Monday, 20 May 2013

Caslon & Co: traditional tools, contemporary prints

Passionate about pattern is by far the most apt way to describe the homeware label Caslon & Co.

Founder Andy Rouse lovingly hand-crafts original prints in his Birmingham studio using antique letterpress blocks known as ‘ornaments’ and ‘fleurons’- once used by printers to decorate posters and books. 

After Andy has perfected his motifs, a highly-skilled team of UK-based craftsmen and women transform them into statement soft furnishings and homeware, such as the Vintage Corner Piece Cushion - our much-loved latest arrival here at Roost Living.

Designer Andy Rouse formed Caslon&Co after acquiring a retired printers press at the beginning of 2012, and their vintage inspired patterns are created using antique wooden printing blocks known as ornaments and fleurons. Printers traditionally used the beautiful little blocks to add decorative flare to books and posters, you will have seen them in use on vintage circus posters, before they fell out of fashion and became a thing of the past, which is a bit of a shame if you ask us! Caslon & Co have put their collection to good use (and they’ve got quite a collection) creating patterns for use in the home, and in turn giving a forgotten art a new lease of life.

Andy explains his approach: ‘I work in our studio using traditional relief printing techniques, working in black and white at first, so that I can focus on creating repeating or tessellating patterns from the printing blocks, I only adding colour when I am happy with the pattern. Depending on how many of the blocks we have, I either work on the press, creating a small repeating pattern or printing a single block a number of times before developing a pattern. Some of the blocks can surprise you when you work with them, they can create patterns that you didn’t expect. I think that’s why I love working in the studio, plus I always feel like it’s a day well spent when I return home with printing ink on your hands!

‘Once I’m happy with the patterns I will transfer them to a silk screen so that I can expand them and start to experiment with colours. We’ve developed a colourful but soft monochrome approach for Caslon & Co, the colours a very fresh and although our patterns have a vintage quality the colours bring a very contemporary feel.’

‘I like to select a fabric that adds to the vintage quality, the natural cotton we use for our cushions has a character of its own, it's a lovely textured fabric with visible flecks of fibre.’

The resulting patterns bring character and charm to the home through a collection of cushions featuring their vintage inspired patterns and fresh, contemporary colour palette.

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