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.’
It’s been a long time since I posted about my thrifty finds. I now tend to take a quick snap of something and upload it onto Instagram which has become a less time consuming type of blogging to me. I thought the other day though, that it would be nice to do a little post about some recent charity shop and Ebay finds. So here we are…
The spotted cotton shirt I found in my local St Giles Hospice shop for £3. It seems to have been hand sewn from scratch as there are no labels. I just love the bow at the front. Will come in handy as a nursing shirt too! The oversized vintage M&S blouse was from also from St Giles, and should make a nice light maternity blouse for the Summer and beach cover-up post-pregnancy. It was £5 and isn’t the type of pattern I usually go for, but I was drawn to it for some reason – probably the symmetrical nature of the pattern! Finally, my £2.50 Ebay find – a Gordon Stowell illustrated children’s book filled with inspiring bright images and simple wording. I can’t wait to show and read this to the little one in the future!
Thanks to Pedlars, I won tickets to go to a unique new festival over the weekend, created by Cerys Matthews and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone called ‘The Good Life Experience‘. It was one day of culture, music, good food and the great outdoors held on the Gladstone estate in Hawarden in Flintshire. On the Friday evening, we were on the guest list at The Glynne Arms to be sung to and have poetry read to us by Cerys, then for a deliciously fresh last-of-the-summer sharing meal put together by Aussie chef Bill Granger. Cerys’ Welsh songs made me very emotional, as it reminded me of my grandma and I was inspired by the Granny Smith apple incorporated into the crushed chive potatoes! After camping overnight, in the morning I did some archery and yoga, met Charlie Gladstone, discovered nice products by Best Made Co. and drank craft beer for lunch with Beer Bods. In the afternoon, we had a coffee brewing masterclass by London coffee roasters AllPress, bread making with Tom Herbert from The Fabulous Baker Bros and shared in the joy of baking vegetable cakes with Harry Eastwood. Around the site were craft tents for learning how to tie knots, stitch tote bags, screen print and even a vintage fairground. The atmosphere in the music tent was lively and this echoed across the festival with lots of families and dogs wandering around, with kids especially enjoying camp fires and activities. Sorry my photos aren’t fantastic but hopefully they show a little taste of the good life.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Stopped by a local printer’s garage printing studio this morning to help print large fabric banners for the art and design fair I’m helping to organise with the Made By collective in June.
Peter came up with the brilliant airplane style typographic design inspired by the fair’s venue of an old airport top hangar. Already looking forward to going back to ‘The Works’ to print some business stationery and vintage woodblock typographic prints of my own.
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.