Concrete and Dye, Oh My!

…well, not all together, but thought I’d post a couple of unrelated stories to make up for my blogging absence of late (it’s been kind of manic at Styling HQ of late, with Christmas 2010 jobs galore via a Bollywood wedding and Autumnal textured bathroom story – but more on that later). I’ll be posting up reviews of last weekend’s Bust Craftacular and New Designers Exhibition once I’ve finished going through my reams of cards and scribbled notes so do stay tuned!

First up, concrete: as a regular reader of Di Overton’s Designer’s Block blog (one of my fave UK stop-offs for quirky design news) and admirer of Kathy Dalwood of really-cool-things-made-of-concrete fame, I was somewhat excited to read of their recent collaboration on this outstanding range of concrete tassels which, states Kathy, are ‘stunningly realistic pieces created by direct casting from real vintage silk originals – to create a range of striking, one-off, sculptural accessories’. As seen in the pics (take a look at Kathy’s blog post on the making process here), as well as actually functioning as curtain tassels, they can also be used as wall art or just as a lovely decorative thingy to spruce up your space (hmmm, how to justify needing another decorative thingy to the boyf…)

The collection, known as Concrete Ghost, co-incides with the relaunch of Di’s Ghost Furniture website, which I’ve admired for some time (and wrote about in this post on my old blog). Living a somewhat idyllic lifestyle, she regularly travels to the flea markets, passementeries and Brocantes of France to pick up unloved vintage goodies, before promptly whipping them home to Northumberland where she transforms them with a lick of paint, trim of fabric and sprinkling of fairy dust (probably) to create, amongst others, these lovely fellows:

But back to concrete: hankering to have a go at making something with the grey matter yourself but lacking in Kathy’s precision skills?

Then head on over to The Beat That My Heart Skipped, where my organisational and item labelling hero Benita from Chez Larsson has guest written a tutorial for making this personalised bookend using a bag of ready-mix concrete, a small wooden letter and an empty Ferrero Rocher box (hmmmm, how to justify eating an entire tin of dinner party faux-posh choccies in the name of craft to the… oh, OK, you get my drift)

And next, a little ‘that’s sooo 2010’ moment – move over Ikat, there’s a new kid in town. If your opinion of tie-dye consists of painful memories of mixing up tubs of Dylon in the back garden and subsequently sporting oversized, multicoloured, always-slightly-off-centred circular t-shirt monstrosities in an attempt to get into grunge in the early 1990’s (shudder – flashback!) then prepare to be stylishly surprised.

Using the ancient Japanese dying techniques of Shibori, the ladies over at Honestly…WTF have done a spectacular DIY jobby on some leftover clothes and fabric, creating three iconic looks using Arashi, Kumo and Itajime techniques. I have a sudden and desperate urge to buy some crisp white bedding, a tin of indigo dye and a large bottle of bleach (for the aftermath) and get crafty with some garden stones and leftover piping. Or whip up a batch of cushion covers, which I could team with a mustard-hued pom-pom trim. Ooooohhh!!


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About Joanna Thornhill

Freelance Interior Stylist, Author, Writer and Crafter working for a range of magazine titles and commercial clients. Author of Home for Now (CICO Books 2014)

4 responses to “Concrete and Dye, Oh My!”

  1. Di Overton says :

    My oh my what a fabulous post. I know it’s mostly about Kathy and I but you have impressed even me and I have been working on it for months. Thank you so much for this. I will post it with a link on my blog tomorrow. Whilst I am at it I will put you on my blogroll as your blog is a must for my readers. Also I will email this link over to Kathy.
    Thanks again

  2. Stylist's Own (by Joanna Thornhill) says :

    Hello – wow thanks so much for heading over to my little blog, am deeply flattered and am a big fan of yours as you can probably tell. Glad you like, had meant to drop a courtesy email over to say I’d written a post but guess via the magic of the interweb you found me anyway! And thanks for the add, brilliant!xx

  3. kathy dalwood says :

    Hi Joanna,
    thanks for a brilliant post about Concrete Ghost and the colloboration Di and I embarked on – and for giving people a link to my blog. I wonder if any other design bloggers out there have got together to create something in real space like we did -would be interesting to know! It works!!!
    Love your blog and am going to put a link to it on mine pronto!!!
    I love how we can all meet each other like this!

    • Stylist's Own (by Joanna Thornhill) says :

      Thanks Kathy! I’ve been an admirer of your concrete figurines for over a year now since I borrowed one for a shoot from Abigail Ahern’s. And I always find it interesting to read about the behind-the-scenes world of designer makers, fantastic that you and Di have turned it into this real-life collaboration, hopefully many more people will be inspired to do similar!x

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