the art of the matter

Picasso Peace Dove Scarf

My spirits have soared more than once in these last ten days. The FTM held a press breakfast to introduce us to the coming show of Artist Textiles, an exhibition drawn from the glorious collection of its curators – Richard Chamberlain  and Geoff Rayner of the Target Gallery.

happy bug day andy warholIncluding works by Chagall, Dufy, Dali, Matisse, Warhol, Hepworth and Piper the exhibition “allows a remarkable glimpse of how ordinary people were once able to directly engage in a personal and intimate way with high modern art” through textile for their homes and everyday clothes – fine art by the yard!


Among the many wonders they showed us was a cotton scarf by Picasso, top, the design given by him to the World Festival of Youth 1951; it is a masterful feast of colour and drawing. And swift as a dart it shows the power and beauty of fabric as art, message, joy, a unifier, a democratiser. My heart beat faster, I could hardly take my eyes from it – and there’ll be so much more in January.


More colour high-jinksed at Michael Ruh‘s studio one afternoon. As I mentioned in my last blog we have a collaboration planned, and a visit for what I thought would be a quick jabber turned into a couple of hours of extraordinary fun and exploration, at least for me. Suddenly a torch was lit and tantalising little brittle knitting needles of glass became melting lines and dots of colour to be drawn and gathered onto the molten glass into which Michael was blowing life.

glass blowing 3

glass blowing 2

It is thrilling to see the colour held in this solid but ambiguous dimension. The result – really a first experiment – augurs well, and I’m so looking forward to the next steps – and the open evening on the 22nd November.

glass blowing 3








The National Theatre, which hosted our 50 years show in 2011, is now celebrating its own half century; to this end a series of conversations with players and directors is being held in which the same ten questions concerning their NT experiences are asked – ‘National Histories’. This Monday evening Charlie Kay and Fiona Shaw were in discussion with Dan Rebellato.

Charlie Kay and Fiona Shaw

Her sparky brilliance and his gracefully measured delivery got to the heart of the matter and gave us fine reminiscences, descriptions, insights into their theatrical and dramatic lives. Fiona’s rationale of the irrational core of theatre was a delight. Charlie’s recall of the Japanese production of Medea was spell-binding: I could see the visual drama unfold as he spoke.


In my studio the fabrics chosen for My Nature were ironed and labelled, the paintings spruced up and annotated, leaving me with a satisfied sense of achievement as they were collected and went on their way to Kingsgate Gallery – another event to look forward to. The exhibition runs from the 9th and I’ll be contributing to the symposium on the16th of November.


hand painted fabric

The trees outside my windows are turning with the season; occasional parades of sweepers and blowers patrol the pavements trying to discipline the million falling leaves, the countless fruit and nut cases. The order for the allotment seeds has been placed and the sprout buttons are plumping up nicely.



I’m soon to set off on my travels; before I leave a new commission for cards has been completed and delivered, my calendar is complete and prepared for the printer and fresh plans have begun for workshops, talks and visits in the coming year – a lot of exciting ends and beginnings.

calander 2014





I’m eager to see my colleagues at WestElm in New York and what they’ve been making of the work I send them – I see intriguing little glimpses of rugs, dishes, cushions, beds. And their London store, bang in between Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia, will soon be opening – on December 5th they say – just in time to buy the Christmas turkey!

West Elm TurkeySo I’d better go and pack…there’ll be our new christmas cards to do when I return, and new fabrics too.

gold leaves

Zimbabwe ManMeantime I have a new lodger from Zimbabwe to keep an eye or two on Liberace the goldfish while I’m away.

I was sent a sumptuous calligraphy brush from China, wrapped in newsprint. The ‘thank you’ more or less drew itself. chinese thank you

Thanks to Alan and Molly

West Elm cushion

16 thoughts on “the art of the matter

  1. Pingback: what’s cooking? | Sarah Campbell Designs

  2. It is fascinating to see how your work developes Sarah, like the planting of a seed that starts to grow. All sounds really exciting, I love it! Enjoy NY ! Much love B.

  3. Fabulous read and so uplifting… again! I have my fingers crosssed that your brother and sis in law play santa and send me one of your calendars. I have tried to be good this year…. Carolyn x

  4. Thanks so much as always for such a lovely read, you are an inspiration to me and so generous.
    I’m writing this sitting in my son and daughter-in-laws Chicago flat. Here to celebrate the birth (now of two weeks ago) of my grandson Francis Dillon and what a treasure he is too.
    Have a good time on your travels, I’m back around the first week of November and would love it if you would like to come over for lunch or supper with Peter.

  5. What another delightful read Sarah! I can’t wait for the 2014 calendar either…yippee! I hope you have a fantastic time away and we look forward to seeing you after half term. Lots of Love from ‘The Norwood’ fashion girls x

Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s