Cluck Cluck!

“Easter egg, darling?”….

A visit to that glorious yarn shop Loop in Islington gave me quite a start.

My knitting group friend from Palace Pins and I made our way there on Sunday….

I walked through the door and there was a little chair upholstered in a vintage design; nothing unusual in that really – except that the fabric, produced by Frank and Pamela Freeman in the 50s, was designed especially ‘for me’ as a child! And there it was – out and about in the wider world, sporting some of my childhood favourite things – shells, corals and sea-urchins. My older siblings’ fabrics had come first – a stripy pattern and a train – and then it was my turn. Of course as a little girl I had no idea that they were producing textiles commercially – the couple ran a cottage, or should I say kitchen table industry – to me they were simply important friends of our family who painted, printed, photographed, and made things especially for us! Weren’t we lucky? I hope I’ll have more to tell about this.

The allotment – the seeds are doing their stuff with leaves beginning to show their heads and the garlic spearing up with slim green spikes. Asparagus crowns – this year’s aspiration – have arrived and been tucked in their very special bed. I’m always so pleased to see the grass paths mown between the plots – a soft green grid amongst the helter-skelter of spring – yes, I’m a textile designer!

Every so often a flock of parakeets screeches overhead – they nest in the towers of flats in Crystal Palace park and feast in the trees.

There are some objects that just bring a grin to my face: the other evening I nipped in to that unusual emporium The Good Companion opposite Brockwell Park, Herne Hill to have a chat with the proprietor. On the table were six little Poole pottery bowls – oldish – their generous shapes, gentle and varied colours looked up at me with open faces and I couldn’t help smiling
back at them. In fact I was transfixed by their charming attitude; it made me reflect that good
design does indeed make a good companion.

This sunny sunny weather has made what to wear quite a puzzle. It is warm, or has been, in the sun, and then pretty nippy in the evening. I usually go about carrying the contingency of at least two scarves or a shawl in my basket; this week I’ve been sporting my new Shuka – a traditional Maasai wrap blanket from Kenya – red and blue check, a wide-width woven cloth. I haven’t yet discovered why that particular sort of tartan pattern became a favourite of this nomadic East African people, but I’ve attracted some quizzical looks and complimentary remarks – especially from South London Kenyans!

Talking of vintage as I was – from a variety of Collier Campbell’s own archive fabrics I make greeting cards collaged on hand-made paper – each one different and unique – florals, paisleys, abstracts…. There’s usually stock available at Joss Graham‘s lovely textile gallery where you can choose your favourites, or contact me to buy direct and take pot luck. Check out Wayne Hemingway‘s Vintage Fair too.

….”Yes please, dear – soft-boiled with soldiers.”

14 thoughts on “Cluck Cluck!

  1. Pingback: The rags of time | Sarah Campbell Designs

  2. A huge plus in rather grey days and times….. what a treat Sarah, and just reminded me how much too quickly the time goes by. I look forward to your regular blog now, and the designs just brighten up the days. Thank you xx

  3. Sarah – another eye feast of a blog with explosions of colour and wit. thanks for making me look up where Loop had moved to. they were in Cross st across the street from my office. i also must finish the scarf which i started with their wool. one day. some day. i love the parakeets and the boiled eggs and the Kenyan blanket picture. xx Rochelle

  4. Sarah–with all the rest of the commentators we love the life and fun and freedom of the blog, the constant flow of new designs and ideas splashing colour and shape everywhere, as you grow into the new directions your work and life are taking you in! We have been lucky to have ‘Sarah’ designs all around us as a family, and ‘Sarah and Susan’ designs thereafter–its lovely that the energy and productivity goes on! Hearing some of the connections and associations that accompany the pictures is a big bonus–a kind of entry point into what’s stirring into life–and very apt for Spring–these new hatchings! Congratulations from Helen and Clive

  5. Wonderful Sarah, I love your early asparagus and garlic in your allotment and parakeets in the park. Wishing you a very Happy Easter, Jane

  6. Hi Sarah
    Wonderful story of the chair you found with you childhood fabric on. Were you tempted to buy it?
    Happy Easter
    Love Sally.

  7. The second blog may be even lovelier than the first – definitely the bees knees (now where did that saying come from…). How exciting it all is

    love,

    Vanessa

  8. Truly, I am charmed! I love all of these images. Happy Easter, Sarah, and a Happy Passover as well. Let’s all embrace our freedom from slavery of any kind!
    xx
    Wendy

  9. This looks like serious design disguised as fun. It has all the characteristics of a professional passionate about colour, locating it it in the context of the home and the office. I want to se more as it reminds me of stuff I have seen in M &S, and other big stores. In fact I want to see it blazing its way into our consciousness, so the world will be a happier and more restful place.

  10. happier now because of the boiled eggs. if i remember aright, the masai only seriously adopted cotton cloth when kenya began to grow and manufacture a lot of cotton in the early 60s (the business declined again over the past 20 years); their wraps were anciently reddened, deliberately and not, by the soil of their preferred areas, and they carried that rubric’ed taste over. indigo blue is a north edge of the sub-sahara preference across africa, likewise strong stripes and checks. i’ve seen the checks worn with strong (floral or abstract) prints, too, the effect being an unfaded carpet at balmoral….

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