London Life Events

Best of Britannia

October 3, 2013

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!!!

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the farmiloe building, it’s a spectacular place for exhibitions.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

A lovely canvas on the stand of  g plan.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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!

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Some rather fine english bone china by sara smith.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Apologies to volpe and volpe. The photos were too dark. But as some of you already know, i was gifted a beautiful fox string holder by this wonderful company.

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.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

A rather regal looking gannet.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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.

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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!

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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

Best of Britannia - Colourliving

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.

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  • Reply Jacintha | Urban Pixxels October 3, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Wow, this looks great! Thanks for the tip. Just got my ticket for this Saturday. Looking forward to it.

    • Reply tina October 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Nice to see you here Jacintha. Hope I will bump into you on Saturday. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

  • Reply Chi @ 106 October 4, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Oh, this post makes me so wistful! I’d planned to go as an exhibitor but couldn’t make it in the end but enough about me – it’s great to have a virtual visit thanks to you. 😀

    What a fab selection you made, Tina!

    How handsome are those Morgan cars?! I am absolutely smitten and daydreaming about doing the school run (and weekly shop) in them – so, SO chic!!!

    I love the way the clothes have been suspended along the walls – very cool indeed – and there’s something about a well-crafted masculine brogue steeped in history, isn’t there?

    I can’t deny that I’m slightly freaked out by the bejewelled taxidermy, though …..
    The Humpties are gorgeous. I’ve been obsessed with Suzani for so long but could never find the right colour for my home. This just might be my chance to finally lay my hands on some. LOVE the colours.
    Have a lovely weekend! xo

    P.S. By the way, how’s Henry Higgins the fox settling in? Has he made any new friends in the neighbourhood? 😉

    • Reply tina October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

      Yes, I did think that would be the perfect place for your new venture. Well there’s always 2014 so get your application in woman!

      Thank you. There were so many nice things and I had more photographs but the post would have even be longer:-) I only had just over an hour and also stopped
      chatting to friends..

      Oh, those Morgan Cars? Aren’t they amazing? I’m sure M would have enjoyed taking a good look, that’s why I suggested he could drive you down:-)

      Chi, I swear, the ‘bejewelled taxidermy” was brillaint. It was very very dark where their stand was and so had to be creative with lighting and photography. Maybe the Foxes look
      scary from the side but you’re meant to look at them face on! My favourite was the Grebe, how regal!

      The Humpties will go far, I totally agree!

      Ha. Can you believe the shots from Volpe and Volpe didn’t come out. It was so very dark over there. She actually had a Henry and I was going to photograph it for you… He’s doing very well and loving his new ‘colourful’ surroundings… thank you so much Chi. xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey October 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I’d never heard of Best of Britannia. Looks like an intriguing show tho perhaps with some modern contemporary design omissions?

    I guess it might one day read Best of Britannia/The Colourliving Creative Process roadshow 😉

    I do love the vintage taxidermy – how quirky are they! But the art made from 1930s wooden shoes is very strange to me. I’m not an art aficionado by any means & so often the point – if there is one – is wasted on me.

    And I have a friend who I imagine would die for those cars.

    Thanks for the insights 🙂 xx

    • Reply tina October 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Glad you discovered something new:-)


      Oh yes, aren’t they totally fab? You can such see them in certain environments, right?
      I know quiet a few people who would die for a Morgan:-)

      Pleasure G xx

  • Reply debra finn October 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I read about this show last year and unlike Gerard liked the wooden shoes & bought myself one of their toilet holders which gets no end of positive comments in my downstairs loo. (each to their own eh? ; ) Not sure about the table though to be fair.

    Would love one of those taxidermy pieces.


    • Reply tina October 5, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Hi Debra,

      You know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder:-) yes, thought their pieces were very different and intriguing. Those lasts are beautifully made.
      The table was interesting. Apparently they are kitting out all of Timberland shop windows at present.

      Would die for that Grebe.. going back today so see whether I can smuggle her out:-)
      Thanks Debra x

  • Reply Alison Sye October 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Wish I had organised my weekend differently so I could go to this. Looks marvellous, and I’d never heard of it until now. Was it in the same place last year? Those cars are something else, and the taxidermy is great. I’m sure those Humpties will do very well indeed.

    • Reply tina October 5, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Oh Alison, I so thought of you when I was there. You could so easily have a stand and people would snap up your cards!!!
      Yes, it was in the same place last year!

      Have a look for 2014. Would be great to see you exhibit there… xx

  • Reply James Balston October 5, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I remember buying those bin liners as Christmas prezzie for some posh friends!

    • Reply tina October 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Hahaha! Takes a posh one to know a posh one. I loved them. They also had some camouflage ones and some pink…. can’t remember now. Tim told me but it’s gone again.
      Nice to know we frequented in the same arenas during the late 90’s… nearly veterans, what do you say?

  • Reply Igor October 7, 2013 at 6:49 am

    This post comes at the right time now that I’m back in the Downton Abbey loop – I feel so very British and appreciate this inspiration:-) beautiful photography as usual!

    • Reply tina October 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Welcome back, Mr Igor! Hahaha. Yes, can imagine that a bit of Downton Abbey could do the trick after 3 weeks of the US.
      I haven’t got into the new series yet. Still trying to see the first episode of Homeland Series 2.

      Thank you Sir.

  • Reply Catherine October 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Oh this is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Everything is so inspiring, the taxidermy dressed in vintage accessories, brilliant! I’m also a sucker for nice tea cups and saucers. Wonderful post. x

    • Reply tina October 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Yes, I think you would have loved joining me for this one… thanks Catherine x

  • Reply tina October 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I just thought I’ll come back here to say that I did buy the wonderful crested Grebe with the gorgeous stola… she is from 1900 and so elegant, wouldn’t you agree?

    It came as a total surprise so am very chuffed…. Thank you to Jacintha of Urbanpixxels for the moral support:-)

  • Reply Holly October 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Wow Tina! Great coverage here! Sartorially stuffed not even started yet, but we get the scoop from you 🙂 I still can’t believe Marian is living in your place, fantastic piece, perfect for #colourlivingHQ.

    So impressed by everything here, but especially the farmiloe building! Woah. Unbelievable.


    • Reply tina October 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks H. yes SS is someone to watch. You should have seen the Highland Cows Head – although not sure Owen really wanted to sell it.

      The building is a firm favourite and used quite a bit by the design events.

  • Reply Antoine October 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Excellent coverage – I missed a few exhibitors but I m surprised you did not mention the exquisite furniture that were in display at Jeffery West .

  • Reply Doris October 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

    What a lovely tour Tina. Sorry I didn’t get to make it this year but for some reason the ‘sartorially stuffed’ guys put a smile on my face. Not a taxidermy fan usually but … Thanks for sharing Tina. xD

    • Reply tina October 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Haha. I like that you see the funny side of the Vintage Taxidermy… I’m not usually a fan but SS’s have such a great eye and idea.

      Maybe next year?

  • Reply Louise - 30s Magazine October 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Drooling over the Morgan car! I have a secret hobby: I photograph every classic car I see. Unfortunately I never ran into one of these. Also love the venue and the dress. And the LV bin liner! Who would think of that? Better yet, who would use that? Like your idea of wrapping paper. Or you could use it as book covering.

    • Reply tina October 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      I didn’t know you like to photograph Classic Cars. But why am I not surprised??

      Yes, you would notice the LV bin bags:-)) No doubt you would have bought some too

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