Posts Tagged ‘Fine cell work’

As if by magic we seemed to have powered through almost the first two months of 2016 which means we’re nearing the month of March and onto another special occasion, Mother’s Day! As we are trying to stick to our resolutions of being more organised this year we’ve already dug up some wonderful gift ideas for our beloved mothers.

Instead of purchasing the usual gifts of flowers, which will wither away in just a few days, or chocolates, that will disappear in a mere matter of minutes, at Angel + Blume we want to think outside the box and give something a little more permanent as a present that mums can treasure forever.

Whatever style or taste you mum likes, be it quirky, traditional, nature-loving or contemporary, we’ve got something that will make her smile from ear to ear this Mothering Sunday.

For all the mothers who follow a traditional sense of style, and love adorning their homes in lovely little trinkets An Angel at my Table, as always, has some absolutely beautiful home accessories.

Glory Be! & Amour Tea Towels from An Angel at my Table


These beautiful floral printed tea towels will add a lovely spurt of colour into any kitchen, and the added touch of some pom pom trimmings are a wonderful idea, so wonderful in fact that we think they may be best left as display items and not actually used for washing up!

Small White Country Jug from An Angel at my Table

A wonderful gift for a traditional style loving mum is this simple yet sophisticated jug, also from An Angel at my Table. The detailing around the side of the vase creates a lovely finish to the ceramic piece, making the jug ideally matched for a classic interior.

If, like mine, you mum has green fingers then opting for some nature related gifts will get two thumbs up. Thornback & Peel make some wonderful products with the some amazing designs that are the perfect combination of tradition and modern. I completely love this pea pod tray from the vibrant green colour to the herringbone inspired print.

Pea Pod Tray from Thornback & Peel

Another wonderful idea for all the nature loving mothers out there are these rather spectacularly designed plant pots from Not on the High Street. The aged copper Verdigris-like colour is stunning and helps make these pots a real feature piece.

Leaves Plant Pot from Not on the High Street

For a sweet little gift, and a flower that will last, this paper rose from Not on the High Street is simply marvellous, using printed text from novels the whole look has charm to boot.

Literary Paper Rose from Not on the High Street

If you hear the words ‘wonderfully wacky’ and your mind immediately wonders over to your mother, then taking the unconventional route and giving her some adorable and quirky gifts this Mother’s Day will fill her with joy. This cushion from Fine Cell Work featuring the ‘princess of fruits’, the pineapple will make a lovely addition to an array of scatter cushions. It’s a fun and playful item that will look good in any home.

Pineapple Cushion from Fine Cell Work

I love this quirky, full-to-the-brim of individuality vase from Rockett St George. It’ll make a fine talking point and will no doubt put a smile of everybody’s face. It’s full of character and is a perfect gift if your mum is too.

David Display Vase from Rocket St George

Last but not least if your mum is a bit of a cool cat, with a home to match, why not help her kit it out with some amazing and stylish pieces. Since the cold weather doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon a cosy blanket and cushions are most certainly in order. These hand woven, hand printed cushion and blanket are laid-back contemporary style at its best and will look great on a sofa or bed.

Bailey's Home - hand woven cushions

Hand Woven Cushions and Blanket from Bailey’s Home

I completely fell in love with this ceramic collection from Rockett St George, so much so that I may have to treat both myself and my mother to a set. The modern marble effect is a wonderful design for all the lovers of the classic contemporary style.

Indigo Storm Collection by Faye Toogood from Rockett St George

So there you have it, a sweet guide on what to buy your mum this Mother’ Day, or if you can’t resist a preview of all the lovely items you’ll be filling your own home with as well!

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NC129-130 Pentreath and Hall Group

FCW cushions designed by Pentreath and Hall

Fine Cell Work is a charity that I can’t say enough good things about. Its aim is to train prisoners in skilled, paid needlework which may be for a commission or to be sold in finished form. The work is of amazingly high quality as prisoners are taught and supported by volunteers many of who were trained at the Royal School of Needlework and/or belong to the Embroiderers and Quilters Guilds. One of the core aims of the charity is to foster discipline and self-esteem in prisoners and to give them important work and self-management skills that can be used in life after prison. Recently I had a chat with FCW managing director Victoria Gillies:

CB: I spent a fantastic day at Waddesdon Manor recently at an event that you co-ordinated with the textile department of the house – can you tell us more about your connection with Waddesdon?

VG: Waddesdon Manor is the country seat of the Rothschild family and the Rothschild Foundation has sponsored FCW in the past. In 2011 the charity had a fundraising event in memory of the founder of Fine Cell Work, Lady Anne Tree, to set up a fund to work with prisoners after they left prison. A member of the Rothschild’s family knew Lady Anne Tree. Recently, the Foundation hosted a reception and sale at the Dairy, with an event at Waddesdon about textiles in their collection the next day. Fine Cell Work products, made in prisons throughout the country were sold in the shop. In fact FCW were able to take a textile design from Waddesdon which has a rich textile archive and use the image for a needlepoint kit.


CB: I understand that you have had some prestigious commissions? Gavin Turk, The V&A Museum, The Prince of Wales etc. Do you have any interesting commissions coming up that you can talk about?

VG: There is a remarkable commission that has just been unveiled at the British Library which is by the eminent British artist Cornelia Parker. It’s a contemporary interpretation of the Magna Carta in the form of a hand stitched representation of the Magna Carta’s Wikipedia Page and is over 14 metres long. The text of the piece is stitched predominantly by Fine Cell Work stitchers with the illustrations being done by the Embroiderers’ Guild, the golden crown by the Royal School of Needlework and the Wikipedia logo by Hand and Lock. The whole piece has been stitched by over 240 people including professional stitchers, prisoners, civil rights campaigners, lawyers and volunteers from FCW. In fact I stitched the words New Zealand as this is where I am originally from. Cornelia used a wonderful expression about it when she said that she wanted it to be ‘the work of many hands’.

Cornelia Parker with a small section of the work

CB: What are FCW’s aims for the future?

VG: FCW has been around for 18 years in which time amazing things have been achieved. In the next 18 months to two years we are looking at creating an employment hub in Greater London to help prisoners coming out of prison to use and extend the work skills they have. We are currently running a pilot scheme with seven prisoners as they leave prison to help them into accredited training, getting qualifications and gaining employment. We currently have one ex prisoner who is working in a very high end soft furnishing company and another who is taking a full time upholstery qualification. We want to build on this going forward and will be able to increase the number of ex-prisoners who are helped into work by the hub. We are also looking at ways of working with interior designers to provide soft furnishing services on a regular basis and we are expanding our workshop in HMP Gartree which will help support this.

Fine Cell Work Pink & Orange pineapple

FCW Pink and Orange Pineapple designed by Melissa Wyndham

CB: The designs for both the completed work that you sell and the kits are beautiful – who is behind these?

VG: We work closely with talented designers who volunteer their time for us. Melissa Wyndham has worked with us extensively in the past and her pineapple cushion which she designed recently has been a best seller. We also work closely with Kit Kemp who has a new range with us coming up and will be launched in November at Ham Yard Hotel in London. Both Melissa and Kit are on our board of trustees.

CB: What is the process of commissioning a piece of work?

VG: Anything is possible! We have a commission’s expert who will work with someone who wants to commission a piece. If there is already an idea of what is required, we can work on how it is achievable or can provide ideas from scratch. We have almost completed an absolutely stunning embroidered wall-hanging almost covering the width of one wall for the Worshipful Company of Glaziers to hang in the Glaziers Hall near London Bridge. This was designed by a stained glass designer and stitched in small pieces to create a large wall hanging that has the effect of water on glass. This is going to be unveiled in July this year.

CB: Thank you so much for your time Victoria and please extend all our best wishes to everyone involved with FCW.

See more about Fine Cell Work, buy the work (or needlework kits if you are feeling industrious) or commission some work at www.finecellwork.co.uk


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