21 06, 2017

Linen Aprons For Somerset Rural Life Museum

By | June 21st, 2017|Hand Printed Linen Textiles, Helen Round, Made In Cornwall|0 Comments

I am a museum lover! So much so that when my children were little, they threatened never to come on holiday with me again if we had to go to Museums and Art Galleries….of course, they are older now and thank me for their cultural education… and love to visit both!! I can’t wait until the day when they start taking their children to museums!!

Earlier this year we received a telephone call from Robin Savill, the Visitor Services Manager, at the Somerset Rural Life Museum telling us all about the fabulous redevelopment that the museum was currently undergoing. Due to open its door on June 3rd 2017, he needed ‘uniform’ for his newly appointed staff and asked if we would make linen aprons for them all.

The Museum tells the story of Somerset’s rich rural and social history and provides a family-friendly destination which has learning, access and discovery at its heart. Based in Glastonbury, visitors will be able to explore rural life from the 1800s onwards and discover more about the county’s heritage including its landscape, food and farming, working life and rural crafts. Well worth a visit…. and my children are keen to go with me!!

Museum staff wearing their linen aprons!

Printing the pockets for the linen aprons using traditional silk screen printing techniques

Having the opportunity to make a bespoke product is always an exciting challenge. Collaboration with other businesses is something which we all really enjoy here in the studio and it’s great to see the print coming off the screen for the first time, to experiment with the print placement and then make up the aprons. Even better to see the museum staff wearing them!!

The museum is now open to visitors and if you manage to visit, do let us know what you think!

 

 

30 05, 2017

Walking The Rame Peninsula – Inspiration For The Rame Head Collection

By | May 30th, 2017|A Cornish Summer, Cornish Walks, Father's Day, Hand Printed Linen Textiles, Helen Round, Made In Cornwall, Rame Head|0 Comments

Living in Cornwall definitely has its benefits! Yes, we are miles away from big cities and major airports but being able to step outside your front door and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world (ok..I’m biased), is just one of the things I love about living here.

 

All of my drawings, my collections, are inspired by the landscape that surrounds the studio. My first ever collection, The Rame Head Collection came from countless walks in and around Whitsand Bay, a little bit of Cornwall often forgotten, its steep cliffs dotted with chalets, which were once retreats for Plymouth people during wartime, and are now permanent homes to locals with some available as holiday rentals!


The amazing golden beach stretches out before you, with Tregantle at one end and Polhawn at the other…..to the left of Polhawn sits Rame Head. This whole coastline is part of the Cornish footpath and is well trodden by locals and visitors alike. Climbing down the cliff, arduous in places, is well worth the effort for a day on the beach…where sometimes, in the quieter months, there is only a seagull or two for company!

My children have been climbing the cliff since they were babies….urged on by the sight of the sea, sandcastle making and a swim. The journey home, back up the cliff required more encouragement, tired at the end of a long day, their little legs were spurred on by the idea of jelly beans doled out at every bend in the path!

Another steep climb, but, oh, so worth it, is the ascent to the little chapel on Rame Head. Dedicated to St Michael the chapel was first licensed in 1397 and is on the site of a much earlier and ancient, Celtic hermitage. Views from the top are breathtaking and on a clear, calm day you can see for miles….a prominent landmark to sailors and fisherman alike and often the last piece of land they see leaving England and the first they see when returning home….a truly magical place and loved by so many.

From Rame Head, you can walk east to Penlee and on to the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand or west, tracing the path along the cliffs of Whitsand Bay. Next to the car park at Rame Head, is home to a volunteer National Coastguard lookout station. If you visit, do pop in and say hello to the people who work there…got to be one of the best working views in the country!!

There are so many beautiful walks around this little bit of Cornwall, ‘the forgotten corner’ and if you haven’t already managed a visit, I would really recommend you add it to your ‘to do’ list.

We would love to hear about your favourite Cornish walk…..so please do comment below…..

Rame Head Linen Tea Towel Helen Round

22 05, 2017

Exclusive Collection for Urban Flowers

By | May 22nd, 2017|Gardening, Made In Cornwall|0 Comments

Being an avid gardener I was delighted when, late last year, I received a telephone call from garden designer and florist, Carolyn Dunster. She had seen my work at the Great Cornish Food Store whilst holidaying in Truro, Cornwall and wondered if we would create an exclusive collection of products to accompany the launch of her new book, Urban Flowers.

 

Keen to create a collection just perfect for both urban and rural gardeners alike, Carolyn asked us to make three beautiful and very functional products; a cache pot, a gardeners apron and a lovely bag. In Slate Grey linen and hand printed with our Hedgerow design, these products are now available on her website where you can also find details of her new book.

Printing the fabric for the linen bag

Placing the pocket on the Gardener’s Apron

Although not an urban gardener (sometimes I feel more like a ‘guerrilla gardener’!), I have really enjoyed reading Carolyn’s book, with its beautiful photography and a wealth of practical gardening tips for gardeners of all levels. I know it will be one of those books that I constantly refer to. I especially love the way in which the plants are arranged in colour palettes and the book has enabled me to identify plants that I have in the garden, whose names I was never sure of.

Cache pot..ready for their plant pots

Whether your style is ‘rurban’ (for city dwellers who dream of gardening in a rural location), classic or contemporary, this book is full of little gems. I have always been a seed harvester, but now know how to make ‘seed bombs’, a great way of mixing varieties to create a group of flowers that look as if they have self sown naturally! I’ve also created a fantastic herb wall which now hangs on the balcony right outside my kitchen – all very easy to do projects – but sometimes in our busy lives, someone needs to just show us how.

A selection of further projects described in Urban Flowers

Thank you Carolyn for this wonderful book; I’ve bought my glycerin to make a preserved wreath in the Autumn!……but let’s not wish away the magical summer months……I’m off to tackle the weeds, prepare a new planting ground for a purple and blue Autumn palette….I’m loving the idea of Monk’s Hood, Fountain Grass and Salvia.

Visit Urban Flowers

Linen Cache Pot

Linen Gardening Apron

Linen Bag

3 05, 2017

Bread For Body And Soul

By | May 3rd, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

As many of you know, I am a keen baker and a big sourdough convert!

Sourdough really is simple. I make my loaf before I go to bed, leave it on the side to prove overnight then put it in the oven when I wake. The making takes less than 10 minutes and the baking about 30 minutes…the waiting is the hardest part….we all know that hot bread, straight from the oven gives you indigestion!!

You can buy sourdough almost anywhere now…supermarkets have finally caught on to our need for more than just sliced white (thank goodness), but nothing beats a loaf from an artisan bakery or even better, warm from your own oven. Don’t be put off by the idea of a ‘starter’ or the thought of kneading for hours….find yourself a good recipe and you’ll wonder why you didn’t take it up earlier.

If that all feels like too much…..most places now have small independent bakeries where they can buy beautiful fresh bread in many guises. We are lucky to have a lovely bakery such as this, just a short distance away and their bread is so popular you need to order it to ensure yourself of a loaf! We visited recently and managed to catch Chris just popping his beautiful loaves in the oven….take a look….

A bit further away from home, but of interest to our USA followers, do check out Breadtopia. Based, in Fairfield, Iowa (about as breadbasket as America gets), Denyce, Eric and their family are self confessed ‘bread freaks’! They, like us, believe that ‘home made bread, fresh from the oven, feeds your body and soul like no other food’, and work really hard to promote home baking.

We are delighted to be working with Breatopia and have recently shipped out a collection of linen bread bags, aprons and tea towels which they now sell in their shop. Do check out their website and if you are in need of a ‘no-knead’ bread recipe they have the perfect one. As for sourdough, I tried this no-knead sourdough recipe at the weekend and it worked really well. There’s even a video to help you along! They also have a great blog and an amazing forum where recipes are shared. It is one of those websites that you can spend hours perusing and really get lost in…perfect while you are waiting for your just baked loaf to cool! Do make sure you visit their tutorial page too….there is a great video for sourdough pizza…perfect for soon to be summer picnics. All in all, a really fabulous find and great to connect with a family business who are passionate about artisan bread making and are working really hard to ensure that ‘baking perfect bread at home is available to everyone’.

 

Shop Here For Your Linen Bread Bag

 

28 03, 2017

Sing Like No One Is Listening!!

By | March 28th, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Not a singer in sight…but plenty of linen!!

We often have music playing in the studio….not always, but usually for part of the day. Often, when Meg and Hayley are sewing and I am screen printing, we bring up our favourite tunes on a Spotify playlist. A real eclectic mix of tunes which caters for all three of our tastes has been compiled into the ‘Studio Playlist’ and is something we all enjoy and have been known to sing along to. It does make me grin when they suggest tunes I was listening to in my 20’s…….

On one particular occasion, it was one of those days in Cornwall where ‘mizzle’ (Cornish for light rain!) is all around…..Meg and Hayley were whizzing along on the machines, singing very loudly to The Proclaimers, 500 miles, in their very bad Scottish accents. Suddenly, I noticed the parcel deliveryman climbing the steps on his approach to the studio… oblivious to his presence, they continued to sing and were mortified when he opened the door and popped his head in to pick up the parcels! To make matters worse, he was new to the job and not used to our ‘peculiar’ ways….poor man!! Strangely….we haven’t seen him since!

We hope you enjoy this playlist as much as we do and are always on the look out for great tunes to sew to…so please do send over your suggestions…and when you next hear The Proclaimers, make sure you sing along…very loudly!!

Don’t forget to ‘like’ our Facebook page to keep up to date with more goings on in the studio.
You can also find us on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

Got a favourite tune you think we should be listening to? Add it below or comment on our Facebook post….and we will give it a listen and maybe even add it to our Studio Playlist.

16 02, 2017

Bright Lights, Big City…….

By | February 16th, 2017|Uncategorised|1 Comment

Having recently returned from Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham, I must admit to feeling somewhat shell shocked. For those of you who have never been, imagine the biggest superstore you can (think Asda, Tesco B&Q etc)…quite large, wouldn’t you agree? Well, now scale up your imagination and visualise the floor area covered by 20 of these superstores….there you have it Spring Fair…the International Trade Show of the UK.

To say I am pleased to return to Cornwall, is an understatement. Does anyone really ‘enjoy’ spending five days under artificial lighting with artificial air….I don’t know?? Come on…own up if you are out there!

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Any opportunity to don a hi vis jacket and I’m there!!!

 

Helen Round Spring Fair 2017

Three and a half hours later….we are adding the finishing touches….. btw..we didn’t choose this colour carpet, it was given to us as part of the GB Trail!!!

There are always happy positives to come out of such ordeals….I get to chat to some of our lovely existing stockists, I get to meet new stockists and, on this occasion, I have a lightbulb moment where, I am reminded of just why I decided to take the plunge, give up the well paid day job and create my own business.

For those of you who have visited the studio or met us at events or follow us on social media you will know that we are a small business with a big heart. We are passionate about craft, passionate about quality and make things which we feel are both beautiful and practical. We don’t get things made in China or India, we make them in the studio, behind my house, in Cornwall. Hayley and Meg sew each product and I print each piece of linen by hand using traditional artisan screen printing techniques. We love what we do and we hope that this shines through in the products that we make. We send all our waste fabric to the local school, wash our screens using recycled rain water and really try to do our bit to help planet. We love Cornwall and feel very lucky to live and work here.

Apprentices at Helen Round 6 small

Hayley making Aga Tops

 

Apprentices at Helen Round 5 small

Meg making bread bags

Despite the enormity of Spring Fair and the alien environment, it was really great to have the opportunity to meet up with retailers who share our passion for high quality, who work really hard to search for British Made products and have shops which stock interesting and unique pieces that are not found all over the high street. I don’t know about you, but these are the shops I love to visit when buying a gift for friends and family….or myself!

A special thanks has to go to Helen Lester Hinchliffe, a stockist and now a good friend who spent three days helping out at the show…without whom, I would have certainly struggled to survive….!! Helen’s shop, The Upcycled Home Company,  is undoubtedly a treasure, and somewhere we are proud to stock. If you visit the Rame Peninsula, you must go….allow yourself at least half an hour of browsing time…maybe more!

Here’s to all those lovely shops stocking British Made products and to all those makers who work hard to make such beautiful things. #hyperlocal

If you, like me are passionate about buying products with provenance, do visit The Contemporary Craft Festival, 9-11th June in Devon. We hope to see you there!

16 01, 2017

India……

By | January 16th, 2017|Uncategorised|2 Comments

HELEN ROUND Indian Bazzar 2In an ancient bazaar, situated behind the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, I squeezed my way into this narrow market stall to take a closer look at the amazing array of sparkly trim….some were so high up, the only way to reach them was to use a broom; poke them and hope you caught the one you wanted as it fell!!

I have always dreamed of visiting India, and this New Year, I got my chance. Travelling to the Kerala in the South, to “God’s Country” (interestingly Cornwall gets called the same), I had planned two weeks holiday visiting forest and jungle, city and coast. Arriving in India at this time was a bit of a gamble. News travels fast these days and a few weeks prior to my visit, the country was in turmoil with the Government making severe changes to the monetary system resulting in enormous queues at ATM’s and limits on cash withdrawal. I decided to continue with my plan to visit and was so pleased I did……India is a everything you see in films and on the TV… and much much more.

HELEN ROUND India tailor 1

lightening speed on the machine

I deliberately didn’t visit India with work in mind, but when you are a lifetime lover of textiles, it is sometimes hard to separate work and pleasure! I was fascinated by the amazing colours and the beautiful silks lining the shelves of the tailors shops behind the temples, marvelled at the speed and skills of the machinists, using very simple machines and some using their laps as cutting tables!

HELEN ROUND India silks

piles of sari silks stack the shelves

HELEN ROUND India tailor

pattern cutting…”I’ll make you a dress in an hour”, he said!

I spent quite a while chatting to these tailors, most of whom had been in the same job for over 25 years, taught by their fathers and desperately trying to keep their skills alive. As is the case with many traditional crafts, generations of skills are being lost, taken over by mass manufacturing and a need to have things made cheaply. Tailors have worked around the temple for hundreds of years.

HELEN ROUND Indian Bazzar 3

machinist at work behind the temple 

HELEN ROUND tea plantation

high in the hills where tea grows…..

In the mountainous region of Munnar, it was fascinating to visit Aranya Natural textiles, where traditional hand dyeing, block printing and paper making skills are being actively promoted. The Srishti programme runs various programmes for education, training and rehabilitation of differently abled children of Munnar’s tea plantation workers. It is a fascinating project and was great to spend time there watching dyeing and printing in progress. I was unable to take photographs here as it is a place of education, but if you are interested, you can find further details on their website.

product05 copy product02 copy product01 copy product04 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was hoping to find linen whilst in India, but maybe I was in the wrong place, as didn’t manage to find anything nearly as wonderful as the cloth we get from The Baltics. There was silk and cotton in abundance…maybe I should consider a range of products made from silk and cotton? I was encouraged to find that small businesses still manage to exist in India and are able to make a living from traditional skills. It reminded me what I love about textiles and how the process of hand printing, dyeing and other techniques such as batik and tie dye are magical and how important it is to not let them get swallowed up the processes of mass production. Things we make by hand have so much more value than those that are churned out by the millions in factories. As most of you know, our products are all printed by hand using traditional screen printing methods and made in the studio…..it’s great to know that similar traditions are being kept alive in India.

I loved India and I plan to return…that is, once I have managed to get over the madness of the tuk tuk drivers and drivers in general!! There is no such thing as a white line in the road and if there was, no one would take a blind bit of notice!! Its a freeway where whoever goes fastest gets in front and on a hairpin bend, you overtake and hope that anything coming the other way will stop in time!

HELEN ROUND varkala

not a car in sight…..Varkala on the Arabian sea

As a celebration of all things handmade, we have 10% off our linen fabric (offer ends Friday 20th January 2017)…..visit our shop for further details.

7 07, 2016

Period Living Magazine Visit The Studio

By | July 7th, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

 

HELEN ROUND STUDIO

Take a peek into the studio with these fantastic images taken for Period Living Magazine, by photographer Anya Rice. In this months magazine, you can read more about the story of Helen Round, learn more about the inspiration behind the designs and find out more about the day to day happenings in our Cornish studio.

Linen Bread Bags - neatly stacked ready for orders

Lovely linen cushions, peg bags and bread bags – neatly stacked and ready for orders……

HELEN ROUND leather shopper

Adding leather handles to our shoppers…we start off with a whole leather hide, cut the straps, punch the holes and then attach with rivets to the bags to create a strong fixing

HELEN ROUND mood board

A snap shot from our inspiration board with printed linen samples, sketches and fabric swatches. Take a look at our lovely choice of linen fabric

HELEN ROUND mug

Always time for a cup of tea in between printing and cutting…seen here in the mug from The Coastal Collection

29 06, 2016

Linen Fabric Off Cuts Go To A Good Cause

By | June 29th, 2016|Hand Printed Linen Textiles, Helen Round|0 Comments

Cowslip Workshops, located in Launceston Cornwall, is a dream destination for those of us who love fabric, sewing and sewing machines!! It’s also a fabulous place to stop off for lunch, indulge in tea and cake and take in the wonderful views from the farm. Jo Colwill has worked extremely hard to create a ‘sanctuary’ for those of us for whom textiles is a passion. I visit twice a year to exhibit at their successful Summer and Christmas Fair and it was here that I met Di Wells, a fellow Cornish Textile Artist and teacher. Di visited the stall and bought some of our printed fabric pieces for a textiles project she had in mind. We didn’t get much chance to chat at the Fair as it was a very busy day, but Di later emailed me and told me exactly what she intended to do with the pieces she had bought.

Helen Round pasr bag di wells

 

 

 

 

 

 

She explained that she works very closely with International Community Assist (ICA) a charity who, amongst other things, work to provide sewing machines and teach sewing skills to desperately poor women in Albania in order to help them out of poverty by creating jobs within the textile industry. in fact, the charity has to date, taught 265 women to sew of which 145 are now in full time employment and 68 are self employed. Di visited us in the studio and we felt we wanted to help in some way, so donated a number of our linen fabric off cuts and printed pieces. With the printed pieces she has created bags that she then sold at a fund raiser. The other linen off cuts being sent out to Albania for the women to use in their sewing projects.

 

If you’d like to find out more about ICA and the amazing work that Di and her husband do to support the charity, take a look at this article Sewing For Life from ‘Creative With Workbox Magazine‘ which contains some lovely stories and case studies about the women who the charity has helped, with positive life changing consequences.

We will be at Cowslip Summer Fair 23-24th July….visit our events page for further details. Once again, and exclusively to Cowslip events, we will be bringing a lovely selection of our hand printed linen panels and selected bags of colourful linen off cuts just perfect for sewing projects and quilting ideas. We look forward to seeing you there. Don’t forget to book your table for lunch!

14 05, 2016

Making Linen Bread Bags And Bread

By | May 14th, 2016|Hand Printed Linen Textiles, Helen Round, In the studio, Made In Cornwall, Uncategorised|0 Comments

imageWith REAL BREAD WEEK fast approaching (14-22 May), I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some thoughts and recipes about bread and bread bags with you! We recently visited our lovely local bakery in Kingsand to film one of their wonderful Sourdough classes and have included Chris’s recipe and a link to our exciting new video below.

The idea of bread bags is a fairly new concept for us here in the UK…the French have been using them for years, but with the rise in popularity of home baking and bread making, comes the need for something in which to store bread. I’m sure we have all once owned a bread bin and witnessed the mould which seems to miraculously grow overnight….! Bread likes to breathe and in a sealed container it gets hot and sweaty – a perfect breeding ground for mould spores. Put your bread in a linen bread bag and it’s a different story. Linen, being a natural fibre, allows the bread to breathe. It is a fabric with a high water content and this in turn helps to keep a good crust (quite unlike a plastic bag that will soften the crust and cause the bread to sweat…not a nice thought!).

We are obviously big fans of linen bread bags here in the studio; they’re not just very practical, they are beautiful too. They take up much less space on your work top and for those with limited kitchen worktop space, there is even a hook for handy hanging. Add this to the fact that you can also use your bread bag, with the top rolled down, to serve bread at the table, as a basket…they have to be a winner. We have two in our kitchen, one for the sourdough and one for other bread products. Long gone are the plastic carrier bags and the bulky bread bin!!

It’s not just us that are fans either….River Cottage in Axminster recently commissioned us to make bread bags to help celebrate their 10th year at Park Farm….you can find them in their lovely shop along with our linen tea towels, both especially printed with their birthday logo.

Have a look at our new video ‘Making Bread Bags & Bread’….do let us know what you think. Special thanks go to Matilda Butler for making another great film.

If, like us, you are passionate about real bread, you can get involved in Real Bread Week here.

If you fancy having a go at making your own sourdough then try Chris’s recipe or even better book yourself onto one of his courses.

Making A Starter
Before you can begin to make sourdough bread you will need to make a Starter.

Day 1 Weigh 50g strong bread flour.  Add 50g water, ideally at 24o centigrade.  Mix and leave for 24 hours in a warm place
Day 2 After 24 hours, take 50g of the mixture, add 50g flour and 50g water, ideally at 24o centigrade.  Mix and leave for 24 hours in a warm place.
Day 3 Repeat day 2.  You should be seeing some bubbles on the surface of the mixture.  If not don’t worry.
Day 4 Repeat day 2.  You should be seeing some bubbles on the surface of the mixture.  If you don’t have any bubbles, something is wrong and you should start again.
Day 5 You should see bubbles and it is now ready to be used to raise bread or can be stored in the fridge in a lidded pot ready for your to use to bake bread. 

Preparing your Starter
Twenty-four hours before you want to start to make bread you need to prepare your Starter.  This is called making a Levain.

Method
The day before you want to bake

-In the morning, take your Starter out of the fridge and mix 25g of Starter with 25g of flour and 25g of water.
– Leave this mixture in a warm place – approximately 22o centigrade
-In the evening use 25g of the Starter and mix with 75g of flour and 75g of water
-The following day your Starter will be ready to use.  It will be bubbly and should have increased in size by 20%
-Keep 50g of Starter in a lidded pot in the fridge.  This is now your Starter for the next loaf.  It can be stored for up to 3 months

Sourdough Recipe

Ingredients

450g Strong White Bread Flour
50g Wholemeal Bread Flour
7.5g Finely Ground Sea Salt
300g/325ml Tap Water
125g Starter/Levain

Method

  1. Weigh 450g strong white bread flour and 50g wholemeal bread flour into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Measure 325ml tap water into a small bowl/jug, tare scales, weigh 125g Starter into the tap water
  3. Pour the water and Starter into the flour
  4. Roll-up sleeves and mix ingredients together for 2-3 minutes until all the ingredients are completely combined
  5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 15 minutes
  6. After 30 minutes sprinkle salt over the dough and mix thoroughly for one minute
  7. After 20 minutes, pull and stretch the dough, repeating several times
  8. Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave for 20 minutes
  9. Repeat this process of folding the dough four times, leave in a warm room (22o) for 15 minutes between each fold
  10. Leave the dough to prove for 3 to 4 hours.
  11. Score your loaf. Bake for 40 minutes at 240o or 220o fan oven until the bread is a deep golden colour.  To test whether your bread is baked tap the bottom – it should sound hollow.