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…

trees1

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.

trees2

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.

trees3

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

Entomology is the buzz word on the lips of designers this season – butterfly motifs swarmed all over the spring summer 09 fashion catwalks, and now insects are invading our homes, too.

laura

Butterfly teacups, £30 for four; butterfly tealight holder, £10; Laura Ashley

The Laura Ashley design team has really embraced the trend, scattering butterfly patterns liberally across its entire summer collection – there are butterfly magnets, butterfly lolly pop moulds, butterfly lights, butterfly jewellery boxes, butterfly mirrors, butterfly lamp shades – you get the idea.

Picnicware, from £2.50 for a tumbler, Laura Ashley

Picnicware, from £2.50 for a tumbler, Laura Ashley

Butterfly lights, £22, Laura Ashley

Butterfly lights, £22, Laura Ashley

Susanne Philippson’s iconic Butterfly clock (£120 at Heals) has never been more popular, and Matalan has just introduced a similar clock for recessionistas with a credit-crunch-busting £18 price tag.

Picture 13

Butterfly clock, £120, Heals

Chatting to artist John Dilnot at the recent Brighton Artists Open Houses festival, he told me that his butterfly and bug prints are selling particularly well at the moment. I’ve spotted John’s lovely entomological screen prints on the American Decor8 blog recently, too, so it seems the insect trend is going global!

Garden Pests print, John Dilnot

Garden Pests print, £110, John Dilnot

If you’re after the real deal, Bugs Direct sells framed butterflies and insects in museum-style cases…

Swallowtail butterfly in frame, £17, Bugs Direct

Swallowtail butterfly in frame, £17, Bugs Direct

…or you can just get the look with a striking cushion from Barker and Stonehouse instead.

barker

Red admiral cushion, £75, Barker and Stonehouse

Designer Clarissa Hulse has designed a new Dragonfly pattern blind for Eclectics, which is really delicate and pretty – perfect for a bedroom:

Picture 12

I’ve also been admiring this lovely butterfly print fabric from new shop Runaway Coast. (Look out for our Runaway Coast post tomorrow!)

Butterfly fabric, £34 per m, Runaway Coast

Butterfly fabric, £34 per m, Runaway Coast

If you’re not a fan of creepy crawlies, look away now – Queen of Posh GraffitiEmily Readett Bayley, has just launched a range of giant wooden bugs…

Beetle, £15, Emily Readett Bayley

Beetle, £15, Emily Readett Bayley

So, why are butterflies and other insects in vogue this season? Perhaps they’re welcome positive symbols for troubled times? Butterflies are seen as cheerful, carefree creatures, while other insects are usually tough, adaptable survivors. Insects have been around for 175 million years (ish!) and they’ll probably be around for another 175 million, so maybe they represent reassuring continuation in our ever-changing world? Whatever the seed for this trend was, I’m quite content to be surrounded by butterflies this summer. I’ve been admiring artist Tracy Bush‘s wall art for a while, and now I’m making my own version by cutting paper butterflies out of vintage magazines using a stencil and pinning them in an IKEA Riba frame. It’s budget art, but time consuming and now my house is full of paper butterflies! – Ellie

Paper butterflies by Tracy Bush

Paper butterflies by Tracy Bush