Two years ago I produced a bespoke pattern design for David Mellor Design celebrating the ‘Chelsea‘ salad servers that Creative Director Corin Mellor, (David’s son) had designed. The pattern was screen printed on to tea towels, being a highly appropriate product for the cutlery, and they continue to sell very well through the David Mellor shops and their online store. I took inspiration from the Hathersage factory and the production methods used for the making of the cutlery pieces. I like the fact that Corin sees and appreciates the relevance of the design to his company. Although I can create pattern for pattern’s sake, I am really interested in pattern that belongs to particular brands, to communicate a belonging, of distinctiveness.
This summer I was delighted to be contacted again by Corin as the buying team were keen to add a new pattern. Starting any new commission is exciting as the conversations about the intentions of the artwork, the concepts that need building on, the production methods, colour and material choices, expectations and of course… deadlines!
With all of that taken care of I received a beautiful box of cutlery to draw from. Corin had decided he wanted to celebrate his father’s first cutlery, Pride, designed in 1953. It is so elegant, beautiful to hold, and a joy to draw from let alone to eat from! I worked the same way I had done before, developing sketches and informal compositions, working up motifs and rhythms in a sketchbook first before generating final drawings and paper cut outs to scan to digital artwork.
I work across a number of software packages depending on what is required, and always bearing in mind the final artwork requirements for production. It matters right from the beginning whether the production method is traditional printing or digital as I will design accordingly, limiting numbers of colours in the design if required, and using colour in the most appropriate way. This summer with several design projects on the go I’ve worked with Pantone references, RAL, NCS, pigment ink swatches and CMYK values. For this project we used British Standard colour relating it to other products that are stocked by David Mellor Design but I had to convert it to modern day language!
Having completed a few different designs I sent them through to Corin and his buying team and was of course really pleased when they got back to me with the same choice as me. I’ve learned never to send anything I’m not quite happy with or proud of, as that will be the one the buyer picks! Sampling and production were the next steps as well as designing the new swing tag to suit both the “Chelsea’ and the Pride tea towels. I screen print these in my studio on to beautiful G.F. Smith paper.
I’ve worked with the same fabulous British company to screen print textile products several times before and it’s always a delight to take a further project to production with them. They understand that it’s not that I’m fussy, but rather ‘particular’ about details, and we work together well. Signing off proofs, forwarding woven designer logo tags to be sewn in and waiting for the order delivery sees the weeks go past, and very soon there will be two patterns of cutlery.
I’m a cutlery fan any day of the week, and this really has been a fabulous commission to work on. To create a pattern for a client where the design relates to the product it is destined for, and its job is to visually communicate the heritage, culture and ethos of the company is a very fine challenge to take on. Proud of Pride!
Keep an eye out for ‘Pride’ in the David Mellor shops next month…