I loved this “Joseph” sweater, I bought it second hand when my daughter was a baby. I had worn it to death and washed and washed it. In the end it was so felted I got a very talented lady to knit me a new one and I made a cushion out of the original.
You will need
needle and wool
Old cushion pad
Using the seam un-picker, open up the side seams.
Cut two rectangles from the front and the back of the sweater, and with right sides facing, pin and then using a 1 cm seam allowance , sew them together round 3 sides. Leave what was the bottom of the sweater open, as they are neat edges.
Turn the cover through, insert the cushion pad, close with an over sew stitch.
Blandine is a prodigious cookery writer and many of her books have been on the bestseller list for years. Currently she has five books in the top 30 cookery books on French Amazon. She writes under her own name and uses a pseudonym as well.
Before becoming a cookery writer, food stylist and recipe developer Blandine worked as a caterer in Montreal and before that she was a costume maker for movies and doing textile creations for the iconic Cent Ideé magazine in the nineteen eighties.
Did you go to art school originally and if so where and what did you study?
I went to Beaux Art in Lyon but I left after a year because it was all conceptual art and I wanted to learn techniques. Also I couldn’t afford to study for 5 years and come out of art school with no practical skills. So I decided to go to the technology institute instead to learn fashion techniques. I applied to study both the fashion and cookery, I got onto both courses and tossed a coin to make the choice. So I ended up studying fashion.
What happened next?
I started working as a pattern maker, producer and stylist, managing and overseeing the fashion output in a number of factories. Very soon I craved to do something more creative, so I made things, at night and during the weekend, for movies, advertising and DIY magazines like cent ideé. I also made models for Haute Couture shows.
I met my husband and followed him to Montreal for his career, and in Montreal there was less opportunity for fashion and design so I started a catering business, with a friend, from my kitchen. Within 6 months we were catering for hundreds of weddings and events. I started to design the food to go with the event. For example if it was a biblical theme I only served finger food, fish, grapes bread and wine all served in the style of the last supper. I designed costumes for the waiters to fit in with the occasion. We only used unique platters and dishes rather than catering ones. I even designed my own vessels. My Clients were mainly galleries, fashion and movie companies
When and why did you return to France?
We returned to France mainly for my husband’s work.
As soon as I returned to France I started catering for private parties and met editors and started being a food stylist and writer and I never stopped.
What is a typical working day like for you or is there no such thing?
There is no such thing.
If I am working on a book, I look for inspiration mainly in my head I write a summery and submit it to my editor. If it is accepted I write a rough for the recipes. I create a mood board for styling the book, and when that is approved I gather props together. I find most of them in garage sales. Props become obsolete very quickly, I am always on the look out for them. I make most of my own backgrounds, painting and distressing, making a patina on reclaimed board or old shutters found in the garbage. I like using old metal shutters to get weathered elements.
I cook the recipe and style it with the photographer. After that I collaborate with the editor to check it all works.
Sometimes working on a book will included gutting a boar or finding a pig to dig truffles on the day of the shoot or milking a goat. Foraging wild plants and mushrooms that are the heart of my cooking. I had to do all this when creating my book Banquet Gaulous (eating like the Gaul’s)
One of the reasons I am interviewing successful women who are over forty is that they have often had to take a career break, or had to slow down to deal with child care and or aged parents. Have you ever had to deal with either of these of issues and did it impact on your creative life or business?
I was lucky to have a supportive husband and accommodating son. My son, who is now 30, says I could never eat anything from the fridge without first asking “ is it for a contract” I didn’t work as much for the first few years when we came back to France, as I was working on the house, and creating a garden from wild plants. One of my great loves is wild plants.
What is the best part of your work and what is the worst part?
The best part of my work is not working in an office and being my own boss. Not commuting and working from home. The worst part is when I have a difficult editor.
Do you broadcast at all?
I have been on radio a few times to promote my books. I have been invited a few times on shows to discuss particular topics for example recipes using milk.
What is the best book you have ever written?
My first book SOS Restès a left over alphabet book that wasn’t a huge success, as using left overs at that time was not trendy and you were considered to be a scrooge.
Blanquet Galois is the best book I have ever produced. It was entirely shot in my house and on my land in Languedoc-Roussillon using locally sourced ingredients and wild plants from my land. Also because I was able to do my own art direction and my editor fully trusted me.
Who or what inspires you?
My mother inspired me, she cooked, knitted, sewed mended and foraged. She taught me about wild plants and mushrooms. It is very trendy now, but for her it was necessity. My father who was a forest ranger taught me botanic Latin and the love of gardening. I am connecting again with my peasant roots by butchering a pig every winter with my friends. This is an excellent mix of ancient recipes and modern creations.
What advice would you give to any cookery author starting out today?
I would encourage a beginner to expect hard work and not to fall into the internet cut and paste trap. Be as true as you can on the plate. Don’t rely on the photographer to photo shop it.
In spite of all the cookery shows and digital cookery videos and you tube, the cookbook still has a future, it is surprising and refreshing. The cookbook is not dead yet.
What is next for you ?
I am going to leave Paris to live in the country in my house in Langadoc and feed myself and forage as much food as I can and I hope to write my last book about it.
I love being creative, If I am on holiday, after 5 days I get very agitated if I am not making. I love to make and to create things. I particularly like building.
As an antidote to Brexit, the Coronavirus and falling stock market, it was such a pleasure to visit this beautiful exhibition of, rarely seen, prints by renowned photographer Cecil Beaton. The glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties are seen through his eyes.
The exhibition presents the leading cast of the movers and shakers of the time. Many of them were to help refine his remarkable photographic style. Artists and friends Rex Whistler and Stephen Tennant, set and costume designer Oliver Messel, composer William Walton, modernist poets, Iris Tree and Nancy Cunard, glamorous socialites Edwina Mountbatten and Diana Guiness (née Mitford), actresses and anglophiles Tallulah Bankhead and Anna May Wong, among many others.
Brought to vivid life, by the images, each of them has a story to tell. There are the slightly less well known too-style Icons Paula Gellibrand, the Marquesa de Casa poet Brian Howard, part model for Brideshead Revisited’s mannered ‘Anthony Blanche’, ballet dancer Tilly Losch and Dolly Wilde Oscar’s equally flambouyant neice. Also featured are those of an older generation, who gave Beaton’s career early impetus: outspoken poet and critic Edith Sitwell, the famously witty social figure Lady Diana Cooper, artist and Irish patriot Hazel, Lady Lavery, and the extraordinary bejewelled Lady Alexander, whose husband produced Oscar Wilde’s comedies and who became a patron of Beaton’s.
This show charts Beaton’s transformation from middle-class suburban schoolboy to glittering society figure and the unrivalled star of Vogue. In addition to Beaton’s own portraits, the exhibition also features paintings by friends and artists including Rex Whistler, Henry Lamb, and Augustus John.
Beaton’s own life and relationship with the ‘Bright Young Things’ is woven into the exhibition. He was born in 1904 during the reign of Edward VII. His father was a timber merchant, and by the time of his late boyhood the business was failing and the family had to downsize. Beaton very aware of his place in society hated belonging to a dull humdrum middle class family and wanted to be famous and successful with all the trappings that went with that life style.
His love of theatre goes back to the days when as a young boy he would crawl into his mother’s bed and look at the images of Hollywood stars in her glamour magazines. The famous racing scene in ‘My Fair Lady’ takes one back to the glamour of the Edwardian era. Socially avaricious, Cecil was a much photographed figure, a celebrity in his own right.
Beaton’s transformation from middle-class suburban schoolboy to glittering society figure and the unrivalled star of Vogue, revealed a social mobility unthinkable before the Great War. He used his artistic skills, his ambition and his larger-than-life personality to become part of a world that he would not surely have joined as a right. Throughout the twenties and thirties his photographs place his friends and heroes under perceptive, colourful and sympathetic scrutiny.
The exhibition shows glimpses from the high spirited revels at country house weekends, including a rare vintage print of the leading lights dressed as eighteenth-century shepherds and shepherdesses on the bridge at Wilsford Manor, regarded now as the quintessential depiction of The Bright Young Things.
Robin Muir, Curator of Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things said: ‘The Exhibition brings to life a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and creative ere of British Cultural life, combining High Society and the avant-garde, artists and writers, socialites and partygoers, all set against the rhythms of the Jazz Age”
To sum up the exhibition, and his own life, in the words of Cecil Beaton
‘I don’t want people to know me as I really am but who I’m trying to pretend to be.’
Go and see this, it is a fabulous exhibition in a lovely gallery. The National Portrait Gallery is closing this June for three years as it undergoes a £35.5 million refurbishment.
‘I know darling! Do you think anyone will want to buy it?’
‘ Well, it’s the recipes we’ve made our guests – the really good ones.
Like the Sausage and Bean Casserole we made Ed Sheeran, the
Drunken Crouton and Kale Salad we made Yotam Ottolenghi and
the two Blackberry and Custard Tarts we served Nigella.’
‘You ate a whole one before she arrived, darling.’
‘It’s a bloody good recipe mum.’
If you have read my interview with Lennie Ware, or listened to any of the, very popular ,Table Manners pod casts, you will know that you are in for a treat with this book.
It feels like the podcast, warm, welcoming, inclusive and fun, just the same as a great family meal. Table Manners opens with introductions first by Jessie describing how the Pod Cast came about, and how she roped her mum into it.
She describes her passion for food and her family.
“ We have learnt a lot about cooking through the podcast: what is easy and what requires a little more preparation or at least a knowledge of your equipment before using it for the first time. Sometimes our best laid plans have fallen by the wayside: the latkes for Loyle Carner that sizzled so loudly we couldn’t hear him speak, the crème brûlée blowtorch that nearly set mum on fire, or ordering an emergency takeaway when I had turned a promised succulent short rib into leather.”
Lennie ‘ I am close to all my children and they have always brought zillions of friends back home for dinner throughout their childhoods and as adults. We’ve always had lots of fun and I am so happy that I still see their friends and they enjoy coming over. Perhaps this is why Jessie asked me if I would like to help her do a podcast based on the fun we had over large Friday-night dinners, mostly with her friends. So I agreed to cook while Jessie chatted to guests. Of course I could not remain in the background without making a vocal contribution, so I became part of the whole thing.
Jessie and I get on well despite the bickering and the banter that you hear. She’s a great cook and we complement each other, with my trusted recipes and her more modern daring approach.”
As Lennie describes ‘I always look for the effortless in cooking. I worked, cared for my children and always enjoyed entertaining, so it helped to have good and easy recipes on hand. As I got older, I’ve learned how to make life easier for myself in the kitchen so that I can enjoy the fun and chat when I’m at the table. So I either make stuff in advance or put effort into buying good quality food that is simple to prepare and delicious when cooked.”
With this in mind, the book opens with Jessie’s delicious recipe for Granola. This is followed by Lennie’s recipe for Pitta chips, Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip and Butter Bean Hummus. These are followed by, quick lentil and tomato soup, and Onion Quiche.
Table Manners, The Cookbook really is like having Jessie and Lennie at the table with you: brash, funny and full of opinions. In true Ware style, their beautiful cookbook is filled with easy meals and no-nonsense short cuts. It’s divided into Effortless, A Bit More Effort, Summertime, Desserts and Baking (thanks toJessie’s brother Alex), Chrismukkah (Christmas,Hanukkah and celebrations) and, of course, Jewish-ish Food. Table Manners is food for real people with chaotic lives, with the ultimate goal of everyone eating together so unfiltered chat can flourish, whether it’s a family supper, like the Ware’s raucous Friday night dinners, or a midweek meal or informal get-together.
As Jessie says “ This cookbook is a journal of some of my family’s most pertinent and cherished food memories, along with friends’ dishes, simple suggestions and hopefully exciting recipes for you to try at home. Throughout this book, we talk about special moments, souvenirs and domestic rituals for you to share and carry on with your loved ones.
My mum has always said we put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional, which I guess is represented in this book. It’s a dance through all the worlds of food we love, with recipes that will live on through sharing.”
About the Authors
Jessie Ware is an award-winning English singer-songwriter,
podcaster and author. With over 1 million albums sold worldwide and BRIT/Mercury nominations under her belt, Jessie’s gearing up to the release of her highly anticipated fourth record. Jessie lives in south London with her husband and two children. Jessie won ‘Best New Voice’ at the 2018 Audio Production Awards for her hugely successful podcast ‘Table Manners’, which she hosts alongside her mum, Lennie. Hilarious and hugely lovable ‘Table Manners’ has hit over 8 million listens since launching in 2017 and continues to top the iTunes podcast chart series after series.
Lennie Lennie Ware has worked as a social worker in family law for over 40 years. She is mother to Jessie, Hannah and Dr Alex and lives in south London. She hosts award winning podcast ‘Table Manners with Jessie Ware’ alongside her daughter, Jessie. Hilarious and hugely lovable ‘Table Manners’ has hit over 8 million listens since launching in 2017 and continues to top the iTunes podcast chart series after series.
For this spring and summer the Finnish textile company Marimekko has created a new contemporary dimension to the print, called Marimekko Kioski, it is a curated collection of gender-neutral street-wear.
Marimekko was founded by the late Armi Ratia in 1951. It is best known for a giant sized asymmetrical poppy design, Unikko- which means Poppy in Finnish. The design was created in in 1964 at a time, when the company’s collections featured mostly abstract prints. Designer Maija Isola wanted to create something interesting from this organic theme and designed an entire range of floral prints. Today, the iconic flower represents creativity.
The collection encapsulates Marimekko‘s values of creative courage and the act of living, not pretending, by presenting its most iconic prints in a range of wearable staples.
In Marimekko’s creative community, doing things together has always been key to innovation and originality. The iconic patterns have been reborn and reworked time and time again in thousands of imaginative color palettes. The Kioski collection was initially created to introduce Marimekko’s Unikko to a new, urban crowd and younger market.
For their Spring/Summer collection Marimekko collaborated with some of its favourite members of the vibrant Helsinki community of young doers and makers, and created a campaign celebrating creativity together with them.
’’For this new edition, we really wanted to celebrate the creative youth around us. The collection pieces are worn by some of the early adapters of what we’ve come to call Helsinki’s ‘Unikko streetwear phenomenon‘.’’ says Marimekko’s ready-to-wear head designer Satu Maaranen.
Although Armi Ratia died in 1979 her company is still embracing her ideas. She was a trailblazer who made Marimekko a way of life, an attitude, a phenomenon embracing the everyday and the extraordinary.
As part of its ambitious sustainability agenda, one of the key objectives of Marimekko is to continuously increase the share of sustainable cotton and more sustainable materials in its products and packaging. With this in mind that have started using the new material Spinnova. It is a wood based fiber that contains no harmful chemicals. This method of production puts considerably less strain on the environment than, for example, viscose or cotton. The manufacture of Spinnova fiber consumes 99% less water than cotton production.
The company produces both fashion and home wares collections. I think they are fabulous I hope you do too.
I am a huge fan of David Hockney, considered to be one of the greatest artists working today. There have been a great many exhibitions of his work over his long career and this is the first at the National Portrait gallery for over twenty years.
‘Drawing from Life’ focuses on Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950’s and his intimate and revealing depictions of the five sitters closest to him. These are himself, his mother Laura, his curator and business manager, Gregory Evans, and master printer, Maurice Payne and close friend Celia Birtwell.
The exhibition serves as a poignant reminder of the effects on the human form with the passing of time. The drawings done over the past six decades also illuminate Hockney’s distinctive way of observing the people around him, creating an intimate visual diary of the artist’s life, while highlighting his reference to both tradition and the changing landscape of technology.
He uses both traditional and non-traditional drawing equipment including coloured pencils, pen, the polaroid camera, he experiments with many different techniques and styles.
The influence of Ingres can be seen in Hockney’s neo-Classical style line drawings of the 1970’s and the ‘camera lucida’ drawings of the late 1990’s. In the 1980’s Hockney went through a period of cubist depictions that paid homage to Picasso. In more recent years, particularly with his use of the iphone and the ipad, Hockney’s work has returned to the distinctive mark making of Rembrandt and Van Gough.
Despite the shifts in Hockney’s practice and themes, his approach to drawing has remained largely unchanged: it is the foundation of his art, as he was taught at Bradford School of Art.
Drawing was still compulsory when Hockney enrolled at the Royal College of Art in 1959 and its staff took note of his natural aptitude for this academic discipline.
One gallery space is given over to the new portraits of Hockney’s close friends. Inspired by the NPG exhibition Hockney invited his friends to sit for him once more in a new series of drawings- ten of which are on display in the exhibition. Drawn in Los Angeles and Normandy in 2019, the three-quarter length portraits are fond evocations of time spent together and represent the familiar faces and different expressions of his old friends, informed by all the sittings they have done previously. In the works Hockney uses the walnut-brown coloured ink favoured by Rembrandt, achieving an uninterrupted continuous line.
Quote by Sarah Howgate Curator of David Hockney: Drawing From Life
“ Drawing not only represents David Hockney’s distinctive way of observing the world but it is a record of the encounters of those close to him. He has returned to this intimate circle over and over again and, because their faces are so familiar to him, achieving a likeness does not distract from the search for a more nuanced and psychological portrait that also records the passage of time.
Over the past six decades he has never stood still, or rested on a particular approach, medium or technique and this is a great strength. Inquisitive, playful and thought provoking he has generously shared his ideas with his audience. Although his drawing reflects his admiration for both the Old Masters and ‘modern Masters’ from Rembrandt to Picasso, Hockney undoubtedly has his own unique vision of the world around him and the people who are dear to him.”
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
27 February -28 June 2020 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition at Fashion and Textile Museum 14 Feb -14 June 2020
Out of the Blue is the latest exhibition at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum. It celebrates the work of the influential design company Designers Guild, that was founded in 1970 by Tricia Guild OBE. Since it’s founding, the brand has evolved into a worldwide company whose products have changed the way we view colour, pattern and texture in our homes.
Frustrated with the lack of truly contemporary fabrics and wallpapers for interiors, Tricia’s vision was to create a lifestyle, by showing people how to put the different elements of a room together, how colour, pattern, texture and form can combine to create a harmonious space.
From the outset, Guild knew she had to show people how to use her products and thus displays and photography of her new collections are vital tools for communicating the total effect. She has produced many books over the years and has emphasised the importance of plain and semi plain fabrics as being integral to the whole Guild look. Their importance were captured by Elizabeth Wilhide the co-writer of Tricia Guild’s new soft furnishings, which was issued six times between 1990 and 1997 published by Conran Octopus.
The fashion and Textile museum is not an enormous venue and yet they have very successfully constructed room sets showing the different styles that Tricia Guild has created across the decades.
We are shown where Tricia’s inspiration comes from – her travels to India, Japan and Scandinavia have all resulted in collections of fabrics, wallpaper, furniture and accessories. Her inspiration may come from ancient Indian Textiles or Renaissance – style velvet or a Swedish Gustavian wall treatment, but the resulting interior collection are never drawn from one source alone. Instead each collection is an eclectic amalgam in which harmony exists between East and West, past and present.
‘I’m passionate about a home being comfortable as well as beautiful. Being surrounded by good design is one of life’s pleasures.” Tricia Guild.
In 1975 Tricia split from her husband and business partner, Robin. Tricia continued with the business, working from it’s original King’s Road Chelsea flagship store, and Designers Guild has flourished. The brand is represented in over 80 countries worldwide with a turnover of over £55 million. From the outset Designers Guild has always maintained its own interior design department, based in its stores at Chelsea and Marylebone.
Each project responds to the requirements of an individual client and the architectural setting, whether in London, Paris, Manhattan or Tuscany. The Guild look can be found in a mews cottage or a rood top pied-à-terre, or in period homes and country villas. Tricia’s own homes are often the first place for experimentation with new concepts.
Designers Guild is best known for florals and botanicals, but plain fabrics in a multitude of shades and textures as well as a range of geometrics and abstract designs are also vital to the mix.
The exhibition highlights the techniques and processes vital for making the collections happen. In the quest for innovation, the company uses a variety of printing methods from hand block printing in the early days to rotary screen-printing and most recently digital printing.
Throughout the fifty years she has been in business, Tricia has championed and collaborated with artists and designers from other disciplines including Howard Hodgkin, Kaffe Fassett and recently Ralph Lauren and Christian Lacroix.
Never shown before, this exhibition showcases the story of Designers Guild in settings that capture the changing tastes in interiors over the last five decades.
The exhibition is curated by Dennis Nothdruft. Head of exhibitions at the Fashion and Textile Museum and Textile Historian Mary Schoeser, in collaboration with Designers Guild.
Fashion and Textile Museum 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF
T: 020 7407 8664
Please note the Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday 11am-6pm ; Sunday 11am-5pm.
There is an excellent book to go with the exhibition published by ACC Art Books at a cost of £30