I spent a couple of lovely hours this morning at the living North Fair sampling food from the various stalls and looking for inspiration and well made products in the interiors section. Here is my selection! The fair is open until Sunday 29th of March 2015 at York Race course, so hurry along!
I bought lovely cheeses and bread and freshly made marshmallows from the lovely magnificent marshmallow company (love their packaging). I also bought a gorgeous vintage hemp table runner (pictured above) with hand printed coral and sea creatures. You can see that it is a truly well made product that will last many more years to come.
This piece came from the selection of linens from Bertozzi that Alberto Mantovani brought from his Italian shop Allora in London. The vintage linen made out of hemp was hand woven more than 75 years ago. The production of hemp in Italy, Alberto explained as it a narcotic substance, was prohibited since the war and production only started again a few years ago. It is great to see that family companies such as the Bertozzi one in Sienna which has been going since 1920 are still using traditional techniques alongside modern designs on old fabrics. The designs, are created by hand printing onto the linen with hand carved pear wood blocks. The colours, are hand mixed from guarded family recipes. Steam, water and sun are the natural elements used to fix the colours into the fabric. I was really pleased to find them represented here in York.
Their stand was opposite the one of Steele and Cox fabulous furniture, owned by two passionate ladies Julie and Nicky whom I met a few months ago. This is their first show and a change of career for them both. It was great to see their work in the flesh! They sell “transformed” antique and vintage furniture. Their pieces are impeccable and although there are still remnants of their original past they look as good as new, and that is a compliment. Real solid pieces of furniture properly painted and reconditioned in their signature style, often in black and white. Look at this Edwardian cupboard reinvented into a cocktail cabinet- splendid!
Staying with the black and white theme I also spotted a young designer, Heather Alstead, who makes appealing “100% British made” designs and products using simplified imagery and motifs. The black and white and simple motifs such as bears or penguins charm us as if we have opened a fairytale book. I particularly liked her powder coated book ends and her stainless steel bookmarks.
The Hand & Machine furniture stand is my last feature. I could have bought every piece on that stand. The designer and maker Ben Croft designed a smooth desk- the tide- created with gorgeous curves at it’s edges. I immediately passed my hand over it. His pieces are indeed very tactile and your eye is drawn from the smooth tops to the more textured elements.
Ben told me that he graduated from the Rycotewood Furniture Centre in Oxford, a prestigious school for furniture making. This is his first exhibition showcasing his own line.
He now has a small workshop in York where everything is handmade to order so pieces can be tailored to your desires or totally bespoke. By looking at the pictures of his pieces, I hope you will agree, that in the world of design he is one to watch. His passion and the dedication to his craft really comes through his work. He is proud to be using traditional tools and techniques and also crafting his pieces in gorgeous woods such as cherry, american black walnut and european oak.
I hope you enjoyed this post, even if you live far away from York, you can still be inspired…
see you soon
and for those with a sweet tooth