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A blog about creativity, culture and why it matters...


The Month in Mood Board - style versus soul, word inspiration & sauerkraut

Helen Davis

This February was oozing with unexpectedly purple sauerkraut, saw the beginnings of a greener wardrobe and featured a snow-white day or two.

But it all started with a magenta sock...

Why don’t you cover a big cork bulletin board in bright pink felt, banded with bamboo, and pin with coloured thumb-tacks all your various enthusiasms as your life varies from week to week?
— Diana Vreeland
Feb Blog Pin Board 1.jpg

The Phantom Thread - what a tangled web we weave...

A New Yorker review of The Phantom Thread says this:

[I]in the opening minutes, [Reynolds Woodcock, 50s haute couturier,] pulls on a magenta sock, buffs the toe cap of a shoe, and, wielding a pair of hairbrushes, sweeps back his lightly silvered locks with solemn care, as if robing himself in a vestry. Yet this is not a film that dwells on style. It is a film possessed by a fear that style alone, or the quest for it, can cramp the soul.

Inspired by the intricate mythologies of haute couture - think Alexander McQueen’s claim that he concealed messages within the layers of his garments - yes, but at heart The Phantom Thread is a gothic romance which draws on fairytale and film history.

Hitchcock - particularly Rebecca - Powell & Pressburger’s The Red Shoes, the Oedipus myth, Bluebeard, Beauty & the Beast are all woven into the mysterious, macabre and mischievous web of this movie.

As Anthony Lane’s New Yorker review concludes:

More than anything, however, what “Phantom Thread” borrows from Hitchcock is his clammy-comic touch—a sense that love, at its fiercest, can be both protective and toxic.

My Green Closet - is there a haulternative?

The trend for YouTube fashion hauls would, no doubt, make Reynold Woodcock spin in his impeccable mausoleum. I mean, I’m no stranger to a second hand / charity shop clothing haul. I can see the potential in everything!

But, at heart a haul screams of having no boundaries. Of not knowing where a trend ends and your own style begins. Hauls are a sure fire way to wind up with a wardrobe crammed with clothes but nothing to wear.

I reckon you probably can’t be well dressed with too many clothes - unless you have a valet or a stylist or a computer programme like in Clueless. To dress well with oodles of clothes at your fingertips takes the kind of time only teenagers or SATC’s Carrie Bradshaw can afford.

But this month, housebound and bedroom bound I took it upon myself to face up to the wardrobe overload which had been bothering me. Determined to create a collection both effortless in style and ethical in substance I discovered a new generation of eco warriors. 

Intrigued? Then I'd suggest starting with My Green Closet.


Estuarine - new theme & new ideas for a new sketchbook

Of course they say necessity is the mother of invention. Which is why, I think, SEVEN collective is all agreed we like the boundary-creating limitations of a theme. This time it’s: estuarine.

A word which sums up the ever shifting view here - part sea, part river, part land. The estuary is constantly in motion: concealing and revealing, concealing and revealing. A kaleidoscope of greys, greens, blues, shimmering silver, blank cloud and flaming sunsets.

And thus, that mysterious metamorphosis from blank page to ideas made manifest begins...

Sauerkraut - when red & white collide

Speaking of getting the juices flowing there’s a lot of squashing going on in sauerkraut.

As food trends go sauerkraut is having a moment. I started eating it initially because it’s meant to be good for your gut. And my gut definitely needs some goodness. What’s more it’s cheap.

So, when I heard there was a free sauerkraut workshop going on down at Chalkwell Hall one Saturday I was there, my Planet Organic organic cabbage in hand.

Turned out the guy running this free and friendly workshop was just as free and friendly with his food. This meant my pristine organic cabbage wound up squashed and be-salted with a beautiful-but-very red cabbage brought by the woman next to me.

The proof, of course, will be in the eating.

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow - Kate Bush to the rescue!

In case you didn’t hear it snowed. I was working from home. I didn’t have to venture out. So, I sat at home, snug, warm and smug. Appreciating the muffled quiet and the crisp whiteness from afar.

Yes I went out. But on my own terms: like to wander in the woods. And I relished it. The quiet blankness of it. The black and whiteness of it. The Snow-White-Black-Forest fairytale magic of it.

In her song 50 Words for Snow Stephen Fry recites 50 spellbinding, surreal, sometimes silly sounding synonyms for snow:

Drifting, twisting, whiteout...

So far so snowy. But then we find ourselves in:

Shnamistoflopp’n, terrablizza, whirlissimo, vanilla-swarm, icyskidski, robber’s-veil

As one reviewer noted:

...50 Words for Snow is ... packed with the kind of ideas you can’t imagine anyone else in rock having. Taking notions that look entirely daft on paper and rendering them into astonishing music is very much Bush’s signature move. … [A]n album that, like the weather it celebrates, gets under your skin and into your bones.