The Last Post

In the last month before Christmas I had a little run on Global Treasury Lightboxes. In the last few weeks I’ve sent out eight lightboxes, some of which were made in bespoke colours and some were from my standard stock. It’s been such a rush I only managed to get a couple of quick snaps as the last two were being packaged up for dispatch.

2015 has been a very busy year and it’s seemed to get more frenetic as the year came to an end, so it was with relief that I took the last batch of retail orders down to the Post Office on the last posting day and closed down shop for Christmas.



We are open!

After a very long set up this weekend, Designed | Crafted is finally open for business!

The set up was slightly traumatic, involving a late night furniture set up on Saturday night, a towed car and a midnight trip to the Hackney car pound and then a fourteen hour styling session yesterday to get the space looking right.

I managed to get a few snaps of the space before we left at midnight, but it was looking lovely.

Come along to the Private View tomorrow night (Tuesday 16th December) from 7-9pm.

Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery, 24 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DU

See more details of our ten artists at


Christmas Baubles

Last weekend we put up our Christmas tree. I thought I’d leave my family with some festive frivolity before heading off to West Dean for the week, so I booked them a session to blow glass Christmas baubles with Michael Ruh, our neighbour and local glass blower.

Michael’s studio is a lovely space in a warren of studios down a little blink-and-you’d-miss-it alley between an Indian takeaway and a bookies in Tulse Hill. We were welcomed by Michael’s wife Natascha who showed us the three options for the glass baubles – a spiral, a speckled or a colour field bauble. They would be blown from glass that had been rolled in granular glass frit which would give them their colour. My son chose a silvery yellow and blue for a spiral bauble and my husband chose an reddish orange and white frit for what I realised, resignedly, was going to be an Arsenal-themed bauble.

Then Michael demonstrated how he gathered the glass from the furnace, trimming it with shears, shaping it with a block and beginning to blow air into it to trap a bubble inside the glass. More heating in the furnace and then the hot gather of glass was rolled in the frit before being heated again to melt it in.

Isaac blowing glassThen came the fun part where Michael got each of them to stand on a raised platform ready to blow down the blowpipe while Michael’s assistant shaped the growing bubble of glass in a mold.The bubble was tapped off and a hanging loop was fashioned from a blob of viscous glass placed on top. The finished bauble was marked up with an identifying number and placed in a kiln for annealing over the next 24 hours.

I left my son with instructions to pick up the baubles from Natascha while I was away and I loved seeing the results.



Wintery West Dean

This has been a busy last few weeks. Packing large trade orders has given way to the packaging up of loads of little parcels for my retail sales. I’ve got three huge boxes of stock for taking around local events in the run up to Christmas, and of course I’ve been preparing new work for our big Christmas show coming up, Designed | Crafted.

And somewhere in there I’ve had to squeeze four days of teaching down at West Dean, which is where I am currently, typing up blogposts at 6am in an empty computer suite!

In all the craziness I was fully expecting to have forgotten something from the long list of materials and tools that I bring each time I come down to West Dean. By the evening of Day 1, I realised with consternation that my students had worked their way through my entire stock of clear glass in a single day! And we had three days of the course left. There was nothing for it but an overnight trip back to London to pick up more glass – frustrating but unavoidable as sending large pieces of glass by post was not going to work.

So I set out that night, leaving the Christmassy cosiness of the college with its roaring fire and its twinkling tree and venturing out into the chilly night. I stayed the night in London and set my alarm for 5.30am to make sure I had enough time to make it back in time to meet my students for breakfast back at West Dean.

Where the night before had been chilly, the morning was freezing and I left in darkness, with the tyre tracks glistening in the headlights on the icy roads. I wrapped myself in a blanket and I must have looked pretty dishevelled as I stopped for petrol, still in darkness, on the A3.

Sunrise Landscape

And yet just as I drove into West Sussex the inky skies started lightening. The colours were seeping in with the dawn and the painted sky started warming as I drove my familiar route through the villages of the South Downs. I climbed a road winding through a wooded hill and as I crested the hill, the sky seemed almost in an instant to spill open into the full fiery sunrise. I practically did a handbrake turn into a small country lane to grab my camera and capture the moment!

A herd of gormless looking rams came to investigate as I stood at the side of the field, wrapped in my blanket, snapping away at the sky. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a spectacular sunrise, and even the local radio got in on the act, broadcasting that they would put up their listeners’ photos of the sunrise on their website. As I drove on the last part of my journey, it was absolutely joyful to see it transform itself above my head from a rich layered spectrum of colour through the trees to a colour field of puffy cloud trails in soft pink and yellow and finally, by the time I arrived at college it had cooled into a silvery sky with a low winter sun.

West Dean looked like the archetypal country house in winter scene, with a picture-perfect dusting of frost across the fields. I had arrived early for breakfast so I spent twenty minutes crunching through the fields to take more photographs. In moments like that the house at West Dean feels magical and a repository of tradition, history and memory.

Designed | Crafted Christmas

We’re really delighted to announce a new Designed | Crafted show at the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery in December.

Designed Crafted E-invite

After the success of our show during London Design Week in September, we thought we must do another show for Christmas. Being in the festive season, the emphasis of this show would naturally be a little different. Whereas we curated our last show to include a range of large gallery pieces with a sharp design edge, the new Designed | Crafted incarnation will be more of a pop up shop with a myriad of handmade gifts.

My fellow curator, Brett Manley, and I absolutely loved the process of finding new makers for the new show. We wanted more artists this time to offer a wider range of products and I think we’ve achieved a really good balance of materials with some absolutely gorgeous pieces which fulfill our manifesto of curating objects which lie at the boundary of craft and design.

We have also brought together a pretty dynamic group of artists. We’ve discovered some exciting new makers whose graduation work has attracted a buzz and mixed them in with some well established artists with a loyal following. For the full list of artists, check out our new Designed | Crafted website.

The pop up show will launch on the 15th of December and it will stay open right until Christmas Eve for any last minute East London shoppers. We will have two late Christmas shopping evenings until 9pm, and we would cordially invite you to join us at the Private View between 7 and 9pm on 16th December.

Do get in contact if you would like to come along, we’d love to see you there.

Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery, 24 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DU
15-24 December, Mon-Sun 11am-7pm

Love West Dulwich

I tend to avoid fairs and markets. Not as a punter, of course, I love going to them, I just don’t do them. Maybe because I’m too pampered in my nice warm studio, or too snobby about selling anywhere except a sleek gallery or gorgeous giftshop. But I was in a local shop last week where I saw a flyer for a West Dulwich Christmas Fair and on a whim I contacted the organiser. I got lucky; a stallholder had just dropped out, so the stall was mine.


I dragged along my son Isaac to help out, on the promise of bringing comfy chairs and buying him a lamb curry for lunch from Indigo, our favourite local Indian restaurant. And we ended up having a fantastic day!

Being the latest latecomer we were given the end stall but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I’m a seasoned exhibitor at trade shows in places like Earls Court and Olympia where the journey between the car and the stand is usually logistically challenging and inevitably interminable. So somehow it felt wrong to have parked right next to our West Dulwich stall and unpacked the car within five minutes flat!

But the best part was that we sold glass like hotcakes, so when I sold out of a couple of lines and our money box was bursting with cash, I could even nip back to the studio to restock. It was a cold day but the winter sun held all day and we had wrapped up warm. And it was a pleasure to sell to local people, some of whom I recognised as Open House customers.

Fair in evening

As the light began to fade in the late afternoon, we talked about coming back for the next fair in May. It felt like a really satisfying day so we’ll definitely be back!

Early Christmas

I always love the aftermath of opening my studio and house to visitors. After the stress of the preparation, the house is transformed into a zen-like gallery and the studio becomes a wonderful organised space with clear surfaces and tidy work areas. Needless to say, this is not its normal state of being! And invariably it doesn’t last long after the final visitor has left, but for a day or two, I float around feeling contentedly on top of things.

Last weekend I held a Christmas pop up shop. It was the first time I’ve opened up at this time of year and I really enjoyed it. Though my visitor numbers were not as high as my May Open House it seemed as though everyone was buying, so I had the enjoyment of having time to chat to visitors along with the benefit of lots of sales.

I also appreciated having a couple of neighbouring houses opening up at the same time, as it provided a mini Xmas shopping experience for our visitors. This will definitely be on my calendar for next year, and I may even manage a little private viewing evening on the Friday to catch those early shoppers.