Category Archives: Interior Design

Ah! Sunflower

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‘Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done.’

(William Blake)

The traveller’s journey is done right here, right now, with this fabulous ‘Sunflowers in Bowl’ oil painting by accomplished artist, Anne Brandon Jones (1878 – 1968).

Brandon Jones was a Royal Academician and a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, but her main interest was in embroidery. She was a skilled needlewoman, and published many books on the subject. Interestingly, this particular painting reflects her skill and technique as an embroiderer, with paint applied in a measured and careful way; textures and direction of paint are built up deliberately and with care and precision.

Anne attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London (which eventually became Central St Martin’s). The School opened in 1896, as a result of the growing Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris and John Ruskin. (Anne’s son John was a founder member of the William Morris Society, and a renowned Arts and Crafts architect).

When I look at this amazing painting, I can certainly see the Arts and Crafts influence peeping through, the earthy colours, the organic shapes, the natural, simple form are all leitmotifs of this particular style. It’s a fabulous piece, by a female pioneer of one of the most influential creative eras of the last century.

More images available here, in my shop.

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Filed under autumn colours, florist, home, home decor, Interior Design, Musings, orange, poem, poet, vintage decor, william blake

Painting with stitches?

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‘Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.’ Quote by D H Lawrence.

Stunning embroidery by renowned artist Alison Holt. Take a look at her website, really interesting work.

Her work is a marvel, at first I thought this recently acquired piece was a painting, but it is in fact stitched. So clever, such talent. Alison’s work is sold for thousands of pounds.

I have this fabulous garden embroidery by her for sale in my shop.

This is a rare, collector’s item, and won’t be around long. I’m very tempted to keep it.

What do you think?

Alison Holt:

“Each piece is a combination of silk painting and stitch. The painting creates depth, perspective and richness to the work and combines effectively with stitch to give detail and texture

I started to explore my love of the countryside, flowers and gardens through the medium of embroidery finding it the perfect vehicle to express the colours, textures and shapes I find so fascinating. I try to combine in my compositions a sense of light and an interesting juxtaposition of colour, shape and texture. I aim to capture moments in time as an artist who has colour, line and texture to play with. I consider myself a painter that uses threads, an artist that draws with a sewing machine.”

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Filed under blossoms, collecting, Craft, fine art, flowers, Gardening, Interior Design, Knitting, life, Lifestyle, love, Musings, painting, Textiles, Vintage

The Fish

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The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
—the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly—
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
—if you could call it a lip—
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

Elizabeth Bishop, 1911 – 1979

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Filed under Craft, Interior Design, Poetry

Dream On

 

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My house is currently on the market.

For Sale. On the crest of the housing market boom. In the bubble.

Hubble bubble toil and trouble.

There’s an offer on the table. HOORAH. It’s a paltry offer. BOO.

Meagre. Scanty. It wouldn’t even buy me the chimney stacks on the Old Parsonage. The pretty, perfect Parsonage with its pilasters and pediment, its Flemish bricks and fossil finials. I want to live here. In a real life Doll’s House, with its sexy symmetry and glamorous garden. Why can’t I live here? Why shouldn’t I aspire to neo-classical neatness and Georgian Gorgeousness?

Because, peeps, because I suffer from the joint diseases of  impecuniosity and proletarianism. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon shoved where the sun don’t shine. All I’ll inherit is a very dubious Ercol dining suite. But one can dream, and one can pretend, which is why we ended up at The Old Parsonage in Arley, Cheshire, last Sunday.

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The National Garden Scheme – Yellow Book –  features gardens in the UK not normally open to the public. Perfect if you are nosey like me.

Or like plants.

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Or flowers.

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Or afternoon tea.

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Or quirkiness.

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Or ponds.

 

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Not so perfect if you are moving house and have ridiculous delusions of grandeur. Sitting on the terrace of a garden bulging with begonias and poppies and peonies and roses and putting off the evil hour when you have to leave through the quaint little gate in the quaint little hedge and return to your not so quaint little house on a not so quaint little street in a positively un-quaint Northern Town.

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Dream on.

12 Comments

June 4, 2014 · 8:05 pm

Carlton Ware Money Box Snail for Sale

Carlton Ware Money Box Snail for Sale

Vernon is a snail with excellent manners.

He was the perfect subject to photograph.

Vernon’s pretty nifty with a top speed of 50 yards per hour.

Won’t get far with your cash, although he is quite strong, able to lift 10 times his own body weight.

Vernon was born in 1970, in Stoke on Trent. He’s pretty retro.

In super condition for his age, I thought he might make a rather lovely Christening present.

Preferable to silver plated egg cups and Winnie the Pooh plates?

Discerning purchasers can find Vernon by clicking on his photo. Be quick, he won’t hang around long!

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May 13, 2014 · 7:50 am

Tea for Two and Two for Tea

Tea for Two and Two for Tea

Here we have a really charming Tea Cosy.

It’s beautifully hand embroidered in blue and white, with a rich navy velvet to the reverse.

To keep your little tea pot warm. Whilst your brew steeps.

How do you make your perfect cup of tea?

Warm the pot.
Pour hot water (not boiling, never boiling water), over the leaves.
Steep for 2 minutes if it’s red tea, up to 7 minutes if it’s green tea.
If you have milk:
Milk? How very dare you.
The milk goes in after and definitely not before.

And of course, if it’s loose leaf tea, which I certainly hope it is, because tea bags are just so infra dig, then once your cup is empty it’s time to read your leaves.
Tea leaf astrology.
Swirl the cup around, let the leaves settle, squint quite hard at the pattern remaining, and then using all your powers of imagination, turn the pattern into a shape you recognise.

Don’t pretend you haven’t done the same with clouds:

Dragons, Diamonds, Druids, Donkeys, Dentures, Dolphins, Doris Day.

All of life is there. In the bottom of your cup. Which must be Bone China – it goes without saying.

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April 14, 2014 · 7:17 pm