Three artist's designs chosen for Cultural Initiative

 Feb 29, 2016

Three artists from The Sorting Office studios have been chosen by Hampshire Cultural Trust to design and produce luxury products inspired by historic items from museums across Hampshire, for a new initiative called the Creative Commercial Collections scheme, in partnership with the National Motor Musem, and supported by Jane Austen House Museum and 'a space' arts.


  1. A sample of Karen Head's Pelisse coat-inspired nuno wool and crochet scarf

At the end of last year, artists from the Sorting Office were asked to pitch ideas for a luxury item prototype, inspired by one of three items: Jane Austen’s pelisse coat, the 1929 record speed breaking Golden Arrow car, and the garden of Jane Austen’s cottage home in Chawton.

Although initially only one or two designs were to be picked, the calibre of the designs was so high that three artists were chosen to develop their ideas into commercially viable products.

Illustrator Denise Hughes chose Jane Austen’s cottage garden as her inspiration, Denise played with the history of the garden through the modern medium of illustrative surface design, designing a range of beautiful vases with decal reminiscent of the garden’s flowers.

  2. One of Denise Hughes' Jane Austen garden-inspired vases

Textile Artist Karen Head chose to base the design for her Nuno felt scarf on Jane Austen’s pelisse coat, using luxury wool, silk and thread in golden yellow and brown hues as a nod to the romance author’s stunning garment.

Print Designer and Illustrator Mariska Parent chose to use the 1929 Golden Arrow as inspiration for a hand tufted rug with a retro-futurism feel, which uses the interaction between the paintwork of the car and the museum lights as its colour palette.

Speaking about the project, Denise Hughes said:

“I’m really proud to be part of it, it’s a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with HCT. I’ve learned so much, it’s been such a learning curve thinking about packaging, and the copy that you’d write for the information inside the vase, and the little backstamp on the bottom, It’s been absolutely invaluable and I’ve loved every minute of it.”


Read more: Artists to Design Products for New Cultural Initiative