My Mum was fascinated with things made of horsehair. She was intrigued & studied the hand-woven horsehair veil found through Central Asia. You don’t see it much anymore, it was from older times. I think it was called the Paranja.
Oh, the versatility of horsehair! Traditionally used in upholstery, lining in clothing, woven for Paranjas, fly swats in Africa, plaited for jewellery, used in headdresses from exotic steppe nomads, paintbrushes & even fishing line. My Mum kept lengths of braid, horsetail & various other things under a glass dome at home & she has embedded me with the same attraction. I am not often without the braided bracelets of horsehair (creams & caramels for me) that I bought in Wyoming whilst horse riding in the Honeycomb Badlands- the stomping grounds of infamous American outlaws like Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.
My hardware range has been officially launched at Anthropologie in the States!! All my beautiful hand-crafted pieces will be available at The Society inc. soon but for now check it out here.
Many people would not take a second look at forgotten or superseded hardware, but for me it holds as much wonder as a treasure chest. I used inspiration from my own collection of ageing wood & tarnished metal to create my functional hardware range.
The expertise of old tradesmen: forgers & tinkers & smiths, has been lost over time as handmade became machine made and mass produced. I want to bring back the time when the pieces you bought felt like someone had whittled them or sharpened them to imperfection with their own hands.
The goods they made were so lovely- hardware that should be displayed, not hidden. We’ve lost so much knowledge and understanding of the techniques and skills of these old trades and I wanted to pay homage to them. My hardware range is a tribute to honest materials: metals, rope, wood, tiny little tacks. Beautiful, functional materials that are lovely to look at and inspire the curiosity to reach out and touch. If you can’t afford to renovate, or don’t want to, it is with these, most simple of things that transform a space. Here are some of my favourite pieces:
I called one of my paint ranges ‘Tender is the Night’. The colours in the theme are based on all those old fashioned flowers one might have found in the rambling cliff gardens above the French Mediterranean in the Divers’ Garden (they were the couple from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book). Nasturtium, geranium & rosa rugosa with the noisy background of Summer cicadas. I have persevered with nasturtiums outside the The Society inc. since the opening & this Spring they have finally taken & are a joy. People forget to bring them inside, but I love to cut them & trail them up the side of frames or walls. They are hardy & continue to grow once cut.
I was staying at my friend, Sally’s house and she has a garden full of wild ones that I decorated her house with as a welcome home. Her artist sister, Cressida, woodblocks them, beautiful in all their ramble. Check out her amazing, lovely thick book called ‘The Woodblock Painting of Cressida Campbell.’
My lovely friend, Richard Ludbrook of Sun Studios is generously supplying his fabulous super-studio space. We will be orchestrating our Emotive Interiors SOLD-OUT extravaganza workshop in Studio 3 on Tuesday 20th Sept. With raw brick walls, abundant set supplies & lots of space for the lucky 65 of you who got in early, we will have fun building a set & creating a space that reflects you & your personality. We will be joined by the fabulous team of Peter Glass of Bespoke on sound & audio, his good friend on camera, Phillip Skelton & his set building gig ‘hot sets’ (he is probably the busiest set builder for stills in Sydney but he also does lots of event stuff for Havaianas & others) & other helpful members that make up Sun Studios. We look forward to seeing those of you who will be attending & those who could not will be able to view it in action on our website soon! For everyone who missed out- watch this space for upcoming super extravaganza workshop!!
There is plenty of parking available on the night and BYO as usual. See you at 6.30 for the live action!
The Caroline Simpson Library, although not a collection museum in theory, always has an interesting array of related things from journals, guides, souvenir & scrap albums as well as other ephemera & furniture. Their collection always seems so personal, a real importance is placed on the hand touched & the individual- here, handwritten notes in a margin or personal references are embraced.
The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection is open to anyone with an interest in the history of house & garden design & interior furnishing in New South Wales. The collection supports the Historic Houses Trust’s work of interpreting & managing places of cultural significance in NSW and provides a specialist research resource for scholars, heritage & conservation practitioners & museum professionals- & me!
It includes material across a wide range of formats: architectural pattern books; architectural fragments; wall coverings; floor coverings; manufactuirers’ trade catalogues & sample books; garden ornament; fittings (including curtain & blind hardware, door & window furniture); soft furnishings & trimmings; personal papers & manuscripts; pictures; photographs; books & periodicals. The scope of the collections is broad, covering houses & gardens of all kinds and ranging from the 19th Century to the present day. They also record significant houses, interiors and gardens in situ, usually on the point of change, through photographic survey & sometimes through oral history.
The fern book photographed here, is housed at this resourceful library where I enjoy the treasures that unfold with the help of librarians, Matthew, Megan, Annie & Michael.