Category Archives: Events

For lovers of craft, indigo and textiles: an exhibition

If these words inspire you: textiles, crafts, traditional and inherited skills, and totally dreamy indigo blues patched over and over: then don’t miss the Boro: Threads of Life exhibition at the East Wing Galleries of Somerset House this April.

Focusing on the ancient Japanese textile tradition of Boro, which means ‘rags’ in English, the textile exhibits on display include bedcovers and clothes made by the poor, rural population of Japan who pieced and patched old pieces of discarded clothing onto and into new items, with fisherman’s jackets morphing into futon covers and on and on, as the pieces were passed down through families and generations.

With their beautiful colours, these humble works of art prompt the viewers to consider the act of ‘mending’: could it be considered an old-fashioned skill? Or, as we continue to embrace traditional crafts at home; and are more aware of the damage caused by excess waste (and/or simply feel the pinch financially) is it becoming more current to embrace repairs, so we can keep our possessions for longer?

Boro exhibition at Somerset House via findthedetails.com

Boro: Threads of Life, 2-26 April, free admission, Somerset House.

Located just off The Strand, Somerset House has to be one of the most hard-working arts and cultural venues in London; changing with the seasons, you’ll discover it hosting al fresco music gigs and giant cinema screens; a multitude of fountains; the latests frocks (it’s home to London Fashion Week) or a beautiful ice rink….

From this….

Somerset House via findthedetails.com somerset house via findthedetails.com

To this….:

Somerset house via findthedetails.com Somerset House via findthedetails.comfindthedetails.com

Somerset House via findthedetails.com

[images, Somerset House

The line up of their Summer Series of gigs (10-20 July) has just been announced: tickets go on sale this Friday 21 March, with the cinema screenings to follow later in the summer. To to learn more about the architecture, join their free guided tours (every Thursday and Saturday), taking in the Tudor and Georgian history to the modern-day, including the new Miles Stair created by Eva Jiricna. Enjoy! Jx

Revealed: Designs of the Year 2014: Design Museum / Makoko Floating School

Today The Design Museum  announced their nominations for the Design of the Year 2014 and one of the most innovative architecture designs has to be the Makoko Floating School, which is located in a lagoon in the heart of the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Designed by architecture / design practice NLE in collaboration with Makoko Waterfront Community (the area is described as being similar in functionality, if not looks, to Venice), the floating structure takes into account the community’s needs (for a school and social space) and the physical demands of their environment: increasing tropical rainfall and an increasingly urbanised population.

Lead by architect Kunle Adeyemi, this prototype building is sustainable, ecological and alternative: two classrooms above and a play area below ensure the available space is used thoughtfully:

find the details / makoko floating school / NLE find the details / makoko floating school / NLE find the details / Makoko floating school / NLE architecture

find the details / Makoko floating school / courtesy NLE architecturefind the details / Makoko floating school, courtesy NLE

[images courtesy of NLE, Iwan Baan]

Designs of the Year brings together 76 cutting edge, innovative and talented creations, with the best in world-wide architecture, fashion, product and digital design and more on show at the exhibition, which opens on 26 March (until 25 August) at the Design Museum on Shad Thames, London SE1. Head to the show and whilst there, vote for your favourite design; but if you can’t make it in person, the online Social Vote platform gives you a chance to have your say. On Twitter, follow #designsoftheyear and @designmuseum for current conversations.

The river rises: Thames Festival 2013

As I mentioned before here, London buzzes with festivals and high profile events in September, and visitors in town for London Fashion Week and the London Design Festival can also participate in The Mayor’s Thames Festival, which starts today and runs until Sunday 15 September.

This year, the events and performances of the Thames Festival have been re-focused to concentrate on celebrating the River Thames itself,  and one which caught my eye is the film Portrait of a River by Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen. You can get a glimpse of his thoughtful, dramatic style with these stills:

Image 1_Swarm_Portrait of a River_Mayor’s Thames Festival 2013 Image 2_Kites_Portrait of a River_Mayor’s Thames Festival 2013 Image 6_Gateway_Portrait of a River_Mayor’s Thames Festival 2013 Image 9_Tom_Portrait of a River_Mayor’s Thames Festival 2013 Image 10_Golf_Portrait of a River_Mayor’s Thames Festival 2013

[All images, copyright Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen

From the military helicopters which gather, then seem to swarm, above the city, to the golfer oblivious to the river beyond, Larsen’s film depicts both the people and the places who define the river, and shows how the Thames is both a place of serious industry, and a place where many relax.

You can view Portrait of a River daily from noon till 9.30pm on a huge outdoor riverside screen near Oxo Tower Wharf. For more information and events happening during the Thames Festival, including the Great River Race, visit Thames Festival.

Re-home: vintage, antique and retro shopping

A couple of indulgent hours yesterday, wandering the stalls at Ardingly antiques fair in West Sussex: amazed at the curios; vintage, retro and upcycled pieces; classic well-cared-for antiques, and weird ‘rather your house than mine’ items for sale.

From indoor stands to outdoor stalls, I found French linens and 19th century spice jars (covetable, see first image); topless mannequins (less covetable for me, but possibly someone else’s cup of tea); vintage buttons, glistening silver knifes, forks and spoons; work-worn garden rakes and hoes alongside tiny glass vials; thumbed-through paperbacks and decorative, detailed metal wall lights….

french spice jarsbuttons royal china buckets

italian glass bottlesglass bottlesrulers

cropped railings wooden deer IMAG0754 IMAG0753tea chest

cropped mannequins

blue china

linen napkins

indigo throws crop

From the metre rules to the Charles & Di mugs (..who knew there were Fergie & Andrew teacups still in circulation?!), there was something for everyone….

….and it made me conscious of just how much STUFF there is out there.

I’m constantly aware of how huge the interiors industry is via my day job, and on these pages I hope simply to flag up a few gems I’ve discovered along the way: but sometimes, a trip to a fair such as Ardingly is a great way to remind ourselves that really, everything we need (and much we do not) is already in existence, ready to be re-used and re-loved.

So thumbs up to all those stallholders, who braved the mud and the January chill, driving from as far afield as Wales and France, to rig up their stands and display their finds: I’m looking forward to the next fair already….

You can find out more about the next fairs at Ardingly and at other venues around the UK here

Coincidentally, BBC’s Bargain Hunt was filming:

bargain hunt indoors

cropped bargain hunt2cropped bargain hunt

…which added a little frisson of excitement to the morning, for everyone…. who knows what they discovered?

Brighton – Made 2012 plus their own artwork for sale

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…!)

(Images: Sarah Young, Made 12)