Monday, 19 December 2011


If you're not feeling particularly festive this year,and let's face it the future's grim, the future's grey, with predictions that soon we'll all be living a Dickensian existence [coming soon to a high street near you Workhouses R Us], don't feel you have to use our decorations in the traditional way. But as Fagin should have sung- You gotta have a tassel or two-

Image by designer Peter Cline.

So I'll raise my gin in a tin to one and all and say;

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


Eleanor Pritchard used to say she was the only weaver left in Weavers Ward [an area in Bethnal Green]until one day someone turned round and said to her -No you're not. There's another-
I met Eleanor at a meeting at The Orleans House Gallery in Richmond. We got talking, found we were both weavers and then discovered we practically lived next door to each other.
-It's you- Eleanor said -You're the other weaver-
Eleanor designs beautiful, calm luxurious blankets on her George Wood loom [the Rolls Royce of hand looms] that are manufactured at a traditional woolen mill in Wales.
Her latest project along with Phillipa Brock, Woven Textiles Specialist Leader at Central St Martins School of Art, has been to launch The Weave Shed, a must see resource site for weavers.

Converse Trainers made with tweed designed by Dashing Tweeds.
Find out more from The Weave Shed.

There are sections on advice, education and research, and suppliers and services. In fact everything any weaver needs to know and all under one roof. The site also runs an active blog which features weave related news, events and people.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Jessica Light Trims and Tassels are going to be putting it about a bit this Christmas by being involved in not one but two pop-up shops.
If you're up West on the 3, 10, or 17 December make sure you wend your merry way to the Social on Little Portland Street from 1-6pm for some off the High St shopping and maybe a small restorative tipple.
You will find our festive tassels, baubles and trinkets on the Empress of Arcadia's stall. The Empress is a woman of high fashion pedigree having worked for Jasper Conran and John Galliano as well as running her own couture bridal and occasion wear business. She will be showing hand beaded and embroidered jewellery.
Beaded bird brooch from the Empress of Arcadia.

If the only glittery thing that interests you is the minnow at the end of your line then head to the Andrews of Arcadia stall where you will find antique and vintage fishing tackle.

The second pop-up shop will be on the weekends of 10-11 and 17-18 December at Unit 1, 269 Kingsland Road, E2 [entrance in Phillip St] from 12-5pm with a late night on Thurs 15 from 6-930pm where Jessica will be giving a tassel making workshop. We will be selling our luxe Christmas decorations [see the collection on our shop] as well as a few other goodies

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Due to popular demand Jessica Light Trims and Tassels announce the launch of our online store Jessica Light Shop.


It's nearly the season of mass slaughter of various foul ,deforestation and wanton over indulgence- another Snowball vicar?.
We here at Jessica Light are all for cashing in on the crass commercialization of Christmas with our bespoke baubles and gift tags.
Clockwise from top left;
14cm Wine Tassel £5.25, 9cm Net Tassel £4.75, Net Gift Tag £4.00,
9cm Silver/Wine Tassel £6.00, Net Bobble £4.75, 
Ribbon Gift Tag £3.75, 14cm Silver Tassel £4.00

This is our first collection of products to be featured on our new e-shop, but keep checking Jessica Light Shop and our blog for updates and look out for Formosa Diffusion, inspired by one of our best loved collections [see the original on our website] which will be coming soon.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Tent London is now one of the big boys of the London Design Festival. Even though it has tripled in size and now includes Superbrands, which featured global brands like Moroso and Swarovski, the show still retains it's original premise of showcasing original and directional design. The result? The most inspiring and exciting show this side of Saturn.
I was particularly impressed by the plethora of textiles. Every breed was represented, from weave to print, knit to crochet. There was even the odd bit of passementerie. Ta dah.

Naomi Paul's sculptural crochet lampshades

What I loved about Suzanne Goodwins vibrant, abstract florals was that she hadn't gone down the ubiquitous retro/vintage route that a lot of print designers seem to be doing at the moment, so her textiles bounced from her stand with a delicious freshness.

Jo Prices inventive,colorful and quirky upholstery.

Serene prints from Original Little Bird.

Annabel Williams' interesting weaves. 

Happy prints and wallpaper from The Colourhouse.

One of Abigail Edwards' opulent wallpapers.

Exquisite engraved glass from Heather Gillespie.

Anthony Hartley's candy stripe furniture was good enough to eat.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a phone person. If I reply to a text within a week it's a miracle, but Justadzero's bamboo phones were so beautiful that they may change my habits. 

I have a bit of a vested interest in Curiousa & Curiousa as the tassel on the right comes from yours truly.

Jessica Light Trims and Tassels again had a very successful show. This year we took a much bigger corner stand which really showed off our products. Our two new collections, Bexley and Newport  received great feedback from both trade and press.

The Bexley Collection

The Newport Collection

We also re-showed Hampstead which we launched at last year's Tent. We added a new colourway and designs along side one of our signature looks: dip-dying.
We started the dip-dye look while working on Giles Deacons 2004 Spring/Summer collection and first showed dip-dyed fringes and tassels at Tent 2008. Since then it has become an integral part of our collections.

The Hampstead Collection

Our stand attracted some high caliber visitors especially Tricia Guild of Designers Guild whose work I've admired for a long time. We also had the managing director of Lelievre, the design manager from Blendworth and Gary Searle from St Leger and Viney one of the biggest interior companies in South Africa on the stand.
With interest from interior designers to carpet manufacturers it was a busy four days and the icing on the cake was being awarded one of the best stands at the London Design Festival by House and Garden magazine.

More images from our stand.

It was great to catch up with the regular Tentites, especially those gorgeous Mini Modern boys and the ever effervescent Miss Margate, Zoe Murphy, and meet the new recruits. Then it was over and we all toddled off to our respective corners of the world

Big Thank You
Everyone who visited my stand.
Gabi, Olivia, Ruth, Florence and Jennifer from House and Garden.
Rachel and Jimmy. 
PR Girl.
My fantastic intern Katie Davis.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


The Fan Museum, nestled away in an elegant Georgian House in Greenwich is one of London's sparkling gems. Owned by Helene Alexander MBE, this unique gallery boasts a collection of 1000's of fans. The ground floor is home to a small display charting their history, and methods and materials of a fan's make up. Upstairs holds temporary exhibitions, usually with a theme. The fan has a lure and a language that transcends it's function and that is what, for me, makes them so fascinating.
Sylvain Le Guen is a contemporary fan designer par excellence, and this collection of exquisite and creative fans is one of the most inspiring exhibitions I've seen this year. The level of craftsmanship is breathtaking, as is the use of both traditional and unusual materials. They range from the delicate fragility of hand-made lace, organdie, feathers and paper to the downright fetishistic of laced red leather and steel staves. The perfection of design of each piece makes one dumb with awe. 

These pictures don't do the fans justice and they really need to be seen in the flesh.

Once you,ve fanned your senses go and fan your thirst with a cup of tea in the museums orangery that looks out on a secret Japanese style garden.

Also worth a perusal while in Greenwich is the William Hodges room in the Queen's House. Hodges was the artist on Captain Cooks 2nd Pacific voyage. His beautiful paintings, with their flashes of light cutting though crashing seas and mysterious lands,really convey the wonderment of this part of the world; and, like Le Guen, the level of technique just adds to drama.

Tahiti Revisited 1776

The Pacific is my favorite ocean. Beneath it's outstanding and idyllic beauty there seems to lie a dark seething underbelly. It's like meeting someone who hides a treacherous nature behind a dazzling smile. I particularly felt this in Fiji where, despite   white sand and bowing palms, there existed a tight tension between the native Fijians and an Indian population brought in by the British to work on the plantations.
The Fijians, once a proud warlike tribal people who used the ritual of cannibalism as the ultimate insult to the vanquished, seemed to have had the stuffing knocked out of them by colonialism and missionaries. Their laid back approach and use of rubber time [things happen when they happen and not to any timetable]seemed to sit oddly with their rich cultural somewhat violent history.
I may have had my judgement slightly clouded by the fact I spent all my time on Fiji in considerable physical discomfort. I burnt my stomach to crackling [I still have a faint mark after all this time]and was bitten raw by mosquitos. My only respite was to lie frozen in head to toe calamine lotion and read about Captain Cooks Pacific voyages 
I read about his 3rd Voyage, aptly, in Hawaii where Cook met his violent and untimely death.
I had arrived there the day before I'd left Fiji having crossed the international date line. While my surfer friend spent his days catching waves and dodging tiger sharks, I'd idle away the hours on one of the paradise beaches with sand like sesame seeds, watching wisps of cloud in the sapphire sky float away to nothing.
At dusk my surfer friend would take me to watch the russet sun,  against a flame and lilac backdrop,  slip slowly to a deep water bed to sleep with Captain Cook, and we'd listen to the mermaids singing them lullabies. God I loved Hawaii. I didn't want to leave and sobbed on the surfer at the check-in at Honolulu Airport.
I wonder what Captain Cook,whose voyages were about discovery and science not conquest and exploitation, would think of the legacy he left. Britons greatest sailor was by all accounts a quiet gentleman who kept a clean table. He cared about the welfare of those who sailed with him and those they encountered along the way. He was a genius cartographer, and eradicated many serious diseases then associated with seafaring.
 Maybe he's reading the stories of one of my favorite authors, Jack London, whose Pacific was tense, terse and full of adventurers and rogues, or about Robert louis Stevenson's revulsion of the impact of colonialism to see that, as they say -The road to Hell is paved with good intentions-

 Captain Cook

 The devilishly attractive Jack london

Robert Louis Stevenson

Back to the here and now with a large bump. With only 3 1/2 weeks to go before Tent [22-25 Sept], it's time to cancel all social engagements, stop sneaking off to the cinema in the afternoon and get my head down to some serious work.
The sampling for the new collections is practically finished, mail-outs are being sent out today, and it's now about the stand and the display.

Recommended reading:

The Explorations Of Captain James Cook In The Pacific, As Told By Selections Of His Own Journals 1768-1779.
Edited by A.Grenfell Price.
Dover Publications Inc. 1971

South Sea Tales.
Jack london.
Macmillan 1911.

Island Landfalls.
Robert Louis Stevenson.
Canongate 1987.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


The orders have been coming thick and fast, like planes stacking up to land at Heathrow. So much so that at one point Air Traffic Control had to resort to a stiff gin . Still as it was shaping up to being another classic British summer- wetter than water and colder than a penguins bottom- we didn't mind being stuck in the workshop.
One of our orders, for Miami based interior designer Ana B.Pila, was for herds of vibrant Tonkin and Kashgar tassels from our Formosa collection, so although it was winter outside, inside resembled a multicoloured sweatshop.

Our Kashgar and Tonkin Tassels would add a ray of sunshine to any home when it's grey and grizzly. These lucky ladies are off to strut their stuff in fabulous Florida and they won't be doing it it in wool stockings and two cardies.
It came as a welcome respite to take the day off and head out of London to the launch of Catherine Yass's new exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea.

New work made especially for this exhibition is 'Lighthouse', a  film and series of photographs of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, five miles off the Kent Coast. This peculiar and precarious structure with no visible reason for being is perfect subject matter for Catherine's fascination with empty spaces. 
Other recent work exhibited are the films 'Descent'[2002] where the viewer is slowly falling upside down to a ground level above them, and 'Lock'[2006] filmed at a giant lock on the Yangtze River, China; and the photographic works 'Sleep'[2005-8] and 'Decommissioned'[2010], using her signature method of overlaying positive and negative images onto lightboxs. The results are eerie and unsettling.
'Chemin' from the Sleep series, a ghostly landscape, instantly took me back to childhood summer holidays. Suddenly I was wandering the baked mountains of Herault in Southern France, where the sun's white light bleached all colour and the only noise breaking though the heat was the constant rasping rattle of cicadas.

An old sketch I found from one of the last summer holidays I had in Herault when I was 17.

I've wanted to visit the De La Warr, a fantastic example of British modernist architecture since it was restored and re-opened as an arts centre in October 2005.
Opened originally in 1935 as a cutting edge entertainment and culture centre, it was the brainchild of the 9th Earl De La Warr.  'Buck', as he was known to his friends, was the then Mayor of Bexhill, a Labour Party supporter and champion of modernism. 
The building was designed by two eminent architects of the day, Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff. Mendelsohn, a jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany was known for designing the Schocken Department Store [1928]and Potsdam's Einstein Building [1921].

Left Erich and his wife, above right his surreal Einstein Building

Serge Chermayeff, who's family had moved from Russia when he'd been a small boy, was responsible for the interiors of the B.B.C Broadcasting House in Portland Place, London. He was also known as a product designer.

Above left Serge, and right, the Ecko Model EC74 radio he designed in 1933

After the 2nd World War, when it was closed,the pavilion carried on as a arts complex but due to lack of funds it fell into disrepair and neglect until English Heritage rescued it in 1985.

Below three images of The De La Warr.

All that's missing from this striking structure are a row of our deco inspired Albers tassels from the new Bexley collection [see below] that will be launched at TentLondon in September.

Catherine Yass, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-On-Sea,
25 June-4 September 2011.
TentLondon, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane,
22-25 September 2011.