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Charles & Patricia Lester Interiors Inspirations

Dedication For Jack and those who have travelled with us on this journey, our incredibly talented team at the studios, family and friends and the wonderful people who are part of the creativity turning our art into beautiful moving sculptures. A vignette of images, a taste of things to come.




This book is created as a fore-runner of a more ambitious project. A short essay giving a flavour of the full story telling of the journey of two people who have followed a path of creative invention far removed from their earlier training and career choices. Charles a physicist by training and Patricia a secretary have become, over the years, a unique design team using unconventional techniques for decorating and structuring cloth. Their lack of training in the field has allowed them to invent and develop original ideas without the constraints of tutored knowledge. They continue to challenge the recognised routes to achieve a result - and in so doing are always busy with new ideas for colour and texturing fabrics out of which they conjure up their unique collection of sculpted art for the body and the home. Not for them the new digital processes - instead their work is intimately crafted in the old fashioned artisan way - with their hands and their imaginations.

Blue Oilslick hand pleated silk cushion



Introduction to Charles & Patricia Lester Charles and Patricia Lester are collectors – they collect colours and textures. They walk through their world appreciating the intricacies of form, sensual and fluid textures that capture the infinite combinations of light and tone. They marvel at beauty found everywhere. From the obvious displays of nature in all its magnificence and absurdities to the aged and tarnished flotsam and jetsam that are tossed onto the shores of everyday life. This rather nebulous collection is recorded in their textile art – unique pieces that, by the nature of their creation, are rare.  They do not follow fashion because their work does not have that sense of immediacy that is the true meaning of the word 'fashion'. Instead they follow their own path of exploration making timeless pieces that defy  conventional thinking of 'what is fashion'.   A magnificent painting begins with an idea, an intangible notion or an abstract concept. It begins to take hold and form into a collection of  observations of colours and raw materials. Each a vital ingredient that evolves into a visual symphony of light and texture brought together by superlative craftsmanship. They paint the fabric as an artist paints the fall of cloth – adding the shadows and highlights before the texturing processes are completed.  These layers of crafting give a dimension to the cloth before it becomes a living sculpture as a garment or a luxurious adornment for the home. In a world of mass-production and repetitive cloning, the rare and one-off pieces take a special place in our minds. One-off not only means ‘one of a kind’ but also that there is only one work of art like this in the world. Bespoke art crafted just for one place or one person.

Patricia Lester Patricia creates in a rather abstract way preferring to work directly with the cloth rather than starting with drawings of garments she wishes to create. She sculpts designs onto a body using the fluidity of the fabric and the shape of the body to dictate the form that the garment will take. The sculpture, thus created, has many moving parts, a soul that needs understanding and together they must be able to dance. Colour fascinates as does the unexpected and sometimes strange combinations of tone which she uses to create both the visual and optical effects such as those seen in pointillism. She studies the way in which two colours side by side will visually react with each other and give a special kind of vibrancy to the overall effect of light and shade. 

Art by Patricia

Textile designs can be inspired by shapes found in every day life or in the more obscure, such as the headpiece in a period drama about Queen Elizabeth I - QEH. More often than not it is about casually doodling and the pencil taking control almost like a character created by an author that takes over and decides 'who' he is going to be.


Charles Lester Life observations captured on film. Shapes, colour and/or atmosphere capture his imagination. Fascinated with the minutiae - the curl of a leaf, the colour on the wing of a moth, the way that a flower fades and creases into a new delicate form. When taking photographs he likes to use his Hasselblad camera because it is NOT automatic and he can play around with ideas on exposure/light/colour/depth of focus. Working with the image directly is so much more satisfying than digitally manipulating with Photoshop.  There is an connection with what he sees and the colours that he applies to fabrics that trigger and emotional response that affects him like listening to a piece of beautiful music.

Photography by Charles

His earlier experience as a research scientist allows him to explore new ideas and break rules - he enjoys experimenting with techniques and exploring new avenues that bypass conventional dying and printing techniques as well as his experiments with his photographic work. If a process requires a piece of custom equipment then he builds it.  Everything required for the screen printing, for instance, from the tables to the specialist baking equipment have been built in his workshop.


Georgina Lester Georgina loves playing with words exploring how they can breathe life into the intangible and abstract. The power of a well chosen word can spark an intense curiosity about what will follow next. Her enjoyment of writing comes from finding new and inspiring ways to express thoughts and ideas that push out the boundaries of the obvious. There is a particular sense of satisfaction felt when she can discover ways to bring a fresh perspective blowing away the cobwebs of repeated clichĂŠ and stereotypical conventions. Words are tools to carve truths that lie at the heart of any idea, notion, or ambition however, they take on a life of their own when they leave the home-nest of the author's pen. They can morph and transform as each reader interprets what is written adding their own flavours and colours each time they are read. Words by Georgina

Timeless, a phrase uttered tells just one story but as with any captured thought contained within the time-capsule of the mind, new meanings emerge over time painting entirely different pictures than the ones first seen. As a writer, words are merely seeds of inspiration waiting to be captured by any fertile and waiting mind.




The Inspirations

Ideas blown on the wind of possibility waiting to be captured by fertile imaginations.

Whispers of Vintage Pink Faded rose of stately garden, aged by the breath of time. Soft feathered fields of barley daintily swaying entranced by the gentle dance of late summer breezes. 
 Inspiration is found in faded beauty when a time of gaudy 
 gardens have long been forgotten and a vintage patina takes hold transforming the dazzling luminous splendour into subtle and delicate whispers of what was before.


Capturing The Spirit Of Cacherel A collection of silks combined to capture the spirit of Cacherel. Commissioned to create a limited edition of luxurious and unique painted silk scarves to celebrate the launch of new range of cosmetics. Delicate shades of faded rose painted on soft silks celebrating the tones of delightfully natural feminine beauty. Remnants of the project brought together here in a tapestry sculpted in silk painted and pleated by hand.

“Cacheral� Tapestry sculpted in silk painted and pleated by hand. 9 feet x 9 feet 15

Dust of Iridescent Snow Snowflake wings of pristine white brush past the dark of winter leaving a trail of glimmering, sparkling crystalline jewels. Winter crisp air wisps frost breath as iridescent dazzling necklaces adorn the trees and hedges and new fresh landscapes emerge with creeping swirls skating across icy glass. The camera shies away from capturing faeries frolicking in snow as they dangle diamonds on blackthorn hedges. Shadow blue dusts the folds of snow, the glow of sugar pink opalescence blends the pearly sheens as the sun bows out for the day.


Cushions and Throws Chandelier diamonds tinkle Tinkerbell pink magic and princess dreams. Lusciously feminine, dainty and delicate as the softest cherry blossom blooms of spring. The skin soft silk caresses the senses evoking the scents of rose water and the blush of rosy cheeks.


Ice Forged by Iron Burning cold curls sharp shards into softened swirls and bearded tendrils of Christmas white stand captured still in frozen motion. Crust of crown and spears of light spike steel and steals the hardened forms of fence and gate. Icicles cluster on the edge of slate grey roofs. Glass stalactites guttering brittle finery, a welcome bedazzlement in the dark of winter nights. Cold decorates the dull and grey coating cloaks of morning with white lace and satin ribbon.


Silver Screen Ice floes flow glassy smooth rivers bending and twisting in silver moon night. Silken shadows dance as light hides in the pewter recesses of cracks and crevices. Ghosts of weeping willows and swaying birches, wisps of spirits haunting old houses, mists rising from valleys below, silver sways the visual senses ethereal and timeless it paints the mood of the day.

Screen: Four panels fitted with sculpted silk painted and pleated by hand depicting the organic shapes of trees and roots. 19

Iron Tidal Rivers Steel engines, forges and the machinery of industry sits side by side with the elegance of tree-lined flowing estuaries both rolling out to the meet with the rest of the world. The hint of a faded sunset highlighted waters reminiscent of burning clanking steelworks, framed by charcoal shadows echoing the force of nature and man-made machinations of progress. Time stands still. Those with time to stand and stare watch for the grey plumed geese as they flock honking back to their sombre beak-tucking night time roost. It is about flow. The merging of differing worlds where colours know no discrimination or discernment. Gunmetal hammers of productivity and profit slam into silver pools of light reflecting the fishstocked scales of rippling grey waters. Dusk brushed tones of midnight and hoary grey muting sunshine. Dimming light ameliorates the harsher hues of the clamouring cacophony of day time tones. 20

Poetry of Silver Dusky shadows
 Tidal waters
 Bands of nimbostratus
 Of Welsh grey
 drenching showers
 drizzly sizzling 
 steel cooling fired Iron
 We know rain in Wales
 Greening kiss 
 quenching relentless heat
 sun drought burnt fields.
 We know rain in Wales.
 Beauty silver-grey
 dawn's gentle promise
 of sun pierced cloud
 Light strikes through
 slate grey capes
 paradise below
 Puffs, whiffs and wisps
 of platinum veils
 wafting mists
 that dance mysterious 
 magic ethereal
 shifting tone and tempo
 as drips drip rhythms
 A hammer of light
 beating silver unfurling.
 We know rain in Wales

Sculpted throw in silk painted and pleated by hand 21

Evoking Other Worlds Lily-heady scents evoke a fresh sense of alternate dimensions. The waxy-whispering soft stroke of its petals waken the silken thoughts of spirit and mind. The hum drum of reality fades and thoughts focus on a new world where the minutiae takes on a precious significance. Scents flow into colours and colours tickle and touch a lively melody of sound. Senses meld and bond wooing new frontiers of design exploration.


Capturing Captivating Ideas Designs bud and blossom from the mind and the hand scribes the evolution of an inspiration. A moment of enlightenment transcends from basic physical form. It wafts ethereal before transforming into an organic flowing depiction of a nebulous moment. The artist hunts and gathers ideas capturing the intangible before they flit away disappearing into another world.


Anemone Trumpeting purple lording royal, the regal blasts enriched gaudy rainbows of gem and jewel. Emeralds, sapphires, rubies and diamonds boldly flaunting an exotic indulgence of colour. Unabashed rich pageantry echoes vibrant robes of bishops and kings. Gaudy explosions of light flash exuberance in tropical rain forests of gentians on remote Alpine mountains. Lush landscapes give flight to wings of dazzling spectral palettes. Broad brushes of kaleidoscopic variegations paint exhilarating combinations of the deep and rich tones of the bold and audacious. Colour in all its finery offering a dazzling celebration of life and vitality.


Dashing Decadence

The deep rich tones of royal purples, a sumptuousness and sensual feast for the eyes. The velvet textures adds a sheen of light breathing life and vitality dispelling shyness. The bold tones celebrate with showy garlands of bawdy Bacchus audaciousness. The cloth of kings and queens, colours of bejewelled crowns all imbue scenes with a sense of grandeur and opulence. Sweeping capes are lined with amazing peacock displays of pomp and ceremony. Decorated trophies of colour honour the courageous who can sing - this is me. The bright celebrate vitality with conviction and certainty.


Faded Flowers A bouquet of bold, blooms, bright gaudy peacocking pride applauding triumph, it is a loud and raucous celebration of performance and achievement. The clock fades the moment into a mottled memory. The loud lauding muted as the curve of leaf, sepal and petal curl and wrinkle. The bleaching sun challenges drama softly teasing the gentler hues to emerge washing the audaciousness and the bombastic into the shadows. Silky smooth plumpness desicates into miniature pleats of flowing, twirling twists of carved sculpture. Grainy, crisp and frozen defining new shapes to the spaces between before crumbling to dust of a forgotten memory.


Seaweed, Sludge and Fine Jewellery Years of contrasting sludge trudging through seaweed washed banks of Charmouth provide new opportunities for sensory input. Seeking the ridge and curve of ammonites sculpted in 'fool's gold' hidden for millennia now only made visible by a momentary visual disturbance in the slick and slippery brown. Archeological excavations of storm and rain reveal swirls of rain soaked sand muddied by bronzed rivulets washing silt and grit into a steely grey ocean. The contrasts become apparent when the new found colours and designs begin to emulate the fine craftsmanship of gold, silver and platinum jewels encrusted with precious gems and finery. As rough stones are cut, polished and gleamed into sparkling trophies, so the inspirations of pyrite fossils found on muddy seaweed encrusted beaches are transformed into silken sumptuous discoveries.


The Journey of Green Moss quiffs on coiffed stone statue made modest by velveteen creeping green. Dusky malachite lichen licks leaf into grey of rock. No longer a static sculpture intransigent and immoveable, it grows and evolves through the seasons. Burgeoning spring lime unveiling and unravelling, stretching tendrils, wing flapping plates of leaves look up to meet the gaze of summer sun. The season progresses and the emerald of spring becomes heat dusted and the tones soften. Curling ferns, shriveling virescence and the verdigris of early autumn takes hold.


Symphony of Greens Artistry can be found everywhere, a theme of just one hue can create a visual melody of tone, a chromatic scale of colour. A symphony of a single shade can embrace and enhance the almost imperceptible shifts of light only seen when in isolation from other shades. Subtle combinations of green on green create a visual poetry that distinguishes the rude crude green of grass and sets it apart from the refined finery of ombred glory. Form enhances tone and colour sculpts shape. The soft curve of the hill spotlighted with high green-gold with depths of valleys shaded made deeper by charred and dark blue jade. A pillar of oak in a forest of giants dazzles lichen lime and dusky malachite its grandeur exaggerated by the deeply carved inky blue black shadows. Trailing vines creep verdant swags across arches of branch and stone. Delicate lace wings sketch intricate patterns of life exciting veins in leaves of brilliant emerald, perhaps blushed with burlesque ruby.

Leighton House Museum and Art Gallery, London


Celtic Greens and The Majesty of Trees Wales is well known for its rain drenched green hills. The majesty of ancient trees line the path from a land of myths and legend to modern day landscapes of smooth parkland and sculpted garden. The manicured verdant lawns crowned only by the rise of the great slumbering beasts of wooded hills. Oaks as old as dragons stand in Druidic cloaks of moss. The morning celebrated by adorning emerald and diamond jewels of mist and dew. Light paints impressionistic splashes of varying greens as the days progress. Always changing always subtly shifting from intense to delicate, from deep to bright.


Tretower Court and Castle Inspired by the history of Wales and its culture. 900 years, many incarnations and transformations embodying progressing ages and fashions throughout the years, Tretower Court and Castle was the home of the rich, influential and elite. Designed to impress, the sumptuous mediaeval accommodation reflected their high status as Welsh gentry but as with any gaudy blooms, they fade and wrinkle into distant memories. The grandeur of its history still stands timeless in its own reality and as real as the old oaks nearby. The spirit of forgotten celebrations, of love and loss, of laughter and wars still ooze from the rough stone walls of the castle. Tapestries and screens still drape in the mind as you feel history step forward to greet you. 31

Irises – Nature’s Crowning Jewels Crimped and curled petals, irises, nature's crowning jewels translucent and glowing with summer warmth. Heady sounds of insects buzzing from one nectar pot to another. Intricacies found in nature inspires generations of designers. The Arts and Crafts movement looked at the roots of design inspiration. True craftsmanship gained renewed status as an antidote to the machine ridden world of the industrial revolution. A craving for the simplicity of sensuous organic forms brought new appreciation for nature's exceptional beauty.   The 21st Century brings a renaissance of 'slow' crafts countering the exponential invasion of technology. Nature's universal form of adornment, naturally sinuous design brings elegance and exquisite grace. Crafted by hand, slowly, measurably, intimately, masterpieces become the symbols of prestige and sophistication. The hands that craft imbue each piece with the heart and soul of the artisan. 32

Filigree Gold and Enameled Adornments Silversmiths and goldsmiths cut, beat and bend metals into elegant sinuous curves enamelling and embedding them with colour. Crimping, chasing and engraving twists and turns, cleverly crafting curving forms which echo and emulate the grace of feminine form. Planishing and polishing their skills, each new piece becomes the embodiment of unique subtle tones of blended paints taking on a rich patina of classic style. Art Nouveau jewellers like Lalique appreciated the form of natural materials and the elegance of the not-soprecious. Plique-a-jour enamelling, horn and shell were given pride of place alongside the golden splendour of finer metals.   Cushions, wraps and throws become the jewels of the room highlighting and delighting. Like Klimt enriching his art with leaves of gold, sumptuous silks invite romance, luxury with more than a hint of decadence. 33

The Story of Craftsmanship Crafts evolve over the centuries as skills expand and ideas inspire new notions. Challenges of changing circumstance, varied environments and developing tools give irth to new techniques and innovative solutions. The crude oxide and ochre objects crafted for robustness and practicality take on the bloom of use as they chip and knock their way through the years. Regal hands touch only the refined pieces as defined by labour and adorning glazes. The finer things as distinguished by smooth textures and rare colours ensuring the rare and the beautiful stand out from the rough hewn and crude shapes of peasantry.


Mediaeval Grandeur Golden grandeur appears in the beaten metals of cloak pins and twisted bracelets. Manor houses of royals and aristocracy contain the finer treasures of jewel encrusted displays of status and power. Cold castles with caskets carried from far unseen lands carrying finest silks treaded with silver and gold, trudged across touch lands of ancient silk routes carved in culture long ago. Today fine craftsmanship dexterously uses years of apprenticeship to create the finest masterpieces with grace and style. The best craftsmen conjure artifacts from raw materials without leaving trace of tape nor tool.


Evening Grasses The sun paints bright colours across the meadow and glowing ripples of summer grasses weave a carpet of spun gold. The recipes designed to emulate these ancient shades, include unique combinations of colour as well as infinite patience. Pigments carefully applied, layer upon layer as they take the modern crisp silks and morph them into softly worn aged cloth of old gods and ancient kings. Each piece creates its own journey of discovery as the idiosyncrasies of time and weather play with pigment and paint influencing how colours blend and grow. Each one is uniquely different and uniquely rare.


Luxury Cushions Gentle antique patinas of ancient treasures. Tarnished bronzes paint the subtle shades of the relationship between artefact and time. Aged by weather, life or love, tones develop their own unique depth and meaning highlighting subtle nuances that uniquely evoke ancient histories and forgotten people.


Meadows Tinged Red by the Setting Sun Waving wands of grass reach out to meet the seeking bee and flap of birds' wings. A velvety backdrop to the swirl of startling starling clouds as they come in to roost nearby. The blush of summer fading to harvest. Swifts swoop and soar seeking insects on the wing. They climb and dive preparing for the long journey to the reddened scorching dusty heat of Africa.


Ploughed Terracotta Fields The sun sets on a rusting iron plough as it rests in the last terracotta furrow of the freshly ploughed red earth. The fields bedecked by turning burning trees glow warmth in the autumn cool air. The reddened burnt umber soil sliced, curled by smooth blade. The turn revealing a hint of green in clump of clay as it peeks from its upturned world of grassy pasture. A harvest promise bringing gold in the fall of the following year when pumpkin rich and rosy apple feast and merry mead through the long autumn nights.


Burning Welsh Coals of Sunset Sky The fire-opal flash brandishes the end of the day. Sumptuous dazzling reds are embraced by the "sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea". The fishing village of Laugharne, the seemingly insignificant black dot inked on the Welsh coast belies the great ebb and flow of colourful creativity. The tide of language and intuition splashes shocking displays of lavishness and sumptuous decadence exhilarating the senses. The slash of erubescence as colourful and as raw as life and the culture of coal fires and butchers blocks. Glowing embers invoke rocking-chair ghosts hovering for vestiges of forgotten warmth reminiscing about the 40

Kuwait Sunset Textile Inspired by the burning oilfields of Kuwait where flames burned into the black of oil and night. The spectacle seen across the globe as the fires of raging orange scorched the skies. A trail of burned purple billowing echoes of spent flame and branded ebony. Clear skies smudged by the black heat that liberally dusts the desert sands with shades of ink and tar.

Kuwait Sunset Tapestry sculpted in silk painted and pleated by hand. 9 feet x 9 feet 41


A Snippet of The Story So Far ...

The turning of a small selection of pages is no measure of a life-time of passion, drive and determination to be and do the best. The whole story pivots upon the desire of two people who have chosen to carve out their own path in an arena where traditionally fashion leads the way. It began nearly half a century ago. There have been many twists and turns in the story just like with any other life adventure. Whilst we cannot portray the whole narrative here, we can encapsulate the essence of what has been. Hidden behind the scenes are many more treasures and memorabilia to be revealed, not to mention the tales of what is yet to unfold in the years to come. Suffice to say the world of fashion has not been enough to contain their seemingly infinite energy and creativity.

This is Just the Beginning .... Endless possibilities, infinite inspirations, the potential for the birth of new creations become limitless. Ideas unfold and unravel new concepts and notions. They take on a life of their own and new adventures begin. Dresses waltz out onto the open floor of society and celebration flirting with prince and king as they adorn the original and gifted. As animated art, they tango and foxtrot in the grandest and the most unusual rooms of hall and home. Their fluid colours and sensual drape paint new moods and scenes wherever they go. Art pieces stand to attention and unique draperies adorn the many and varied dwellings of the world as they cheekily bear witness to the to'ing and fro'ing of life as days come and go. Hidden treasures lying in wait in castle and mansion they merge with inimitable style and grace of host and home designer. Operas serenade spectacular dramas of our human stories bedecked with theatrical textile finery as magnificently as film captures cameo'd moments in which performers evoke a sense of another world, another time and another place.


Every Woman A work of art unique and special Sculpted life painted features vibrant expressions of vitality. Wrinkles crafted by many hands Emotions carve experience Scars testimony to survival She is perfect. Every woman a story to be told Voices sing of time and celebration Eyes twinkling inspiration Playful laughter Sounds of a sparkling soul She is perfect. Every woman a Goddess Resplendent Magnificent Robes reflecting all that is within Beautiful Elegant Sublime A work of art She is divine.


Worldwide Press Features

Italian Vogue

French Elle


Artists Appreciating Art Highly revered performers, actors, artists, designers and art experts who have reached the highest echelons of success and recognition seek to enjoy the uniqueness and talents of fellow artists. Perhaps it is a reflection of their own journey of dedication and hard work required to master their skills. Appreciation from those who have achieved phenomenal successes is perhaps the highest accolade of all.

Emma Kirkby Buy the CD: Emma Kirkby: Arie Antiche


Exhibitions and Displays

Liberty Regent Street London International Silk Convention 48

Editorial Features

Sunday Times Photographs by Cindy Palmano 49


“The Wings of The Dove” with Helena Bonham-Carter, Alison Elliot and Charlotte Rampling

“Ten Commandments” with Padma Lakshmi and Claire Bloom


Opera Costumes

'Iris' by Mascagni Textiles and Costumes. Opera Holland Park, London. Lincoln Centre, New York 51




“Fashion in Motion” Victoria & Albert Museum, London



And So The Journey Begins ....

By weaving spells of colour, the high-notes and low tones add to the theatre of life. Creations take flight into the bold new world and time paints its patina of fading ages. They play, dance and witness the evolution of each person’s story until they gracefully retire amongst the forever preserved. The finest treasures rest recumbent amongst the displays of the inherited collectables and the greatest legacies of human invention and creativity.

Contact Charles & Patricia Lester The Workhouse Studio Hatherleigh Place Union Road, Abergavenny Monmouthshire NP7 7RL Wales United Kingdom


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Tel: +44 (0) 1873 853559 Fax: +44 (0) 1873 858666 Email: A limited number of hard back copies of this book are available. Please contact us direct for more information. 56

Thank you

Beetle in Wales Thank you for joining us on this little glimpse of the work of Charles and Patricia Lester


Charles & Patricia Lester - Interiors Inspirations  

The inspirations and creations of the textile artists Charles and Patricia Lester offering a glimpse into their world of thought and visual...