Future Heritage at Decorex

I have just returned from Decorex and what an unexpectedly inspiring day it was. The theme for this year’s show was the Georgians and the organisers really did embrace the era’s spirit of innovation and craftsmanship, presenting several In the Making feature areas (I watched Watts of Westminster hand block some wallpaper and Nepalese master weavers create a rug for FRONT London) and a Future Heritage showcase.

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Highlights from the London Design Festival

There is so much to see at this year’s London Design Festival that my head is spinning. It will take time to digest, but in the meantime these are my highlights:

1. Xenia Moseley’s ladder for Richard and Ab Rogers. Part of the Wish List project on show at the V&A, this is a thing of simple, functional beauty with an added surprise in the shape of a leather slung seat and a folding table.

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Loophouse Blankets

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.

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British Folk Art

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.

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Summer in Chipping Campden

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

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The Maker and the Retailer

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.

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Laura Youngson Coll wins Perrier Jouet Arts Salon prize

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.

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All Consuming

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.

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Celebrating Peggy Angus

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.

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