Just before it closed this weekend, I caught this exhibition at Bilston Craft Gallery – ‘Bilston’s Happy Housing: Otto Neurath’s vision for post-war modern living’. As a fan of all things mid-century and home related, this was good for both these reasons, but also, with thoughts of the upcoming election, encouraging to learn of one man’s passion to improve the lives and happiness of a community. I wonder what the party leaders would make of this idealism?
‘In the mid-1940s eminent Viennese sociologist and urban planner Otto Neurath set out an ambitious plan for creating happiness in Bilston. His vision was to create modern homes based on state-of-the-art social housing of 1920s Red Vienna. The end result was Stowlawn estate. This exhibition presents Neurath’s ideas, examples of his famous Isotypes (forerunners of today’s infographics), and memories of people who have lived on Stowlawn Estate over the past 60 years. There will also be furniture, textiles, ceramics and domestic items reflecting the ‘new look’ style of the mid-century era.’
Popped under the water to France last weekend on Le Shuttle (mainly to re-stock ourselves with wine) and paid a worthwhile 24 hour visit to Lille. We ate vanilla filled waffles, canard with thyme and honey, drank cocktails and gazed at beautiful shop windows, pastries, fresh market produce and modern art. For photos, follow @onesugarplease over on Instagram.
We stayed overnight at a fantastic little B&B called Le 35 bis. Situated conveniently around the corner from a metro line into the city, the B&B was clean, stylish, comfortable and run by the lovely and helpful Jamila. Can’t recommend a stay there enough.
Received delivery of a new tea towel design yesterday. Inspired by mid-century pattern, ‘Tumbling Bowls’ is an 100% cotton screen printed tea towel, now available in the shop. 10% of profits go to help cancer support and research charities.
MADE.COM takes on the high street to offer great original furniture design at affordable prices. It has recently turned its customers’ homes into its showrooms with the launch of its own social network. I was asked to be a part of this network and have MADE.COM photograph their gorgeous Dhurries Trek Wool Rug in my lounge and have other parts of my home featured (plus a couple of mug shots unfortunately!)
This new online community called MADE Unboxed (www.made.com/unboxed) launched last month and continues the brand’s trail of innovation in the interiors market. Unboxed enables people to connect with existing MADE customers in their own neighbourhood, take a virtual house tour and even meet face to face to see how they’ve styled their MADE products. Visitors to Unboxed can search by area or for a specific product to see who has purchased what in their neighbourhood. Chloe Macintosh, MADE.COM Co-Founder and Creative Director, said: “Unboxed contextualises our products without the need for costly lifestyle shoots or high street shops, which ultimately the customer would pay for. But more than that, Unboxed demonstrates ‘collaborative consumption’ a movement empowering consumers to take inspiration from each other. “We tested the idea at Salone del Mobile in April, using four of our customer’s Milan apartments as exhibition space to showcase our new collections and the response was overwhelming. People not only want to see products in a real life situation, but more than ever we are fascinated by how others have decorated their homes…” This is the latest investment in innovation for the brand that was one of the first e-tailers to bridge the gap between online and offline with its showrooms in Notting Hill and Leeds; undergo a trial with digital tagging service CloudTags within its London showroom and also launch an augmented reality app enabling customers to view its products within their homes.
I’ve been really impressed with the quality and service of MADE.COM and awaiting the delivery of a LULU footstool in Pisa Grey over the next couple of weeks. Will be Instagramming about it’s arrival… Follow my Instagram and Twitter feeds @onesugarplease.
For more information on MADE.COM please email email@example.com
On a “school trip” to Oxford yesterday to visit the Modern Art Gallery’s new Barbara Kruger exhibition, I came across a beautiful shop in Jericho.
Illyria Pottery is handmade by ceramic artist, Katie Coston. The earthy toned pieces in the shop with their mixture of glazes were so tactile I couldn’t resist picking them up for a closer look and feel. The shop interior itself perfectly complimented the pottery featuring raw disused spools and concrete slabs, chalkboard paint and up-cycled vintage crate shelving. Nice to see somewhere else using spools creatively like we did for the Made By pop-up shops and fair. I especially liked the tree branch mug holders which looked as if they were growing out from the wall. There was a sweet display of locally made soaps with bunting made from triangles of actual soap and unique ceramic jewellery hung from nails in vintage books. I happily left with some thyme and poppyseed soap and a glass bottomed and green glazed small pot pleased to have found a lovely shop in a lovely part of Oxford.
For the last few months, myself and other ladies from the Made By collective have been planning and organising an art and design fair to be held in an old light aircraft top hangar. Selecting artists from applications, arranging a pop-up tea shop, and styling the big wide space was a huge task but the day was fantastic. Around 500 people walked through the large open metal hangar doors, cakes sold out by 2pm, dogs pottered around with their owners, and the feedback we had from the sellers and visitors was amazing. Above are some of my favourite photos from the day but more can be seen here.
2 weeks ago, I had an afternoon tea party to celebrate my 30th birthday at The Spark in Lichfield. I decorated the room with bright multi-coloured bunting, helium filled balloons, yellow daisies, and made mini paper bunting and washi tape flags to decorate the (already pretty) cakes with.
The Spark did such a super spread of cakes and sandwiches for us all to tuck into while we chatted and listened to mid-century jazz. Everything was delicious. Big cake favourites were huge slices of chocolate Guiness cake, courgette and lime cake, and raspberry coconut whoopie pies. A lovely afternoon with my lovely friends and family.
Spotted bobbing side to side at Barton Marina in Staffordshire yesterday was The Book Barge – an independent bookshop operating from a 60′ cruiser stern narrowboat. It has been amazingly converted into a bright, vintage inspired and creatively designed space. As well as books, it even had space for a vintage sofa, kitchenette and two MDF beds! To find out more and even buy the book about how it all came about, visit here.
I’ve been asked if I would deliver a hand-cut paper art workshop on board at some point… watch this space!
‘Waves’ is a new collection of contemporary interior accessories from Birmingham based Caslon & Co with a little vintage twist – the pattern was created using antique wooden printing blocks.
I love these cute cotton pots from the collection with their scalloped wave shape and colours. Both decorative and useful and lined with a non-woven fusing sheet to provide shape and a waterproof lining, they are perfect for use in any room. Each pot is machine washable too so they can be used to store any item, from plants to kitchen accessories.
To be in with a chance of winning one of these cotton pots, please tweet “I’d love to win a lovely @CaslonAndCo cotton pot from @onesugarplease’s blog giveaway” on Twitter, like Caslon&Co on Facebook and re-gram the giveaway photo from @onesugarplease’s feed on Instagram using #onesugarpleasecottonpotgiveaway.
A winner/winners will be selected at random on Thursday 6th June and contacted afterwards. UK entries only please.
While looking for a CD in my parents’ Ercol cabinet yesterday, a striking triangular pattern caught my eye from amongst my Mum’s vast Denby collection. Further investigation into the cabinet revealed 6 matching cups with saucers and 6 small plates! The Royal Tuscan ‘Concerto’ fine bone china set made in the UK from the 1960’s belonged to my Mamgu so I really need to look after this (and even more so as it’s fine bone china!) Looking forward to hosting a little tea party and baking a pink iced sponge – one of Mamgu’s best signature bakes!