March 23, 2014

a short break in London: From Linda Bloomfield pots to Kensington Palace in twenty four hours

I have just had a lovely 24 hrs or so in London town. On Friday I hopped on the train to visit the potter, Linda Bloomfield, at her home studio. I had met her at a craft event last year where I was blown away by her beautifully glazed, silk-smooth porcelain pieces, and we had spoken about the possibility of a little collaboration.



So, I went to chat further, and armed with a little box of dried petals and seedheads to have a play pressing them into her beautiful slabs of wet porcelain.


Luckily for me, she is kind and funny and very patient, and I hope eventually I am able to set the little discs into silver, but that is a way off and this is really just at an experimental stage. Watch this space!

I had supper and stayed over with my mum and dad who conveniently live down the road from Linda. Yesterday, my ma and I wandered down the backstreets of Kensington where I grew up. It was so nostalgic, and I asked her to remind me where a certain little street behind a church was, that I remember so well from over 30 years ago, but have never revisited. It is, in fact, just behind Kensington Church Street. It actually comes to me quite often in dreams, each time the shops are more magical and curious - I have no idea why! I have never forgotten that little row of tiny shops full of curios, Gentlemens' clothing, antiques and vintage jewellery that I used to tiptoe up to peer into to, or the shop in an old mews house that sold dolls' house furniture, and also the low wall I used to walk along, holding my mum's hand. They were still all there, except for the dolls' house shop. It was ridiculously sentimental, but I loved walking down those tucked-away London streets again.



the London wall of my childhood, seemed so high when I was four!!
And, wow, some of those Kensington houses, especially the 'cottages' in the cosy backstreets, often with little courtyard gardens, are so gorgeous!





We ended up having a wander in Kensington Gardens, admiring the recent sprucing up of Kensington Palace and gardens and we sat and chatted in the pretty Spring garden there.



It was in this park that I learned to skateboard on an incredibly early wooden board that my dad brought back from a work trip to the USA, I think I can confidently say I might have been the first to skateboard there! Certainly everyone looked pretty surprised by this seven year old girl with pigtails flying around on a piece of wood on wheels! Happy times, happy memories. 

9 comments:

  1. Hello Belinda, sorry I haven't called in in a while. I love this post and that gorgeous little street in Kensington, it is so very different from the usual images of Kensington. The pottery is wonderful too. So glad you had a lovely little break. Linda x

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    1. Hi Linda, thanks so much for popping by! There are so many lovely backwaters in the boroughs of London. Same in Paris, and I'm sure most cities. x

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  2. I went to primary school at St Mary Abbots at the end of Kensington Church Walk and often walked along that low wall by the block of flats as you did on my way home with my mother. My favourite shop was, of course, the 'tuck shop', a newsagents run by Mr Stebbings. It all seems much posher these days.

    Your pressed flower discs are lovely. I hope your collaboration with Linda goes well.

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  3. Lovely to see this featured. I went to St Mary Abbots primary school at the end of Kensington Church Walk and often walked home along that low wall holding my mother's hand just as you did. My favourite shop was the newsagents run by Mr Stebbings, which we called the 'tuck shop' because of all the sweets the children bought there. Long gone now.

    Your pressed flower discs are lovely and I hope your collaboration with Linda, who lives just around the corner from me - I have been to an Open Studios at her house - works out.

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    1. That is an incredible double co-incidence!! So amazing to hear from some one out of the ether who walked that little wall too - just can't believe it! Weird how I still dream about those little shops! I seem to remember one had lots of lace and antiques but I couldn't find it this time. Linda and her work are fantastic aren't they? x

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  4. I love this post! One of my favorite authors is Deborah McComber whose heroine is an London detective inspector. Now I will have pictures in my head to use as she travels around the city - i won't have to make them up! Lovely!

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  5. Love how you take us along on your trip down memory lane and that flower discs would make beautiful jewelry! Anita x

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  6. Best of luck with your collaboration. You can get some really beautiful effects by pressing seed heads into clay, so I'm sure your results will be lovely.

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  7. Kensington has become uber posh hasn't it? I like your little shops though, quite a different slice of Kensington life.

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