One moment in the raftered attic workshop above a historic shop in St. James’s learning how the hundreds of small feathers gracing a hat soon to be worn at Ladies Day at Royal Ascot must each be painstakingly placed by hand and individually sewn (no glue for this remarkable national treasure of a milliner). The next at COLLECT gazing with awe into deep depths of a contemporary glass bowl so blue so serene that one could have plunged in; a truly stunning museum-quality work of art whose effortless beauty belied the sweat, technique or genius that went into its making. Or Saturday morning on the Pimlico Road learning how to play (and losing) an impromptu game of Chinese chequers on a board hand-made from Kentish oak that came down in the Great Storm of 1987.
Grayson Perry caught something of the spirit of the last few days when opening London Craft Week on Wednesday, he evoked the ‘relaxed fluidity’ of the happiness of a maker at work or the hard-to-pin down but very human relationship a craftsman has with the material he is shaping, carving or blowing.
But maybe best I leave the last words to two people I met while zigzagging across London. Ndidi, a creative from an ad agency who told me: ‘From today I am a collector. I just had no idea it was so easy or affordable to buy or commission such beautiful things from such talented artists’. And Jake, a twenty-something city-type who said wryly; ‘it’s a bit embarrassing how little I knew or thought about the difference between hyped-up high end stuff and these (cradling a pair of half-finished shoes). Never again..’
Previous Newsletters with top picks of the week
10 May 2015- Robin Wood
9 May 2015-Fashion
8 May 2015- Designers
7 May 2015- Daniel Charny
7 May 2015- Peter Bazalgette
4 May 2015- Frances Sorrell
29 April 2015- Grant Gibson
21 April 2015- Charles Saumarez Smith