Thornback & Peel's Handy Guide to the Handkerchief

A Handy Guide to Handkerchiefs

Our characterful handkerchiefs are not just for Christmas. Take a look at our handy guide to the hanky, and why we think it is an essential accessory to have up your sleeve… Show Me Your Love The handkerchief’s popularity soared in the 1700s.  Sweetly scented and highly decorated, men and women exchanged the little squares as tokens of love and friendship. In the absence of emojis, 19th century ladies used handkerchiefs to signal their amorous intentions. Handkerchief flirting comprised a complicated series of semaphore that included: Drawing it across the cheek—I love you. Drawing it across the eyes—I am sorry. Drawing it across the forehead—Look, we are watched. Drawing it through the…

pear chocolate sauce salted caramel nuts pear thornback and peel napkin

Poached Pears With Chocolate Sauce & Salted Caramel Nuts

Enjoy the best that autumn has to offer with this deliciously simple recipe for spiced poached pears topped with salted caramel nuts and chocolate sauce. Pear-fection Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that ‘there are only 10 minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat’. There’s no doubt that certain varieties seem to go from rock hard to mush in a matter of moments, so for this blog I decided to cook them. Variety Show Poaching pears softens their flesh to perfection and enhances their delicate flavour. But you do need to choose a suitable pear to cook with. Firmer varieties like Bosc, Anjou and…

Screen printing hand printing inks pear

Design Inspiration: Pear

Introducing our newest print for autumn Embrace the changing of the seasons with our latest print, a quintessentially English design that recreates the beauty of espaliered Pear trees.   Designing the print This darkly shaded two-colour illustration is something of a departure from our usual colour palette. We experimented with mixing the inks to create deeper tones of mustard yellow and golden brown which lends the design a slightly Victorian, gothic feel. Serving suggestion! The print works well as an accent colour in the dining room and kitchen and would complement the current trend for rich teals, intense blues, anthracite greys and dark wood interiors. (For…

cherry cotton tea towel on a table with a bowl of cherries

Design Inspiration: Cherry

This quintessential summer fruit has always been a favourite.    There is something so deliciously tempting about their plump, juicy redness you can’t help but eat the whole bowl. Cherries are an iconic image, and have long been used in everything from fashion and beauty to pop art. Hockney, Warhol and Lichtenstein have all fallen for these sweet, summer treats. So designing the new Cherry print for our range of homewares and accessories has been a particularly delicious project. We spent a long time mixing inks to get the exact shade of luscious red for the cherries and a lighter pink for the fill behind the leaves. We’ve designed this nostalgic…

Design Inspiration: Pigeon & Jelly

Our best-loved Pigeon illustration has been around almost as long as Thornback & Peel. One of our original designs, it has adorned everything from deckchairs and wallpaper to a limited edition screen print, perched on top of a bowler hat.   Over the years, Mr Pigeon has become something of a signature for Thornback & Peel, and featured on our business logo and shop sign. With his proudly puffed-up chest and slightly haughty appearance he has become a firm favourite with customers over the years. In 2013, when we ran a competition to name him, we were flooded with entries. The winning name was Dickin, after the medal awarded…

How to Create Natural Hand Dyed Easter Eggs

My maternal grandma, Omine, has always been an inspiration to me and Easter is a special time of year for our family. Tips of pale green are pushing their way through on all the trees and bushes and the air is beginning to lose its chill. Every Easter it’s a tradition in our family for Omine and all the grandchildren to colour hen eggs with natural dyes to decorate our breakfast table on Easter Sunday. Here’s our tried and tested family recipe that we’ve used over the years to create natural dyed eggs. You will need: White hens eggs 1 red cabbage (to create the…

A visit to the Josef Frank exhibition

Juliet and I have long admired the work of designer and architect Josef Frank (1885-1967) – so last week we made a bee-line for the current exhibition which is on at London’s Fashion & Textile Museum.  You may have seen our post of his Tulip fabric on Instagram. I first came across Josef Frank’s work years ago in Juliet’s flat as we were starting to work together. She had upholstered a bench in her kitchen with the Celotocaulis print, originally designed by Josef Frank in 1930. It is a hairy, rooty, green gooseberry like fabric.  I loved its clean aesthetic and gentle subversion: it’s…

Sweetheart Card

Thornback & Peel ♥ Marby & Elm

Thornback & Peel ♥ Marby & Elm. We’re a match made in heaven: vintage letterpress printer meets traditional screen printer, marrying age-old techniques with a modern design aesthetic. So for Valentine’s Day we decided to get together and create a unique card: Thornback & Peel’s classic Jelly illustration letterpressed with Marby & Elm’s signature fluoro script. Ready to pop in an envelope, seal with a kiss and post to your sweetheart. “This collaboration was a great opportunity to bring together our hand crafted printing techniques,” says Marby & Elm founder, Eleanor Tattersfield. “In fact you’re getting a product that is doubly hand made: a screen printed illustration by Thornback &…

The Art of Hanky Rolling

When you gift a Thornback & Peel Hanky Box, you are giving a present that has been handmade from start to finish.  The idea originally came about because Juliet was looking for an unusual present for her father-in-law. We start with a 100% cotton handkerchiefs, each one individually hand screen printed by our in house printer, Penni. As Christmas approaches, the large screen printing table in the middle of the studio is stacked with layer upon layer of tessellated hankies laid out to dry.  Hanky lasagne, if you will. Once the hankies have been heat pressed to make them colour fast…

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10 Years

Hip hip hooray, it’s our 10th birthday! 2016 marks 10 years of Thornback & Peel! It’s been a fantastic adventure that’s seen us launch many new collections and products, open our first shop and collaborate with a whole host of exciting brands. So, with a large bowl of Jelly & Cake in hand, join us in celebrating some of our highlights from the past 10 years. Moving into our first studio In the very early days, we simply rented table space at Cockpit Arts, Deptford which allowed us to test and sample loads of products while still retaining our day jobs. But by 2006 we were ready to take…