Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Thursday, 24 December 2009
It's Christmas Eve and having decorated my studio, it is transformed into a festive snug. Vases burst with bling, my favourite skinny santas are perched and pride of place a beautiful card, artwork by Danny Jones my nephew. Arts Hut will be closed from noon today until December 30th, so here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
"Since when did the Union Jack go from chavvy to charming?
Fuelled by Murray-mania, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the national flag is exploding onto the scene in wild colours and wacky creations.
Not so long ago, the Union Jack was considered a straightforward emblem of British values and traditions. You would drape yourself (or your home) in the national flag only if you were the Queen, you were in the military or obsessively patriotic. Today, the youtube generation tweet like parrots about the hottest Union Jack discoveries in fashion boutiques, home stores and car boot sales.
In the Seventies, BNP thugs adorned themselves with the Union Jack. Much to middle England’s horror, their flag (duly shredded and safety pinned) became an angry insignia of youth culture. Such was its subversive message that image consultants advised British Airways to remove the "stuffy and institutional" flag from its tail fins - how offbeat they were. In no time at all, the Union Jack was back in favour; Blair, the Spice Girls, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst rode the Britpop tsunami of the Nineties culminating in Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit canoodling under a Union Jack duvet cover on the Vanity Fair cover.
But that was then and this is now. The Union Jack of today has shed its skin of sneery Cool Britannia rebelliousness. Far from the taint of football hooliganism and the Far Right, the Union Jack of 2009 embodies nostalgia, patriotism and the fashion forward. TopShop and Debenhams, two shops which act as a barometer of the country’s sentiment, are pushing the Union Jack hard this summer.
The Union Jack china and cushions at Debenhams and the hand-painted teapots and mugs at Emma Bridgewater are selling faster than strawberries at Wimbledon. Chuck in the wooden Union Jack bunting from notonthehighstreet (all available at mydeco.com) for the ultimate World War Two street party. After designing a punk Union Jack t-shirt with Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood embodied the same spirit in her rug for The Rug Company. The Union Jack is stenciled onto the roof of a Mini Cooper, etched onto Andrew Martin's distressed leather sofa and ingrained (using fruit images) on the Union Jack worktop saver by funky kitchenware firm Joseph Joseph.
But the greatest shock is discovering the Union Jack in controversial colours. Team Great Britain ventured beyond red, blue and white and created a green Union Jack to unite the country in the run-up to 2012 Olympics. Barker and Stonehouse offer a leopard print and a purple Union Jack cushion and Heal’s sell Union Jack mugs in green and red. The latest range of wittily coloured Union Jack cufflinks for www.deakinandfrancis.co.uk, designed by my brother James, come in wild yellows, greens and blues. They're made for Great Britain by Great Britain.
But how has the Union Jack held its appeal? "Vintage is still really in vogue and you can pick up some amazing old flags, traditional bunting and street awnings at the moment which people are reworking and selling extremely well all in the original Union Jack colours," says Sophie Walker, founder of Blue Black and Red. Walker's denim and drill cotton Union Jack Table Mats were used at the Williams F1 Press Breakfast at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. "We are a very patriotic nation and I think the general state of the economy at the moment has brought the jingoism out in us all."
"Foreigners love the [British] flag. For them it has no negative connotations in the way it has for some Brits," says clothes designer Kinder Aggugini. "They don’t look at it and think of colonialism and Millwall football fans. They think of Kate Moss and The Who."
Unlike many flags which feature three horizontal stripes, our well-conceived design is comprised of about 13 sections. Designers can play with colours and the pattern while still keeping it instantly recognizable as the national flag.
Four hundred years since its conception, the Union Jack has been - once again - rehabilitated. To drape yourself (and your home) in neon yellow and green Union Jacks is a modish - and tongue-in-cheek - return to British values and traditions. This summer is all about flying the flag, just not as we know it. "
Monday, 21 December 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Friday, 18 December 2009
This morning I awoke to silence & snow. Our next door neighbour's lit their stocking, with it's Monty Python feel, our favourite on the trail this year. In the recreation ground Mr PWP wore Finn & Bea out, playing snowballs.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Taking a break from gifts, I thought you might like to see my favourite Christmas trees and lights. I love our tree card from one of our favourite Lime Park ladies, she has a new website Vintage Green - link on the right. As usual village pixies arrived after dark and erected two large Christmas trees with white lights, making me smile and reminding me of various coach trips across Europe. On our corner, Mervin's giant red fairground bulbs and windows full to bursting with stockings are jolly. To garnish our Christmas look, I am reliably informed by the BBC that snow is on it's way...
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Home grown and elegant, our Christmas Card collection includes the new collage 'Winter Fox' by Charlotte Matthews. Plus three french hens, a holly wearing hedgehog, stocking hanging hounds and decorating the tree - cats and mice. Naturally.
Friday, 11 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Yesterday Mr PWP and I stewarded at the Christmas Show of the Eastbourne Group of Artists, for the first time. "Painting Poetry" consists of visual responses to poetry and I exhibited Lexie and Elly from Southern Lurcher Rescue, plus greyhound portraits in the browser. The Show, including work by Liz Brown and Ann Johnson, is open 11am - 5pm until 11th December at the Casson Gallery, Eastbourne College.