Bluecoat’s inclusive arts project celebrates festive collaboration with Lush
Blue Room, Bluecoat’s inclusive arts project for learning disabled and neurodivergent artists have been collaborating with Lush Cosmetics to bring us a festive Knot Wrap, an alternative to wrapping paper for your Christmas gifts this year.
Blue Room, Bluecoat’s inclusive arts project for learning disabled and neurodivergent artists, will launch an exciting artistic collaboration with international cosmetics retailer Lush on Thursday 21st September.
The group of artists have designed a new Knot Wrap which will be sold in all Lush shops globally and online, featuring a festive design. A Knot Wrap is an ornately decorated fabric that replaces the need for disposable wrapping paper or even a carrier bag.
Titled “Party Animals”, the Blue Room design for Lush includes birds from the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, memories of the group’s Christmas party karaoke, and a series of animals in winter costumes. The whole scene is set beneath a sky of Northern Lights, inspired by the patterns that Lush’s famous bath bombs leave in water.
The project began last year when Blue Room were approached by Emma Caswell from Lush’s gift design team in December 2022, and were asked to share images of their artists’ work from the archive. Emma invited the artists to respond to a festive brief and the group began the process of developing a collaborative design.
Blue Room first carried out a series of research visits to Lush Liverpool, where they experimented with making bath bombs and explored the project collections. Back in the Blue Room studio the group developed their own designs inspired by their visits to Lush. They used powdered inks to create colourful skies influenced by their experiments with bath bombs, drew an eclectic cast of animal characters using pencils, posca pens and paints, and collaged visuals of the “Party Animals”.
Becky Waite, Blue Room Project Manager, says “We’ve always supported Blue Room artists to connect and collaborate with contemporary artists to make and share work. Working with a retail partner on a design brief was a new experience for us all and the team at Lush were so supportive. They appreciated all of the rich details and imaginative stories interwoven into the design.
“Receiving the news that after all of the hard work of the artists and the staff team, the Party Animals design had been selected to be sold in stores all around the world was a milestone moment and up there as one of the proudest achievements in the project’s 15 year history.”
Rhoda Lloyd, Lush Gifts Project Manager, says "This festive season we have collaborated with six artist groups and we're super excited that this year we're working with Blue Room. We love working with a wide range of designers as it enables us to keep our ranges fresh and it’s an opportunity to highlight the work and celebrate artists from many different backgrounds. We believe all artists, regardless of background should have the same opportunities to showcase their work."
The Party Animals Knot Wrap will be for sale as a limited edition in Lush stores and online from Thursday 21st September.
To mark the collaboration Blue Room will plan and host a celebratory event on Sunday 19 November in Lush’s largest store in Liverpool. This public event is free to attend and the event details are as follows:
Blue Room X LUSH Liverpool
Party Animals: Lush Takeover
LUSH Liverpool, 38 - 46 Church St, Liverpool, L1 3AW
Sunday 19 November
11am - 4pm
Free, donations welcome
The top floor of the LUSH Liverpool store will be transformed into a winter wonderland as the artists bring elements of the Party Animals design to life with artworks and interactive installations.
Visitors can step inside Party Animals, Blue Room’s imagined ‘menagerie at the North Pole’ to find tigers in pixie boots, penguins on bicycles and a partridge in a pear tree.
There will be a rare chance to meet the artists behind the design, and printmaking activities in a drop-in creative workshop. Visitors will also have the opportunity to find the perfect ethical festive gift with a pop-up Blue Room print shop selling a brand new collection of limited edition art prints created by Blue Room artists in the Bluecoat Print Studio.
All proceeds support the Bluecoat charity and directly contribute to supporting learning disabled and neurodivergent artists to develop creative and social skills and share their work with audiences.