Bloomsbury Gardens: The first Liberty Craft Fabric Collection

Friday 31st August 2012, 9.39

The craftiest among you will have heard about our new range of Liberty Print Lifestyle craft fabrics, which have just launched in store. The Liberty Lifestyle collection is an exciting new range of Liberty Print fabrics which are suitable for crafting, patchwork and all sewing projects.

The first collection ‘Bloomsbury Gardens’ consists of five different colour palettes and eleven prints. Each print in the collection has been designed here in our studio by one of our in house designers Sholto Drumlanrig.

We catch up with Sholto who tells us more:


Tell us a little about yourself and what it is about designing that you love?

I have been a textile designer for 20 years and my first job was actually in the Liberty Print studio working alongside Emma Mawston who is now Head of Design at Liberty Art Fabrics. I love being a textile designer and feel very privileged to do something I enjoy so much. I like the creative aspect of developing prints and researching a subject for inspiration. I also love adding colour to the designs. Colour is very important as you can make a bad design look good with colour but you can not make bad colour look better with a good design.

How did the Bloomsbury Gardens Collection all begin?

When I started to design the current collection I used the area I live in which is Bloomsbury as a starting point. It’s a part of London with a rich cultural history. Home to the Bloomsbury set, the British Museum, University College London and Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The area also has some of the finest garden squares in London and an abundance of beautiful domestic architecture.

I found the Bloomsbury set a particularly rich source of inspiration and found myself
looking at Charleston, the country side house belonging to Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, with its unique interiors all hand painted and stencilled in wonderful soft yet intense hues. Along side this I researched the Omega Workshops the design collected started by Roger Fry. From this point I broadened my search for visual imagery and looked with the Liberty Archivist Anna Buruma at designs from this period. Then I began to redraw and put into repeat some of these designs. I also developed new prints based on my research. After numerous colour ways and incarnations of various designs I completed the collection.

How did you decide on the print names?

The prints were all named after various writers, artists and designers belonging to the Bloomsbury set.

What is your favourite design and colour palette?

My favourite two designs are Lytton and Copeland as I think they most represent the feel of what I was trying to create.

What will your next project be?

I am very interested in looking into the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh Architect and Designer. I am planning a trip up to Glasgow and will also looking at Art Nouveau and de Stijl imagery from the archive

Bloomsbury Gardens – A closer look at how each of the prints came about

Lytton: An archive print created for Liberty in 1933, chosen and re-worked to represent a design of sketchy flowers and leaves dominated by outlines on a hand painted screen by Duncan Grant.

Dorothy: A design of floating flowers and abstract shapes amidst a large area of coloured blotch representing a fabric created by Duncan Grant called ‘Grapes’ upholstered on to Venetian chair backs. The design was originally created for Liberty in 1937 by Pierre Bres.

Catherine: A design inspired by a decorated abstract screen painted by Duncan Grant in the 1930s, the screen resided in the studio, a place where visitors always found something new and exciting. Catherine was originally created for Liberty in 1969 and printed in 1971.

Dance: This print represents silhouetted white florals on a darker ground painted on a screen by Duncan Grant in 1932, daisies on Duncan Grant’s bedroom door and painted on wall panels by Vanessa Bell in Clive Bell’s study. The design has been re-worked from a print created by Jack Prince in 1991 and used in the Fashion Fabric collection in 1993.

Copeland: This design was originally printed at Merton and designed in 1965 by Colbertaldo Dinzl, the design was selected to represent the bouquets of florals on more traditional upholstery within Charleston.

Garnett: Originally printed at Merton in 1971 represents the spontaneity of the painting and works of art covering the entire house at Charleston.

Virginia: Created by Sholto Drumlanrig, this design was inspired by the walled garden at Charleston. Vanessa Bell describes the garden in Spring as ‘a lovely moment, much more so than the summer and I wish I could paint it.’

Leonard: Created by Sholto Drumlanrig and inspired by a one coloured floral sprig on a hand painted box in the spare bedroom at Charleston.

Bell: Originally created in 1963 by Thalia Perceval and printed at Merton was chosen to emulate the beauty and simplicity of the stencilled paisley wallpaper designed by Vanessa Bell at the end of the war in the garden room.

Charles: Designed by Sholto Drumlanrig, this print is inspired by a checked chair throw in Maynard Keynes’s room.

Woolf: Designed by Allan Thomas in 1977 for the Liberty Fashion Fabrics collection in 1979, the design portrays the dots and square edges of decorated furniture in Vanessa Bell’s bathroom and a large pine cupboard in the studio decorated by Richard Shone in about 1968.

Feeling inspired to get started on your first project? Find the new fabric collection in store on the 3rd floor or shop online here.

Prices are £14 per metre.

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