I expect I’m not alone in mixing and matching tables for Christmas Day (does anyone own a huge dining table anymore?). This year I’ll be working an informal combination of my garden table, set alongside my kitchen table (!)…. so we can attempt to all eat together.
To be honest, that’s as far as my thinking about table settings had got, till news of this limited edition Farrow & Ball runner arrived.
Modelled on their Ringwold design in sohpisticated silvery hues, and made from wallpaper, it’s a perfect way to make Christmas tables look elegant, festive and decorative, without having to invest in a new tablecloth. And at generous 5 metres long, there might even be some left over to use as wrapping paper.
The supremely talented designer-makers who form Cockpit Arts are opening their doors for some ultra-special shopping at the end of November. A great place to kick start any Christmas shopping, come here too to be blown away by the talent: as well as ceramicists, stationers, home furnishing experts from textiles to lighting, there are also plenty of designers creating jewellery and clothing for adults and children.
If you can’t make it to their two London venues during these open studios (dates and details listed below) then do click on Culturelabel: the makers from Cockpit Arts have just started using this wonderful resource to sell their products online.
Here are some of my favourites for both Christmas, gifts and the home.
All the products above are designed, produced and created by members of Cockpit Arts.
Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios are taking place at their studios in Holborn 30 Nov – 2 Dec, and in Deptford from 7 – 9 December. See http://www.cockpitarts.com/shopping-events for detailed info.
(Background info: Cockpit Arts is a social enterprise that’s been helping artists and craftspeople develop their businesses since 1986. Culturelabel curate and collect art and artist-designed products, sourced from UK-based and international galleries, museum stores and more)
Cake tins, like trays, seem to me very grown up and organised…. Now the lovely London-based design studio Magpie are about to launch their first range of cake and storage tins I might have to admit defeat, grow up and buy my first ever cake tin (usually there’s no need to store cake here).
The tins in the first and last images below feature their Wildlife Design, a collaboration with Bristol artist Tom Frost: you’ll find the stylish owls, hares, foxes and otters on other Magpie products from notebooks to phone cases, ceramics as well as tins in several sizes and shapes.
Brighton has a special place in British hearts: just the mention of sunshine or a bank holiday, and hundreds gather on the town’s shingle beach and Pier. Now BHS have named one of their key themes for this summer after this seaside city: the products are modern, fresh, with bright colours and patchwork patterns. My favourites are the Hove* table set and the fab Brighton kitchen chair.
Top image: Maisey sofa, Hove nest of tables, and all products, all from BHS
Cut outs: Brighton chair, Maisey armchair and cushions, Brighton bedspread, all from BHS
New bookshelves – due to be painted – made me think about a colour palette for the living space here. I knew what sort of colour would suit the room, but couldn’t put my finger on it – which lead to my wall looking like this:
… I ruled out white (too bright), cream (just not me), pale blue (too cold), pale stone shades (just never me, even when they were of-the-minute), sludgy stone shades (too sludgy)…. finally discovering Little Greene‘s wonderful Pearl colour.
It comes in various light / dark versions but the original Pearl is glorious: shining variously blue/green/grey (and yes, a little stone-ish in certain lights) it’s appropriately named.
Here’s Little Greene‘s shot using their Pearl shades from their Colour Scales collection. A little bit of history: my chosen shade, Pearl (G) (shown here on the kitchen door), is a historic shade from the Georgian era, authenticated by English Heritage.
(Main wall: Pearl Colour Dark 169 £35.50 for 2.5L Intelligent Matt Emulsion. Window seat and back door and kitchen unit: Pearl Colour (G) 100 £41.00 for 2.5L Intelligent Eggshell/£45.00 for 2.5L Traditional Oil Eggshell. Table and bench: Pearl Colour Pale 167 £41.00 for 2.5L Intelligent Eggshell/£45.00 for 2.5L Traditional Oil Eggshell).
It’s impossible to move on the net just now for wonderful people crafting their way to Christmas and beyond….
….if, like me, you feel crafting is best left to the experts, but love the look and individuality of artist-made pieces, then don’t miss Made 2012 at Brighton’s Corn Exchange. Running from 22-25 November, 120 designers and producers showcase their skills, with jewellery, art, ceramics, textiles all on display and for sale. Come here to source unusual details and/or Christmas gifts (if you can bear to part with them). PS If you can’t get to Brighton but like the look of these products (there are many more on the Made website), then clicking on these images should take you to info on the artists and their own websites /contact details).
Ceramics by Katrin Moye
Stitched Collages by Elaine Hughes
Ceramics by Kate Evans
One of my favourite (and, yes, inexpensive) ways to fill walls with colour is to buy, frame and hang posters of current exhibitions from galleries: they capture a moment in time and invariably are detailed and eye-catching, or they wouldn’t hook the passer-by into attending….
So as well as the products on store at the event, artist Sarah Young is now selling high quality Giclee reproductions of her previous poster designs for Made, plus The Brighton Art Fair and the Palace Art Fair. Don’t they look striking in a group? (even with my limited page-layout skills…!)
One of my favourite launches of 2012 is the new brand Scion: and they’ve just added a new, vibrant range of rugs to their collection.
Their first fabulous fabric and wallpaper collection, Melinki, features bright, colourful designs with a balanced mix of both bold and delicate patterns. Now they’ve added a range of rugs that take aspects of these existing patterns and run with them: bursting with colour, some are highly patterned, others geometric, and all are filled with clever shade and textural combinations and/or contrasts.
All images courtesy of Scion. Rugs available from selected stockists around the UK from November onwards, contact Brink & Campman for more information.
(A little bit of background for those who like it: Scion is part of the same family as Harlequin; both are part of luxury interiors furnishings group Walker Greenbank PLC. The rugs are designed in house by Scion and produced by Brink & Campman, Dutch rug manufacturers, in both the Netherlands and India, depending on their composition).
On one of those grey autumn days where the sun never emerges from behind a dull damp sky, John Lewis‘s brand new Spring / Summer 2013 press pack arrived, filled with summery shots that banished thoughts of winter from my head, for now…
Here’s a sneak peak of their new collections for next spring: The two new trends are Pioneer, which has up to-the-minute geometric patterns and earthy tones; and Botanist: it’s fresh and pretty, with natural motifs (think dragonflies and florals) and delicate shades – blues, greys and palest lime green.
All images courtesy of John Lewis. Products in store and online from January 2013 onwards.
About a quarter of the way through my budget face-lift on my bathroom: wall paint is completed, and if you focus on a small area it can look harmonious…
The walls are painted in Designer’s GuildOcean: a pure, true pale blue with a real depth of colour. Striped towels add some pattern and texture.
Both Ottomania from The Netherlands and Sweden’s charmingly colourful Gudrun Sjoden are good options for patterned towels; Gudrun’s are fab for family bathrooms; Ottomania have a huge choice of hamam towels: these lightweight towels are definitely having their fashion moment right now.
I admire the founders of OKA – they’ve created a niche for elegant, often Oriental-inspired furniture and homewares that whilst being new (shock horror!) will slot quite easily into ladies’ (of certain demographic) homes. My nearest store is a Clearance Outlet which is handy for my wallet: it’s filled with ends of lines and seconds all helpfully and clearly marked with what’s wrong with them.
Several of their cute wooden ornamental ducks were there looking a little sorry for themselves: apparently the poor things had had a bout of woodworm and looked in need of some TLC. Possibly wood worm is taking the much-loved / Vintage look a little too far….
Several shimmering, delicate blue throws (ex-display) were marked down from over £100 to £45 – a bargain for anyone needing a throw right now. Likewise some eggshell-blue and plain white china plates were all marked down to around / from £6+ each: some were fashioned with slightly wobbly circles; but nevertheless a great way to get a good looking, inexpensive set. There are plenty of rugs in store but these are still very expensive: definitely not an impulse-buy: however one wall-hung dhurrie would be a great detail for a masculine bedroom, or for injecting some colour into a monochrome scheme.
A large, colourful dhurrie currently at OKA’s clearance store
Wooden ducks, plus table lamps, at the OKA clearance Store
Reduced price china plates at OKA’s Clearance Store this November, from around £6 each