Friday, 30 March 2012
These exquisite paintings are the work of Rachel Ross who has been shortlisted in the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012. The purpose of the Prize is to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship. This annual exhibition is open to all UK artists with prizes totallying £25,000. I spotted Rachel's work at the recent Affordable Art Fair in Battersea. The spoons shone so brightly reflecting shapes just like a mirror. I really felt that I could reach out and touch them!
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
These exquisite chalky white ceramics are the work of Katherine Morling a graduate of The Royal College of Art. You might think they are made from paper or card but they are definitely sculpted in clay. They are have a surreal quality and impressively are life size! Katherine is a rising star. Her graduation show was a sell out and she is now represented by the gallery Long and Ryle. Imagine how amazing a whole room of objects and furniture created by her would be.
Monday, 12 March 2012
Sunday, 11 March 2012
Saturday, 10 March 2012
These little felt biscuits come from British Cream Tea at All Things Original. They are well known biscuits recreated very cleverly in felt. They look good enough to eat and they transport me back to my own childhood of Iced Gem eating despite my mother’s desire to ban all sugar and live on wholefoods in the 1970’s. This little biscuit was born in 1850 in the town of Reading, Berkshire. Huntley and Palmer were experimenting with some new biscuit technology but disaster struck and the new biscuits emerged from the oven having actually shrunk. Thomas Huntley liked these mini biscuits and found his ‘Gems’ sold well. Sixty years later in 1910 icing was added and they continued to be a best seller becoming ‘Iced Gems’. Today they are made in Liverpool and seem just as popular as ever. Next on the plate is the Jammie Dodger which is made by Burton's biscuits, who produce a wide range of biscuits but are best known for Waggon Wheels and Viscount which both take me back to my sugar filled childhood. Finally my favourite the custard cream. The baroque markings on the surface are in-fact Victorian fern fronds which were in vogue in the latter half of the 19th century. I haven’t been able to discover who invented the custard cream or when it was produced but I can confirm that Peak Frean’s first cream biscuit was the bourbon on sale in 1910. My great grandfather ran a grocer's shop in Newcastle Under Lyme at this time. I wonder if he was selling these biscuits with such a long history?
Friday, 9 March 2012
I think spring is coming. I can feel it in the air. This weekend will mean plenty of digging on the plot and preparing the soil for seeds which are all sitting patiently waiting to be released from their packets. A love of the earth and nature was also shared by the brilliant Clare Veronica Hope Leighton. Clare was a student at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 1922 but it was at the Central School where she discovered the joys of wood engraving on Noel Rooke's course. It is as a wood-engraver that Clare is best known. Her work features in many of the books she wrote like ‘Four Hedges’ which is a celebration of her garden written in 1935. Her home was shared with the love of her life the left wing journalist Henry Noel Brailsford who was twenty-five years her senior. Four Hedges which describes her garden over 12 months has just been re-published and really is the most beautiful book. It opens with “Ours is an ordinary garden. It is perched on a slope of the Chiltern Hills, exposed to every wind that blows. Dig into it just one spit, and you reach, as it were, a solid cement foundation. One might be hacking at the white cliffs of Dover.”
Thursday, 8 March 2012
Sunbury Antiques Market is the largest and longest running bi-monthly market in the country. Arriving at 7am the only space was right at the back of the car park, by the railway tracks. As usual I was overwhelmed by the a fantastic array of things for sale, from large French cafe chairs, dining tables, wardrobes to the small 60s and 70s ceramics, glassware, jewellery to the plain weird; a basket full of plastic hands. I just had to have some! There are often a plaster Virgin Mary or Jesus just waiting to be snapped up by dealers for their trendy London shops. Lost souls once at home in catholic churches around Europe now sitting out in the cold on wooden trestle tables. In fact many stallholders have arrived from across the channel with a van load of furniture, and will be heading back the same night. It gives the market a fantastic continental flavour. Sue Cruttenden started Sunbury antiques market 30 years ago in September 1979 with 12 stalls selling mostly small accessories. A few years later, it spread outside and now there are more than 700 stalls both inside the racecourse building and outside on the terraces. If you fancy a trip there don’t worry about breakfast the toasted sandwiches from the tea van are to die for.
Monday, 5 March 2012
These amazing carved heads stopped me in my tracks when I went for a wander with Sarah in Exeter. There are some truly ancient buildings in the close near the Cathedral. This was the area where the cathedral workers would have lived. Most of the buildings here have been destroyed but a few remain and this door could even date from 1400 which is incredible. How many hands have pushed against this door over the years. What stories they would tell!
Kate's work looks slightly shattered and has a broken quality to it. The figures are often inspired by ancient myths and legends but Kate adds a modern day twist. I would love to serve tea from one of her delicate works of art. I think a pile of petit fours on one her cake stands would be very fitting too.
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Red is the colour this weekend. I went to Kempton Antique Market with my lovely friend Flora this week and bought an old standard lamp minus its shade. So it was off to another favourite antique haunt yesterday Portobello Road in West London. In a good old fashioned junk shop I found just what I was looking for a beautiful old red silk lampshade and then in a bin some red twine. The red symphony was finished off with a bunch of anemones from the wonderful creative florist Jo Butler in Teddington.
I recently took a trip to Exeter to visit my very good friend Sarah who has just moved to a delightful little flat in a big Georgian house. We popped into various shops but one shop revealed a beauty far greater than the items which were on sale. In an upstairs room which had clearly once been a grand Victorian home there were the most amazing stained glass windows. I know nothing of the history of the windows or who created them but I just want to share the beautiful designs with you my readers!