Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A sneak preview of what's coming soon!

We have been busy taking photographs of new and exciting UK designers wanting to come on board with us and as we wait to finalise all the details and upload them, we thought we'd give you a sneak preview. Above is a taste of Sarah Fairbourn's wonderful range of hand-crafted furniture for children. Below (left to right): gorgeous hand-finished prints by Sweet Dimple and pretty cotton accessories handmade by Hopscotch including adorable aprons, bunting and lots more. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

In the studio with Holly Ross

New graduate designer, Holly Ross, creates magical and highly individual pieces of porcelain lighting that are a real favourite at Lasso the Moon. She joined us a few months ago (check out her range by clicking here) and from day one our press contacts have been hugely interested in her work. We think she's an exciting new design talent and thought you might like to get to know her a little better...

What's the passion in your work? I specialise in fine bone china lighting, I aim to create intriguing interior worlds, exploring the interplay of light and the translucency of bone china. I seek to create light forms for anyone wanting a unique piece for contemporary interiors. Having graduated with a BA (hons) Applied Art & Design last year, this has given me the confidence and the contacts to start a business doing what I enjoy!

Where and how do you work? I am currently working from home and putting together my own workshop here to produce my pieces. I work on a small scale batch production, where I will be working on one piece as another is casting ready to work on the following day and so forth.

Best bit about what you do? I absolutely love working with fine bone china, having spent a lot of time getting used to its brittle nature and finding ways to play around with its extreme translucency. It’s so exciting when a piece has had its first firing and I can get it under the light and watch it come to life.

Hardest part? Well, I guess I’ve already answered that when mentioning its brittleness but I’ve found ways to work with this. There can be unavoidable problems when casting or firing at times too. The firing problems are the most devastating when you’ve been working away for hours on a piece and you expect it to be perfect.

Fav piece on LTM and why? This is very hard as there are so many beautiful pieces but I think I have to say the Lost and found handmade elephant by The Vintage Magpie. It’s just so adorable with its sad little face and I love all things cute and cuddly.

Fav LTM designer and why? I would have to say Lucianna Gallucci (see her medium jar, £30, below). I love the simplicity of her work and I like that she leaves the seam line on her pieces, it adds to the beauty of the work. I really like the little illustrations on her pieces too.

Who are your design influences? I’ve always been fascinated by Chris Wight’s work, I can’t begin to think of how he achieves most of his pieces from such a difficult material like bone china. He’s one of those artists who is an inspiration to try things you wouldn’t believe to be possible. I have also been influenced by Bodil Manz, who works with porcelain, getting it very near paper thin. She applies decals on either side of cylinder forms; they are so incredibly thin though that you see light and shadows through both walls of the piece.

Fav place to eat in UK? I love Oriel, a restaurant on Poole Quay where I live. They have a great menu that makes it very hard to choose.

Fav place to stay in UK? I do love going up to London for an occasional visit but I have to say I loved staying in the Torbay area, my favourite place to visit whilst there was Totnes. A beautiful place with many arts and crafts shops, markets and tearooms, in particular, Grey’s Dining Room. They had the best cream tea I’ve ever tasted and served with very British looking floral chinaware, just made it even more of an experience.

Fav possession of all time? I collect silver pill boxes and I’ve had many of these given by family on important birthdays like my 18th and 21st, so the whole collection means a lot to me.

Best piece of advice ever given? I can’t think of one bit of advice in particular but just throughout university being given tips and ideas on how to keep my sketchbook and work. You can often have an idea and go head first into it just seeing the positives, you sometimes need someone to tell you it’s not working or to give their opinion. It’s really helped me to step back and think about something before going full out on an idea.

What’s your latest guilty pleasure? I really like Glee, which I know people will sigh about and yes it’s completely cheesy but I still love it and there’s something addictive about it.

Monday, 4 April 2011

From Nicky with love

If, like us, you are passionate about supporting the very best of British, you may well be familiar with Nicky Sherwood's fantastic From Britain with Love website already. Packed with information and ideas on great local suppliers of quality produce of all kinds as well as special places to stay and visit, FBWL is a real favourite of ours.
So much so, that we invited Nicky, who lives in St Margaret's in Surrey, to write a guest blog and to share with us some of the things closest to her heart.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

NS: My guilty pleasure is... crochet! Ok, so it’s not exactly rock ‘n’ roll, but I did become slightly obsessed after learning how to do it for one of our Course Notes features last year. Before long, I was trawling YouTube for video tutorials and whipping up granny squares into the early hours – my husband said I was addicted to ‘crack crochet’. But with a 4 year old, a 12 week old baby and a business to run I don’t have a lot of spare time these days, so it does feel like a bit of an indulgence every time I reach for my bag of wool. Bring on the next fix...

Lasso the Moon favourites?

NS: I adore the ‘Buddy’ patchwork baby blanket by Smitten - I saw it in your latest newsletter and fell in love - definitely on my wish list for my new baby! I also love Maggie Williams’ glass cupcakes... I visited her studio in Cornwall last year and have a little collection of them displayed on a cake stand on my kitchen windowsill – they look so pretty with the sunlight shining through them.

Favourite UK place to eat?

NS: I’d have to say it’s British coffee shop Ginger & White in Hampstead, which my sister co-founded. They serve the best coffee in London (not that I’m biased of course!) and all their food is sourced from British farms and producers. It’s a wonderful place for brunch – they make their own granola and even homemade peanut butter, and it’s very child friendly too. They’re about to open a second shop in nearby Queen's Park – I just wish they’d open one a bit nearer to where I live!

Favourite UK place to stay?

NS: My mum lives on a farm in North Cornwall and I love that part of the world so we try to get down there as often as we can. My four year old son loves to feed the chickens and collect the eggs for breakfast, pick fresh veg for his dinner from the kitchen garden, see how honey is made from the bee hives, and bake treats with grandma in the Aga... it’s real ‘Good Life’ stuff! We also love to pop down to nearby Port Isaac on a Friday evening where you can stand on the beach with a drink and listen to the (now world-famous) Fisherman’s Friends singers perform traditional Cornish sea shanties as the sun sets over the harbour – that takes a lot of beating!

Most cherished possession?

NS: I’m rather fond of my collection of vintage children’s books. My husband is a keen (ok, obsessive!) antiquarian book collector, so realising I’d be spending quite a lot of my married life in dusty bookshops, it was a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ and I started collecting these beautiful Victorian children’s books with decorative spines. I’ve got a few hundred of them now - they’re fun to collect as they usually cost under ten pounds, so you can snap them up without feeling too guilty. I still think it’s pretty amazing that you can buy something that’s over 100 years old for the same price as a modern paperback!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Passion, Karren Brady and bears on wheels!

The lovely Nicky Sherwood of From Britain with Love is someone who shares our passion for UK design. We enjoyed a really good lunch at her local Italian deli, Zoran's (above) in St Margaret's a few weeks ago and the time flew by as we shared stories of the ups and downs of setting up our own businesses. The common factor for us both was how strongly we believe in what we do.

Nicky's directory website is an invaluable source of great ideas for things to do, eat, drink, buy and more from around the UK. We discovered the most adorable range of antique looking animals made by Sarah of Northfield Primitives. We love her Bear on wheels! Lasso the Moon is proud to be listed there too (visit our listing by clicking here) and we have invited Nicky to write a guest blog for us which she is putting together now. We'll share her thoughts with you when we have them.

A week or so after meeting Nicky, I took part in a hugely inspiring business masterclass with Karren Brady (above) from The Apprentice in Guildford. It was interesting to hear how much of what Nicky and I discussed came out loud and clear from Karren too; that the idea behind the business has to be good but then it's all about leadership, grit and focus. Sheer determination is what creates a successful business from a good idea. Determination is something Nicky and I also have in common, I think. We've both fielded work calls whilst looking after a sick child, sat down to do some work in the evening once homework is done, school bags packed, babies asleep... and found ourselves still there in the early hours. The lovely Donna who takes most of our photography often uses these quiet hours when the children are asleep too, I notice, from the ungodly hour on many of her emails!

Monday, 28 February 2011

As lovers of all things good and local, we think Rebecca Gaunt's wonderful website This is Your Kingdom (TiYK) is a real find. An insider's guide to lovely local things to see and do in the UK, TiYK encourages us all to live and love local by celebrating and raising awareness of local people, places and produce.

Laura wrote a guest blog for them last month all about her love of West Wittering beach in West Sussex. In return, we thought you might like to hear from Rebecca (below) about her insightful thoughts following a recent Red magazine networking event for women in business:

‘A couple of weeks ago my TiYK partner, Hannah, attended Red Magazine’s first networking event which bought together an impressive gathering of business women including Jo Malone, Sarah Curren of mywardrobe.com and Joanne Matthews of Ten Pilates. It was a lovely informal evening, with plenty of advice, inspiration and enthusiasm shared among a room full of women who have either taken the plunge or are planning to set up on their own.

'Part of the discussion that evening focused on the importance of developing a strong USP for your business, which got us thinking about what we look for when trying to distinguish one business from the next. The thing we kept coming back to in our ponderings was the importance of the story behind the business – the ‘about us’ page we always turn to first when scouring the web for lovely discoveries.

'It’s so true! When thinking about all of the brilliant, small independent businesses we have featured on TiYK since we launched – it is, without doubt, the people and the provenance that make these businesses unique and special.

'From small cafes selling talk-of-the-town homemade cakes to independents stocking locally hand-crafted pieces – what sets these enterprises apart is the fact that each and every one has been created with love and care by someone whose values and personality are clear to see and resonate throughout their business.

'And at risk of sounding somewhat cheesy now, sharing is exactly what TiYK is all about – the sharing of values, of knowledge, of locality and community. Whether it’s on behalf of independent businesses showcasing homegrown talents or local consumers passionate about provenance, we simply play a lovely part in encouraging and facilitating it.'

We couldn't agree more! At lasso the moon we know very well just how inspiring and exciting it is to come across fantastic individual designer/makers who are putting their heart and soul into what they do... and then be able to help that person's business grow.

We'd love to hear what you think about this so get in touch!

If you would like to share your favourite local thing with TiYK, and be in with a chance of winning a weekend in a fabulous eco dome in Wales, why not enter their writing competition? They would love to hear from you about your favourite local places to eat, drink, walk, think, potter, ponder…

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

exciting new graduate designer

It's wet and drizzly outside but when the latest batch of finished images came through from Donna, our photographer, it felt as though the sun had come out. These very special lighting pieces are made by one of our new graduate finds, Holly Ross, and her collection will be online soon. It's so exciting to find such raw and immense new talent and then be able to showcase that talent using top quality product photography.
How gorgeous is this little bird cage with its dangly jewels?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Inspired by Orla Kiely

I've been enjoying dipping into the lovely hardback Orla Kiely book my husband bought me for Christmas. He knows me well and my obsession with fabric and design. There's little I like better than heading out on a cold and frosty morning with my good friend Sam to root around for vintage treasures. She's a graphic designer and we share a passion for spotting the jewels amongst the tat. We have so much fun - we will never forget the day we opened a pretty vintage tin to see what was inside and discovered a set of false teeth (well worn!).
Like this passage from Orla's book and couldn't agree more:

'Browsing through market stalls or in a charity shop is a good exercise for any designer. Because presentation isn't generally a key consideration, you have to develop a keen eye to find the treasures among the less desirable items. At the same time, the fact that often prices are rock bottom means that your choice or selection is not biased by the perceived value that a high price tag confers. Instead you have to learn to trust your taste and judgement - to feel the fabric to gauge its quality, or to examine the way a table is constructed. Most importantly, markets are great sources of reference material for colour ideas, patterns, silhouette and line.'