The noon day sun is still hot but the sharp early mornings are a sign that the season is changing and that means we all have an excuse to go shopping. Top of my wish list for the coming autumn is a lambswool blanket by Loophouse. (£195, 140x190cm, including fringe.)
Founded by Lorraine Statham back in 1992, Loophouse is firmly established as one of the UK’s most interesting and innovative rug companies, but this is the first time the brand has used some of its contemporary repeat prints on blankets. And what a great idea it is: the designs are bold and graphic, the colours rich and the yarns soft. Blanket perfection in other words.
I finally got myself to Tate Britain this week to see the much-praised exhibition British Folk Art. And what a joy it is. Showcasing an eclectic selection of genres and media from the 17th to mid-20th century, it has been curated as a series of loosely connected encounters. This light-handed approach works well, leaving the viewer to look on at these – mostly anonymous – artefacts with wonder and delight.
Chipping Campden has a long-standing association with craft and design and that tradition is continuing this summer with the arrival of two must-see exhibitions.
The first is Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen’s eagerly anticipated summer show, which runs until 20th August, and features work from 24 Guild members, plus guest glass artist Sarah Brown and some the best of this year’s graduates from Hereford College. Everything is for sale and there are also opportunities to watch demonstrations and meet the makers themselves. www.guildcrafts.org.uk
It may be the holiday season but here at SITselect, we are busy planning our autumn programme. There are a treats a-plenty in store but we are particularly delighted to announce that on Wednesday October 15th, we will be staging a day of discussion and debate at Heal’s Quarter Cafe in Tottenham Court Road, London.
We love a success story here at SITSelect, particularly when it features an artist who has taken part in our very own festival, so we were thrilled to hear that Laura Youngson Coll (http://www.laurayoungsoncoll.co.uk) has been awarded this year’s Perrier Jouet Arts Salon prize.
Launched in 2013, the prize focuses on makers whose work is ‘inspired by natural forms and organic structures’, reflecting the champagne brand’s own Art Nouveau heritage. Youngson Coll’s leather and vellum sculptures, which many of you will have seen at Select at Newark Park in May, are inspired by the minutia of the natural world. She takes saturated leather working techniques such as on-layering, pairing and manipulating, which are more traditionally used in bookbinding and uses them to create exquisite works of art that question the way we think about both her materials and her subject matter.
This week, we bring you news of an unmissable new show at Stroud’s Museum in the Park. www.museuminthepark.org.uk. All Consuming, a 70 piece solo show by internationally acclaimed artist Cleo Mussi, (www.mussimosaics.co.uk) opens on July 19th.
As always, it is easy to be beguiled by the wit and decorative beauty of Mussi’s extraordinary mosaics but these pieces also offer serious social commentary on the ecological and economic perils facing contemporary society. For example, the text accompanying the title piece (pictured above) reads: ‘To market to market/With my little basket/To buy bonds and shares/And a homogenized franchise. /To market to market/To buy a free market/With plenty of debt/And fictional targets. /What ‘sports’ we are/To hunt and gather/’For too much of a good thing/Is not a good thing’ at all.
A rather lovely new book has just arrived on my desk celebrating the work of Peggy Angus. A highly talented designer, inspirational teacher and accomplished painter, Peggy Angus was a contemporary of Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx but although her work was celebrated at the time, her name is less well known today. Which is a shame because she was a key part of the visionary post war building programme and her Modernist, geometric tile and hand pressed wallpaper designs have a very contemporary resonance. James Russell’s richly illustrated monograph has been published (by the Antique Collectors’ Club) to coincide with an exhibition of Angus’ work at the Towner, Eastbourne. I sense a welcome revival in the air.
This month brings good news for lovers of beautiful contemporary craft: the expertly curated store that is The New Craftsmen has graduated from pop-up to permanence a mere hop and a skip from Selfridges at 34 North Row, London. Appropriately enough for a business dedicated to showcasing the skills, processes and traditions of British craft makers, the 19th century building it has made its home was originally a workshop making leather breeches.
I have long been a fan of Italian fabric makers Dedar, so I jumped at the offer of a trip to interview the people behind this endlessly innovative textile company. (It helped of course that their HQ is in Como, a few miles in-land from the lake and its celebrity villa flanked shoreline.)
Dedar is a small, family-run company (the current directors, Caterina and Raffaele Fabrizio are daughter and son respectively of the founders) which has built itself an impressive reputation for visually stunning and exquisitely made furnishing fabrics and wall coverings.