In focus: Our picks from GP & J Baker – the Artisan II collection
There’s nothing we love more than seeing new collections, and every so often, one comes along that takes your breath away. The Artisan II collection from GP & J Baker is one such collection; it takes the craft of wallpaper and fabric design back to its very roots, with the use of traditional techniques to create prints that have the look and feel of a piece of history brought to life. It involves the celebration of two techniques, both of which are becoming harder to find in modern design: hand block printing and embroidery.
Believed to date back to ancient civilisations in China, Egypt and Assyria, hand block printing is less of a practical production technique and more of an art form. Each wooden block is painstakingly carved with astonishing precision, and then expertly applied to the fabric or paper to create a repeating pattern. The Aydon and Cromer Paisley fabrics from this collection are testament to the intricacy of the patterns achievable using this method, their exquisite detailing perfectly offset by tiny irregularities that give a reassuringly artisanal feel. Both designs pay homage to traditional Indian motifs, perhaps as a recognition of the huge influence that Indian patterns have had on global print design over time.
The Barbonne and Lamorna fabrics, on the other hand, use embroidery to capture their elegant designs, and to stunning effect. Decorative embroidery gives texture as well as pattern, and the type of yarn used dictates the overall look. In this collection, crewel embroidery – freehand stitchwork using wool – is used to great effect, lending a lightness of touch and an organic earthiness to the pieces produced.
Colour is key to the overall finish of each of the fabrics in this collection, with a base palette of deep indigo, charcoal and spice tones and fresh touches of soft aqua; each has a warm, neutral ground, giving a natural and earthy feel to the collection.
Capturing the essence of artisan heritage, while also creating fabrics that will enhance a modern home, is not easy to do, but this collection achieves it with ease. The style and understated elegance of each piece is undeniable, and you can use two or more of them in your scheme thanks to their subtlety and complementary palette. Perhaps the most enchanting thing about these designs, though, is that each has its own story and character.
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