Thursday, 30 December 2010

Museum of Everything


On Thursday 23rd December, The Curious Eye interrupted our Christmas preparations to visit The Museum of Everything’s 3rd exhibition, with the knowledge that it was to close the next day. The visit was a mix of emotions, thrilling and exciting to see the fabulous collection of granddaddy of brit art Peter Blake , but there was also a twinge of sadness as it was too late to pass on news of this gem. We knew our fans would LOVE this show.

Today however we discovered due to public demand the show has been extended for 5 weeks from the 5th of Jan. We suggest you all make the pilgrimage ASAP !

Thursday, 11 November 2010

El Soumaie : Akmem Hand Made Cloths


Anwar Ayed Ghobran doesn't know exactly how long his family has been weaving on these looms, a least as far back as his grandfather, but I would guess many generations before that. I spotted a loom through an open doorway after we visited has ramshakled fabric shop, of course I couldn't resist a tour.








Based in the Nile side town of Akhmen in Upper Egypt, about 250 km north of Luxor, this technique of weave has obviously remained the same since the mists of time. I'm no weave expert but the amazing way of storing the warp on these enormous bobbins is something I have never seen before.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Objets n' Art - Chez Sorrell


Have you ever wondered what would happen if an antiques dealer with artistic leanings married an artist with a penchant for collecting? And they moved to the seaside?


Well, gentle reader, wonder no more.


Regular visitors of this blog will be familiar with the names of Steve and Edele Sorrell as being one of our favorite vendors at Spitalfields Market. Their stall is always guaranteed to be filled with delightful objects, always displayed in a most creative fashion, just waiting to be taken home for a modest fee.


Which is why I was very excited to receive an invitation to visit their home in the charming seaside town of Felpham. To say the least, I was not disappointed.


'Eclectic' is a horribly overused word nowadays, but there really is no other way to describe the Sorrell's taste. Minimalist art sits next to ornate Victoriana, strict Modernist forms live happily next to groovy sixties dolls.


It's a thoroughly personal mix - but one that never looks overwrought or affected.


For me, the star attractions were the two art pieces by Bob and Roberta Smith - a perfect combination of all the things that the Sorrell's love. These pieces take found objects, hand made signs, and a quirky sense of humour and elevate them to a higher level.


With Edele's training as an artist and Steve's love of old things working together, this is as much an artistic installation as a home. It's like a gallery that you can live in - with the art and objects ever changing and evolving. A thoroughly stimulating and inspiring place to visit.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Better than Brimfield, Lilles' 'Grande Braderie'


After ploughing through endless blogposts on the marvels of Brimfield , we thought it was time to blow our own trumpet a bit. Well not exactly our own but that of our dear French neighbours. I visited northern Frances’ ‘Grande Braderie de Lille’ which is held every year over the first weekend in September and literally takes over the whole town for about 48 hours. It really is a must for all those lovers of French linens, pastel enamels and all those other typically ‘frogie’ items, that make Paris’ flea market a must on any visit to the Capital.


For this post I’ve focused in on all the fantastic graphics and patterns on offer. I was travelling by train so was not able to make any major purchases, but looking back at all these photos is almost as satisfying.









Monday, 6 September 2010

Eyes on the Pies


There are certain things that are so self-evident, it hardly seems worth talking about them.

The sun is hot. Water is wet. Enamel pans are lovely things. All of these things are pretty obvious to me.

After all, what's not to love about enamel pans? They're classic pieces of design, incredibly hard wearing and practical, and add a charming burst of colour to any kitchen.


I've lost count of the number of times that I've used the phrase 'enamel pan colours' to describe a certain mid-century palette. Those milky tones that are so much more vibrant than pastels, but which still have a classic English feel to them. Blues, creams, minty greens - these are the sort of colours that make me want to pop on my slippers, warm up some milk for my Ovaltine and settle down with some A A Milne.

Which is why I was confused (yet thrilled) to come across these amazing enamel pie dishes in a completely new set of enamel pan colours. Chocolate, avocado and tangerine? Sacrilege!


Yet strangely alluring...One of the most exciting colour ranges I've seen in a long time. And also handy for co-ordinating pies. Which makes me wonder - what would chocolate, avocado or tangerine pies actually taste like?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Fluro Food


Saw these eye popping popadams being cooked in the market yesterday. As each little pink disk was dropped into bubbling fat it would burst into these lurid crispy snacks.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Nepalese Handloom Blankets


These woolen blankets are woven by the Gurung tribes people they are known as Rari. They are probably the oldest recorded export from Nepal. Trade with India has been noted as far back as the 3rd century ad.


I was lucky discover a little shop selling them in Kathamndu and a have purchased one. They are hand woven in strips then stitched together and are fabulously heavy somewhere between a rug and blanket.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Undesigner Furniture


I have to admit, I'm something of a design snob. An inverted design snob, that is.

The minute that I find out that a piece of furniture that I am admiring is by a 'name designer' or 'collectable', I immediately lose interest and move on. Mostly because those pieces are out of my price range, but also because 'designer' pieces, by their very nature, aren't unique. Having an original Le Corbusier Chaise Longue may signal your great taste and wealth, but with thousands of them in circulation, it's hardly a reflection of a singular vision. (See? I told you I was a snob).

However, when it comes to a beautiful piece of design that has no pedigree, background or provenance - I'm all ears. In fact, if the object happens to have been crafted without much of a conscious design - better still.

Here are three examples of what I mean. All come from Spitalfields Antique Market.


This little treasure was found at Andrew Coram's stall - who couldn't tell me much about it. Apparently it came from a house filled with props - but there's no indication of how it came into existence. I've never seen anything quite like it.

I particularly love the 'Eiffel' style construction, and the faded yellow/red colourway. Take that, Ray and Charles Eames!


And speaking of excellent modernist design couples, Steve and Edele Sorrell (aka the Eames of Bognor), sourced this simple yet effective picnic table for me.


The real beauty is in its elegant way of folding up. The perfect way to travel in style.


Finally - a 'copyist's stand' from Jamie at Fish island Antiques. Not only very practical for transcribing music or copying documents - scanners are so bourgeois, non?- but also a gorgeous piece of wooden sculpture.

Big names (and the big prices they fetch) are all very well, but for me, 'Undesigner furniture' is a far more satisfying and soulful way to kit out your home.

Friday, 30 July 2010



When we visited the world famous Central/St Martins art college degree show a few weeks back there was no that much that caught our curious eyes. The project however clearly stood out for its clever aesthetic and beautiful craftmanship.


The designer Sung Kug Kim describes the project as a 'more enjoyable and artistic way of transformation of everyday product into an art' with which we couldn't agree more. Well done Sung, you brought a smile to our faces.