Five Good Things: what to see, discover and do this March
In like lion, out like a lamb, they say. So while we wait for the month to milden, why not perk things up with one – or all – of our cultural to-dos?
‘Curtains by Post’ collection, now for sale from East London Cloth
East London Cloth’s Gemma Moulton’s story of a slow-burning romance with her Hackney home was one of your favourite features last year. It’s not hard to see why: working her crafty magic on the higgledy-piggledy flat, the seamstress transformed it into a treasure trove of texture and, of course, textiles.
When her physical shop opened on Vyner Street in December, we – and much the rest of London, doubtless – marvelled at the mass of lovely household linens and fabrics-by-the-metre on offer. “The location was no accident,” Gemma tells us. “It offers a nostalgic step back in time to the days when the street was at the heart and soul of Bethnal Green’s rag trade.” Something was missing however… At least, that’s what Gemma felt, as she began working on her new ‘Curtains by Post’ collection.
These new mail-order drapes – both ready to buy and made to measure – cover every base, whether you need a skirt for your countertop, a heavier linen number with a long drop for a bed or window, or a diaphanous café curtain that’s perfectly à point. Guided by her grandmother’s advice to “make things that people need”, the range is “free from theatrics, frills and fancy,” Gemma explains. “It’s a celebration of everyday authentic craftsmanship.” No wonder we like it.
To purchase, visit East London Cloth’s website.
Hare’s Tail printing workshop, Hole and Corner, Bruton, Somerset, 10-11 March
If, like us, you read about Speronella Marsh’s hand-printed linens last year and thought: “I wish I could do that”, we’ve got some good news for you. On 10 and 11 March, at Hole and Corner in Bruton, Somerset, the Hare’s Tail founder will be leading two woodblock-printing workshops – perfect for punters wanting to give it a go.
Limited by the shop/studio’s relatively diminutive footprint, the classes will be enjoyably small, ensuring plenty of hands-on teaching. Students will be instructed in the art of carving blocks – taking nature as a cue – and printing, first on to paper and then linen sheets, upcycling them into four beautiful placemats to take home.
To book, click here.
‘Georgian Arcadia’, by Roger White, published 14 March
We at Inigo talk a lot about our love of Georgian houses: their graceful proportions and sense of space, their timeless elegance. But what about the adjunct architecture built within the Georgian landscape that was designed, with equal dedication, to accompany them? Roger White’s new book, Georgian Arcadia: Architecture for the Park and Garden, investigates at exactly that.
Published by Yale University Press on 14 March, the book looks at the celebrated architects of the 18th century that explored the limits of the Georgian genre, among them William Kent, Robert Adam and John Vanbrugh. There are more obvious (though no less lovely) specimens between its covers – temples and summerhouses, eyecatchers and towers – but there are also more offbeat ones: dressed-up deer pens, dovecots and dog kennels, ambitious boathouses and barns. Our favourite might just be the immense castellated citadel built in the grounds of Badminton by Thomas Wright… for cows.
Yet despite any apparent folly, each example is appraised as it should be; White looks not just at design but function and cultural impact to assess their sway on the development of the style. Scholarly yet approachable – and lavishly illustrated with 290 colour plates and black-and-white illustrations – this is a title for enthusiasts as much as experts.
For more information and to order, visit Yale UP’s website.
SPAB’s Old House Eco course, Bristol Old Vic, 18 March
Readers of our Thoughtful Living series – and especially the one on energy efficiency – will know we’ve a lot of time for the brilliant work of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). The organisation, which was founded by William Morris and Philip Webb, is unsurprisingly something of a lodestar when it comes to learning about the ways we can look after heritage architecture for the future, “from cottages to castles and from churches to cathedrals”. As well as publishing its advice comprehensively online, it runs courses and workshops, giving even more practicable counsel.
This month, on 18 March, the Grade I-listed Coopers’ Hall at Bristol Old Vic will be hosting SPAB’s Old House Eco course, a one-day event designed for both professionals in the building biz and homeowners with an interest in making old buildings energy efficient, low carbon and comfortable “without devaluing the character or integrity of the building”. The course will cover walls, roofs, floors and more. And if you can’t make it, we highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the Old House Eco Handbook instead.
For details, visit the SPAB website.
Photography: © Matthew Slocombe
Art History in Focus talk series, 21-31 March
While mooching around galleries and art fairs has thankfully made a comeback post-pandemic, one lockdown hangover we’re happy to hang on to is the continued prevalence of online offerings, whether it’s at-home exercise classes, Zoom life-drawing lessons or, in the case of Art History in Focus, some thoroughly good lectures.
The talk series, which this year runs 21-31 March, was devised in 2020 by London Art Week (running, IRL, from the end of June). Its success then was understandable, but it’s inspiring to see that the appetite for such idea is undiminished even in our lockdown-free landscape. While a couple of the talks are ticketed and in-person only (and surely worth a visit) the majority, all hosted by a dealer, curator or a collector wishing to share their passion with the rest of the art world, can be watched by anyone, anywhere – in which lies, of course, their broad appeal.
Among the subjects this year are William Morris’ Kelmscott Chaucer (signalling Art History in Focus’ first lecture from a rare-book dealer), and the way in which young dealers help influence the market, not least by moving away from traditional big-hitters towards overlooked artists. We’ll be tuning in; you should too.
For details, visit the London Art Week website.
Shown: Jessica Dismorr, Four Tall Trees, c1911. Philip Mould & Co
- Home Improvements: paint magic with decorative artist Meg BoscawenPursuits
- A Maker’s Story: frills, fairytales and folklore with textile designer Cesca DvorakPursuits
- A Maker’s Story: Natasha Hulse on communicating nature’s complexities in exquisite appliquéPursuits
- Five Good Things: what to taste, see and do this FebruaryPursuits
- The Antiquarian: Katharine Pole on antique textilesPursuits