This week we have an interiors expert & wonderful collector of ceramics (Founder of Molde) Naomi French take the reigns of This & Tat, its a goodie!
I’m lucky to have lots of creative friends to inspire me, one being ceramicist Rachael Cocker. Her most recent creation is this beautiful jug inspired by the Scottish ‘Herring Lassies’, the armies of Scottish women who from the 1800s to the 1950s would make their way down the east coast of Britain from the Highlands ending up in Great Yarmouth where they would take up the gruelling task of gutting, salting and packing the herrings caught on the quayside. Rachael made this as a farewell to Great Yarmouth where her studio has been based for the last couple of years and I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next.
Now that I’m approaching 30 and gaining more interest in good scrubbing brushes and linen tea towels, a favourite shop is Utility in the Laines in Brighton. Everything they sell is made to last and you’ll find everything from wooden loo brushes to bars of Dettol soap. There will always be something in there you didn’t know you needed.
I first met Rowena Morgan-Cox when we were both working at 8 Holland Street a few years ago. She has such a good eye and has now gone on to start her own homewares company, Palefire Studio. The debut collection launching on the 18th October comprises some beautiful lighting. Rowena has designed a series of lamps each made from recycled paper into beautifully elegant shapes and then hand-painted with one of her designs. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
I think one of the places I missed the most in all the months we were banned from going outdoors was Brasserie Zedel in Soho. You feel like you’ve stepped onto a film set when you walk in and see the grand marble pillars, red velvet banquettes and the live band, and then you look at the menu and see you can get steak-frites and a chocolate tart for £10.95!
I love everything Ali Hewson lays her hands on, and aim to one day have my house stuffed floor to ceiling with her ceramics. I have a pair of egg cups which make me happy every time I eat my breakfast and now have my eye on one of her large platters, this one is currently for sale at 8 Holland Street.
Another great friend is artist Sophie Giller who has recently started Sukey textiles as a place to sell her beautiful patchwork quilts and cushions, hand made from salvaged and hand-dyed linens. Everything she makes is so sensitive and carefully considered, a recent quilt she made for a friend’s 30th birthday included cut pieces of old clothes from friends and even an old tea towel from a house we all lived in together as students!
One of my favourite homes is that of sculptor Valentine Schlegel and curator Yvonne Brunhammer in Montparnasse in Paris in the 1960s. The house is filled with shelves and nooks that Schlegel sculpted and carved herself straight into the architecture of the building, making a beautifully idiosyncratic home. The best photos of it I’ve found were taken by Eric Marin for The World of Interiors in 2012, sadly I don’t know which issue but would love to find out.
Of course, I’m biased, but I think everything my mum makes is beautiful. In recent years she has started her modern take on decoupage, laboriously hand cutting tiny bits of paper usually from damaged books, and applying them to furniture with layers and layers of lacquer to create these twisting, delicate vines of flowers and leaves, alongside stripes and checkerboards with glimpses of words and phrases from the books hidden amongst them. My favourite piece is this bathroom cabinet which has been promised to me!
This time of year, when the evenings draw in earlier than people realise and they’ve switched all the lamps on but not got round to drawing the curtains, is the best for catching a quick glimpse inside as you pass by (no lingering of course). My favourite street for window glimpsing is Camberwell Grove in South East London with it’s rows of grand Georgian terraced houses. You can spot who seem to have lived there for decades and who have more recently moved in. I’ve probably walked down that street at least 200 times now and still always spot a cosy basement kitchen or glowing living room I hadn’t noticed before.
Crayonne by Terence Conran
I love this playful and elementary range that Terence Conran did for Habitat in the 1970s and am always on the lookout for one of the colourful plastic rimmed mirrors that sometimes pop up on Ebay, but I think my favourite pieces are the chunky die-cast metal door numbers which I aim to one day have outside my dream house.