Making shapes ...
Swishes, swirls and strokes of watercolour - that's what the latest trend in home decor and styling is all about, writes Jo Linehan
Are you ready to go with the flow? This season's motifs are encouraging a fluid approach, so to speak. Suddenly, cushions and ceramics all have painterly qualities - watercolour blobs and paintbrush swishes are where it's at.
Just ask Lola Donoghue, the Galway-based artist whose work has drawn attention for all the right reasons this year. Her paintings are all ethereal shapes and pastel hues with pops of neon thrown in for a contemporary nod. Not surprisingly, they have been snapped up both in private collections and on the online marketplace Etsy, where you can buy affordable print versions - perfect for newbies who are dipping a toe into the art market for the first time.
"My paintings are personal reflections and interpretations," she says. "They generally evolve through a subtractive process, beginning with lots of colour and bold vigorous brushstrokes and then working backwards so to speak. I add both thick and transparent layers allowing for the underpainting to shine through."
Abstract, too, is the big theme at Kilkenny Shop's latest initiative, Sceal. The veterans of craft invited young creatives to create bespoke collections for their Nassau Street store. The result is some exquisite ceramics such as Chris Crawford's dreamy watercolour motifs which have been supremely popular.
"For me, the best pots come when there is a balance between my head, heart and hands. I like to keep forms simple and follow a methodical approach to design, creating forms that invite decoration," he says.
"Careful observation as the layers go down: the placement, opacity and contrast of the marks, the load of the brush and porosity of the surface, each pot informs the next." The pots make a simple yet perfect collection of white tableware with swooshes of pink, red and navy.
This abstract trend confirms the already burgeoning trend for homemade and handmade goodies emerging this past year. It feeds into the rise of natural materials like rattan, bamboo, cotton and linen. Perhaps we want to surround ourselves with things that feel authentic, hand made and human (even if they're not).
Cue John Lewis's new 'Find Keep Give' collection, the embodiment of the new trend. Abstract designs, the John Lewis team say, reflect the currents trends towards wellbeing, entertaining and all things decorative. Many of the pieces in the 200-strong collection can be personalised, and have been designed using archival textiles. Their colourful vases, bowls and plates are mass-produced, yes, but they don't look or feel that way.
There's no shortage of ways to incorporate the trend for yourself. If you want to go big on the look, invest in 'Mind the Gap's' selection of abstract wallpaper designs. For a smaller outlay, a new table setting might be the perfect way to celebrate the look over a meal.
Even this season's rugs offer a chance to inject splashes of colour. Better still, treat yourself to an abstract or watercolour print that'll put a pep in your step wherever you choose to frame and hang it.
Whatever you decide, don't stress - it's all about going with the flow.
Wall art, €259
Offset Michael Murphy's Scatter Box Art with grounding greys; michaelmurphy.ie
A selection from John Lewis's 'Find Keep Give' collection, available from €30, johnlewis.com
Selection of ceramics, from €13
Burgeoning talent in the form of Chris Crawford's designs for Kilkenny Shop's Sceál series
Happy Hills handmade rug, €271
Keep yourself grounded with this rug; lorenacanals.com
Cushions, €23 and €96
Change up seating arrangements with a couple of fresh on-trend cushions, €96 each, amara.com; and €23, Debenhams.ie
This mirror provides reflection with an abstract edge; nest.co.uk
'Heirloom', from €300
Lola O'Donohue's 'Heirloom' series embodies the abstract mood du jour; limited edition prints; lolaodonohue.com