Ashurbanipal and Me
Last year I had the privilege of designing two silk scarves for the British Museum’s blockbuster Assyrian exhibition I am Ashurbanipal, I am King of the World. This project was a great way to learn about a man who was once the most powerful person on Earth and described himself as King of the World. In their exhibition blurb The British Museum described the Assyrian king (r.669-c.631BCE) as ‘Warrior, Scholar, Empire Builder, King Slayer, Lion Hunter, Librarian.’ Quite the skill set!
The exhibition closed earlier this year but my mind has continued to race with all things Assyrian Empire. As I walk through cities like London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin, I am constantly noticing architectural details and friezes on eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings which have been borrowed from this source.
This exhibition provided a tantilising portal into Ashurbanipal's world and allowed me to develope a greater understanding of the importance of the Assyrian Empire in shaping the history of design accross the globe, influences which still resonate today.
Hence while searching for a theme for my first solo collection of scarves and shawls I decided to rework some of these prints and develop this theme which has captivated my imagination into a larger collection.
All of the imagery used has been illustrated through linocuts, a craft printing technique which I first used on scarves designed for the British Museum’s Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece exhibition a little over a year ago. Since then I have used this medium in collaborations with The Royal Opera House, The Art Fund, The Wallace Collection and the Royal Ballet.
The designs feature motifs relevant to ancient Assyrian civilisations including Lamassu (a protective deity with the wings of a bird, body of a bull and head of a human), prowling lions, Stylised palms, eagles and lotus flowers and each of my drawings has been inspired by the sculptures and wall carvings from the British Museums impressive collection of Assyrian artefacts.
As well as silk I have also introduced a line of scarves in linen. Linen was the first fabric I fell in love with when I began my brand, it is such a beautiful summer fabric. The scarves will soften and crease beautifully with wear.
The collection includes classic 90x90cm silk squares, bandanas (55x55cm), long scarves (40x180cm) and shawls (145x140cm).
I was most excited to see the finished shawls as this is my first time to design such a large piece and they really are huge!
I hope you will enjoy looking through my designs and maybe you will start noticing Assyrian influences in the art and architecture of your everyday.