Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

  • Creative Collab With Lucy Ledger

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    I have always identified with the beauty in-between the cracks of life, and have always loved leftovers.  That concept has been at the core of Shabby Chic, the idea that "one man’s junk is another man’s treasure", These values can be seen throughout my collections over the years.  In fact, yards and yards of freshly laundered fabric go into cutting a couture slipcover, the little leftovers of fabric are always scooped up and turned into pillows that will sit proudly in many homes.

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    I inherited bags and bags of scraps of ribbons, laces, velvets and silks from my mother. All leftovers from her days of restoring antique dolls. Each little inch is so precious and in need of sharing.  I have been holding onto these treasures waiting for the right project.

    Recently while in London I had the good fortune to meet Lucy Ledger, a talented artist/card maker.  We decided to design a collection of cards using my beloved scraps.  My mum would be thrilled to know some of her bits and pieces were recognized as treasures of value.  I am proud to say, the card collection is now available in stores and online.

    Meet the lovely artist Lucy Ledger, read what inspires her and drew her to this project.

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    Rachel Ashwell: Tell us a little bit about your background as an illustrator and graphic designer?

    Lucy Ledger: I have been an illustrator and graphic designer for just over 16 years. I studied illustration in Manchester, UK and then went on to have a decade long career in graphic design. I founded my own design studio in March 2010 and it has since expanded quite rapidly. My style of working is hand painted elements and patterns married with digital design – I love layering up tactile materials, faded, rustic, distressed and primarily use soft colour palettes. I collect and scan materials and often re-work vintage illustrations and patterns.

    RA: What inspires your work?

    LL: I started my company when my Grandma passed me an old scrapbook containing greeting cards from the early 19th Century. The beauty in the artwork and the precious messages in the cards inspired me to want to create my own designs for people to treasure. Along with the whole notion of nostalgia, my primary inspiration day to day is interior design, I think that’s why I loved the Shabby Chic brand from the beginning, also, I live in an 18th century English cottage and that has helped inspire and evolve my eclectic style of design.

    RA: Where is your favorite place to create?

    LL: I have a small studio in an English village and it’s perfect for me; light bright and airy – I also absolutely love working outdoors where possible, collecting things to scan and photograph, emerging myself with nature and seeing old buidings becoming part of the natural landscape is so inspiring for new designs.

     RA: How did you become interested in this project with Shabby Chic?

    LL: I have always wanted to work with Rachel and felt her interior style and my design style would work really well together. Rachel has been a huge inspiration to me and I have followed her journey from the beginning. Her style of design is just beautiful and effortless but more than that, the Shabby Chic brand has retained a real authenticity – it has stood the test of time and evolved without losing it’s core values and that is something to be hugely admired. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity for us to work together.

    RA: What was your favorite part of the project?

    LL: My favourite part of the project was exploring the history of the precious little scraps and presenting them in a way that documented their part in Shabby Chic history - whether it was from the fabric archives or a little piece Rachel picked up to use purely as inspiration. I’m so happy we could find a way to use the fabrics as they have such a tie to Rachel’s design journey, I think anyone who has followed the brand over the years would love to own one of these little pieces of design history.

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  • Flowers At The Table

    Anyone who knows me, knows I could write a blog for weeks about my love of flowers and how they are at the core of so much of my design work and my personal life... I wanted to share a few photos I snapped, of my use of flowers to decorate place settings.

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    Even one bloom placed in a dish can be a wow at the table.

    What I love about incorporating flowers in place settings is, it’s easy, you don’t need many and I often use leftover flowers, that perhaps have broken stems or are a little wilted.

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    Of course with my rose garden in California, I pretty much have 24/7 roses at my fingertips… lucky me.  But, I’m a big fan of the not so popular carnations, especially for this implementation, as they come in so many colors and their heads sit very properly in a dish or table. And then sometimes, I like to just lay tulips on the table, if they are on their last legs and cant stand up anymore…

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    I have often used complete leftover rose petals to decorate buffet style bowls…  I love nothing more than to use every last scrap of beauty, until there is nothing left… Satisfying beauty.

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  • Summer Beauty Tricks

    Over the years I have compiled my favorite beauty products, that have now become my daily ritual towards my efforts of looking healthy and summery.  I can't take credit for spending too much time researching all the latest beautification products… I find it all rather overwhelming.  But I do have my little Shabby Chic bag of tricks.

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    There are a million products and treatments to choose from… but here are my go to’s.

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    1 - I use my hands too much to expect polish to last too long… but Essie Ballet Slippers is pale enough for the inevitable chips.

    2 - My fair English skin doesn't support sun bathing… especially my face… I find these Kate Somerville nifty (fake) tan towelettes quite wonderful and they prevent those orange palms, often created with fake tanning lotions.

    3 - I have loved Kai Body Lotion forever... one scent… so Malibu.

    4 - Those little lines and bags are creeping up, too much laughter, too much worry... life I suppose. But I find a little tiny drop of Kate Somerville Firming Eye Cream is quite effective.

    5 - And finally, just love Blistex Soft and Lush lip protection....

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    My biggest indulgence of all though, whether I'm at home in Los Angeles or on the road, a trip to Dry Bar for a Mai Tai Blow Out… I am golden and ready to go.   As much as I have tried those "as seen on TV' hair tools and try so hard at blow drying, but it’s just not my thing.  As the years go by, insecurities set in, but I do find the cliche "beauty shines from within" a true statement, so my bag of tricks and reminding myself to also feed my heart and soul, is a good combo I think.

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