Hello and apologies for this late posting. There’s a good reason for it. I wanted to be able to share with you a fantastic event that started this morning and will run until saturday evening.
Although mega busy, this morning at 10am, i made a beeline to best of britannia in clerkenwell to bring you some ‘hot off the press’ photographs of what you can expect to find there. This classy, upmarket and impressive ‘highly targeted brand statement event’ (or rather movement) was started in 2012. In its second year it is bigger and better. Housed in the formidable farmiloe building (not great for photography), it’s full of british brands and makers that design and manufacture in the UK. Yes, you heard right! This place only showcases companies and individuals that have devoted themselves to the creation of well-made objects, that fly the flag for the high quality artefact, produced and manufactured here in the UK by people who have learned their skills over generations and are undergoing an extraordinary renaissance.
This is really for anyone who appreciates good quality products, cares where they come from and wants to meet the makers. You’ll find everything from handbags, cars, speedboats to clothing and fine wines. What you’ll also find, except the obvious of shopping to your hearts content, is the opportunity for collaborations, networking and mutual discovery among many different industries.
My time was extremely limited and so i was only able to feature a few of these wonderful ‘homegrown’ products. Here’s my selection.
The first thing you’ll see after you register at the desk is this…… yes, the amazing morgan motor cars. What can i say except that these beauties made my heart sing. Morgan cars, in production for over 100 years, are famous the world over for their unique blend of charisma, quality materials, craftsmanship and performance. Enough said!!!
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the farmiloe building, it’s a spectacular place for exhibitions.
A lovely canvas on the stand of g plan.
Martin grey doing his thing on the joseph cheany & sons stand. Here’s a nice story for you:
Founded in 1886 by joseph cheany, the company had been recently owned by prada, who also bought church’s shoes. When prada extended manufacturing with church shoes they no longer had any need for joseph cheany & sons. As church shoes wanted to get back to their roots, they bought up cheany & sons and are proud to be back making english made shoes!
Some rather fine english bone china by sara smith.
Whilst at their stand, i came across owen, who literally hasn’t even started his company. Him and his business partner Jane are about to launch ‘sartorially stuffed’. There is no website or any information on this duo, but i’ve got a taster for you here below. Now how fab are these? Will they be a hit? For sure! These are vintage taxidermy which are dressed in vintage accessories, like beading hats and fur stolas.
Here is a crested fox.
A rather regal looking gannet.
Look at this great crested grebe with the gorgeous stola. I know from owen that some restaurants were keen to have these. I wish you both the best of luck on your new venture.
Here below we have white dove and wonder. Objets of art made out of 1930’s wooden shoe lasts, crafted by one of the finest shoe factories in Northampton You’ll find them in in the form of table lamps, bookends, doorstops, coat pegs, candleholders and clocks.
These quirky floor cushions really spoke to me. Humpties are a new design-led brand of floor cushion which can be used as extra seating, coffee tables or footstools. They come in 4 sizes and are unique, versatile, affordable and foremost fun! The fabrics, a mixture of viscose and linen filled with 100% wool, are designed exclusively for humpties in collaboration with new and emerging british designers, illustrators and artists. Launching at best of britannia, i have no doubt they will be a success.
I had to take a photograph of this gorgeous dress (on a landing) but had no time to find out what stand it belonged to. Maybe one of my readers can enlighten me.
Next up is my friend tim milne of ARTOMATIC. Tim has featured in my creative process series, where you can read all about his latest project: CONTAINER, a publication about the nature and culture of objects; a magazine beyond the confines of a printed book. You can see it in its full glory on his stand.
ARTOMATIC also offers physical communications. Tim and his team show how physical objects can be created, made and employed to tell stories for brands and organisations who want or need more meaningful engagement with their customers.
Here’s another funny story for you. Back in 1999, ARTOMATIC produced a series of their own products to sell through their stores in clerkenwell and selfridges. Entitled FAKE, the products were created as a comment on people’s relationship with branded goods – louis vuitton is the ultimate branded good and a bin liner is one of the the few never-branded products. Apparently it drew the wrath o LVMA and was hastily withdrawn. Now the funny part. Guess who bought them? Yes, yours truly, but just before you go on judging me.. i thought they made wonderful gift wrapping. HA!
Last but not least, here’s my other friend, john willshire and his unique artefact cards. Once again, john has featured in my creative process series and you can read all about the cards there. With brand new packaging and now made in the UK, there are lots of new things in the pipeline! Oh, if you stop at his stand, he’s got a competition running. You could win yourself £40 worth of artefact cards. I also know that john, who’s given a talk today will repeat it on saturday! For details, tweet him @willsh
Right, i’m beat. If you haven’t yet completely planned out your weekend i highly recommend a visit to this most wonderful event. I might pop over again myself on saturday. I’ve really only touched the surface here. The event does not only showcase some of the best established and emerging brands that design and manufacture in the UK, it also provides a platform for some of the UK’s most exciting artists and filmmakers.
Best of Britannia – the innovative, pioneering exhibition of diverse and exciting British products, all made exclusively in the UK is at The Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th October 2013.