Tuesday, 25 October 2011

a weekend off

Its been a very busy few weeks; a succession of sales and fairs as well as family responsibilties had precluded weekend leisure time since the beginning of September. So I was ready to slump into an unorganised weekend at home when...our younger son rang to suggest he come home for the weekend.
Obviously a lad from the capital could not be confined to base so I quickly racked my brain for interesting places to visit.

Brainwave..the Hepworth gallery in Wakefield.. which when found! proved incredibly worthwhile.
Filled both with her finished works and with models for them it brings the art of sculpture to life.

I particularly appreciated the explanation with original moulds of the preocess by which a model is cast in bronze.
It was a charming mixture of the woman and her art with domestic details such as her workbench and tools.

Most of these personal items were donated by Hepworth's daughters and they also provided a roomful of models.

These, although for the most part made from plaster, were painted and carved so as to resemble the finished piece. Apparently she occasionally gave these as presents but never sold them; I would certainly have been more than happy to house one!
The gallery itself is worthy of a mention as being the perfect foil to its contents. Its angular concrete shape perfectly reflects the sculpture and inside granite walls complement the exhibits.
On a sunny day interesting shadows cast by the windows add to the shapes within. The building set into the water appears to float when viewed from inside.

These huge rooms with their simple windows were the perfect setting for the temporary collection..An Unquiet Head by Clare Woods..huge fabulously painted representaions of the landscape and the forms to be found within.

And happily style was not at the expense of substance; a trip to the ladies revealed  beautiful taps which turned on when the hands were waved underneath but turned off when the action was repeated so as not to waste water. Standing at the hand dryer whilst water pours away down the drain is a pet hate of mine.
And last but not least a great cafe.
Hope you'll visit this fabulous free gallery, just don't rely on the postcode, sat nav or google maps.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Vintage packaging

Having just spent £100 on brown paper carrier bags for my Christmas sales I am obviously a person who values attractive packaging. I didn't realise however that German farmers from the 19th century would have been similarly interested.

I have been buying heavy duty cotton sacks with lovely stencilled names for some years now. Originally used for grain or flour, they make great cushions and bags although need serious laundering first! Last week for the first time I discovered one with a label on the inside giving details of the company which produced the sacks.

 I'm wondering how best to use this label, on a cushion maybe or bag but it will also be nice as a label for the cushions I made from the sacks.
I particularly like the sacks with the blue stripe down the middle and if they have a date so much the better.

The sacks I bought were from the years immediately before the second world war; I found myself wondering what happened to those farmers in the following years. Indeed the dealer I bought them from showed me a sack with one name crossed out and another pencilled in. "Probably a Jewish farmer's possessions which were confiscated", he said.

I'm pleased to say I'm not the only fan of these robust cushions. The last group I made sold quickly and most of those in the images are now in Julie's lovely shop in Sheffield. See an image of Vintage Home on the left and click on the link for more info.  She is hoping to feature them in her next window display.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Stocking up for winter

How I love this set of printer's shelves acquired last year.

Ideally they'd be in my kitchen stacked with piles of white china and kitchen linens but as there's no room there they are consigned to the greenhouse. I should explain that though we own a large Edwardian greenhouse and have spent time and money on restoring it there are few plants involved. Certainly even fewer following last winter's catastrophic frosts. Our greenhouse is enjoyed by both of us as a place to read, listen to music and enjoy the garden when the weather is not quite warm enough to be outside. Of course last week we never ventured in but this morning was perfect, sunny and breezy outside, cool and calm within and great light for a photoshoot.

So I loaded the shelves with the more rustic items in my stock. I have been busy stocking up for the busy lead up to Christmas, both buying items to sell and making as many cushions etc as possible.

A good selection of wooden boxes are great both for display on the stall and storage in the home; think this Pears display box is the pick of the bunch despite the fragile state of the label,

A beautifully made (with leather hinges) box runs it a close second.
Next to it an interesting kitchen item from France; a soup sieve used to push pureed vegetables through to make a soup consistency.I like to use these garden sieves to store woollen scarves rolled into tubes or socks if they're attractive enough.

Thank goodness I'm not using this to wash the linens I've bought but it goes well with the wooden ironing board and sleeveboards which I sell.

I've bought these moulds before as they are lovely for fruit bowls. From Northern France and used to make clafoutis, a fruit pudding traditionally made with cherries.

Shown with an unusual jug I found, love the shape.

A nice cream enamel jug, I've got a good collection of these at present.

My son has been buying coffee sacks from the independent coffee seller at the corner of his road. They are great for rustic outdoor cushions or informal mats; I even covered the seat of a Lloyd Loom chair in one for said son's flat.
I love jars.

 However I find I can bring others round to my idea by suggesting filling them with goodies as Christmas gifts, either homemade chutneys or biscuits. Love the Parfait jars filled with wrapped Amaretti biscuits.

Also french jamjars which make great tealight holders

Just in case you think I've forgotten about textiles...lovely new selection of Hungarian linen sacks.
Red for Christmas sacks and blue because I just love these denim blue weaves

I've bought some runners with the winter table in mind.

The last little stool I bought sold quickly so I've found a couple more as they are great to give height on a stall. Shown here with collection of jugs.

I don't usually buy cushions for obvious reasons but this one was so sweet I couldn't resist.

I will endeavour to put lots of new stock on the blogshop page over the next few days but if there's anything here you're interested in please leave a comment and I'll get straight back to you with more images and prices. Some of these items will be coming with me to Olney so let me know if you'd like me to bring a particular item. Come along to the vintage fair there which is a fun and friendly event in a pretty market town.

Now off to iron the textiles I've bought and washed! At least its been a good drying day.