I really wasn’t looking for anything fibre- or sheep-related when walking between meetings in London last week: the sign just jumped out and hit me. With an hour to kill, a reasonable afternoon’s weather and an almost direct route heading east along the Clerkenwell Road in London, I originally intended to light a candle en route and remember an old friend.
The cleaner at my first PR job, the lovely lady concerned was a true Cockney, born within the sound of Bow Bells amongst the Italian community around Clerkenwell. We’d sometimes nip in to St Peter’s Italian Church at lunchtime and light candles together: neither of us were Catholic but the practice made a quiet statement of faith in something bigger for both of us. Yet the Clerkenwell I now found before me, some 35 years later, was fairly unrecognizable, being gradually gentrified.
The only advantage of this gentrification is the influx of design businesses of all kinds, from furniture to flooring. So there it was: an invitation a weaver couldn’t resist – to enter the world of Altro flooring and have a go weaving with its colourful offcuts. Alas my watch told me I didn’t have time to pitch in there, much though I wanted to have a go, but watching was fascinating! It was Altro’s contribution to Clerkenwell Design Week, which, I then discovered, was on its final day, with happenings all along my proposed walking route.
Next I came across a blue sheep with some white inanimate companions, pointing to the Sedus office furniture showroom; then a fascinating sculptural and coloured light installation by Alexander Mulligan in conjunction with creative design group Nicholas Alexander – the sculpture represented the swift passage of animals and people through Clerkenwell to Smithfield in historic times. Lastly I only by then had time to briefly admire the utter artistry of a willow sculpture, much like structure with an over-arching roof yet lit by fibre optics and small flower-shaped bronze-gold lights by Sharon Marston. Wonderful work indeed.
So next time you’re early for an appointment, it just goes to show that the creators of Stingray were absolutely right: “anything can happen in the next half hour” so see what you can find. Sheep, weaving and fibres of all kinds are never too far away! Here’s wishing you a week of equally fascinating discoveries.