The Pazuki Blog
Mexico! May 05 2017, 2 Comments
I totally fell in love with Oaxaca City, despite having a population of 4 million people, it had none of that big city hustle and bustle – arty, foody and always something unexpected and extraordinary going on in the streets.
There was no shortage of street art.
Shrines outside houses.
The colours and creativity carry on into the graveyards, a place for picnics and music.
Mescale bars and market food.
One of our favourite breakfast places, the Boulenc Bakery – Sarah falls in love with Paco the chihuaha, they share the same hair colour and have matching blue stripe shirts on. I loved the loos, using re-cycled materials.
Luscious herbs, papier mache pinatas, and dangerous looking coloured mescales in the market.
The best market jewellery was from Sal Timbaaco.
Beautiful botanical gardens in the centre of Oaxaca, originally an army base and totally barren, it was saved from becoming a hotel complex and instead became a haven of plants and trees indigenous to Oaxaca state. Our guide explained how so many plants had traditional uses, a beautiful, natural way of living that needs preserving.
Museo Rufino Tamayo, an astonishing collection of pre-Hispanic artefacts.
Olga our kind landlady wearing a Pazuki scarf I gave her.
Textile museum. The embroidery in Oaxaca is extraordinary, if I lived there I would definitely wear nothing but hand embroidered smocky dresses.
I couldn’t resist buying 3 carpets from Dulizan in Teotitlan village. The wool is all hand-dyed with natural dyes on the roof top.
The paper-making studio attached to a beautiful art school - the Institute of Arts in San Agustin Etla, founded by the famous Mexican artist, Francisco Toledo, in an old textile factory.
Loved these humorous miniature tin paintings.
An original colour choice for an apartment building.
A few days down at the beach, we rented a cool beach house. I just had time to dab some acrylic paint onto the hand-made paper I bought at the art school, not easy as it was very absorbent and so hot my paints dried up instantly.
Lightning visit to Paris October 08 2013, 2 Comments
Astier de Villatte Ceramics
I haven’t been to the fabric show Premiere Vision in Paris for years, as I get Pazuki fabrics specially woven and do all my own prints, but when Camilla Ridley of Milliemanu said, do you want to come for the day? I immediately said yes. We hadn’t had a good chat for ages, so although sleepily getting into the car at 4am, we embarked on an intense chattathon that kept us wide awake from Barnes to Luton and then to the exhibition for a 9am start. First stop is always the forum in Hall 6, where selected fabric swatches from all the manufacturers are grouped in themes. There were large blocks of colour on boards and everyone sat around watching a film. I was encouraged to see many of the inspirational photos were not far from some creative avenues I have been down recently. Amazing how we all tune in to the same stuff.
We popped in to say hello to companies we knew of old, including Bouton Renaud who weave beautiful narrow width jacquard velvet on old looms in Lyon; Johnstons of Elgin from whom Camilla buys tweed and whose cashmere socks I happened to be wearing, (and always am wearing and can’t get enough of as they make your feet feel divine); and lovely to see Jamie, still at Henry Bertrand the London silk supplier. Camilla mainly uses Liberty prints for her childrenswear, so we had a good look at their new designs, as ever beautifully coloured and printed. Although I was an early convert to digital and bought my own printer around 2000, I still love and appreciate the art of screen printing. A new Eastern European supplier for Milliemanu boys’ shirt fabric had the most expertly screen printed geometrics using fine mesh screens. It was a joy to see such high quality fabrics from both these companies.
After a quick wizz around Modamont , that has every zip, button or trim you could possibly wish for, we decided we had got enough ideas and were magnetically pulled to travel down to Paris for a late lunch. “We cannot not go into Paris”, we both wailed. Emerging from the metro at Chatelet we dived into the first appealing brasserie we saw and ate piles of salad. Strolling down the Rue St. Honore we felt quite nostalgic for all the years we both used to show at the accessories show Premiere Classe, in a long tent in the Tuileries gardens. There were some striking shop fronts: Chantal Thomas, Roger et Gallet, Penhaligon and beautiful decorative table-ware store, Astier de Villatte -a shop with décor after my own heart, in its original state with old wallpaper, as if we were back centuries. We trudged around the famous store Colette, totally packed out as it’s one of the destinations for the fashion crowd here for PV, and pawed all the top designer gear.
Back down the metro to St.Paul to meander around the Marais district, we were so tuned in to the trends, we noticed every doorway was painted next season’s Plum, Green, Burgundy, Cobalt and Midnight Blue. Congratulating ourselves on how brilliantly we were doing on 4 hours sleep and how much we had done, we decided dinner at Chez Janou around the corner from Place des Vosges would be nice. Camilla had a large steak and I had moules, then we dashed for the 9.45 plane and just made it, back home at 11pm. What a great day. We’ve decided day trips are the way to go, to have a change of scene and get inspired.
1. Chantal Thomas
2. Roger et Gallet
3. Astier de Vallette
Eclair Shop in Marias
Moules and Steak
Seats on Metro
Jamin Puech bags in Marais
A Weekend Away, from Suffolk to Norfolk September 20 2013, 0 Comments
First stop Aldeburgh...
I find Aldeburgh has been a constant source of inspiration. As soon as I step out of the car, my whole being relaxes. Some sort of simplicity or purity - I can’t put it into words. An unpretentious town, in stark contrast to the busyness and relative trendiness of neighbouring Southwold.
We always head to the Market café for fresh fish or a coffee, sitting outside on the main street people and dog watching.
Next stop is the bookshop - always have to buy something here – this time a large paperback volume of Grayson Perry’s work –as a textile designer I love his stunning use of colour and pattern and am fascinated by his uniquely personal drawings.
Wherever you are in Aldeburgh you’re always incredibly aware of the sea. I was devastated to miss “Grimes on the Beach”, the Benjamin Britten opera recently staged outdoors for his centenary – apparently it was magical. They used the real boats on the beach as part of the set.
I love how huge hollyhocks seem to sprout from every crack in the pavement and along the flint walls and the pastel, ice-cream coloured houses, except please can the person who painted theirs swimming-pool blue have a re-think.
Next morning off to the North Norfolk coast.
We drop our bags at the White Horse pub in Blakeney where I am pleased to see they have cushions and lamp shades from my old friends’ Lush Designs.
From here we go and explore the moonscape marshes at remote Burnham Overy Staithe – swirling flocks of birds and the setting sun glistening on the water and mud. Also a visit to Burnham market, peering through the window of Ruby and Tallulah who stock Pazuki. It’s a stunning village – but it’s had a severe attack of the Farrow and Ball’s and we spotted too many London types wearing Barbours out walking their Labradors.
The next day we visited the windmill at Cley, set by a sea of tall rushes that made a soothing rustling sound in the wind, with the odd cry of a seabird overhead. Beautiful flint walled cottages, how I would love to own one, however small, even a little hut somewhere here.
We had a long walk out to the sea at Holkham Beach in bright sunshine, collecting shells and paddling in the warm sea, empty apart from a few families with buckets and spades. A breath-taking stretch of sand, the wind skimming and swirling the sand, stinging your ankles and looking like dry ice.
Norfolk is wonderfully remote and free of people - simplicity, big skies, space to think. The light is different so therefore the colours look clean and sharp. Can’t wait to go back.
(Please don’t all stampede there and spoil it!)
Helen's Garden September 16 2013, 0 Comments
Helen McConnell left Catford in South East London when the opportunity arose to rent a small flat in a Quaker community in Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk. Her health was deteriorating in the big city.
Here she has created a beautiful garden in peace and quiet – which she uses for her work – carefully pressing flowers and leaves and making them into artwork.
The previous occupant was a sexton, who put a few old gravestones in the path for decoration. They merge beautifully with the flowers and plants, adding mystery, and merge beautifully with the pots and sculpted heads Helen brought with her from South London.
I returned to my pocket handkerchief sized garden in Barnes full of inspiration, even buying a spiral hose like hers that hugely impressed me, but my expertise at gardening has a long way to go before it matches Helen’s.
A Weekend in Budapest August 30 2013, 0 Comments
Budapest was grander than I imagined. Tall buildings and wide boulevards, with incredibly elegant street lamps. It seemed to be saying, I’m a very important city. I thought about the past and how opulent it must have been. This city is not somewhere they have held back when it comes to decoration! What’s so beautiful now is its faded worn look and I love the apricot and peach colours they have used on the facades. I was lucky enough to see inside some of the magnificent old apartment buildings which had elaborate curling cast iron bannisters and marble mosaic floors in the foyers.
I do hope it doesn't get too spruced up, a lot of big brands have glossy stores there but they are still side by side with some original shops, some of which I would like to present with the most unappealing shop window display award.
My favourite drink
The old Jewish quarter is now full of bars, clubs and restaurants, some open air with hammocks. Heaving with foreigners there for the weekend, I did get the feeling the city had been colonised. Every time I went past someone I thought looked typically Hungarian I heard them speaking English, Italian or French and was proved wrong.
Thank God they know how to feed people, there are some excellent inexpensive restaurants. Our favourites were The Big Fish, you pick your fish and sea food, they cook it in front of you and serve with salad. The Két Szerecsen bistro is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is where I spent time sketching the décor and customers while my boyfriend worked on his film scripts. My favourite drink was their delicious fresh pink grapefruit juice. Another life saver was the Culinaris Deli that had a better tea selection than Waitrose.
On the hottest day of the year (42 degrees) we did a real tourist thing and took an open top bus tour of the city – with bottles of water, headphones and straw hats supplied, Tim looked particularly fetching in one with a polka dot bow, (all the more masculine ones had been taken). The best thing was seeing the amazing view of the vast Danube river and Pest from the top of the hilly Buda side of the city.
Budapest is of course famous for its baths and the biggest one was just up the road from us. A huge complex of pools of different temperatures and treatment rooms surrounded by park, where I was rather alarmed by middle aged men with large stomachs playing table tennis in tight speedos, but, what the hell, it’s their city.
I wouldn't hesitate to go back, so much more still to see, but I would wish for slightly cooler weather.
Too hot and tired to eat!
Art Deco Cinema
A Creative and Inspirational Trip to Barcelona June 05 2013, 0 Comments
Casa Battlo, Barcelona
Why Barcelona? I needed some sun and colour to get inspired for my 2014 Spring/Summer collection. I wanted to go somewhere with a different atmosphere to London or Paris or more northern cities, and I was the only person I know who had never been there so off I went a couple of weeks ago.
In my imagination I thought it would be more modern but it’s quite traditional – so many old buildings and fascinating alleyways, you get a strong sense of history.
Unfortunately we only had two days so decided it was best spent mostly outdoors soaking up the atmosphere, our eyes on stalks looking at every detail, so different from our everyday London life.
The Boqueria Market, Barcelona
The colours are bolder – strong primary colours: in the adverts, the Picassos, flower stalls along the Ramblas, the Boqueria food market with its brightly coloured sweets, fruits, strings of chilli peppers, the giant Miro sculptures. Desiguel stores on almost every corner shouting colour and prints, elegant neoclassical plasterwork allover buildings and even some of the pavements had patterns embossed into them. We had trouble progressing from the metro, there were so many interesting textures, patterns and colours. No surprise I bought some bright red desert boots and some wavy striped Miro shoes!
Too long a queue to go into the Sagrada Familia, we sat in an outdoor café looking at the scaffolding and sculptures of saints at the front and then did a circuit, discovering the melted stonework of the older building at the back. I know Gaudi always intended it to be a work in progress but I rather wish it had been left as it was, I’m not sure about the new editions, but still, what a great idea, an amazing project gifted to future architects and artisans.
Casa Battlo, Barcelona. I loved the coloured glass, organic forms and mosaic
The Casa Battlo was 20 euros entrance fee and crammed with people but it was still worth it. I loved the coloured glass, organic forms and mosaic, though a little bit creepy as inspired by animal bones. Totally bare of furniture now, it seems the family it was built for didn’t quite get it as they filled it with traditional bourgeois pieces.
We met up with an old school friend of mine who had lived there 20 years and now worked as a film soundtrack composer. He appeared outside Café Zurich with his 14 year old son, on scooter and skateboard and took us away from the tourist zone through the maze of backstreets to a great restaurant. We plugged him for insider info on life in Barcelona and caught up on 30 years, reminiscing about boho London in the 70s.
The food delicious and again full of colour – from the deep red of the tomatoes to the silver sardines. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much fishy food in two days. Restraining myself from doing a seafood design!
Back to rainy London too soon but full of ideas.
Miro Sculpture, Barcelona
Clams in Barcelona. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much fishy food in two days. Restraining myself from doing a seafood design!
Chilies, just look at the colours!
Picasso Art in Barcelona
Traditional Wall Patterns in Barcelona
Brightly Coloured Clothes Pegs
Map Reading (Broken Horizon scarf & Tara shirt peeking out bottom of jumper)
The ongoing saga of the Sagrada Familia
Where has my boyfriend gone