Designer Desire: Graziela Preiser

Mosaic of Graziela Preiser designs

I’ve often talked about wishing that designers that make bright, fun, fashionable clothes for kids would do it for grown ups too. Well, Graziela Preiser does just that!

I first happened across her name last week when I was looking into ceramic designers that worked for Thomas and Rosenthal. She produced the Brigitte Extra Modell children’s range under the former’s brand name in the 1970s.

With the surge in popularity in vintage design, her London-based Art Director daughter, Nina Nägel encouraged her to reissue her back catalogue and in 2008, mother & daughter launched byGraziela.

Portrait of Graziela Preisercredit

Additional images:

byGraziela

Designer Desire: Sheila Bownas

Mosaic of Sheila Bownas textile designs | H is for Home

What a coincidence that, just a week after our trip to the Yorkshire Dales, we’re featuring one of its local creatives.

Sheila Bownas (1925-2007) was a fine artist and surface pattern designer from the village of Linton in Craven near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. In 1946, she won a scholarship to London’s Slade School of Fine Art where she won further awards which included a year’s extension to study History of Art in Florence. She freelanced as a textile and wallpaper designer for companies such as Liberty and Co., Marks and Spencer and Laura Ashley. She also worked for the Natural History Museum in the 1960s, creating botanical studies. She returned to Linton in the 1970s, where she settled unobtrusively for the rest of her life. She was the only child of the village shopkeepers, she never married nor had children of her own.

Some of Sheila Bownas’ design archive was rediscovered by Chelsea Cefai, an art gallery professional, when it came up for sale at an auction house in Ilkley in 2008. Cefai purchased some 210 of her original textile pattern prints and slowly set about researching the designer and celebrating her designs.

Bonas was indefatigable in her efforts to secure salaried employment. She apparently applied for around jobs in the 1950s and 60s. In 1959 in yet another rejection letter, this time from Crown Wallpaper, Bonas was told:

Thank you for your letter enclosing your design… I have decided to retain this design so would you please let us have your invoice? With reference to your desire to obtain a position in our studio, the Director feels that should an appointment be made at all, a male designer would be preferable…

Last summer, a retrospective of her work was shown at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum and is currently showing at Harrogate’s Mercer Art Gallery until 7th January 2018. If you’re unable to make it, a catalogue of the exhibition is available.

Cefai has set about collaborating with artists & designers reintroducing Bonas’ work in limited-edition prints, furniture, ceramics and other homewares.

In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, Cefai shared:

It’s been hard work and there have been times when I felt like giving up but then I feel like it’s something I have to do. I love her work and it saddens me to think that an artist with such wonderful talent could so easily slip through the net of recognition That’s what drives me. Sheila Bownas is not just a number in a file now, she’s a name in the limelight.

Have a look at the Sheila Bownas website for many more of her wonderful designs.

Portrait of Sheila Bownascredit

Additional image credits:

The Guardian | The Northern Echo

Designer Desire: Vuokko Nurmesniemi

Mosaic of Vuokko Nurmesniemi designs | H is for Home

This is a Designer Desire post for all you vintage fashion fans! Vuokko Nurmesniemi (born 1930) was one of the two main pattern designers at Marimekko during the 1950s. Her striped Jokapoika (top image) was one of the company’s best sellers.

I just love her big, bold op art designs, many of which are in the New York Met’s permanent collection. Those tent coats and dresses are to die for!

I couldn’t find much of it available online. However, a few sellers on Etsy stock vintage Nurmesniemi-designed Marimekko and her own brand Vuokko Oy pieces.

Portrait of Vuokko Nurmesniemicredit

Additional image credits:

Marimekko | Pinterest

Designer Desire: Evelyn Ackerman

Mosaic of Evelyn Ackerman artworks | H is for Home

Alongside her husband Jerome, Evelyn Ackerman (1924-2012) was a leading light in California mid-century modernism. They were contemporaries of the likes of Alexander Girard and fellow married couple, Ray and Charles Eames.

She worked across a variety of mediums including mosaic, textile tapestry, metalwork and enamelware, stone casting and wood carving. They designed, produced and sold their work through their companies Jenev and ERA Industries.

Although mostly available in the United States (as expected), her work can occasionally be found on Etsy and eBay.

Jerome & Evelyn Ackerman in their homecredit

Hand-in-Hand book by Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman
Hand-in-Hand: Ceramics, mosaics, tapestries, wood carvings and hardware by the California Mid-Century designers

Image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Invaluable

Designer Desire: Barbara Brown

Collage of Barbara Brown textile designs | H is for Home

I went to a Barbara Brown exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester last week. I was already quite familiar with her work, but seeing them up close and in the flesh I was completely blown away!

Seeing images of her designs in books or online can never do them justice. The sheer scale of the many op art patterns – 1¼ metres wide – make the mind boggle!

Originally from Manchester, Barbara Brown attended Canterbury College of Art and then on to the Royal College of Art. It was at her degree show in 1953 that she was discovered by Tom Worthington, Artistic Director of Heal’s. The rest, as they say, is history. She produced many designs for the company (where she was a contemporary of Lucienne Day) in her two-decade career with them. Her designs won the Council of Industrial Design (COID) award on three occasions.

You can usually find lengths of her fabrics (and ready made soft furnishings if your sewing skills are anything like mine) on eBay and Etsy.

Barbara Brown textile designer © Graham Copekogacredit

Additional image credits:

Pinterest | V&A

Designer Desire: Lotta Jansdotter

Mosaic of Lotta Jansdotter designs | H is for Home

We bought a lovely new duvet set a couple of weeks ago that was designed by Lotta Jansdotter. We’d not heard of her before but have since searched for and found lots of examples of her work online.

She’s a Finland-born, USA-based surface pattern designer whose products can be found on fabrics, bed linen, soft furnishings, luggage, ceramics, paper goods… all manner of homewares.

Her designs are bright and modern with a Scandi twist.

There are lots of different outlets selling her goods including Amara, B&Q, DaWanda, Etsy, eBay and Target. She has published a number of books on sewing, craft and decorating projects.

Alternatively, if you like getting hands on, Jansdotter runs workshops a few times a year in diverse locations such as Jaipur, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Åland (the islands where she is from originally).

Lotta Jansdotter portrait

Image credits:

Ashley Wilde Group | Pinterest