Posts tagged art
Marthe Armitage hand printed wallpaper designs | Nick Balloon photography | via: chatham st. house

Design Crush: Marthe Armitage

Let’s talk linocut and Marthe Armitage shall we? This octogenarian is a print powerhouse and masterful wallpaper designer who everyone should know, if they don’t already. I am obsessed with her fairytale-like designs and she feels like the perfect designer to kick-off a new series I’m calling Design Crush. It acts as a companion piece to my Interior Crush series where I explore inspirational interior design. Design Crush will focus on the work of designers and artists who have had a huge impact on interior design, but focuses less on a singular project and more on their entire body of work.



I first discovered Marthe Armitage on Pinterest (how I love a good Pinterest rabbit hole) and I devoured post after post about her life and work. Like so many of the women designers I love her work stems first from her love of family and home. A graduate of the Chelsea School of Art, now the University of Arts – London, Marthe put aside her artistic ambitions to raise her family and support her architect husband in the 1950s. It was during this era that they lived in India and she was first exposed to the art of block printing.

Marthe Armitage studio visit | via: chatham st. house
Marthe Armitage studio visit | via: chatham st. house
marthe armitage design sketch | via: chatham st. house
marthe armitage in her studio | via: chatham st. house
Marthe Armitage studio visit | via: chatham st. house


This experience left an indelible mark on Marthe, and that early inspiration can be seen in her work to this day. Taking block printing a step further, Marthe uses the technique of linocut to create all of her wallpaper designs. Linocut is a printmaking technique where the design is cut into a linoleum surface with a sharp knife. The raised areas create a reverse image of the design when printed by hand or with a printing press. The use of linocuts vs. block prints allows for a greater level of complexity and nuance to her designs.


Initially Marthe Armitage created hand-pressed wallpapers as an artistic experiment for her own family home. It wasn’t until she acquired a lithographic press, well into her adulthood, that she was able to make her designs commercially available.



Inspired by the natural world, books and art, Marthe’s designs have a mystical, fairy-like quality that transcends genre. Each design starts as a four-section sketch that masterfully evolves into a repeatable print. These sketches are then transferred to a linocut and hand-printed on the lithographic press. This handmade process creates a finished product that is incredibly durable while simultaneously keeping the delicacy and ethereal quality of Marthe’s work.

Designer Marthe Armitage at home | via: chatham st. house
Marthe Armitage's daughter Jo Broadhurst designer and architect | via: chatham st. house
 Marthe Armitage, T Magazine


Her imagination is unparalleled with (perhaps) one exception - Marthe’s daughter Jo Broadhurst has become an integral partner in Marthe’s studio and elegant designer in her own right. They work continue to work side-by-side, hand printing Marthe’s extensive body of work and developing new designs for their ever expanding client list. I can’t get enough of their use of color and the whimsical stories they tell through their wallpapers and prints. Read more about Marthe Armitage on her website here. -b. 

Image Sources: 1 | 2-3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9

mother nature art show | via bekuh b.

Have I mentioned that I was part of an art show recently? Yeah? Maybe six or seven time. Well today you finally get to see what I've been up to! I was honored to be included among some truly amazing artists at the URBN 543 Gallery. The focus of the show was mother nature and our many interpretations on that theme. For my part I chose to focus on, what else, but flower arrangements.

I relied heavily on my love of Dutch Master Paintings and post-impression era painters like Cezanne and Renoir for inspiration on composition, technique and subject matter. You can read a little more about my inspiration here.

mother nature art show | via bekuh b.
mother nature art show | via bekuh b.
mother nature art show | via bekuh b.

In all I completed 5 pieces ranging in scale, from the petite 9x12 to the more expansive 18 x 24. Each work consists of multiple original paintings disassembled and reassembled into an entirely new composition. The act of assembling and disassembling multiple works freed me to to create imaginary floral designs and still life settings with a 3D, almost relief sculpture, finished feel. I was in essence creating my own vision of realty with each work. 

It's been almost 4 years since I last fully realized a body of work with one consistent theme and focus. It was a lot of handwork but I'm proud of the finished product, and it was thrilling to see my work in a gallery for the first time since college. I hope it won't be the last. - b.

dutch masters- little flower school | via: bekuh b.
anna potter's home | via: bekuh b.
exotic botanics | via: bekuh b.
autumn inspired bouquet- sarah ryhanen | via: bekuh b.
peonies- sarah ryhanen | via: bekuh b.
in bloom | via: bekuh b.
little flower school- nicole franzen | via: bekuh b.

My recent artistic endeavors are a collage created from several other paintings, which means for every painting I complete at least three “quick” paintings are required to assemble it. Did I just confuse you? Basically I create collages made entirely of original paintings by yours truly. Why? Because I love arranging flowers, and I love creating art and by combining these two things (twice over I might add) I’m sending a piece of my my heart out into the world to be looked at and hopefully admired by others. I'll share more on what the final images looked like soon (promise).

But I digress; you’re reading this because there are about 8 stunning photos of bouquets above this paragraph. When I’m creating the “quick” paintings that form the base of my final collage I draw inspiration from the endless wealth of floral still lives shared across the internet. From the flowers used to the backgrounds and colors, the expertise and artistry of the thousands of floral designers working across the globe astounds me. It must be shared. So here’s more about the photos you see above, and please click through and marvel at the other works by these great artists. - b.

image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8