Friday, 18 July 2014

Sounds of the Working Day

With the weather being so hot this week we have had all the studio windows wide open. We have wonderful views - on the far horizon we look out to the Greenwich Observatory in the East; over to the Cutty Sark and the Naval College in the North East; and around to the towers of Canary Wharf in the North. 

In the nearer distance we see the train and the DLR lines, the Laban Dance Centre and of course Deptford Creek with the beautiful lifting bridge which sits on the Ha'penny hatch between Creekside and Norman Road. So much of the history of Deptford is tied up with the Creek - it was an important Royal shipyard from the 16th to the 19th Centuries and the water must have been full of ships and barges coming and going. Although there are no docks left on the water now, the tidal Creek still has a strong presence and there are odd buildings that point to this history - like this old warehouse across the water with its bubblegum pink door. Gravel barges still unload at a permanent crane on the bridge on Evelyn Street, and the cries of the seagulls remind you that we are just a stone's throw from the Thames on its way out to the sea. 

One of the things I love about working here with all the windows open is all the sounds of activity - the trains coming and going; the saws in the timber yard just across the Creek; the trucks in our neighbouring yards loading and unloading; and far away the sound of planes taking off from City Airport mixing with the gulls. They are noises which if we were at a closer distance would be grating and distracting, but at an arms length create a wonderful productive sense of the the world at work. When we have the loom or the cone winder or the blanket stitch machine going I like to think that we are adding to this pleasing gentle hubbub of activity. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Victory Patterns

Over the last year we have been working closely with Victory Press on all of our graphic print content. Near neighbours of ours in Deptford, they are a small dynamic graphic design and print studio and have been instrumental in the way we present ourselves on paper - they have really upped our game.

One of the things that Victory Press has developed for us is a series of patterns abstracted from the lifting plans or notation we use to plan our weave structures. It is amazing to me that they have taken something so seemingly hum drum as our weave notes and transformed them into such a lovely series of decorative patterns.

The patterns have become a leitmotif which we use across our graphic output - from postcards and pricelists through to packaging. Here they are used on the end papers of a little notebook Victory Press made for us last Christmas. 

A lot of the in-house printing the Victory Press do is on a Risograph press. Looking a bit like an old fashioned photocopier, Riso printing has a lovely quality  '...somewhere between screen print and offset lithography but with a unique aesthetic...'

The image above is of the colour swatches for the different Risograph inks. The intensity of the colour can vary from dense to quite washed out. These basic colours make up the palette for Riso printing - they are overlaid to mix tones resulting in beautiful analogue pixellated effects. Each colour is carried in a cartridge, and multi-coloured prints are run through the Risograph again to build up each additional layer.

Perhaps for me though, the greatest revelation of the last year though has been learning and understanding a little more about paper. It is no surprise to me that the world of paper is just as complex and varied as that of yarns, and Victory Press have really opened our eyes to the infinite subtleties and possibilities.

All images - Kangan Arora