Now that our 2015 Calendar is sold out, we will be sharing each monthly image on our blog throughout the year.
Our calendar this year takes the form of an imaginary chart showing twelve of our favourite colours. We find that we are naturally drawn to certain shades, often those which resonate by reminding us of some particular object. These colours reoccur in many of the products which we select for the shop. We have an aversion to all things ‘pretty’, preferring solid, durable tones. We asked ourselves: ‘What would a LABOUR AND WAIT colour chart look like? What would we name the colours…?’
Until then, here are some behind the scenes images taken during our shoot.
Warm, comfortable and protective, wool is the cosiest material of them all. We particularly like natural, undid shades and their many variations, which result from the breed and location of the sheep. We are ardent admirers of artist Joseph Beuys. You may detect a nod towards his work in our 'felty' still life.
At LABOUR AND WAIT, we seem to spend our days in a sea of cardboard. Shipments arriving, orders leaving and a great deal of unpacking in between. Here is a material that really deserves its place in our calendar. Our mail-order team in particular have grown to love cardboard and its infinite possibilities.
The sheer weight and robustness of iron demands particular respect. Iron has a 'no-nonsense' sensibility. From heavy machinery to small kitchen items, this material is more versatile than one might suppose. We love its sculptural qualities: in the right hands, iron can take on surprisingly sophisticated forms.
We put our bench outside each morning and wonder who might happen by, looking for a sit-down. It could be tourists or locals, couples or families, dog-walkers, picnickers or simply Shoreditch flâneurs. On a Sunday, it could be shoppers from Columbia Road who need to rest their jasmines or their cheese plants.
Bench-users from far-away places are a particular joy. (Thanks again, Rita and Reesi from Estonia and Harry and Jiwoon from South Korea, for letting us take your picture!)
Now that misty mornings are back, we’re thinking about folding it away for another year. It’s all rather sad – like seeing the swallows heading south. We hope you’ll be flying back again next spring, looking for a place to perch.
From shiny glazed china to rustic hand-made pottery, ceramics are a part of our everyday lives. We are very enthusiastic about studio pottery in particular, and have studio jugs, bowls and mugs in daily use at home. Our still life for September has a calm serenity which might almost recall a painting by Giorgio Morandi.
Our two styles of Blackwing Pencil are now available online.
The original Blackwing was introduced in the 1930’s and was available up until 1988, when it was discontinued. This caused an outcry, with many fans across the globe bidding against each other on auction sites in order to obtain them. In 2010, the historic pencil makers Palomino revived this stationary classic.
Soon after opening LABOUR AND WAIT, we realised that we were not alone in our love of string. We pride ourselves on keeping a wide selection in stock. Humble and versatile, a ball of string should always be within arm's reach.
We have always enjoyed the comic potential of rubber objects. More seriously, whether as a pair of protective gloves or the business end of a sink plunger, rubber offers flexibility, water-resistance and insulation. We enjoy its matt surfaces, and subdued colours.
What would LABOUR AND WAIT be without enamel? We were determined to champion this material from the very start. Overlooked for many years, enamel has recently enjoyed a revival to which we like to think we may have contributed. Enamel is again prized for its functionality as it was in the past, but now also for its green credentials.
The innate beauty of natural linen is enduring. Rustic, yet at the same time sophisticated, this must be one of nature's most refined fibres. Soft but incredibly strong, linen has many applications. We love the texture of upholsterers webbing and linen scrim. A pile of freshly-ironed linen tea towels is a pleasure to behold!
Though often shunned as a cheap material, plastic, we believe, can be beautiful. We have always admired the earlier types of plastic, with their mottled and marble-like appearance: Bandalasta, Bakelite, the poetically named Linga-Longa ware and Beetleware to name but a few. More recently, we have come to appreciate newer recycled plastics.
Cold and clean, metal combines strength with precision. These steely objects mean business. Even archaic forms take on a modern, industrial look when made from steel or aluminium. Brushed metallic surfaces reflect light in a unique manner. 'All that glisters is not gold' ... indeed for us, a steely scene as far more allure.
We particularly relish the clinical, 'laboratory' connotations of glass. We find its clean lines and transparency very appealing. Plain glass catches the light and can take on surprising colours when viewed from an angle. Brown apothecary glass is a particular favourite, though a plain glass tumbler is also a joy.
Friend of Labour and Wait, photographer Jeff Cottenden, recently borrowed a selection of our products for a personal project - He’s kindly shared some of the resulting shots with us. We always enjoy seeing items so familiar to ourselves from another point of view and we hope you will too.
The natural, tactile qualities of wood speak for themselves. Warm to the touch, wooden objects tend to mellow over time. In fact, they often look better the more they are used, displaying their scuffs and scratches as badges of honour. Wood is a truly timeless material. We would never be without a wooden scrubbing brush or ruler.