Thursday, 17 July 2014

Mooke & Fylthe for BBC History

This month's BBC History magazine features a "mountain of 'mooke and fylthe'", for which I produced a large, centre page illustration. The article, by Pamela Hartshorne, describes how Tudor householders dealt with their plethora of stinky leavings, covering cesspits, chamberpots, middens, dung heaps and other foetid treats.

                                                                                                                                      (c) Becca Thorne 2014

The article is in the First World War centenary issue, out now.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Special Request

I was recently contacted by a very nice lady who'd seen the duvet set I created for my brother and wanted one as a surprise for her husband to go in their newly-redesigned bedroom. I wouldn't normally agree to do this, as the original took blimmin' ages to print, even longer to cure and was, frankly, something of a pain in the arse. Something about Sally though (possibly the fact that all my attempts to dissuade her just seemed to peak her interest more), made me decide to take the job on. She loved the pigs from my brother's set, but also wanted some chickens to tie-in with the wallpaper she'd chosen for her bedroom walls.

I decided to use oil-based ink this time, as the Speedball fabric printing ink I've used before tends to fade after just a few washes, and I wanted to ensure Sally got something that lasts. The problem with that, however, is that I couldn't allow the freshly printed fabric to fold in on itself as it draped over my table in the way I did with the quicker-drying Speedball stuff. I also needed to leave it undisturbed somewhere for a couple of weeks to allow the ink to fully cure. My house is tiny, so in the end I found myself in Rowan's parents' spare bedroom one sunny Saturday, windowsill covered in newsprint and inky blocks, with the dining room table set up in front of the spare bed (and back in one piece after we took its legs off to get it up the stairs), a chair either side to support the printed fabric as I slid it across the table to reach the next section, periodically calling for an assistant to help me carefully move the cover up the bed, until it was finally completely covered in farmyard animals.

By the end of the day the ink proved to be touch dry, so we were able to move it to a clothes rail so it was a little more out of the way and the dining room table was dismantled again and restored it to its rightful spot. The duvet's on its way to its new home now, and I really hope Sally and her husband get years of enjoyment from it!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Oxford Lieder Festival: The Schubert Project

Earlier this year I created a whole heap of illustrations for the brochure of the 2014 Oxford Lieder Festival, which is going back to its roots this year and focussing solely on Franz Schubert to deliver the world's first complete performance of his songs.

Working closely with graphic designer Ana Acosta I illustrated two maps and the eleven main brochure pages, combining Schubert's life with modern Oxford.

The festival runs from 10th October - 1st November, with performances of all 650 of Schubert's songs, selected chamber works, four-hand piano music, orchestral works, and opera. There will also be exhibitions, theatre, food & drink, talks, workshops, masterclasses and more, to bring Schubert's Vienna to Oxford.

For more info and to see the brochure in full, visit