Sunday, June 10, 2012

The hum of the city, This is London

What a pleasant surprise. Not as brusque as I had suspected, at times even disarmingly charming. I wonder, what made me suspect that London was plain rotten in the first place? Perhaps the literature, yep, it must have been the literature. To be fair, we did visit (unknowingly.. until quite late) on the Jubilee long weekend, a certain spirit was in the air, locals walked around in their Friday work suits and with beer mugs in hand. There was what one could only describe as an inevitable casualness in the air, and I, for one, am only glad for it.Who would want their worst suspicions justified anyway!? 

Here's a jolly chap in Trafalgar square.

Yes, the weather was particularly and unprecedent-ally bad. 2 soaks a day on average, but everything feels more resonantly historic in this weather. 

Harrods food courts - another pleasant surprise. PS: the best Turkish delight ever. I'm still kicking myself for passing on the pink Himalayan salt slabs and the Charbonnel and Walker chocolates just because I didn't feel like them at the time.

My travelling companion. We both read every caption at the museums and we both walk very long distances before needing a sit down. Only difference, she's effortless in front of a camera.. I'm better off hiding behind it (enthusiastically though amateurishly). Back home.. and I keep feeling as if something is missing.. a weight has been lifted from around my neck. My camera is now in storage.

A gem. The Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood. I fell in love and I only managed to fit in one storey. I will be back.

Our host on the pancake stand swing at Field Day. Colour co-ordinated and all! 

(I dare say) a contender for the top 3 best places in the world for someone of my disposition. 
Babettopolis <3 V&A

porcelain and kimonos - a combination I am fond of

 a roomful of jewellery - in other words, the Elysian Fields.

coral dress of dreams in the permanent fashion collection

the Ballgowns exhibit :..) pity about the depressing gift shop and all the ballgowns I'm sure would have qualified for this exhibit but were instead left in storage.

at gun point I'd have to settle for just this set

the flower market on Columbia Road - a joyful experience

the permanent exhibit at the Wellcome Museum. Vanitas - a bleak reminder.. but at least beautifully made

Portobello Road and some Notting Hill - a wonderfully kept place. 

Kensington Gardens and the Orangery where high tea is served daily except of course when I visit. When I visit boring conferences are scheduled and the place closes down. I will be back amongst the menagerie of squirrels and magpies and turtle doves, all harmony and light.

Leighton House is possibly the best house I've ever been in. The dining room of Casa Rocca Piccola in Valletta is a close contender but this house is perfect in its entirety. Its history, it's Arab-inspired hall, its lofty studio space, its humble sleeping quarters, its perfectly sized garden, the stuffed peacock, the glass-roofed winter studio. What's more, for £5 you get to go back as many times as you like for a whole year. I <3 you Fredrick!

Another hidden gem.. the oldest music hall in Europe. The Kreutzer Quartet were the best ending to six days of very biased sightseeing. It was a visual education. I came back in a mood to create better, or at least, to try.

PS: having visited the whole Brick lane, Petticoat lane areas I cannot but express a degree of disappointment. The made-in-china trinket frenzy has hit even the best of markets it seems. Perhaps it's my problem for expecting too much, perhaps I expected I'd find something better, more 'handmade' away from these shores. Lesson learnt. Do not look too far away for what you want to see, sometimes you just have to put in enough energy to be that change yourself.

And on that perhaps cheesily-inspirational note I leave to finish off my haberdashery shopping list for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

in the spirit of all things V.18

Having been away from my sewing machine/laptop/tea/pin-cushion set-up for what felt like a month but was actually a week; I was surprised to receive news of this promo vid on the last day of my holiday in London. To be quite honest, I had been eagerly awaiting its launch all along - one rarely has the opportunity to see themselves on screen unless it is actually their job to do just that. Must say I am flattered to have been asked to participate, alongside Sarah of The Secret Rose and I hope I've done my bit for Valletta. Thanks go to the talented Rebecca Cremona and Martin Bonnici team for giving us free reign to set up a mock atelier in the Manoel Theatre dressing rooms and for making our pinning and embroidering look so good (i.e. sexy!).

<<< here is the promo clip >>> 

Any opportunity to go to, let alone work in, the Manoel Theatre is welcome. *it was too early to take a good photo without feeling dizzy. I was still waiting for my toast from across the road at this point. Yes we got there early, bags and mannequins in tow, dying for tea and basically really excited about the whole prospect. 

In one of the theatre's changing room we set up a very stylized working top and studio with our works and the all important jacket we're collaborating on. It is in fact this jacket (below) that is featured in the clip - I am mock-pinning on the sleeves and Sarah is improvising on the embroidery for the second sleeve. the joys of acting!

Hard work is rewarded with tea in styrofoam cups. Sarah and the jacket inset.

 Sarah doing us both a favour and taking good photos of the whole set up... 

... and of me and my tomato head dolly. May I just say that I really love how this jacket is turning out and can't wait to finish it in the coming weeks!

au rev manoel!
May we be blessed with another opportunity to work there.. meanwhile we plan to keep collaborating. It's such fun knowing you can trust someone's work completely. It's also fun to visit each other's house and work in company. Again.. again..