Monday, 7 October 2013
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful Irish band Lunasa play at the Bush Hall is Shepherds Bush, London. The interior was stunning and took my breath away. It was one of three music halls originally built in 1904 by a rich publisher for his three daughters, and was used as a dance hall in the roaring Twenties, a soup kitchen in WWII, a bingo hall and rehearsal space for the likes of The Who, Adam Faith and Cliff Richard in the late Fifties and Sixties, and finally a snooker and social club in the Eighties and Nineties. In 2001, Charlie Raworth and Emma Hutchinson restored it to its former glory. Just a few months ago the exterior was revamped and a restaurant created just next door on the site of an old greasy spoon cafe. With stunning attention to detail the décor is faultless, slightly worn tan leather banquettes, original wood panelling, exposed pipes and chequered flooring add to the charm and character. In fact, it feels like a restaurant that has been around for years. Not only have I discovered a wonderful music venue but a place to have the best steak and chips in London. I have booked the restaurant for my upcoming birthday meal. I will start with a Twinkle..... a cocktail of elderflower, champagne and vodka..
Sunday, 9 December 2012
Today I had a little time on my hands so I took a trip to my favourite emporium, Attic in Hampton Hill. It is always a visual feast and at Christmas Debbie and Alistair Burnside, who are the creative power house behind two shops, always push the boat out. Today the festive displays did not disappoint. Parts of the shop were like little dioramas sparkling with gilt, glass and glitter. Debbie explains how ' One of the best things about what we do is that we are lucky enough to travel regularly to Paris and New York.’ She continues ‘When we go buying we cherry pick and source every product into collections.' Attic have been recycling, repurposing and restoring old furniture for years long before it became fashionable. It is lovely to have such a treasure trove of wonderfully curated objects and furniture on my doorstep. Debbie and Al have a wonderful blog and tumblr pages detailing their design adventures and inspirations.They also have an on-line shop for those of you who can't visit them in person. http://discoverattic.com
Friday, 9 November 2012
I cannot function without a lovely cup of freshly brew tea first thing in the morning. My grandmother taught me how to always warm the pot and had a caddy full of fresh leaf tea bought at the Co-op. Tea and tea drinking seems woven throughout my life. My other grandmother served tea on a special trolley from a stainless steel pot and always used bags not loose leaf! China Cups were obligatory in all the households and my love of drinking tea from a delicate vintage cup remains to this day. My grandfather would refer to a 'good sergeant Major's brew' when it was particularly strong. Teapots come in all shapes and sizes and I recently spotted these wonderful creations at Made Crafts fair in Marylebone. The delightful Ita Drew is a multi-talented artist working in many mediums but her ceramic work really caught my eye. Ita takes inspiration from the poems of William Blake and says she wants her pieces to appear fantastical and childlike with undertones of adult reflection. I think she has certainly succeeded in this! I am not sure I would put boiling water inside these pieces of art they are far too precious.
Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Earlier in the year I had a lovely afternoon with my good friend Flora pounding the streets of Brighton in search of various open studios. We left west London rather late in the day and only had time to visit one or two! The priority was the show case of the work of Sarah Young and I treated myself to a beautiful linocut print. Sarah has worked as an illustrator many years recently working on a book of Greek Myths. I love her monoprints and one of my favourite pieces are her wonderful tattooed ladies! They remind me of the strange circus performers of Victorian England.
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
This wonderful tiled floor is a fabulous mix of designs and colours at the Highway House Brasserie in Chiswick London. They are made in the encaustic style so loved by the Victorians and I would like some in my house! Talking of patterns I have decided to get cracking on my photographic collages. Please click on my link TODAY'S COLLAGE on the right. I am hoping to create one a day to make the winter days more colourful. I have started with some felt flowers.
I had a real birthday treat last week when I met one of my artistic heroes, the delightful Mark Hearld. I was attending the launch for his stunning new book 'Workbook' . The book is a wonderful scrapbook full of visual inspiration. Mark has had a long fascination for the flora and fauna of the British countryside whether it be a jay perched on an oak branch, hares out in the fields or a mute swan standing at the frozen water’s edge they are all beautifully represented in his bold work. He is heavily influenced by Picasso and British artists of the 30's and 40's particularly Edward Bawden, Eric Ravillious and John Piper. Like these artists he chooses to work in a range of media including paint, print, collage, textiles and ceramics. In 'Workbook' his works are grouped into nature related themes each introduced by Hearld, who narrates the story behind some of his creations and discusses his influences. It really was a pleasure to meet Mark and I hope to visit his open studio in York next year. In the mean time I am inspired to create my own autumnal
Saturday, 7 July 2012
This week I managed to have my quick annual visit to the Hampton Court Flower show and there was one stand and garden which really caught my eye. The Pretty Nostalgic Garden - Preserving the community, was wonderful. The idea is that it was built on a once disused piece of wasteland and it had been brought back to life by a small community team for the benefit of all. What a lovely idea. The tin shed is intended as a work space for preserving pickles and making jam. I would love a little shed like this! Some the ideas were quirky and clever. Using old colanders and enamel bread bins to grow flowers and vegetables in looked great. Near the garden was the stand selling a new fabulous magazine called Pretty Nostalgic. http://prettynostalgic.co.uk/ It is beautifully styled and has a wonderful ethos. It seems to chime with the current zeitgeist summed up by Vivienne Westwood "buy less....buy well". This will be a magazine to keep and treasure as its matt paper makes it feel rather more like a book than a magazine. It is also full of inspiring of things to do like creating natural perfumes, foraging for food and creating paint effects. I can't wait for issue 3.