Category Archives: Summer

Sunday Night & Monday…in Amsterdam

July 10, 2017

Filed Under : cycling - exhibitions - Museums - Summer - trips

I’m staying in Amsterdam for a couple of day with my son as he’s just finished his GCSE’s and I thought he could do with a post exam treat…I’m on a kind of digital diet because part of the holiday deal was that I wasn’t always on my phone! But with a bit of spare time before we head out for supper tonight, I thought I’d share my pics…lots of which I took before he was even awake this morning as I got into trouble last night for taking too many…

He’s mad on film so we visited the EYE Film Museum with their Scorsese exhibition today as well as the Art Deco Tuschinski Cinema…

I haven’t got enough time to write about each pic so it’s just a glut of images and will hope to have another batch tomorrow!

Sunday…with Henley Royal Regatta and Bremont Watches

July 2, 2017

Filed Under : collaborations - Summer - trips

Yesterday I was invited to Henley Royal Regatta to be a guest of Bremont Watches.

I’d never been to the Regatta before so I was a combination of really excited and actually a bit nervous…wearing a fancy hat and high heels at 08:30 in the morning is a far cry from the paint spattered top and old trainers which I’ve been wearing all week in the studio!

Meeting up with a small group of well dressed influencers at Paddington station made me feel I was in good company though, and there were a lot of fancy hats, flannel trousers and striped blazers bobbing about.

This is the first year that Henley Royal Regatta has had official partners and Bremont Watches are not only the official time keepers of the boat races but they are also based in Henley on Thames where all their chronometers and time pieces are made.Bremont have handcrafted an incredibly beautiful mechanical stopwatch especially for the 2017 Regatta which you can see below and read more about here
Before we had lunch and a look at the races, Nick English, co -founder of Bremont ( the other founder is his brother Giles ) gave us a brief history of the company. His passion and enthusiasm for the precision and mastery involved in putting together a mechanical wrist watch of exceptional quality was more than evident and I was absolutely fascinated by the tiny details involved in putting a chronometer together… the metal coil is basically the life in the watch…it’s the bit you wind upSo many screwdrivers, eye magnifiers and little pots of grease for all different for all the different watch components…

I really loved their new ladies collection as I have small hands and I’ve always loved a watch that’s not too feminine…( over the years I’ve worn each of my grandfather’s watches as well as my fathers! ) After admiring the Bremont collections we wandered down to the river for lunch and the Regatta itself…the weather was daring itself to rain but then later in the afternoon the sun made a wonderful appearance… After lunch we were lucky enough to be taken on the most amazing amphibious boat by Iguana Yachts so we could watch from the water…

 

It was also great to be in the company of some fashion bloggers, particularly Emily from Fashion Foie Gras who is brilliant and who I’ve been following for a while as she has such a genuine, down to earth and witty quality…as well as being completely stunning!
It was also great to meet Craig from That Dapper Chap ( pictured below in the aqua green Hacket jacket ) and David from Grey Fox Blog who I somehow managed to miss with my camera! And also Toni Tran ( below ) from Fashitects ( his images are absolutely incredible!! )This is the fancy hat which I had bought especially for the occasion…and we were able to try some of the Bremont watches too…Although I was a bit exhausted when I got to the station, ( holding my high heels in my hands and walking along the platform in my stocking feet ), I felt like I’d had a wonderful, unique and very British experience.

You can see a few more images on my Steller Story HERE

 

Wednesday…with Greenhouse Textures ( Part 2 )

June 21, 2017

Filed Under : colour - Gardens - London - Summer - texture - trips

Chelsea Physic Garden in London was a discovery for me in March and has recently inspired some of my new silk designs. The greenhouses are really wonderful, as are the textures and plants… and the journey of a design…

You can find my silk designs in my on line shop HERE and if you use checkout code: SILKSALE20 you’ll be able to get a 20% discount…there’s also a Steller Story version of this post which you can flip through HERE 

Friday…with Monteverdi Italy

August 26, 2016

Filed Under : collaborations - colour - Summer - trips

Photo 29-07-2016, 16 29 53

Deciding where to go on holiday has never been my forté…I research things a bit, usually heavily relying on images, but then I always get a bit overwhelmed, suddenly convinced I don’t have a clue and just want a magic wand to be waved; all decisions made, rooms booked, flights sorted, and then when the time comes to basically be transported in a Star Trek like way to where it is I have to be in order to relax…( and it’s the pressure to relax that usually cripples me after about 3 days into a holiday! )

So this year, I was definitely enticed by some beautiful images that kept popping up of Hotel Monteverdi in Tuscany…I wanted that nature, the hills, the calm interiors…and of course a swimming pool and fantastic food!

We wanted to split the holiday between a short hotel break in the hills and renting the amazing Casa Guidi in Florence ( which you can see here ) and so we decided on Hotel Monteverdi in Castiglioncello del Trinoro and after a straightforward car journey from Florence airport we arrived at the beautiful village. The hotel is basically the entire village with a collection of stunning gardens and rooms, housed in original rustic buildings, overlooking the Val D’Orcia region of Tuscany towards Montepulciano and Siena.

There are loads of wine tasting and foodie type trips which you can go on, with amazing locations, but to be honest all I wanted to do was quietly read a book in a gorgeous garden, and really I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing hotel garden than this…it was personal, not too large, scented, shaded and very quiet…Photo 30-07-2016, 08 09 00 Photo 30-07-2016, 09 09 11 Photo 30-07-2016, 08 09 45 Photo 30-07-2016, 08 11 36 Photo 05-08-2016, 08 37 26Photo 30-07-2016, 08 15 18 (1) Photo 01-08-2016, 09 49 27 Photo 30-07-2016, 08 20 59 Photo 25-08-2016, 17 39 26 Photo 05-08-2016, 08 13 23I’ve always been an early morning person; and the breakfasts at Monteverdi really were the best! Before the sun gets too hot, sitting on the terrace with coffee, orange juice, croissants, pecorino cheese, local salamis and perfectly boiled eggs was my idea of breakfast heaven!
Photo 05-08-2016, 08 11 50Photo 05-08-2016, 08 13 08Photo 05-08-2016, 07 11 31Photo 30-07-2016, 08 22 47Photo 30-07-2016, 07 05 18I found the best bit of being in the hotel village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro was quietly mooching around and ‘investigating’, ( as my brother and I used to call it ); punctuating reading and dipping into the pool with short walks, listening to cicadas, watching little green lizards disappearing into walls, smelling the lavender, and just looking at everything…at the views, the textures, the colours, the plants. I find it really difficult to actually ‘stop’ and the practice of really seeing and sensing where I am always calms me down…
Photo 30-07-2016, 07 04 33 Photo 05-08-2016, 10 06 56 Photo 05-08-2016, 10 09 23 Photo 30-07-2016, 07 01 23 Photo 05-08-2016, 09 15 07 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 01 48Photo 05-08-2016, 09 09 58 Photo 31-07-2016, 17 16 29Photo 31-07-2016, 16 18 45Photo 31-07-2016, 15 51 53Photo 01-08-2016, 06 40 58Photo 31-07-2016, 17 24 05Photo 31-07-2016, 16 34 17Photo 31-07-2016, 17 36 31Photo 31-07-2016, 17 27 34Although doing nothing was our priority, we did also drive out to Montepulciano, ( and  Chiarentana en route where we tasted absolutely amazing olive oils ), as well as Sarteano, the traditional, local town only 10 minutes from the hotel where we also ate some evenings…
Photo 02-08-2016, 15 22 52 Photo 02-08-2016, 15 20 04 Photo 02-08-2016, 13 54 40 (1) Photo 02-08-2016, 14 25 34 (1)Photo 01-08-2016, 13 29 42 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 08 50 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 34 54 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 40 38 Photo 01-08-2016, 14 37 47Photo 02-08-2016, 14 37 19 Photo 02-08-2016, 14 39 37 Photo 30-07-2016, 17 08 46 Photo 30-07-2016, 17 10 55 Photo 30-07-2016, 17 13 07 Photo 30-07-2016, 18 47 15But one of the other wonderful things about this hotel is the space…it’s a village after all, and during peak season in Tuscany everywhere was crazy with people, but Casteglioncello del Trinoro isn’t at all…the village is a complete sanctuary from the bustle of Summer tourism…Photo 31-07-2016, 17 37 12 Photo 31-07-2016, 17 36 47 Photo 31-07-2016, 16 45 26Apart from their fine dining restaurant there is also the lovely Enotica where you can have a quiet bite to eat, a glass of wine, wonderful cakes and ice creams,  ( as well as daily wine tastings! )
Photo 31-07-2016, 16 42 28 Photo 05-08-2016, 10 08 01And… they also have a Spa!

A spa session in the hot, late afternoon was such a treat, and the only time I have ever laid outside in a carved marble bath, water sprinkled with lavender from the gardens, listening to the cicadas…I think that this was probably the peak of my doing nothing and stopping…Photo 03-08-2016, 18 04 28 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 58 51 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 55 13 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 57 12 Photo 03-08-2016, 17 58 08 Photo 04-08-2016, 11 03 05But it was the Tuscan sunsets which completely blew me away…I have never seen such wonderful purples and pinks descending over hills, every evening…it was absolutely incredible and like some sort of natural magic trick…
Photo 30-07-2016, 19 31 00 Photo 30-07-2016, 19 31 56 Photo 30-07-2016, 19 25 21 Photo 01-08-2016, 19 32 02Photo 03-08-2016, 19 29 10And then to be able to sit in the Oreade Resteraunt in the evening watching these sunsets was amazing.

I absolutely loved the restaurant, and the Maître D, Fabio, was brilliant, as was Simone…they were so helpful and always made our meals feel very personal. On our last night, after the amuse bouche, which were like delicate pieces of taste art, we shared such an incredible local steak, carved for us at the table, with locally sourced vegetables. In fact so much of the food is locally sourced including, obviously, wines and even their beers.

I’m usually predominantly a savoury person, but I have to say that the deserts here were some of the best I have ever tasted…it wasn’t just what they were, it was how they were put together; the combinations of tastes and textures, and their chocolate orange desert is something I would  now demand as a last rite!
Photo 04-08-2016, 19 57 19 Photo 05-08-2016, 08 12 25But, as I’ve said before, it was the pottering at Monteverdi which I really loved…the doing of nothing!
Photo 30-07-2016, 08 28 48 Photo 30-07-2016, 09 12 45 Photo 30-07-2016, 07 05 18 Photo 30-07-2016, 07 58 36 ( I found an old Siamese cat there too! )Photo 30-07-2016, 08 06 26 Photo 25-08-2016, 17 40 55 Photo 01-08-2016, 07 39 27Photo 01-08-2016, 07 38 43 Photo 01-08-2016, 07 39 47 Photo 01-08-2016, 07 54 30But one of the biggest treats of all was when Costanza, ( who puts together all the beautiful and very natural flower arrangements at the hotel ), brought me a box of hand picked fruit and flowers for me to ‘play’ with…this was the absolute highlight of my stay!
Photo 03-08-2016, 13 26 55Photo 03-08-2016, 11 28 15Photo 03-08-2016, 11 36 29…and you can see what I created with this box on this post here

So at the end of the week, although we were excited about going on to stay in Florence for the last part of our holiday, it was also a bit of a wrench having to leave our Monteverdi sanctuary…
Photo 29-07-2016, 19 59 08 Photo 02-08-2016, 11 31 32 Photo 04-08-2016, 08 46 58You can have a look at the Steller Story here and more about Hotel Monteverdi here

Friday…with Italian Arrangements

Filed Under : Arrangements - colour - Summer - trips

Photo 03-08-2016, 12 34 55During our stay in Tuscany at Hotel Moneverdi, I got chatting to the lovely Costanza at the hotel who was responsible for all the exquisite floral arrangements at the hotel…she completely understood my love for colours, nature, flowers and fruits and the next day this box turned up from Costanza and the hotel…simply for me to play with!

I was completely in my element and SO happy!Photo 03-08-2016, 13 10 25Photo 03-08-2016, 13 05 40 (1)

The following photos are the visual process of that playing…Photo 03-08-2016, 11 30 23 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 54 59 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 28 15 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 27 43 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 34 00 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 32 37 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 36 29 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 47 03 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 49 41 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 09 10 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 56 44 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 03 25 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 03 25 (1) Photo 03-08-2016, 11 40 00 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 28 17 (1) Photo 03-08-2016, 13 00 39 Photo 03-08-2016, 13 26 55 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 25 50 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 15 04 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 27 07 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 18 49 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 34 55 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 43 13 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 43 59 Photo 03-08-2016, 11 36 36 Photo 03-08-2016, 12 41 24 Photo 04-08-2016, 08 46 58

You can see the Steller Story here 

Sunday…Weekly Snaps

August 21, 2016

Filed Under : Art - colour - moving stills - My Home - short poem films - Summer - texture - trips - Weekly Snaps

Photo 20-08-2016, 10 59 34

I’ve got slightly out of sync with my Weekly Snaps, but here’s a selection from the last 10 days…Photo 12-08-2016, 11 05 15 Photo 13-08-2016, 11 46 16 Photo 14-08-2016, 08 04 43 Photo 14-08-2016, 09 37 37 Photo 16-08-2016, 08 43 01 Photo 16-08-2016, 15 45 32 Photo 16-08-2016, 20 12 27 Photo 18-08-2016, 10 08 39 Photo 18-08-2016, 13 07 23 Photo 19-08-2016, 09 41 05 Photo 20-08-2016, 12 22 47 Photo 20-08-2016, 22 32 55 Photo 20-08-2016, 22 35 40 Photo 21-08-2016, 18 26 33Photo 18-08-2016, 18 24 10 Photo 14-08-2016, 11 40 07 (1)Photo 20-08-2016, 18 21 46

Photo 21-08-2016, 11 57 59Photo 19-08-2016, 15 45 01

Photo 21-08-2016, 15 57 12 my son rigged up a slide projector in the bathroom…Photo 21-08-2016, 15 12 31 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 56 26 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 11 27 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 19 11 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 06 33 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 52 12 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 42 58 Photo 21-08-2016, 15 05 24

…and also a bit of Super 8

You can see the Steller Story version here

Saturday…with Moving Stillness

August 13, 2016

Filed Under : Arrangements - Art - moving stills - short poem films - Summer - workshops

Photo 13-08-2016, 11 46 16For a while now I’ve been playing around with movement within a still image…I had been inspired by an absolutely incredible Instagram account @ncour where he combines collage and extraordinary movement.

I’ve always been a massive collage fan and whenever I have a bit of a creative block, collage always helps as the images always dictate the composition, rather than relying on an initial idea from me…and they are invariably funny and slightly suggestive so I usually end up being really silly with them which helps…as you can see below! 

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I also saw this post here on the @lockhatters Instagram account, which I completely fell in love with.

So…I endeavoured to find a way of working to create moving stills…

I spent days and hours googling and testing and trying to find ways of making it work which was really hardcore computer slog. I was surprised that there didn’t actually seem to be an app out there which was exactly what I wanted…it seemed like complicated photoshop methods on YouTube were the only way I was going to achieve what was in my head, and I’m not that skilled in photoshop and don’t have the time to spend going on a course, ( although it is tempting when you have visual ambitions! ).

Then when I fiddled around with a very simple app I found, I felt like I had found some sort of magic; like a ceramicist who’d suddenly developed a unique glaze…hence my ‘magic circle’ type silence on the situation!

But I’ve been asked such a lot now about how I create them, that it sort of feels churlish not to share some of what I’ve found, and with the rise of ‘Stories’ on Instagram, I’m enjoying the shake up it’s rattled inside me, and has reminded me that Instagram has always been my virtual art class where I started, early on, with some really wonderful and inspiring visual voices; to name just a few  @famapa, @kbasta @sandrajuto @elf_girl @passeggiatayu @msuze @pardalote and @piccolotakesall…these were my class mates in the early days. @kbasta for example was one of the original single tree photographers on IG and always seems to combine a Mark Rothko-esque composition within beautiful natural contexts from Chicago, @passeggiatayu was one of the people who opened the door to Japanese photographic aesthetics, @famapa just has the best and unobtrusive contemporary eye on everyday life and @sandrajuto has always seemed to me to quite simply be the template for every creative lifestyle account I see.

What I would say is that being inspired is always a double edged sword…it invites a degree of plagiarism which is often quite frustrating and difficult to handle, but which, in this digital and always ‘positive’ virtual world, we must process silently…the world of image and idea sharing opens you up to all this and when those big brands do it to small designers it always makes me feel sick…and I think the only way to combat it in a creative way is to keep moving creatively, keep looking and discovering and as soon as you feel like you’ve ‘got it’, move on, even in tiny steps ( this is advice to myself as well by the way! ), so what I would say, is take some of my still movement tips here but play around loads with it; make it your own…make it unique!

I’ve never been very good with hashtags but I thought maybe I could for this so we can all share the ‘art class’ and feel like we’re all connected…so I thought perhaps #gentlemoving_stillness could work, so please do use it if you decide to create one of these #moving_stills ( there’s another hashtag! )

 

So, finally… the apps I use are: GifX, Flixel and more recently Lumyer. I won’t give a tutorial because I think playing around with an app in your own way is the best way to discover your own style…

GifX: this is a really simple app but you have to be prepared to be creative with both the gifs and the masks they provide you with and I would also recommend getting the in-app purchases. Don’t just look at the gifs on face value; manipulate them to within an inch of their giffness! The steam in the moving still below for example was made from a circle of moving feet!

  1.  

  2. Flixel: This is a very sophisticated app which I haven’t explored enough yet. To get the most benefit from it you have to use a tripod and get the Pro version, but I sort of think it’s an investment into the future of my moving stills.
  3. Lumyer: I’ve only recently started using this app, but it’s brilliant, so I would suggest if you wanted to start playing with moving still, this is the app for you!

And that’s it really, although I also like to use sound as well, so you can add that after you’ve created your moving still.

Here are a few more of mine so you can look at how I’ve played around:

 

So the order of the day is be creative, mix it up, app-mash it up and find your own way!

Also a couple of other accounts to look at who use this sort of thing are as I mentioned before @n_cour, and also @this_is_the_house and @me_and_orla and @finelittleday You can follow @flixelphotos on Instagram too, for  lots of inspiration, and if you want to work more with making films generally, the Instagram queen of time capsules and boomerangs is @Xantheb who runs great online courses.

Happy stillness folks! 

( if you think a workshop on all this would be useful, just drop me an email at 5ftinf@gmail.com )

 

 

Friday…with Casa Guidi in Florence

August 12, 2016

Filed Under : Summer - trips

Photo 06-08-2016, 13 38 30Back in March this year I was lucky enough to stay at one of the Landmark Trust Properties in the Lake District called ‘Howthwaite’ which was absolutely wonderful ( you can read the blog post about it here ). So when we decided that we wanted to visit Tuscany this Summer and spend some of the days in Florence, we also decided to book Casa Gudi, the former home of Robert and Elizabeth Browning and one of the 6 Landmark Trust properties in Italy… and it was the most amazing apartment and sanctuary for the 3 days we were there.

I loved the sheer amount of space above our heads, the furnishings, the floors, the balcony the light and basically the whole atmosphere…Photo 05-08-2016, 18 17 34Photo 07-08-2016, 14 20 10Photo 06-08-2016, 12 00 45

It sort of felt like we were looking after a special treasure for a few days and when we were out, I found knowing that we had Casa Guidi to go back to was so exciting; you step back in time and also completely out of the mad Florence tourist throng …

Photo 07-08-2016, 13 20 40 (1) Photo 05-08-2016, 16 25 52Photo 07-08-2016, 13 22 46Photo 05-08-2016, 15 21 08 Photo 05-08-2016, 21 45 58 Photo 07-08-2016, 14 24 20 There are so many wonderful paintings around, and I was particularly fascinated by the one of the living room itself commissioned by Robert Browning after his wife Elizabeth had died as it was her work space, and it’s the picture which has been the image worked with to recreate the room…Photo 07-08-2016, 14 23 39 this was my favourite door in the whole place…it was like an entrance to backstage which leads to the bathroom and a room with bunk beds up a spiral staircase…a thoroughfare for those needing to keep out of sight!Photo 07-08-2016, 14 23 10

Photo 05-08-2016, 16 21 38It basically leads through this little lobby of the bathroom to a similar door in the bedroom…Photo 05-08-2016, 16 42 10Photo 07-08-2016, 14 27 17Photo 07-08-2016, 14 27 46 Photo 07-08-2016, 14 28 18Photo 05-08-2016, 15 24 51I absolutely loved the original tile and mosaic floors as well as the collection of rugs…Photo 05-08-2016, 18 25 41 Photo 07-08-2016, 14 31 27 Photo 05-08-2016, 18 12 17 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 25 08 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 40 47 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 41 03 Photo 07-08-2016, 11 52 19Photo 05-08-2016, 18 11 27 Photo 05-08-2016, 16 22 49 Photo 06-08-2016, 13 41 47 Photo 08-08-2016, 08 04 31I thought this Victorian print of ‘The Doctor’  in the kitchen completely summed up the age the two poets lived in…
Photo 07-08-2016, 16 01 06and the light felt like I’d stepped into an old painting…Photo 06-08-2016, 09 48 52The balcony is also great and was apparently where their son had kept rabbits in the 1850’s…
Photo 05-08-2016, 15 17 30Photo 05-08-2016, 15 40 18Photo 08-08-2016, 08 03 24This is a painting of Elizabeth Browning’s siblings ( although if you watch Game of Thrones I think you could be excused for thinking they were related to Brianne of Tarth! )Photo 07-08-2016, 14 20 21Photo 05-08-2016, 16 22 56There’s an enormous door knob and beautiful entry buzzer before you even get inside, which just adds to the whole aesthetic experience, and I would really highly recommend a stay here if you want a particularly unique Florentine experience and it is literally just across the road from the Palazzo Pitti and beautiful Boboli Gardens.Photo 07-08-2016, 09 00 56Photo 05-08-2016, 13 46 57Photo 05-08-2016, 14 46 40Photo 06-08-2016, 13 48 52

You can see the Steller Story version here and visit The Landmark Trust Site here