A Piece of Britain - award winning heritage by Hazle Ceramics
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Laura Ashley

Introduction
Unable to source Victorian-style patches to make quilts, in 1953 Laura and her husband Bernard spent £10 on dyes, linen and wood for him to build a silk screen press. Prints set in their kitchen gas oven smoked and often caught fire!

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Hazle Ceramics
Laura Ashley
Limited Painting of 30
on South Shields

 Early 1980s “Edwardian” image. The 1970s TV series Upstairs Downstairs and the 1967 Forsyte Saga both covered that era. For Laura nostalgia was the key.

Windows by Chris McAllister

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Laura Ashley 1925-85
As worn by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, neck scarves from the Ashleys’ London attic sold well. Napkins, tea towels and aprons followed. They moved to Laura’s native Wales in 1960, with a shop similar to this one and a factory. Laura Ashley garden smocks were being worn as dresses so they opted to make “proper” clothes in natural fibres. When mini skirts went maxi, their own-fabric prices couldn’t be matched. Iconic lace trim pintuck blouses started in 1973. Home catalogues began in 1981. It was Bernard’s brainwave to sell fabrics too like an old draper - for dressmaking and furnishings. After Laura’s fatal fall in 1985, the public flotation she opposed went ahead. When GUI Asia took over in 1998, expert Bernard re-created his own high-tech fabric printing company!

 From the British Embassy in Washington DC 1970, this principal guest suite blends Laura’s “Country Style” with her grander “Decorator Style” for designers. Son Nick said home decor was closest to her heart.

 The 1959 4 panel basic dress in first daisy print took 10 minutes to run up.

 Diverse idea sources for prints included stately home Chatsworth House and an 1856 reference book, The Grammar of Ornament.

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