Liberty have just opened a new one-stop-shop for all-things-foodie, aptly named The Dining Room at Liberty. It is full of covetable ceramics and cool kitchen things by some of my favourite designers – including Rob Ryan, Quail (of animal egg cup fame) and Emma Bridgewater, who has done a new collection exclusive to The Dining Room called Splatter.
They also have a cute range of animal-shaped chopping boards called Down on the Farm, which are my personal favourites – specifically, Carmen the Sheep.
Down on the Farm chopping boards; Spatter chinaware by Emma Bridgewater; Baking Days polka dot kitchenware by Spode
If you are in London, it is definitely worth swinging by, and if not you can get most of it online at liberty.co.uk.
They’ve come out of hibernation and are ready to play. All you need are scissors, glue and a ruler.
Fox, Badger, Squirrel and Hedgehog
The Carrot Crew
The Yolk Folk
Meet them all (including their Christmas friends) at mibo.co.uk. Prices start at £6.
The new collection at Toast is everything I want from my summer: striped hammam towels, dip dyed ikat, hand thrown British porcelain, Aegean-inspired bedlinen. Simple, bold and earthy, it transports you to a whole new world.
See the full collection at toast.co.uk.
Australian company Mae make lovely little fabric decals to add some sparkle to your walls, which they describe as “wonderful, whimisical, delightful, washable, unscrunchable, resilient, reusable fabric decals made with love and eco inks”.
They can be moved from wall to wall and every ingredient is sourced within a 100km radius, with 100% recyclable packaging too. The individual scrabble letters look particularly fun.
Check out their site for more designs – they also make lovely wrapping paper.
I may be way behind the times, because after a little bit of research I see she is more or less a household name, but I recently came across American interior designer Kelly Wearstler and am a big fan.
Although she mostly does hotels and public spaces, she also does the odd house – mostly on the West coast – and I like her unusual, slightly risky combinations of colours, textures and styles – graffiti wallpaper and wrought iron stairs, pink marble and tribal rugs… it shouldn’t necessarily work but it does.
She also has a fun photo blog called my vibe my life, charting what she gets up to and what inspires her, and her children are very cute.
A while ago I did a post on London-based designer Lisa Stickley, whose quirky prints and scribbles always make me smile.
I read yesterday that she has done a diffusion line for Debenhams called House & Home. A little skeptical, I had a cursory snoop online and there are a few pieces that I think are great – little green ceramic houses for tea or general kitchen stuff, and wonky, chaotic little text prints on cushions and quilts. The rest is less striking but at £16 for a cushion and £5 for a bowl I guess you can’t really go far wrong.
It is often the most mundane things that inspire us. Norwegian designer Camilla Akersveen spent much of her childhood being driven around in her grandfather’s taxi, unable to keep her hands off his beaded seat cover, which she found fascinating. Fast forward a few years and the design graduate has just exhibited her taxi chair at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, which has met with widespread acclaim and is set to become a future classic.
‘I wanted to create a chair which could be used by all members of the family. Focusing on play and the development of children’s senses, I chose to look back and find inspiration in my own childhood’, she says.
Kitsch, beady, knobbly, part abacus and part yellow cab, it is as fun for kids as it is for grown-ups. Fingers crossed it makes its way to London sometime soon.
Harbouring plans to learn origami sometime soon – the ultimate goal being a little flock of paper birds suspended from my beams – I have been delving into the world of paper sculpture to see how far the art can be taken by people with proper paper skills.
I was passed on Lauren Clay’s pieces and think they are awesome. Hailing from the deep South, she makes colourful conceptual sculptures that are unlike anything I’ve seen before. I particularly like her take on the humble wreath, inspired by Ancient Greece.
She told Bomblog:
“I’ve been using paper in a sculptural way since 2003. I have this love/hate relationship with it. In a way I’m okay with it but sometimes I feel like it corners me. I like to use paper because it’s so accessible, so easy to transform. And it’s so autonomous– it doesn’t reference anything in particular….
I think in some ways the work, and my use of color is poetic. I feel like it’s not cool right now to be poetic or to make highly crafted objects, but I can’t help it. I find myself grasping around, trying to make sense of things that I become aware of, and I’ll end up with two things opposed, things that shouldn’t necessarily work together.”
See more of her stuff at doublefluff.com
The people behind Not Another Bill have come up with an ingenious service: susbscribe to them for however long you like (one, three or six months) and they will send you – or a lucky friend (pick me, pick me, pick me) – a surprise present in the post once a month. You have no idea or control over what the treat will be, and nor do the anonymous team, who say they often don’t have a clue themselves until they spot it at an antiques market or tucked away in a little hidden store, or design it themselves with one of their cool jeweller / sculptor / artsy friends.
Because nothing is displayed online, it really is a proper, old-fashioned red-letter-day surprise. And you know it will be fun, quirky and exciting because their website is just that.