Audio tour in time – London Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery in London has come up with a twist on the usual museum audio tour: a choral choir!

Careful research prepared music which would have been contemporaneous with the portrait sitters and their time of influence on British society.  The pieces are then sung by a specifically assembled Portrait Choir, together with voiceover by Simon Russell Beale.

“The idea is simple: this guide is a soundtrack to five centuries of magnificent portraiture – as well as feasting your eyes on the portraits, period-specific music will further transport you from 21st century Britain to the era each room evokes.” – from the introduction, Track One on the guide

Can sound and music help us seem to travel through time?


Shakespeare inspires public transport poetry

Have you ever wondered “what if….?”  Judith Cherniak was in a group reading Shakespeare and came to a line about a love-smitten man wanting to put love poetry up on every tree.  She wondered what it would be like to put poetry in spaces on the walls on the London Underground.  Thankfully, she wrote a letter to the Managing Director of the Underground – who, to her surprise, responded positively.  Beginning with just 6 poems, Faber & Faber printing the posters for free, and a small grant from Arts Council – and 25 years later, in 2011, gave this interview about how it all began, and how the idea spread to Dublin, New York and Paris.

Almost unbelievably, the project began with just 3 people (Judith and two friends) who have continued throughout.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead
Read more at:

Scandinavian home craft

Lotta Jansdotter has a worldwide reputation for handprinting patterns which are used on textiles, notebooks and household interiors.

“Can’t find what you want?  Make it!  Don’t know how?  Learn it!” is how her website describes her pragmatic approach, much of her printing based on simple potato cut prints, in repeating patterns.

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Her fabrics are stocked by Windham Fabrics but you can learn the techniques of (more…)

On now – film festival on creating

Real to Reel craft film festival. 3 days, 44 films.

2-4th May at Playhouse Cinema, London then

5-7th May to The Bureau in Blackburn.

includes films on getting more people to knit through MC, painting roadmarkings, dropping pottery from a great height, basket weaving, far Eastern women’s traditional crafting….

In Lancashire 6th/7th it is part of the First Festival of Making, more details at:

Pigs may Fly – Pink Floyd at the V&A

13 May – Pink Floyd Exhibition opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


The British Rock bank, Pink Floyd, known for imaginative staging and videos have an exhibition in their honour opening at the premier London design museum the Victoria and Albert museum (known colloquially as the V&A) beginning soon.

Although known for their creativity in live gigs, here is their ground-breaking live action and animation music video: Another brick in the wall.

“Let’s fill this town with artists” – CASS ART

Have you ever felt you wanted to start being more creative and explore art – stepped brightly across the threshold of the local art supplies shop – and been plain bewildered and overwhelmed by the choices in there?  Suddenly discovered that everything is clearly labelled – but in an arcane, weird language which makes no sense?  Asked for advice from the sales person only to be given advice which conflicts with what a friendly artist gave you previously and, panicked, slunk out with your best guess at what you needed, but with a sickening sensation in your bank statement that you had probably bought the wrong colour/shade/tone/paper/brush/brand/type of materials?

Reader, I have.  However, hope springs afresh as I’ve just heard of a place which gives me hope to step across a paint supplies threshold once more…


So CASS ART is an idea whose time has come – they don’t just provide a gigantic range of materials, also all the staff are artists and specialists in different media, so you can get advice.

AND they provide evening art classes, so you can learn.  Of course, in turning up for art classes, you will likely need to buy more materials and so need the services of a good art supplies store… so it makes sound business sense.

Where are they?

LONDON – Charing Cross Road, Kensington High Street, Soho, Islington, Hampstead, Kingston


What are they like?

Pentagram, the major branding company, described them, attractively, as:

“It is a combination of a candy store and a hardware shop”.

Pentagram?  Who?  I’m glad you asked – more tomorrow…