Creativity Corner Inspirational People

meet john allen

November 4, 2011

Meet john, artist, designer, my ex-teacher and special friend. He is probably one of the most inspiring people I know.

At 77, having survived cancer three times, he looks younger than ever and still goes tracking in nepal. The answer: his attitude to life! After having a successful career in weaving, designing for textiles and lecturing, he has gone back to his first love of designing carpets that are hand-made in nepal.

John kindly invited me for lunch a couple of weeks ago, so I took this opportunity to bring along my camera and snap some shots of a few of his wonderful belongings.


I love how john has added his own touch by braiding wool and turning them into earrings.

The next photo is of a wonderful toy collection in a kitchen cabinet. John tells me that he started this collection when he was touring giving lectures all over the world. People who came to listen to his lectures started adding to this collection by presenting him with local toys from their home cities.

Aha, yes the paper maché dog without a name. In order to look so pristine, he has been waterproof varnished quite a few times. Apparently he has been really good for the past few years. John is debating whether to take him into the house over the winter. After all he is house trained!

This sculpture, made out of plaster, is coated in black and green paint to resemble a bronze patina. John made it whilst a student and in those days lacked the financial means to have it cast in bronze.

Here is a 7×7 foot wall hanging (different sections taken), designed by john and hand stitched in crewel wool in kashmir.

Can you believe that this is only part of john’s wonderful collection of the great english ceramicist clarice cliff? He bought his first piece (a bowl) in 1974 for £2.50. Wow! The bowl had a crack in it… Every time I go and visit I still get overwhelmed at the sheer size of this collection.

Some embroidery threads in john’s studio. There is so much to see and to photograph in john’s house that one could dedicate a whole year of blogging to it. I will finish off with a couple of john’s amazing carpets from his last exhibition, entitled: the forbidden kingdom. He designs and graphs them in his studio in london and gets them hand woven in silk and wool in nepal.

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  • Reply annabel November 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Tina those photos are glorious, especially those wooden figurines.

    • Reply tina November 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Thanks Annabel…… his house is full of wonderful treasures.

  • Reply Laura November 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    What an inspiring man and such a beautiful collection.

    • Reply tina November 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      I know! I so appreciate having him as a friend.

  • Reply Janine Fitzpatrick November 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    A lifetime of memories captured in the various items he has gathered over the years. Just looking at them makes me think he must be an artistic, colourful and interesting man.

  • Reply wall carpets » colourliving colourliving May 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    […] Well, for those of you that do, here is a visual treat. My very first blog was on my friend john, artist extraordinaire. I showed you bits of his home. John will be turning 80 next year but this […]

  • Reply Alison Sye May 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    What an amazing man. Love the crewel work

  • Reply Suzanne July 16, 2013 at 3:51 am

    So glad John is in remission from cancer. I first met John in 2002 when I was in Nepal and was able to see the first rugs of his Australian designs being made. John is a lovely, kind and down to earth person. Thanks for updating me on his life.

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