Love Objects

Love Objects

Photographs Thomas Brown

The crafted objets d’art gathered over the following pages have been found, bought or passed down over the years – but all have been taken into the homes of some of our favourite creative people to be cherished, a symbol of past journeys that are valued far beyond their monetary cost. Here, we uncover the stories behind them…

 

Porcelain Bird
Ariane Prin

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

This is a small porcelain bird my mother made for me. Because it’s unglazed, there is a fragility to it that I like very much. She is a dentist and I know she uses dentist’s tools to make her creations – this is why some lines are really fine. Also, it has no eyes, which make it quite mysterious (a bit like the Hello Kitty character, who doesn’t have a mouth – apparently because the makers, Sanrio, wanted people to ‘project their own feelings onto the character’). I do not know what my mother had in mind for not making eyes, maybe she simply didn’t have the technique or the confi dence, but in the same way this absence gives me space to create my own story and maybe this blind bird can see from its mind.

 

Where and when did you find it?

My mother gave it to me in 2011, the same year that I decided to stay in London after my MA from the Royal College of Art. It reminds me of her and my family in France, who I don’t get the chance to see as much as I would like to.

 

Where do you keep it?

I keep it at home, in the kitchen. It’s sitting by the window in the middle of a couple of plants.

 

Ariane Prin is a product designer; arianeprin.com

 

 

Scrubbing Brush
Gemma Jackson

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

It is a Korean scrubbing brush. I was attracted to it because it is aesthetically a beautifully crafted and executed piece, but with a deeply practical function.

 

Where and when did you find it?

I found it in the myriad market lanes in Seoul, Korea, in 1982. It was my first serious journey in what was to become a career embracing a huge amount of travel.

 

Where do you keep it?

I keep it on my desk.

 

Gemma Jackson is a production designer and art director, working in film and television; gemmajackson.net

 

 

Straw Sandals
Harriet Anstruther

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

A pair of Japanese straw sandals or waraji. In the past, people brought them as offerings to temples, hoping to have healthy feet or to receive travel protection from the temple. They are rarely used today, but in Kyoto I did however see a very old woman dressed in black wearing them. I love their simplicity, craftsmanship and meaning. As a fan of reflexology, I’m intrigued by why the feet are so important in Japanese culture. The Japanese acupuncturist and therapist Shibata Sensei began to spread his teachings on sokushindo in 1929: which is literally composed of three words: Soku means ‘point’, Shin, ‘heart’ and Do, ‘way’ – ie, ‘The path that leads to the heart’.

 

Where and when did you find it?

My husband Henry Bourne and I found these on a trip to Kyoto in 2012. We were there as guests of Yohji Yamamoto with whom I was working at the time. Unusually, when his president Otsuka Shohei got married, he invited us to join him on his honeymoon. Quite some trip!

 

Where do you keep it?

I keep them on top of some large books on a marble coffee table in my drawing room. The juxtaposition of materials plays with all the senses – and also reminds me of a special time.

 

Harriet Anstruther is an architectural interior designer; harrietanstruther.com

 

 

Tapestry
Christopher Farr

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

You are looking at a flatwoven tapestry in the ‘Navajo’ continuous thread-weaving technique, designed and woven by Stella Benjamin, in which the line, marks, and construction are intimately connected.I love this work as it is entirely without artifice. Stella’s weaving is perfectly integrated and flows seamlessly from one piece to the next, each revealing new explorations and discoveries born from an intelligent understanding of the limitations and limitless beauty of the rigorous and demanding ‘Navajo’ technique.

 

Where and when did you find it?

My business partner Matthew Bourne and I fi rst came across this weaving at an exhibition for the shortlist of the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize in 1997. We subsequently bought it and it is now one of the stars in our archive collection. This archive is made up of exceptional weavings we’ve produced over 29 years, and from time to time we lend ourselves pieces for our homes or studio. The whole point for us is to enjoy art in whatever form it takes, and it is woven into the fabric of everything we stand for.

 

Where do you keep it?

Currently, Stella’s piece can be seen at our Thameside showroom on Chelsea Wharf.

 

Christopher Farr is a rug designer; christopherfarr.com

 

 

Candleholder
Brent Dzekciorius

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

It’s a carved candleholder. I love the deep, muscled carvings and the imperfection of its asymmetrical shape. The technique is rough but the raw creativity undeniable.

 

Where and when did you find it?

It was something in my childhood home for as long as I can remember. I recently fl ipped the piece to fi nd a surprising mark from its maker… ‘MAX’ was dug deep into the underside of its base. I immediately thought of Max Lamb, a dear friend and someone I’ve had the privilege of working quite closely with over the years. The visual parallels of the work of these two Maxes was striking. Apparently this Max was living in Africa, sometime around 1972, when my mother was a young teaching professional in Maryland. The principal of her school was on safari and picked this up somewhere along the way, eventually gifting it to my parents in commemoration of their marriage in 1973.

 

Where do you keep it?

This past Christmas, back in that same childhood home in upstate New York, my mother presented the candleholder to me, saying, ‘I thought you would want this, seems like something you might like.’ She was right! Now it sits on my mantel in pride of place beside some granite prisms made by Max Lamb…

 

Brent Dzekciorius is an architectural designer; dzekdzekdzek.com

 

 

Koala Bear
Martyn Thompson

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

It’s a plaster-of-Paris Koala bear – probably made in Australia though I’ve no idea where or when. I love its extreme naivety.

 

Where and when did you find it?

I found it in a florist’s shop [Seasonal Concepts] on a visit to Sydney about five years ago. I was with my best friend, Penny, who bought it for my birthday — so I’m very sentimentally attached to it.

 

Where do you keep it?

I keep it on the bookshelves in my bedroom.

 

Martyn Thompson is a photographer and designer; martynthompsonstudio.com

 

 

Attache Case
Guy Salter

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

It’s an attaché case – it’s a very conventional 19th-century design, that’s been patched up since and is still going strong.

 

Where and when did you find it?

It was made for me by Geoffrey Krolle of Tanner Krolle before he sold the business to Chanel. Robert Simpson (married to Geoffrey Krolle’s daughter) made me a new handle for it – a proper one made of layers of leather.

 

Where do you keep it?

I still use it to this day.

 

Guy Salter is the founder of London Craft Week; londoncraftweek.com

 

 

Club
Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, Honey & Co

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

It is a club, a weapon, from Niue, a small Island in the Pacific. We like the beautiful, unusual shape of it, the little decorative detail of the handle, and the feel of it. It is full of surprises: it’s much heavier than it looks, the edges are sharp – much sharper than you think wood can be. It’s very smooth but you can feel the marks of the carving – you can feel how it was made. You can see how lethal it can be, but you can also very easily forget that it’s a weapon at all.

 

Where and when did you find it?

We got it as a gift from a dear friend who is native to this island, a prince actually, so you could say it is a royal gift. He brought it to us some years ago when he came to stay with us for a while.

 

Where do you keep it?

Over the years it’s been moved about the house, sometimes dangling from a shelf, sometimes laid on a sideboard, or shoved in adrawer for a couple of years to be rediscovered every so often. It is one of the very few things we own that is purely decorative.

 

Honey & Co is a restaurant specialising in Middle Eastern food; honeyandco.co.uk

 

 

Boro Fabric
Lady Carole Bamford, OBE

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

A panel of borofabric that would have been used as a futon cover, sewn from 19th- and early 20th-century rags and patches of indigo dyed cotton. Indigo, in its multitude of colours and effects, intrigues me. The patterns, hand-weaving and stitching show the work of each maker’s hand. In most cases, the beautiful arrangement of patches and mending stitches is borne of necessity and happenstance, and was not planned by the maker. This unselfconscious creative process has yielded hand-made articles of soulful beauty, each of which calls upon to be recognised and admired as more than the utilitarian cloth they were intended to be. I love the care that is implicit in the work – that it is loved and repaired.

 

Where and when did you find it?

On one of the first sourcing trips to Japan, at a flea market in the grounds of a temple among textiles of simple and rare beauty.

 

Where do you keep it?

In a room by the beach.

 

Lady Bamford is the founder of Bamford and Daylesford Organic; daylesford.com

 

 

Hand Fan
Andrew McAlpine

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

This is a Niue Island hand fan made by a women’s collective.

 

Where and when did you find it?

I bought it at the South Pacific Craft Festival, an annual event in Auckland, New Zealand – it dates from circa 2006.

 

Where do you keep it?

In our bedroom hanging off the drawer pull of a Scottish dresser. Here I can see it when I wake in the morning, leading my mind into the fabulous warm lagoons of Niue, which is a very small island north of Tonga.

 

Andrew McAlpine is a production designer; andrewmcalpine.net

 

 

Wooden Bowl
Ally Capellino

 

What is the item and why do you like it?

A wooden bowl bought in a souk somewhere in Morroco about 25 years ago. It’s hewn out of a single bit of wood, it has several mends in it, and it used to smell quite milky. It has a beautiful shape, and because the base is so round it stands on one of those things the women use to carry bowls on their heads.

 

Where and when did you find it?

The bowl was from Ouarzazate I think, in Morocco. Probably at least 25 years ago. The head piece is probably of a similar age – I found it on the ground in a fi shing village in The Gambia.

 

Where do you keep it?

I use it as a fruit bowl in the kitchen, but lemons typically go mouldy if they’re in there for more than a few days.

 

Ally Capellino is a fashion designer; allycapellino.co.uk

 

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