Look out Rob Ryan!

July 20, 2009

Well, maybe he’s got a bit of a headstart, but after my first attempt at paper cutting I’m hooked! I’m a big Rob Ryan fan and have been meaning to have a go at something similar (simpler!) for a while, and a blustery Sunday in London seemed the perfect opportunity. I started off looking at some work by the master himself for inspiration…

Rob Ryan 4

How intricate are these?! I thought it was probably best to start off with something slightly less ambitious, so decided to have a go at a design inspired by these gorgeous lino cut prints and textiles by Angie Lewin.

Angie Lewin

I loved the stylised seedheads and reckoned there would be plenty of bits I could link together so the whole thing wouldn’t fall apart. So, I dug out my cutting mat, craft knife and card, got a bit of Cat Stevens going on the ipod, and started doodling away. I used a white pen to draw on the reverse, then got to work cutting away the negative shapes. The straight lines were easy, but I wish I hadn’t put in so many fiddly circles! It was really nerve racking towards the end as I knew one false move could ruin the whole design (or result in a lost finger for that matter!) Finally, all the shapes were cut out and it was time to turn over and have a look…

Paper cuts cropThree hours and four albums later, voila! The finished article is on the left with close ups of the front and back on the right. I definitely want to have a go at another one, and thought I might try a London skyline inspired by the work of super-talented textile artist Charlene Mullen using paper instead of embroidery.What do you think? – Bethan

To Billy or not to Billy – 41 million people since 1979 have chosen IKEA‘s most famous bookcase for their homes, and the reliable Billy design is 30 years old this year. To mark this historic occasion, IKEA is releasing, rather randomly, some limited-edition Billy ‘Jader’ bookcases, covered in quotations from the works of William Shakespeare, graffiti-style.

Picture 17

These designer-style shelving units will cost £39 each. Or, you could just let your kids get creative on your Billy shelves with a permanent marker for a similar effect! – Ellie

What do you get when you cross a tea towel with a striking tree-themed piece of modern art? A tree towel of course, as designed by Paul Farrell and stocked at Rockett St George. It all looks a bit Blair Witch but it’s the latest trend…


At £60 each, they’re way too posh to actually use when you wash up, but HEY, they look spectacular.  And you could always frame one! Or go for the postcards, which are £13.75 for a pack of six, and frame them instead.


Paul Farrell‘s work is well worth checking out – I love his little bird designs and gorgeous silhouette wall stickers. Seeing his little badges makes me want to buy a badge making machine, £8 from Cox and Cox, and make some with my own designs.


Paul joins Lindsay Marsden AKA The Black Rabbit, John Dilnot and friends in my folder of Great British artists! – Ellie

Today I’ve fallen head over heels for this gorgeous retro yellow and brown bedroom, which we featured in the July issue of Ideal Home. Think Orla Kiely, think retro hotel chic, think dark furniture, mellow lemon yellows (try saying that in a hurry!) and graphic motifs. So delicious! – Ellie

yellow retro bedroom

Iconic British department store Heals is celebrating it’s 200th birthday next year, and the good news is a collection of lovely vintage posters from the Heals archives will be released to mark the occasion. Available as prints, or packs of postcards, these retro adverts are completely and utterly gorgeous!


The prints start at £12, but there are a few limited edition ones which will be £195. The postcards come in a pack of 10 for £6, and would look great in white IKEA frames in a group. – Ellie




The 2010 IKEA catalogue just landed on my desk, and it’s packed full of exciting new designs. This gorgeous new ‘BARBAR’ bird tray has got to be my favourite new accessory. It’s 33cm x 33cm, and I love the little coloured birds pattern. Hurrah for IKEA prices – it’s just £4.99, so even I can afford this one! – Ellie



Blue and white Cornishware was first produced by T.G Green & Co in the 1920s. It was a best-seller for decades, but the factory was sadly forced into administration in 2007. Supplies dried up and Cornishware became highly sought after, with items commanding absurd prices on eBay. Thankfully, I managed to blag a vintage UTENSILS Cornishware pot at a car boot sale for 50p. Whoop whoop – but alas, such finds were rare.


It all looked very bleak, until in 2008, entrepreneur Charles Rickards and brand consultant Perry Haydn Taylor bravely took on the failing firm. They re-launched the classic Cornishware in April this year, much to the relief of fans, and I’ve just found out that as well as the classic blue and white designs we all know and love, there are some pretty pastel colours on the horizon…



For the first time ever, Cornishware is going multi-coloured – there are pretty ‘ice cream’ pastel pieces, and sleek urban ones in a more masculine colour palette, too.


These gorgeous new ranges will be out in the autumn, in time for Christmas. – Ellie