Over her last eleven collections Vanessa Arbuthnott has gained a much-deserved reputation for creating fresh and invigorating designs that bear her own very distinctive handwriting.
A statement in their own right, the designs have been specifically drawn in a way that also enables them to work together effortlessly and harmoniously. The result has been understate but highly effective, a charming signature style that spans contemporary and classic looks.
It was the enthusiasm of her customers that first convinced Vanessa to turn some of her most popular fabrics into a delightful wall covering collection of five designs over 17 mouth-watering colourways, ranging from vibrant cornflower blue, uplifting raspberry and vivacious saffron to gentle clay and mushroom, soft teal and duck egg and moody smoke and charcoal.
For the Love of Rose: a modern take on a traditional theme, this is a fresh, contemporary toile celebrating the joys of the simple, outdoor life. Its bucolic scenes depict a gypsy caravan, fresh washing line-drying in the sun and breeze, Vanessa’s goats, geese and chickens - even her whippet Ruby!
Gypsy Garland: a delicate floral trail, with Scandinavian stylised cream flowers simply drawn on a coloured background.
Pretty Maids: Vanessa’s award winning dainty all-over spot motif, timeless and easy to decorate with.
Song Birds: a charming oriental floral ogee, with delicately-drawn song birds taking centre stage.
Up the Garden Path: a geometric and contemporary motif that, as its name suggests, resembles a meandering neutral-coloured leaf trail on a coloured background.
In keeping with Vanessa’s passionate concern for the environment, Gypsy Garland, Up the Garden Path and Pretty Maids have been printed onto a very high quality, non-woven mixture of fabric and paper produced from FSC-certified forests, which uses no chlorine in its bleaching process. These wall coverings are a ‘paste the wall’ product, meaning they are both stronger and so much easier to apply and remove than traditional paper. For the Love of Rose and Song Birds are printed on traditional eco- friendly wallpaper. The wall coverings and wallpapers are printed in the UK using acrylic inks, which are environmentally safe and have long lasting colourfastness.
￼The ‘Scandinavian Wovens’ mark a new departure for Vanessa, as hitherto she has concentrated primarily on printed fabrics, complemented by a selection of organic plain weaves. Her new weave collection encompasses four subtle yet striking designs, each in two different colourways, which coordinate with all her printed and plain fabrics.
Baltic Stripe: a beautiful design, expertly reproducing the organic quality, natural irregularities and multi-hued tones of an ikat stripe. Lapland Stripe: an open and relaxed stripe in gentle hues that reflects the simple landscape and rural life of the Sami people ofLapland.
Nordic Stripe: inspired by the snowy, rustic landscapes of the Northern European countries, redolent of wooden houses, welcoming candles and warm fires. This design includes a new warm-brown colourway, evocatively named ‘Reindeer’.
Scandi Stripe: a more contemporary, edgy stripe, in two bold and very diverse colourways: ‘Warm’, which combines bright tones of orange, pink and saffron and ‘Cool’, a deliciously on-trend mélange of taupe, mushroom and soft duck egg.
Being passionate about natural, ethically-produced fibres, it is no surprise that Vanessa’s new woven range is produced from 100% eco-friendly flax: the fabrics have been pre-washed to make a soft but surprisingly resilient, tactile fabric, perfect for curtains but also durable enough for upholstery. The particular beauty of the weaves is that they are equally attractive on either side and, as a result, can make stunning unlined curtains or blinds.
Vanessa expands on the inspiration behind her two latest collections: “I kept being asked for wallpapers to complement some of the fabric designs, and from there it seemed a natural next step to incorporate a neat, edited range of weaves that would work with the existing printed fabrics and new wall coverings. I love the colour and texture of woven fabrics, the feel of individual spun yarns and the handle of the resulting fabric. Creating these two collections has been a voyage of discovery but I feel privileged to have made the journey, and to have learned so much along the way.”