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Lino Love with Betty Jo Designs

by Jenny Butler
Monday 1st August 2011

This week we welcome the amazing Liz Jones of Betty Jo Designs! Liz is the QUEEN of all things Lino and is incredibly passionate about reusing vintage linoleum [& other found objects] to make her delightful jewellery and homewares.  Liz is with us all week sharing her love of lino and has very generously offered one lucky reader a customized cuckoo clock similar to this one. Just leave a comment before 10pm Thursday 4th of August to be in the draw Thanks Liz!! – Jenny x

I’m Liz Jones, the designer behind Betty Jo Designs.

I have had a fascination with vintage Linoleum for many years, and loved its decorative potential so much that I started a jewellery and homewares business that features recycled Linoleum in all the designs. I also have a blog called Lino Forest where I document my Lino finds, inspirations and creations. So if the thought of “linoleum” conjures up a picture of Nana’s scuffed and tatty kitchen floor, think again!

This week I am delighted to be exploring and sharing the work of several talented artists that utilize vintage Linoleum as a medium in their art practice. I have also discovered some creative ways that Linoleum has been featured in homes and retail spaces.

Linoleum “Rugs” from the 1920’s and 1950’s

Being a durable and all natural material, the patterns and colours of vintage linoleum are like small time capsules of the particular era it was produced. Floral or geometric, figurative or abstract, vivid primary colours or subtle pastels, linoleum was a common decorative floor covering from the late 19th century until the 1960’s when vinyl flooring (often confused with linoleum) became popular.

Over the last six years while working with Lino, I have acquired dozens and dozens of salvaged pieces, all with different styles and patterns. These gorgeous retro designs often dictate how my work will look, and in some cases, what the object will be in the first place.

Most of my pieces are created with Lino rescued from the floors of old houses, or from the shelves of vintage kitchen dressers and cabinets. Often beautifully preserved under layers of modern vinyl and carpet, some of the Lino can be over 80 years old.

Many pieces of my lino contain the scuff and heel marks of people long gone, and very often certain designs can trigger a fond memory of Grandma’s kitchen or Auntie’s living room floor. I am often told by people seeing my work that a particular piece of lino in a brooch or a clock was the same pattern they remembered from their childhood.

To quote Jane Powell, the author of the fantastic book (and my crafty bible) Linoleum – “linoleum is somehow viewed as being lowbrow, which is a reputation not entirely warranted… By ignoring ingrained cultural ideas of taste and looking at linoleum without pre-conceived notions, it’s beauty starts to become apparent.”

Liz x


by Jenny Butler
Monday 1st August 2011

70 comments

  • Cheryl 3 years ago

    How fantastic, they look great

  • shannon garson 3 years ago

    Hi Liz,
    I’m so happy you are doing as guest blog. I love old lino and wish there was a company that would still produce the gorgeous floral, carpetty designs of yesteryear!

  • Mia penn 3 years ago

    We once rented a huge old house with different Lino in every single room. We called it “The Linoleoum Emporium”. If only liz could get her hands on it all to create her truly unique and special pieces!

  • Lisa 3 years ago

    Love the cuckoo clock! Ih ave some fab fridge magnets made from different patterns of lino – so much colour and fun!

  • Jodie 3 years ago

    Such stunning art so vibrant and colourful

  • Kitty Robinson 3 years ago

    I have coveted this cuckoo for years. What a clever girl.

  • jessica 3 years ago

    Absolutely love the cuckoo clock – nothing better than seeing the inspirational ideas people come up with recycled materials….especially one that brings back happy childhood memories!

  • Rebecca W 3 years ago

    The ‘mosaics’ are stunning! Lino! Who’d have thunk it?!

  • Susie 3 years ago

    Lino takes me back to my childhood kitchen circa late 70’s! Love your work Liz!

  • Pippa 3 years ago

    Loving the Lino!

  • Beth 3 years ago

    These clocks are the best. Two of my friends have one, and I have always been jealous.

  • jennifer 3 years ago

    Takes me back to my childhood!!

  • Kimbalee 3 years ago

    clever clever clever. Love anything that is refashioned from old into new….the way of now. Thanks for sharing.

    xx

  • Mel 3 years ago

    oh so so cute…. could really have used a cuckoo clock this sleepy monday morning

  • Jill 3 years ago

    Totally fabulous clock! Absolutely adore it

  • Tiffany 3 years ago

    I have been a fan of Betty Jo Designs for ages. I adore the cuckoo clock!!

  • Melissa 3 years ago

    Such a great idea! Love it!

  • leah 3 years ago

    I have loved your work for a while now. Love to see what you have for us this week!!!

  • Sonni 3 years ago

    I was lucky enough to have been given one of your A-M-A-Z-I-N-G pieces two years ago and I wear it everyday. I love my Betty Jo owl soooooooooooo much!
    I have been eyeing off your clocks for a very long time now hoping to purchase one. It would make my entire day, week, year to win one … oh yes indeedy :-P!!

  • Denise 3 years ago

    I have given broaches to both my daughters, but I would love a clock. Most of all, I would love to have bought that most fabulous bird on the grey wall. I grew up in a home with lino in the kitchen and lounge room, didn’t really appreciate the beautiful patterns, but it was fun to slide on.

  • Clare 3 years ago

    Oh I so hope to win! I’d give the clock to our next door nieghbour, for their little girl’s room. It’s a bit of an in-joke. We have a matching pair of beautiful pre-federation townhouses with amazing wide jarrah boards. Their house has an extension across the back with lino (or vinyl) flooring, and we have one with concrete. They are planning to renovate their place, and Husband asked Wife if she could have any flooring in the entire world, what would her dream flooring be for the extension? She came back to him a day later and said “Lino.” Which had us all in peals of laughter for its low-brow-ness, but as she explained, its easy to clean, it’s softer than boards or tiles, on bare feet and toddlers’ knees and it comes in any pattern you like!

  • Jackie 3 years ago

    wow-these designs are so cute and kitsch-so full of personality!when i look at them i can’t help but think of names for them!

  • Gill 3 years ago

    I’d love a cuckoo clock for my daughter’s room. Love the vibrant colours and vintage look. What a clever lady!

  • Belinda 3 years ago

    yes please. x

  • Shelley 3 years ago

    This is so inspired! It just goes to show that even the least loved of elements can be upcycled into something completely original and beautiful – in the right talented hands, that is.

  • Emily 3 years ago

    Very lovely art and a gorgeous clock!
    Yes please! x

  • kylie 3 years ago

    We have a few treasured scraps of beautiful old lino we found lining the drawers of an old kitchenette we bought…I think what Liz does is terrific.

  • Rie 3 years ago

    I love your artwork Liz… maybe you could also find a use for the 70’s plastic vinyl that I often see in lining cupboard & kitchen drawers too!

  • Bec 3 years ago

    So clever and so fun! Absolutely love all of the pieces, the vibrancy and the memories that come with them.

  • georgie 3 years ago

    Very inspiring. The clock would look gorgeous in my son’s nursery

  • Paula 3 years ago

    Wonderful! Being in the middle of moving house (yuk), the colour and movement of these pieces particularly attract me. Trust the clock finds a good home. Hmmm.

  • Alison 3 years ago

    I love the beautiful designs and colours that the old lino has and I think it’s wonderful that they are being salvaged and redesigned into beautiful art works.

    Great stuff.

  • Elleski 3 years ago

    stunning! so inspirational! love your work!

  • Bec 3 years ago

    Oh my goodness, what gorgeous clocks! So unique and absolutely adorable. And I love a good owl!
    Love love love!

  • Simon 3 years ago

    Amazing, so nice! love the fact that is all recycled, we all need to take a leaf out of your book and recycle more!

  • gill 3 years ago

    A feeling of SPRINGTIME just when we need it! Would love to win this new take on the cuckoo clock.

  • Liza 3 years ago

    I’ve seen your work and just love the colours, shapes, and eclectic ideas, and recyling; even better! I’m really looking forward to your reading all your guest blogs this week xxx

  • ponygirl 3 years ago

    Lovely, thank you for sharing!

  • Jules 3 years ago

    I love all the different colours and textures! We just bought a new house, the clock would look perfect there amongst our eclectic mix of vintage stuff. Love the jewellery too :)

  • Fleur 3 years ago

    how CUCKOO is that clock! What a beautiful piece of functional art. Being a 70’s child I grew up with both lino and a cuckoo clock. I always felt sad for the little bird that had to be stuck in it’s home only to come out on the hour – yours gets to sit there in all its lino mighty viewing the world and being adored.

  • Rachael 3 years ago

    I love the lino too can’t imagine how you source it I never see it anymore I think it reminds me of my childhood

  • Donna 3 years ago

    Awesome! Looking forward to seeing more from Lino Love with Betty Jo Designs this week : )

  • Mikaela Earl 3 years ago

    I am in love with the Carivan!!! :):):)

  • Rosalinda 3 years ago

    I received my sister’s breathless email telling my my ‘craft crush’ was on the design files! I have six lovely brooches from betty jo: a Clock would be so awesome…but then a question arises – how much BJ can one person own before it just starts getting weird?

  • anna Barry 3 years ago

    Love the lino cuckoo clock — what a fabulous way to tell the time!

  • Michelle 3 years ago

    very cute.

  • Mary 3 years ago

    The cuckoo clock is sublime. Telling the time never looked so good!

  • Suzanne 3 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous – your art is fantastic and beautifully creative.

  • Brianna 3 years ago

    Love Liz’s work, her brooches are so cute. Best thing is the are made from recyclable products!

  • Christina 3 years ago

    What a clever idea – recyling lino from old houses and turn them into the most gorgeous products! I’m drooling over the cuckoo clock right now! mmm….

  • Dana 3 years ago

    that cuckoo clock could not be any more gorgeous! Its inspiring…. where is my box of felt and fabric squares!

  • Madge 3 years ago

    Does it age me too much if I say I have walked on part of that clock? THe pieces resonnate with nanas in old houses. very comforting.

  • Jen 3 years ago

    I am cuckoo for that clock! well done!

  • Wendy Wainwright 3 years ago

    Wow … I am going to look at the old lino in a different light … love all the quirky pieces especially the owls and the colourful necklaces … thanks to “The Design Files” for constantly inspiring their readers by showcasing some amazing creative Australian designers … Thank you for the generous giveaway.

  • Bec 3 years ago

    That clock is genius – I need one or I will explode! Please, please count me in!

  • sharon 3 years ago

    Liz, your creativity amazes me a fabulous range of products and your clocks are a standout.

  • Jeanette 3 years ago

    I love the owls! I always liked the cuckoo clock brooch too! :)

  • Beth 3 years ago

    ahhh Liz’s Owl necklaces have been among my fave pieces of jewellery for a long time! so excited to read the guest blog this week!

  • lyndel miller 3 years ago

    I am in love with lino all over again…reminds me of my Nan, her kitchen and my impersonations of Jeannie Little for her, on her checked lino..’cookoo’, fitting for me :)) I would love this..Congratulations LIz, you work is beautiful, emotive and memories, we will never know ..

  • E-Gene 3 years ago

    Beautiful. Love the clock.

  • Jacinta Patterson 3 years ago

    Your beautiful work makes me sigh.
    I am a mother of three little boys and my house is filled with boys toys and things (including my husbands record collection).
    O how lovely one of your clocks would be and loved in my kitchen.
    Jacinta

  • kathyS 3 years ago

    Really insanely clever

  • sleepyheadedmom 3 years ago

    Everything is so beautiful. I’ve always loved linoleum and what a great use of it. If i don’t win this…I am am going to be insanely jealous. :)

    sleepyheadedmom at gmail dot com

  • Bev 3 years ago

    Love Betty Joe’s work, her clocks are amazing.

  • Nat Power 3 years ago

    I tried to post this comment yesterday and I got an error that I was trying to comment too fast! ha, well there’s a sign of my anticipation to secure one of your beautiful pieces of work. Thanks for keeping us in the loop with reused goods for art, it’s all great stuff.

  • jo 3 years ago

    Nice to see Rosalie Gascoigne in there… with all the lovely textures…

  • Anna Telford 3 years ago

    I wish my granny could have seen what you are doing with her old floors – she just cleaned and polished them. Great stuff made of an eco friendly material.

  • Justine 3 years ago

    My Betty Jo Owl necklace has been one of my favourite pieces since I bought it a few years back. Everytime I wear it, it gets a comment. Love your work Liz and especially the art deco pieces you do. Beautiful example of reuse.

  • Sam 3 years ago

    So beautiful. What a great thing to be able to use in such a beautiful way

  • Emma H 3 years ago

    I love the hand made beads – how each one is individual (or even quite indie.vidual) I just think that the colour scheme is so right, with earthy colours blended in with beautiful pastelly colours. Go Emily – from one Em to another :) I think your work is inspired and brilliant. I really hope to be a fashion designer when I grow up, and Emily Green’s work and the Design files has given me so many great ideas to think about. Thank you and keep up the good work :)

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