Shakti Exhibition at Kedleston Hall Derbyshire

Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is the seat of the Curzon family, who have owned the estate since at least 1297. George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston became the Viceroy of India in 1899 and had a passion for Indian art and culture. He was responsible for restoring many of India’s landmarks such as the world famous Taj Mahal. Kedleston itself is now owned by the National Trust and within the lower floors you can find the ‘Eastern Museum’ which holds a collection of objects collected by Lord Curzon and his family on their travels in Asia.

Kedleston has recently been chosen as one of the venues for the Shakti Exhibition. The main purpose of this is to look at ties between Britain and India from a cultural and artistic perspective. The exhibition has been organised by Meadow Arts (further details can be found on their website). I was excited to be able to attend the launch of this amazing exhibition which took place on a glorious Friday evening. Here is a view from one of the first floor balconies.

Before we began viewing the exhibition there was a chance to talk to other guests in Ceasar’s Hall on the ground floor of Kedleston. We were served some wonderful food and glasses of wine.

Meadow Arts have produced a small booklet with maps to the various artworks and explanations as to why the work was included. Amongst the pillars I spied my first piece :). A large round golden ball covered in exquisite embroideries. I tried to take lots of pictures but the camera really doesn’t do this piece justice, it needs to be viewed in the flesh.

One picture that particularly caught my eye was called ‘My Virtual Daughter’ by artist Bharti Parmar. It’s a silkscreen print on Fabriano embellished with silk thread. Again you really do need to see the piece for yourself to appreciate the full beauty.

We  moved from Caesar’s Hall to the State Floor and the magnificent Marble Hall. In the middle of this room was a large crown made with ivory duco paint on fibre reinforced plastic. It’s modelled on Elizabeth II’s crown and the surface is covered with the names of those who fell during the fight for independence. In this picture we are standing listening to Anne de Charmant, Director and Curator of meadow Arts.

I have visited Kedleston Hall many times before but it was wonderful to see contemporary works of art displayed in such a historic setting. It was also rather fabulous to be able to walk around with very few others (but that’s probably being little a bit selfish!! :P)

The last picture is of a large gilded head made by Ravinder Reddy, one of India’s most celebrated contemporary artists.

There are many more pieces of art and I would thoroughly recommend people make the effort to visit if they can. The exhibtion is going to be at Kedleston Hall until 31 October 2013. They can also be viewed in Powis Castle, Welshpool, Oriel Davies, Newton and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.



Columbia Road Flower Market

I have recently discovered a wonderful magazine called Pretty Nostalgic. It’s  produced just six times a year and in issue 5 readers were asked to submit details of their favourite markets around the country. All of the shortlisted entries looked fabulous, but the eventual winner of the Flower Market category (the one on Columbia Road, East London) was the one that really caught my eye.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Columbia Road and the market was even better than I expected!

Every Sunday the road transforms into a vibrant market selling flowers, foliage, bedding plants, herbs and even semi-tropical banana trees.

The prices were extremely reasonable and customers left stalls with armfuls of flowers and plants.

The market and it’s surrounding area have an enchanting atmosphere and it is a wonderful place to wander around with little cafes that only pop up at the weekend.

The street is lined with small one-off shops and is a paradise to anyone who likes to buy something unusual and different (me!) Some of the shops only open at the weekend to coincide with the market.

One of my favourites was Jessie Chorley’s shop having attended one of her workshops, although unfortunately Jessie was not in the day I visited.

Angela Flanders the perfumer is open here on a Sunday and in Artillery Passage, Spitalfields the rest of the week.

There are lots of shops selling vintage goods and items for the garden.

There are also vintage markets just off Columbia Road and a fantastic fabric/haberdashery shop called Beyond Fabrics.

There are so many interesting and amazing shops that it is difficult to choose between them but I did love the lamp shades in Lush Designs (I have one of their cushions!) which has a pop up shop on the road until August.

I can’t wait until I can visit the market again 🙂






Quick Pin Cushion Tutorial

Everyone that loves to sew needs a pin cushion! This little one is quick to make and uses very little fabric but is still the perfect addition to your work box.

First of all you need to cut out 4 small squares of fabric, mine were 8.5 centimeter square.

I used two different fabrics which adds a bit of extra interest to the final pin cushion.

The next step is to sew two squares together along one of their sides. If you are using two different fabrics then sew a piece from each design here. Once sewn iron the seams open.

You should now have two strips of fabric made up of one square from each design.

They are now sewn together matching the central seem carefully. They need to be sewn so that each piece is attached to the other fabric design so that once finished and pressed they look like this.

Next fold your work in half and sew down the two side seams. Then carefully press the seams open.

The next step is more difficult to describe so I hope the picture helps to show what I mean.

The two side seams are folded into the middle and the seams are matched together, you end up with something looking a little like a pyramid! You will need to sew from the middle to one edge and leave the other side of the work open to be able to turn the right side out. Before doing this I pressed the seam I had sewn and also pressed the seam allowance on the open seam which makes it easier to sew shut once the pin cushion is stuffed.

Stuff the pin cushion firmly and then sew the opening shut. I then turned the cushion over and sewed a vintage button into the middle going completely through the cushion and pulled it firmly to give a good shape.

Here is the finished cushion which makes both a practical and attractive gift.