Category Archives: Design

Brickett Davda


This lovely new film by Mark Bader is about Brickett Davda, one of the ceramicists that we stock at Black Bough. Jo talks about starting out making ceramics on her kitchen table; it almost feels as if I have known her since those days . . . but by the time I first met her (17 years ago) she was already a force to be reckoned with and stocking the Conran shop amongst others. The form of her work and method of production can still be traced back to those days but the decorative form has become more and more pure.



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Charankattu Coir Mats

I spent a day this week going around the multifarious antiques emporiums of Leominster – why Leominster is a hot bed of antiques trade is beyond my ken – to little avail. Only in the last centre, on a final trail of the final aisle did I find something that I wanted.

As per the photos, presented to Mr Ian Smith on the occasion of his tour of the Charankattu Coir Mat co. factory almost 56 years to the day, an album of hand painted samples of the different mats that the company made.









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Secret Santa . . . and other missed opportunities

It’s dawned on me that there are whole areas of office culture that are beyond my ken, and that are unlikely to ever darken my door.

I’ve never had a job interview.

I’ve never been to a work related conference.

I’ve never had a work contract.

I’ve never had to deal with an HR department.

I’ve never been to a works Christmas party.

There are of course swings and roundabouts to all of these statements. Have only been thinking about this because the culture of a Secret Santa is also alien to me and we were trying to work out the pricing boundaries at work when engaged in this.

So . . . in the £5 area:

And in the £10 region


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A Black Bough wedding invite . . . nb. not ours

Within the first few weeks of Black Bough opening we chanced upon some old stock, fold-out Ludlow postcards – one set from the 50s and sepia and the other set in glorious 60s technicolour. There was a veritable pile of these things – all sitting in the window of a distinctly old school newsagents and most of them sunbleached or covered in dust. Reader, we bought them.

They’ve sold consistently and when they’ve all sold – they will have all sold. I dare say that it is not economically viable for us to try and reproduce them.

One of our friends is getting married later this year and being somewhat handy with paper restoration (and thus undaunted by the scruffier end of our selection) she decided to use the sepia fold-out postcards as the basis of her wedding invitation. She’s done a lovely job.

Note – important info omitted from invite to prevent the vast readership of this blog from turning up at the designated venue for a free lunch . . . . you know who you are!

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Red Phone Green Phone

Back in the day Kate Gibb and I had a running joke regarding using a mobile phone which grew out of a conversation she had had with a client in Japan. When I say joke we are stretching the limits of what anyone would find amusing but stick with me . . . we did.

Things have come full circle; Kate’s only gone and designed a really lovely couple of iPhone covers (other smart phones do exist etc. etc.) and very nice they are too. You’ll have to have a pretty good grasp of Japanese if you want to order one though . . . from here.

One of these prints is part derived from a box of playshapes that Kate covets massively – she’s deployed them before. They feature on her cover for My Computer’s No CV – a record that turned precisely no-one’s world upside down but which should have done. My Computer was the source of another long running joke – but I’ll save that one for a rainy day.


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The latest 3.0 styling version of Jessie J involves someone raiding BOY London, or maybe they are reintroducing the brand and she is their chosen vehicle. Who knows? At the age of 12 I wanted a BOY cap as worn by Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys more than anything else; I never got one.  Hey ho. For a further examination of the great stylistic and graphic decisions that the Pet Shop Boys have taken through the years please refer to Catalogue.


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