Author(s): Michal Silver & Sarah Burns
"A design isn't dozens of little objects, or hungry-looking rectangular windowpanes: it is something that becomes a design by repeating, giving you something that a single pattern doesn't give you. " - (Phyllis Barron, Dartington 1964) During the 1920s and 1930s, Phyllis Barron (1890-1964) and Dorothy Larcher (1882-1952) were at the forefront of a revival in hand block-printing in Britain. As designer-makers they formed a unique partnership, producing innovative textiles and seeing the entire process through from beginning to end. Using whatever materials they could muster - fabric ranging from balloon cotton to prison sheets and velvet, and everyday items such as combs and car mats for printing - and pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved with predominantly natural dyes, these two remarkable women ran a successful business that lasted from 1923 until the outbreak of World War II. Nearly one hundred years on, another special collaboration between the Craft Studies Centre in Farnham, Christopher Farr Cloth and Ivo Prints, has brought a selection of Barron and Larcher's work back into production. The warm welcome they have received across the globe is a testament to the timeless quality of great design.