In preparation for the assignment, throughout part five I took a few photo’s of textiles in context that I encountered in my day to day life. I’ve included these photographs with some analysis of the textiles in my physical learning log (see pictures below):
I also did the same for some of the photographs I took during my afternoon at Hampton Manor:
Textiles in context: Hampton Manor
Hampton Manor is a ‘country house and restaurant’ situated in the small village of Hampton on Arden, between Solihull and Birmingham. My husband used to work there and it was one of the first places that came to mind when considering an environment where textiles play a key role.
From my last visit to Hampton I remembered that textiles were used to create a sense of luxury and welcome, there were velvet upholstered chairs, silk or satin curtains and bold patterns covering cushions. I asked the current Head of the House, Joshua Oakes, if it was possible to visit to take some photographs and ask questions about their use of textiles. I was kindly allowed to spend an afternoon photographing not only the guest rooms (there are fifteen in total), Peel’s Restaurant, their afternoon tea room and lobby area.
As I went around the Manor, and in the course of my questioning, it became clear Hampton Manor was undergoing a change in terms of it’s aesthetic. It was interesting to discover how important textiles are in creating an new aesthetic and environment which sought to celebrate The Arts and Crafts Movement. In this assignment I want to explore their transition from one aesthetic to another, and touch upon how they are using textiles to reflect values from The Arts and Crafts Movement. I think that the shift towards a ‘hand-crafted’ look within Hampton is part of a general trend against what Guardian Journalist Justin McGuirk called, ” a culture surfeit of branding and cheap mass-produced goods” the end is result is that we, “romanticise the hand made because we yearn for quality not quantity”. McGurik’s article makes the claim that the mass population will not be able to afford the cost of paying for higher quality goods, “we’ll be seeing more crafted industrial goods coming our way, as we lust after craftsmanship we can’t afford and disdain the industrial products we can”. If this is the case, then the luxury sector, and I consider Hampton Manor to be a part of this, may well be the area to champion goods created by a new wave of designer-makers.
I took a truck load of photographs whilst at Hampton, and I’ll include them all in this post purely so it’s clear that I took plenty of primary research before then selecting which were appropriate for the assignment essay…
Primary research ~ photographs of Hampton Manor textiles and environment:
The headboard of this bed was I’m told, a bespoke piece created for Hampton Manor. The room has a very cosy, yet modern feel too it largely created by the textiles. The woollen blankets in rolls on the end of the bed offer extra warmth but also have the feel of natural fibres.
The pink embroidered cushion cover, was made from fabric sold by Morris & Co, formerly run by William Morris. The design; Wightwick Embroidery, is part of their modern collection. On the website for the house they make a point of mentioning the use of Morris & Co fabrics and wall papers;
“Brer Rabbit by William Morris and Morris embroidered cushions feature our Arts and Crafts history in this room.”
Brer Rabbit Wallpaper by Morris & Co, (see photo left), was developed from a fabric of the same name and design which was first developed by the company in 1882. With more contemporary art and the ladder bookshelf the wallpaper is kept from looking to dated or too twee.
I think the use of a woven fabric for the curtains gives a heavier drape, it reinforces the idea of more natural feel in the room. It’s weight gives a good drape and keeps light and nose levels low once closed, which creates a cosy atmosphere.
Another room which has been re-designed to meet a more Arts & Crafts aesthetic or theme, is the Henrietta Maria room. The room struck a balance between featuring fabrics and prints more in keeping with the arts and crafts ideals and some modern elements, for instance the geometric patterned fabric covering the cushions on the bedspread below:
The Brook Wallpaper (see image on left), is another element of design with an Morris & Co origin.
I did a little bit of research around the Morris & Co website, I wanted to try and find out is their fabrics and wallpapers were made with sustainability in mind. Under the blog post titled, Made In Britain, a brief statement is made about their sustainability practices. In short the fabrics are printed in the UK and water is treated to make sure no harmful chemicals make their way into human or ecological systems. At this point it’s worth me mentioning there is an industrial nature to the process involved in digitally printing and the dyeing/treating of their fabrics, they are not ‘hand printed’ per say. Which is interesting in that it’s a marrying of perhaps the image or visuals of the arts and crafts with Industry. Which Christopher Frayling mentions may well be the way forward in terms of Craftsmanship in the 21st Century stating that in this current age, “There are the possibilities of batch production allied to customisation, and the crossovers between the crafts and digital technologies – a way of reuniting the crafts with manufacturing and with ‘industries of one’” (p.142-143).
I wanted to include some examples where textiles have been used to create a different feel or style room which doesn’t seem to fit the arts and crafts look. The Sarah Ireland is their Master Suite and has a distinctly modern, luxury feel.
The Lobby/Reception area:
Velvet fabric covering the sofa’s is possibly made by Sanderson or one of the companies in the Harlequin Group. The closest match I could find was the Hever Stripe.
The Dining Room:
Decorative finishes to The House in Arts & Crafts style:
I should probably mention now that in addition to the primary resource of taking pictures within Hampton Manor I drew on a number of secondary resources when preparing to write my essay, these were as follows.
- A Blog post written by Fjona Duncan about Hampton Manor’s Arts & Crafts heritage; The Palace of Art.
- The collection of essays by Christopher Frayling: On Craftsmanship – Towards a new Bauhaus.
- The Beauty of Life – William Morris & The Art of Design, Edited by Diane Waggoner
- The Morris & Co website.
- Oxford Art Online Article By Alan Crawford; Arts and Crafts Movement
- Justin McGurik’s Guardian Newspaper Online article; The Art of Craft: the rise of the designer-maker.