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Tassle Sash

August 2016


Photo credit : J Martin

The Tassel-Sash was commissioned by Lina Zedig, a designer, good friend, and something of an inspiration. The design grew out of our discussions of utility and uselessness, of letting a sense of the absurd overtake a demand for the practical. I came up with a plan for an oversized key fob, scaled up to human scale ; it overtakes the thing it began life augmenting, envelops it, and becomes a strange thing in it’s own right..

More details to follow.

The Billecart-Salmon Champagne Commission

August 2016


Photo credit : J Martin

A commission for Billecart-Salmon, a small Champagne house which has been family run since it's founding in 1818. The 'Duet' case was a one-off piece for their representative in London.

More details to follow.

Edition Project 6 by Mona Oren.

June 2016


The sixth contribution to the ongoing Tallowin Edition Project is a work by Mona Oren. Mona was born in Tel Aviv and has made Paris her home for the last two decades. She began her studies at the Thelma Yellin School of the Arts in Israel before continuing at the Ecole des Beaux Art. She was finalst at the Prix Liliane Bettancourt Pour L'Inteligence de la Main.

This new work - in an edition of just 5 - was created in Paris before being presented at an event in London. It is now available for purchase.

The Edition Project itself is an ongoing one : each season a new contributor is invited to create a fresh piece of work which is joins the archive and is presented in the space. Just four Editions are produced each year, each one released in sync with the astrological calendar; Solstice, Equinox, Solstice, Equinox.

  • 52.5cm x 40.5cm
  • Wax and Graphite
  • Numbered edition of 5

£550 Framed (This work, as it is formed entirely of wax is fairly fragile, as such it is only sold framed. All other Editions are sold un-framed)


Edition Project 5 by Caitlin Collins-Murray.

March 2016


The fifth contribution to the ongoing Tallowin Edition Project comes from Texan poet Caitlin Collins-Murray. Caitlin is the archivist at the Judd Foundation, the organisation which continues to present the work the of the artist and writer Donald Judd.

This new work in an edition of 10 and was presented at the high desert town of Marfa, Texas on the occasion of the spring equinox, March 2016. It is now available for purchase at the Marfa Book Company.

The Edition Project itself is an ongoing one : each season a new contributor is invited to create a fresh piece of work which is joins the archive. Just four Editions are produced each year, each one released in sync with the astrological calendar; Solstice, Equinox, Solstice, Equinox.

  • 52.5cm x 40.5cm
  • Inkjet print of archival paper
  • Numbered edition of 10

£100.00 Un-framed


Edition Project 4 by Pedro da Costa Felgueiras.

January 2016


The fourth contribution to the ongoing Tallowin Edition Project comes from conservator, lacquer specialist and historical paintmaker Pedro da Costa Felgueiras. Pedro created this new work in an edition of 16, which was presented today and is available to purchase.

The Edition Project itself is an ongoing one : each season a new contributor is invited to create a fresh piece of work which joins the archive and is presented in the store. Just four Editions are produced each year, each one released in sync with the astrological calendar; Solstice, Equinox, Solstice, Equinox.

  • 52.5cm x 40.5cm
  • Hand-ground and hand-mixed pigment paint on hand-torn paper stock
  • Numbered edition of 16

£500.00 Un-framed


Edition Project 3 by James Stringer of Werkflow Studio.

September 2015


The third contribution to the ongoing Tallowin Edition Project comes from artist James Stringer, one of the founders of Werkflow. The Werkflow studio created this new work in an edition of 25, which was presented today and is available to purchase.

The Edition Project itself is an ongoing one : each season a new contributor is invited to create a fresh piece of work which is joins the archive. Just four Editions are produced each year, each one released in sync with the astrological calendar; Solstice, Equinox, Solstice, Equinox.

Werkflow is a small studio known for their combination of the physical and the computational; the productive zone of overlap between the analogue and the digital. Edition #3 is a render of a unique form, digitally sculpted in it's entirety.

  • 52.5cm x 40.5cm
  • Digital Inkjet print
  • Matt Stock
  • Numbered edition of 25

£175.00 Un-framed


Edition Project 2 by Benedict Redgrove

June 2015


The second contributor to the Edition Project is renowned photographer Benedict Redgrove. He has created this new work in an edition of 25, which was released today and is available to purchase.

The Edition Project itself is an ongoing one : each season a new contributor is invited to create a fresh piece of work which is joins the archive. Just four Editions are produced each year, each one released in sync with the astrological calendar; Solstice, Equinox, Solstice, Equinox.

Benedict is known for his automotive and aeronautical work; he travels the globe shooting everything from jet engines to NASA spacecraft. Edition #2 is a hyper-real photographic work focusing on one of the more unusual tools which Benedict discovered on his first visit to the studio : a polished pattern in lasercut acrylic.

  • 52.5cm x 40.5cm
  • Digital Inkjet print
  • Numbered edition of 25

£175.00 Un-framed


Edition Project 1 by George Selwyn-Brace

March 2015


Today we launch a new project : a quarterly Edition, commissioned by the label, limited to 25 and available to purchase. Each design will be created by a different collaborator and released in sync with the astrological calendar. The first Edition, unveiled on the occasion of the spring equinox, is a silkscreen by designer George Selwyn-Brace. Here are a few words from him on the development of the piece:

"The print evolved from our conversations about making a mark in the world, drawing a line in the sand, setting up. It seemed appropriate to design a flag to coincide with the opening of Mark's shop. A flag has very few elements and is distinct though the combination of each tiny detail so I took real pleasure in making sure that the geometry, colours, materials and finish were all perfectly resolved." (George Selwyn-Brace)

  • 52.5cm x 40.5cm
  • Colourplan 'Blue Grey' 270gsm
  • Overlaid semi-matt ink silkscreen
  • Black hot-foil logo
  • Numbered edition of 25

£175.00 Unframed


About the Edition Project

February 2015

This article, written by Chris Newens, takes a closer look into the world of the Tallowin Edition Project.

“Once upon a time, in a land called Serendip lived three princes who were constantly making happy discoveries by accident of things they were not in search of...” *

The worlds we build are the stories we tell, and all stories need a good start. So with that in mind…

Once upon a not-so-long-ago Pedro da Costa Felgueiras, a conservator and leading expert in historic pigments, was asked to repaint – to exacting historical standards – the interior of Strawberry Hill House, the mansion designed by 18th Century polymath Horace Walpole, which trail-blazed the neo-gothic movement. Walpole was a champion of the arts, a man of letters, and a famous Georgian aesthete who in his private correspondence also happened to coin the term “serendipity”, inspired by a certain Persian fairy-tale about three fortunate princes.


At the same time as Pedro was restoring Strawberry Hill, Mark Tallowin was being considered for an award by WALPOLE, the luxury organisation named for Horace Walpole’s father Robert, Britain’s first prime minister and another great patron of the arts. When Mark and Pedro met, neither was aware of the serendipity that linked them, but they recognised a kinship in their approach to craft. This kinship led Mark to invite the conservator to create an artwork for the Tallowin Edition Project.

Tallowin's Editions Project has seen him commission four artists over the past 12 months, working in collaboration with them to produce four separate collections – “Editions” – which have been released on the equinoxes and solstices of the year.

Maintaining a strong link with the rhythms of nature, is a huge motivating factor behind the project. Before establishing his label, Tallowin worked as a tree surgeon for five years:

“Back then I had a very up-close and personal relationship with the seasons. I’d be up a tree when the first buds came out, because I’d be the one tending them; I’d be up a tree when it snowed. I fell into a certain seasonal way of living, and I didn’t want to lose that.”

But for a designer working day-by-day in the studio, this is easier said than done: “My craft isn't swift; it’s a perpetual, slow-burning, iterative process.” In 2015, for example, he released just a single new handbag design. Inviting others to work with him was a way of reconciling the glacial pace of his work with the year’s natural pulse: something that da Costa Felgueiras understood implicitly when he accepted Tallowin’s offer to collaborate. The paint-maker began to consider ways that his Edition might be able to represent the winter.

The limits Tallowin sets his collaborators are few but strict: their size, their limited number, and of course the immovable deadline of their respective equinox or solstice – release dates are ruthlessly enforced. The designer confessed to finding a certain freedom in rules: “Especially when you get to set those rules yourself!”

The works Pedro has produced consist of a set of sixteen paintings, each unique in form but sharing a commonality in the paint systems they used: Ecclesiastical Purple and Brilliant Yellow.


“Initially I wanted to use an historical pigment called Indian yellow, which is made of the urine of cow’s fed only on mango leaves,” Pedro told me, “unfortunately you can’t get it anymore because apparently the cows suffered a great deal.” (I wish, by the way, I could include a recording of da Costa Felgueiras’s voice here: it has a deep, Portuguese accented melody, which is utterly compelling and beautiful even when he’s talking about cow urine) (* ed. See footnotes)


In the end, being forced into using the oil-based paint over the top of the historic water-based one led to favourable results: “The water-based paint doesn’t want to stick to the oil-based paint so you get this transparency,” Pedro said. “It seems linked to the solstice: yellow’s fighting with purple; brightness is fighting against darkness.”

Ecclesiastical Purple is made of two pigments; Cochineal and Blue Verditer. The first of these is an intense red made from ground cochineal beetles. It has a heritage dating back many hundreds of years: once manufactured by the Aztecs and latterly becoming a precious resource fought over by 17th Century European powers. The second is a very special copper compound that needs to be tended into its shade like a delicate crop. Blue Verditer is a labour of love.


“There’s only one man in the country who still makes it,” Pedro explained. “It takes him three weeks. To get the right pigment it needs to be stored in the cold. This man doesn’t use freezers, though; he uses the winter…. He leaves it in a bucket at the bottom of his garden and he stirs it every hour for about three weeks. He hardly gets any sleep in three weeks.”

Such a profound link to seasonality is exactly what Mark is hoping his Editions Project can achieve. He contrasted it to me with the mainstream fashion industry’s more arbitrary attitude towards yearly change (it was Men’s Fashion Week in London when we talked, a subject that seemed much on his mind): “Just coming up with new products because it’s a different time of year seems a crazy way to work. My business is in the gradual perfection of a limited number of forms. So if I want them to be honest, any new stories have to come from elsewhere.”

Another aspect of the honesty that Mark is talking about surely comes from his dedication to choosing collaborators on “feeling” rather than any pre-assigned criteria. Thus, while there’s been a great variation between the four editions, it’s been accompanied by a real consistency of heart. Before Pedro, Mark worked with fine artist James Stringer, photographer Benedict Redgrove, and graphic designer George Sydney.

“Each project,” said Mark “was very much inspired by what was in the air at the time. The flag design, for example [a silk screen print created by George Sydney as the first of the Editions very shortly after Tallowin had opened his Windmill Street store], that project felt like staking a claim, rallying the troops. It was almost like going to war… I was going to war against mediocre, tedious handbags… It felt meaningful to design a flag.”

And while the Editions may not have directly impacted Tallowin’s bag or wallet designs, he thinks their spirit has infused his business, encouraged him to interact differently with his customers, and made his store feel something more than simply a shop. He wouldn’t call it a gallery, he said, but just having the Editions on display changes the space and broadens conversations he has within it.

The project is also about forming a community, or even, in Mark’s vision for the future, a foundation. “Why should something like this be limited only to the big fashion houses?” he asked. “The Editions Project is about short-circuiting the idea that businesses have to be massive in order to give back to the arts. It’s about creation on a human scale.”

But this Edition Project represents more than just a collaboration between artists. There was a synthesis in the ideals and spirit of the two men that went beyond art, something that I found suggestive of a shared way of seeing the world, encapsulated by a specific kind of passion.

“I’m someone who doesn’t know much about music,” Mark said, “I don’t know anything about politics, but I do have a lot of opinions on cutlery. The things I’m attracted to, the things I know about, I really care about, and I think about on an almost hourly basis. I’ve completely given up on vast swathes of human culture, but the things I do care about, I really go all in.”

Pedro echoed this baulking of mainstream expectations: “If I’d asked people whether I should start working with historical paints, they’d have told me not to bother. But then I didn’t think very much about what I was doing at the time, I just did it out of passion. I did what I thought was important and let other people come to me. I think that’s something that links me with Mark. We’re both doing things in an old fashioned way, in what once seemed a not very commercial way, but there’s a real demand for this kind of stuff in London now. So it is possible to do what you love.”

“Amen,” Tallowin muttered quietly.

It’s an attitude that was shared by the Walpoles themselves. On one of the stain glass windows of Strawberry Hill house was emblazoned the Latin motto: “Fari Quae Sentiat”, that is to say: “Do what you feel.” Serendipity indeed.

As for the future, the next Edition is due to be presented in Marfa, Texas – a desert town and an unlikely nexus of artists - a place very close to Mark’s heart. And as well as the project branching out geographically, Mark is considering collaborating with artists working in even wider disciplines: “Maybe the next one’s going to be a writer or a poet. Eventually,” he said, “I hope that over the years the project becomes something of an archive, that it’s like rings on a tree. You can cut through it and see where I was at a particular point in time.”

Of course, looking further into the future, it’s impossible to know precisely what the Editions Project might become, but hopefully Tallowin and others like him will stumble across plenty more happy discoveries along the way.


Words : Chris Newens

Interview with Hattie Crisell, THE CUT, New York Magazine

June 2013


H: How did the label come about? I understand you're largely self taught?

Mark: I spent the first couple of years intently studying the craft alone, then I approached the most highly skilled craftspeople for some guidance and expertise. They really can be called Master-Craftsmen. The type of work I specialise in is only really practiced by a very small number of people as it is so specific and so labour intensive. It’s an exciting time to be doing a high level of craftsmanship, because there’s a growing excitement in an artisanal approach, and also an interest in ‘Made in Britain’ . For me, the important thing is not so much that it’s made in the UK , but that it is made by one person from start to finish, from selecting the hides all the way through to boxing up. There’s a total responsibility; It is entirely down to one person to make it as close to perfect as possible.

H: Tell me about the ‘4.4.8 Experiment’.

M: People have been as excited about the ‘4.4.8’ as they are about the bags themselves. The standard way of getting the word out about a product is by producing samples and sending them out widely to members of the press. Ninety percent of these are going to be ignored, and only a few percent will be eventually written about. Because my bags each take many days to make, I couldn’t afford that initial outlay, so I took a completely different approach — I made one of each of my four designs and I handed them over to four women. I asked each to use their bag for a week, to give me feedback that I would put up, unedited, on the 4.4.8 blog, and at the end of the week, to pass it on to the person they though would be the best fit. As it became a self-selecting group of people, It was important to let the project develop naturally, to let the bags find their own way in the world unguided. The bags found themselves travelling everywhere from Latin America to the Scottish Highlands. They travelled to New York on photo-shoots and even to Switzerland for an Armani launch; all in all it’s been fantastic.

H: It’s a very simple idea, but ingenious.

M: I’m surprised at how much it’s been talked about. One of the participants, Zoe Lazarus wrote an article for the Lowe Counsel discussing it as a new, radical, refreshing way of working. Market research and marketing are, in a way, one and the same. You’ve got to create something that a certain group of people are interested in, and you’ve got to let those same people to know about it. If I ask somebody to use a bag for a week, they’re going to have a good feel for it, and they’re going to be able to give it to the one person who they think it fits best. That’s brilliant, because it means it’s gone to someone who is likely to love it, so in a way the participants are doing the hard work for me. That’s why it’s been such a success.

H: Has it produced useful feedback?

M: I was doing it to find out if there was room for improvement. Each bag has had three or four major improvements and loads of little twists — moving things up or down by a quarter of an inch. Everything’s been honed and refined.These bags will last decades. As well as my main business, I also do repairs of other bags, as a way of keeping track of what other designers are doing. There are so many iconic bags that have inherent structural faults, and they can never remove those faults because that would mean changing the design. What good is a bag if it’s broken, or if you can’t use it because you’re worried about it tearing? All my stuff is really considered aesthetically, but also resilient. Should they ever need repairing, I make sure it can be done, as you can with a fine pair of handmade shoes. I try to be transparent about what I’m doing, where the stitching is and what the construction methods are, so you can clearly see how it all works. Other brands tend to line their bags, which can hide off-key workmanship.

H: Have you thought about how you can keep that personal involvement but still grow the business?

It is quite unusual in the fashion world, but I believe the link between myself and the customer is really important. I invest so much time and energy into each bag, and from a customer’s point of view a bag is such a personal, emotionally charged item. I think it’s important to maintain that connection. I may train up an apprentice at some point, but I’m quite happy staying niche. Some designers are so keen to say, "I’m turning over ‘X’ million and I’m stocked in hundreds of stores worldwide" — and then they become a manager in their own company. If I wanted to be a manager, I would have done something else. I love making handbags and I get a huge rush when a customer contacts me to say, "I’ve just received it — I love it." It’s the biggest buzz.

#Thanks to Hattie Crisell and the publishers of New York Magazine's THE CUT for permission to post.


March 2013


The 4.4.8 Experiment was a project run during the summer of 2013.

It was designed to test two things; the designs themselves and secondly, and just as importantly, what would happen when control of something which is so close to one's heart is handed over completely.

Exactly one year after beginning development on the first four models of the Core Collection, the final prototypes were handed over to four women; Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian, Camilla Johnson-Hill of The Production Club, Illustrator Extraordinaire Jo Ratcliffe and one young woman, who for her own mysterious reasons, had to remain anonymous. They were asked to test, trial and challenge their handbags for a period of seven days. At the end of this week, they were to report on their experiences and to decide, with total freedom, who the bag should be entrusted to next. This second person would do the same and so, for a period of eight weeks, so each handbag would make it's way through a chain of people. Where they would travel (and through who's hands they would pass) was at the whim of the participants and with the will of the gods.

"We’re yet to see any brand, large or small, attempt market research or marketing as bold, and ironically simple as The 4.4.8. Experiment ... Simply Brilliant." (Lowe + Partners Creative Counsel)


Watching this project unfurl was fascinating, not least because it was completely unscripted.

-They found themselves travelling to the beaches of Latin America and on treks in the Scottish highlands, from a photoshoot in Zurich to meetings in NYC.

-They rolled through the offices of Net-a-Porter and Dover Street and found their way to the desks of Harpers Bazaar, Gentlewoman, and Wonderland Magazines.

-They were admired on planes and stopped in the street. They even jumped the gender divide once, enjoying a week with Mr J Ashton of DSM, something which was unexpected but joyfully embraced.


A few responses from the reports themselves, still available here in the original format.

"Bags are my thing. I love fashion, I love clothes, but I love bags most of all. I was happy to try this bag out for a week, but to be honest it never occurred to me I would fall in love with it. But that’s what happened.The only person I could face giving it up for was my sister Alice, who was the very first person to admire it." (Jess Cartner-Morley, The Guardian)

"Beautifully designed and obviously high quality. I love the clasp - total genius - style and function." (Alice Cartner-Morley, Freud Communication)

"Contrary to what you might have heard, being a fully-fledged handbag enthusiast needn’t mean shopping for accessories on a daily basis. Rather, it means investing in one and really really appreciating it. The flat iron is, I feel, a worthy recipient of such admiration. The size is brilliant – big enough to carry everything I need but not ridiculously so. The look and feel of the leather is also perfect: I’m a big fan of a minimalist aesthetic and tend to quake in the presence of anything polished or overtly branded." (Karen Dacre, The ES)

Many thanks to all who made this project, which was truly experimental, such a success.