Take five…


Here at Treacle Towers our thoughts are beginning to turn to holidays and a chance to take some time exploring the countryside. We’ve been searching around looking at all the lovely things around that are there to make camping great whatever the weather.

Our first need was to find a tent that was not only practical but beautiful too, so we searched online, visited a myriad of camping shops and out of a sea of blue and green nylon a clear winner emerged.

The wonderful SoulPad.

A symphony of comfort and design, a classic bell tent in canvas and cotton it stands hand and shoulders (literally) above the nylon nasties that litter the horizon. The SoulPad bods seem not only to have a strong ethical ethos but a naughty but nice sense of the absurd, as the definition on of the term on their website suggest.


And in the click of a mouse and the blink of an eye we were proud owner of a SoulPad 4000-hybrid, and before we knew it the SoulPad was up and we were inside watching the shadows of the leaves dancing on the canvas. And even when the English summer took a damper turn and the rain beat down on the canvas we stayed snug and dry inside.

So if you want to own a tent that will be both practical and a wonder to behold hoof it over to SoulPad’s shop and see what all the fuss is about.



Find us on Twitter and Pinterest

We’re always trying to find new ways to stay connected with our readers, and in order to keep up we’re now on both Pinterest and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter @brimstreacle or find our latest Tweets in the sidebar of this blog…We’ve just begun with both these social media platforms, but we hope that they are both a humanising and personalizing experience and we’re excited to see what you guys are up to and share what’s going on around here at Brimstones & Treacle with you.

Not wanting to miss the boat we’ve dived into the fastest growing social media network, Pinterest, The site’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” We think it’s a great way to curate and share things we love from sites enabling us to create and manage inspirational theme-based image collections.

We consider it offers a more design-orientated take on image curation that is the perfect way to gather quick ideas when you’re working on a particular project. It is so simple to use and we appreciate that.  By clicking a single button and Pinterest cleverly finds all the pictures on the web page and then all we have to do it click on the picture we like it’s added to your personal board in a few seconds.

Check out our Pinterest Boards…

Follow Me on Pinterest

We are intrigued by the trend towards more visual communication, so we invite you to start following us as we would love to find what interests you, and If you’re on Pinterest, we’d love you repin our images to your boards to spread the inspiration. Stay tuned for more great images to help evoke the essence of Brimstones &Treacle in the months to come!

Know your Limitations

John Clappison

“Today, as design becomes increasingly concerned with competitiveness and quality of life, innovation must again facilitate a creative response to change. John Clappison’s team at Hornsea in the 60s churned out winning designs year on year, developing and colliding craft techniques, to a classic standard with a trend awareness and clear passion for the market”.

Marcus Holmes; Building Bridges. Ceramic Review, Issue 159. May-June 2002.*

Although not as familiar as many of his ‘name’ contemporaries, to us John Clappison was the most prolific and innovative designer at the forefront of British pottery, and his work was highly reminiscent of the most advanced in studio ceramics. Throughout his career Clappison wanted to improve the quality of design for the mass market, and at Hornsea Pottery he created some of the most popular ranges available in the UK from the 1950s through to the 80s. Working in the Yorkshire coastal town of Hornsea, whilst the mainstream pottery industry was firmly centred on Stoke-on-Trent, helped him to develop a unique response to contemporary design. Continue reading

Happy Birthday Habitat; the story of a little brown teapot.

Artist James Joyce created the 50th birthday logoIn case you’ve missed it in the news Habitat celebrated its 50th birthday this May and commissioned artist James Joyce to create this 50th birthday logo. For those of us born in the 1960s Habitat was the store that changed the way we wanted to live. Their designs represented the new and exciting, clean yet exotic and oh so very different from the homes we had grown up in. From the chicken brick to the ‘Continental’ quilt, the paper moon lampshade to the garlic press we all yearned to live surrounded by these simple and well designed objects. Continue reading

Lovely Lincoln does Vintage

The sun was shining so brightly we couldn’t help but want to go out for an adventure, so we packed up a little lunch donned some sturdy footwear and ventured out to the delights of Lincoln.

lincoln shop

The Cathedral has always had a place in my heart as it was the subject of a woollen sampler that hung on my Grandma’s wall (it now adorns the wall in Treacle Towers). We walked up the aptly named steep hill, and perhaps like this pooch should have taken it a bit easy.. Continue reading

Why are things the way they are?

Of designed objects we have always questioned;

Why are things the way they are – and, could they be different?

When designing we have always taken an interest in the particular characteristics of objects, centred around methods of manufacture and the ways that things are put together. As collectors of objects, we often value insubstantial things that come to acquire a certain mysterious provenance over time. The collections held in grand cultural establishments come to be celebrated in society as symbolic references and indicators of our culture, but we would argue that it is ephemera that truly indicates our collective lives and speak of our times. Our interest in celebrating things that may initially appear banal and mundane, lies in the power of these everyday objects and the importance of design in manipulating and changing our perceptions.



We have a particular interest for objects without an author, those anonymously conceived objects of both the distant and more recent past we appreciate for their powerful enigmatic appeal as a ‘thing’ and also how useful it is. Anonymous artefacts of the distant past are often ‘anonymous’ purely because the personality of the craftsperson was not commonly attached to the object, as the concept of their labour was not held in high esteem regardless of the craftsmanship of their work. The work of a wheelwright to make a wheel of exceptional quality was still just a wheel… Continue reading

Looking differently at the world of objects

In our own home we have taken the opportunity to handpick through a process of careful selection, a number of pieces of woodgrain teak effect furniture we believe are engaging for their pure functionality, their fitness for purpose and we do this in the certainty that we think that they will come back into fashion.  What is intriguing about this furniture that was so ubiquitous in the homes of the 1950/60’s is the way that they seem to have evolved rather than having been designed, perhaps this is a true example of ‘form follows function’ that was upheld by the modernists. This got us to thinking about the importance of celebrating what we have to hand but somehow have failed to notice, by taking these everyday object and shifting it in to a new context and purpose within the domestic environment. Continue reading

Pleasingly Pointless


We find irresistible the drawings of eccentric machines by cartoonist and illustrator W.Heath Robinson, (1872 –1944), that have become part of common parlance for unnecessarily complex and implausible contraptions. We often use the phrase ‘Heath Robinson’ in relation to any of our temporary fixes using our ingenuity and whatever is to hand, – often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations. Continue reading

Thinking through Making


At Brimstones & Treacle, we take time to look at materials, processes and technologies to understand why and how they are harnessed in particular ways by designers, but more importantly to understand the values that we place on them, not only in their visual and tactile properties but also the cultural associations they hold. An icon of this approach is the theoretician Enzo Mari who came to design via the world of art as a fervent critic of Consumerism. As an ideological contributor to the debates surrounding design for the last fifty years he has become renowned for his mantra, “Good design for everybody at affordable prices’.

Central to Mari’s beliefs is that design, rather than simply being an expression of others values should develop its own ideology. Much of his work can be considered from this viewpoint, as a sort of critical design exercise where understanding is reached through experiment that can be best described as ‘Thinking through Making’. Continue reading