During a recent visit to Singapore, one of the team at Hawthorne & Heaney took a sight detour off the tourist trail and visited one of the Peranakan Embroidery heritage boutiques in the suburbs. This small street houses a couple of shops in which they are keeping the more traditional embroidery techniques of the region alive. One such place is called Rumah Bebe which is lovely in itself as it is covered in patterned tiles and gilded woodwork. They house a wide range of Nyonya garments such as sarongs, embroidered jackets and beaded shoes. As is fitting to the work that has gone into them, the pieces are quite pricey, but well worth it for how lovely they are.
Kim Choo Kueh Chang is also next door where you can sample traditional Nyonya cakes from the cafe downstairs made with coconut, condensed milk and pandan leaves which gives them a bright green colour. They have a little shop of trinkets but upstairs is where you will find the best bits as they have a range of embroidered pieces which line the walls and a variety of vintage items on diplay in their exhibition. They explain a little of how the embroidery is intergral to the wedding services of the culture with the examples around for context.
A personal favourite had to be this part completed design, still on the frame which demonstrates a little of the technique that is used to create these pieces and the scale of the beads that form the designs.
To see more of what they have to offer, visit their websites above or watch the video below for a glimpse of the action.
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.
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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.
Hawthorne & Heaney is currently looking for an embroidery intern to join us for an immediate start.
We are looking for a current undergraduate fashion/textiles/costume student to join us in the studio for a 2-3 month internship. Duties will include machine and hand sewing, general administration, maintenance of the social media sites, research, assisting with embroidery preparation for both the staff and for the School and errands. Time is also set aside from duties to develop your own embroidery skills during your internship. Applicants must be hard working, versatile, enthusiastic, professional, responsible and able work well in a small team. Attention to detail is a must along with patience as nothing in embroidery is particularly quick.
Sewing skills are essential, and a proficiency in both hand and machine sewing would be ideal.
Computer knowledge of both MAC and PC, ideally with an understanding of adobe programs and G drive
Looking to gain experience in a live studio in the embroidery sector
Must be a current undergraduate student of a fashion/textiles related course
Able to travel into London every day
This internship is unpaid and should be taken in addition to a current undergraduate course, we are therefore unable to accept non students for this position. Hours are full time, Monday- friday 9-5pm.
If you would be interested in furthering your studies please fill out the attached form.
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!
Along side our own London Craft Week Classes, Hawthorne & Heaney also have some embroidery on display in the shape of a navy smoking jacket we embroidered for Anderson & Sheppard. They are part of a collaboration with Jeremy King OBE of the Beaumont Hotel London to create a capsule collection inspired by the hotel:
‘Each tailor has produced an outfit for Jimmy Beaumont, a fictional character invented by Jeremy to inform the interior design of the 1926 hotel building. The collection includes a tuxedo, a three piece suit and night-wear, highlighting the skill of the tailors alongside their ability to respond to their client’s character. Each piece of Jimmy Beaumont’s wardrobe is displayed in the tailors windows along Savile Row. ‘ (London Craft Week)
Here are some of the photos of the jacket in the various stages of production, whilst the pieces were still flat they were provided to us to create the frogging on the front and motifs on the sleeves which are inspired by the symbols on playing cards:
All above images from @jennie_mcwalter
And here is the finished jacket, if you’d like to see this piece and others from the collection, they are all on display in their prospective shops down Savile Row now until 7th May.
Image above by @guy.hills and video courtsey of Anderson & Sheppard.