Tag: ceramics

I Like It Here

 

In the ravenous and fast-moving consumer times that we live in (I am no angel I can assure you), I am always keen to promote designers and boutiques that give design-led shoppers the chance to purchase homewares that are both stylish and ethically responsible; both factors being of equal importance.

Only recently has the gap between style and responsibility started to really close in the interiors world, and no one illustrates its progress better than the lovely Hanna Jaaskelainen, who recently set up a new online boutique called I Like It Here. She got in touch to tell me about the project and I think it is great. In fact I have been online all day coveting pretty much everything in stock – from rugs to handbags and necklaces you didn’t even know you needed.

Offering carefully curated home and fashion accessories from Kathmandu, Stoke-on-Trent and Brooklyn, I Like It Here is a sophisticated, eclectic and colourful online shop that appeals to nomads and glamazons alike. Sourcing its products from three very distinct yet specialised locations, its stock is a cut above your usual socially responsible offering and is blazing a trail for a new generation of directly sourced artisanal goods that are as stylish – if not more so – than their mass-produced counterparts.

I asked Hanna about the inspiration behind the store and its signature style:

How did the concept for the boutique come about?

I wanted to reflect my mixed background, feeling like a slight outside observer wherever I have lived. It is rooted in my travelling a lot and experiencing different cultures, and my constant search for good design – from the smallest of objects to the grandest of furniture.

How did you settle on your three chosen locations?

The three locations were my starting point to show consumers that a small, ethically-minded luxe boutique can source products globally and intelligently. The idea is to bring one world and its crafts, materials and traditions into one lifestyle store.

I chose Brooklyn because I travel to New York for inspiration, and on a sabbatical struck upon the amazing Etwas bags we now sell; Stoke-on-Trent because I was attracted to the heritage of the area and strongly feel it’s about time to make these neglected UK towns fashionable again, and I wanted to help represent the best of British craft-manufacturing.

And with Kathmandu, I had an opportunity with my recent travels to meet some amazing people and visit the social enterprise projects they are involved in – in the factories and studios I saw first-hand how the handicrafts are created by women’s enterprises – like the colourful woven pouches.

 

Do you think consumers are becoming more aware of the origins of their purchases?

Absolutely. The emotional connection with the shopping is so important: the origins, how it’s made, who made it and the whole story behind the purchase, small or large. Many high street shops celebrate their eco-ranges of Fair Trade cotton, for example, but how far this socially responsible attitude goes is ambiguous. With I Like It Here I wanted to set out from the start with an open policy about the products sold.

What do you look for when you buy something?

First comes emotion: what do I sense when I see something? And then the practical aspects of the purchase: ideally it’s ethically made, and in general quality is important. I’d rather buy less, but get good value from the purchases I make.

The boutique reflects my personal taste at the moment; all items are chosen by me and I would not sell an item I wouldn’t have bought myself.

What is most important to you?

Finding happiness and that people close to you are safe; living intelligently and responsibly without forgetting to have fun.

What are you currently reading?

Isprinsessan by Camilla Lackberg (translated it’s Ice Princess) – a Swedish Crime Detective novel.

Where is your favourite place?

It varies. You can’t beat Helsinki in August or Zanzibar in January, Portland Oregon in May… and funnily enough I quite like international airports.

 

You can visit the bouqtiue here.

Blue animals by Bitossi

As former director of iconic ceramcicists Bitossi, Aldo Londi designed these lovable Rimini Blu animals in the 1950s. They caught my eye the other day and my heart skipped a beat for each and every one – and there are over a dozen. With their dreamy blue hues and intricate textures they are hard not to love, nestled somewhere between cute Scandi folklore and high-end ceramic artefact. Prices range from £24.80 to £150, depending on your chosen animal, and they’re availabe to buy from SCP.com.

 

The Dining Room at Liberty

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.

 

 

House & Home by Lisa Stickley

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.

 

Cash vs. credit: fish salt and pepper shakers

Kissing fish salt and pepper shakers, £4.99, Amazon UK; Jonathan Adler fish salt and pepper shakers, £46, Heal’s

Teapots with a twist

Zoe, whose appetite for quirky London design shops knows no bounds, tells us what’s top of her list this week:

If you are near London’s Portobello Market, I strongly recommend you take some time to visit Golborne Road at the top. Apart from the choice of delicious Middle Eastern food stalls and Portuguese coffee and cake shops (freshly made custard tarts abound), there are some great furniture shops too. Tucked away amongst the local shops, you’ll find Universal Suppliers, an upmarket fashion-cum-homes treasure trove that specialises in the surreal and fantastical.

This is where I first saw products by Tina Tsang, namely her Blaue Blume tea-set range, which comprises sugar bowl, tea cup, cake stand and milk jug – all with what appears to be a miniature lady fallen inside. A lot of her designs have an almost fairytale twist: for this, she is top of our list – especially as Christmas looms and we indulge in a healthy dose of fantasy:

Blaue Blume Tea Pot, £65, undergrowthdesign.com

Blaue Blume Sugar Bath, £37.00, undergrowthdesign.com

Blaue Blume tea cup , £37.00, undergrowthdesign.com

Anthropologie also stock a collection of 3 teapots from the American designer Jono Pandolfi. They are constructed from what look like cups turned on their side and inside out, fittingly named the Willy-Nilly Teapots.

Willy-Nilly Teapot, Honeycomb, £148; Willy-Nilly Teapot, Button, £248; Willy-Nilly Teapot, Polkadot £148, Anthropologie

We asked Jono how he came up with the design:

‘My inspiration? These are really meant to be statement teapots, sculptural vessels that could have a ritual use. The decoration was based partly on antique chinese ceramics. I wanted the material and surface decoration to feel really old while keeping the forms really modern and different’.

They are certainly that.

People we’re loving: Lisa Stickley

London-based ceramics and textiles designer Lisa Stickley knows how to have some fun. Her quirky designs are playful without being too girly, decorated with old-school (yet surprisingly relevant) doodles and mantras such as “keep nail varnish in the fridge and it will stay runny. pack tight shoes with wet newspaper and leave overnight. to clean dirty wallpaper – rub with stale bread. make diamonds sparkle, clean them with gin”; or “when choosing plants for the flower garden, consider those that may give a good display of bloom and, in many cases, provide glorious cut flowers for house decoration”.

She also designs quirky floral hand and washbags, as well as playful mugs and other homely treats such as an “uncommonly good cup mug” and a “splendidly small bowl”. They do exactly what they say on the tin.

lisa stickley bags

People we’re loving: Studio at 37

studio at 37 ceramics

The moment I saw Studio at 37‘s ceramic designs, the words cup, gift bag and bunting became a whole lot more interesting. Their quirky ceramic pieces are playful yet simple, in lovely muted pastel glazes with a nostalgic,  retro feel. I love the idea of ceramic bunting and party bags – they would make great little vases or plant pots, perched on a windowsill with some basil or parsley.

“Designing to delight, surprise and shape expectation of what experience can be”, Angela Pointon and Laura Masson (the duo behind Studio at 37) have definitely struck a popular chord right now, nestled somewhere between contemporary shabby chic and a peek in to your hippest granny’s dresser.

studio at 37 ceramics

studio at 37 ceramics