Spotlight on: British textile designer Vanessa Arbuthnott

We take a look at the latest fabric and wallpaper collections from the talented British designer.

THE COMPANY When former nurse and primary-school teacher Vanessa Arbuthnott took it upon herself to attend a part-time surface print course at art college in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1988, it reignited a passion for creativity she had been fostering for many years. Eventually she took the plunge to go into business and, in between bringing up four children with her husband Nick, started up her Cotswolds-based mail order fabric company in 2000. Fast-forward 15 years and Vanessa now runs a successful business offering fabric, wallpaper, oilcloth, floorcovering, upholstered furniture and made-to-measure quilts. In 2012, she published her first book, The Home-Sewn Home, packed with make-your-own soft-furnishing projects and earlier this year she opened up her first shop in Cirencester.

THE COLLECTIONS Last season, Vanessa launched two new collections: a range of four easy-to-live-with fabric designs called New Wovens, and five wallpapers based on her most popular fabric prints. New Wovens features four versatile striped designs (Baltic, Lapland, Nordic and Scandi), each in a choice of two colourways, and all made from beautifully soft 100% linen, priced at £55 per m. They’re ideal for everything from cushions to curtains and even upholstery. The new wallpapers feature a toile, two trailing florals, a trellis design and a delicate spot pattern, each of which comes in a choice of up to four colourways, priced from £48 to £52 per roll.

Up The Garden Path in Teal, £52 per roll, Wallpaper and Wallcovering collection, Vanessa Artbuthnott.

Gypsy Garland wallpaper in Saffron, £52 per roll; cushions made in (from left) Gypsy Garland, Lapland Stripe in Dove, Scandi Stripe, Simple Ticking and Gypsy Garland, all from £45 per m, Vanessa Arbuthnott.

This season, she has launched two new charming collections, aptly named ‘Birds & Beasts’ and ‘Harris Tweed’ which may be diverse in their design, with one being printed and the other woven but are still extremely complimentary and reflect the classic Arbuthnott country style. Plus it seems it’s a family affair as the collections have both received the invaluable input of Vanessa’s two daughters, Rose and Flora.

Curtain: Pencil pleat heading: Fern & Dragonfly in Raspberry DG-2, £46 per m and leading edge in plain duck egg PLAIN-8, £44 per m. Cushions: Stripe & Dash in Duck Egg, Cornflower SD-8-16, £46 per m; Stripe & Dash in Cranberry SD-12, £46 per m, piped in Plain Smoke PLAIN-30, £44 per m; Wild & Free in Teal, Charcoal WILD-20-38, £48 per m, all Vanessa Arbuthnott.

Danish day bed in Stockholm Stripe in Teal, Tomato, Winter STOCK-20-29-50, £48 per m. Cushions in Pretty Miads in Pigeon, Teal, Winter MAID-19-20-50, £48 per m and Wild & Free bolster with flat ends in Tomato WILD-29, £48 per m all Vanessa Arbuthnott.

WHY WE LOVE THEM Quirky and light-hearted, ‘Birds &
Beasts’ is an enchanting printed collection of whimsical wild animals and African inspired acacia trees designed by Rose as well as depictions of naïve and deliciously plump birds by Flora. Both studied in Scotland, and have obviously inheriated their Mum’s flair for design and use of colour, introducing some new shades in their designs such as Dormouse, Kale, Mallow, Terracotta and Tomato.

CURTAIN: Flop over frill heading: Wild & Free in Kale, Charcoal WILD-27-38 £48/mtr with leading edge in Plain Charcoal PLAIN-38 £44/mtr, flop over frill header in Stockholm Stripe Dove, Winter STOCK-48-50 £48/mtr.

CUSHIONS:
(from left) Tweed Storm TWEED-103 piped in Tweed Bracken TWEED-180 £68/mtr;
Wild & Free in Damask, Brick WILD-28-23 £48/mtr; Tweed Heather TWEED-152 piped with Tweed in Bracken TWEED-180 £68/mtr; Stockholm Stripe in Terracotta, Charcoal, Winter STOCK-26-38-50 £48/mtr; Bird Hop with pleated ends in Kale HOP-27 £48/mtr.

RECTANGULAR HEADBOARD: Tweed Heather TWEED-152
£68/mtr.

QUILT: King size in Stockholm Stripe Terracotta , Charcoal, Winter STOCK-26-38-50 £48/mtr border in Plain Charcoal PLAIN-38 £44/mtr all Vanessa Arbuthnott.

The second of Vanessa’s new collections is the introduction of locally sourced Harris Tweed, scouted out by Rose and a friend on a journey around the Scottish islands in her campervan. So thrilled was Vanessa by Rose’s finds, that she knew straight away the quintessentially Scottish weaves would make a fabulous addition as a collection on their own, as well as the perfect foil to the witty ‘Birds and Beasts’ motifs. We love how well the tweeds compliment the rest of Vanessa’s 13 collections and will be sure to be snapping up one of her beautifully covered notebooks.

In a style that you could define as Anglo-Scandi, Vanessa’s designs from last season combine a relaxed countryside vibe with Nordic simplicity. As a result, they’re ideal for most schemes, from country to contemporary to vintage. What’s more, Vanessa sticks to complementary colour palettes, so mixing patterns from this, or indeed any of her 13 other collections, is child’s play. Just choose a variety of designs in co-ordinating shades, such as Dusky Pink or Buttercup with Dove, and you’ll be on to a winner.

Pretty Maids wallpaper in Dusky Pink and Winter, £52 per roll; cushions made in Up The Garden Path in Dusky Pink and Dove; stool covered in Pretty Maids Dove and Winter; all £48 per m, all Vanessa Arbuthnott.

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The Vanessa Arbuthnott shop can be found at 12 Ashcroft Rd, Cirencester, GL7 1QX. To find out more visit www.vanessaarbuthnott.co.uk

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