My favourite drink is tea. I can't start the day without it. No coffee for me ever! I recently visited the heavenly Miller Harris tea room in Bruton street in London. The shop is filled with rare perfumes and scented candles. At the back of the emporium is a little tea room. I sampled Tea Petales which is refreshingly clean with hints of rose and geranium. I always think the tea drinking experience is so affected by the kind of cup you are drinking from and Miller Harris did not disappoint. The black and turquoise china was stunning and I had to find out where it was from. It turns out it is made by Branksome. Branksome China was founded in 1945 by Ernest Baggaley a gifted potter who learnt his craft in Stoke-On-Trent, my home town and the heart of the English ceramics industry. Ernest developed a special recipe to create a unique a unique porcelain, fine and light yet strong and durable. The recipe remains unchanged to this day.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
I am not too busy at the moment so I am taking advantage to have a creative time. I have enjoyed searching the second hand shops of Teddington for new outfits, I am starting new knitting projects and I am loving using my new computer. Print maker Ellen Heck created these wonderful images which sum up how I am spending my time.
Monday, 7 November 2011
Last week I took a trip into the heart of the city to visit the chandelier exhibition of Madeleine Boulesteix in Clerkenwell. I have to confess I got a little lost on my way and took a moment of contemplation in a church. As I pushed open the doors I was greeted by air filled with incense and the sight of a beautiful interior. I had stumbled across St Peter's Italian Church.In the early 19th century this area of London was a poor neighbourhood of densely populated slum-ridden alleys. By 1850 nearly 2000 Italian immigrants had settled here. They were mainly employed as street muscians, street vendors or as artisans producing plaster figures, looking glasses and picture frames. They had no church of their own but in 1845 St Vincent Pallotti a Roman Catholic priest thought of building a church in London for Italian immigrants. In 1863 the Church of St. Peter was consecrated. It seems entirely appropriate that I found modern day artisan Madeleine selling stunning chandeliers just around the corner from the church. I have long admired her work and as it was my birthday I celebrated by buying a wonderful duet with a vintage toast rack in the centre. It was great to finally meet Madeleine who was delightful. As I left excited with my purchase the heavens opened. I sought shelter in the Modern Pantry and had afternoon tea which was wonderful. Pouring tea from an antique sliver teapot was a perfect way to end the day!http://www.themodernpantry.co.uk/
Monday, 10 October 2011
These stunning oil on linen 10 cm x 10 cm miniatures are painted by a very talented artist friend of mine. Rebecca Foster is a multi-talented artist who just exudes creativity. She is currently is working as an art director on a well known British soap opera. Rebecca finds time to paint, make collages, take photos, write a blog, post on facebook and do her day job. I don't how she fits it all in. You can see more of Rebecca's wonderful eclectic work at www.beccafoster.co.uk
I love listening to the shipping forecast on the radio. I find it deeply comforting and it reminds me of a wonderful holiday I once had on the tiny Scottish Island of Tiree. A beautiful wild place but battered by rain and winds even in August! The shipping forecast was listened to avidly whilst lighting an open fire to keep warm! I think James Brown's print is really stunning and has such a nostalgic feel.
Melanie Miller works from a small wooden studio on Eel Pie Island in Twickenham near where I live. This island was famous in the 1960's a major jazz and blues venue. Miller's shed is in a boatyard at the end of the island. She feels that this location has influenced her work a great deal. Natural objects that are around Miller's studio often appear in her hauntingly beautiful paintings. She finds beauty in simple found objects or insects particularly moths which she finds more interesting than butterflies. Miller paints in oil on gesso panels which she prepares herself.
Sunday, 9 October 2011
During my visit to Totnes I visited the wonderful Whitespace Gallery. This little gallery has an exquisite selection of art and this weekend it did not disappoint. I was utterly blown away by the art of David Brayne. His works have a dreamy, calm and spiritual quality. His surfaces are chalky, dry and reminiscent of early Renaissance frescoes. Land and sea appear to blend together with no hard edges. I will be saving hard to afford one of his pieces!
This weekend Stanley and I went to visit friends in Totnes. It a pretty town with shops full of beautiful things. I was lucky enough to discover Emma Vowles new emporium in the high street -Emma Vowles flowers and beautiful things. The shop is like a work of art in itself, full of wonderful shapes, colours and textures. www.emmavowles.co.uk
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
When I was writing about the Mintons tiles the other day I started to think about my relatives who had been involved creatively in the pottery industry in the art deco period. Susie Cooper's (in the photo) designs are really collectable now and my grandmother Ursula Cooper was her second cousin. My grandfather Reginald Colclough had many artisic sisters who attended Burslem Art School in the potteries and created designs for famous companies like Wedgewood. The sisters all had wonderful names - Jessie, Gertie, Beattie and Alicia. One of my most treasured inheritances is this plate designed by Alicia in 1930 using a Wedgewood plate as a base for the design. The colours are still very vibrant and the patterns seem so very contemporary.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
These beautiful Victorian tiles were produced by Mintons in Stoke-On-Trent. I have a real passion for pottery and its history. My grandfather worked in a 'potbank' for a while and my great aunts were designers in the potteries. These tiles originally decorated the hallways of houses and public buildings but they now look fantastic on a table with a pot of tea on them! I am always on the look out for originals.
Thursday, 6 January 2011
The other evening I spent a very enjoyable evening looking through the hundreds of books published via Blurb. There are some staggeringly beautiful creations and I plan to make a cookery book of the popular cakes, sold at the allotment cafe this year,
This is the stunning work of Su Blackwell who makes intricate art from every-day objects, transforming clothes and books into fantastical three-dimensional forms. Using a scalpel she cuts and glues the pages of books to create miniature dioramas glowing with lights in wood and glass boxes. She finds her books by searching through second-hand book shops. She always reads the book first and this in turn inspires the work. In these impressive works it looks like the models are actually growing out of the spine of the book. I find the book of wild flowers totally inspiring. It makes me think of the plans I have to create a wild flower haven on part of my allotment this year but first I have to start the weeding!
Monday, 3 January 2011
I have just returned from a lovely outing to Petersham Nurseries with my friend who has her creative home at http://kristinasjollyhockeysticks.blogspot.com/ We have very similar tastes and are inspired by many of the same things. We both really love visits to Petersham Nurseries which is a rare mix of restaurant, garden emporium and style boutique! It is a totally photogenic place which is often used as a location for fashion shoots. Every corner has something beautiful in it from hessian bags, garden tools, rare candles and delicate Murano glass. Today's pictures were taken by my son Stanley and at only 12 he has a keen eye for a beautiful image. We feasted on fish pie, chocolate cake, flapjacks and carrot cake whilst making plans to enjoy spending more time together in 2011.
Saturday, 1 January 2011
Grainne Morton is an artistic magpie. She collects various bits and pieces which may have been discarded and long forgotten. She rescues beautiful old buttons, jewels and gems and creates wonderful pieces like these brooches. There is a real nostalgia in these works of art and I would love to own one! Apparently it was an artistic aunt who inspired Grainne and a childhood filled with lots of craft activity. Now where is my button box?
These exquisite shoes are the work of Candace Bahouth who is originally from the Lebanon but has lived in the U.K for 30 years. She is famed for her tapestry designs but equally for her quirky use of mosaic. The tiny little china flowers really remind me of the Staffordshire Wedgewood china flowers that used to decorate the window sill of my grandmother's house.