I came across Julie Stevens’ wonderful brocante store, Grey To Green Home, at a Dorset emporium when I was on my way to another interview. After tracking her down (and buying one of her oyster baskets), I persuaded her to let me write about her home. There is something about her way of putting a look together that I can’t help but admire. Books in jars shouldn’t work – but they do. And how.
Local authorities are always getting stick for making cutbacks. But Eastleigh Borough Council in Hampshire deserves all the praise I’ve heaped on it for instigating and supporting this initiative – funding craft and design units in the town’s former Post Office backroom. This place has received praise from design guru Wayne Hemingway and no wonder – it’s the perfect example of what every local authority should be doing and I was delighted to bring it to further public attention in Hampshire Life magazine’s March 2017 issue.
Lucienne Day is one of the greatest designers this country has ever produced. This year would have been her 100th birthday. When I learned that she and her husband, Robin, were design consultants to the John Lewis Partnership it seemed the perfect story for Waitrose Weekend. See if you agree!
Anyone who knows me will know how obsessed I am with public art. So I was delighted when Waitrose Weekend agreed to publish a lengthy piece on the Twentieth Century Society’s Campaign to record and save Britain’s murals. And even more delighted to learn that the John Lewis Partnership itself included murals among it’s many pieces of commissioned artwork.
My latest piece has just been published in the lovely Coast magazine as part of their Crafts Special and they’ve even been kind enough to make me a featured contributor!
They asked me to trial a day at the Vinegar Hill Pottery in Milford-on-Sea in Hampshire, photographed by Louise Bowditch of BlueCloud Photography. Like many novices I had visions of clay flying across the room, water splashing over my head and pots that were only fit for the cat’s bowl at the end. How wrong I was. Thanks to the expert and kindly tuition of David Rogers I managed to make pots, beakers and plates. There were six of us on the course, some more artistically-inclined than others, but we all found something to enjoy as our wheels whirled and only some of our work was so bad that it went on the reject pile. Fuelled by indecent amounts of cake and a heavenly lunch, there was even time for a stroll to the beach at the end.
Standing before Monet’s waterlillies in the Orangerie in Paris is almost a spiritual experience. How could a man who was nearly blind have produced such perfect, beautiful work? Like most people who have been inspired by this artist I was desperate to visit Giverny, the house and garden where, despite the endless tramp of visitors, you can see the views which inspired Monet and even stand upon his Japanese bridge. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to do just that. Yes, there are hundreds of people. But the power and force of this artist is such that despite all this, you can still detect the very beat of his heart.