.
The exhibition includes works from designers such as, John Galliano, Pam Hogg,Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent. Some of the looks there, I can understand as being vulgar, over the top, makes you wonder why is that necessary and in a way almost a bit disturbing. What I found difficult about the collection, is what do you actually classify as vulgar?
Surely it’s all down to personal opinion rather, as some things I did find vulgar but other pieces there I found beautiful.
These hair shoes by Alessandro Michele for Gucci were featured in the exhibition. For me, these shoes say vulgar. They are very eccentric, easy to show off with and over all a strange idea to get over.
Hussein Chalayan’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, his dresses covered in acrylic nails. The idea of vulgar coming from the concept rather than the look of it.
Pam Hogg SS14, her designs are very unique and different, but most of the time they are revealing and insensitive. Getting a strong reaction from society which I feel the idea of vulgar is all about.
Walter van Beirendonck 2010-11 “Take a Ride” collection.
Whilst with this Christian Dior SS 2003, I think it is very exaggerated but still has elegance and beauty to it, so does that make it vulgar?
Looks from the Viktor&Rolf collection, Van Gogh Girls, were also featured. But is the actual fashion vulgar? Or is it the whole design of the big straw hat and flowers growing off the dress. This to me creates more of an exciting, artistic presentation of the clothes, presented almost like paintings, what they were inspired by.
Whilst in the exhibition there were also pieces, which I found beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. Lace collars, stomachers and looks by Givenchy, Raf Simons, Chloe and Madame Grès, were some of the looks that I didn’t understand why they were there.
The collection is full of interesting pieces of fashion and historic embroidered pieces such as stomachers, dresses and accessories. It’s a really interesting and exciting collection to see with lots of information and film about vulgarity in fashion and the different movements throughout history that affected it.
Burberry is one of the most acclaimed British fashion houses, and to celebrate their Spring/Summer 2017 collection, Burberry partnered up with The New Craftsmen to hold a week long exhibition at Maker’s House, Soho. This event showcased the best of British craftsmen, designers and makers as well as the latest Burberry collection.
As you make your way into the house, you walk through the garden which is covered in fairy lights with large white sculptures of heads, figures and giant horses creating a magical atmosphere before you’ve entered the building.
The house was divided into sections, the first floor is where the makers set up their studio for the day. Each day there are a new group of makers, from jewelry makers, basket makers and textile designers. Whilst I was there, I was lucky enough to see the work of Shepherds Book Binders, sculptor Thomas Merrett, textile designers Rosalind Wyatt and Rose De Borman and even got to listen to storytelling from Pindrop studios. Watching all of this was very exciting, especially to see the work that goes into their practice.
Downstairs is where they displayed giant mood boards showing the inspiration behind Burberry’s SS17 collection designed by Christopher Bailey. For this collection, Bailey took inspiration from the novel ‘Orlando’ by Virginia Woolf, where in the novel the protagonist’s gender changes halfway through. He also drew influences from Nancy Lancaster’s interior design, using her sense of colour and floral designs.
At the very top of the Makers House is where the Burberry collection was located. Each look was presented across the room with music playing in the background. There was a huge screen where we could watch the catwalk show and this was held here in the Makers House. We found out that even the carpet was bespoke designed for the show!
The colours in the collection ranged from black and gold to soft mint greens and pinks. Shapes and techniques used alongside the colours captured both feminine and masculine qualities and this fits the story of Orlando.
This collection was also celebrated as this was the first time the garments were available to buy immediately after the show. Normally it takes around six months to buy what you see on the catwalk.
This was truly a beautiful collection and a great way for everyone to experience and celebrate London Fashion Week.
If you follow our Instagram, then you may have seen our post earlier in the week about the Fashion East show which we were delighted to have played a part in. The mancunian designer, A V Robertson who specialises in embellished womenswear created a collection of elegant looks with an abundance of 3D leaves and hand embroidered elements. We were responsible for creating the leaves and petals that grow out of the garments, each of which was individually hand made.
The process started with making hundreds of meters bias binding which would seal and finish each of the pieces. As you can see Amie from A V Robertson had chosen a very exciting colour palette to work with, so there were many combinations to choose from.
After pressing all the binding into shape, it was then applied to the center fabric that made up the body of the leaves.
With 8 colours of binding, 13 fabric insides and 8 leaf shapes, there were hundreds of potential combinations.
Then it was over to Amie to put her creations all together, if you would like to see the whole collection, click here for the vogue website.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has such a great reputation for its fashion exhibitions and their new underwear epic ‘Undressed’ does not disappoint. The exhibition is in the fashion section of the museum and is split between the historical pieces below and contemporary pieces on the first floor.
For me the historical pieces are always the most intriguing as you start at the 18th Century corsets and work you way through. A great example of this is this baby blue corset made of cotton twill and silk lined. It is reinforced with whale bone and metal busk with machine lace and hand embroidery details. The embroidery on this piece is quite simple with the long fanned stitches around the hips and bust but it is very effective all the same. Most of the corsets are over 200 years old so it is amazing that they have survived to be displayed.
Moving forward there are some lovely lace examples from the 20’s and 30’s such as the above brassiere and negligee below. They demonstrate the development of the technology in this area and to see the intricacy that they were able to achieve.
Along side the more prim and proper pieces are those which have a sense of humour such as the knickers pictured below. They belonged to a society Lady from the 1930’s who moved to the far east and commissioned these knickers as a fun item to have. They turned out to be to be quite useful, as the story goes, when she needed an ice breaker with other ladies she met, she would lift up her skirts and flash them a look at her hunting themed knickers to their great amusement. The hunting theme is achieved by lace applique of machine lace onto silk chiffon.
The exhibition also offers a selection of garters, stocking and other underwear additions as well. There are some great examples of embroidery on these as there are greater opportunities to be create with them.
Moving upstairs, the focus is more on how underwear has progressed and its other interpreations such as into outwear. The piece below is reminisant of 17th Century fashion but is a piece from the Galliano show for Givenchy haute couture 1996 where underwear becomes outerwear. The embroidery on this piece is quite stunning with the romantic colouring of the stitching onto sheer muslin.
There is also a short video with interviews and insight into the design process with designers such as Fifi Chachnil and La Perla if you need a little sit down after all the lingerie.
Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear is at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London SW7, until 12 March 2017. vam.ac.uk. Click here for another review from respected Dress historian Lucy Worsley for the Guardian.