I had a really good meeting yesterday with a major publisher, where they offered me two books to illustrate, which was very exciting. And it was SO nice knowing that my agent can help me make final decisions on career moves and contracts and all that. After the meeting, there wasn't time to go home before joining friends for dinner, so I treated myself to a little wander around central London, and stopped by Book Ends in Exmouth Market. It's a fabulous independent shop that sells an excellent selection of picture books, intriguing craft books and art supplies. They used to be based near the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, but the landlord wouldn't renew their lease in favour of a Le Pain Quotidien, so they've finally found a new space. Do drop in if you're around! I really want these guys to be in business for a long time. Exmouth Market is a lovely old road, with another independent bookshop across the way called Metropolitan Books. I also stopped by a small press shop called bookartbookshop.
But my unlikely favourite visit was when I was walking down the street from Angel station and noticed a rather pretty little side road and decided to take it instead of the main road. And then I saw a lovely window full of 1950's decorated ceramic plates and cups and thought I'd pop my head into the shop. A white-haired man named Gary Grant owns the place and since it was a quiet day, he basically sat me down and gave me an hour-long lesson on 1950's British design. It was fabulous! He had loads of interesting books to show me, and then he'd whip out to the back room and bring me an example of something from the book. I made a list of people he talked about, who's work I need to explore more, including Stig Lindberg, Lucienne Day, Terence Conran, Susan Williams Ellis and Graham Sutherland. Just the day before, I'd seen a beautiful Eric Ravilious bowl at the National Maritime Museum and thought, I really must find out more about ceramics from this period. And then along came Gary Grant, good man! He also directed me to the twentytwentyone warehouse of Swedish furniture design, not far from his shop, a place I never would have discovered on my own.