Our Liberty Adventure with The New Craft Society

I'm not sure that we have entirely recovered from the trip we went on last week, it was a little bit like a dream. H and I got invited by the lovely Rosie and Hannah AKA The New Craft Society to attend their blog birthday party, we had to read the email a few times before it sank in that their party was to be held at one of our favourite places in the whole world.... Liberty!

So last Wednesday at 6.30pm we headed to the 3rd floor Heritage Suite at Liberty, just off the Haberdashery department (we felt right at home), where we were met by the Liberty design team. They ushered us into the room that was once Arthur Lasenby Liberty's office, to enjoy the most beautiful afternoon tea and hear them talk all about the S/S14 Liberty Art Fabrics collection.

Each place was set with a Liberty fabric charm bracelet and (the most awesome) goodie bag from The New Craft Society girls. It was like we had stumbled into a secret Mad Hatters tea party, if the Hatter had worked exclusively in Liberty of course!

This years Spring/ Summer collection was inspired by the store itself. Head designer, Emma, had discovered a map of the building from the seventies and it sparked the idea for the overall theme. Each of the 40 prints in the collection is inspired by a department within the shop, and designed to reflect the mood of the area and what is sold there. The colour pallets were inspired by the artist materials. They took the most iconic art materials and used the colours and tones from those to create the pallets that were then applied to the collection.

The beautiful Keighley, Liberty print designer, was on hand to show us some of their original art work.

After enjoying the tea and cakes we got to hear the story behind each of the 40 designs in the new seasons collection, along with getting to see some of the original artwork from the designers and collaborative artists they invite to design for them. We got to hear from Anna Buruma who is in charge of the archive (amazing job!) Who told us about how a lot of the fabric designs from the early years were never properly labelled or cared for, she calls them orphans.  I was stunned to hear that until Anna was put in charge 15 years ago the archive was mostly uncared for and when she arrived it was basically a pile of books and papers on the floor of the warehouse!

H and I are both fascinated by print and design, so it was amazing to see the processes that each design goes through from initial sketch to final print.  We got to hear from David who designed the print 'Queue for the Zoo' a quirky animal print including a giraffe wearing trainers to represent the children's department.

We were also treated to a sneaky peak at the Autumn/ Winter 14 collection.  This was a paper cut by Helen Musselwhite was just one of the artists asked to collaborate with Liberty for this collection. This paper cut had been photographed and digitally printed onto fabric to create the design.

As if all that wasn't awesome enough we were then taken on a tour of the shop to see all the departments and inspiration behind each of the designs.

A teapot in the gift department by the designer Fornasetti, who's design house has had a long relationship with Liberty.  A scarf using a similar sun design was chosen to create the print that represents this area of the store on the map.

A stack of amazing carpets that inspired the print for their department and a wall of V.V.Rouleaux ribbons in the Haberdashery department.

We got to see the collection for real on the shelves of the fabric department. It was so neat and tidy after all the customers had left the store.

We visited each department and got to see the fabrics in context of the department they had been designed to represent.

We got to visit areas in the shop that we had never been to before, I had never been to the shoe department (for fear of a credit card meltdown) or the Men's department in the basement.

It felt so special to be taken around by the design team, each of them has a great knowledge of the shop, as well as the fabrics, it was a pleasure to be able to ask questions and hear their stories of their time at Liberty.  We were shown around by the gorgeous Jacinta from the marketing department, she was wearing a silk shift made up in Wild flowers, one of the amazing paper-cut inspired A/W14 prints. You can read about the paper-cut Su Blackwell created on her blog.

We had the most amazing time and are hugely grateful to Rosie and Hannah AKA The New Craft Society for inviting us to their party and to the design team at Liberty for throwing such a lovely event.

We were not the only bloggers who got to go on the tour, as well as meeting up with Rosie and Hannah, we got to meet with some girls we really admire, shout out to Leanne at Knit me a Cake, Lotts from Lotts and Lots, Katy from Apartment Apothacary and the girls from the pattern company By Hand London. We were so overwhelmed by it all that we didn't get to meet everyone who was there, if we missed you, give us a shout and a link to your blog in the comments.

Sammy and H x