Last week I was invited by Papersmiths, stationery purveyors par excellence, to be interviewed for their online Journal which looks at the work and inspirations of creative people they admire. If you would like to find out more about Scribble & Daub and have a peek inside the studio please do wander over to their website for a read… www.papersmiths.co.uk

Having learnt my lesson in the last Summer holidays as I tried to manage fractious children whilst fruitlessly attempting to work, I decided this year would be different and we’d take the summer off. From the Highline to the Highlands, we have travelled far and wide over the past month or so, and as we return to our normal life this week and I am restored to the studio, here are a few things that we found along our way…

“Blizzard (Roxbury Flurry)” (1946) 2017 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On our last day in New York we walked the entire length of the Highline, 1.5 miles of former railroad high above Manhattan’s lower west side which has been transformed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf’s exquisite planting into a meandering urban meadow of perennial flowers, grasses and trees. This wonder of city planning ends at the new Whitney Museum of Art designed by Renzo Piano, eight floors of the most perfect art galleries I have ever seen (and having spent ten years in the contemporary art world, I’ve seen a fair few). At the very top was Hypermobility, a show of kinetic works by Alexander Calder including my favourite, Blizzard, a mobile flurry of delicate white metal discs oscillating gently before a midnight blue wall. In a city where they’ll charge you $$$ to climb to the top of any tall building with a view, besides everything else it has to offer, the Whitney’s terraces also have incredible views over Manhattan and out to the Statue of Liberty in the distance. In the words of one late, great New York resident, this was “just a perfect day”.

Reading…

Bryant Park, next to the marvellous New York Public Library, is one of the best places in the city to watch the world go by,  They even have a free reading ‘room’ for kids and grown ups alike.

My holiday reading was Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. The kind of book you wish you hadn’t already read so you could have the pure pleasure of devouring it all over again. Odd, funny, and surprisingly modern for a book written in 1932, it recounts the adventures of its’ young heroine, Flora Poste who finds herself living with a strange cast of distant relatives on a rundown Sussex farm.

Watching

Very little, in fact, but I finished the first series of The Handmaid’s Tale, the most beautiful, brilliant and brutal thing I have ever seen on screen. I hestitate in urging you to watch it, because it is an ordeal, but something that everybody should see.

Eating

There are a million restaurants in New York, but on our one and only evening out, this was our favourite: Cotenna is candle-lit warmth, stylish and delicious, and feels much more expensive than it actually is – something of a rarity anywhere, especially in New York..!

www.cotenna.nyc

Years ago I spent a summer in Mexico and became hopelessly addicted to leche quemada (literally ‘burnt milk’) ice cream and homemade paletas (ice pops) and so another highlight of the High Line was finding La Newyorkina’s stand half way along it – their amazing Passion fruit paletas were unanimously agreed to be the best thing we had eaten all summer.

www.lanewyorkina.com

Shopping

Able to liberate just one rainy afternoon away from the kids in New York, I spent it exploring stationery stores: ABC Carpet & Home is far more glamorous than it sounds and a bit like Liberty if it were transposed to New York, with beautifully displayed paper goods from great independent brands, McNally Jackson bookshop and its stylish off-shoot, Goods for the Study are both fantastic, and quirky West Village stalwart Greenwich Letterpress is always fun to visit. After trekking all the way out to Brooklyn to see Knot & Bow, I was slightly dejected to find it closed for much of August, but pressing my nose to the shuttered glass I saw a gorgeous selection of cards, prints and gifts carefully arranged inside and will definitely go again on my next trip. And strangely, on landing in Inverness a few weeks’ later, I stumbled across the incongruously stylish Pencil Me In stationery shop at the airport of all places..!

Once in Edinburgh and possessed of an entire day of glorious freedom without the children, I revisited a few of my favourite old haunts. I’m slightly loathe to tell you about the gem that is Duncan & Reid, but seeing as I can’t get there with any regularity anymore, I might as well be generous – it is by far the best and most special antiques shop I have ever come across, full of small treasures and always reasonably priced. Not always reliably open though, so ring ahead to check with Susie before you set off… (0131) 556 459. And if you go, don’t miss the Botanic Gardens and Inverleith House gallery just up the road. Herman Brown’s is the best for vintage clothes, and not too far from the Fine Art Library, a quiet haven at the very top of the City’s central library on George IV Bridge where, after clambering up all those old stairs, I have passed many a happy afternoon.

I try to govern my wardrobe by the principle of quality not quantity which I decided entirely justified my complete inability to resist Rupert Sanderson’s blue lurex heels at 70% off in Pam Jenkins‘ sale! It’s worth keeping an eye in sales and on Ebay for his otherwise eye-wateringly expensive shoes, you can often find them at bargain prices and they are the only posh heels I’ve ever found that I can comfortably wear all day and night. My last pair are still going strong ten years later and I can’t wait to give these their first outing…

(drinking a can of coke and eating a sandwich on a rock in a Highland stream after a very long walk…)

And now, having spent my first day back tidying the studio from top to bottom, it’s time to get back to work. Some exciting collaborations to finish, and new cards to design for next year before the Christmas rush begins..!

Love these photographs of scribbling put to subtly subversive use by Polly Brown in her brilliant photographic series for Another Magazine: beautifully shot felt-tip pen parodies of luxury logos drawn onto a variety of garments & accessories. Well worth a look at the whole lot at www.anothermag.com

You may or may not be aware that today is World Stationery Day, and whilst I don’t usually hold with the contemporary proliferation of World Suchandsuch Days, anything established to encourage correspondence and the importance of the handwritten word finds favour with Scribble & Daub. In celebration of all things stationery, until Midnight tonight (Wednesday 26th April) you can use this special code WRITINGMATTERS to receive 15% off your entire order of hand-painted cards (and as always, UK shipping is free of charge)

Click here to visit Scribble & Daub’s shop…

If you want to send proper post then you need a proper pen. Even the most terrible handwriting can be redeemed with a good fountain pen. This is my personal favourite, the Kaweco ‘Classic Sport’, first designed in 1934 by German company Kaweco which was established in 1883. Originally produced in black and burgundy, it can now be purchased in a myriad of colours from neon pink to racing green and is available from the world’s greatest stationery shop (and Scribble & Daub stockist) Choosing Keeping for a very reasonable £20. If you want to make an even greater investment in your handwritten correspondence, they also sell an incredibly beautiful tortoishell number, handmade by Mr Ohnishi, a master craftsman in Japan – but that is a slightly greater test of your commitment at £145!

www.choosingkeeping.com

Join Scribble & Daub in celebrating the joy of proper post and the imperfect beauty of handwriting – send someone a card or a letter this week…

This week I have been…

Drawing…

Magnolias for my dear friend Sam, who has a tree overlooking her kitchen window that explodes in a cloud of creamy white flowers every April and which she celebrates each year with a suitably extravagant party. Scribble & Daub has been charged with illustrating the invitations which will be sent out by the internet’s favourite postal service, Paperless Post. A perfect excuse for a party, and the perfect excuse for me to linger in awe over Ellsworth Kelly’s drawings of the aforementioned flowers before attempting some of my own…

Ellsworth Kelly, Magnolia from Suite of Plant Lithographs, 1966 MoMA Collection

Reading…

Andy Warhol’s Diaries – Warhol was a conscientious keeper of the marvellously mundane minutiae of his daily life (cab $2, books & magazines $5 etc.) and a merciless observer of the lives and loves of a litany of famous and fabulous friends in 1970s New York with whom he spent his days and nights. His diaries take you as close as you’re ever going to get to partying with Bianca Jagger at Studio 54, but are also an endearingly human chronicle of his creativity and  insecurity.

Image: Exhibition preview card which lives on the studio wall, from Andy Warhol: portraits & landscapes at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London in 2008

Watching…

 Inside Dior – facelifts and frocks, and the luminous Maria Grazia Chiuri in this documentary on Channel 4

Eating…

Jack Monroe’s Chickpea & Aubergine Curry – The Holy Grail of quick, nutritious, delicious – and most importantly – easy! Even I can manage to get a big pot of this bubbling away at some point during the day without taking away too much precious studio time and avoiding lastminute resort to yet another cheese on toast / fishfinger dinner when the kids come home clamouring for food… (nb. add an extra tin of tomatoes and you get a batch for the freezer)

Wearing…

MABLIDespite an unfortunate and persistent inability to knit, my clothing of choice for the children is almost always of the knitted variety, so I was very happy to come across MABLI this week, a new company founded by Lisa Roberts (previously a women’s knitwear designer) who has moved to the Brecon Beacons and turned her attention to small people, making things for them which are as practical (machine washable, unisex, generous sizing for a long life) as they are beautiful (gorgeous colours, witty Welsh references, cleverly unusual but classic designs)

www.mabli.co.uk

This week I have been…

Drawing…

Pink roses and orange poppies for a suite of letterpress printed and hand-painted wedding invitations for a relaxed and stylish wedding to be held at the architecturally significant Walsh Street House built in the 50s in Melbourne, Australia…

Reading…

Jinny Blom’s delicious new book The Thoughtful Gardener

Watching…

A beautiful film made by artist and designer Anthony Burrill about the very special print workshop where we both make our work, Adams of Rye

Eating…

 

Wild garlic season is here again! Every Thursday Cass and I go to Great Dixter’s incomparable toddler group and this week we took a trip into the woods, decorated with a fitted carpet of white wood anemones as far as the eye could see and full of gren spears of wild garlic leaces. We cooked flatbreads in a cast iron skillet, coating them in ripped up garlic leaves and melted butter. Indescribably delicious. Admittedly a bit tricky to replicate the campfire at home, but the flatbreads recipe was incredibly simple, here it is… http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/easy-flatbreads/

Wearing…

Paloma Wool’s denim jumpsuit, a birthday present that generated much excitement and which somehow manages to make me feel at once like I am are wearing do-anything overalls and the slinkiest of dresses. That, to my mind, is genius! Based in Spain, everything is made locally using beautiful, organic and sustainable materials. Not many of each design are made, so you needs must be quick – I am already in mourning for the Betancor knitted dress I have missed… And if you enjoy a hand-drawn line as much as I do, see the airy silk shirts with elegantly simple paintings of figures and leaves…

www.palomawool.com

 

 

It’s all golden yellow daffodils, peeping violets and little lilac Cuckoo Smock in the meadow at the moment, pale and pretty and quite unlike the fiery orange nasturtiums which – now that I have just spent a sunny ten minutes poking their gnarled little seeds into random spots in the garden  – will hopefully appear later this summer..!

Scribble & Daub will be hand-painting and personalising Mother’s Day cards in-store at Liberty, London on Friday 24 March from 12.30pm

Happy New Year! Wishing Peace and Love to one and all in 2017…

If ever there were a year when love needed sending far and wide, recent events suggest this would be it, so I am delighted to announce that Scribble & Daub’s Valentine’s shop is now open. You will find lots of new designs, all beautifully letterpress printed and individually hand-painted. Many can be personalised with a name or the initials of your beloved entirely free of charge, and for an added frisson of traditional Valentine’s anonymity, feel free to make use of Cupid’s Bespoke Postal Service and have your Valentine hand-written and posted on your behalf…

Click here to visit the Valentine shop…

diamond-walnut

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported Scribble & Daub this year as I have launched the new card collection, I’m deeply grateful to all my lovely customers, stockists, friends and family. Looking forward to sharing the adventures of 2017 with you, but for now, there’s a bottle of something cold and fizzy in the fridge, and reams of ribbon and rainbow-coloured tissue paper requiring my attention, not to mention some un-made mince pies! My Christmas present to myself is some undivided time in the real world and the studio, so I’ll see you back here some time in January… Until then, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Sparkling New Year! xxx