Corita Rose’s AMOR cushions never lose their appeal. Probably because they are created one at a time; painstakingly silk screened by hand onto plush velvet. Each is an individual.
We’re showcasing them at Galerie CO this month – a luxurious Valentine’s offering that you’ll love all year round – so we’d like to introduce you to their creator, designer Caroline Ritchie.
I first met Caroline while wandering through 100% Design in London a few years ago during London Design Week (Festival of Britain). 100% Design is a great show with lots of cool design. But it has its fair share of corporate booths showcasing the latest kitchens. So you can imagine my delight when I rounded a corner to see Corita Rose.
Caroline’s booth was decked out with cushions and upholstery in her exquisite velvets printed with strong imagery in vivid colours set off against her wonderful large-scale printed curtains (“Fortune Favours the Brave” – I dream about those curtains). Taking it over the top was a life size “boxer” clothed in pieces made using her silk butterfly prints and her “swarm” bee print in silk and in velvet. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. The colours and the textures, her bold designs and her big smile, stopped me in my tracks. And I’m so glad, because we have been working together ever since. I never get tired of her work.
Caroline’s designs are a celebration of life, beauty and inspiration so we asked her to take CO’s version of the “Proust Questionnaire” so that you can get to know her a little better and to learn about what inspires her. Here’s what she had to say:
Galerie CO: What does sustainability mean to you?
Caroline: A happy balance between man and the environment.
Galerie CO: What is your favourite work of art?
Caroline: It changes but quite often it’s anonymous folk art.
Galerie CO: Who are your favourite designers?
Caroline: Josef Frank, Sister Corita Kent, Yinka Shonibare – artists and designers.
Galerie CO: What was your first artistic creation?
Caroline: A stripey finger crochet snake.
Galerie CO: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Caroline: Family and friends; plunging into the turquoise Cornish sea.
Galerie CO: Which living person do you most admire?
Caroline: There are too many to choose between planet savers, hard workers, people who triumph over adversity and kind people who share their time.
Galerie CO: What is your greatest extravagance?
Caroline: Boots – don’t ask.
Galerie CO: What is your current state of mind?
Caroline: Happy. Busy.
Galerie CO: What is your favourite city?
Caroline: London, Paris, Tokyo, can’t choose!
Galerie CO: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Caroline: Perhaps conformity.
Galerie CO: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Caroline: Hurry up, find your shoes, get in the car . . . part of the school morning routine.
Galerie CO: What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Caroline: Josh and our children.
Galerie CO: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Caroline: To be better in the mornings.
Galerie CO: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Caroline: Being a mum.
Galerie CO: If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, who or what would it be?
Caroline: I’m here now and can’t quite think of another life yet.
Galerie CO: What is your most treasured possession?
Caroline: An old silver ring and a tiny wolf badge.
Galerie CO: What do you most value in your friends?
Caroline: The love and sunshine in them.
Galerie CO: What is your motto?
Caroline: Live life and love.
Caroline: The wally one living wall planters.
Galerie CO: Is there anything else you’d like to say to your Galerie CO fans?
Caroline: Its great to connect with and be part of a community on the other side of the world.
We think it’s great to connect with Caroline too!
If you were lucky enough to have been in Paris last week, you might have seen the new collection. The new designs fit seamlessly into the existing collection, which conjures up the strength of medieval heraldry with symbols of bravery, valour and strength – the lion – and the bee, which symbolizes diligence and indefatigable effort (“busy as a bee”) and was an emblem revived by Napoleon. Here’s a sneak peek. The knights, hound and horses will be available at CO in the coming weeks.