After Rémy did her last roundup, I got an unprecedented response telling me how wonderful and useful that round up, in particular, had been. So with a lot of happiness and some jealousy, I asked Rémy to take the reigns for this week!
On entering Choosing Keeping for the first time, my inner stationary nerd foamed at the mouth. It was immaculate- chic notebooks stacked on tables, colourful pens in marbled pots, whilst wax seals sat by the till imploring you to start letter writing. Each item was an ornament in itself defining ‘pretty but practical’. Unsurprisingly they grew out of this few square feet of heaven along Columbia Road and now reside on a great corner of Tower Street near Covent Garden. However, none of the magic was left behind in their little E2 burrow, it has only been magnified. Reading the story behind these Ohnishi Seisakusho celluloid fountain pens (£160) perfectly summarises the integrity of their business and their commitment to honour craft, quality and the individuals that make them.
It would seem treacherous to mention Columbia Road and omit another old friend, the Mexican shop of wonders Milagros - introduced to me years ago by my beloved H&G team. I’m sure many will already be familiar with their extensive collection of handmade tiles, but alas, for renters like myself a retiled splashback remains merely a pipedream. Instead, I must hold their rimmed recycled glass jug (£28) up to the sky and profess its glory and damn good price. The delight it will bring to your table, especially when filled to the rim with tequila punch.
Barabara Frankie Ryan
I stumbled across these sculptures by Amsterdam based art director Barabara Frankie Ryan via Lulu Guinness' Instagram and was instantly cheered up by their retro colour pallet and sheer playful character. Barabara’s Fresh Cut Flowers (from €60) were a lockdown project born from a want to ‘immortalise bouquets’ and extend that happiness one receives from a beautiful bunch of flowers. I believe these laser-cut lovelies have achieved just that and shown the world what a magical mind she has.
Stand Alone Store
Stand Alone Store have a knack for sourcing incredibly cool collectable furniture and objects for the home. This striped mint Bruno Mathsson Lounge Chair Set (£3,650) is a prime example and would sit perfectly in that Palm Springs summer house I don’t own. If anyone would like to pool together, I’d be happy to take it at Easter and weekends.
Textile artist Charlotte Llewellyn started Stemwell Workshop which focuses on quilting and natural dying. This Calculus 2 quilt (£325) showcases the results earned from working with the gift of nature- in this case using reclaimed fabrics dyed with indigo, apple leaves and apple bark. Every inch of Charlotte’s process is considered to be as environmentally sound as possible. Watch this space for upcoming workshops via her Instagram.
Tabara started La Basketry with her sister Mamy and a desire to celebrate the tradition of basket weaving that they had encountered on visiting their parents' hometown in Senegal throughout their lives. Working closely with a group of female artisans from Ngaye Mkeke (a small village outside their parents' hometown) La Basketry creates woven baskets of joy for your home. These Monochrome Placemats are £9 each and handwoven from local grass called ‘ndiorokh’ and long strips of recycled plastic to get that colour in there. Now a solo adventure, Tabara has taken up weaving herself and shares her skills by holding workshops which you can stay up to date with via her Instagram.
Eesome Shop Another medley of curated second-hand finds. Eesome Shop has a rustic and utilitarian aesthetic at its core, sourcing their wares from around Europe. It seems to be quite the vessel emporium too with something for every budget. This German-made wooden candelabra caught my eye with its robust, cut-out form. As a one-off piece at £60, it’s ever so nice of me to share with you.
London-based Eva Sonaike fuses her upbringing in Germany with her Nigerian heritage and celebrates the two by combining the colourful clothing culture of Africa with the design of European antiques. This Aluro Pouffe in green (£299) is a prime example of just this, whose wonderful peppy trellis print would make it impossible not to perch upon it with glee. How about a little matching blind too? You can also buy Eva’s fabric designs by the metre.
When my dear friends returned from their Margate mini-moon, they introduced me to their new mantelpiece mates - the House Goddesses by the talented Charlie Russel. They explained how each Goddess is completely individual and intended to be a totem for poignant moments within one's life, a new age icon from ancient beliefs and the ultimate lucky charm. I love seeing the different personalities Charlie creates in each figure, a fine testament to the individuality of female energy. To find out more about her processes and inspirations, here’s an insightful interview with Charlie from the Turner Contemporary Gallery.
Milan’s Lisa Corti has been doing her thing since the 80’s- so certainly no newcomer to the game. Her creations are a result of using a medley of bright Indian textiles and techniques put into practice by the Indian artisans that Corti works closely with. The collections are transportative- this Bougainvillea Stripe cushion (€80) made in collaboration with Issimo is designed to ‘evoke endless summer lunches by the Mediterranean sea’. A meal-deal in Brockwell Park will have to do for now but we’ll keep on dreaming....