At home with… Clare Gage

Design boutique ceramicist Clare Gage is breathing cool new life into the British tea-drinking tradition with her textile and ceramic fused tableware collection (from £14). Here, the first class graduate talks awards, getting herself out there and what makes her tick.
I struck on the idea… of fusing ceramics and textiles during my final year university project. My brief was to bring unusual qualities into ceramics, so I introduced textiles – my other big passion.
I begin with… fabric that I hand-weave and use to make fabric cups that are then created in porcelain. This instills the weave and stitch effect. I make cups, bowls, vases and coasters.
When I was a little girl… I was always making things. I went to millions of classes outside of school – jewelry making, ceramics and textiles.
My creative flair comes from… my parents. My mum loves textiles and my dad is a potter. He used to take me to his classes.
I’ve already had my first international exhibition… in Barcelona in August after being shortlisted for the International Ceramics Contest.

I’ve recently shown my work at… many galleries across the country, including the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate, Created Gallery in Chesterfield and Design Edge trade fair.
The most exciting thing that’s happened to me so far… is winning the Royal Society of the Arts award. It felt really important. I had to come to London and have a really pressurised interview in front of a panel – it was a bit like Dragon’s Den!
I’m proud to be… a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. At an RSA dinner I was the youngest person there by about forty years…
I love my home… because it’s my first. I live in a one-bed flat in Chesterfield. I arrived to view it on my own and liked it straight away. When my boyfriend arrived I told him I’d already made up my mind and wanted to move in.
The best room in my home is… the living room. It has lovely high ceilings, doors onto the patio and the focal point is a gorgeous fireplace.
I was lucky to find… my studio. My parents’ friends were renovating the outbuildings of their shop and they asked if I would like to have my studio there. It’s five minute’s walk away from my flat and it’s absolutely brilliant!
My best find… was an old Indian rug. The shop owner is an antiques dealer and he’d thrown it into the skip, but the builders rescued it for me. It’s a bit faded and tatty, but that’s ok because I get clay all over it.
My biggest challenge so far… has been starting up after university. I knew it was going to be hard, so I took a Flying Start course for women entrepreneurs.
I wouldn’t be where I am now… without being business-minded. It’s not enough to just be creative and to sit around all day making beautiful things – even though that’s what we all want to do. You need to have organisational skills as well.
It’s important to… get yourself out there. Part of being successful after university is being professional and building up your profile. You need to get out there and learn business skills.
For me, it’s all about… working with materials. I’m not inspired by other designers or artists but by the creative process. My ideas are based around the possibilities of what I could do with materials. I’d say I’m more techniques based. I just love trying out something new to see if it will work.

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The Variety of Styles Available of a Laptop Desk or Laptop Table

In the last 10 to 15 years, a new piece of furniture has been developed to fill a new need in the market place, and that is a laptop desk or a laptop table. In some ways this piece of furniture reminds me of a lap board or breakfast tray. But the variety of styles of a laptop desk is way more deluxe, and sometimes quite different than either of these other items.

First, there is the basic “tray” style laptop table, great for using while sitting in a chair or propped up in bed (or lying down if it has a tilting, adjustable top). Much more comfortable than balancing your computer on your lap. There are a lot of different designs just within this subcategory of laptop tables. I have seen some where a portion of the table is adjustable, tilting up at various angles to make using your laptop more convenient. This is great for relieving neck and back strain, making you, as the user, more comfortable. Usually next to the adjustable part of the table is a flat area for using your mouse. Some even have a built in mouse pad. The leg height on most models is also adjustable. I have seen this style in wood, metal and composite plastic, and also in a variety of price ranges. A few I have seen have very sleek and stylish lines and others are very utilitarian. Most are quite light and some even fold away for easy storage. Though this style is designed for use with a laptop computer, it can be used for a variety of other activities such as homework, crafts, reading and meals.

A variation of the four legged tray, is a pedestal that has a base board that you can slide under your leg to keep the tray firmly in place. These also usually have adjustable height and tilt.

Probably the more innovative design has been the mobile laptop desk. These often have lockable casters so that you can easily move the desk to where you are working and then lock it in place. The height is fully adjustable and most have a tilting portion for the computer. This part will have a small ledge to stop the computer from sliding off the desk top. I have even seen some that have a small shelf on the bottom, which could be used for a printer. There is usually a single pedestal leg which has other legs coming off of it with the casters. These are usually very low to the floor, that way they can slide under a chair allowing easier access to the work space. Many I have seen with the adjustable tilt, will tilt in either direction, which allow for left or right hand access and use of the laptop desk. Some designs have two adjustable table top areas, one for the laptop and the other for the mouse, this is great for ultimate adjustability and compatibility for the user. This style also comes in a variety of material, including metal and wood, and often a combination of both.

So, if you have a laptop, consider getting a laptop table or a laptop desk because regardless of the style that you use, most offer the same benefits: they keep the heat off your lap, the computer stays cooler on a harder surface, they allow you to work more ergonomically, most have adjustable height and tilt which results in less strain on your neck and back. With benefits like these, a laptop desk or table will allow longer periods of use and will make your time more productive. Also, with such a large variety of styles available, you are bound to find one that is perfect for you.

Learn how a new duvet cover set can dynamicly change your bedroom set

Your coming home after a hard day of work and just want to go home and relax in your bed. But then you remember that you absolutely hate being in your bedroom because you can’t stand the fact that you do not know what to do with it. Want to redecorate your bedroom and you do not know where to start, well how about starting off with a brand new beautiful bedding set. Having a bedding set with beautiful designs and some vibrant colors will absolutely do the trick! The bed is always the first thing that someone looks at when they come into the bedroom.. Why, because it’s usually the biggest object you have in your room. So why not start off there and decorate what everyone is drawn to. Once you have a beautiful bed set, the rest is easy because you can use it to figure out the colors and designs for your room.
I come from a big family and all of them had a gift for decorating and luckily it was passed on to me. I always loved decorating my bedroom because it was the one place to relax and feel free. After years of decorating I realized that everyone focused on the look of my bed. So I started buying different bed sets and went through alot of headaches deciding what type of bed set I should use and what colors and styles. Went through tons of comforters but realized how they would just get damaged as soon as they were washed in the washer machine and the beautiful vibrant colors they once had just faded away, so why keep it? So I would just toss the comforter in the dumpster.One day I go and visit my grandmother who was in her bedroom and realized she had a beautiful bed set. I asked her if it was new and to my surprise, she said “no”. She had it for over three years now. I was surprised because the bedding set looked brand new. She told me that the secret was that she brought a duvet cover. She explained to me that they are used to decorate and protect comforters and duvets. They work like giant pillow cases and usually have a button or tie enclosure at one end. You place the duvet or comforter inside the duvet cover. They are easy to wash because you can put them in the washer with other sheets. So I quickly purchased one on the internet and been using them ever since. I liked them so much that I decided to sell duvet covers on my online store so other people could benefit from it. I recommend everyone to buy a duvet cover set unless your willing to spend tons of money replacing damaged comforters. Whats even better, if you have an old comforter that you was thinking of tossing away, don’t, just purchase a duvet cover and cover the comforter. The money you spent on the comforter will not go in the trash along with the comforter.
Alright. so you finally decided that you want to purchase a duvet cover set to start redecorating your room. So what now? Of course you need the right size for your bed. Duvet covers are bought, like other bedding, according to the size of the bed. A duvet fitting a queen-sized bed needs a duvet queen set, for instance. They come in a wide range of colors and designs, any cover would be fine but I highly recommend something with bright colors, to draw attention of course. Many are reversible so you can easily change the look of your bedroom. Once you get the one you want, the rest will be a breeze. Put some great color curtains up and a couple of small items like lamps for lighting, candles to add a romantic touch, add color to your walls, etc. Your bedroom will look great as long as you got the perfect duvet bedding set. Looking for a high quality duvet queen set at a great price to get you quickly started with your redecorating, I highly recommend going online to our site at http://www.shop.multishopstop.com// We have a beautiful collection to make your bedroom an absolute dream come true. Make redecorating fun and easy with our queen, king, and twin duvet cover sets. With beautiful french designs that are printed with the latest reactive dyeing technology and vibrant colors guarantees years of reusable life. They are made with 100 % high quality cotton fabric, superior workmanship and a 205 thread count guarantees great quality. The great thing is that there completely washable so your comforters and duvets will always smell clean and fresh. What makes it even better is that our duvet covers are reversible so redecorating your room again and again will be easy with just one flip. If your looking to make your bedroom a romantic setting, check out Heart Beat Black duvet set. It has the look of scattered roses forming the shape of a heart with a black backdrop that reverse to scattered roses on the pillow cases and flat sheet. It can also be tucked in or can hang eliminating the need for a bed skirt. This will absolutely create the dreamiest setting for a seductive bedroom.
I wish everyone luck with there redecorating, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For Job Areas With Noise, Window Blinds Can Help

Vertical blinds offer a trouble-free solution to noise issues in offices, simply and beautifully. When you install vertical blinds, you have many options for controlling light and noise in an office. Lighting is the most obvious control issue, but noise is another issue that can be controlled by using window blinds. The noise can be from outside the building, or from other nearby offices.

One of the best benefits about vertical blinds is that you can always keep the window covered. With horizontal window blinds you will always have fully open window space when you have the shades rolled up or down. In an office, you want to have privacy, and with open window spaces, you lose privacy. With the vertical blinds, you can adjust the slats for noise and light control, while keeping the window space covered and retaining privacy.

Window blinds serve several purposes, including insulation. Noise is one factor you can insulate against, along with temperature. By keeping the slats fully closed, you have total window coverage, and that will reduce interference from outdoor noise also. This is more truly at street level than on upper floors, but in any city, there is a lot of street noise that radiates in all directions, including upwards. Even with the slats adjusted at a decent angle away from the center of the room, the blinds would deflect noises away from the center of the room, just like they do with light entering the room from outside.

If you add fabric to your window blinds, you increase properties of insulation. This is better with vertical blinds than horizontal blinds, because of the added weight of the fabric. The slats will hang nicely straight down, and with the vertical dimension, there are no horizontal surfaces to collect dirt or dust, so they are easier to keep clean. There is no middle sagging problem with vertical blinds. Fabric covered blinds will absorb much more noise and provide the best insulation against heat and cold. Using a thicker fabric will give better insulation than thinner fabrics. All will help with noise reduction, and keep slats from making noises when drawn.

There are some mechanized systems for opening and closing window blinds. These are hidden behind the upper horizontal valence, which is included with all systems. Without mechanisms, there is a simple wand to use for opening and closing the blinds, which hangs unobtrusively off to one side. The slats move easily, and they are very simple to replace if that is ever needed.

If you use wooden slats, you have the highest insulation factor when they are fully closed. There are different patterns of wood available, and if you use the darker shades, they are the best for room darkening. You can hang window blinds beyond the sides of the actual window, for better coverage and light elimination. This allows you do make some adjustment in the room decor, because you can make a smaller window look larger by the area the blinds cover.

Vertical blinds offer a trouble-free solution to noise issues in offices that include interior walls as well. When there are multiple offices, divided only by window walls, using vertical blinds can help with general noise reduction, add privacy, and affect the atmosphere of the office itself. By closing out the surrounding views, either inside or exterior, you can create a very private atmosphere with very little reduction of room space. The vertical blinds can be ordered in various colors, but the classic white still is very popular and gives the room a modern but classical look, and helps make smaller spaces seem larger.

Decorating with Rugs

Rugs are both decorative and practical. You should aim to get the best of both worlds when using rugs in your house. Rugs can also be used to separate and distinguish areas in a room. This is useful for efficient use of space. You can follow some of the suggestions below in order to achieve those aims.

Because rugs can have an effect on the overall look of a room selecting rugs you don’t like cannot have happy consequences. In other words use only rugs that you feel comfortable about.

When selecting rugs for decorating, the size of the rug should depend on the effect you are aiming for. For instance rugs are useful as focusing agents, accenting a table, a sofa, or a bed, placed on top of them. Rugs themselves can be used as focal points without any furniture on them. This kind of highlighting can be done in almost any room in your house. In order to find the exact size required you should measure the floor in the area you wish to place the rug and then imagine the effect of placing it there with the help of floor markings. This method will give you a good is idea about the proportions of the rug that will be required and you will be able to judge whether effect you are aiming for can be successfully brought out.

Decision as to whether to use a large rug or several smaller ones will depend on similar considerations. A larger rug will unite the items placed on it into a unit, while smaller rugs can be used to break the room into several sections. Colors and patterns of the rugs should also be taken into account in this regard. Using rugs with similar colors and patterns will make them blend in with the room, while contrasting colors will help divide the room. For instance by using two a fairly large rugs with different patterns and colors you can divide the room into two.

Placing rugs on their own without any furniture also adds color to that room and that space. You can make the room look larger or smaller according to your wish by choosing complementing or contrasting colors for the rugs in comparison to the room’s color scheme. Range of rug patterns on offer can be huge. Since their contrasting or completing effects can be infinite, before buying you should always check the effect by placing different rugs against each other and against room’s general décor. Generally lighter colors and patterns create a more spacious feeling, while heavier and darker colors create a warm coziness.

By using differently shaped rugs and rugs with fringes, you can give your rooms a certain decorative fair and make them less formal.

Similarly rugs can be used for defining space in a room. By placing two chairs, a sofa, and a small table, on a rug you can demarcate a sitting area easily. If the rug is not large enough place only the front legs of the chairs on the rug, however to get the best decorative effect you should place the furniture completely on the rug. In order to save space you should avoid empty rug space behind the furniture.

In the dining room, rug should be large enough to cover the feet of the chairs when they are being used by a person sitting at the table. Before buying you should get accurate measurements to ensure this. Keep the other furniture in the dining room off the rug to get a nice effect.

In the bedrooms you do not need a large rug under the bed to highlight it. Most of it will be covered up by the bed in any case. Use smaller rugs and place them around the bed.

Rugs placed on the hallways and at the entrance will create the tone for the rest of your house décor. They should also make the guests feel welcome to the house. So you must choose those rugs with care.

For places with high foot traffic choose darker colors with heavier patterns in order to disguise the effect of usage. When placing the rugs ensure that high foot traffic areas should be covered by the middle part of the rug. Placing corners of the rug in such places can be dangerous.

You must leave enough space for door clearance if the space between door and floor is not enough for the rug. Using thinner rugs will save space in such situations. You should take the precaution of using rug pads. Rug pads protect the rugs from wear due to the friction between the rug and the floor or carpeting below, and increase their durability. They also stabilize the rug by providing a slip free foundation to the rug. Hardwood floors should not be covered completely by the rug. At least several inches of hardwood should be exposed to the air around the room if you want to use a large room covering rug on such a floor. Other factors that need to be considered include wiring and vents on the floor.

Rugs of various sizes, patterns, and colors, can be obtained to fulfill these decorative and practical functions as required. However larger the rug, the range of buying options available, whether it be colors, styles and materials, or patterns, decreases. You have the greatest range of options with the smaller rugs.

Choosing The Right Kitchen Worktop To Suit The Furniture

When choosing a new worktop for your kitchen, there are a number of choices on offer, the trouble is picking the right one. Which one would be of a good quality wooden worktop and which out of the choices will last for a longer period? After all, the worktop is what brings out the design of the kitchen and one will need to get this right. Whether it is beech, oak or walnut worktops this is what people will notice above anything else making it an important feature.

The first thing that people should take into consideration is how well the wooden worktop will suit the rest of the furnishing in the kitchen. If most of the chairs and table are made from Beech would then the obvious choice would be to coincide with that design and opt for a beech worktop. Beech wood provides a light and airy look, making the kitchen appear much more modern and brightens the area up. This can also create the illusion of a larger and spacious kitchen, giving the kitchen a sense of comfort and allowing more room for social meetings.

The kitchen can very often be the first place people go for dinners and having get together with family and friends. Walnut worktops can give a much more rich and luxurious look to the kitchen. As walnut worktops are darker in colour than beech, it is important to make sure that you get the rest of the kitchen appliances right before opting for this material. Walnut itself is probably the most sought after wood for many centuries and have been consistently sought after by cabinet makers.

American Black walnut worktops are amongst the top end kitchen worktops, in which manufacturers will always offer as the best choice to make. These create a very warm and welcoming feeling dramatically changing the way the kitchen appears and instantly transforming it into an inviting space in the house. However, a worktop of this standard is exclusive and unfortunately does not come cheap. Although the quality is set so high that it is guaranteed to last for a longer period, withstanding a lot of knocks and frequent usage.

As walnut is a diverse material some manufacturers have been able to use this in a number of ways and have created different styles that are easily available and affordable.

Oak worktops have also been a favourite amongst homeowners, due to its rich and lustrous appeal, as well as its ability to resist knife marks and contact from kitchen equipment. American white oak is the most popular and prized worktop choice one can make. These have very delicate grain patterns and are very hard and heavy. They are a favourite because of the look, feel and ability to match almost any furnishing style. After a prolonged usage, they can easily be sanded down to restore its original beauty. They also produce patina that helps to enhance its beauty each year.

Oak are a much more practical choice and a good investment for anyone looking to restore ‘youth’ back into their kitchen without having to spend a large sum of money on renovation work. Like walnut worktops they can be used for a number of different furnishing and tailored to a few different styles, with pure oak being the most unique and appealing of them all.

Choosing one of these worktop materials all boils down to the kind of quality you are looking for, how long you would want it to last and how well it will match the rest of the kitchen design. Most of all one should question whether it is good value for money, as they will have direct contact with kitchen tools and therefore care should be taken in keeping them maintained.