Memory Colour | Colour Memory at the London Design Fair 2018

Origins at Memory Colour | Colour Memory  | PHOTO CREDIT: Allistair Covell

“Research shows that the human relationship with the natural world is intrinsically linked with colour. Our recall and ability to identify objects or scenes is directly linked to whether their colour agrees with our memory colour. Our minds are reassured by familiarity. Can these assumptions our minds make with the phenomenon of memory colour be reverse engineered? Can we give new meaning to objects with colour?” Craig & Rose, Summer 2018

For the Memory Colour | Colour Memory exhibition at the London Design Fair September 2018 edition, Craig & Rose paints and the colour consultancy studio Calzada Fox commissioned three design practitioners, the architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall, the designer Emily Forgot and the artist Allistair Covell, to create new artworks inspired by The Colour 2018.


The Colour 2018 palette | PHOTO CREDIT: Craig & Rose paints

Allistair created Origins, a 2D low relief artwork made from plywood and incorporating all eight colours of The Colour 2018 collection. Being given The Colour 2018 palette as the starting point initially proved to be a creative challenge for Allistair as he rarely begins with a colour theme when working, instead he usually creates a colour palette through listening to music. Working backwards forced Allistair to think about colour in a new way; what does Arabian Red or Yellow Mania from the collection sound like? Could new audio memories grow from these colours?

The subtle earthy tones of The Colour 2018 reminded Allistair of the varying timbre’s found in music. The warmer hues recalled memories of listening to the music of Grace Jones and Janelle Monáe while the lighter and more industrial colours evoked the sounds of film and computer games scores and the future disco style of Goldfrapp.  

Together these diverse musical styles inspired a series of sketches and paintings that eventually morphed into thoughts of how to present the colours in a new contemporary artistic style. The surface patterns of Origins represents the different sounds and movements within the soundtrack; the shapes show the rise and fall of musical notes, the circle is the recurring melody while the curves and dots show percussion and synthesiser effects. 




Origins pre-production | Origins | Memory Colour / Colour Memory at the London Design Fair 2018 | Photo Credits: Allistair Covell



Wool Fusion by Campaign For Wool


The Wool Fusion poster  | PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Everard

For the second year running, Allistair’s artwork featured in Campaign For Wool’s annual Wool Week celebrations. The major event for Autumn 2017 was the exhibition Wool Fusion at 35 Baker Street where colour was the central theme, uniting fashion, photography, fabric, flooring, furnishings and film in a curated celebration of natural wool by the renowned interiors stylist Arabella McNie.

Wool Fusion intended to bring the story of wool’s stunning versatility to the visitor in a gallery-esque format which allowed individual pieces to really shine and to encourage people to appreciate the incredible diversity and many performance benefits of wool.

The surface pattern of Allistair’s London Streets carpet, based on a 2006 sketch of a trip around London, is a testament to the heritage and traditions of the carpet making industry in Nepal, perfectly illustrating the techniques of hand-made production.




Wool Fusion exhibition entrance  | Interior of exhibition | London Streets carpet (detail) | Photo Credits: Steven Paston and Allistair Covell



The Wool BnB by Campaign For Wool



The Wool BnB Brochure | PHOTO CREDIT: Peter Dixon

In October 2016 during the UK’s 7th Wool Week, an event organised as part of Campaign For Wool’s global celebration of wool, the world’s first Wool BnB opened to the public in London. The Wool BnB was designed and curated by interiors stylist Karina Garrick, who has worked with Campaign For Wool since 2010. Karina’s vision for the special event was to “showcase wool within a domestic environment, to make it instantly accessible and to communicate how many wool products are available for the home”. Karina adds that the Wool BnB experience successfully showed how wool “can enhance the health and wellbeing of the home and its inhabitants”.

Allistair was invited to take part and Eclipse, Paint and Rhythm from his debut #CanvasToCarpet carpet collection were chosen to adorn the walls of the sitting room, while downstairs his wool stitched painting, ‘Composition IV’, hung in the dinning room.



The Wool BnB  | Interior | Composition IV (detail) | Photo Credits: Peter Dixon and Allistair Covell


The Cambrian Mountain Wool International Design Challenge 2015


Digital Stitch in the National Wool Museum, Wales | PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN POCKINGTON

In February 2015 Allistair was invited alongside 36 other artists and designers to take part in the Cambrian Mountains Wool International Design Challenge. Allistair, in collaboration with Penny McIntyre of Think Positive Prints UK, created the textile artwork Digital Stitch, an innovative example of fusing ‘the old with the new’ in a dynamic style. Digital Stitch is a richly coloured artwork that combines traditional woven wool production techniques with the latest cutting edge digital printing technology. The surface pattern is a digital print of an enlarged section of one of Allistair’s hand stitched paintings and presented in a style that resembles the effect of peeling and chipped paint on a surface.

From May to November 2015 the Design Challenge exhibition toured the UK with highlights including a display at the Hay Festival in Wales, The London Design Festival in London and Made By Hand Wales: The Contemporary Craft Show in Cardiff, where the exhibition was featured on the Welsh television programme ‘Made In Cardiff’. 

At the Royal Private View of the Exhibition in July 2015 Allistair’s work received Royal recognition and praise from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who is the Patron of Campaign For Wool.

In December 2015 Allistair wrote an article for COVER magazine, reporting on the event and shining a spotlight on the work that Cambrian Mountains Wool carry out to keep the wool traditions alive within the Cambrian Mountains region.  In February 2016 the National Wool Museum in Wales acquired Digital Stitch to become part of its permanent National Flat Textile collection.


Digital Stitch (detail) | Allistair and Penny with HRH Prince Charles | Digital Stitch (detail) |  Photo Credits: Anthony Pugh and Allistair Covell