Unknown Numbers – freedom of speech by the fjord

Raif again

On a visit to Oslo earlier this month I came across Unknown Numbers, an outdoor artwork in progress paying tribute to freedom of speech, being painted directly onto the Peace Wall outside the Nobel Peace Centre.

There is always an important and thought provoking installation outside the centre, a place where both fjord ferry commuters and visitors to the cafes and shops on Aker Brygge must always pass at City Hall Square.

Artists Shwan Dler Qaradaki and Johannes Høie started painting Unknown Numbers on 4 May, with the work consisting of large monumental portraits of free speech fighters, such as Carl von Ossietzky and Adnan Hassanpour, combined with graphic commentaries on the current condition of freedom of speech in the world.

I wasn’t around for yesterday’s completion of the 60m long artwork, but seeing it for the first time, I immediately recognised the image of Raif Badawi the Saudi humanitarian, writer and blogger who was sentenced to 1000 lashes four years ago.

35-Raif-Badawi-2

Raif, who lived in Glasgow for a time, has 950 lashes and many years in prison left to serve – simply for blogging about free speech. His wife and three young children are living in exile in Canada.

This morning I was emailed by Scottish PEN to tell me that they are supporting English PEN who are asking people around the world to take part by photographing themselves with a poster of Raif which can be downloaded from their website. Photos must be sent by 17 June englishpen.org

On 9 June, the same day as the launch of Unknown Voices, the Nobel Peace Centre opened a major exhibition about Carl von Ossietzky inside the museum. It is entitled The Dangerous Prize. Freedom of speech is the main focus of many of the activities at the Nobel Peace Centre this coming season

“From many countries, we are receiving signals about bad conditions for freedom of speech and of the press. By shedding light on the stories of some of the individuals who are risking their lives for their freedom of speech, we want to remind all the people who are passing by, that freedom of speech is a right we need to defend and protect,” says Liv Tørres, executive director of the Nobel Peace Centre.

Posted in Oslo | Leave a comment

Bringing it all back home – 1960′s interiors revisited

 

 

A new coffee table book showcasing a cool and kicky collection of 1960’s images from House & Garden magazine’s archives is far removed from the interiors of my childhood.

9781840916645

House & Garden: Sixties House by Catriona Gray (Conran, RRP £30)

With pictures of Britt Ekland’s Mayfair pad and a foreward by Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki, Catriona’s Gray’s new book, Sixties House, is required reading for anyone drawn to this decade of counter culture.

Of course we are all familiar with the old adage ‘if you can remember the Sixties you probably weren’t there’. Well I wish my memories of 1960s interiors would vanish into a psychedelic haze, but alas I can recall the precise details of rhubarb coloured  candlewick bedspreads, scratchy fibreglass curtains and fitted carpets with patterns that looked like a flashback from a bad acid trip.

Growing up in Inverness, the closest I got to the 60’s style of Catriona’s book, was a Fablon covered coffee table with splayed legs. Fablon I hear the under 50s ask?  Let’s just say that if you can remember where you were when JFK was assassinated then you’re old enough to know that Fablon is a self-adhesive home improvement product and not 1960’s beat combo.

Back then, it was a real life kitchen sink drama when these sticky-backed plastic decorative sheets were used to cover kitchen splashbacks, worktops, shelves, tables and even doors to add colour and pattern. My young uncle (a Jet Harris lookalike) took it the next level by pimping the dashboard of his Mini Traveller in monochrome marble effect Fablon.

This scene from the 1960 movie Saturday Night and Sunday Morning with Albert Finney and Shirley Anne Field jiving the night away, shows a parlour that is poised for modern makeover.

getfile

This Blue Peter approach to home decorating was a breath of fresh air in the post-war austerity kitchen as it was cheaper than Formica and didn’t require the services of a joiner. You could even colour co-ordinate it with your kitchen cabinet and the off-cuts were ideal for covering school text books.

Fablon was its commercial name, and just as Fray Bentos was shorthand for corned beef, so any kind of adhesive patterned plastic was referred to as Fablon; except by Valerie Singleton who made copious use of it for doll’s house interiors and sewing boxes but was banned from mentioning the brand name on the Beeb.

This democratic decorating device was freely available from ironmongers and Woolworths, and in our brand new ‘electric flat’ no surface was safe from this Elsie Tanner School of interior design aesthetic. Visit www.vinylwarehouse.co.uk or www.homebase.co.uk for of-the-moment Fablon and much more.

It when I saw John Lennon lounging in his sunken bed in The Beatles movie Help! that I knew that a more sophisticated alternative existed.So all credit to Catriona for curating these 1960’s images from House & Garden magazine featuring homes on the right side of groovy.

You can marvel at the Martini modern metallic PVC shutters in Mary Quant’s Chelsea flat, and salivate over Britt Ekland’s floor-to- ceiling louvered door dressing room in the Mayfair apartment she shared with Peter Sellers. No doubt both properties came with parking space for a Mini Cooper.

Here’s some images from the book.

All images courtesy The Condé Nast Publications Ltd.

dining zone

A triptych of framed prints is the crowning glory of this trippy 1969 dining zone where purple wallpaper reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’s velvet flares, and acid green lino provide a colourful punch to the whiter shade of pale kitchen units.

tiled table

This 1969 table covered in brightly coloured Spanish tiles from Casa Pupo is emblematic of the trend for ceramics during the Sixties, be it rustic tiles for kitchen splashbacks or bathroom walls.  Visit zazzle.co.uk for original tiles.

 

d532eeac-e808-4802-93a7-d2cec78b0b40STOP PRESS As I write this, I’ve just received a press release heralding a candlewick comeback; help ma boab, it’ll be Avocado bidets next. But this reimagined range of tufted accessories by Studio Anna Gravelle are tastefully executed in a kaleidoscope of hot colours. Candlewick Storm stools (£550, urban living interiors.co.uk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

Why I’m ditching my Mom Jeans for a denim pouffe

This Saturday sees the last of my interiors pages in The Herald but it’s not the final faux fur curtain – I’ll be blogging on all things for the home on a regular basis.

topshop--moto-vintage-mom-jeans-product-1-17316329-0-045004091-normal

Top Shop’s Mom Jeans

If anyone has earned the right to wear a pair of this season’s ‘Vintage Mom’ jeans from Top Shop,  then it’s the monstrous regiment of women who wore them first time around as young mums at the school gates in the 1980s. High of waist and with a generous hip width (both the mums and the jeans) they even made Debbie Harry look frumpy.

Here’s me (below) sporting a pair in 1994 (with my daughter Shona channelling the white polo neck that fashion editors say should be your wardrobe staple for 2016) and given the photographic evidence, you would think that I would now give Mom jeans a wide body swerve.

photo (2)

But after a decade of pouring myself into the low rise strait jackets of street fashion that are skinny jeans – I thought, why not. They look comfy, and after all, I am a vintage mom

The reality is that they are as unflattering as ever, particular with the on trend turn up designed to show off a well turned ankle – a look definitely not suited to the Scottish climate, and for that matter, women with a 28 inch leg measurement.

Stella McCartney has put the button-through denim skirts that her mum Linda wore back on the fashion map, but to be honest, I thought her fashion sense (think the Mull of Kintyre video), was as questionable as her singing; In fairness, young mothers of that vintage all looked a little like Linda – that’s why we liked her.

So the jeans are going to handed on to one of my three daughters as they are simply not ‘age appropriate’ for this particular vintage mom.

Instead I’m going to focus on the safer territory of denim inspired homeware. Here’s a few relaxed pieces without an expiration date!

MADECOM_1313653_MollyArmchairDenimBluePR02.jpg

Molly Armchair Denim Blue

Check out those tapered legs, and those angles. Now that’s a good figure. The high back and arms provide solid support, while the padded seat fills out the frame £349 from made.com.

HarleyLola_1374003_BlueWhiteRecycledDenimWoolPouff.jpg

Blue & White Recycled Denim & Wool Pouffe

Crafted from blue and white recycled denim and wool, these pouffes are perfect for additional seating or as a footstool..W40cm x D40cm x H40cm, £100 from Harley & Lola.
Artisanti_839115_SkinnyJeansMetalWallArt.jpgSkinny Jeans Metal Wall Art

This denim jeans metal wall art is elaborately crafted with rusty details and vintage style pain. 100 x 100 x 6cm, £429.00 from artisanti.com.

ARTHOUSE_1303834_ArthouseBlueDenimwallpaper.jpg

Arthouse Blue Denim wallpaper

Co-ordinates with all children’s designs and can also be used across all four walls. Available in Pink, Blue, Cream and Duck Egg. £12.99 from arthouse.com.

More Mom Jeans with matching perm this time circa 1987.

photo

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Born in the Fifties – Women’s State Pensions – we should’ve known better

 Hundreds of thousands of women aged 55-65 will be hardest hit by changes to the state pensions.Those of us born in the 1950s will have to wait longer than expected to receive our state pension due to rises in the state pension age. 

scan0001 x2For the past 25 years I’ve earned a reasonable living as journalist/writer. If things were different in my industry I would continue well into my 60s and beyond but the reality of dwindling fees and commissions makes this unrealistic, and I’m only too aware that I am one of many in this situation.

Naturally, I have diversified and taken on other work as well as some tentative steps into teaching to pay the bills (this used to be called a portfolio career but now it amounts to  chicken scratching) plus I’m in the fortunate position that my family is now grown up; but it’s my age that is kind of the problem.

My state pension wasn’t exactly the gold medal at the finishing line, but now that I am 60, with work so thin on the ground, it would make all the difference, particularly now that my last piece of regularly paid work with The Herald is about to come to an end.

As someone born in 1955, I’m told that I will be 67 before I get the state pension – and possibly not the entire amount due to maternity breaks. Of course the choice to work on should be there but not everyone has that option, be it down to patchy employment prospects or the fact that they are no longer physically up to it.

Last November, I heard the Pension Minister, Baroness Altmann on Moneybox (yes it’s come to that) saying that she’d considered helping women in this position but could not find a way to do so, whilst telling a 60-something woman that she’d just have to keep working/ find a job. Now I’m all for baby boomer power but if you work in food retail, lugging heavy boxes post 60 is a fast track route to a gynaecology ward.

We have significant youth unemployment rates and it seems wrong that some should be reluctantly working on when a young person can’t even get a start. And do you want your infant child taught by 67-year-old, bearing in mind that we are not considered fit to sit on a jury after the age of 70?

I’m writing this to not say poor me but to highlight the fact that many women have been left with little time to plug their savings. Equality is all well and good (we are The Female Eunuch generation after all) but the alacrity with which these changes are being implemented and the fact that we’ve been living under the cloud of a recession will cause hardship for many women.

If you are a woman in this position, please read http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/family/2016/01/womens-state-pension-petition-hits-100000-signatures

And visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776  to sign the petition. Thanks to my primary school friend Kate Maclean for passing on the link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Country Christmas Living Fair comes to Glasgow

 

main image

Blankets from SoCosy

Tomorrow I’ll be stepping into the pages of Country Living magazine when it comes alive at its Christmas Fair in Glasgow’s SECC over 19 -22 November. Although I live in an urban apartment block, that doesn’t stop me adding homespun rustic touch at Christmas time. I’m especially looking forward to the talks, demonstrations and workshops as well as meeting many of the designers in person.  Visit countrylivingfair.com/Glasgow for booking and further information or call 08448480150.  Adult – £9.50-£11.50, Children (5-16) – £7.50-£8.00, Under 5′s go free.

CHRISTMAS COMFORT BLANKETS  (see above) Made from ethically sourced, natural un-dyed wool, these Natural Wool Throws and Cushions (from £48 – £150) are from the perfectly named SoCosy company. SoCosy is one of a constellation of companies exhibiting at the Country Living Christmas Fair.

2. Beba Home

Sisters Helen and Lynn (who ran the marvellous Colonial shops) may be separated by continents with one in Scotland the other in Australia, but that’s not stopped them launching Beba Home, an online boutique with their own range of solid wood furniture, lighting and accessories sourced from their favourite designers and manufacturers, including this hardwood Cross Coffee Table, and £545. Visit them at stand B32.

3A. Amanda Mercer

Amanda Mercer lovingly designs and handcrafts vintage inspired buttons, jewellery, homeware and Christmas tree decorations from delicate porcelain. This seasonal star (£5) is just one of many of Cumbria based Amanda’s designs destined to become a family heirloom (stand I16).

4. Peonie Cole

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design graduate, Catherine Cole, is the creative force behind Peonie Cole the home and lifestyle brand. Catherine hand paints her designs prior to printing them onto fabric using a digital process which retains the colourful ‘just painted’ feel of her designs. These feather filled cushions are made from half panama cotton fabric using Catherine’s original floral designs (£45 per metre). Stand D17a.

6. Laura M Designs

LASER CUT CHRISTMAS PRINT £10.50

Not only has Glaswegian illustrator and graphic designer Laura Macfarlane created a range of readymade artwork, she also offers a bespoke service designing and making  paper cut prints exactly to your specification. Visit Laura M Designs at stand E48.

8. Dimpled Heart STAG JUG £28.50

As Dimpled Heart is a new name to me, I’ll be bee-lining their stand to get a closer look at their ceramics and gifts which are designed, handmade and decorated in Lincolnshire. The handle of this monarch of the glen style jug comes with a distinctive ceramic buckle (stand D27).

I’m including this Alpine Skier Cushion (£85) which you won’t see at the Country Fair but you can order online from www.janconstantine.com

Alpine Skier Christmas Cushion (2)

Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

Soft focus on Scottish Alpaca Label

sam

More often than not, when I’m pulling together my weekly interiors page for The Herald magazine, I come across an independent Scottish business with a global reach. My most recent discovery is the Samantha Holmes label, one of the longest established Alpaca lifestyle brands in the UK. (For me, Alpaca aces cashmere in terms of its softness and durability.)

Samantha founded the company in 2003, and is still running it from her home in the Scottish coastal town of Helensburgh. Each product is designed in Scotland and made by skilled artisans in Peru using traditional methods. Her latest collection of hand-crafted fashion and home accessories is made from soft natural fibres such as ethically sourced baby alpaca and bamboo.

Knitted Hot Water Bottle_£65_samanthaholmes.com (2)

Alpaca knit hot water bottle £65

Explains Samantha: “I design my own collections and love working with beautiful yarns and fabrics. I am always drawn to expert craftsmanship, and treasured traditions – like the age-old Peruvian tradition of working with Alpaca.”

Originally an Art and Languages graduate from Edinburgh University, Samantha was first inspired by luxury fabrics and traditional craftsmanship in Nepal from where she started importing cashmere from a small hand-weaving cooperative, however it was on discovering Alpaca, that she found her niche.

Alpaca Fur Throw_£1000_samanthaholmes.com (2)

Alpaca fur throw £1000

Samantha travelled to Peru to make contact with small producer groups, and together they continue to produce exclusive collections of handcrafted luxury gifts, fashion accessories, Alpaca babywear, Alpaca clothing and Alpaca home ware, using only the finest micron baby Alpaca wool.

The fur used is from Alpaca that have died of natural causes – baby Alpacas – or ‘cria’, as they are known. The younger, weaker animals often perish in the harsh Andean winter and are never killed purely for their fur.

Always passionate about mountainous countries, Samantha is mindful of Scotland’s unique textile heritage which has a strong influence on her designs. “I have moved away from the more rustic ethnic style associated with South American crafts to a classic, uncluttered, more universally appealing look,” she explains.

Alpaca Chunky Knit Baby Blanket & Shawl_£79_samanthaholmes.com (2)

Alpaca chunky knit baby shawl & blanket £75

Posted in Interior Design | Leave a comment

Young actress to recreate Highland Heroine

Photographed by Alan Peebles

A young actress, not long out of school, is to take on the role of a Highland heroine for a new film project. Last Footsteps of Home is a haunting new short film inspired by the true story of Kate McPherson, a courageous young Scots woman who was forced to leave her family home during the turbulent Highland Clearances in 1813 and board an emigrant ship bound for the New World. Molly O’Brien (18) will bring the inspiring role of Kate to life for the forthcoming film.

Dundee born Molly was brought up in Blairgowrie and started acting classes at the age of seven when she moved to Ireland for two years. Back in Blairgowrie, Molly continued her newfound love of acting at her local theatre company before going on to audition for a foundation acting class at Scottish Youth Theatre.

“The classes taught me a great deal about acting and performance,” says Molly who now lives in Glasgow, “especially about the more professional side to it – the importance of dedication, developing an appreciation for meeting deadlines and really committing yourself to a role.”

Molly’s first role in a short film was when she was in a re-imagining of Gregory’s Girl in association with GMAC and the BFI. More recently she played a lead in a Conservatoire student film and a Screen Education Edinburgh short film. She has since acted in several short films as well as working as a background artist on larger television shows including Outlander.

“Moving to Glasgow opened my eyes to a new side of acting I’d little been involved in before – acting for the screen,” explains Molly. “I’ve worked with many different people on a varied range of interesting projects and cannot wait to start work on this film.

“When I first heard about the role of Kate McPherson I was very excited. The Highland Clearances is a subject that interests me greatly, especially in the light of the fact that although they took place hundreds of years ago, similar examples of people having to leave their homes and go elsewhere can be seen all over the world today.

“It is a privilege to be involved in a project that is telling Kate McPherson’s story in this way. She really was an amazing woman – her life inspires me and symbolises the determination of we as Scots in the quest for a better life.”

11802648_1037665912932961_890683340720250235_o

The film’s writer and director, Robert Aitken says: “Although separated by 200 years, Molly and Kate share a great quality – both are tenacious young women heading out to a new world hoping to make their mark.

“I knew instantly that Molly was perfect for the role. Pathos will be important in telling our story about the Highland Clearances. Regardless of the arguments, the idea of leaving your home forever is truly heart wrenching.

Filming on Last Footsteps of Home starts in Sutherland and Caithness this September in locations, which include Brora, Golspie and the Strath of Kildonan, as well as the Laidhay Croft Museum in Dunbeath – a 200-year-old rushed thatched longhouse. The Laidhay interior is a readymade film set with a substantial collection of 18th and 19th century agricultural and domestic items.

IMG_0936

Laidhay Croft Museum, Dunbeath

Elizabeth Cameron of Laidhay Croft Museum says: “Laidhay is delighted to be involved with Last Footsteps of Home. It’s certainly going to give a great boost to the displays in the museum. We feel confident that people will receive the finished film very positively.”

Throughout the filming, cast and crew will be based at The Golspie Inn, which itself played a key role in the story of Highland Clearances and of great, but little known, importance in the context of Scottish history. Resistance to the planned improvements, which included removing of tenants from the old townships in the Staths at Kildonan and Clyne to the coast, resulted in the ‘Golspie Riots’ of 1813. Around 500 people turned up in a collective act of defiance at the proposed clearance.

golspie-inn

“We intend to remember the significance of the ‘Golspie Riots’ with a commemorative stone,” says Eddie McRae, owner of Golspie Inn. “The Inn is only too glad to support the making of Last Footsteps of Home. We have ambitious plans to make the Inn a conducive meeting place for people and the amazing heritage we have on our doorstep. We want to offer visitors and locals alike a rewarding cultural experience. The story of the ‘Golspie Riots’ will also be of great interest to descendants at home and abroad and we feel Robert’s film will truly help communicate this pivotal point in the Scottish Diaspora.”

Concludes Robert Aitken: “I’m hugely excited that our story will use actual locations connected with the Highland Clearances. It’s very important that Molly feels an empathy with the area and the harsh circumstances that the local people often found them in. You can only do that by being on the land where the more turbulent events of the Clearances happened.”

For more information on the film and to read more of Kate’s story please visit the film’s blogsite:

http://lastfootstepsofhome.tumblr.com/

http://www.heathermacleod.co.uk/new-film-to-tell-real-life-highland-heroines-story/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-33449732#_=_

photo 7

Robert Aitken is a media composer and independent producer and director of cultural projects at home and abroad. He was director on ‘Working Life to War Life’, exploring the effects of WW1 on the North East of Scotland during WW1. His soundtrack to the Highland Clearances, Kildonan, features newly inspired composed and arranged pieces. Robert is currently developing a series of short filmic and sonic episodes pertaining to the story of Scottish emigration.

Confirmed locations include:

-Balblair woods, Little ferry, Golspie

- Kildonan Church, Strath of Kildonan, Helmsdale

- Laidhay Croft Museum, Dunbeath

- Cairn Liath, Stathsteven (between Golspie & Brora)

- Back beach, Brora

- Golspie Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Film, Highland | Leave a comment

Goodnight to Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty at the V&A

Alex 1

This is the final day of the Alexander McQueen retrospective, Savage Beauty, at the V&A and it doesn’t surprise me that it has been declared the most visited paid-for exhibition at the museum in the last decade and that demand for tickets triggered unprecedented late night openings.

I’d booked my ticket early in the year, not that I was huge devotee of his work or the fashion world in general, and whilst I appreciated that his Widows of Culloden and Highland Rape collections were inspired by Culloden and the Clearances, I suspected that these turbulent times in Scottish/Anglo history provided convenient antler shaped hooks on which to hang radical collections.

When I was warned by some that they had found the exhibition to be an emotionally charged experience, I put that down to overly precious artspeak hyperbole. Hadn’t I read that some model had experienced a direction changing ‘epiphany’ at the V&A’s Bowie exhibition for goodness sake?

As it turned out, nothing could have prepared me for Savage Beauty, and in particular The Widows of Culloden collection. Given that I was born just two miles from Culloden Battlefield, this is a deeply familiar period of history, both from an academic and emotional point of view.

lee 2

Walking along the corridor, past the panoply of opulent red and white designs on one side and the ravaged tartan widows on the other, affected me at an unexpectedly visceral level.

My Glaswegian companion with no connections to the Highlands, was similarly moved, along with the internationally diverse mix of visitors around us, even though these exquisitely crafted garments were draped on manikins and lacking the real life models and theatrical complexities that marked the original show.

Without any form of animation, these pieces evoked a horror only matched by Peter Watkins’ pioneering 1964 Play for Today, Culloden, a powerful recreation of the massacre and post battle humiliation of the Jacobites.

Tartan and Gaelic were outlawed post-Culloden, the latter, even as recently as the 1960s was considered by some as a ‘tinkers’ language’. While the Victorians used tartan as a frivolous fashion statement, McQueen reclaimed its dignity. (No wonder that there had been a tendency for Highlanders to be self-apologetic, albeit underpinned by a quiet anarchy.)

The relationship between victim and aggressor was a recurring theme in McQueen’s work, and one that he presented with mesmeric sleight of hand. He could easily have skimmed the surface and still it would have retained its historical heft.

McQueen pushed the creative boundaries of craftsmanship without sacrificing past. The climax of The Widows of Culloden, saw Kate Moss as a wraith like figure floating over the battlefield like a Jacobean Angel of Mons.

photo lee

This was created using the Victorian optical illusion known as Pepper’s Ghost which projected an image through angled plates of glass and was replicated in Savage Beauty by the original team who worked on the Kate Moss hologram.

McQueen’s skills as a collaborator, resonate throughout the exhibition, be it a jewelled headdress by Philip Treacy or working with prosthetics technicians. For many it would be enough to create the extraordinary designs, but McQueen executed a theme from the smallest detail to a dramatic finale.

Of course there was much more to Savage Beauty than the Scottish themes. The Cabinet of Curiosities dome provided a dazzling insight into the ideas that were inside the head of this hyperactive genius, so many of which are now an intrinsic part of street fashion, be it feathers, swallows, skulls or the bumster jeans.

It seems only right that Lee Alexander McQueen’s final resting should be on the Isle of Skye, home of his forebears and an island that witnessed some of the most savage Clearances. Carved on the headstone are the words ‘love looks not with the eyes but with the mind’.

Alex

Gunrobh fois siorraidh aig a anam.

 

Posted in Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty | Leave a comment

Dovetails – Restoration Home In Partick

Lizzi

Just opposite Velvet Elvis (we miss you Alan Maughn) on Dumbarton Road in Partick is a double-fronted shop with fabulously upholstered chairs and stacks of pulpit bible sized fabric sample books.

It’s been 10 years since I wrote about the women in Dovetails who use their skills as French polishers and upholsterers to love tired pieces of furniture back to life; the velvet striped Parker Knoll in the window being a perfectly executed example.

Back then, Dovetails had a smaller shop a few doors down and self-deprecatingly described their craft as therapy more than anything else; but they were bloody good at what they did.

I wish I still had that Herald magazine piece on file so that I could go into the same intricate detail of their lives and work, but their website states that Dovetails does French polishing, cane work, furniture repair, upholstery, original artworks by Lizzi Lockhart, furniture restoration and traditional upholstery classes

When I was passing this morning, I almost hesitated before going in. Yes our paths had occasionally crossed over the years, but I would probably have to remind them who I was. But not only did they still have The Herald cutting, they even had a framed canvas of the accompanying photo.

I can’t remember which staff photographer took it but they did a cracking job of capturing four women in different variations of denim, smiling and leaning against one another with the tools of their trade.

Today they are busier than ever. When the feature first appeared, they had to close the shop for a day as they were inundated with customers beating a path to their door with tired and emotional pieces of furniture

In between furniture CPR, Lizzi Lockhart is as prolific an artist as ever, and when I was in the shop this morning, I was drawn to a wooded landscape in tailor’s chalk and varnish.

No sooner had I admired it than Lizzi was signing the work and sealing it in envelope. I am delighted with it for so many reasons. At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, there is a special atmosphere in Dovetails where it’s not only the furniture that comes out restored, and it’s no surprise that a dovetail joint is noted for its resistance to being pulled apart.

dovetails-glasgow.co.uk  567 Dumbarton Rd, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G11 6HU

  1. 0141 339 7878
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jan de Vries – an appreciation

 

So sorry to hear about the death  of naturopath Jan de Vries, an exceptional healer and human being. I am but one of what must be thousands of patients fortunate enough to have had their lives touched by him.

I can’t begin to imagine the hours he must have worked – he was unsparing of himself, and used his time to the maximum benefit of others.

If he sounds like a saint, then I think that’s not far off the mark. My first consultation with him was brief, to the point yet still caring. As I babbled on about my symptoms, he just nodded sagely like a wise owl who has seen it all; which of course was the case.

He knew just by looking at me what was required (I had a nerve in my neck pressing on a bone – exquisitely painfully but easily remedied).

I came away thinking – is that it (oh and his fees were minimal). Two days later, it dawned on  me that nine months of constant pain had disappeared.

You just had to sit in his always crowded surgeries to see the acute cases that presented themselves to him. His consulting room had several paintings gifted to him by grateful artists/patients.

It was only in recent years when his health was failing, that he told me that as a child he had been shot by the Nazis – and yet there he stood – calm and spiritual with a wisdom that was both innate and hard won.

The world will miss him but I know he is enjoying well deserved and eternal rest.

 

 

 

Posted in Jan de Vries | Leave a comment