Category: Creative

Design Icon x

 

Have you seen Home on Apple TV? Property porn for the discerning palate, it’s a series that steps out of the shadow of commercial bling to present homes with heart, soul and integrity. I’m only on episode 2.  But I think I’ll stay there a while, smelling the air and savouring the view, because I have a new design icon: Theaster Gates from Chicago.  The man is an onion – multi layered, multi talented, he defies description in the best possible way.

 

 

He says, ‘I am interested in not only found objects but also in discarded knowledge.’  And I think it is this heart that pulls all his work together, whether it is sculpture, pots or interiors.  He takes his subject and embraces it’s original essence, unleashing the spirit within.

 

 

But even rarer, he doesn’t hoard this spirit – most of his work is on behalf of the community making and re-making community centres, cafes, communal art studios – He touches these places with gold and passes them on. His joy is seeing the connections they make and watching the creative seeds he plants grow.

 

 

To see a building taken back to it’s bones and that skeleton, age becoming a work of art in it’s own right is a beautiful thing.

 

 

To be in a building with a printing press at one end, an library in another, a potters studio in between and a record collection nestled somewhere else is to be in heaven.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

This man is an inspiration in its purest form.

 

Laters, Kate x

Style Icon x

 

Style icon and new guilty pleasure – I’ve recently discovered Karen Britchick aka Karen Blanchard on Youtube – walking the streets of New York she eyes up the fashion, asking people about their outfits.  The pleasure is multi-layered – first, it’s sitting on her shoulder, being in unfiltered New York, where you can see the steam and smell the energy.  Then it’s that she doesn’t go for commercial outfits – everything is unusual, a progression, pushing a boundary, an art form, something different, unusual, which makes it exciting.  And finally its the idea that style isn’t an expensive brand, it’s about passion, expression and understanding how things fit together. In fact, the less commercial, the better.

 

(All pics Pinterest or go to Youtube)

Get me to an oversized unstructured 80s blazer now.

Laters, Kate x

Launch Day!

 

I have a few creative projects on the go – This is the first one that’s come to fruition – and it starts with a lockdown story that began roughly eleven years ago……

A pregnant infertility survivor and a pro natural birth obstetrics consultant at a high risk pregnancy unit meet to discuss a birth plan. The infertility survivor would like a c-section;  she now has a lack of trust in herself and wants to hand over responsibility to the doctors. The consultant wants to convince her to believe in herself and her innate capabilities. The infertility survivor hands over a print out of poems, describing the pain of her infertile years and the agony of her recurrent miscarriages. They talk. The consultant even uses two of the poems in a book she’s publishing. The infertility survivor has a successful c-section…..and my son Charlie is born.

Over a decade later, in lockdown, the Consultant, Dr Susan Bewley, finds my poems again and gets in contact. The poems are pulled out of a drawer and we agree that they are still as relevant today as they were all those years ago. So, with the help from Dr Bewley, they’ve been edited into a book….I took the decision that as they were poetry, they’d never get published down normal routes. So today, Songs For My Unborn Children has been self-published via Amazon and now they’re  available to buy! 

Doing it this way also means I get a say in all the art work, from the cover to the supporting instagram account.

 

 

 

So they’re out in the big wide world: Part memoir, all poetry, they cover the complete arc of infertility, from the pain of waiting, the grief of miscarriage to hospital visits, treatments, IVF, and finally the joy of a successful birth.

In the foreword, Dr Bewley writes:

‘Years ago, I was privileged to be given an early version of Songs to my Unborn Child from Kate during the course of her pregnancy, and to be allowed to use some for a book on Reproductive Ageing.  She opened my eyes to the long, complex shadow that infertility, miscarriage and medicalised conception cast way beyond the immediate experiences.  Doctors don’t bring ‘meaning’ to our everyday routines that clash with each patient’s exquisite vulnerability; it’s not a strong part of our skill set. But Kate provides another route to compassionate understanding.  Few artists can paint pain, but this poetess succinctly describes the emotional roller coaster of suffering, endurance and recovery that will resonate for women who’ve experienced it, and induce empathy from those who haven’t.  She gives voice to Everywoman’s shame and taboos.  Even though she was one of the lucky ones for whom IVF did work, for most it does not.  Every million cute IVF babies celebrated in the news and advertisements are accompanied by another several millions of futile cycles, chemical pregnancies, miscarriages and wounded souls. And emptier pockets.  Although a proud mother now, Kate wears her scars. She doesn’t gloat or forget her trauma, or the ‘sisters in suffering’ who follow her. They might, or might not, take a similar journey to eventual peace but will recognize themselves. Read, cry, learn, repeat.’

Yep. It made me weep.

Songs is divided into five sections: Infertility, Miscarriage and IVF failure, Treatment, Afterwards and Pregnancy.  It is ultimately a success story, but I hope the journey and the emotions will be recognised by all who have or who are walking this terrible path.

 

 

(All pics www.songsformyunbornchildren.com, instagram, facebook)

 

Please share, pass on to someone they might help, if you can’t buy – follow, anything to help get the word out, and I will be eternally grateful.

 

A big day.

 

Laters, Kate x

 

The Friday three x

 

Podcasts are probably the weeds of the media world, growing in the gaps where we thought there were no spaces, except these gaps had rich, fertile soil which has now established these new comers as cornerstones to the garden.  I know I resisted for a long time, I didn’t need yet another time sap.  But there’s an invisible zeitgeist, an energy a new industry brings, a freedom of new voices being heard away from big business, corporate mouthpieces and I am hooked.  Now, when there are jobs to be done, in my own time, at my own pace, I’ll be catching up with the latest offerings – in no particular order, these are a few of my favourites: The High Low – a weekly conversation between writers Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, that covers highbrow and lowbrow culture. A friendship, an intellectual exploration, an authenticity, a zeal.

 

 

Have You Heard George’s Podcast? –  George the poet is a London-born spoken word performer of Ugandan heritage whose innovative creativity sends you down the rabbit hole with fireworks and funk.

 


 

How Did We Get Here? – Claudia Winkleman and Professor Tanya Byron identify struggles faced by real-life parents and family members by inviting them in and hearing them in a one-time unscripted session.  This is like unpaid for therapy, wrapped in love.

 

 

I was going to post more.  But I think to do so would dilute the magnificence of the above….so I’ll continue with the rest in a post next week.

 

Happy listening!

Laters, Kate x

 

Bethan Laura Wood x

 

A post in celebration of the joy that is Bethan Laura Wood, designer, icon and all round creative for her fearlessness, her individuality and her eagle sharp eye for character, form, proportion and colour combinations.


(All pics Pinterest)

 

A joy to behold, is this cultural appropriation, fusion or freedom?

For me it’s the freedom of a cultural fusion of joy. Simples.

 

Laters, Kate x

Trends x

 

Has anyone else watched Good Trouble on BBC iplayer? Easy binge watching, like an ever replacing tube of paprika Pringles.  One of the main stories is following the trial of a black man shot by police. Prophetic when you think it was made in 2018.  But not so when you think how many times a shooting of a black man by police has happened. But it’s the interiors that have stolen my heart.  Set in an old movie theatre in the City of Angels – both elements a pleasant spin on the habitual backdrops of New York – the vibe is high ceilings, large spaces, gorgeous flaking period features, with the implication that taste is always more important than high spend, except this would obviously cost for those not in the know, except of course these people know, except they don’t, because it’s all so artful and effortless for them.  There’s one particular room – other than the library, the kitchen and the pool – to die for.  And that’s Malika’s bedroom – on the wall by the bed is black and gold geometric retro wallpaper, inspired by Art Deco, mixed with the swinging sixties and oozing the era of Biba and Barbara Hulanicki – and it’s singing a sweet song of ‘my time is coming again…’

 

 

In fact, Barbara Hulanicki has been designing in her signature style for Graham and Brown wallpaper.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

Black and gold, geometric patterns circa Biba. It will be a thing.

Laters, Kate x

Marianna Leivaditaki x

 

Yesterday I had a look at the Toast website; like stepping into an indulgent shop where you know your senses are going to be softly stroked and where your shoulders always drop.  It’s not just the clothes, but the styling, the photographs, the rich vein of history and timelessness that runs through every piece, the pride and the quality.  I always look at their magazine, see what tasty morsels there are and low, behold, there was this article about the Head chef of Moro Hackney, Marianna Leivaditaki and her childhood in Crete.  It’s a beautiful piece and well worth a read, speaking an exotic language of freedom and hard work, of dreams and ambition.


(All pics Toast)

 

Marianna has a new cook book out, which after reading the article has found a place on my wish list (if there is one, slight criticism, its over the cover – all this rich history and the designers hand over a school text book? But maybe that’s just me) The book is full of stories, pictures and glorious recipes – and once again, there’s a sense of authenticity, the thread of time and a real beating heart.

 

For me, it’s a chance to taste and re-live the magical time we had in Greece this year. Something to cherish as the season changes.

 

Laters, Kate x

Summer Project x

 

Every summer needs a project. Something that requires learning a skill, but nothing so taxing the chances of success always remain a once wished dream. I also believe tools and ingredients matter – low cost, simple and preferably eco friendly;  I think this one gets A stars in all the right boxes – a crocheted rag rug.

 

The best instructions and most of these pics come from this brilliant website – My Poppet, and this youtube channel has easy crochet instructions.  But the necessary bits are easy to gather – you need a good supply a jute string (you can you wool, I just believe the jute gives it a unifying look as well as being strong and sturdy), a crochet hook and lots of unwanted clothes and material scraps.


 

The idea of cutting up unwanted clothes, particularly the things the children have grown out of really appeals. It’s that feeling of history and memories and life continuing on.  The aim is to cut the cloth into one inch strips, then roll them into useable balls.  There’s different ideas about how to attach different strips together, some people like to sew the strips together, others just overlap the strips and crochet them together as and when.

 

 

The crochet required to make the rug is literally the most basic stitch you’ll ever need – this isn’t about doing anything complicated, but more about time and care and working in slow time.

 

 

The size you go is totally up to you.  The one tip I’ve read over and over again, is when it starts getting big, crochet on a flat surface to keep the rug flat.

 

 

(pics from My Poppet and instructions here)

Circles of life.

Love it.

 

Laters, Kate x

Interior x

 

The interior of the garden studio will be a new building with an old soul.  Nature, natural, re-claimed, loved and lovable will be the theme pulling it together.  Soft edges, patina and unprecious the by-lines.

 

 

The space will not be big, but that does not exclude character.

 

 

The walls will be exposed wood, the floor wood, covered by a jute rug.

 

 

Down the left side of the sitting room, on the adjoining wall to the office, I will finally have the perfect place for the remains of my Cado storage system I originally bought for the sitting room for TV and has remained under a bed ever since – we only needed one section, but I bought…three! It’ll provide much needed storage, a place for a record player and an extra desk space – always useful.

 

 

The pod will divided into two – a small office room with storage on the left side, a larger sitting room on the right.  Both will have stoves as heaters; this has been a moot point – I would love proper, wood burning stoves – but we live in London, and I don’t think it’s fair on neighbours or the environment, so they will be electric, but cunningly disguised to look the business.

 

 

The office room will be a vintage homage, simple desk, anglepoise wall lamp, pictures and storage.

 

 

At the far end will be a door leading to floor to ceiling storage for things like our tent and paddle boards.

 

 

Still to be finalised is the ceiling – I would like to do something to suggest a bit of drama – nothing on the scale of these – but possibly some narrow cross beams, to add shadow and interest, a miniature of these above.

 

 

Further indecisions are whether there will be space for a small mezzanine level – a place for children to hide. Or will it eat too much into the space?

 

 

And whether to go for build in bench sofas with storage – or something else.

 I suspect budget will be the dictator.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Designed x

 

It’s taken longer than I ever anticipated, but I’ve finally finished the design for the pod; there’s such a freedom to be able to design something for yourself, but when, barring council restrictions and budget, the sky is the limit, choices can be overwhelming.  But bit by bit, by concentrating on what is allowed and what would benefit the space available, I think I’ve got there.  The main inspiration is this garden studio above – I love the simple shape, but there’s also beautiful and subtle detailing that suitably elevates and adds vital character.

 

 

I would love to have the more elongated, pagoda style roof, but the width of our garden won’t allow it.  But there will be a hint.  Unlike the inspiration, we will have a green roof and I hope to encourage plants both to grow up and hang down.  The driving consideration behind the design is because we don’t have a panoramic view to frame, why not go with private, enclosed, quiet and chapel like?  A secret, hidden space for gently moving light and contemplation. So the doors will be Georgian panels, the overhang shaded and the design understated.

 

 

The plan is for planting to cover and encroach, from the sides, from above, from below and even inside the overhang, to create a blur between garden and building.

 

 

The overhang will also protect from the sun and act as a privacy screen.  In ours will be fitted the salvaged stained glass panels, to cast colours and patterns and draw people out.

 

 

The whole building will be painted a bronzey brown as a foil to the plants and to visually push it back into it’s environment.

 

 

The overhang will be wide enough to contain a swing chair positioned to catch the last of the evening light. And if space allows, I would love a dramatic porch light.

 

Now for the inside….

Laters, Kate x