Imagine my delight as walking down Bond Street I was stopped in my tracks by these gorgeous Su Blackwell book sculptures in Nicole Farhi's window. A real treat - and such a sophisticated and tasteful window display.
What a great title for an exhibition celebrating letterpress - and its recent resurgence. Our daughter Polly worked with Graham Bignell in the summer and produced some really delightful hand set pieces.
The New North Press are hosting their, and I quote, "very own typographic extravaganza! Curated by Graham Bignell & Richard Ardagh, Reverting to Type will showcase the work of twenty contemporary letterpress practitioners from around the world, contributions from three leading art colleges and the first eight in an ongoing series of prints with especially invited collaborators."
The exhibition details: 10th–24th Dec 2010 and 4th–22nd Jan 2011
Standpoint Gallery, 45 Coronet Street, London N1 6HD
Well, the Selvedge Christmas Fair was lovely, despite the doubts everyone had had about it actually happening! The stalls were stacked with gorgeous things and there was a steady build of customers through the day.
Our first silk square was highly admired and the partridge looked magnificent on the scarves, posters and bags. We also had three calico proofs across the front of the stall.
Daughter Polly worked on the stall all day with us until she went off to make an Oilskin bag with Merchant & Mills. What a success! The bag is gorgeous and she is so very proud of her achievement.
We've done the poster - and yes we will be at the Selvedge Christmas Fair, Saturday 4th December, 2010, 11am - 5pm. We're just getting together our product list for the day - some new ideas - more soon....
Last week we made a cultural forage into the environs of Bermondsey and Southwark. First stop a little cafe opposite the Fashion and Textile Museum, as our eagerness had led us to arriving before the 11.00am opening time - but giving us the opportunity to revel in a Martin Parr-esque cup of tea.
Next, back across the road to FTM - to ogle at the delightful Horrockses frocks - and earwig the lovely old ladies going round talking about when they bought and wore their Horrockses in the 50s.
Finally we strolled past Southwark Cathedral and along the river to Tate Modern to see the Gaugin exhibition. An interesting challenge of an exhibition really. Obviously he has a few very famous, distinctive paintings (I am so familiar with Jacob Wrestling with the Angels that I can't really 'see' it as my Mum has had a reproduction of it in the house since the year dot - largely because she likes the red, I think). And is famous for not becoming painter until he was about 50 after a career in banking (or something). And having a bent nose. The exhibition is not a colourful fiesta of Breton/Tahitian inspired colour (the effect you get when you google Gaugin and click 'images'), but a darker look at the man - the 'maker of myth', by theme. There were a couple of paintings I liked but overall the thing that most hung together for me was the set of zincographs on yellow paper - like this one in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (the only visual reference I can find!) His use of line, black and tone is lovely.
Summer's fading (or drowning) fast, but we did harvest some lovely moments over the holidays. Our sojourn was spent in North Norfolk with the delights of a beach hut. We made Victoria plum jam, we made redcurrant jelly and we talked to some lovely pigs at Wiveton Hall.
The World War 2 Village event at Gressenhall was a treat. Jonathan and I donned our recent everyday purchases from Old Town and were surprised and delighted to be admitted free because we'd obviously come in 'costume' - hoorah for suave sartorial taste! And we spotted some lovely patterns.
"To write a letter is to be alone with my thoughts in the conjured presence of another person."I just came across this quote by Vivian Gornick. It reminded me of why we think our handmade solander box of personalised social stationery, printed by hand using handset type and the original wood block, is such a gorgeous and valuable thing!
Grab your July/August issue of Selvedge magazine and turn to page 8o - we're offering three lucky readers the opportunity to win one of our Jam Labelling Kits. For the chance to win email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)208 341 9721 quoting 'a delicious spread'.
If you don't win you can always buy one from us for £15 plus p&p.
What a lovely place. On Saturday we went down to West Dean College in Sussex to see the end of year show of our friend Pilar O'Prey. Her course was in Tapestry and Textiles and her work is inspired by her native Spain. Lovely white walls, saffron, pomegranates and blue. Along with the text of a poem drawn into the wall.
There were some other lovely pieces in the show, too. The hanging driftwood is by Cathy Lockwood.
West Dean is set in the most lovely gardens, where the emphasis seems to be controlling and nurturing plants. The fruit trees and bushes are all very disciplined, and beautifully labelled.
There is a hugely abundant and rather Jekyllian cross of herbaceous borders that are a joy of colour-schemed flowers and seed-heads.
The traditional flint walls were a a work of art in themselves.
The church hall had been decorated with the most delightful Cabbages and Roses chintz bunting from the ceiling and flounces along the walls. The trestles of the tearoom on the stage were graced with rusting enamel jugs of alstroemeria, lilies and stocks. All a perfect setting for the first ever Selvedge Summer Fair (Facebook pics here).
By 10.30am there was a long and excitable queue of lovely ladies waiting outside for the doors to open, the first two hundred of whom would receive a goody bag of untold delights. The flood gates opened at 11.00am and the hall was soon filled with a miasma of summer prints, gladiator sandals and enthusiasm for all things gorgeous and textiley.
Our plot was next to the fantastically talented and beautiful Rachel Eardley. An old hand at fairs and full of encouragement, quiet confidence and a stall full of lovely prints (above) and jewellery.
We stood our ground and presented the best face of Starch Green. Before us was laid out cards with our D for delightful dachshund and C for charming cat, pattern paper, sketchbooks, mugs, cushions and bags. Of particular note was our Jam Labelling Kit - a hit with those inspired to make the most of the seasonal glut of strawberries and the like. (I'm personally looking forward to going up to my Mum's to bag a few ripe figs and make Fig Chutney - suitably labelled and hatted in the way February's marmalade was.)
All in all it was a great day, we met some lovely people - customers, co-stall holders, Selvedge bods - and had some lovely tea and cakes. Yum!
What an absolute delight it was to open our home, for the Artists at Home weekend, to the wonderfully charming crowd who came to visit over the weekend. We had a wide range of ages from tiny toddlers, through boisterous boys and fairy-like girls, to the rather slower and more sedate and distinguished individuals. Some were just popping in on their way back from the park, whilst others were in serious artist visiting mode, be-helmeted and bicycled.
Our home was transformed into a tranquil trove of printed fancies with Jonathan's wood engravings the star attraction. The displays of Starch Green goodies set the tone nicely. Jonathan was in the shed demonstrating the art of wood engraving to enraptured crowds and putting the press though its paces.
STARCH GREEN is a small studio in West London, set up by artist-designers Jonathan Mercer and Kate Fishenden.
Our focus is on hand-made design, using craft skills to create artwork and objects that add positively to the pattern of life, balancing home and work and creating a feeling of well-being. Our strong commitment to family, work-life balance and applied art combines to deliver a range of distinctive pattern papers, illustrations, prints and products, and a human approach to design.
Our talents dovetail, both having skills in illustration, design and typography. Whilst Jonathan’s wood engravings are the source and inspiration for repeat patterns, prints and stationery, Kate brings in the art of silkscreen printing to create fine art prints and extend the work on to textiles. We collaborate on the design of products developed to enhance the pattern of life. Production centres around the Albion press in the shed, the kitchen table and the studio.
We also take commissions for repeat patterns, label design, illustration, bespoke social stationery and small print runs.
For more information or to arrange a viewing of the portfolio, please contact Kate Fishenden on 020 8749 6098 or by email.