A visit to the Studio
Ping and Lily’s Magical World of Colour
One of the first things to strike you when you ascend the stairs into the wooden-floored, light-filled workshop of Ping and Lily is the eclectic mix of colours, designs, materials and products which it contains. It is as if the beauty of the workshop’s location in rural Hampshire has been wondrously transported inside. Dissected sections of fabric which mirror the scenery beyond the windows are assorted on a cutting table, while a half-finished piece in an embroidery hoop awaits completion at a sewing machine.
Clearly inspired by the setting, the vibrant colours of the Liberty print fabrics and machine embroidery threads are off-set by plain linen backgrounds in an array of products ranging from pictures, cushion covers, wastepaper bins and lampshades. Children’s toy horses scattered around the studio indicate the mix of materials with which the designers are comfortable to work.
Each piece is a unique and delicate work of art which would lend a coziness and touch of style to any home, modern or rustic. Themes are drawn from the countryside – flowers, birds, butterflies, peacock feathers, leaves – but are uniquely portrayed with a designer’s painstaking eye for colour, and technical skill.
So, who are Ping and Lily? Ping has a degree in Fine Art, while Lily has studied cabinet-making and possesses an artist’s innate understanding of colour. The sewing machine has become her paintbrush, while the textured Liberty fabrics, intricately selected for varying shades of colour, provide her palette. Given Ping and Lily’s independence from retail chains, their style is not compromised by attempts to appeal to a mass market; instead, each piece is individually crafted and very much a product of the designers’ personal engagement with their idyllic surroundings.
The workshop is located near Winchester and is open to the public on Thursdays (you are advised to call ahead first). Prices range from £35 for pictures, or from £50 for lampshades. Demonstrations of freehand machine embroidery, cups of tea and a warm welcome are provided for free!
© Elaine Desmond