Beldi is a Moroccan word meaning traditional, rural and natural. It is also the perfect name for a company which sources vintage Moroccan rugs. Each Beldi rug is unique - an authentic piece of folk art, traditionally hand-woven by a married woman after she has had children. She would usually work on it each day, with love and care, sometimes for as long as a year. The rugs are firmly rooted in the culture and landscape that produced them as they are also made from the wool of sheep that roam Morocco's Middle Atlas Mountains. I love the colour, pattern and wonky shapes of all the different rugs, some dating back as far as the 1940's and 50's. From the surprisingly contemporary looking designs of the Beni Ouarain and Azilal rugs, to the wildly colourful Boucherouite and Boujad rugs. I am also intrigued by the story of how they were made and the idea that each rug tells us a little about the woman who crafted it.
Where I Was From is a new online vintage store based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Inspired by classic androgynous style, they offer a selection of unisex items, as well as simple, pared back men’s and women’s pieces. Claire Lampert and Darroch Putnam founded the shop after many years of acquiring vintage. Their goal was to create a store with a translatable aesthetic, which shows vintage items worn in a modern way. The styling and photography of the clothes works perfectly, my current favourite pieces being the kilim bag and cape coat pictured above.
Ferse Verse is an online shop based in Hong Kong. They sell a fascinating mix of vintage and modern items including rare finds like the paper penguin puppets, Japanese-style fans and mini bamboo spoons featured above.
All the products are inspired by the diversity of local cultures in Hong Kong and everything is beautifully photographed on their website. Stock changes frequently, so it is worth checking back regularly if you are interested in well-priced and unusual things.
Lucie Rie is hands-down my favourite potter. Her restrained elegance is something I aspire to (and fail miserably to achieve) in every pot I make. I love her bold use of scraffito - simple marks scratched through the surface of the clay - which highlight the form of each pot. However, my favourite pieces are her whiteware. Thrown, then altered, with the lips subtly dipped in manganese, these pieces are so simple and so beautiful that I could gaze at them all day.
I am currently reading Lucie Rie: Modernist Potter by Emmanuel Cooper. It is a brilliant biography and places her life and pots in context. From her training in Vienna to her exile in London through to the creation of her then 'challenging' modern style, she comes across as a wonderfully direct, hardworking and astute lady.
Fans of vintage workwear should head to Mother, who sell a fine selection of smocks, aprons, dresses and dungarees. The pieces are all beautifully styled and either secondhand or handmade with vintage fabrics.
I like to wear an apron most days when I am working around the house as whether I am cooking, cleaning, potting or on Mum duties, I find that dressing for the job helps me get that little bit extra done.
The range at Mother is stylish and practical so I am definitely tempted by a few of their designs. The Clover dress or Travail apron could well be winging their way to me soon...