Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Alabasta designs at the British Ceramics Biennal, Stoke on Trent

Even though there are no Alabasta ceramics in production quite yet, some of my placemat and tray designs sneaked into the prestigious British Ceramics Biennal in Stoke on Trent last week. I have been a member of Contemporary Applied Arts in London for many years selling my own label handmade cashmere and silk hand dyed scarves through this lovely outlet. As Alabasta has developed and as I have been getting more and more pregnant I have been making less scarves but CAA is still the place to go to for the best selection. Last year I participated in DomesticMatters at the CAA (see this post), which was all about members of CAA who also diversify into production runs of other related products. This latest show, also curated by Brian Kennedy with homeware design consultant and ceramic designer Sue Pryke shows a mixture of textiles, surface pattern and glass alongside contemporary ceramics from well known potters such as Andrew Wicks and Natasha Daintry.
"CRAFT INTO INDUSTRY examines the possible relationship between British studio practice and the ceramics industry. Sue Pryke and Brian Kennedy were keen to not only look at ceramicists for this exhibition but to explore and present makers from a wide range of disciplines as they strongly feel that there are many partnership possibilities between studio practitioners and the British ceramics industry.
Bringing together a collection of artisans making their own product in isolation this exhibition highlights pockets of creativity, pioneering skills and design ingenuity that can be of interest to industry.  The work highlighted here signifies how applicable the concepts, forms and processes are for production. The collection is an illustration of how a designer would bring together a beautiful range of ware.  Deciding on shapes with commonalities, balancing variation within materials, colour and texture to build a series. Working with makers, or factories, to develop a range of work with intrinsic values that complement the other forms in the range and drawing on the skills and knowledge from a multitude of crafts. 
Including work by Asta Barrington, Heather Belcher, Elizabeth Bone, Daphne Carnegy, Carina Ciscato, Natasha Daintry, Ekta Kaul, Sarah Kay, Chris Keenan, Sun Kim, Billy Lloyd, Grant McCaig, Nick Membery, Sue Paraskeva, Michael Ruh, Vicky Shaw, Janice Tchalenko, Sasha Wardell, Andrew Wicks, Derek Wilson and Sue Pryke."
The look of the exhibition is quite 'raw' because it is taking place at the Original Spode factory so is surrounded by the atmospheric and possibly rather dusty debris from the workings of an old pottery!

Alabasta Folk Stripe placemats and coaster shown with Asta Barrington scarves plus Janice Tchalenko ceramics on their left and surface pattern on the walls.
38cm Alabasta Folk Stripe tray and coaster with my ruched lambswool silk scarf and satin peapod silk and cashmere scarf
Ceramics by Andrew Wicks in the foreground and Chris Keenan to the left
All photos by Brian Kennedy.

CRAFT INTO INDUSTRY is now open at the British Ceramics Biennial until 10th November 2013.

Opening times: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12 noon-5pm

BCB Design: Tableware
Original Spode Factory Site
116 Church Street

The exhibition will be moved to London next year as part of the Contemporary Applied Art 2014 exhibition programme and installed in their brand new gallery in Southwark.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Alabasta designs at upcoming Maison et Objet and Top Drawer trade shows

If you are a trade buyer there will be a couple of opportunities in the coming weeks to view and order the entire range of Alabasta products:

MAISON ET OBJET Paris, Parc des Expo, 6-10th September 2013
Åry Trays, Hall 6, Stand Q25
Avenida Home, Hall 8, Stand Bbis77

TOP DRAWER  London, Olympia, 15-17th September 2013
Avenida Home, Stand A96

Åry Trays will be showing the current collection of Alabasta trays in all sizes including Folk Stripe, Love Birds and Blue Fish. Avenida Home will be showing the current range of Alabasta placemats and coasters including the brand new Forest Leaves design (see photos below) plus hopefully the launch of some very lovely jacquard woven Blue Fish kitchen textiles of which you can take a sneak peek at on my Instagram page. I'll be blogging about those when they are officially launched very soon.

Alabasta Forest Leaves placemat from Avenida Home
Alabasta Forest Leaves 10cm coaster from Avenida Home
I'm intending to visit Top Drawer on the final day but I'm missing Maison et Objet this time sadly - I love seeing what's fresh and new out there and that show covers it all.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Alabasta Blue Fish tray in Ideal Home magazine, August 2013

There I was in the dentist's waiting room this morning, casually flicking through Ideal Home's August issue, and what should I notice on the Style Editor's Shopping Spy page but an Alabasta tray! There is no doubt blue and white is a classic combination for interiors and the best selling 49cm Blue Fish tray gets a lot of press attention at this time of year because it conjures up thoughts of al fresco eating and holidays. Here again it has been promoted by the Coastal Home webshop who are the go-to people for any nautical interior accessories it seems. Having been brought up by the coast I do miss the sea and it is the one thing land-locked Bath lacks. One day I intend to own a coastal home, as there's nothing like a dip in the 'invigorating' British sea in the summer to de-stress you..

Ideal Home magazine, August 2013
Thank you, Coastal Home and Ideal Home magazine.

PS If you ever see any Alabasta products in any magazines, do please let me know (via the contact page) as I am not always aware of what is out there - thanks!

Monday, 5 August 2013

New Alabasta design: Forest Leaves

The newest design in the Alabasta range is going to be officially launched next month at Top Drawer in London and Maison et Objet in Paris but I'm showing it now because it has just been put on the Avenida Home website for ordering. This one is another deceptively complex pattern, this time showing exotic foliage and fluttering blue butterflies and is entitled Forest Leaves. It is inspired by lush rainforests and mid century Scandinavian ceramics and comes in colours that sit well with the existing Alabasta designs. The darkest shade is a very deep green-black and it is on the same ecru background as the Love Birds design. With flashes of chartreuse, cerulean blue, ultramarine and a vivid jungle green we think it looks modern and strong with a playful element to it and we hope it will prove as popular as the other designs.

This design will be available to order in the rectangular 29.2 x 21.6cm placemat and 10cm square coaster with a matt finish and black baize non-slip base from Avenida Home:

Alabasta Forest Leaves placemat
Alabasta Forest Leaves 10cm coaster
It has already been featured in the upcoming trade show Top Drawer's promotional poster (top right image) so we have great hopes for this new design and hope you like it as much as we do:

Top Drawer retail trade show, 15-17th September 2013

Visit the Avenida Home stand at the following trade shows to see the entire Alabasta ranges for Avenida Home:

6-10 Sept 2013, Maison et Objet, Paris, Hall 8, Stand Bbis77
15-17 Sept 2013, Top Drawer, Olympia, London, Stand A96


Alabasta design on Instagram

Now there is another place to see my inspiration, surroundings and Alabasta products in situ and that's my Instagram page. It's a visual diary of snapshots taken when I'm at home and out and about of things that make me tick as a designer. Mixed in with that will be Alabasta products seen in shop displays and in use every day in my home, showing how they can brighten up the dullest environment. When I've been doing this for a while you will see some consistency in the subjects I photograph - I am especially interested in linear pattern and interesting colour combinations, and I do love a fancy font. Everything around can inspire and trigger off ideas - it's never healthy to work in an insular bubble!

Alabasta on Instagram
 Feel free to follow me on Instagram to see the images as they are uploaded - my user name is @alabasta_design

Monday, 8 July 2013

Alabasta Blue Fish tray in Good Food magazine, August 2013

Amongst some delicious looking recipes in this month's BBC Good Food magazine is a summery collection of kitchen accessories including the largest Alabasta Blue Fish tray on page 16, collated by Holly Brooke-Smith. This time it's being promoted by Coastal Home, online destination for all things beach orientated, which also sells the Blue Fish tray in the 27x20cm and 43x33cm sizes plus 11cm mini tray. All are made carefully in Sweden from sustainable birch wood and dishwasher proof (if you can fit them in) with intricate blue fish patterns on an ivory background. The magazine is worth getting if you're into cooking as it is packed with inspiring ideas such as some Rick Stein Indian curries and an indulgent gluten free raspberry cake. My stomach is rumbling...

BBC Good Food magazine, August 2013
49cm Alabasta Blue Fish tray

Monday, 20 May 2013

Alabasta stockist focus: Dovetail Living

One Alabasta stockist where you can purchase a selection of the Folk Stripe collection is Dovetail Living, a webshop that specialises in carefully selected interior accessories from both world renowned and up and coming designers. We are delighted that they have chosen Alabasta as one of their designers - they now stock the best selling red 38cm tray, 10cm coasters and glass platter in the Folk Stripe range as well as the Love Birds tablemats. These sit alongside such design classics as the Secto Design range of lighting - another example of innovative use of steam bent Scandinavian birch wood. I also really like the Variopinte range of enamel dishes which have simple stripes of colour so they coordinate well with the concentric circles of the Folk Stripe range. Owner Samantha Mureau is an ex TopShop buyer and has done a lot of trend forecasting for the industry so has a keen eye for new products and trends. According to Samantha, now that summer is around the corner it's all about French style market shopping and mixing up your platters and your plates for effortless casual dining...

30cm Folk Stripe heatproof glass platter - ideal for cheese, breads or even as a hotplate for saucepans

Dovetail Living - see their Blog post here

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Alabasta Folk Stripe tray in Plaza magazine, Sweden, April 2013

This month the white version of the 38cm Folk Stripe Alabasta tray has been featured in the Swedish interiors magazine Plaza, in a lovely al fresco photoshoot styled by Sandra Hamilton and photographed by Karin Foberg. It makes me hope that Summer is round the corner, although here in England we haven't experienced much Spring like weather yet. Anyway the photos clearly show how useful these trays are and how they can add a splash of colour to everyday dining.

Plaza magazine, Sweden, April 2013
Thank you, Plaza magazine.
The trays are made, sold and distributed by Åry Trays. See the stockists page for where to buy them.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Alabasta Love Birds placemat in House and Garden magazine April 2013

The Alabasta Love Birds placemat can be found within the Decorators Notebook section of prestigious interiors magazine House and Garden this month, nestled amongst some fresh blue hand dyed linen and some deluxe paper carpets. Compiled by Sudhir Pithwa, this page showcases elegant linear imagery combined with tactile natural textures:

29x22cm Alabasta Love Birds placemat available from Avenida Home

Thank you, House and Garden!

Monday, 18 February 2013

New Alabasta Blue Fish placemat and tablemat design

In addition to the 28cm round Blue Fish placemat we now have a rectangular version in two sizes launched with summer in mind. These are coloured in the original rich dark blue as the trays - the round version is in a brighter ultramarine. The new ones feature five swimming fish in typical intricate Alabasta style against an ivory background with a faint pale blue wave. The design works well on both placemat and tablemat sizes, depending on how bold you like your patterns. The coaster with the fish coming up for air is now also currently available in the darker blue and in a square 10cm format as well as the round in brighter blue. They are all available to order from Avenida Home whether you are an individual or a shop purchasing wholesale.
Alabasta Blue Fish 29x21cm placemat and 10cm square coaster

Alabasta Blue Fish 38x29cm tablemat

Sunday, 17 February 2013

New Alabasta tray: 11cm Love Birds mini tray

The Love Birds collection has just had another addition in the form of an 11cm 'mini tray'. Instead of repeating the format with two whole birds which would have scaled the pattern down a bit too much we decided to just have the heads of the birds on this one. They are still enjoying each others company and the little heart is on there too to clarify the subtle sentiment. These mini trays work well as coasters or small plates and because they are dishwashable are ideal for food use.
If you are a retailer they are now ready to purchase in boxes of four from The Åry Trays website in addition to the other four sizes of the Alabasta Love Birds trays. Flat 10cm coasters depicting individual male and female birds with black velour non slip backing are also available from Avenida Home here.

11cm Love Birds mini tray sold and distributed by Åry Trays
10cm square Love Birds coasters sold and distributed by Avenida Home

Monday, 4 February 2013

Alabasta Love Birds tray in Homes and Antiques magazine, March 2013

The new 38cm Love Birds tray with the peeking bird and heart has just been launched and I'm really pleased to see it featured in this month's Homes and Antiques magazine on one of their shopping pages. An ideal present for Valentines Day next week:

Thanks, Homes and Antiques!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Alabasta trays at the Maison et Objet trade fair, Paris

Åry Trays are still on the road and selling their vast collection of birch wood trays to the world. This weekend they have been showing at the enormous Maison et Objet trade show for the first time and again Alabasta has proved to be one of the company's best selling designers. I visited yesterday and caught up with their Swedish sales team Joakim Sohlberg and Madeleine Hyding, who were busy taking many international orders for shops in countries such as Italy and Belgium. For this show they decided to use birch ply as their stand build in keeping with the product and also helping the whiter trays stand out:

Åry Trays, Hall 6 at Maison et Objet, January 2013

Alabasta trays at Maison et Objet, January 2013

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Alabasta trays at the Home 2013 trade show, London

Åry Trays are currently in London and wholesaling their entire collection of trays at the Home show at Earls Court, including the four Alabasta collections. It's a massive show in only its second year but it already feels very established. It accompanies the long running Top Drawer giftware show which is situated next door at Olympia, and when I went yesterday the atmosphere was buzzing. We had some very good orders from some existing and new customers and the reception to the new Love Bird and Folk Stripe Woven designs was really encouraging.

The Åry Trays stand at the Home 2013 trade show
Alabasta trays at Home 2013

Next stop Paris, at the even bigger Maison et Objet show next weekend (Hall 6, stand Q26).
As ever, news of where Alabasta products are selling will be added to the stockists list. If you are a stockist that hasn't been mentioned please do get in touch and I will add you too!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New year and a new 38cm Love Birds tray

Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is a healthy and prosperous year for all. I personally started it unhealthily with a stomach bug so it can only improve as far as I'm concerned. One way to start off the January detox albeit a bit premature..

Once again Åry Trays are coming over to the UK to show at the Home trade show this month, and they will be exhibiting their entire collection of birch wood trays including the Alabasta Love Birds, Folk Stripe, Folk Stripe Woven and Blue Fish collections. To complement the existing Love Birds trays we have one brand new 38cm Love Bird tray launching at the show. On this one the male bird is poking his head cheekily onto the tray and beadily eyeing up the lady bird who appears to be rather enjoying the attention:

38cm Alabasta Love Birds tray

It's now on the Åry Trays website ready to order so if you are a retailer you can order from there or see them in real life at Home, the London home wares and interior accessories trade show at Earls Court from 13th - 15th January. A week later they will be at Maison et Objet in Paris (Hall 6 stand Q26) then Ambiente in Frankfurt, also trade only. Busy times!