Musing from a country window

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

As I sit here and look at the rose arch in the front garden, I am off in my head planning my next few outings to London, Chichester and Salisbury. There are 3 exhibitions that I really want to see; The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, Robin and Lucienne Day exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery and Constable and Salisbury at the Salisbury Museum.

I am very excited to inform you all that one of our artist/designers at raw dice Francisca Prieto is exhibiting at the Summer Exhibition. We are lucky enough to showcase Francisca’s limited edition character prints, which are inspired by the origins of the contemporary Latin alphabet.

Francisca Prieto Limited Edition Character Prints Box Framed

Characters 8 and 1 Limited Edition Box Framed Prints - Francisca Prieto

Francisca’s work ‘Between Folds/British Birds‘ has been selected from over 11,000 entries to be hung at the Royal Academy! Francisca has been working on a series of ‘Between Folds’, where she finds old books and through a process intricate experimentation, creates a work of art. Hence providing a new narrative and a new lease of life to these old publications. Francisca is highly collectable in the art world, where her art is snapped up by international art collectors. The ‘Between Folds/British Birds‘ is already sold! You can find her work in the Saatchi Gallery and we are very proud to have her work at raw dice. We have had 10 prints beautifully box framed and  ready to hang up.

We were particularly drawn to these due to the numerical interpretations. As we were deciding on our company name and logo, we envisaged the throwing of the dice and the chances it represents. If we want to get philosophical – life throws an infinite number of chances ones’ way, the trick is to capture the right number!

As I mentioned before, I have a weakness for textiles. I am an aesthetic at heart, I recently went to ‘The Cult of Beauty’ exhibition at the V&A. It covers the Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 in art and design. Aesthetic artists, designers, poets and collectors promoted the idea of ‘art for art’s sake’ and the idea of ‘house beautiful’ became the standard for all Victorians aspiring for a cultured life. It was truly inspirational to see the iconic works of Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Leighton, Whistler, Willam Morris, Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde. Images of peacock feathers galore (natures own beautiful display of courtship), my head was spinning with the paintings of beautiful pre-Raphaelite women. The image of Pavonia, Frederic Leighton, is quite haunting. A raven haired Spanish beauty amongst images of Elizabeth Siddal, the muse and wife of Rossetti.

The exhibitions and collections at the V&A are always worth a visit. For anybody that has the same fascination with the V&A as I have, I recommend you read A S Byatt’s ‘The Children’s Book. It follows the adventures of  various families during the turn of the century and part of the narrative is set around the South Kensington Museum (later named the Victoria and Albert Museum). It is a book rich with descriptions of works of art – especially pottery.

I am planning to visit the Constable exhibition and the Pallant House Gallery next week. I will keep you updated!

Charleston House

June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have been dying to visit Charleston House for years and finally got there recently. On a windy Sunday, we approached the house via a long and bumpy lane. Charleston House is the home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It became a country retreat for the Bloomsbury group of artists, writers and intellectuals. The house is lavishly decorated by these artists and their friends.

The garden room

Walking through each room, I was imagining how to transform my little cottage in the style of Charleston. They painted on almost every surface, the walls, the tables, chairs, fire surrounds etc. The colour schemes were bold, yet never garrish. The style is very freehand and the results are very pleasing to the eye. I have totally fallen in love with the place. My current bedside reading is the book of Charleston by Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson – descendants of the Vanessa Bell. I am very intrigued by their lifestyle and hooked on Quentin’s recollections of his childhood. The economist Maynard Keynes visited, as well as T.S. Eliot, not to mention Quentin’s aunt/Vanessa’s sister Virginia Woolf, amongst many other great figures of their time – how amazing to be surrounded by so much creativity!

Luckily for me Charleston Shop are selling fabrics designed by Duncan Grant in 1931 – West Wind, Grapes and Queen Mary (designed in 1937 for the first class lounge of the Queen Mary). I cannot decide which of these fabrics I want. Who am I kidding? All of them, of course!

Grapes fabric designed by Duncan Grant 1931

Grapes fabric designed by Duncan Grant 1931

Westwind fabric designed by Duncan Grant 1931 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Queen Mary designed by Duncan Grant 1937

The Queen Mary designed by Duncan Grant 1937

I do have a weakness for collecting fabric and not doing much with it for a while! My friend Wayua and I went to the V&A Quilts exhibition last year, where I bought (many) limited addition fabrics, with the purpose of making a quilt. As yet no quilt has been produced, but any moment now, I will do it… honest!

I am currently working on a design to transform my fireplace, which at the moment is painted white. I have never been a huge fan of the Swedish minimalist look. It looks great in other people’s houses, however, I collect far too much on my travels to ever be accused of being a minimalist! There is always a bowl or plate, painting, fabric etc. etc. that I find too hard to resist. I have many weakness in the purchasing department, books being one of the many on the list. I do recommend reading the book of Charleston House and then visiting it. I am hoping to visit Charleston again this summer and feasting my eyes upon this artistic house and garden for another time.

Charleston House

Charleston House - Outside of Garden Room

Charleston House from walled garden, with the Studios to the right


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