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Iconic designer Christian Lacroix has created these flamboyant ‘fashion monsters’. Made from a mixture of satin, plastic, knitted fabrics and golden thread, they come complete with matching gift bags and are his distinctive contribution to Habitat’s Very Important Products (VIP) for Kids’’ collection. Ten other ultra cool childhood-insipired items have been designed by celebrities including Kate Winslet and Jacqueline Wilson.

Rarely do we look inside our beautifully designed, high quality consumer items and find a ‘Made in Africa’ label but one Ethiopian company is determined to make this an everday occurance. Taytu use traditional materials and embroidery techniques to produce contemporary designs from leather bags (Ethiopian suede kid leather is considered the finest in the world) and jewellery, to woven shawls with graphic yet delicate designs.

The middle way

From cinemas to nightclubs – even tents – internationally renowned textile artist Sally Greaves-Lord’s work is at home in a variety of contexts. The Royal College of Art graduate, and ex-Creative Director of Issey Miyake UK, works alongside architects and interior designers to incorporate her large scale banners into interiors. Her richly coloured, subtly textured abstract images are hand-painted on silk or cotton cloth, using a combination of acid dyes and a textile bleaching agent. Thanks to the Arts Council’s Own Art Scheme you can buy a “Greaves-Lord” for your own home. The scheme is designed to encourage people to purchase and commission art and craft. You can borrow up to £2,000, or as little as £100, and pay back the loan in ten interest free instalments. The scheme is available in over 250 participating venues across the country including those showing in Made in the Middle. In partnership with Craftspace and Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, this major touring exhibition features new work by contemporary craft makers with a connection to the West Midlands and explores ‘routes to an object’ – how career paths create the skills and ideas behind each work.

Artworks-mk, Parklands, Great Linford, Milton Keynes,,, 18 May-29 June.

Antonio Fiorenti

Image Horst P. Horst, from Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli, Dilys E. Blum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2003, p.265; Sally Greaves-Lord’s Glauconite & Serpentine - images by Andy Kruczek

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