My job took me to London in early December. As my schedule developed, I only had one touristic day at the end of the tunnel of work. With such a truncated personal travel timeframe, I had two goals: the Selvedge Christmas fair and the Liberty Christmas windows. Both exceeded my very high expectations.
If you’re a fan of Selvedge magazine, as I am, you may have seen the ads for the Selvedge seasonal crafts fairs, and perhaps, as I have, dreamed of going to one. Luckily for me, the timing worked out for me to go to the Christmas fair. It didn’t disappoint.
I definitely need to improve my photography skills, because I wasn’t able to capture the scene inside the Chelsea Old Town Hall, the site of the event. I’ll refer you to a couple of pages from Selvedge: a couple of exhibitors products, and a partial list of the over 100 exhibitors . But just imagine a crafts fair where all the exhibitors have something to do with textiles—pretty much heaven on earth!
Among an overwhelming array of heartwarming products, I found a stall of beautiful Indian traditionally dyed fabrics: silk shibori, indigo and natural leaf-dyed scarves from Aranya Naturals. “We source our raw materials from nature’s discards that abound in Munnar, such as leaves, petals, roots, bark, seeds…”
I also brought home a small sophisticated packet of coordinated remnant scraps from the Cloth House. I’m not sure what I’ll do with these lovely little morsels, but this little packet just called out to me.
The path to the Chelsea Old Town Hall took me to the Sloane Square tube station, and a walk down the King’s Road. There was an amazing Anthropologie with a miniature village in the window. And then I found a tiny upscale Oxfam thrift store tucked just off the King’s Road.
I got a beautiful cobalt blue scarf for £3, and color-coordinated thread spools for £2 each. Score!
I can’t bear to be in London without going to Liberty and I especially wanted to see the window displays. In the most tasteful possible way, they manage to cram in an astounding amount of product. Here’s a whole gallery of past windows.
In its mix of history and modernity, Liberty exemplifies everything I love about Europe . I’ve never been inside the store in the pre-Christmas season, and I barely escaped without blowing my budget on the range of totally tempting objects of desire. I was only able to resist buying something from Quail Ceramics like the wild boar jug or the badger salt-and-peppers because there were so many choices that I couldn’t decide which to pick. And the range of holiday items was out of this world.
Back at home I discovered that the Liberty website hosts over 50 free tutorials for projects you can make from Liberty fabrics (or the fabric of your choice).
Let me know about your favorite must-visit spots in London.