Here I am. Healthy, happy and…indoors. As a freelancer, I’m already pretty accustomed to working from home. I have my routine down and enjoy it fully. I’ll admit however, that the hardest part for me is the lack of socializing. As my former flatmate once said to me “You’re not an indoor dog…”
No pubs, means no quiz nights, no shows or dance parties, no fancy cocktails in Soho, no theatre, no museums, no tube. For a city built around the frequenting of pubs, this doesn’t come easy. Especially for this city, these are our community centres, our refuge after a long day, or a short day, a place to see your friends or to make new ones, a place to eat or get pissed, a space to figure out your next move or forget it entirely, a place to scream, cry, and laugh from sheer dry wit. These epicentres of social life will be missed for the foreseeable future.
All this said, we “keep calm and carry on”. I have always despised this statement, after it was overused by bookstore giants on every pencil, notebook and coffee cup nearly a decade ago. Perhaps it took living in this British city to come to appreciate it. The UK amidst all the chaos has done just that (for the most part, we aren’t above the grocery hoarding after all). After weighing the options, I have decided for the moment to remain in the UK. It took me a solid number of months to get settled and I wasn’t about to tear that down in a number of days. Things will normalize eventually, but in the meanwhile I’m keeping the faith and carrying on best as I can. We are lucky to live in the age of technology, where friends are just a screen away. On many levels, I feel this forced global pause will do some real good. We are all being called to live in the present moment like never before. While the future hangs in the balance, we can find solace in the generosity of the now. This is a gift. Rest, relax, better yourself, or don’t. There is no wrong or right way to take on quarantine. And for those who are not granted the same privilege, thank you for being so essential in this time of mass crisis.
On a brighter note, here’s a little something colourful from a couple weeks back when things were less heavy and the pandemic hadn’t fully wreaked havoc on the world we know. I present to you “Out Of The Blue” the Designer’s Guild exhibition at the Fashion And Textile Museum. Perhaps this can serve as some inspiration as we dream up the interiors we truly want, especially as we spend unprecedented amounts of time within them. In short, Designer’s Guild is a luxury home and lifestyle company started by Tricia Guild in 1970. The company is known for its rich colour palettes, plush velvets and endlessly modern floral prints. While I used to rep for a rival company years back, I have always held an admiration for their distinct style.
Also pictured below are photos from the Cecil Beaton exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. “Bright Young Things”. A spotlight on the socialites of the 20s and 30s. Very cool and fashionable bunch. What I would give to go back in time and attend one of their parties. I’m happy I was able to view it before the city shut down.
It seems to me that no matter where you are in the world, the February blues can catch ya. While we don’t have snow on the ground here in London, the humid cold completely permeates the bones. It’s moments like this I’m forever grateful I have a bathtub.
Over the past two months, I’ve had the pleasure of sewing up the new spring 2020 collection for Christopher Farr Cloth. My many years of working at Kravet made me no stranger to this sort of work. Ultimately I made up dozens of wings (essentially large curtains) and other display pieces for their various showrooms throughout North America. After months of the relentless pace of the service industry, it felt nice to be back in the world I know best, seated with my new machines and manipulating beautiful cloth. I didn’t take many photos, but the one below is a handful of the sampling I created to show the multiple colour-ways of the large wings. Christopher Farr is known for their traditional hand-printed bright, bold and large scale prints. I can just picture these textiles as living room panels, quirky upholstered furniture and fun toss cushions for the living room sofa. The possibilities are truly endless.
Now that I’ve wrapped that work, I’ve been spending time getting back into my gym routine and seeking out new opportunities. I’ve recently signed up to a London based community for seamstresses aptly named The Seam. It’s a home grown platform for seamstresses/designers to connect with potential clients in the neighbourhood and all throughout London. I’m excited to be a part of this blossoming circle and hope that it will yield some fun projects.
Otherwise, I’m just trying to make more of an effort to get out into the city and see more. Here are just a few photos of my recent escapades… A little over a week ago I visited the National Maritime Museum for an exhibition on astronomical photography and just last Friday I had my first English Tea at the Fan Museum. There is nothing like the taste of a warm scone and clotted cream and jam. Decadent and every so perfectly British. And dare I forget the tea!
Happy new year! Bonne annee! Buon anno!
I’m back at it! New year, new goals. I took a bit of a hiatus but now that we’re in 2020, I will do my best to update more. The last couple months have provided tremendous growth. Settling into a flat in South East London, getting my studio space in order and finding work. For those who I don’t converse with regularly, the month of December I spent slinging pizzas and drinks at a pub next door. I’ve been adopted into the family-run business as the token non-Italian speaker and have come to enjoy the social interaction between coworkers and clients. One of my bosses couldn’t quite pronounce my name, so he deemed me Juno. A name I’ll happily take as he explained to me the myth of Juno and that she was the wife of Zeus, queen of the gods. I could think of worse nicknames… In any case, it’s a wild little pub filled with a lifetime’s worth of collected items including a giant handmade Rhino head, three pianos, photos galore and characters of many sorts. My favourite of our clientele are two British brothers deemed “the Twins”, who pass many hours drinking Guinness and sharing laughs. Not only am I learning bits of Italian, Cockney (an East London way of speaking) is something that is slowly permeating my vocabulary. Most used is cream-crackered (completely knackered).
Moving to London has been one the best decisions I’ve ever made. While the whole process of settling in has been a bumpy one, I feel incredibly alive. It is always a risk to leave that which you know but as they say “freedom is on the other side of fear”. While I may not be doing exactly what I want to do professionally at this moment, I feel I am edging ever closer to it. My health has improved dramatically with my gym habits and creatively, inspiration is always but a short train ride away. This past week I went to Paris for the first time and it was every bit of what one would expect.
When I first stepped onto the street level, I was met with the sound of a man playing an accordion in the street. The Christmas lights shone bright and the air was filled with delicious pockets of bread and stinky cheese. Paris is every bit as magical as they say it is, even in the midst of manifestations and a strike that limited our transport. I was especially lucky to have a native Parisian show me the less seen corners of the city. Walking next to my pal in a beret, we visited thrift stores, ate traditional french cuisine, drank lots of wine and ate all the cheese! I came home with a full heart (and suitcase). Truly, I felt at home in Paris and have plans to perhaps pursue work or studies there at some point. Tout est possible!
Some highlights of my short visit were visiting L’Opéra Garnier, La Musée de Parfum, a converted 18th century hospital to artist live-in space and an embroidery exhibition from the Middle Ages. I feel incredibly inspired and am still digesting the immense beauty. Photos below!
Now that I’m home current goals include my freelance work (finishing samples for a London based textile company), gyming, visiting more museums and continuing to read and be inspired by Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water”. 2020 requires more long walks, getting more contracts that support healthy work/life balance, and creating art in whichever form that takes. This is going to be a good year… I feel it in my bones!
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