I managed to squeeze in a packed trip to London last weekend, precipitated by Chinelo Bally: Sewing Bee winner-to-be? (*Edited to add* after some rather shouty comments from people who thought I had given away some TV secret: I am very sorry if you thought I had, I would never do such a thing, it was rather badly written- this is only a guess, I have no idea or pre-knowledge that this is the case and Chinelo certainly did not say a thing about the bee other than to mention that Claudia bakes great cakes and that she had discussions with Patrick about tailoring. I will be watching tonight with my fingers firmly crossed for her) and free cutter dress maker, running a half day free cutting course in East London. It was the end of term and the start of a couple of weeks free from the day job, I could not resist. More to come on the free cutting class. It was fascinating and I had the added bonus of meeting up with Rachel again there and meeting new sewing ladies, great, great fun!
I was staying with my brother with the luxury of visiting his new flat for the first time. He knows London well and saves up activity ideas for me each time I visit and of course, there is no shortage of stuff to do. This fence was near Brick Lane. There are raffia hearts woven on too as well as the crocheted granny squares.
We wandered through the tourists and bizarre mix of food, bric-a-brac/tat, bikes, and hipster clothes on Brick Lane, then onto Columbia Road where Sunday is flower market day and everyone is walking round carrying either a substantial plant or a bunch of sunflowers. I looked round for Beyond Fabrics which is at the far end, and bought these pretties.
Then on to the The Geffyre Museum of the home which is a lovely Sunday afternoon place to visit, packed full of middle class urban period drawing rooms/parlours and living rooms from the 17th century through to the 20th century- much of these can be seen on their website. It had free entry with donation boxes to add your support to, and is charming museum full of period details. The garden is a treat, recently reopened for the spring/summer season and replanted in many areas, it is just starting to burst with spring blooms and there is an imaginative choice of flowers and herbs, all beautifully displayed in a mix of styles. I was very taken with the Auriculas and the eighteenth century style Auricula theatre, a traditional ornamental way of displaying flower in pots:
On our way outwards, this took my eye…
We headed off in the late afternoon for the Design Museum to see the Paul Smith exhibition. This was fascinating, much more interesting than I thought it would be and said more about design and creativity than I imagined it would. Hugely stimulating and a great visual treat. There were two large walls facing each other, covered in images that inspire him, a mock up to what he has in his studio.
Two walls of exquisite menswear and women's wear. With Paul Smith, the devil is the detail: tiny twists and turns to cuffs, buttonholes, linings and the highest quality fabrics throughout.
Wonderful sculptural sleeve pleats in this women's military coat.
I also loved the subtly of the Shadow Lapel men's jacket- the shadows under the lapel and pocket flaps are actually very dark navy fabric- brilliant!
A mock up of the working studio with textile samples and threads everywhere.
This method of creating stripes makes perfect sense.
What I came with most of all was from listening to the audio that was part of the exhibition. Paul Smith described how he likes to travel, often spending only 24 hours in one place but going away with many sights and experiences. He constantly takes photos of new colour combinations and recommends that to be creative we stick to what we like and not pay too much attention to what others are doing, even actively avoid looking. This belief is very close to my heart. Sadly, I find that Pinterest, although useful as a pinboard for specific tutorials and ideas, is also a sucker of originality and a rather bland similar aesthetic can result from the same pins recirculating and been reinterpreted and remade. Its a difficult and potentially thorny topic, but I am sure you understand and maybe share my stance.
Thankyou to my lovely brother for his generous hosting as per usual x It was a great trip, packed into less than 48 hours.