On Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting The Baroness Carrie Reichardt. Her title is used ironically and has a connection with the last Tsar of Russia, who made her grandfather an honorary general for helping the allied forces in WW1. Carrie studied fine art at Leeds Metropolitan University. Much to the horror of her tutors she was awarded a first by the external examiners. Carrie's artistic talents took flight in the form of mosaics and in 2000 the Baroness decided to transform her home into a living work of art called the Treatment Rooms. It was really great chatting away to Carrie and her enthusiasm was infectious. She told me she is a craftivist. She is certainly passionate and we both bemoaned the demise of the Stoke-On-Trent pottery industry, destroyed by cheap Chinese imports masquerading as made in England, under the banner of old pottery names. Carrie even showed me her bathroom which was like the most beautiful ceramic museum, each tile in the room with a transfer long discontinued. It was stunning. She is also well known for her anarchic crockery where vintage pieces are given a new twist often with radical political statements. One powerful recent commission is dedicated to Mary Bamber a radical suffragette. It is a truly moving piece and Carrie explained it records the contribution of many suffragettes who otherwise would be forgotten and lost forever. Thank goodness for people like Carrie who are using art to help bring about positive change and keep the stories of brave and important people alive.
Sunday, 24 June 2012
This weekend I had a wonderful time visiting artists who were taking part in the open art house event in Shepherds Bush in West London. I made an exciting discovery because just a few streets from where I work every day Kate Fishenden and Jonathan Mercer are creating beautiful things from their tiny studio. The exquisite art works are created using wood cutting, a technique which requires enormous skill, patience and creativity. We were given a tour of Jonathan's shed, shown the wood blocks which are pieces of art in their own right and given a demonstration of the magnificent Albion press. Kate was so welcoming and she has a wonderful blog at http://blog.starchgreen.com/ I am now a proud owner of a few lovely things from the Starch Green studio including jam labels, a wonderful print, a mug and a jug! Kate says that "We only make or sell things that we love and feel would make our home (and hopefully yours) a more lovely place" . My home is certainly more lovely with these things in it.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
I was lucky enough to return to the beautiful French seaside town of Collioure last week with my son. There is colour everywhere. Colour on the doors, windows, walls and even on some stairs I just spotted on my wanderings. Collioure is home of the Fauvism movement literally meaning Wild Beasts. This short lived movement used deep and brilliant colours and exaggerated perspectives. Derain, Braque, Picasso and Matisse were all inspired by the harbour, quaint streets and castles of Collioure. My mother loved it here so. She was with me in spirit on the wind across the sea, in the waves and in the chorus of the song birds.