Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: December 2014

  • Memories From Monograms

    I have memories as a child of my mum sewing in my navy RACHEL GREENFIELD labels, into every particle of my school uniform. Once she was done and folded up them up, my clothes felt special and all mine! My daughter has adopted the same labels and fonts for her own clothing line, except in red as she was very attracted to the sheer simplicity. (Lilyashwell.com)

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    I've learnt that after the Second World War, women took it as their duty to signify the unity of their family by monogramming items throughout the home, after years of such loss.

    Though my mum wasn't a monogrammer I do recall her great appreciation when she came across monograms amongst bags of fabric scrap she would buy. Up until today initials of others served little purpose to others, but now regardless of the initial, the sheer workmanship and design are often so appreciated they are reworked into new items for their sheer design element, such as vintage lampshades, pillows etc.

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    These were Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic pillows with silk embroidery designed a couple years ago. An inspiration from Marie Antoinette who in her day would adorn her world with her initials on everything, as though once done, was like her stamp of approval.

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    I've long appreciated back stamps on the undersides of fine china, a printed monogram of sorts. Many have been the source of inspiration for me for new logos.

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    You can see the parallels of the influences of different elements into my world over the years. From rubber stamps to woven work, depending on need or budget.  But all of my logos collectively have a common thread of history from days gone by.

    Today monogramming has made a comeback in the homogenized world of commerce. Even though I pride myself that our shabby chic gifts themselves are special, whether to welcome a baby, commemorate an occasion such as an engagement or anniversary, I am happy a company as small as ours has worked out the logistics that we can offer to personally monogram anything that is monogramable.

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    Our most popular request, of course, is to personalize our towels and bed linens. Nothing is quite as special with that final adornment. But we will monogram anything monogramable including aprons, tote bags etc. While we offer threads of blue, neutrals, reds, I typically gravitate to the quiet bling of silver thread. So very special!

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    I have always been attracted to the detail and gesture of words in general incorporated into art. Whether as a meaning or the pride of a manufacturer giving their product their stamp of credit. Embroidery, decal, hand painted all have their own charm and when used in art form can be captivating daily reminders, that can truly change our days.

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  • Beauty By Way Of Watercolour...

    I have always loved the medium of watercolour. I love its’ ethereal quality and how it has a subtle little mind of its own. The artist can apply intention, but the colour will flow the way it will, and that feels like a medium with its own heartbeat.  Whenever I see floral or landscape watercolour sketches I always grab them.  They are powerful but quiet little decorative accents.

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    Kim McCarty is an all-time favourite artist friend who once told me for every painting she is satisfied with, there are many that don't make it to view, as she can only control so much of how the watercolour paint will finally land on her paper.

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    My mum loved to work with watercolour in her paintings,  its also one of the mediums Lily likes to use along with inks.

    lily in studio ****

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    My inspiration for design comes from all over, sometimes directly, sometimes in a more abstract form. This year, amongst all our floral print “super stars", I wanted to introduce a "co-star", that might always be in the background, but a vital part of the story, and the "watercolor stripe" was born, for duvets, upholstery and napkins.

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    I considered the Shabby Chic palette range of pink, blues and neutrals, and due to my "blue, grey" mode, I settled on an ombre watercolour feel. As simple as the napkin looks, it actually was a complex design to give the illusion of the hi’s and lows of the stripe, quite different than if I had just printed a solid colour… so the simple little magical “co-star” now sits beautifully nestled in with the floral star of the show.

    Not forgetting our Shabby Man and a great favourite for kids too, stripes have a long standing home at Shabby Chic.

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