Friday, 20 February 2015

Leaving London

My last day in London was a whirlwind of activity, trying to fit in the last "must-do" things on my bucket list.  As my plane didn't leave until the evening I had the opportunity to visit a couple more places before I left. First stop was "Alfies" off the Edgeware Road.  Many of you know I am a big fan of mid-century design - textiles, furniture and ceramics mostly, and this mecca of antiques has been in existence for over 30 years. Alfies is housed in the former Jordan's department store in Church Street, so encompasses four floors with over 100 dealers selling antiques.
Alfies Antique Market, Church Street, Marylebone
One of the treasures I found was up on the third floor, humorously called "Naphthalene Textiles" and run by Carole Collier.
Carole Collier from Naphthalene Textiles
Carole and partner June sell a lot of vintage textiles, laces, haberdashery, jewellery and clothing and as soon as I walked into their shop my eyes spied a lovely 50's dress which just had to come home with me. However, to get to Carole's store on the top floor I had to bypass the most fantastic collections of mid-century furniture and lighting I have ever seen in one place, so it was just unbearable for me not to be able to look seriously with intention to buy. If you have ever been to my studio you know I am a sucker for retro furniture and design.
As I was just about to walk out the front door (although the place is such a rabbit-warren you could get lost in there for hours) I happened to glance to my left and did a quick double-take then a sidestep....I had walked into heaven.....well, if heaven is a shop crammed packed with the most wonderful African textiles, that is. 

Duncan's shop, Adire African Textiles on the first floor has some lovely examples of Ewe kente cloth from Ghana, Asafo flags, indigo stitch resist and dyed cloths, adire and adinkra and much, much more. Again, hard to resist buying anything but I had neither the time to look seriously with intention to add to my collection of African textiles, nor did I have the money to invest after having spent 2 weeks in London on a shoestring! Besides, I haven't yet unpacked or displayed the wonderful Ndop cloth I received from Cameroon recently, but Duncan's shop and website is now on my radar for the future!

Conscious of the time, I tore myself away from Alfies to get to my next destination - the October Gallery in Bloomsbury where a magnificent exhibition of work by El Anatsui had opened the week before. Amazingly I was allowed to take photos of the show, so here are a few to whet your appetite. And I thought I was a bit obsessive about my work....haha!

Now I am finally back in Canberra after the long flight home, and getting back into the swing of things.  Great news that Craft ACT POD has moved to The Hamlet in vibrant Braddon and I'm looking forward to seeing their latest exhibitions that opened last week in my absence.
A final thanks once again to artsACT and the ACT Government for their support of my trip to speak at the Cultural Threads symposium and book launch.

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