I don't know about the rest of the country, but London's been having a truly beautiful and hot day today. The last seriously warm day we had (before all the rain arrived), Truffle here had the pleasure of being invited to a pop-up shop in Kingly Court in the West End. Given the weather, the media types and teenaged Continental tourists were out in force on Carnaby Street. Kingly Court is a relatively new development that seems to have landed like a space ship into the folds of Soho. Restaurants and cafés surround a courtyard on the ground floor, indie boutiques are scattered throughout the building, and there's a smart yoga studio on an upper floor.
I was at Kingly Court that warm Thursday to check out Ham, a gift and homeware brand started up by Jo Robinson (née Ham). I know Jo from school, as she was Head Girl the year before my sister Rice Krispie was. (That's right, Rice Krispie was Head Girl at my school. Her sisters' pride regarding this fact never fails to embarrass her. So I thought I'd mention it on our blog.) After school, Jo trained as a fine artist at The Ruskin School in Oxford. She then worked in marketing, before leaving last year to start up Ham.
The concept behind Ham is the capture of unexpected moments in the contented lives of a pig, a horse and a rabbit. Jo's designs have taken these moments and finished them on premium cotton, fine bone china, and foil-blocked gift cards. There is much to adorn the home, but my kitchenware antenna specifically picked up on the delightful apron, tea towels and mugs.
Scooting pig premium cotton tea towel
The pig has got to be my favourite. This image of it scooting downhill is just too cute to resist! I didn't, and the tea towel is now ready and waiting on my oven door. The apron (pictured at the top of the page) is also ready for an episode of one of Frangelico's tortillas.
Bouncing rabbit premium cotton tea towel
Mowing pig bone china mug
Watering horse bone china mug
As a photographer and physics geek, I was also attracted to the photogram prints, all fashioned by Jo herself. Photograms are produced in the darkroom by exposing light-sensitive paper, with an object interrupting the light source. The silhouette of the object is cast on the paper, resulting in interesting distorted edges between the light and dark. I see this as a metaphor for the creative process itself, where a source of light shines through and around a form that is the mind of the creator, leaving an imprint of a unique shape, tracing the lines of all of that person's life and experiences.
Horse photogram print
1.11 Kingly Court
off Carnaby Street
10am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday (until 8pm on Thursday)
12pm to 6pm, Sunday
The pop-up shop is open until Sunday, 14 August 2011. After that, the full range will continue to be available at www.hammade.com