weekend colour inspiration – ball fairy lights from Cable and Cotton…

Today on Weekend Colour Inspiration we have something a little different for you. Usually we have an inspirational image, scheme or colour combination that can be used and interpreted in your own way, regardless of what sort of space you have, but today, we are looking at a product that can bring a real smattering of colour – in a completely customisable way. The coloured fairy light sets from fellow Brightonian company Cable and Cotton are just fantastic. They are bright, you can be creative with combinations and they are made ethically by craftswomen in Thailand. Three ticks.

cable and cotton mojito 1

Available in different lengths (20, 32, or 50 lights), Cable and Cotton also offer two different versions of their lights – a pick your own, where you can choose your own combination from the 47 different round, handmade cotton shades, or one of 13 pre-selected colour sets – chosen by the team at Cable and Cotton in complimentary colours.

We plumped for the Mojito (no judging please, but it is Friday…), which is a gorgeous mix of Oatmeal, Ivory and Pale Grey with a bright injection of Turquoise and Anais Green – a lovely combination of some of our favourite colours.

cable and cotton mojito 2

The lights were very well packaged and very simple to put together – just simply tease open the cut slot in each of the handmade cotton balls and push in a fairy light. A small rubber grommet holds the light in place and within minutes we had the string completed in the studio.

Well, we say minutes, but of course, this was only the first combination of colours. As the cotton balls can be placed wherever you like on the string, we went though a few iterations until we plumped on the final sequence. Which we changed again when we put it up…

cable and cotton mojito 3

The cable on the Cable and Cotton lights was plenty long enough to wind happily around our old antlers, and being transparent, blended into the pale wall quite well. The colours also picked up the colours in both paintings that sit around the antlers, which worked perfectly.

cable and cotton mojito 4

But as well as creating a delightful bauble style effect when switched off, the lights really come into their own when they are switched on at night.

The antlers were transformed into a festooned centrepiece for the studio – bright and cheery in the dark stairwell. They were fun and made us smile.

cable and cotton mojito 5

And this is the lovely thing about the lights from Cable and Cotton – they are fun. Choose your colours (warning – this could take a while), or choose one of the brilliant colour sets to suit your own style, stick up up somewhere obvious and have a smile.

We put ours on the stairs, but what about a hallway or entranceway? In a nursery? Around a room for a party or event… there are as many possibilities as there are colour combinations available. Plus, you can swap the coloured cotton balls about a bit, as you can also buy replacements, in sets of 5…

So, as the Cable and Cotton box says, Get Creative.

(photos by claire potter, lights courtesy of Cable and Cotton)

SPOTTED – looking up at Brighton Museum…

Last Bank Holiday Monday, we decided that we would have a day off, so of course, it rained in supposed Biblical amounts. And even though it was very tempting to just sit in and read, we thought we would venture out to do a typical rainy day activity in Brighton – we went to Brighton Museum.

Brighton Museum

Now, as a Brightonian, I can honestly say that I go to Brighton Museum at least three times a year, which is not too bad. It is an excellent museum that is also free, and has a good mix of both permanent collections and temporary collections too. Some design, some art, some local interest pieces and a very interesting collection of Ancient Egypt artefacts too. But when you visit a museum, it is not just the stuff on show that can provide a visual feast – you need to remember to look up and down as well.

The main entranceway to the Brighton Museum is quite marvellous – a cavernous double height vaulted space with a set of Artichoke lights providing sculptural illumination. The architectural detailing is quite wonderful and the grey colours are soft and delicate.

Most visitors miss this view from the ground floor, but (hopefully) notice when they go across the cafe balcony, or between the galleries at the opposite end. From this level the space looks very different, but I prefer the view from the ground floor – appreciating the height of the building and the shadows cast by the lights.

This is not just true of Brighton Museum, but of many buildings – instead of just looking down, or at eye level, take time to look upwards as well. This is also the view advocated by studio friend and inspirational arts and culture consultant Cara Courage, who started the LookUp project in 2013 – a photo journal of permanent architectural details across Brighton and further afield that are at least one storey up…

So when you are out and about – do not forget to look up.

(photo by claire potter)

monday musings – Natwest Venus Awards Brighton and Sussex…

Ok. We are doing a little bit of trumpet blowing today. Last week, on a blisteringly hot day in Brighton, we went to the Grand for afternoon tea with the Natwest Venus Awards for Brighton and Sussex. We were delighted that we had been nominated for the awards in the Green Business category and even more delighted that we had made it to the semi-finals of these very prestigious awards.

Natwest Venus Awards 2

We met a raft of other, very inspirational women who work across a variety of sectors and we were shocked and very humbled when we were announced a Finalist in our Green Business category, with the winner being revealed at a red carpet event in October, also at the Grand hotel in Brighton.

Natwest Venus Awards 1

It is absolutely wonderful to be recognised in this way for the work that we do in eco design and we are ecstatic to be finalists in the Natwest Venus Awards, but ultimately we wish that eco design and green business was not segmented at all and it was just the way that everyone went about their business – with ethics and care for the implications their actions have.

It can be harder, it can take longer, but ultimately we think this is just the way it should be done, or to quote one of our lovely clients and fellow Natwest Venus Awards Finalists, hiSbe – it’s just how it Should be.

(photo by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – a Brighton beach hut…

Well, not Brighton. Hove actually. But even still, when you are looking for colour inspirations, the beach huts of Brighton and Hove take a bit of beating – particularly if you are not shy of a bit of colour. The main colour of the beach huts are closely regulated (the green that everyone has to use is a British Standard colour called Iceplant Green), but the doors are completely up to the owner. So long as they are either a solid colour or striped, you can nearly do what you wish.

So, we quite often have a little wander about to see what the new colours that people have adopted look like in situ – especially at the start of the summer when they are fresh and newly painted.

Some go for a nice toned feel to the beach hut door, but some people go all out with a colour smash. This year, there appears to be a great deal of stripes about, but it was this particular combination on a Brighton Beach hut that took our breath away…

brighton beach hut

It is reminiscent of the sort of sour sweets or refreshers that we used to eat as kids – bright, brash and acidic. And we think we like it…

What do you think?

(photo by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – pink and grey


Today on weekend colour inspiration we are looking at yet another colour combination that includes grey, but we are mixing it up a bit today with a bit of pink. Now, we are not well known for our love of pink. At all. But, in the right context and with the right tones, you could do something rather wonderful.

pink and grey fishNow, this rather lovely fellow is a Red Gurnard – which we caught just off the coast in Brighton last week. And what a handsome fellow he is too – check out those pinky orange tones, plus the blue green in the eye which are echoed in the fins (which you can just see).

Combine these pinky tones with the steely grey of the bucket and you have got a really interesting pairing which has a good balance of the urban industrial and a touch of femininity. With a contrasting pick up tone of the blue or green and you have got a very, very interesting set of colours to play with.

Take this into an exterior scheme with galvanised steel planters, silver foliage and pink / blue flowers, or perhaps a steely bedstead with a shell pink and orange spread and a bright blue lighting cable… Pink and grey with a touch of blue…

Nothing fishy about that combo. (sorry)

(photo by claire potter)


SPOTTED – the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft

Last week we trotted up to the rather beautiful village of Ditchling, which sits on the northern side of the South Downs just above Brighton to attend a lecture by Simon Garfield about type. As well as looking forward to the lecture, we were also itching to see the buildings of the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft.ditchling museum of art and craft

We were certainly not disappointed. The architecture was absolutely beautiful with the Grade II listed cart house and original building being stunningly connected with a new addition by Adam Richards Architects. A really sensitive adaptation of the existing in an honest way, using traditional materials has resulted in a space that is not only contemporary in feel but one which also feels very much in respect of both its location and heritage.

ditchling museum of art and craft

Exposed rafters in the cart house, which acts as the entrance, shop and cafe show the original structure of the building beautifully, plus the numbered tour of the elements are a clear and minimal way to engage visitors with the architecture.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The exhibits and collections at the museum are rooted with the artists who are connected with Ditchling, plus there is a substantial type influence, as Eric Gill, the designer of the Gill Sans typeface was a resident of the village. All signage throughout the museum is in the typeface, with both lettering and symbols used to great effect.

ditchling museum of art and craft

There is also a significant amount of both lettering and print based exhibits from all ages, all displayed with sensitivity in a variety of interesting ways.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The Ditchling Museum of Art and Crafts is not a huge affair, but it is bursting with clever architecture, character and heritage, not to mention wonderfully enthusiastic staff and fantastically stocked shop.

Plus, the museum is currently a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014

A must visit for print and architecture junkies alike. Which we are both.

(photos by claire potter)

monday musings – the New Designers…

Well – here we are again in July. We cannot believe how quickly the year has gone, but we are back in July – which means that New Designers is already in full swing. Based at the Business Design Centre in London, the exhibition runs in two parts, with the second part about to begin this week – showcasing the newest up and coming designers in illustration, interior design and architecture, furniture design and product design.



We love attending this exhibition each year. The variety of concepts that have been developed over the final year projects of the students are both interesting and show how the next wave of designers will be influencing the design sphere.

As with attending all exhibitions, there are always a few things that perhaps are reinventions of the old or existing, but there are also products and styles that are completely new. And this is what we love to see – how the boundaries of design are being pushed.

Plus, I am personally delighted to say that the Product Designers from the University of Sussex that I have had the pleasure of teaching this year are also going to be there, showing an incredibly wonderful – and exciting range of products for the first time to the wider public.

We will have a full run down of the show and our top pick of the newest designers here on the Ecospot next week, but in the meantime, visit the show and support the next wave of new designers at New Designers…

(part 2 runs from 2nd-5th July at the Business Design Centre, London)

join us on our Chelsea Fringe edible city foraging walk this saturday…

Hello everyone. Apologies for the few posts that have disappeared over the past few days, we have been experiencing a bit of a tech melt down… but, we are still here (actually, we are in Berlin at present with Fixperts, but more of that next week) and we will also be getting ready for our Chelsea Fringe event this coming Saturday!

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Last year, we ran a very popular guided foraging walk in Brighton, so we have decided to keep to the theme and are running another three – this time in the centre of Brighton, starting in the landscape behind Brighthelm on North Road. This will be a bit of an intro to what you can find in the city which can be easily foraged.

We will be starting at 11, with each walk taking about an hour, including a free foraged cordial drink at the end and a free copy of our very special and very new map of Brighton which you can customise yourself with the icon stickers…

Spaces on the walk are FREE but VERY limited, so please get in touch to reserve a space on one of the following time slots:

11.00 am walk / 1.00 walk / 3.00 walk – email us on hello@clairepotterdesign.com to reserve a space, or use the booking form on the right of this page…

In between times, we will be at our little stand in Brighthelm selling copies of our Edible City pack (map and stickers), plus copies of our limited edition A-Z of British Apples prints, so please do pop by and say hello! If there are any spaces left on the day you will be welcome to join one of the walks but we cannot guarantee that there will be any left!

Oh – if you have previously got in touch about reserving a space on the walks, please get in touch again – we have lost a lot of emails in our recent tech fail…

We look forward to seeing you!

SPOTTED – last of the Artist’s Open Houses – the Hove trail…

Today on SPOTTED we have the last of the pieces that we purchased on the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton this year – finishing up with the last bit of the Hove trail. All in all, we were hugely impressed with the quality and quantity of fabulous work on show throughout the Artist’s Open Houses and we cannot wait to get involved ourselves when we open our new studio in Portland Road, Hove. Watch this space…

penelope kelly

But – back to the bits – we were absolutely delighted at everything we found at 1 Aymer Road – wonderful prints and graphics, like the fabulous prints of combined animals by Penelope Kenny, such as the moth bird above. They were colourful yet understated, modern yet traditional and we thought they were fantastic.

Also at 1 Aymer Road was a fantastic selection of stunning wood turned pieces by Barry Chillwell, but it was these very sweet cherries that caught our eye. Beautiful. Not sure which wood it is – but ironically, not cherry I think…

barry Chidwell cherries

Now, we could have left these cherries as just a decorative piece, but I thought it was a real shame as they were so beautiful, so, along with a couple of other pieces and after a trip to the Bead Shop in Brighton, they were turned into a necklace…


The button on the left you might recognise as the ceramic button by Teresa Wolfe Murray that I purchased a few weeks ago – this was added to a length of green suede, the enamel skull like key in the centre was another purchase from the weekend by Jane Cross, which I added to a copper leather thread and of course, the wooden cherries on the end were added to an antique brass chain – all of which I think work quite well.

And the lovely thing is that now I can take these three little pieces of art around with me, and talk to people about them rather than having them sitting at home somewhere…

Wearing your art is the way forward – don’t you think?

(photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – Brighton Artist’s Open Houses – Beyond the Level trail

Last week on our SPOTTEDs we looked at the lovely bits and bobs that we found whilst travelling about on the Fiveways trail of the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses. Well, one of the houses we visited was technically on the ‘Beyond the Level’ trail instead, and had such delightful pieces  that we have split it onto today.

Ravenswood is located at number 12 on the Beyond the Level trail and features a lovely mix of sculpture, illustration and painting, and beautiful cakes. As well as the beautiful cake, (coffee and cardamom – oh my) we were also rather taken by the beautiful illustration at the house. Chris RiddellFirst up was the very mythically based drawings of Chris Riddell, who had illustrated one of my favourite poems – Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. The pen and watercolour illustrations were stunning, but we purchased a lovely print of one of the simple black and white illustrations of a bear like creature…

Jo Riddell 2

Next up was the gorgeously melancholy paintings of Jo Riddell, which featured singular architectural and agricultural features. Dungeness featured in the stunning paintings, as well as large agricultural farming silos, which we just fell in love with.

Singular silos, numbered 1-4 were shown – and we just thought they were beautiful, so, not having wall space for the large prints, purchased a set of the silos in card form, which are now off for framing…Jo Riddell 1

A lovely, lovely Artist’s Open House – and a one on the must see list…

(all photos by claire potter)