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