On the 7th of December, our team brings a curated collection of 55 merchants and makers to Mary Ward House in central London. Our exhibitors sell a range of rare vintage fabrics, covetable haberdashery and skilfully handmade textile treasures. The fair offers the perfect opportunity to meet makers, catch up with old friends, and pick up that special something in preparation for the festive season.
In the lead up to our annual Winter Fair Selvedge features some of the companies that will be joining us. Cambridge Imprint is a small paper-making business in Cambridge, designing and printing patterned paper. The company is a design partnership of painter Claerwen James, textile artist Jane Powell and ceramicist Ali Murphy.
What inspires you?
We take inspiration from far and wide – American quilts, Barron and Larcher block-print fabrics, Uzbek suzani and Japanese paper. The cheerfulness and humour of the printing done by the Curwen Press during its golden age in the twenties and thirties is a touchstone for our patterns, illustration and typography. Recently, finding a back issue of Selvedge with a feature about a V&A exhibition reignited an interest in the glorious colour and inventiveness of the costumes for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
Printing a new design for the very first time. Our designs are drawn onto silk screens by simply blocking out the negative spaces by hand. We mix our own colours in the studio; it’s exciting finding a palette that brings the designs to life.
What are you reading at the moment?
We are steadily working our way through the Persephone Books' back catalogue. We love the end papers: each one a textile printed in the year of the book’s original publication. The books themselves are all great reads, rightly rescued from undeserved obscurity. High Wages, by Dorothy Whipple, a novel about a shop girl who sets up her own dress shop in a northern town, was completely gripping; as was Round About A Pound A Week, a contemporary investigation of household expenditure among the working poor in Lambeth at the turn of the last century.