Hard to believe this is really happening, but I have just arrived in London for a month-long artist residency program…
It is co-hosted by the Slade School of Fine Art (my alma mater) and the Camden Arts Centre. 22 artists from 13 countries are gathering to work on their own projects, benefiting from the professional support, camaraderie and resources of the program and the city beyond.
My project is about “Art Jewelry”—which I’m sure doesn’t sound like much of a stretch at first! But by exploring jewelry design from a different vantage point (my personal artistic vision, versus fashion trends or JW/MA’s best sellers, for example), I trust that new ideas will emerge… and no doubt find their way into future offerings to you as well! So stay tuned and I will keep you posted…
In the meantime, a return to London always reminds me of my favorite haunts. Here’s a short list to help you plan your own trip or just sit back and take a virtual vacation!
Liberty London—For their classic Liberty prints and the best selection of jewelry in town—from bountiful Victorian charms to the coolest 3-D printed statement necklaces.
Portobello Road—OK, it’s also a slightly overwhelming tourist attraction, but for good reason—quintessentially English, with discoveries for every taste and budget. Over the years I’ve bought a rare deck of Alice in Wonderland playing cards, gorgeous sprays of Victorian paste rhinestones, and a funky 1950’s travel-theme charm bracelet, plus so much more!
Fortum & Mason—First of all, I love their signature color, a very English seafoam green. Then the aura and history of the building and store (founded in 1706!) are irresistible. Known for decadent wicker picnic hampers, gorgeous packaged foodie gifts, and perfect souvenir tea towels!
Victoria & Albert—The ultimate authority on the history of design, and a wonderful way to lose yourself for the afternoon. We are so proud that their fashion jewelry collection includes a handful of Maximal Art pieces from the 1980’s and 90’s!
National Portrait Gallery—A fun, visual way to soak up history. Though as imposing as the historic portraits are, seeing the tradition updated to the 21st Century is what really gets me excited.
Saatchi Gallery—All about the new, the Saatchi Gallery explores what’s happening now in thematic or geographic shows that define or report on the cutting edge. Not always easy, but always interesting!
Bloomsbury—I include this in honor of my new home for the month, located in this gorgeous, intimate neighborhood anchored by the British Museum.
Hyde Park—A large, diverse ‘Royal Park’, where you can wander for hours… It also houses the Serpentine Gallery which has great shows and a famous annual summer competition to build a seasonal Pavilion. I can’t wait to see this year’s winner over the next few weeks…
Newman Street Tavern—Start or finish your Bloomsbury walking tour at this modern tavern serving updated British food with a focus on seasonal and local produce.
The Wolseley—In an glamorous old car dealership on Piccadilly, this is a great go-to place for breakfast/lunch/dinner that’s consistent, stylish, and high energy.
Tom’s Kitchen—With four locations about town, this ‘Modern British Brasserie’ comes highly recommended by friends who have lived in London for years…
Chiltern Firehouse—Right now this converted Victorian firehouse hotel & restaurant is quite hard to get into, but through a friend who was staying there I managed to have a fab dinner on my last visit. It’s stylish, warm, incredibly inviting, and great for people watching!