The Cockpit Arts open studio, Summer 2013


It is always a pleasure to visit Cockpit arts studio, to discover fresh talents and to see the new works of established artists.  Last time, I was there for the Christmas open studios. You can read about it here.

It was exciting to see Abigail Brown’s new work in her space. Those paper mache animal masks adorning her studio wall are stunning.


Last season, Abigail created a collection of textile birds. You can see them in my blog post here. This season, we are introduced to new creatures.

I was drawn to the little paper mache horse above. It was a shame Abigail was not present, as I had wanted to ask her the inspiration behind this creation.

It reminded me of Mollie the horse from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Mollie was the white horse who loved to have ribbons in her mane. In fact my daughter played that role only recently in her school play.


Majestically standing on Abigail’s shelf was this fox. Foxes are increasingly a common sight  in urban London. What do you think, a misunderstood friend or a pesky foe?


Here are her signature birds and of course the on trend flamingo.


These wallpapers by Lorna Syson are so beautiful. Her work takes inspiration from the British outdoors. The bird wallpaper above was inspired by the great tits nesting outside her bedroom window.

Lorna launched her first collection in 2009 with the help of the Prince’s Trust and now sells her collections with international stockists and well known interior designers.


The above pillows with the colourful geometric designs are by the talented Tamasyn Gambell. I am already the proud owner of 3 of her cushions and will no doubt be back for more. Tamasyn is certainly an inspiring creative and you can read my interview with her last year here.


Katharine Morling was a new discovery and what an impressive find.

She trained at the Royal College of Art. With an MA in Glass and Ceramics under her belt, she has become involved in numerous high profile creative projects.


The fox and horse have been painstakingly hand built using Earth stone and porcelain, then finished off with layers of delicate black stain paint.


Shan Valla’s handmade porcelain was an instant hit for me. I made a bee line for them and purchased the mini porcelain vases inspired by the textures of cut glass crystal. I adore the  contrasting and organic rugged seam lines against the smooth surfaces.


There is something so quintessentially British about Thornback and Peel’s designs. I like this Sardines print for its colour but mostly for transporting me back to childhood. Those were the days of eating Sardine sandwiches just like Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven.


The Thornback and Peel bag above is another one to make me reminesce. It reminded me of the book Gulliver’s travels by Jonathan Swift and of course I love that Turquoise tone too.


Last but not least is Sort Design’s letterpress stationery. I am a fan of Typographic fonts and so it was a treat to see the variety on display.

Hope you have enjoyed my picks from the Holborn cockpit arts studio. There will be another open studio at the Deptford location next weekend if you are interested to explore.

Wishing you all a wonderful week. x


  1. Hi Geraldine. The animal masks are really cute. I’m a fan of foxes, so I say misunderstood friend, but we don’t have a problem over this side of the world… Love the bird wallpaper inspiration:) You’re so lucky to have so much creative talent around you in London! Mel x

    • littlebigbell

      Thank you Mel. The animal masks would make a lovely feature wall, it’s on my wish list now 🙂 x

  2. Love the handmade porcelain vases – everything about them. I did think about going to the event, but have to admit that I didn’t feel I had the energy for another stack of photos to edit before finishing the 100s I’m working on from my holiday 😉 Looks great though and it’s always great to see Thornback & Peel’s new collections. Have a lovely start to the week xo

    • littlebigbell

      I know what you mean about loads of photos to edit. The porcelain vases are my favourite and I snapped up 6 of them. Hope you have a lovely week too. xx

  3. Oh, fantastic! I have always wondered where these white vases come from seeing a couple of pictures all over Pinterest. Off I am to purchase a little stock:-) thank you, Geraldine. You are visiting the most amazing events always!

    • littlebigbell

      Hi Gudy, when I saw these vases, I did instantly think of you.Love the vase you showed us in stockholm too 😉 x

  4. Thank you for the kind words about my work! I’m glad you like it all.
    Actually the new pieces: white horse, bear, fox and the animal heads you saw this weekend are all paper maché and not fabric. I’ve been experimenting with other mediums to give my poor hands a break from the stress the sculpting in fabric puts them under! I’m sorry I wasn’t around to chat to you about it, I’ve had a weekend of weddings and migraines, but I can answer some questions now.

    Earlier in the year I created a body of work exploring the animal mythology of the native american indians. I created a totem pole and some animal dolls in fabric and I also set about making a range of paper heads and sculptures of the sorts of animals that feature in their culture. So the horse is just something that came out of that, it wasn’t inspired by Animal Farm but I can see how it would remind you of that!

    It looks from your post like you had a wonderful visit to our open this weekend and it’s lovely to read your post about it.
    Thank you!!
    Abbie x

    • littlebigbell

      It’s a pleasure Abbie. I will add in the paper mache. Hope you are feeling better. Your new work in paper is truly stunning.xx

  5. Ahh the Cockpit Arts are a treasure trove of new UK designers. Really looking forward to heading down to Deptford next week. I have my eye on some Billy Lloyd pottery!

  6. This is so amazing, to actually see all this work in person. I’ve seen some of the artists featured in the Selvedge magazine, and always wanted to see more. And I seriously need one of those totes and some of the typographic stationery, maybe only the stationery 😉

    • littlebigbell

      I must admit, I had to restrain myself, otherwise I could possibly buy up the whole place 😉 It was a lovely day out to explore. So much talent under one roof. x

  7. Another lovely selection of finds Geraldine! I love so many of them, but I am definitely off to order the sardine print for my Mum – she loves them! x

    • littlebigbell

      I’m so pleased you found something here for your mum Louisa. Wishing you a wonderful week 🙂 xx

  8. Dear Geraldine, I adore it, wish I could have visited too.
    I have been a fan of Abigail’s for some time now, and she never disappoints. Foxes are misunderstood friends to me (rabbits might disagree 🙂 I am also fond of the ceramicist there – what fab treasures you found.
    Have a great day,

    • littlebigbell

      Thank you Anya, you made me laugh about the rabbits comment 🙂 I’m pleased you enjoyed my little tour through cockpit arts, have a good week too xx

  9. Hi Geraldine, a great roundup, I like everything I see, I’ve registered so that I can take have a look at the next one. Those vases you purchased are divine! Thanks for sharing. xD

  10. I want that papier mache fox, he is very cool. The porcelain geometric shape vases are lovely too, although I’d prefer them with a bit of colour. Thanks for sharing x

    • littlebigbell

      You’re welcome! Lovely to see you here Sam. I do love all the papier mache masks too. x

  11. Love the animals masks – so fairytale like and perfect for a kids’ room!

    • littlebigbell

      Yes, totally agree, would look great in a kid’s room. Have a good weekend Ursula 🙂 x

  12. I love the papier mache fox but can’t quite decide whether the fox is friend or a pesky foe! xx

    • littlebigbell

      I know what you mean about foxes. Such mixed messages we get through the media. Wishing you a wonderful weekend xx

  13. Nice picks. Actually I have the Thornback and peel teatowels with the rabbit. And the porcelain by Shan Valla reminds me of a Dutch ceramist Lenneke Wispelwey.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *