This week I visited the NEC for The Autumn Fair, which is an exhibition for buyers covering homeware, gifts, fashion, retails solutions, home decor and more.
It is a vast space and was packed with exhibitors from across the globe. There was colour trend forecasting also on offer, with 4 distinct trends and co-ordinating colour palettes – Dome, Scarcity, Gorge and Ritual were the themes:
Moving through the exhibition, in which there were literally hundreds of stalls, the next stop was home decor and lighting. There were some lovely companies showing. Coach House were particularly elegant and had a wide range of styles with a strong emphasis in oversized lighting:
I discovered a new brand called One World, and love their oversized furniture and accessories:
Plus I found a fantastic lighting company called Light & Living from the Netherlands, featured below. Every light was beautiful, and I love the mesh pendants (which incidentally a lot of brands featured so they will be a big thing in 2020). Their lights were beautiful, although very heavy so the practical designer in me popped out as I pondered the way to hang them safely on a standard British light fitting..
So looking at trends for 2020 home decor, colour is definitely creeping back in, even if the sophisticated greys/blush combos and Hygge remain popular. I am really happy to see some colour after years of pale greys though….
On another positive note, there was a large emphasis from exhibitors on sustainability. I spent ages talking to a Chinese manufacturer from the Shaoneng Group about their products made from sugar cane and bamboo waste pulp. They apply it to disposable food retail products, but it could also apply to many other home items. It is biodegradable, water and oil proof and much more. A wonderful product, especially for take aways and similar food outlets.
So definitely an interesting place to visit and see what is on offer, how it is made and what some companies are doing to help sustainability and recycling. This month I also will be visiting 100% Design & The London Design Fair, so watch this space for more ramblings…
This week I visited Hauser & Wirth in Bruton to see an exhibition of female artists, with works shown from the private collection of Ursula Hauser. She has collected these over the past thirty years and they range from artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Maria Lassnig, Meret Oppenheim and Roni Horn. The exhibition celebrates female artists, often overlooked in contemporary art in the past. For a detailed review of the exhibition, Rachel Campbell‑Johnston has written a great review in The Times.
I was so excited to see Meret Oppenheim’s work in the flesh. These gloves are wonderful, and a prime example of her surrealist art. The painting was a surprise as I had always associated her with 3D and sculptural pieces,
From paintings to sculptures, the works create different moods and reactions. There was a lot of work by Louise Bourgeois, and I am not personally a fan of the spiders due to my own arachnophobia, but I suppose a visceral reaction is a key element to the pieces. She also made these long legs below which I loved, they conjured up ideas of giants, myths and fairy tales.
A lot of the work was very textural, and these pieces by Sheila Hicks we’re probably my favourite in the exhibition. The textures and colours are beautiful:
The other element at Hauser & Wirth which is wonderful to see is the garden, designed by Piet Oudolf, with the serpentine pavilion by Radic as a permanent installation. I had not seen the gardens before at this time of year, and they were in full bloom. The planting is in drifts of tall perennials which float in the wind, very worth visiting.
In the Roth Bar & Grill, (a welcome part of the site, delicious food…), they have the original design of the garden. It is interesting to see the initial sketch to the final result.
So for anyone in that part of the world, it is definitely worth a visit. The exhibition runs until September the 8th.
This past week has been the industry hotbed that is Clerkenwell Design Week. I spent a day perusing the offerings, and some of these products caught my eye:
The lighting show was held in Fabric nightclub, which meant that they could be displayed brilliantly. There were a lot of ‘repeat’ concrete shades around, but a few designs stood out:
This beautiful light by Lomas Furniture has a shade of pierced ceramic and looks like the moon…
More lighting which caught my eye came from Pad Home. This was totally organic in shape, made from cardboard and reminded me of large wasps nests (in a beautiful way)…
I found some gorgeous surface textures at Solus, some were slate with what looked like lasered patterns on them:
They also had gorgeous 3D hexagonal tiles, and can supply simple ones in a huge range of colours.
The highlight of my visit was finding this sink, however the price tag is eye watering .. it is the Brockway by KOHLER.
It comes as 1/2 or 3 tap sizes, and reminds me of a cattle trough. Prices in the UK where I can find it are £2K plus, so maybe not for now… I am devastated! Maybe I can convert a real cattle trough instead?
I also saw this beautiful building in Clerkenwell, it looks like Fred Flintstone built it with rough hewn stone frontage in areas. Absolutely smitten!
Last night in this exotic city, and after a ride home in a Caleche it is time to share some lovely photographs of the palaces and museums that I visited today.
Starting at the Dar Si Said palace, I saw amazing painted ceilings, carved plaster and mosaic work . This place is not for people who do not like symmetry! The museum is in a bit of a bad way, with some floors missing tiles and crumbling. Some western conservation would not go amiss so that preservation and conservation rather than replacement happens.
However the museum staff were lovely and let us peek at the out of bounds harem’s courtyard as a treat. They were very proud of the museum and gave us lots of information, which my schoolgirl french just about managed to intepret.
After a nail biting queue online, I managed to procure tickets to visit the Art sensation that is Dismaland, put on by Banksy in Weston-Super-Mare. This exhibition was not only his own work, but he curated many other global contemporary artists for the show.
I love Banksy; he is irreverant, political and a perfect commentator on society today using what I see as bleak humour and wit to get his point across. Plus he is also a local boy and keeps his main exhibitions in this area of the UK, so it was not a long way to go, (thanks v. much Banksy, as there were people there today that I spotted from European countries who had come all the way just to see the exhibition).
This weekend I have been buzzing about all over the place. Distressing samples for mirror makeovers, going to a lovely wedding, then going to my first gallery exhibition opening, and ending today with a gargantuan task of upcycling the biggest mirrors I HAVE EVER SEEN!
On Friday, with my friend and accomplice-in-paint Claire, we tested out loads of samples for some huge mirrors that need to be revamped. They are for a lovely shoe and boot shop Ted&Muffy who are launching in Bath, London and Edinburgh very shortly, and the designers asked for some samples with combinations of blues, greys and whites. They asked if we could come up with a crackle glaze finish on very ornate carved mouldings. We started by testing the two colourways on a plain frame with chalk paints; Napoleonic Blue with Old White on top, and Anthracite with Original white on top:
To do a crackle glaze, you paint your base colour first, and then when it is dry you paint a coat of glaze on top of that. After 30 mins when it is seemingly dry/a tiny bit tacky, you paint the top coat on top of the glaze. This has to to be done in one coat/brush sweep only or the crackle glaze sort of mutates and fails. It is great on flat planes of wood etcetera, and the results show immediately.
So, this all looked good. BUT….. we were going to try and have to do the one sweep motion on really heavily carved frames, and so we tested a more ornate frame to see how it worked… it was really quite depressing!
So, the conclusion was that the glaze cannot work in any ornate areas, as if you work the paint into the mouldings then the sweeping one pass motion is lost/impossible and the paint looks like it is curdled, not cracked.
CHIN UP! we thought, in a very British gung-ho fashion. So I decided to do some samples using rubbing back distressing rather than crackle glaze on some more mouldings. Even when I got a bit clumsy and this happened, I kept my stoic British face on…
The next mouldings again used the same colour combinations but I did the typical 2 coats, sand back method with the chalk paints, and wax to finish them off…, and I did a variety to send off the the shop designer to see:
Varied thicknesses of top coats
Details of soft and hard rubbing back
The different results
Using a tinted wax versus a clear one
So off the samples went, and I got changed and went to a….
I love weddings, and this one was for my friends the lovely Aaron and Jenny in the most beautiful location of Priston Mill near Bath. It is an amazing place with a choice of venues, all hidden in a valley reached via wiggly lanes. The sun was out, and it was one of those beautiful English evenings. We sat in a beautiful garden to start, with the most amazing herbaceous borders. The wedding had sunflower themed floral decor everywhere There was a brilliant self-photo booth with a polaroid camera, props for the models and a pin board to mount them onto. Little signs were everywhere, and it was just perfect…
The next morning my family and I headed down to Cornwall for the launch of Art & The Map of Cornwall where I had a piece in a group exhibition at POP Gallery. This is a great gallery which has very cool street art. All the artists showing were given a very old map of Cornwall and asked to go away and turn it into something new which referenced Cornwall. The launch exhibited the original artworks, and limited editions of them are available from POP gallery. I did a piece called the ‘Great Wave of Cornwall’, mentioned before in this post, and the original painting had already sold by the time of the launch. There are prints for sale via POP gallery, and they are all hand-finished. I also sold another large print that night, so it was a great start to the show for me! Here is the final original artwork piece…
There were some amazing pieces from the artists and everyone had such different ideas…. Here are some of my favourites:
We them stayed in Cornwall for the night, and meandered back yesterday after a lovely Brunch in Wadebridge.
BACK TO THE MIRRORS….
So this morning I headed to Ted&Muffy’s store to start work on the mirrors. The decision was made to not crackle glaze as it just was not working in the corners and on the mouldings, and to paint the mirrors in a very similar shade to the walls of the shops which are all being totally redesigned. I had a bit of shock when I saw them in the flesh…
There are 4 mirrors, and they are at least 7 feet tall! The moulding is even more intricate than I expected in the flesh, (although I had seen photos), so I was really pleased we were going with a simple decorative scheme. I cracked on and had mixed up Dulux eggshell colour code 10BB83014 which is a really pale, pale grey and suits the decor of the shops. As it is an eggshell, it also needed a primer to go on first to the frames. I took the precaution of masking out all the glass, as eggshell is really runny to work with compared to chalk paints which I usually use, and I thought I might make a bit of a mess otherwise…
It is the MOST fiddly painting to do, serious dabbing and stabbing to get into all the nooks and crannies, and there is also a beading around the frame almost like pearls on a string which took ages to get the paint behind. However, here they are primed:
The primer has definitely saved me a lot of time, and the first coat of eggshell went on next:
I will finish them tomorrow, and when the shops are launched I will post up how they look in their intended scheme.
But for now I shall be having a night off to rest as it has been really hectic but really fun over the last few days.