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Five Good Things: what to do, see, book and support this May

We’ve had April’s showers, now it’s time for May’s flowers – we hope. But if the weather disappoints, there’s plenty else to do besides. Let our monthly roundup guide you through…

Five Good Things: what to do, see, book and support this May

‘Sensational Beings’, Felt Collections, 4-7 May

Those in search of beautifully made one-off homewares, hurry to Safehouse Peckham where, from 4-7 May, Felt – a platform founded to promote artisanal makers – will be hosting its latest selling exhibition. ‘Sensational Beings’ explores sentience in all its forms, from mythical monsters to spirited djinns, and features work in diverse mediums.

Pots by Tom Norris join photographs by Casey Moore, while other offerings come courtesy of Fatima Duke Pratt, Mercedes Workman, Molly van Amerongen and many more, all set against Safehouse’s artfully scruffy rooms, which only serve to make the works shine brighter.

Expect the unexpected here, where pieces don’t just hang in the usual places, but are dotted round the building on windowsills and mantelpieces, in corners and fireplaces. Felt’s founders, Tintin Macdonald and Francesca Wilson, hope that this non-traditional immersive approach will help visitors discover new ways of looking at and living with art. Visit Felt for details.

London Craft Week, 9-15 May

And – if it’s not a contradiction in terms – now for some craft on a larger scale. London Craft Week takes place this month, running 9-15 May in venues across the capital. To celebrate its eighth iteration, the festival is running a programme of more than 300 events, from workshops and panel talks to studio tours and exhibitions.

Fashion fans should consider the V&A’s collaborations with tailoring experts, while interiors buffs will no doubt feel the pull of Pimlico Road, where the cognoscenti will surely gather for Chelsea Textiles’ embroidery demonstration.

Not that you need it, but the diversity of LCW’s roster offers a robust reminder of the diversity of craft beyond the hand-hewn. Yes, there are those going back to basics with sustainable wood whittling, but there are also companies creating digital dresses to sell as NFTs. Radical stuff. Visit London Craft Week for details.

Save In Casa Paboy

Almanac readers will remember Paboy Bojang, the Naples-based cushion-cover maker behind In Casa Paboy, who we profiled last year. The romance of his ruffled confections took the interiors world by storm and Paboy, a refugee from Gambia’s dictatorship, saw his creations being bought up by every sofa-owner worth their salt. When we spoke to him Paboy told us how his cottage industry, begun when he was denied a work permit in Italy, gave him a purpose in life. He has always used his story – and his cushions – to raise awareness of the good that asylum seekers can bring to Europe.

Now, however, with rising living costs, increased tariffs and international taxes on the up, In Casa Paboy is struggling to make ends meet, even with the help of employees Blessed and Ibra, who has supported through their own migrant process. He wants to continue to “structure the business to function as a social enterprise and a social collective,” he says, but he needs help. “With no network or family to rely on Europe, I have only all of you who have supported me so far to ask for help.” Those willing can give a small one-off donation, make a regular contribution, input investment, or give their energy, time and pro-bono expertise. Visit In Casa Paboy for details, or head straight to Paboy’s JustGiving page.

‘Forbidden Fruit’, Colnaghi, until 24 June

We’re all familiar with the still lifes of the old masters, but what about the women’s? That’s the question Colnaghi, the historic gallery in London’s St James’, asks in its latest show. ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is devoted to Renaissance and Baroque works in the genre, produced by female artists who have been relatively overlooked in favour of their male counterparts.

Marvel in the fleshy fullness of Fede Galizia’s cornucopia of garden produce, delight in the delicacy of Dutch artist Rachel Ruysch’s portrayal of Holland’s famous blooms bursting forth from a vase, and celebrate the fact they’re getting the recognition they deserve. Runs until 24 June. Visit Colnaghi for details.

A Celebration of Roses, Petersham Nurseries, 16 May

A rose is a rose is a rose, right? Well, not really, says Petersham Nurseries’ resident rose expert, Martin Ogden. Some variants are, if not finer than the rest, then better loved, which is why he’s decided to spotlight Petersham’s favourites in its day course dedicated to the quintessentially English flower on 16 May. Buy a ticket to A Celebration of Roses, part of the Richmond nursery’s School of Garden Inspiration series, and you can expect an introduction to the most splendid of the species, before getting a lesson in how to arrange them both in vases and for tablescapes – take notes ahead of your summer soirées. Then, after a seasonal Italian-inspired lunch, you’ll learn how to make jam and harissa using the perfumed petals. Perfection. Visit Petersham Nurseries for details.

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