Inspired by Spitalfields’ place at the heart of textile design in the past, Town House has
brought together three contemporary designers and makers for this year’s Shoreditch Design
Triangle. Each of them uses a different medium, but they are all re-interpreting textile
pattern, use and design in their work, to stunning effect.
Mary Norden takes the Japanese tradition of repairing and reusing textiles and re-works
pieces of vintage fabric by patching and stitching them together to create stunningly bold
abstract images. The layers of fabric and stitching she creates are matched by the layers of
history of the individual fabrics and each piece is accompanied by a brief narrative of all the
fabrics used, including their age and original use.
Janet Tristram and Cameron Short also work with fabric and are the artist craftsmen behind
Bonfield Block-Printers in Dorset. Every piece, whether it’s a coat, print or textile design is
imbued with an idea stemming from their love of the sea, rural life and folklore. For their
beautiful coats they use ideas from historical clothing and costume, but combine this with a
strong narrative and visual element in the printed linings. Their fabrics combine the rhythms
of natural and rural life with the repetition that is the essence of printed textiles.
Layers of narrative are also a strong element in Katrin Moye’s ceramics and for Edit 19
Town House has commissioned a collection of her work using Spitalfields’ silk designs as
the inspiration for their surface decoration. Katrin is attracted to the sinuous leaves, flora and
decorative elements which are a core part of the Spitalfields silk weavers’ designs and she
echoes the hand of the maker that is ever present in all of these pre-machine age pieces, using
a dark chocolate-brown, earthenware body which then has a thin, white slip poured over it
from a jug to make the ground for hand painted decorations. The slip has a way of dripping
and pooling, hiding and revealing the dark clay underneath which makes a lively, contrasting surface for the delicate painted decoration.
Patch, Pot, Print opens 11am Tuesday 17th September and runs to 5pm Sunday 29th September.
Late night opening Tuesday 17th September until 8.30pm
I first came encountered David Stuart as a writer on garden history many years ago and was delighted to discover last year that he has now taken to paint . As a result I’m happy to announce that the summer exhibition at Town House shows recent work by David – botanist, author and now artist. Much of his work uses plants as a central motif and though treated with great expression, all are based on an intense knowledge of plant design and an equally intense love of their beauty.
David has always loved plants. After frequent painting trips to Kew Gardens as a child, he became a botanist studying plant structure and relationships and has a PhD from Edinburgh University, working at the Royal Botanic Garden. Thereafter, he spent many years as a writer and journalist specialising in gardens, garden history, plants and their influence on all our lives.
He has had columns in national newspapers and has published fifteen books, many hugely well reviewed. They include Georgian Gardens, Plants that Shaped our Gardens, Dangerous Garden, and Classic Garden Plans. Recently though, he has returned to painting and print making.
Exhibition runs at Town House 18th May – 8th September
Come to Town House on Saturday 18th May and hear about bee-keeping in London from Bee Urban, who look after the hives on the roof of the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre – and see a mobile observation hive!
Based in Kennington Park, where they have turned a derelict site at the Old Keeper’s Lodge into a thriving community space, Bee Urban offers training in sustainable practice in bee-keeping and the urban environment. They also manage hives at various sites in London and work to enhance the environment and engage with local communities through diverse planting on housing estates, allotments and even rooftops! They will be talking about their work – and in particular the bees!
Bee Urban at Town House 18th May 2.30 – 4.30pm
Create your own little Eden with fruit and nuts weighing down the branches of your trees and delicious, unusual edibles available all year round – without all the hassle of a vegetable patch!
Join Jo Homan at Town House at on 23rd May to learn about some edible perennial plants and trees, how to identify them and what to do with them: learn the basics of forest gardening – what makes them work, their structure and what they produce – and try some forest garden produce (a light lunch is included)
Jo Homan has been teaching people forest gardening skills since starting Edible Landscapes London in Finsbury Park in 2010. Among her favourite forest garden nibbles are lovage, saltbush and shasta daisy leaves; jostaberry, raspberry and medlar fruits; calendula, Judas tree and Alliumflowers; chestnuts and acorn nuts. Jo is also the Training Manager for The Orchard Project and enjoys teaching people about community orchards.
Edible Landscapes with Jo Homan 12.30pm 23rd May at Town House (light lunch included)
Book your tickets here:-
Town House will be highlighting the plight of the Bethnal Green Mulberry tree during the Chelsea Fringe festival 2019 with a window display featuring an amazing model of the tree. Come and learn about its history and hear the story of the campaign to save it in a talk at Town House on the 22ndMay.
The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life traces the controversial saga of the Bethnal Green Mulberry, believed to be the oldest tree in the East End. Yet in spite of a Tree Protection Order and designation as a Veteran Tree, Tower Hamlets Council have granted permission to dig it up and although the Mulberry survived a bomb in World War Two, it is questionable whether it will survive being uprooted by the developers who want to build a block of luxury flats. Widely understood to have been planted by Bishop Bonner in 1540, recent research suggests the origin of the Bethnal Green Mulberry may be even earlier.
The talk at Town House is at 6.30pm on 22nd May and we’ll be toasting the tree with an appropriate mulberry beverage! Although the event is free, space is limited so please reserve your tickets on Eventbrite here:-