Tibor Reich exhibition

Tibor Reich tapestry | H is for Home

Last week, I made an all too rare visit to Manchester; I was meeting a friend at the Whitworth to view the Tibor Reich exhibition.

Tibor Reich exhibition room at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

Tibor Reich mural at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

Tigoware sketch by Tibor Reich displayed at the Whitworth

Tibor Reich Tigo-Ware 'Florence' and 'Espanola' vases | H is for Home

It was wonderful seeing his work ‘in the flesh’ so to speak, rather than in books or on the internet, to appreciate the scale. The ‘Florence’ Tigo-Ware vase on the left of the photo above is over a foot tall.

Examples of Tigo-Ware designed by Tibor Reich and produced by Denby Pottery in the 1950s | H is for Home

Tibor Reich designed ceramic tiles | H is for Home

His black & white sgraffito designs are very eye-catching and distinctive.

Ceramic ashtrays designed by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

Apparently, he designed and produced these keyhole-shaped ashtrays as presents for friends one Christmas. I’ve never seen one on the open market, they’re absolutely beautiful!

Ceramic ashtray designed by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

Tibor Reich pen & ink sketches | H is for Home

A lot of his ceramic work is concerned with the female form and visage – my friend and I wondered whether his wife Freda, who was pictured in many of the photographs in the exhibition, acted as his muse.

Colour sketches of women by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

A displat of tools and other objects used by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

Tibor Reich's sitting room which he designed himself | H is for Home

Reich may be best known for his textiles (his designs were on the seats of Concorde and the QE II), however his practice was multifaceted. Ceramics, fine art, photography… he even designed his own home including the ‘flaming onion’ fire in his sitting room, shown above.

 

A photo posted by TIBOR (@tiborreich) on

Tibor Reich: Art of Colour and Texture, shown above, was published earlier this month to accompany the exhibition. It can be purchased here (£35.00). The Tibor Reich exhibition runs until August 2016, so you still have lots of time to check it out – it’s well worth it! If you can’t get to Manchester, the University of Leeds (where he studied) have a huge archive of his textile work which can be viewed online.

Wallpaper display at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

In an adjoining room, there was an exhibition of vintage wallpaper (which runs until the 4th of September 2016). With the room’s huge, tall walls the long rolls were shown off to spectacular effect.

Wallpaper display at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

Although I loved most of the designs, it also made me realise how overpowering some of the patterns would be if all four walls in a room were papered. A small feature wall would suffice!

Vintage 'Promenade' wallpaper sample | H is for Home

There were display cabinets of wallpaper samples – here are two of my favourites.

Vintage wallpaper sample with birds pattern | H is for Home

David Whitehead write up

'David Whitehead write up' blog post banner

Lancashire Life magazine with vintage David Whitehead fabric

Lancashire Life isn’t one of our regular magazine subscriptions, but we sometimes pick up a copy if something catches our eye on the cover. We actually live in Todmorden, West Yorkshire – but we’re very close indeed to the Lancashire border (it actually used to run through the town centre here until the mid 19th century) – so there are often places that we’re familiar with or new potential destinations featured that are within easy reach.

'Lancashire's Material Wealth' article in Lancashire Life

In this November’s edition it was the article entitle ‘Lancashire’s Material Wealth’ that made it a ‘must buy’ copy. The write up features friends Bernard & Jill Laverty, the Directors of David Whitehead & Sons based in Parbold, Lancashire. The article touches on the company’s long & interesting history including its textile heyday in the 1950s era when great names such as Sir Terence Conran, Henry Moore, Marian Mahler and Jaqueline Groag produced designs for them.

Jill & Bernard Laverty, Directors of David Whitehead & Sons Ltd

We first met Jill & Bernard after they read one of our post’s featuring a huge haul of vintage fabric we’d acquired. The couple were researching their company archives including the fabric designs that were once stocked by David Whitehead & Sons. Production of them had long since ceased at this point.

Jill Laverty modelling two of the reissued David Whitehead fabrics

Jill in particular was caught by the bug and, having invested much time and money over recent years, they’ve now actually begun to re-launch some superb classic designs taken from these archives. We went to a wonderful celebration lunch at Windermere Boating Club a few weeks ago to mark the event.

Samples of David Whitehead & Sons reissued fabric

Production will stay in Lancashire – the highly-regarded textile printers Standfast & Barracks of Lancaster undertaking the work. The modern textiles produced are lovely quality – we were able to have a good look and feel at Windermere! It’s quite early days for the new range, so media exposure like this article is going to be essential. We’re confident that there’ll be huge demand for them and are really excited to see where the designs are going to start popping up!

David Whitehead relaunch

'David Whitehead relaunch' blog post banner

David Whitehead relaunch event at Broad Leys, Windermere

This weekend, we attended the David Whitehead relaunch and bicentenary.

Front of Broad Leys, home to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club

It was held at Broad Leys, home to Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club – a beautiful Charles Voysey-designed Arts & Crafts building.

Arts & Crafts decorative fireplace vent grille featuring birds and trees

There were wonderful architectural features wherever you looked – even down to tiniest details such as this fireplace vent grille… and of course, stunning views out over the lake.

View of Lake Windermere from Broad Leys, home to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club

It takes a lot to compete with that. Fortunately, we were there to celebrate the relaunch of six of their classic fabric designs. Compete – they certainly did!

Rolls of relaunched David Whitehead fabric

We first met Jill & Bernard Laverty, the current owners of David Whitehead & Sons Ltd, a few years ago. They contacted us after we blogged about an amazing discovery of unused vintage fabrics that had laid untouched for 50 years in a store room – many of them were rolls manufactured by David Whitehead. We shared a cuppa initially and later on visited them for lunch. We talked all things David Whitehead – the history of production, their archive and future potential.

Cushions covered in relaunched David Whitehead fabrics in bay window of Broad Leys, home to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club

At that point in time, David Whitehead had stopped making fabrics and were concentrating on other products. Jill in particular was bitten by the bug and keen to explore the possibilities of a textile range. She bought vintage fabric samples and visited museum archives.

Samples of original vintage David Whitehead fabrics

The company then set about looking into the production of some of their classic designs, copyright ownership, a future re-launch, press & marketing, new website etc! And here we were celebrating the culmination of all their efforts – an amazing achievement from those initial early chats – what a journey they’ve been on!

Samples of original vintage David Whitehead fabrics with antique wooden bobbins and page from a vintage Ambassador magazine fashion shoot featuring Whitehead fabrics

We had a wonderful lunch surrounded by the relaunched fabrics. There were products such as cushions and recovered chairs to show potential uses, stands & displays portraying the company history and some of their great designers – Marion Mahler, Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, Jacqueline Groag, Henry Moore, John Piper, Terence Conran… what names!

Marian Mahler display including stool covered in relaunched yellow fabric from her original design

There was a film history showing and fabric bunting dotted about the venue – even the waiting staff were wearing David Whitehead fabric aprons.

Display including samples of Sir Terence Conran's original fabric designs for David Whitehead

And onto one of those great design names – Sir Terence Conran, as he is now, attended the relaunch and made a short speech about the significance of David Whitehead in his own life and the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit of the company in the post-war years around the time of the Festival of Britain. What a pleasure it was to share a table with him!

Jill Laverty with friend Kathy and Sir Terence Conran at the David Whitehead relaunch event

He expressed his opinion that the current owners share the same entrepreneurial spirit and that he was delighted to see the textiles coming into production again – and that he would happily help with their publicity in any way he could.

Lunch at David Whitehead relaunch event

The fabrics are being produced by Standfast & Barracks, so it’s production in Lancashire once again which is great – heritage combined with modern production techniques to produce a top quality product.

Selvedge from relaunched David Whitehead fabric

And so to the future – well, the sky’s the limit. Will Jill and Bernard sell the fabrics wholesale? Will they make homeware products using their classic designs? There were no shortage of ideas flying around from tea towels to dog coats!

The six relaunched David Whitehead fabric patterns

Whatever they choose to do, we’re sure it will be a great success. They’ve obviously got great vision and drive to reach this point, they’re passionate and determined. These wonderful vintage designs (and perhaps new ones) will arrive on the market place with a huge impact.

Bunting made from relaunched David Whitehead fabric

And on a personal note – you couldn’t wish to meet a lovelier couple which just adds to the goodwill we feel for them as things move forward. So many thanks to Jill & Bernard for inviting us – we’re looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Gimme Five! Wool throws

'Gimme Five' blog post banner

Selection of wool throws | @hisforhome

Autumn is definitely here, despite summer on occasion putting up a struggle. We’ve had our newly-installed wood-burning stove chuffing away this week – not quite ready to go the whole hog and turning on the central heating, but in need of some background warmth.

There’s nothing quite like autumn evenings, curled up on a sofa or armchair with a lovely, soft wool throw over the shoulders. We tend to keep one across the foot of the bed too, for those nights when the duvet needs a little help.

Here’s a great selection of wool throws to keep those autumn chills in check!

  1. Sheep wool blanket: £64, Scandinavian Design Center
  2. Dorma plum Maldon throw: £59.99, Dunelm
  3. Adeen red wool and silk throw: £80, Habitat
  4. Stripe wool throw: £90, Feather and Black
  5. TweedMill fishbone two stripe olive & rouge wool throw: £44.95, TweedMill

Vintage tea towels

'Vintage tea towels' blog post banner

collection of vintage tea towels

We bought a box of mixed textiles at auction last week which included some lovely vintage tea towels. Great looking – and full of useful facts & figures too! Here are a few of our favourites.

vintage metric tea towel

The ‘Housewives Guide to British Metric Measure’ was aimed at helping us Brits through the process of change from imperial to metric measures – a process which started here in the 1960s and is still ongoing for most people! We certainly use a combination of imperial & metric measures in this household. Metres, feet, inches, miles, kilometres, kilos, pounds, pints, litres, Fahrenheit & Centigrade all jumbled up together – we just grab whichever seems to suit!

detail of vintage metric tea towel

Fabulous decoration and ideal ready reckoner this one!

detail of vintage metric tea towel

This next tea towel was issued by the British Diabetic Association.

vintage diet tea towel

A colourful textile, featuring foodstuffs with recommended daily allowances.

detail of vintage diet tea towel

Various letters & symbols indicate calories, carbohydrate, fat & protein content.

detail of vintage diet tea towel

The next tea towel concentrates solely on calorific values for those watching their weight.

vintage calorie values tea towel

It’s a very striking design and would look great framed.

detail of vintage calorie values tea towel

And the value for sweets? “too many calories” it says. We’ll be the judge of that!!

detail of vintage calorie values tea towel

This last tea towel is fabulous – a food guide to London restaurants dating from the 1950s or 60s. When did London last have 4-digit telephone numbers?

vintage vintage London restaurants tea towel

Some of the restaurants still survive to this day.

detail of vintage vintage London restaurants tea towel

We love the ‘specialities’ – from ‘midnight cabaret’ to ‘chicken paprika’!

detail of vintage vintage London restaurants tea towel

Drop us a line if you’re interested in any of the tea towels. They’re priced at £20 – £30.

Gimme Five: Chunky knits

'Gimme Five' blog post banner

Selection of 5 chunky knits

Nothing suits the autumn & winter months much more than chunky knit textiles – whether it be fashion or homewares. It adds warmth, softness, texture & tactility to a room. A roaring log fire, comfy armchair, good book, hot chocolate… and a chunky knitted throw. What could be more perfect?

  1. Chunky knit pouffe foot stool, various colours: £39.99, eBay
  2. Pure merino super chunky throw: £120.35, Etsy
  3. Everyday wool ochre cushion cover: £190, Conran Shop
  4. Rowan Big Wool 100g: £7.86, Deramores
  5. Neo mix rug: £201.00, Love the Sign