Monthly Archives: October 2011

All change – Fall back

Not sure that I am going to qualify for a slot on Midlands Today tonight – there’s bound to be someone bloke somewhere with a house full of longcase clocks that features instead – but, today I have moved 28 timepieces back an hour. Top left to bottom right in the order that I did them. Frustratingly I’ve just remembered that the 2 oven clocks also need changing as well. No doubt there’ll be others that I have forgotten about as well. Hey ho.


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In the market for watches

Now you probably know that we like a vintage watch here at Black Bough, well leafing through the forthcoming Sotheby’s Geneva Watch catalogue, where nice horological pieces can be picked up from the £2,000 to £1 million pound mark, we couldn’t help but be struck by a beautiful watch by Nicolas Lemaindre of Blois. Lemaindre was watch maker to Marie de Medici. Marie was the daughter of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany and later married Henry IV of France in October 1600. Not stuck for cash, her dowry was 600,000 crowns, so clearly the lady was in a position to buy the best. Made around 1630, the casing is silver and gilt and beautifully engraved; which was probably just as well since time keeping would have been a bit hit and miss made as it was before the introduction of the all important balance spring some 30 years or so later. It seems pretty  extraordinary that something so beautifully made and historical can be such a, relative, snip at CHF 10,000- CHF 15,000 (£7,000-£11,000).


If ancient pocket watches of dubious timekeeping ability is not your thing but you’re in the market for a Rolex can I point you towards a Rolex Milgauss made around 1970, also in the Sotheby’s sale. Classically simple in design this is Rolex at its best, clean lines and sharp practical features – the fact it was made originally for scientists working in areas where exposure to very strong magnetic fields only adds to our admiration for its practicality. We all should have bought these 10 years ago when the opportunity arose and the model could have been snapped up for a mere fraction of the £13,000-£18,000 it is expected to make now.  If these flights of fancy prove too much we also know of somewhere else you can find equally stylish vintage timepieces  . . . .


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Filed under Design, Watches

Esme Winter

For proof that aimless surfing of t’internet can draw good returns look no further. For such was the method by which I came across Esme Winter’s work.

The brilliant Liz Willmore, my erst-while colleague and super-friend (not erst-while super-friend, she’s still my super-friend) has for the past couple of years been in charge of the online content for Liberty. The blog section of the Liberty site was always a carefully hidden gem; nice little interviews with members of staff at Liberty, the first news about product developments, and short film pieces about their Open Call days. At the end of the most recent of these, Esme Winter cropped up, in the far corner of the screen was a sample of one of her paper designs; enough to pique my interest. A short google (other search engines do exist, etc. etc.) search later, I found her website, she was sending me samples and I was putting together an order. I’ve been stockpiling Lisa Jones wrapping paper before their dwindling supplies run out, but now have the perfect replacement in stock. Esme’s work is more 30s in style; if the Bloomsbury Group had stopped painting the fireplaces at Charleston and settled down to a wrapping paper range this is what they might have come up with.

As soon as I take and upload some photos Esme’s notebooks will be available in our on-line shop.

ps. Liberty Liz is soon to be L’Oreal Liz (because she’s worth it)


Filed under Craft, Design

Missing writers

Answers on the back of a postcard.

Addendum 11/11/2011. The sole entrant and therefore winner of the competition is . . . drumroll . . . Ed Underwood of the esteemed LJS design studio. From the top: Ezra Pound, Radclyffe Hall & Gertrude Stein.





Filed under Books, Craft

In the spirit of collaboration

One of the things that I most miss about my previous (more metropolitan) life is the contact with artists – they’re a unique proposition; mostly funny, mostly adroit and mostly fully entrenched in their practice. Unplanned Magic, our collaborative exhibition with Material of the work of Kate Gibb and Marcus Walters gave me the opportunity to hang around in a studio again, to be in receipt of more interesting e-mails than usual and to feel the dizzy breeze of a plan coming together.

Kate and I had often pored over World of Interiors together and from the outset we knew that, although the timescale was short, that we would put together a small range of products to accompany her exhibition. It’s been a bit like a pass the parcel game of product design. I sent blank tea towels to Marcus and Hayley in Stroud, Marcus and Kate came up with a design, Hayley printed it, Marcus made the paper bands and come opening night we had them in store. The notebooks operated similarly; I ordered the paper and card from Paperback, sent it to Kate in London, she printed them and sent them back to me in Shropshire where I sliced, stitched and bound them.

They’re a limited edition so come and get them – either in store or on-line at both Material and Black Bough.


Filed under Art, Books, Craft, Design

Design Sources & Resources comes up trumps again

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Kate Gibb Notebooks

After Marches Supper last night I’ve finally managed to crack on with making up the notebooks to go alongside Kate Gibb’s show at Black Bough. I think I’ve just about mastered the art of the most basic form of bookbinding – have bookbinders tools and thread, will make books . . . of a sort. They’ll be available from the shop and online soon in both A5 and A6 size, 40 pages of unlined recycled 110gm stock. A5 notebooks shown in the pictures below . . . from beginning to end.

e fi

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