When I asked Cruz to do This & Tat, I knew that we were in for a treat. She is the Creative Director of Malaika, a tableware brand that is beyond delightful. It is filled with colour, whimsy, and unique design. It is a treat for the eye and makes the world that bit more of a colourful, lively place to be in. So as I said, I knew we were in for a treat, and she didn’t disappoint. Enjoy!
Since I started working at Malaika, the Ancient Egypt goddess Nut (pronounced ‘Noot’ ) has been my obsession. She is a woman goddess of the sky and motherhood. She eats the sun at night and gives birth to it again in the morning, representing the cycle of life. I became a Nut fanatic during the pandemic when I was pregnant with my first child, so she made a lot of sense.
We have designed numerous products featuring her, but this Stellar Table cloth is my favourite.
I love Kneeland and Co by the fantastic Joana Williams. She has a tremendous array of unusual objects and textiles that she fearlessly puts together in a kind of playful conversation. She also has lots of South American pieces that remind me of home.
One of my hobbies is arranging flowers. It really relaxes me! I am always inspired by the rich and sumptuous still life paintings by the Dutch Masters. For my wedding at Petworth House, I got the fantastic Worm London to create still life flower arrangements with quail eggs and open peas on the main dining table, inspired by the Grinling Gibbons (Anglo-Dutch!) wood carvings which hung on the walls above. It was a surreal scene.
This wonderful pottery comes from Tunis, a little village in the Oasis of Fayoum in Egypt. The place is made up of little family workshops and the walls of the village are all painted with naive drawings. They are true artists. At Malaika, we source pieces through many different Fayoum artisans and it is a joy to collaborate and learn from their magnificent craft.
These designer shoes are my yearly treat. They are very unusual as Zoe uses different types of leathers and shapes that stand out from your typical shoe. They are so perfectly made and super comfy as well
My current favourite is Edward Bulmer’s Cuisse de Nymphe Emue (quite a cheeky name!). There is something really calming and tamed about this pink-not-pink colour. I love Edward B’s natural paints, and I used this colour to decorate our bedroom in Sussex. My husband was initially horrified at the idea of a pink bedroom, and I had to promise we would repaint it if he didn’t like it when it was finished. So far, we’ve decided to keep it.
Cockermouth is a charming Lake District town located in the north lakes which is not so touristy. The town is full of dusty old antique shops and affordable auction houses. I particularly love the Cockermouth Antiques Market, which is a treasure trove! My husband George and I recently renovated a derelict fishing lodge there (called the North Lodge, you can book via Airbnb) and furnished it with antiques from the town. It is a cute boutique three-bedroom house if ever you fancy a trip to the northern Lakes.
Another Egyptian gem! This is an art centre outside of Cairo where a collective of artisans weaves vibrant tapestries. This project was started in the 1940s by an Egyptian architect named Wissa Wassef, who was inspired by ancient Coptic textiles and weaving techniques. The textiles depict fantastical scenes from daily life in the community and are deeply personal. They have an incredible museum full of early tapestries that brought me to tears.
As I am from Chile, I thought it would be good to bring one of my favourite folk artists into the mix. Violeta Parra was a singer-songwriter and artist deeply connected with the Chilean countryside and folk traditions. I love her ‘Arpilleras’ made with pieces of yarn and textiles. They are unique and not nearly as well known as they should be!
Après Ski is my go-to brand for inspiration. Their aesthetic is so pleasing and I have discovered many folk artists and ceramists through their IG account. I absolutely love their jackets made of old embroidered tablecloths. How wonderful that these materials get a second life on a moving body.