Category: 2015

Retrospective Future x

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Possibly lazy, perhaps ingenious but this post has been resurrected from the archives, mainly because it had a snifter of a  future zeitgeist that is getting ever stronger.  A firm favourite in the eighties, oversized cardigans are definitely claiming the spotlight this autumn..

Summer is close now and the time has come to pack away wintery things and embrace everything light and airy.  But I always think it’s interesting to see what worked this season..and what things are appealing for next.  My gut feeling for next autumn is a distinct urge to hang out with bad taste.  High on my fall wishlist is a 80’s style mohair cardigan coat..

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 I want blouson sleeves, big shoulders..

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And colour, lots of colour…

Laters, Kate x

 

So Wright..

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The news around the world isn’t great at the moment.  Condensed down, the underlying message I’m hearing is that big things don’t work (Didn’t we learn anything from the Romans?).  And yet the drive to continually make everything bigger and supposedly better runs deep, because if you don’t…you’re a failure; The economy has to grow, companies have to grow..countries, even religions all want to expand till they become these slow moving bloated beasts that eat up everything in their way, with no joined up thinking except feeding this thirst for size and dominance. It’s a big day for Greece today.  I don’t know what the right answer is..I’m not sure there is one, except maybe they should never have joined the EU in the first place. But it seems to me that things are becoming more and more about power plays than people.

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Thank God for the whimsy of fashion….and the joy that is Linda V. Wright, former model and fashion editor, born in Texas but oh-so far removed from a rodeo riding stetson toting stereotype.

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Now living in Paris and running her own shop, Crimson Cashmere,

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She’s a lesson in graceful, chic yet expressive dressing.

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Like the world’s best perfumes, she’s layered in classics all with subtle, different flavours.

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(All pics from pinterest)

You want to sit down with her at a striped bistro table in a busy Parisian street and ask, is this really all possible? Can life really be this easy? This sassy?

Laters, Kate x

Oh Charlie….

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I’m not sure what it is…end-of-term-itus, the weather..a growth surge? But Charlie and I are having regular run-ins like a pair of bulls in mating season.  I picked him and Bella up from school just the other day and he got upset because I refused to carry his bag. I never carry his bag – it’s a principal.  But because it had a library book in it, a big one chosen by him, he wanted me to.  I had 4 bags and a laptop to carry.  There was no way.  He moaned and moaned.  So I gave him my bags and took his.  He couldn’t walk..and moaned again.  Took my bags back and told him to stop complaining.  He complained more.  I said if he didn’t stop, I would dock 20p off his pocket money.  He lost 20p.  Then I realised we had to go to the shops before going home as Bella had a school trip the next day and needed a packed lunch.  In the time it took us to get to the shop he’d lost £4.00. I asked him to wait outside the shop so I couldn’t hear him whine. He refused.  By the time we eventually got home he was £8.00 down.  I advised him in no uncertain terms that after 45 minutes of pure torture he got out of my sight before I did something I regretted, and maybe the best thing to do would be to go up to his room and punch a pillow till he’d calmed down and could be human again.

Five minutes later he re-appeared with arms outstretched saying, ‘I’m sorry Mummy,’

I went to give him a cuddle…

He looked up at me with his big brown eyes full of concern…’I’m so sorry Mummy….but unless you change your attitude I’m going to have to leave home.’

I pointed down the hall, ‘There’s the front door.’

 

Laters, Kate x

Jason deCaires Taylor..

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A true global and renaissance man, Jason deCaires Taylor was born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother.  He then grew up with one foot in Europe, the other in Asia with regular diving trips in Malaysia.  In 1998 he graduated from the London Institute of Arts with a BA honours in Sculpture….before becoming a fully qualified diving instructor, underwater naturalist (Note to friends: That’s not a naked diver) and award winning photographer.

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Then in 2006, off the West Coast of Grenada, he created his first underwater sculpture park and a life blood of creativity was unleashed.

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His work explores the slipstream where Art and Nature collide, the grey area between man’s exploitation of nature for industrial means and the acknowledgement of the fundamental power of the earth: As time begins to colonize the forms it creates it’s own architecture, dramatic pulse and language.

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This pulls on something deep within – the mystery of Atlantis, Pompeii, fairytales..even gothic Victoriana.  They’re a dark presence, yet awe-inspiring at the same time.

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Under the water is a world Jason knows, and through his art he aims to highlight the living beauty of the under world to encourage environmental awareness and instigate social change.

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For anyone who’s heart sank at the news this week that 90% of sea birds have plastic in their stomachs, he’s a crusader you want to stand up and applaud.

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His work isn’t limited to the turquoise depths of Cancun and the Bahamas..this mystical beauty can be found in Canterbury…

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And now, from Sept 1 – 30, on the Thames foreshore at Vauxhall, London, adjacent to Camelford House and 87-90 Albert Embankment, is a new example of his work: The Rising Tide, commissioned by Totally Thames.

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It highlights the role the river has played in the shaping of London’s history.  And how easy it’s been for us to abuse it.

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(All pictures from here and Jason deCaires Taylor’s Facebook page)

These could be horses, but they’re oil pumps..animals of industry, draining the land.

A theme as strong and compelling as any story ever told.

Laters, Kate x

Mochi x

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There are many kinds of happiness in the world..I’ve just spent an utterly lazy, child-free weekend with the husband that I refuse to regret as I look aghast at the weeks to-do list, slightly lower down that list of love is my passion for beautiful embroidery and textiles..which is all the more ring-starred when it can be married to intelligent, bridging the distance fashion.

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Mochi is a brand whose identity lies deep in the love of ancient embroidery and needle craft.  It was set up by Palestinian Mochi Ayah Tabai to produce visually stunning, wearable clothes that celebrate world-wide stitching communities.

 

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Handcrafted by local artisans in their own countries, Mochi isn’t a melting pot of ideas but an acknowledgement of what each culture has to offer, from Jaipur, Palestine, Thailand, Uzbekistan to Hungary, all items produced are claimed under their own makers.
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A top from Palestine, so easy with a pair of denim shorts.

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A summer dress from Jaipur, ideal to dress up or dress down.

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Shorts from Uzbekistan.

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A crop top and skirt from Thailand.

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They appeal to my love of the past, of inherent quality and the deep vein of romanticism I have running though my middle.

6919e36881b95bf29832084b6d67d5fdIt’s a refreshing change from the polyester re-runs of the high street…we can have more, pay less and think we’re clever…or we can just put up our hands and say what we really love.

 

Laters, Kate x

 

The Essex Taj Mahal x

 

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

When was the last time you were touched by someone so brilliant they made your head start sub-dividing?

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Stand back and welcome previous Turner Prize winner and national gem, Grayson Perry and his new project, a House for Essex: a collaboration with Charles Holland and the architecture studio FAT.  Built in Wrabness this huge marmite piece of art is a monumental shrine to a completely fictional character, a lady called Julie May Cope and is dedicated to the ‘Single mums of Dagenham, hairdressers in Colchester and the landscape and history of Essex’. The house holds testament to Perry’s visions of Julie’s life, through her birth in Canvey Island in 1953 to her two marriages, her children, her work all the way to her sudden death at the hands of a pizza delivery moped on Colchester High Street at the premature age of 61.

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On the outside there’s a shining copper roof and 1924 glazed terracotta sigils of St jules.

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Inside, the main room is in the style of a chapel to pay homage to the life of an ordinary woman.

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There are biographical tapestries and pictures over the ceilings with snap shots of her history.

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In pride of place and hanging as a chandelier is the very moped that killed her.

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Upstairs, the two bedrooms are dedicated to her two marriages..the second of which was a story of true, tender love which permeates through the whole building and draws it together.

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Kitsch, ebullient and eccentric it may be, but the joy of Perry is that in his work, as in his life, he describes the truth as he sees it.  Underneath the undeniable humour, there’s a deeper, thicker message running through.   This is a celebration of a modesty of aspiration and acquisitions that uses high art to pay homage to the notion of hard work and normality.  It’s one mans couture shrine to the silver linings and special moments that bless every single life, no matter how hard or down trodden.  Which ties up nicely with why it was commissioned in the first place: It’s part of philosopher and critic Alain de bottom’s (great name hashtag-childish-sense-of-humour) Living Architecture programme to allow members of the public – that’s you and me – to stay in buildings by world class contemporary designers. Click here for more details for your own personal taste of Julie’s life.

Imagine…a weekend away…here??

Laters, Kate x

Dismaland

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Dismaland: Because this was a highlight last year..brings back a few memories…

Dismaland:The temporary art project set up by the street artist Banksy in an abandoned lido in the quietly rotting seaside town of Weston Super Mare. Banksy writes in his opening welcome: ‘Bertolt Brecht once said ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it’. Which is fine, but what if you’re in a hall of mirrors and the giant hammer is made of foam? This is the question raised by Dismaland Bemusement Park’.

And so it begins…

 

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Birthed from the detritus of Disney, with bored attendants, patches of weeds and artistic despair, this decaying edifice to humanity is set on a 2.5 acre site with works from more than 50 artists from 17 different countries.  It’s an instagramer’s delight, a visual sensation and a walk on the whacky, dark, black side.

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A play on double standards starts immediately, from the genuine bag search on the street (anarchy has it’s place, no spray cans allowed here) to the fabricated threat of Bill Barminksi’s cardboard screening room. What’s real and what isn’t?

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Inside it’s hard to know where to look first..the children slide riot van?

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The sadistic carousel? Tesco would be so pleased..

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Or the Big Rig jig, defying explanation or gravity.

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There are traditional stalls – each with their own unique twist.

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Knock the anvil over – with a ping pong ball and yay! you win the anvil!  Hit the anvil and you win a red bracelet that reads ‘this is a meaningless bracelet’. Didn’t stop me wanting one. And then you ask yourself why even attempt the futile? Except we did.  And failed.

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Or maybe hooking a duck from the muck has a greater chance of success – except the punters have run off with all the ducks – and it’s all for a paper fishfinger in a bag..

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Dominating the park is the dilapidated fairytale castle of broken dreams. ‘Step inside’, say the downcast attendants,  ‘See how it really feels to be a princess’..

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Through the darkness is the car-crash of Cinderella’s coach, her dying body illuminated by the flashes of pap’s cameras. We’re looking at them, looking at us..feeding us, feeding them..

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Sometimes it’s the smaller, allegedly quieter stuff that catches the eye..

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Sometimes the message is so strong to the extent you feel sleazy and  ambushed with dirty fluids.  This isn’t a place that brands itself on palatable.

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The art wants you to look, not just spectate. to take part and not just consume..which is a line that is all too easily crossed.  How many people are there walking around with the balloons stating ‘I am an imbecile’? Or actually taking selfies in the selfie hole?

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Did these people really understand what they were doing? Did they nod sagely knowing they were doing this ironically? But then their ignorance becomes part of the point.

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This isn’t a place for children despite there being works designed with them in mind..like the depressed, drunk Mr Rainbow puffing fumes over his tired playground..

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Or The Husband’s favourite: Pocket Money Loans

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Where the devil was in the detail.

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Take a seat in a stripey deckchair and watch Punch and Judy landing a punch with a Jimmy Savile themed show..

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Put up your feet at the Jeffrey Archer memorial pit fire.  He’s still alive but a book of his dies every day.

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Come into one of three galleries to wander round at your leisure. Meet the baby in the vending machine, covered in logos by Dietrich Wegner, guaranteed to make you ponder life.

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Meet Jessica Harrison’s distortion of suburban tranquility.

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Wonder if Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene is her real name or is just another trick of the mind.  The art – tapestries made with power tools, certainly had a kick.

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Banksy has pulled it off: It’s hard to be underground when you’re hailed as a national treasure by the very people you want to vilify, but that’s part of the conundrum that makes Banksy’s Dismaland so very special – it’s a spoof on the British holiday by the sea – take it seriously and you miss the point, and yet it quietly smiles through blackened teeth and grittily mocks: don’t understand this at your peril…

Impeccably crafted and precision cut, deeply unsettling yet strangely entertaining it’s so good, it can’t be legal..and probably isn’t.

Laters, Kate x

Happy New Year! xxx

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But before that..did you have a lovely Christmas?

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We did.  Ignoring the fact it’s the first fake one ever to grace this house, we even managed a Christmas tree of sorts.

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Decorated with everything homemade..

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From reindeer dioramas and cotton yoyos,

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To felt snowman,

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And special handmade gifts.

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Then on the big night itself we laid a cunning plan with Bella and Charlie to catch the red man in action. We sneakily stuck a mobile phone to the wardrobe door….and set it to timer…and blow-me-down…(with a little help from capture the magic)…it only went and worked!!

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And look what I got in my stocking!

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Then it was a quick glass of champagne by the tree before being whisked off to a feast at Auntie Ali’s..in a London black cab. How civilised?

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Father, daughter love..

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Cousin love.

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Fairy love.

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(Spot the odd one out) (it’s harder than you think..)

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Then to top the festivities off..Charlie lost his first front tooth..it hails a whole new dawn..

Laters, Kate x

Transforming teatowels..

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Thank you to Kerry for my fabulous vintage tea towel, as model by Bella in our temporary kitchen!

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I won my teatowel by getting the nearest guess to how many of these Kerry had made in a jar.  She’s making 3,000 of them to turn into a bedspread…she’s that kinda gal – articulate, dextrous, imaginative..and can just make the most beautiful things, from hand woven blankets to mouth watering chocolates..and she also runs her own Etsy shop selling vintage linens. She truly is one in a million…if you click on the link now, there’s even a recipe for toffee which I can guarantee to be utterly delicious.

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We’ll be turning these (an extra thank you!) into decorations for our first fake Christmas tree EVER. It’s in the garden right now…but when the builders leave us, it’s coming in, if only for a few days. And covered with all things home made.

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As for the tea towel..I’m almost loathed the use it.  It’s in such glorious shape/colour/nick, I feel, it’s like a much loved sheep dog or dog for the blind, that after a hard, fulfilling life it needs a good retirement.  I’m tempted to turn it into a cushion, a bit like Julie from VintageAttitude  did for me with my Grandmother’s tea cosy..(and yes..it will be complete with pom poms Dievca!) I can just see it as an elegant, refined bolster on our bed.
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The two cushions I bought from Julie also started life as tea towels…

Food for thought hey…

Laters, Kate x