Tuesday, 28 October 2008


This year's Origin exhibition was a great gathering of inspiring British Craftpeople. Britian really does have talent!

Among my favourite artists:

Sue Binns (must be something about the name!). I admit I couldn't resist buying one of her lovely blue and white stripey jugs....

Donna Brennan's jewellery was just exquisite! I couldn't quite afford one of her lovely rings, but I did buy a pair of garnet earrings...

And in the the second week the highlight for me was Preeti Gilani (luckily I already sell her lovely products!). Even her stand, like her textiles, was pure perfection.

Monday, 27 October 2008


I've been super busy these last few weeks preparing for the busy Christmas period. So much to do!

But I have had some time to do a bit of research for new products and have 2 new designers/artists work going online this week.

Firstly I had the great pleasure of visiting Kathy Dalwood, an artist based in Queens Park and her lovely house, you can view it on her website and explored her studio where she creates her concrete Figurines.

A bit of background:
'The collection has used as its source mass-produced plaster and ceramic figurines – mostly from the post-war period. Sometimes they are ‘narrative’ figures, interpretations of historical or literary characters, or they may be cheap 1950s re-interpretations of 18th century “haute porcelaine”. Some originals were beautifully sculpted, while others were crudely moulded. But each is very specifically chosen for its particular character and design.'

Next artist is Primrose Hill based Fliff. Fliff creates ceramics using white earthenware imprinted with lace doilies and her range includes beautiful cake stands plates, tea cup and saucers, and jugs.

So watch this space, both artists should be up this week....

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Goodness, Gracious Me

These last few weeks have been, well, hectic to say the least. Illness, followed by a death in the family, and although a trying and upsetting time, it is a time of reflection, not only on life but values too.

And in between all this I have been trying to finish my Autumn/Winter collection and photography, the deadline moved until today....

So here are a few images from my work so far, perhaps they have a more reflective somber tone, to echo not only the experiences of the recent past but also the change in season.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Inspiration.. and a little perspiration.

A bit of a social week - charity events, exhibitions not to mention the various events on during London Design Week.

Inspiring Tuesday:
Popped into a neighbour and friend, Judy Goldhill's, exhibition opening on Portobello Road. Beautiful images exploring Neshamah, a Hewbrew term denoting divine breath and infinite capacity to bring with it transcendence. Whatever the philosophical meaning behind them may be, they are really lovely following images with vibrant colours.

Perspiring - Wednesday evening I was out of my territory, not to mention my depth - but hey what do I care about cricket.

A friend, Ed Williams (take note of his name, one day he will be known) set up charity Cricket without Boundaries a few years ago. Charity dinner was a bit of a stuffy affair in the Houses of Parliament, a strange venue choice, til you realise Ed is a raging labour supporter. Cricket without Boundaries Dinner. Comedian had us cringing in the corner with his completely unPC and bad taste humour.

Inspiring - Thursday marked the beginning of 100% Design and Earl's Court. I arrived, looking forward to inspiring new products, but found nothing with the wow factor.

Highlights for me:

Michael Angove Wallpaper
Charlene Mullen lovely embroidered cushions
Johanna Basford Wallpaper - particularly her clock wallpaper.

Joanna Basford wallpaper, image for Joanna Basford website.

Weekend promising to be truly creative - it's London Design Week and London Open House...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Interview with Preeti Gilani

Roost Living designers are all so wonderfully passionate about their craft. It has been such a joy getting to know them and I wanted to share this with you. Being the nosey creature that I am, I love to delve in and really understand the inspiration behind their creations as well as getting to know a little about their day to day lives.

This week I spoke to Preeti Gilani, textile designer who joins Roost Living later this month. We spoke not only about her craft and lovely products, but also about what she loves, dreams of, and how she started out.

When and why did you decide to be a designer?

I always knew I wanted to work in art and design. I did a foundation course after my A levels which helped me make the decision to specialise in textiles. I then went to Winchester School of Art to do a BA in Fashion and textiles. It was there that I discovered woven textiles and went on further to do an MA in Woven textiles at the Royal College of Art.

What are you main creative influences?

I think new technology always lead to new design because it increases the possibilities. I create my design work on my mac which is my most valued tool at the moment.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I always take inspiration from several areas. This I think helps me produce something new, rather than putting a slant on something I have already seen. I love pattern and colour. My colour is often inspired by nature.

Who is your favourite designer? What aspect of their work do you most admire?

I love Dries Van Noten and Kenzo. Both these design houses use colour and pattern in such a delicious but wearable way.

What aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?

I reach a satisfaction point when the designs get the fine tuning touches and the collection starts coming together.

What is your workspace/studio like?

I work from a purpose built design studio in the garden. Both my husband and I work from here on our individual businesses. I also have a separate workroom where I put together all the products.

How do you describe your style?

Sophisticated with a bit of fun.

What is your greatest triumph so far?

Finding my life soulmate and having two amazing children.

What are you currently working on?

I have just put together a collection inflluenced by cross-stich, folk art and flowers. I am also introducing an official menswear range of scarves and ties. I am hoping to launch this in October 2008.

When you first started out, what was the best advice you received?

I was told by a friend to decide on a style rather than doing a bit of everything. People like to see you have a signature way of working.

What advice do you have for other designers starting out?

As above. Also only make things that you feel passionate about as this is the best selling tool.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

Still working on it. I think this is probably the best way as life is constantly changing, especially when you have children. The balance has to be constantly addressed.

What are you other passions?

Design is my biggest passion, whether it be my own work to the design of a car, I just love attention to detail. I am also a film lover.

What is your favourite food?

Favourite meal:

Roast dinner followed by fruit crumble and custard.

Favourite food: krispy kremes

Trousers or skirts?

Skirts for the look, trousers for comfort.

Are you a dog or cat person?


What is your creative motto?

I always take inspiration from several areas in order to produce something new rather than putting a slant on something you have already seen.

Preeti Gilani's cushions, handbags, purses and ties will be available from Roost Living from 29 September.

Preeti Gilani's cushions will be sold EXCLUSIVELY by Roost Living.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Upmarket Weekend

Last week I was looking forward to a wonderful weekend in Paris, with lovely food, lovely things and lots of fun. But, as I arrived at St Pancras, suitcase in toe, my dreams were suddenly squashed...the Euro Tunnel fire had extinguished my chance of a Parisian getaway!

So, feeling a little disheartened, my friend Zoe and I (we were to go together) decided to make the most of our weekend in London.

Sunday, with the sun shining bright, we made our way to Spitalfields, to find the once vibrant market replaced by modern, soulless stalls selling tat...

Disappointed we made our way to Sunday Upmarket, the new market off Brick Lane - and realised Spitalfields hadn't died, just moved across the road. Wonderful local artists and craftspeople showing their lovely wares in what seemed a grotty old car park.

Braving crowded Brick Lane we made our way to Cheshire street, a treasure trove of lovely shops such as Labour and Wait and Mar Mar Co and the wonderful Luna and Curious just around the corner.

We completed our girly weekend with Sex and the City in Leicester Square - I must admit leaving the movie feeling, daggy, dowdy and rather ugly.
Mental note - must buy Jimmy Choos....

So, we may have missed the inspiration and delight of Paris, but we did find real inspiration and wonderful treasures right here in London....

Image above from Luna and Curious website.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Polly Glass

I recently discovered the work of a young British Designer, Polly Glass.

Polly is inpired by traditional techniques such as Cross Stitch and crochet and incorporates their elements into her modern floral designs.

Cross Stitched Wallsticker, in rose shape.

Her most recent work is Te-Ly's, Norwegian for tea-light, made using pewter and recently exhibited at the Worshipful Company of Peweterers...

Place mats once again using floral imagery, and taking inspiration from crocheted doilies.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Monday, 18 August 2008

Contemporary Applied Arts

I don't often venture into central London these days, preferring the safety of home, I rarely leave Dartmouth Park.

However, on Friday I found myself in town lunching with old colleagues, and I usually don't leave without a quick trip to Contemporary Applied Arts - a one stop shop for the most beautiful and inspiring in British Craft, a mix of lovely jewellery (Sarah King's work, pictured), glassware (my favourites by Michael Ruh) and a lovely light exhibition space.

Current exhibition is Kyffin: A Celebration is currently on, but only until 30th August. An exploration of the best in British hand bookbinding and a tribute to Wales' most distinguished artist, Sir Kyffin Williams who sadly died in 2006. Bookbinders from around the country have contributed. Really stunning collection of hand bookbinding, promoting the best of British in this field and truly inspiring.

I've always had a passion for hand bookbinding, although never done it myself. Perhaps after this semesters Silversmithing course I may just give it a go...

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Christmas Collection Sneak Preview

Everyone behind the scenes in the retail world is gearing up for the very busy festive season. I know I certainly am. I've been finding some lovely new products for the Roost Living Christmas Collection. So I thought I would share a few with you...

Above is Reiko Kaneko Reindeer Bauble - capturing the last animal to peer into it - in this case a Reindeer.
These cushions are just divine!!! And I'm selling them exclusively! Handwoven silk by Preeti Gilani, a well known fabric designer. Her attention to detail is just amazing. What a truly inspiring designer. Also by Preeti, her lovely Tote bags and purses and stunning silk ties below:

Mizuyo Yamashita, designer of my best selling Wobbly Bowls, has a wonderful new product - The Paper Cup. Handmade using porcelian. Each cup has a gold butterfly or floral motif detail. They are so so lovely! Would make wonderful Christmas presents, so delicate and elegant!
I'm planning for the Christmas collection to go online in October but please let me know what you think! I'd love feedback. Is there a product you feel is just gorgeous?

And if you do know of any wonderful designers you think would be perfect for Roost Living, do let me know, i'm always on the lookout for great design talent....

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A few of my favourite things...

I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite products on the site at the moment.

Firstly, Kathleen Hills’ Vintage Pendant Light £79, a wonderfully elegant marriage between old and new. Lining up 8 in a row would look just magnificent, perhaps down a hallway or in a room, What I truly love about these lights is that they each light is completely unique – each vintage shade is individually chosen by Kathleen and you never know what you are going to get – a Vintage Pendant Light Lucky Dip!

An original to the Roost Living collection, but still a best seller is Kathleen Hills’ Star Light - the angles are just so great – and such an unusual material for a light fitting – but it really works. Perfect for a nursery – that’s what I’ve got in the back of my mind for when my time comes, whenever that may be.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

I've been bad...

I've been naughty! I haven't added anything to my blog for so long....but that is going to change.

My blog will be transformed into all Roost Living news...where we've been, what we've been doing - who's been talking about us and what fabulous new products we've unearthed....and so from now on, every other day, Roost Living blog will bring news, views, trends in interiors world and more....

If you haven't seen the website for some time, take a look, a lot has change. It has evolved!!!!!