The enjoyment of colour should be part of everyone’s life and if it is colour that a bride wants for her wedding then we can create a gown in any colour that she has a passion to be married in. The traditional white gown often ends up in the back of a wardrobe – not so with one of colour. A colourful wedding gown can be worn many times without being out of place at all sorts of functions.
St. Tewdrics House
St. Tewdrics House is a fabulous venue for a wedding and certainly we had a lovely day there on Sunday for their Wedding Fayre. It was sunny and very lively all day long with an interesting mix of exhibitors from the exotic like Jeff Banks’ very smart men’s wear, Alison Tod’s hats and beautiful flowers by Catherine Gray. I will add more as I remember them although I can’t remember the guy who was tempting us with his pies!
It used not to be that common to have a colour theme for a wedding, but more and more people are wanting colourful weddings. We have made very few wedding dresses in the traditional white or cream. Colour sings of someone’s personality and on the practical side it means that the dress can be worn over and over again. And the mother of the bride should delight in wearing a glowing colour for herself too.
I have focused this first group on the colours of the sea and fresh lime.
We have known Alison for a very long time and it has been a delight to watch her become such a talented bespoke milliner. So in this small country town a mother of the bride can have something made for her that is rare and beautiful from our studios and then get a bespoke hat to compliment her outfit.
Exotic wedding gowns
Mother of the groom
The mothers of the bride and groom are still young enough to look elegant, feminine and it is their day too. Choosing an outfit often seems to be traumatic when it should be fun. It is the best possible excuse for the mother of the groom to re-look at herself and realise that she can still turn heads and so she should.
Wedding hats and flowers
There should be a sense of adventure and excitement in choosing a hat for a wedding – and flowers. Personally I would prefer living plants that I can plant out in the garden as memories but mostly people love their bouquets to be unpretentious and abstract these days intertwined with wild flowers and wispy clouds of babies’ breath.
Grandmothers, sisters, cousins, friends and aunts all enjoying a colourful wedding.
It is becoming more fashionable to have a colourful theme for a wedding – and persuading everyone to wear one colour is sometimes tricky, so giving a broader base of colours that somehow work together is a really good idea. There has to be enough variety that the grandmother, sister, friend, cousin and aunt to be able to find their own distinctive tone of colour.
And my final picture says it all – the maker of the hats – Alison Tod, the flowers – Catherine Gray – and my best friend who was glad to see me home after a long day at St. Tewdrics House.
There will be a new selection in Liberty’s in London in a week ready for Spring celebrations. Not that I can manage to think of Spring when it is so cold here in Wales.
My passion for butterflies and moths was my first thought when a colour scheme of emerald was requested this week. Nature’s colour palette provides us with such an extraordinary variety of colours and shapes. Butterflies and moths show so many that are perfectly beautiful and also can be rather strange. Look at the wings with a microscope and you see the amazing neatly layered tiles of iridescence.
As for the beauty of emeralds – the gemstones – just perfectly glorious colours and rather mysterious in the way the light plays with the different tones of green.
The butterfly shown in this group is one of many with this name – as well as moths. Now for the fabrics:
On the right-hand side is pleated silk that has been painted in tones of emerald and then printed in order to remove the colour in the pattern. It has then been hand pleated.
On the bottom left is a heavy satin painted in rich greens
Centre top is a picture of a section of satin which after being painted has been hand painted with a type of bleach to remove colour.
Pre-Raphaelite art inspiration
My title picture, lady and the roses, is a lovely example of Pre-Raphaelite art. Perfect from which to draw inspiration for our luxury interior art.
The bed cover is made up of squares of silk hand painted and pleated. The backing is a deeper colour on crepe-back silk satin with a gold stripe print.
The cushions are a mixture of cotton velvet double printed. The orange cushion is made out of vintage silk velvet which we printed with a gold design.
The fabric in the bottom left-hand corner is some green damask printed with gold.
Another fine painting by Rossetti – such an amazing clear green dress so beautifully painted.
The main picture shows another piece of pleated silk with a phantom print.
Bottom right are snippets of silk – the bolder print in the centre is ‘shadow printed’ to give the illusion of depth to the gold print. The second is a piece of silk noile that has a daintier print in gold.
The left-hand corner is rich coloured satin in tones of green with highlights of tan.
Nature’s gift of inspiration for textures and colours
We constantly draw inspiration from nature and the texture of these leaves as well as the colours are nature’s gift of art.
Silk hand painted and pleated is the main picture.
Bottom left-hand is satin in deep green with a silver print. The design of this was inspired by acanthus leaves.
What a glorious colour combination in these leaves that have been be-jewelled with raindrops?
The main picture is a small rug created by Georgina using a traditional method of rag rug making, but instead of rags she uses strips of velvet. This is the most sensual rug on which you put your bare feet! A wonderful colour palette of vibrant slashes of emerald green, rich purples and hints of rust turns this rug into what we call ‘floor art’.
The fabrics in the corner are cotton/viscose satin – painted and printed.
I love the colours in the shadows of plants.
The main picture is of the silk pleated bedspread with a mix of emerald green velvet lying on the silk.
Luxury interior textile art
Luxury velvet cushions
Emerald cotton velvet cushions, a silk pleated bedspread, a table cloth in mushroom ‘gill’ coloured satin and a green ceramic panther. The colours are captured in the bevel glass screen made by our daughter Georgina. This adds an interesting dimension of the hard medium of glass to the sensual luxury of the interior textile art pieces.
Painted Bubble art inspiration for interior design
Bubbles intrigue me – the extraordinary way that the colours move in marbled patterns, change emphasis of colour, gradually almost completely disappear and finally pop – it is gone.
The main picture is of a patchwork velvet bedspread made out of many hues of emerald, with touches of purple and golden green.
The silk satin, in the lower corner, is painted in a rainbow mix of muted colours and printed with a design inspired by butterflies and chrysanthemums.
The beauty of emerald as a colour with all it variations are shown in this decadently luxurious bedspread. These bedspreads, bed-covers, throws and comforters, as well as cushions and pillows, can be made to commission in any colour-way to go with a chosen themed interior design project.
The pleated velvet is very difficult to achieve but once done it is really beautiful to wear – it is wonderfully luxurious as a comforter.
We have a large and varied selection of interior art pieces and accessories ranging from very large wall hangings made out of the pleated silk, to bedspreads, throws, cushions, lavender pouches. We are constantly chasing new ideas such as quilted throws and some new experiments with crushed and quilted silks and velvets.
We are always exploring new ways to colour and texture fabrics using craftsmanship rather than the modern way with digital printing and other sophisticated technology. Our work is about the skills of hand-crafting using traditional techniques as a base then pushing out the boundaries by ignoring tradition and taking other routes. There is always something new to learn and develop and we are never averse to making mistakes because those mistakes often lead to a new and exciting process or skill.
For our fashion collection – there is a selection in Liberty’s in London as well as a huge variety at our studios. We welcome visitors who want to see more of what we do and happy for them to ‘play’ with the clothes and fabrics.
The current project has been inspired by an extraordinary gallery in San Francisco introduced to me by a friend. The Zentner Collection specialising in Asian and Oriental Art and Antiques is an amazing place to find oriental inspiration.
Another source of inspiration is from a study of the origins of Liberty’s in London.
For an interior designer who has such a theme then these pieces that we have created will act as a sumptuous foil for exotic oriental antiques and art.
So to help me gather my thoughts I have wandered around our home and taken photographs of bits and pieces. The antiques are either originally from China and Japan, or like the tea-chest something that is inspired by oriental furniture. A number of years ago we went to Hong Kong and bought some interesting artefacts. And Georgina, our daughter, visited China when she was just 18. With our credit card in her pocket she bought some fabulous things that now adorn our home. The crates arrived carrying the carved wooden Tang horse in those lovely faded beaten up colours, the fine cloisonné jars, the carved dogs. Most of all she brought back some enduring memories.
Shown with this Chinese carved wood ‘Tang’ horse is a wall hanging created out of pleated silk. The fabric has been painted and pleated by hand. It is then intricately stitched into abstract swirls of rich gold autumn colours. The same pleated silk fabric has been turned into luxurious cushions.
This group has an extraordinary picture of a veined hydrangea flower – one of Charles’s photographs that is so beautiful in its simplicity.
One idea for this project was to focus on the colours of autumn. These leaves were just outside our back door and they just looked incredibly beautiful so I took a photograph. I then went into the studio to look for colour and texture partners. I was excited to find ones that had textures that would work well with different aspects of Oriental luxury furniture and artefacts. The lower left hand piece of fabric is a new experiment which is crushed evenly, not randomly to give it an interesting dimension. The muted sheen on the fabric works well with unpolished wood. It is not easy to achieve, so there will not be many pieces like these but this piece worked so well with the tones and texture of the leaves.
This is another experiment – however I might never do again because it took many weeks of hand work because all the quilting and beading was done by hand. I have two pieces like this which will be turned into very decadent luxury throws. The little Japanese cabinet is a delight – inlaid with egg-shells, unexpectedly we found this in New Zealand and just had to bring it home.
Choosing the autumn colours as a theme I realised that the ‘Sun’ doll from the opera Iris, that we costumed for Opera Holland Park a few years ago, would make a perfect centre piece for this tableau of gold textiles.
When the sun has almost set it leaves a touch of sunshine on the tops of the grasses that is quite magical.
Interior art inspiration in rocks
The colours in the rocks on the cliffs in Newport West Wales inspired Charles to do a series of photographs. What a wonderful resource of inspiration for our interior art textiles. An echo of colours of tarnished bronze and distressed painted furniture.
Super-yacht interior luxury
For a gentle calm atmosphere – soft weak tea colours and willow leaves echo the delicate colours that a bright pink rose turns as it fades into crumpled petals – so beautiful.
Choosing the screen for this colour theme – the darker shades of celadon – merging into seaweed, old bronze and tarnished silver.
Oriental inspiration – carved jade
Another of Charles’s photographs has the perfect tones of colour for the story of oriental inspiration in carved jade – those delicate tones of celadon with echoes of deeper shadows highlighting the softness of the colour.
Velvet is the most sensual fabric for luxurious throws and pillows – luxury to curl up in.
What exactly is the colour ‘greiges’ – I designed a group of colours a few years ago and in searching for a name I decided on ‘British rail coffee’ – a nasty brew that was a greyish beige colour. The background for this cushion is one of Georgina’s amazing rugs made out of velvet using the traditional rag rug technique. These really are a decadent luxury – delicious for bare feet!
Oriental inspiration – work in progress
When doing the research for costuming the opera ‘Iris’ I found that the Buddhist monks and nuns, who had given up all worldly goods, had nothing to wear other than rags donated by their patrons. If their patron was an ordinary working man – his patched ‘kesa’ would be a patchwork of heavily worn and stressed textiles. However if the patron was a wealthy person, then the kesa would be made, still in patches, but of lavish silk brocades. So our laughing Buddha is wearing a luxurious patchwork of printed silk velvets. I need to study the form again because I seem to remember that the symbolism and order of the patches have special significance. When my memory is refreshed I will add the details to the blog.
I love the richness that a background of black gives to painted lacquer furniture and ornaments.
The request for this project was for colour inspirations from garden flowers. What a delight – my favourite thing is to explore colours that nature gives us along with extraordinary textures. So photographs found of our own garden spaces, the lovely garden at Aberglasney and Charles’s sister Sylvia’s delightfully crammed and colourful garden.
Not exactly garden flowers but the colours that act as a foil for the vibrant or subtle beauty of flowers in unexpected places.
We are bombarded with colour inspirations when by the sea, the sky and the glorious mix of shells thrown up by the waves. So here are a few images of seascapes and our fabrics and interior art pieces that are creations inspired by the sea, sky and shells.
The intense vivid colours of the Mediterranean sea and the coastal gardens brightly spattered with brilliant colours.
New Zealand’s amazingly varied features on land and the glorious sea and coastal beauty is something that you cannot imagine being so perfect until you experience it yourself.
The wild coastal waters of West Wales – stormy seas and summer calm – a different atmosphere every single day.
Unspoilt beauty of remote villages in West Wales. Dramatic sea, wild-life and the contrast of mill-pond days – perfect for inspiring colours and textures.
Working coastal village where fishermen prepare their lobster pots and a textile designer captures the images of their toil to turn into textile art.
Crabs, seaweed, shells, lichen on rust and faded flowers – the muted tones of beachside walks.
Every day, all through the day, the sky and sea display a different picture – breathtaking beauty from which to capture ideas for colours and textures.
A walk along the beach when the tide is out and the wind has ceased its creative work with the sand.
A vies from Charles and Patricia’s bedroom window – imagine waking up to that picture in all its weathered variety every day?
The intriguing shapes and organic swirls in shells have inspired designers throughout time – architectural staircases formed like the centre of a shell, textiles, paintings, ceramics, endless variety of shapes taken from nature.
We are incredibly honoured and proud to announce that Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have accepted our invitation to visit our studios in Abergavenny. They will be visiting us as a part of their annual summer tour around Wales.
This year marks the beginning of a series of celebrations of 50 Years of Charles and Patricia Lester being in business. The celebrations will begin with the visit by Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on Thursday 9th July 2015 when they will be unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.
Their Royal Highnesses are being taken on a guided tour of the Lesters’ studio workshops and gallery at their premises in the old workhouse in Abergavenny. The tour incorporates some of highlights of the journey which began with Patricia selling her handmade children’s clothes in Newport market to dressing some of the most exotic international celebrities and being involved with some very prestigious events in the world.
The exhibition emphasises key turning points in Charles and Patricia’s history so far, their innovative approach to their craft, their values and working ethos as well as the extraordinary heights they have achieved in their 50 years together.
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