Knot Wraps are beautiful pieces of ornately patterned fabric that replace the need for disposable gift wrap and carrier bags, and in our book they’re as useful and versatile, as they are attractive, which is to say - very. Especially true, when they have been uniquely designed by a bountiful array of talented artists from across the globe, from all walks of life. Here are a handful of glorious guest designers from past and present, that we’d like you to meet.
Stephen Thompson, ARTHOUSE Meath
Whether for wrapping gifts or carrying items home, the eye-catching ‘The Frog’ Knot Wrap was a firm favourite with frog-enthusiasts and fairytale fans. Sold in stores and online for a limited time this knot wrap was cut, sewn and finished by the women’s group called Re-wrap in Mysore working with three different printers.
The colourful cloth depicts an enchanting amorous amphibian illustrated by Stephen Thompson, an artist working with the social enterprise ARTHOUSE Meath. A group that showcases the talents of adults living with complex epilepsy, learning and physical difficulties. “I’m so proud of this. I’m so happy I’ve done it. Yeah, I’m so happy I have done it!” Stephen says with elation. “And it’s going all around the world and selling very well!”
We were so enraptured by Stephen Thompson’s ‘The Frog’ we decided we wanted more, so as part of our on-going relationship with the creative folk at ARTHOUSE Meath we asked them to create a Christmas inspired Knot Wrap, and they gave us ‘The Freeze’. A beautiful Knot Wrap they designed for our Christmas customers to wrap gifts, wear as a scarf or even frame as a stand-alone piece of art.
Becky Sheraidah, founder of ARTHOUSE Meath, told us, “we are very focused on animal conservation in ARTHOUSE Meath. It is close to many of our hearts and many of the artists learn about the animals as we develop the artworks. This image is representative of caring for our environment and how the animals make up a vast beautiful landscape. With a magnificent polar bear, we remind ourselves about the Arctic and of the dangers and tragic consequences of global warming which could one day result in the loss of such an amazing animal."
The artists invested six weeks sketching each of the individual elements for The Freeze design before working in small groups to add detail and texture, a process that can take months. “The most important part of producing this picture was for each of the artists involved to really express their individuality, and you can see that each of the penguins, seals, whales and polar bears radiate personality,” Becky continues. “Producing a large group picture like this is rewarding for everyone as everyone's input is vital to achieve the final piece. All artists feel valued and recognised for individual talent whilst supporting one another in a collaboration."
The works from this on-going collaboration with ARTHOUSE Meath are sold in over 130 stores in Britain. Their reach has now spread as far afield as Dubai, Switzerland and France. What’s more 100% of the enterprise's revenue is reinvested to support ongoing development and provide opportunities for even more artists in future.
MinaLima are the talented design duo behind a great deal of the jaw-dropping visuals in the Harry Potter movies, as well as previously producing a product-sourcing inspired Knot Wrap for us aimed at planet-lovers and globe-trotters alike.
“We were given a specific brief by Lush to communicate the provenance of the ingredients used in their products. They were completely open to how we interpreted this brief. We looked at period fruit packaging from labels to orange papers to make the association with their fresh ingredients ,” Miraphora (Mina) and Eduardo (Lima) tell us. “It was a privilege to be given so much space to be creative and make our own mark within an established brand. A partnership we hope will continue!”
From cocoa butter produced in Colombia to almonds grown in Spain, Moroccan argan oil through to Rosewood oil from Peru, the ‘Buying Map’ Knot Wrap offered a visually arresting representation of where Lush ingredients originate. “We aim to make lives more colorful through our designs,” Minalima says. “We introduce ideas and tell stories through design. Our work encourages people to use their imaginations, make their own decisions and enjoy their own taste. In every piece we create, we offer something of ourselves for our customers to take with them through their lives. We are a studio built on humour, inspired by positivity and good common sense.”
Abi Cooke Hunt
Abi Cooke Hunt, freelance illustrator, 3D artist, and the woman behind a previous Christmas Knot Wrap design, told us the imaginative imagery was inspired by her love of fairytales. “There's a lot of really lovely imagery that the words conjure up. You're almost too spoilt for choice when it comes to translating that into your own work. I wanted to get across some of the magic and the wonder of those stories. I think Christmas is all about wonder.”
Using a combination of watercolour and pencil to initially create the whimsical wrap’s design, Abi later finished the piece off in Photoshop. The designer revealed to us that creating the illustration was her, “most stand-out experience to date.”
Halla Koudsi and Jenna Russelle, PRNT Studio:
Halla Koudsi and Jenna Russelle, founders of Toronto-based PRNT Studio, were tasked with creating the ‘It's Christmas Dear’ Knot Wrap, only sold at Christmas it is perfect for wrapping festively-charged gifts. “Our collaboration with Lush was really fun,” Jenna says reminiscing fondly. “Suzie [head designer at Lush] contacted us with a selection of artwork in mind that she had seen in our portfolio. From there, we created lots of custom work for the project.”
After receiving some suggestive sparks of inspiration from Lush, such as William Morris inspired prints, Ziggy Stardust artwork and a retro holiday theme, Halla and Jenna got to work. “We did some research on the themes and started sketching. Many of the prints started off by hand as drawings on paper, or paintings or even collages, which were then scanned and turned into digital repeats. After narrowing down the selection, we began to fine tune the colour and tweak the elements.”
Kenyan-born designer and illustrator, Serge Seidlitz, has become something of a favourite of ours. As a three-time gift designer for Lush, we knew Serge’s illustrations would make the perfect impression on shoppers seeking to gift-wrap a present focused on felicitation.
Serge produced a multilingual ‘Congratulations’ Knot Wrap that was sold in stores for a limited time.
Describing himself as a 'doodling De Niro’ or ‘old fashioned method illustrator’ Serge has a penchant for practicing with Lush products before designing the complimentary packaging. “I delve deep into the psyche of a brief and try and find the essence of what the piece should be,” Serge explains, once revealing that he spent hours in the bath to find inspiration for the 'Fun Tin' he was commissioned to create, “my fingers went wrinkly and finally I had these visions of colour and form which led me to my climactic moment of inspiration. Only then did I feel ready to put pen to paper and make the Fun in my mind, into a reality.”
Dame: Vivienne Westwood:
Yes you read that right, we even teamed up with environmental activist, fashion designer, and all round great gal Dame Vivienne Westwood.
The British fashion iconic worked with us in November 2013 to design the limited edition ‘Climate Revolution’ Knot Wrap, as part of her Climate Revolution campaign. Available in pink and brown, the Knot Wraps were made out of 100% organic cotton fabric woven in Burnley, printed in Lancaster and sewn in London. “Everyone who saves a plastic bag is a freedom fighter for climate change,” Vivienne enthusiastically conveys, determined to promote the notion that it’s these small, manageable, everyday changes that will prevent further damage to the environment.
Inspired by nature, watercolour illustrator Marcel George, known for his flair with bright colours, designed a funky furoshiki for Valentine's Day. “Valentine’s day is all about having fun and celebrating love with one another,” the London-based artist opines. “My design is based on toucans who are in love with each other, hopefully a reminder to not take it too seriously and just have fun with it. I get inspired by the natural world and the animal kingdom. Tropical jungles and palms are mesmerising, as they take your mind away from the stresses of modern living.”
With this toucan-touting Knot Wrap you literally get two birds for one stone: a gift for your fellow lovebird, and a handy carrier for getting your mangos home from market.
David Overton, Splashmaps
In addition to the elaborately and elegantly designed Knot Wraps we’ve launched a handful of map-centric Knot Wraps for those with a penchant for travel and perhaps a predisposition for getting lost. Currently the line-up features five European capital cities: London, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. Each is clearly printed and designed with tourists in mind, so they make it easier to navigate your way around an unfamiliar city while taking your solid products through security with ease. In fact the selection of Knot Wrap maps are 70cm square, so they are big enough to be easy to read and they’re made from Recycled PET fabric, which is produced from recycled plastic bottles. What’s more they are silent, light (half the weight of a normal paper map), and they can survive in a downpour thanks to the inks being embedded in the fabric.
SplashMaps is the brainchild of former Innovation Officer at Ordnance Survey, David Overton, who was inspired by wartime maps printed on parachute silk. Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2013 he said, “I got very frustrated at having to use normal paper maps, which got soaked and then I’d have to do some kind of origami to fold them back again. It’s a pain that traditional paper maps do not last very long before they become tattered and unusable.” No more map-folding rage for David then, or for any Knot Wrap map users at that.