I get a bit fed up with white winter wonderland interiors in magazines this season and aside from tinsel (yes had miles of it as a child along with homemade paper chains) our homes should glow with joyful pattern and colour whether you forage for red rosehip berries or hit the high street.
The January issue of House & Garden is devoted to Winter Living but there is no sight of white on the cover. Instead, we see the bright and beautiful Bloomsbury flat of Ben Pentreath. Needless to say Ben’s interiors combines a strong sense of colour, pattern and classical detail
I also thank House & Garden’s Rose Dahlsen for discovering my Christmas book that I spied on page 43 – ‘Patternity a new way of seeing: the inspirational power of pattern’ by Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham (Conran Octopus, £30).
Here are pattern-related images from a myriad of sources across the worlds of fashion and interiors to art, architecture and science, food and drink to technology and education. The brilliant images are juxtaposed and interspersed with musing on the nature of pattern. Inspired, I googled Patternity, subscribed to the newsletter and found this quote.
‘Patterns are something we come across every day. We wear theme, we walk on them, we even eat, drink and think them – we always have and we always will.’
This uplifting tome that will cheer up anyone’s Christmas. I will wrap mine in Pentreath & Hall paper based on stone floor and marble patterns by the great 18th century designer Batty Langley. This in turn inspired a whole new patterned carpet collection Ben Pentreath for Alternative Flooring.
To read about colour and pattern in the home read Alternative Flooring’s December blog ‘Christmas Collage’
It’s incredible to think that over the next two years, wannabe entrepreneurs will launch up to 3.4m pop-up shops across the UK. I am all for these outfits who give creatives a real shop window on this consumer world of ours. My issue is that by the time the word gets out they have often popped off. I guess that’s the point.
One not to be missed is Fine Cell Work’s Christmas pop-up at 34 Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7LR open until 22 December, Monday to Saturday 10am – 7pm. The shop is supported by Kit Kemp, trustee, huge supporter and one of the collaborators of this pioneering prison charity and social enterprise.
“Embroidery requires a lot of heart, which inspired the heart-shaped oak-leaf design. This is what Fine Cell Work is all about helping prisoners in a constructive way – and I’m thrilled to support them.”
- Kit Kemp
Just around the corner from Kit Kemp’s Ham Yard Hotel is Fine Cell Work’s pop-up. Discover Kit Kemp’s exclusive soft furnishings in the form of her Fine Cell Work collaborations - cushions and lavender bags that make perfect presents that keep on giving for Christmas. Her ‘Heart of Oak’ design reflects her joyful sense of colour and love of embroidery. Other interior designer collaborators include Ben Pentreath, Melissa Wyndham, John Stefanidis while Daisy de Villeneuve vintage art cushions head fashionable line.
The Christmas pop-up has a great selection of hand-stitched cushions in fabulous themes. There are also aprons, lavender bags, decorations made from British wool and beautifully embroidered Sway bags and even cross-stitched Christmas cards.
Time, love and care go into making each item. They are produced in British prisons as part of Fine Cell Work’s rehabilitation programme that teaches needlepoint and embroidery to 450 prisoners each year, encouraging them to come out with new employable skills and the hope of a better future.
Pop into Fine Cell Work
34 Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7LR
Tel: 020 7931 9998
Christmas gifts and decorations also available online
The Margaret Howell Calendar 2016 is here. My husband gets this handsome calendar too which means one stays in its wrappings and one is used well as Margaret Howell would wish with her utilitarian take on beauty.
I like to collect these. 2012 was Sea & Coastline, with a selection of work by British printmakers; 2013 British Made - forty years of supporting British manufacturing; 2014 Favourite Building. I can’t seem to find 2015.
2016 Calendar is ‘Barbara Hepworth exhibition catalogues 1954-1971.’ In 2015 Margaret Howell was invited by Tate Britain to design an exclusive collection of clothes to accompany Barbara Hepworth Sculpture for a Modern World, a major retrospective exhibition that ran from June to October. The calendar shows a selection of 12 covers mainly from the 1950s and 1960s, which are striking for their visual impact and impress with their pared down design that as MH says ‘conveys the dynamism and power of the works it represents.’
Any why I am telling you this? Well because I spent two inspired mornings in the new Cox London gallery, studio and workshop listening to the sculptor-designers Nicola and Chris Cox whose inspired interiors artworks are truly dramatic pieces. What also struck me is how women sculptors work in such epic and heavy materials such as stone and bronze,
I loved the old film at the Barbara Hepworth exhibition with crackly colour footage of Hepworth at work in the Tate exhibition and how tiny she was and how monumental her carvings. I was thinking that there are women like Nicola Cox who are sculpting powerful pieces for interiors. Nicola studied sculpture and has a background in bronze casting but also spent time working with a glass artist where she learnt to cast enormous vast glass vessels in the same way as bronze.
My favourite piece at Cox London is the White Hart interior sculpture pictured above. If you see the Margaret Howell Calendar 2016, my favourite is September with the 1968 cover showing Pelagos 1946. Meaning sea in Greek, this was inspired by a view of the bay at St Ives in Cornwall, where two arms of land enfold the sea on either side.