We had a sunny Sunday at the Barbican to visit the Magnificent Obsessions exhibition the other weekend.
I love the space of 1960s architecture.. There are plenty of areas left unaccounted for which gives you space to move and allows for emptiness, something that is becoming a rarer idea in public spaces.
My childhood weekends were spent on my nan’s estate- The Worlds End in Chelsea which is a housing complex made up of high and low rise flats. There was a nursery and primary school, playgrounds and an arcade of shops including the first delicatessen I had ever seen and whose cured pungent meats hanging up used to terrify me. We had endless corridors to run around and lifts to race each other to various floors. As a teenager we spent all our time at the Southbank where we had a similar feeling of space as we wasted hours around this neglected concrete structure. This was when the Southbank was fairly disregarded so you could climb the stairwells to all sorts of unused and forgotten areas. When the weather was too cold and we had run out of money for cider we would hang around in the National Theatres nooks and were never found by grown ups.
Now that every public space has to include areas to buy coffee and residential buildings have small windows and fake balconies the buildings of the 1960s seem almost decadent.

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New Rocker..

We were really chuffed to see our new Rocker featured in the Sunday Times Home section this weekend.
SB03-4 Rocker in Kvadrat fabric and London Plane wood. Price £1,950.
Available now.

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Our new furniture. Part 1.

Our SB02 is now available..
Influenced by the pew bench seating of churches, this seating is designed to maximise space by creating a versatile piece of furniture that can be used in lobbies, as well as working well with dining tables in a restaurant. There are various options within the range such as the addition of a back, a choice of 2 seats or 3 seats and finishes ranging from raw to bold colour stains. A Pew chair is also available.
To view these please email to visit our workshop or come and see us at Clerkenwell Design Week in May in the Farmiloe Building.

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Fieldwork Kits..

Fieldwork was set up Curtis James to help businesses understand how they work and to see if there are ways of improving this. We have worked with them on various projects in the past and so it was really great to be asked by Fieldwork to illustrate their DIY kits which they send out to clients.
Stanley James Press designed and made the kits and I was commissioned to draw some illustrations and also for more projects for Fieldwork in the future.
The results are very considered and beautifully made.
We look forward to working with Fieldwork and Stanley James Press on many more projects..

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Computer Eyes..

I have talked before about some of my favourite artists before such as the work from the Alleged Gallery- Steve Powers, Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee. I love reading and writing and any art form that manages to incorporate clever words and imagery is something I am interested in. I never tire of the primitive yet heartfelt Mexican Votive paintings or the power of Barbara Krueger’s bold and graphic work.
I think this is why I read so many graphic novels- Drawn and Quarterly publications are always a good read and something I revisit constantly to keep me sane. I am fascinated by the combination of these two arts forms working alongside each other.
However I am becoming increasingly mystified by popular poster art that is available in most contemporary shops. These are simple typographic play on words that range from motivational slogans to a one word ‘jolly’.
As screen-printing has become ever more popular combined with the use of computers for graphic art there has been a cold collision of the two. Screen prints are so accurate and precise in their form they might as well have been digitally printed. I was once using a shared studio to screen print and saw the man next to me print an exact replica of a digital image he had created. What is the point?
The beauty of methods is surely in the effect they create? We see this all the time with furniture too- why would you not want wood to look like wood?
As well as the finished technique there is the content to these typographic pieces. When I was little our local bakers and chip shop were filled with signs ‘please don’t ask for credit as this often offends’ or ‘you don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps’. Now our computer world is filled with social media streams of self help and motivational slogans. Contemporary and accessible art prints are all happy slogans to put up on our walls to not offend the children. Every retail outlet is full of greeting cards of a similar bland agenda.
It seems our brains have been zapped of a capacity to ponder anything for longer than three seconds anymore.
Our homes are ridiculously clean and clutter free with bright simple prints on the wall.
I like to think as a designer we make things to make our world more enjoyable but I am also quite happy surrounded by dusty books and pets and stuff and I like my home and art to make me think- it’s a home that generates ideas even without pictures of my family everywhere and ‘Love’ hanging off every door handle.

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Making stuff..

Our new designs are coming along and we are pleased as always to work on collaborations with other good people..

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So far..

We have made a dining table for a friend.. Have some new retailers including Devoted to.. At the Redbrick Mill(pictured here) and Kukka. More are in the pipeline and to be announced soon..
Our bespoke/interiors work is continuing as well as press coverage for design work we completed for the zero waste restaurant Silo.
We have new screen prints and wallpaper and more designs launching at Clerkenwell Design week in May which we are really excited to be taking part in.
Fingers crossed for a fun and exciting year ahead..

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Happy New Year..

We have had a lovely rest and are looking forward to our busy year ahead.. We hope you have a very happy year.

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New prints..

I grew up in the suburbs of West London, it was a transient town and one in which I always felt very different from the other families who worked at the airport. My childhood living amongst semi detached houses and concreted over front gardens has always been a key influence to my work and has carried through my screen prints to wallpaper designs for Baines&Fricker.
Growing up in a artistic and alternative home as a child but surrounded by the ordinary of suburban life has created a fascination with our obsession to fit in.
Cake, pets and buildings feature heavily in my work.
Please don’t go to the suburbs..

These prints and more available now..

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Steve Powers. Brooklyn..

One of the best things we did in New York was visiting the Steve Powers studio and shop in Brooklyn. I have mentioned before how inspired we are by the Beautiful Losers documentary and one of our favourite artists from this group is Steve Powers. We spent lots of money on a really good screen print and also met Steve Powers and talked about Coney Island and Morrissey..

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New York Streets..

No matter where you go in New York you seem to get a real feel for it..

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New York apartment..

We went to New York last week and were lucky enough to stay in my friends apartment.. It is a beautiful flat in Upper West Side and it was so good to have such a nice place to relax in the evening after long days pounding the streets..

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New Projects.. Silo

We recently completed a design and build for the first UK zero waste restaurant Silo in Brighton. We used the philosophy of the food to design a space that uses materials already in abundance and recycled existing unwanted materials. We believe in considering the often overlooked and so this project was perfect for us.

As well as Silo we have been working on many other commercial projects and clients homes. These projects are exciting and varied and a real chance for us to show our passions.

It is very a different way of working compared to when we work on our own designs as Steve and I think very similarly but working for clients to achieve what they want takes more time and figuring out.. Once a project is completed there is real sense of achievement all round for the clients and us.

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Win a Baines&Fricker SB01-1 Chair.

We are giving away a Baines&Fricker SB01-1 chair!
The winner can choose which colour they would like the painted underside. This design is one of our classic and original pieces.
All you have to do is follow and pin your favourite designs by Baines&Fricker on Pinterest.

To pin your favourite products from the Baines&Fricker range on Pinterest and be the winner of a SB01-1 ply chair..
STEP 1. Follow Baines&Fricker on Pinterest

STEP 2. Browse our ‘We made this’ board.
Pin your 8 favourite products.

STEP 3. Don’t forget to tag each pin #bainesfricker
so we can find you!

Happy pinning!

The winner will be messaged via Pinterest or email.

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New screen print. Sunlounger. Hand printed on A3 200 gsm paper. £30.
They will be on the website later this week.. Please email me for wholesale.

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Container Units..

New screen print. Container Units. Hand printed on A3 200 gsm paper. £30.
They will be on the website later this week.. Please email me for wholesale.

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London Design Week..

This year we have taken on a new studio and workshop and lots of big exciting jobs. As well as this we have launched our new designs for 2014.
For these reasons we are having a break from London Design Week.. However we will be launching our new cushions with Dowse shop at Design Junction and a collaboration with the very lovely Thorody at Design Junction.
Please let email us to receive a catalogue of with our new designs or visit Design Junction to see our collaborations..

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My mum..

For a number of years we have been trying to comprehend my mothers increasingly baffling behaviour. This has ranged from rudeness to ignoring friends and family, incontinence, loss of interest in her favourite pastimes, loss of inhibitions and most recently a general lack of empathy or emotion and inability to carry out day to day tasks such as cleaning, hygiene and eating properly.

That’s the list that I have repeated over and over again to medical professionals but who lack the insight into my mum and who she was. She was my best friend in the whole world, we would talk and see each other most days and never run out of stuff to talk about. She read voraciously sometimes 4 or 5 books a week. She was extremely stylish and would spend hours shopping and talking about clothes and aesthetics. She was sharp as a knife and witty. She would character assassinate someone within minutes of meeting them. I was always so proud she was my mum because she was so different from the other mothers, she taught me to think differently and to have interests and to contradict and conflict my ideas and aesthetics. She was unpretentious but cultured.
When my daughter was born 6 years ago they formed a strong bond, which despite all this is still apparent when they are together even though my mum is not able to look after as she once did.

The changes have happened slowly over the years, with moments of her seeming okay and this is why it has baffled and frustrated us. It has been difficult to pinpoint when it begun and often the symptoms would fluctuate and with these bazaar changes have come our feelings of sometimes anger, embarrassment and frustration. Muddled with years of no diagnosis or reason we have spent so many days and sleepless nights going over the possibilities of what it could be. It is hard to not feel immense hurt after crying and pleading at her to be better and to try. These were the hardest times as she would show no emotion to our upset.

It is so exhausting to go various medical appointments and be told she has depression or worse old age. One of my lowest points was taking her to see a counsellor- a referral from our GP and the councillor told me she was just getting older. I walked home, shut the front door and actually screamed the house down. This is a memory that still reduces me to tears now. I was so angry that he saw her as the messy, bland woman in front of him and had dismissed my letter beforehand telling him all about my mother.

Two huge results of this illness were firstly my mum lost her job of over 10 years as a bookshop manager, they understood that she was ill and were sympathetic but at her last meeting before she was dismissed I sat with her as they listed all the basic tasks she had been unable to carry out over the last few years. She just talked about our GP being related to a famous puppeteer.
The other big change was after 40 years of marriage to my father they separated. To some this may seem mean but my father had lived for many years with a person who could not give him any love, affection and minimal interaction and there didn’t seem to be concrete reason why. I don’t think it is possible to understand what it is to live like that.

So finally after many, many years and referrals, set backs and lost appointments my mum received a brain scan which showed a large tumour in her frontal lobe- a benign meningioma. This is a slow growing, non-cancerous brain tumour.
She will be undergoing brain surgery tomorrow.
The risks are minimal but the outcome is not clear. It is unlikely to get worse but whether any of her old self comes back is a matter of a very slow recovery and patience. These wart-like growths cause lots of scarring over the years and the damage they do is irreversible.

There is a sense of relief now we know what it is and now we can access services to help assist with her day to day care.
However nothing will ever bring her back completely and I have had to mourn the loss of my favourite woman every day. It has pushed our family to the limits at times when we have taken our frustrations and hurt out on each other.

So I will continue to keep a picture of my beautiful mother by my bed to remind me what she was before and I will continue to fight every day for her to make sure she has a decent life because that was what she did for me and my brother, she fought for us. She was our passionate and feisty Italian mother and nonna.

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Holiday Time..

Being self employed makes having a holiday really tricky, you have to plan time off and its very difficult when lots of the work you do is reliant on other peoples schedules. You can be sure that a job you have been waiting on will finally be ready to commence around the time you’ve booked your holiday.
This got me thinking about the pros and cons of being self employed and some of it specifically in the furniture/interiors industry..

You can’t just ‘take time off’.. For births and deaths in our family Steve has been working. In significant times if there is a deadline and/or you really need to finish a job to get paid to pay a bill then you have to work, whatever the situation.

Making new designs costs money- There is a great demand to always be producing new ideas but this takes time and money to do. New designs can take days and days to make(labour costs) and money to buy the materials. Often if you are working alongside a manufacture such as printers there is a minimum order so you often have quite large overheads before your designs are even launched. Then photographed, publicised etc..

Finding a retailer. This is one of the most difficult aspects as it is very hard to find stockists. Even when you have worked with a retailer it does mean that the relationship is a continuos one. Some don’t even acknowledge an email and you may have even had meetings and sold with them before.
Retailers also work on a ‘trend’ basis which can be tricky as this isn’t usually how a designer works.

People ripping you off.. Don’t ask..

Being poor.. We have been so terribly poor at times that we have had to rely on family to help pay bills. Any self employed person will tell you that an invoice is rarely paid on time.. This can be crippling.

When we argue we still have to work/eat dinner together.

Doing what you love.. There is nothing we would rather be doing.

We get to talk about what we like all the time. Our job is a way of fulfilling what we are interested in.

We don’t have to go to ‘nonsense’ meetings for health and safety/team building etc.

Most of the time we get to pick who we work with.

We don’t have to go on work ‘dos’.

Get to work with my best friend.

So even though it can be really really tough sometimes and difficult not to take it personally when its your own business..
We know what we want to make and have a strong vision and many ideas which we hope will stand the test of time.

So we are off on holidays on Friday and to catch up with some good people. As with every year we go away the last few days are fraught trying to finish work, until the long drive west is done and the first sip of alcohol is had.

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New Workshop and Studio..

Our new workshop and studio space is finally taking shape.. After many many months of paperwork and solicitors we moved into our empty shell and set to work building a studio mezzanine level for office, storage and screen printing. Downstairs we have a large space for making furniture.
It has been many months of stress but we are finally getting there..
We shall be having an opening party soon so make sure you are on our mailing list to receive your invite!

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