My Studio.….. Design Books (Part 1)


I am lucky enough to have my studio at home (although this can be a curse at times as it can be hard to switch off) and this is the space where I draw, paint, stitch, design, create, plan, write, hold meetings, study and organise my life!

I try and keep the space tidy but this is not always easy when I am in full on creating mode as so many different materials are being used and my enthusiasm for the mission on hand somewhat takes over.

I have done a little video of my studio on my iGTV account @julietteodesigns if you want to see a 360° view!

Aside from my own work, I tend to surround myself with inspirational things of which there are many and for this blog I am going to focus on some of my design books.   

I just love books! I remember when there was first talk of them going digital (and the inevitable consequence of the demise of publishing) and whilst I understand ebooks are handy for those that don’t want the added bulk in their bags, it is just not the same as that tangible page-turning experience of an actual book. And I do believe that books are just that, an experience.

My studio has numerous inspirational design books which I dip in and out of and as I look at my selection I realise that they are actually a bit like a diary of my life as they bring back so many memories. Warning: this is a little autobiographical!  


  • Those jewellers of a certain age amongst us will recognise the tome that is Oppi Untracht’s ‘Jewelry – Concepts and Technology’. This was widely viewed as the bible of jewellery at the time and given to me by my parents when I was 20 in (1989!). I was halfway through my degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery at Sir John Cass and this was my reference book of choice.
  • When I was on the placement year of my degree I was lucky enough to work at The Royal College of Art (and also for a coke-fuelled costume jeweller that made orb pieces for Vivienne Westwood but that’s a story for another day). One of the lecturers at the RCA was Michael Rowe and he co-wrote another great reference book which was basically a book for colouring metals. Chemistry was never my strong point but it was fascinating to see the transformation that could be achieved with particular chemical recipes.
  • Next up is my V&A Christian Dior book, as he said, ‘Whatever you do – for work or play – do it with passion’. If you missed the recent exhibition at the V&A, I can only offer my condolences; it was magical and he was a genius, enough said


  • Then we come to one of my teaching reference books which was gifted to me by the Class of 2010 Product Design A-level group - ‘1000 new designs 2 and where to find them’. 15 years of teaching teenagers Product Design and Textiles was both rewarding and challenging, it was rarely the students that were the challenge though, usually the system.


    • Sculpting in wire by Cathy Miles. I love this lady’s work, particularly her wire cutlery and I seem to remember that she did an installation of an entire tool shed in wire in Rochester in 2010. I used to make my product models in wire when I was doing my silversmithing degree at Sir John Cass and Cathy did the same degree (just 10 years later!).
    • Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiku Tsukiori.. Super simple but stylish smocks, tops and dresses by this petite Japanese designer. I always mean to make one of her pieces but never quite get around to it, possibly because her dresses might not look quite the same on my European frame and are probably aimed at a more petite size 6!
    • Layer, Paint & Stitch by Wendy Dolan. I went to see Wendy give a talk to Chiltern embroidery group a couple of years ago. I had just given a talk to the same group and noticed that she was on the future events listing and a lot of her work was based around where she lived in West Sussex, where I grew up. She has referenced Brighton Pavilion in her machine embroidery work and as I did an Art Foundation year in Worthing, I would often socialise in Brighton and have fond memories of my time there. 


      I will cover the other books in my pile in another blog as there is plenty to say so watch this space………………..


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