ceramics and artisan

i am always looking for  beautiful ceramics – have a look at the delicate beakers and jugs by James and tilla waters. I love the bold designs of Silvia K. i also like the simplicity of the creamer jug from another country.  love the colourful blue jugs by reiko kaneko  – jugs are something i can’t resist and i have jugs in all sizes and colours, some old, some new!

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another of my favourite ceramicists is Jacqui Roche,  who makes lovely cream porcelain ware, including this lovely porcelain rose.  Jacqui also runs workshops for adults and children, learning to use the wheel and glazing pots – she’s inspirational.  Fliff Carr is also a brilliant ceramics and teacher – her fine delicate pieces make lovely gifts. 

there seem to be very few artisan shops left in london, i find that its essential to touch and feel the things that i want to buy and especially the scale – you lose all the beauty in a photograph online.  fortunately there are a few shops remaining that still show interesting hand made ceramics – my favourites are listed.

My new discovery is Kobo in a little alley in Norwich, beautifully presented, and more rustic and earthy coloured pots, you can’t leave without purchasing something. mint is an inspiring shop selling beautiful ceramics and artisan products.    egg is another source of inspiration,  no website, but worth the journey.  igigi in brighton is another favourite place of mine – and definitely makes going to brighton worth it. merci in paris is another shop worth all the travelling to – its got to be a must on your list of paris shopping – merci also gives its profits to charity.Eclectic is typically japanese , very white, minimal, very delicate in style but like a breath of fresh air, it stands out amongst the usual chain shops around town.  of course there is frank in whitstable,  abigail aherne in islington has an unusual choice of ceramics.  native and co have lovely selection of Japanese gifts and homewares and momosan near London Fields also is a lovely shop to visit for gifts. 

fliff carr

have always loved  fliff’s beautiful pots, so its such a pleasure to be learning ceramics with her.  she is so knowledgeable, but gentle and nurturing, so there is no pressure to achieve, just time to experiment and discover.  her classes run in 6 week blocks, usually there are just 2 of you, and you learn everything from hand forming,  decorating, making moulds and i even had a go at the wheel – which i must admit was much harder to control than i envisaged.   its such a joy to see your work progress from a lump of clay to a useable pot or plate.  you need a lot of patience but its very therapeutic and meditative and such a surprise to see how your pieces progress as they go through all the drying, firing, glazing processes.  here are my first couple of pieces that i made.

if you are interested in trying out a session of pottery, then see ‘Hey Clay’, from 7- 9th April, run by the crafts council.  one of my favourite pottery shops is in marylebone – gallery eclectic – such beautiful pieces.


my top 10 gift ideas

what to buy each year becomes a dilemma – here is my list of what usually works for most of the family.

1. everyman  cinema vouchers – i get the older one a ritzy cinema membership as she lives in brixton,  2. tate or v & a membership or any gallery subscription – older kids seem to have preferred the Barbican and now you can get the museums association membership that i wrote about a few days ago , 3. ticket to the theatre, maybe somewhere unusual like Wiltons or Sam Wanamaker theatre, 4. daunts book voucher, 5. anything from aesop, ten or beauty mart for those teenage girls, 6.  anything from the wonderful art shop cornelissen 7.  food gifts from la fromagerie, 8.  jewellery from sweet pea or Peppi Taylor, 9.  ceramics from the new craftsmen or fliff carr, 10. candles from cire trudon and one extra that i would love –  a course in ceramics or mandarin or watercolour – there are so many courses on offer at city lit and the neighbouring adult colleges.

Robert and Alfie’s favourite shop for classic  men’s clothes with style,  visit  J.Simons  shop on chiltern street –  it brings together a handpicked selection of American, Continental and British brands, classic loafers, harrington jackets, jeans and even includes a few vintage pieces – perfect if you want to find your male partner or friend a gift.  i love the pendleton shirts!  you go in there wishing that they did the same things in womens sizes.

struggling to find presents for men, go along to the aesop shop in soho – their products are all plant based, high quality and specially made to benefit the skin and absolutely smell beautiful. last year i bought a foaming shaving balm for my husband with a steel dish for him to whip up the foam with his brush – he is very old fashioned and still likes to wet shave.  a lot of men hate bits and pieces, collective memoirs, so finding something to buy them  can become a bit of a challenge.  a guess this means that you have a limited list;   here are a few places that i know robert will always be pleased to receive from  -any products from  kiehls,  scarves and silk handkerchieves frompeckham rye, vintage books and out of print books  from the numerous antiquarian book shops on cecil court, poetry books from  daunts, I still think that they have the best choice of books, and the re issues of classics such as Agatha Christie and Dickens are so beautifully presented that they can be the start of a collection, travel notebooks from smythsons – you can even have your own initials embossed on the beautiful leather covers, margaret howell for vases and accessories, rapha for absolutely anything cycling, brooks for classic cycling bags,chapmans for classic bags.

alfie has now gone from the great basic uniqulo boxers to the supremely quality cotton boxers from sunspel – their cotton is just lovely.  tidy street store has a selection of sunspel items, as well as lots of lovely other gift ideas, including candles by tom dixon.


ceramic course

just started a ceramic course at the working mens college – i did 3 weeks, but didn’t imagine how fast 3 hours would fly by.  its all about learning to handle the different materials in the begin, so you learn to roll, shape and sculpt small pieces, then once its dry, you can paint, glaze and  then your item becomes yet another thing – its all trial and error.  my favourite ceramics are by Jacqui Roche, james and tila, Fliff Carr, Bricket Davda, Anne Musso.  – one day i hope to get on the wheel, that should be exciting.

native and co

love the beautiful home accessories from native and co, especially the beaten copper jug – they make beautiful presents for the person who seems to have  everything.  a pile of small serving saucers, a couple of glasses or a jug – make an alternative to the usual bath stuff;  this year i have bought bowls from Jacqui Roche, lace plates from Fliff Carr, enamel jugs from cornercopia and glasses from labour and wait  – just need to sort out who gets what.

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if you are passing marylebone , drop into the little gallery eclectic and see the wondeful ceramics by shinobu hashimoto.   i love japanese ceramics, but there seems to be less shops in london selling them now;  i used to buy lots from the oriental centre that was in colindale, but now thats gone, its increasingly difficult.   designers guild still carries a few interesting ceramics, from colourful tableware to vases – always a good place to find gifts.  frank in whitstable also stocks lovely ceramics – i use beakers for flowers picked from my garden.

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i always buy the lovely delicate plates by fliff carr as presents  – too beautiful to use though, they are lovely propped up on any shelf.


julia’s jewels

after launching a successful design company Tyrell Katz, Julia has now moved onto making beautiful ceramics.  Her inspiration and inflluences are colour and her jewel like palettes are rich and earthy – her plates are both practical and art pieces. i love the long strips, they can be hung in groups or used for sushi plates.

now that we have lost the Victoria as our venue, Julia has kindly offered her home in Primrose Hill for our annual xmas sale.   there will be lots of interesting gifts and mulled wine and nibbles, plus 10% of all sales will go towards our favourite children’s charity, Kids Company.  its always sad to hear that there are lots of children who will not be enjoying xmas at home, due to unforeseen circumstances – so lets all help as much as we can – it may not seem much to us, but it means everything to those children.


so apart from ceramics by Julia Landes and Fliff Carr, we will be showing a selection of jewellery by pearl and queenie, Rachel Eardley and Nicola Hart – all very different in style, but all so covetable.   pearl and queenie have also created some organic natural candles for sale;   there will be homemade chutneys and jams by Alex –  queen of chutneys, an array of unusual sourced gifts by nonesuchthings and of course prints and cards by myself.  we also have a limited number of homespun alpaca socks and beautiful knitwear by kids wear ilovegorgeous at special prices;   spread the love will be offering tasty bites to eat, along with mulled wine and mince pies, so come along tomorrow, from 12.30 to 7pm at 77 King Henry’s Road, London NW3 – we are a short walk from regents park road shops.  it would be lovely to meet you.   for more info and directions see our lovely merchants blog. 

fliff carr

found another exquisite gift idea, these beautiful porcelain plates with little birds on from circus in brixton village.  they are made by fliff carr.

there are lots of other beautiful items available from her website, but circus is a great visiting place to find other great gifts and pop for something delicious to eat in one of the many eateries that have popped up in brixton village.  i noticed that there is now a new deli there too.

we are lucky to have a few pieces by fliff  for our xmas sale next week friday 29th november in Primrose Hill.



found another exquisite gift idea, these beautiful porcelain plates with little birds on from circus in brixton village.  they are made by fliff carr.

there are lots of other beautiful items available from her website, but circus is a great visiting place to find other great gifts and pop for something delicious to eat in one of the many eateries that have popped up in brixton village.