Thursday, 23 May 2013

Jazz and Boules at the Brocante - 11th May 2013

Another fabulous day at the Brocante in Alice Park on Saturday despite the blustery weather. We set up in beautiful sunshine and Saravian who came to sing her wonderful jazz certainly brought out the sun later.  People came to browse the fabulous array of decorative antiques, wonderful prints of vintage bathers, vintage jewellery and stunning lampshades, whilst sampling the delights of the café. Adrian Chivers and Chris Garratt had brought along their boules friends and played for a while, creating a wonderfully relaxed vibe. They were kind enough to let me have a go and I'm now hooked! 







 
Eirlys very kindly came to lend her quirky bunting and looked quite the picture of French chic putting it up in the morning sun.  Sarah Corbett brought a little bit of vintage beach as she moved in with her wonderful beach hut, a print of beach antics at Trouville nestling behind.  As she and Eirlys reminisced about the beach there thoughts of Jacques Tati's "Mr Hulot" came to mind.  Wouldn't it be great to be able to have an open air showing in the park me thinks.  Sarah's prints of bathers and beach scenes were wonderfully evocative, and I adored her vintage bathing doll with its swimming cap, very similar to her fabulous leather one!

As ever I met interesting customers and had lovely chats with people and was thrilled to sell my glass paintings of two twinkling belles made from sweet wrappers during the war, to one of the boules players who collects them.  Very serendipitous.

A couple of weeks later I had a wonderful morning for Mrs Baer's retiring fair at her house and the Church Hall in Church Road, Bradford on Avon.  I entered through the cellars and weaved my way through rooms of stunning and varied textiles, edgings, antique dresses, baskets of napkins, pretty linen pillow cases.  Through Mrs Baer's room lined with shelves of French linen and hemp sheets, some monogrammed in beautiful fonts, grain sacks and pretty French café curtains and others hanging.  Into Sue another cellar with Sue Stokes's stunning stall, with more treasures, vintage girdles, unusual textiles with the prettiest prints.  I bought an original French floral pinny, perfect for wearing at my job in the café at the Pound Arts Centre. 





I loved these very unusual fair ground decorations with their fibrant colours.


It is always a joy to see Jen Jones and her incredible selection of Welsh quilts and blankets.  I would definitely recommend a visit to her fascinating and beautifully set out Museum of Welsh quilts and shop, in Lampeter.


 


One of Joanna Heptinstall's stunning and quirky lampshades greeted us on the street outside the entrance! and there were more inside.  I love the shape and fabrics with their delicious frills.  Above the cellars was Mrs Baer's beautiful terrace edged with red rock roses.  I sat with a friend in the sun drinking coffee and looking at each others' treasures that we'd bought and admired things that the couple of ladies at the next door table had bought!  The church hall was as ever full of stunning textiles and antique clothes, and it was great to catch up with Liz van Hassault in her incredible patchwork coat.

It was an inspiring day tinged with sadness that this would be the last time that such a gathering will be happening again there under Mrs Baer's helm.  I admire her creativity, integrity and dedication to the textiles she has amassed and their history.  I salute her!

 
I love this little family of 1950s dolls which will definitely be coming to the next Brocante on 15th June, 2013 in Alice Park from 10am until 4pm.  There are some spaces left so if you are interested in taking space please contact Katherine Gilmore via this blog or at gilmorekatherine@hotmail.com or on 07951 889056

Thursday, 2 May 2013

"Roll out those Hazy, Crazy, Lazy Days of Summer!"

Is the start of Summer finally here?!  I cycled back from work today in glorious sunshine, with the sounds of the birds around me, seeing a riot of colour in the hedgerows, all against a clear blue sky, .... heaven.  I was thinking of the fast approaching Brocante and the shape that it is taking this year.  We have our regulars Steve and Ivan Weekes with their eclectic and exciting array of Brocante, Chris Garratt from "Old Hat" with his quirky retro items, as well as vintage clothes and fabulous badges from various societies (they make me want to join some of them).  Caroline Penny will be bringing her beautiful vintage marquee and array of Brocante inside it, come and rummage inside its calming canvas.

Joining us for the first time this year is my lovely and talented friend Alice Dent with her fabulous jewellery made from vintage beads.  I've spent many a happy day buying with her at Kempton Antiques fair.  I shall be selling too and have some new and unusual wares, in the shape of a vintage horse from a playground of bygone years, some very nostalgic Cunard Line memorabilia from the 1950s and a Mettoy metal dolls house and quirky plastic furniture.






There seems to be a theme developing for this year's Brocantes, it being the Sea.  Think of a journey from New York to Southampton on RMS Queen Mary with the Cunard Line on 31st May 1954. 
 
All sorts of romantic images are conjured up by stylish baggage labels with the instructions "Jewelry Cases, Coats, Furst, Cameras, Small Bags should be retained in the possession of passengers." 
Entertainment would involve a quick session in the gymnasium (open for Exercise from 7 to 7pm), a showing of "The Runaway Bus" with Frankie Howard and Margaret Rutherford after lunch, relaxing in A Deck lounge to the dulcit tones of Charles Saxby at the Hammond Organ to mention a few.  American and British news broadcasts would punctuate the afternoon, before preparing and dressing in beautiful 1950s dresses for cocktails in the Mermaid Bar, Prom. Deck.  An incredible 8 course dinner offering all the latest culinary excitements of the age would be the next entertainment:  Mixed Hors d'Oeuvre, Pigeon en Cocotte, La Valliere, Saumon poche, Sauce Mousseline, Poire Belle-Helene washed down with Red and White Bordeaux.  To end the evening there would be dancing in the Rose Room to the Queen Mary Dance Orchestra.  What an incredible day, would be happy to experience that today!  My parents are off on a cruise starting from Seville and sailing round Spain and Portugal - will have to compare notes!

I wonder whether Betty Brixham would have experienced such a crossing!  She is the star of the show produced by the fabulous Sarah Corbett who I met with her beautiful stripey changing tent at Frome Artisan market and the Bath in Fashion V&A fair in April.

The Swimmer
Set in the golden age of bathing, cross channel swimming champion Betty Brixham lifts the canvas of her bathing hut to reveal the swimmer as hero, eccentric and romantic.
Aided by goose fat, buoyancy aids, and commemorative bunting, all produced from the depths of the mobile modesty hut, Betty tells her tall tale of the cross channel swim and other swimming exploits.

“With grace and vigor I stepped from my bathing hut on to the promenade. Dressed in my finest bathing suit and matching cap, I climbed the steps of the Admiralty Pier. The sun was not shining, the sea was not calm. Taking a deep breath, I fixed my eye upon the prospect of France …”

Inspired by early cross channel swimming exploits and mythologies of the sea.
Whether our lives progress swimmingly or the tide turns on our fortunes, this story provides a metaphorical undercurrent to our heroin and her epic ambition to swim to France. Meet Betty, an athlete of the imagination, and her gloriously absurd tribute to the golden age of bathing.


'The Swimmer' is in development as a solo story telling: this is a scratch performance.




Here is a taster of what is involved from Sarah:-

The Swimmer
Set in the golden age of bathing, cross channel swimming champion Betty Brixham lifts the canvas of her bathing hut to reveal the swimmer as hero, eccentric and romantic.
Aided by goose fat, buoyancy aids, and commemorative bunting, all produced from the depths of the mobile modesty hut, Betty tells her tall tale of the cross channel swim and other swimming exploits.


“With grace and vigor I stepped from my bathing hut on to the promenade. Dressed in my finest bathing suit and matching cap, I climbed the steps of the Admiralty Pier. The sun was not shining, the sea was not calm. Taking a deep breath, I fixed my eye upon the prospect of France …”


Inspired by early cross channel swimming exploits and mythologies of the sea.
Whether our lives progress swimmingly or the tide turns on our fortunes, this story provides a metaphorical undercurrent to our heroin and her epic ambition to swim to France. Meet Betty, an athlete of the imagination, and her gloriously absurd tribute to the golden age of bathing.




'The Swimmer' is in development as a solo story telling: this is a scratch performance.
 
 
Sarah will be selling her imaginative prints of swimmers and other items.  I love her handmade shoes too (decorative items and not to be worn!)
 



 On a different note, I loved this lady and her hat at the Bath in Fashion V&A fair on 21st April!  Who was she watching?!



Also I love this knitted bunch of flowers I found in Frome last month.  What an incredible amount of work must have been put in to it.  I have a long way to go with my knitting, but perhaps I'll have a go once I've finished my husband's vintage jumper!

 
 
So come along to the first Brocante on 11th May, bring your friends and come and find a treasure to go home with!