Thursday, 6 June 2013

Yard Sale Bohemia

Were you the type of kid who loved to paint on things? Did you decorate your bedroom door with stickers? I drew on my radiator with feltpens and as I grew older, in one of my first digs away from home, I attempted a mural on the bedroom wall – it was never finished.

Well last week in homage to all things decorous, bohemian and painted upon, Dolores from Red Door Studios, Queen Bee Vintage and I took a trip the gorgeous cottage and artists home known as ‘Charleston’ in Sussex …

“Charleston was the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury group. The interior was painted by the artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, and together with their collection forms a unique example of their decorative style.”

Charleston painted rooms and exterior

Yup, this Bohemian artist couple (and their friends) applied paint to everything in their Sussex hideaway – the walls, the doors, the bed, bath panels – any nook and cranny – if a chair stood still for long enough, it got decorated. 
The designs and colours are as breath-taking as they were in the early decades of the twentieth century when Bell and Grant lived at Charleston with some areas painted or painted over as late as the 60’s. The style of decoration is ‘naive’ and childlike, spontaneous and free.

The cottage is full of art, tapestries, ceramics and the domestic clutter of a well lived in and much loved abode - the house and gardens are open to the public Wednesday to Sunday and if you’ve never been, then it’s a must this summer. We all fell in love with the place ...

Sarah 'Queen Bee Vintage' pouring tea at Charleston

I for one fell in love with the philosophy of decorative expressiveness – why not daub a portrait on your wall, apply paint to the dinning table, freshen up the bedhead with a print. 
As our tour guide for the afternoon pointed out, Vanessa Bell and her sister Virgina Woolf were Edwardian ladies and been brought up as such, it must have been quite a leap for them both to assimilate into the bohemian life and for Vanessa to steer a path away from formal painting and representation to sketching out flowers freehand on the walls with what ever paint came to hand.

Painted bedroom at Charleston

so .. in this spirit of bohemian artistry I want to talk:

… and invite you to come down to ... 

Red Door Studios grand Yard Sale in East Ham! 

14 - 16th June 2013

Come and pick up some battered piece of furniture (there’s quite a selection).
I want you to take something home and paint it up. 

Maybe you fancy your chances re-upholstering a chair? The Yard Sale has fabrics and notions too. There’s a stack of Architectural Salvage, timber to make things with, old doors to strip, bits and bobs to nail together into ART. There may even be some paint for sale – who knows, there is so much stuff!

I have my eye on some lampshades as the hand stitched lampshades at Charleston were so inspiring.

Lampshade in Charleston House against painted wall

Red Doors Yard Sale stock

Fix something up, take before and after photos, then share the finished masterpiece with Red Door or here on my blog. 
If you are already a regular up-cycler come on down, find some new supplies and make some friends on the East Edge.

This was a rather sad plywood cabinet bought at the Retro Sale Red Door held last September, its new owners sanded it down and gave it a fabulous glossy orange and black treatment! 

Dr Wilkinson's record cabinet

The Red Door Yard Sale is a good old fashioned rummage experience, with bric-a-brac, clothes, books and home-wares alongside our pre-loved supplies. There will be plenty of things to find and
haggle for or simply stop by for tea and cake and make a donation.

All proceeds from the Yard Sale go towards the studio’s recent renovations – a new (in the spirit of recycled *new*) kitchen and toilet. Of course we used first class plumbers and fitters and invested in a new boiler (hot water yay!) so that future events at the studio can be better served.

The Sale kicks off Friday 14th June 7pm – 10pm with a Preview Evening where you can survey the best bits of junk and buy before the crowds descend at the weekend.
Then Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th from 11am.

So I hope to see some locals next week. 
However, if you live further afield - why not share your inspirations in the comments!

Painted Mantlepiece at Charleston House

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