News and Exhibitions
2 APRIL 2020 6-8PM
POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
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Choosing Keeping is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by British salt-glaze potter Steve Harrison presenting new work on the subject of stationery. As part of a continued collaboration with Choosing Keeping, the artist has created an exclusive one-off collection of writing and drawing furniture and accoutrements for the desk.
‘Desk’ in its most literal sense includes fine cabinetry made jointly with Ben Casson, one of Steve’s long-standing collaborators. In a broader sense ‘Desk’ also speaks to stationery itself, seeking significance in the detail of writing and drawing implements. Dip pens and their Japanese Fukuro cases made by Steve’s wife Julia, from antique kimonos, ink wells and a special brew of French grey ink are but a few examples of Harrison’s atmospheric accessories for his fantasy Desk.
This exhibition draws on Harrison’s relentless drive for perfection of form in cups and teapots while adopting a more experimental approach to uncover the delicate creative environment of the desk. Both an artist and tea-worshipper, Harrison draws parallel between tea ceremony and creative practice. He considers their mutual and relatable experience - brewing tea leaves or grinding natural pigments - both ceremonies requiring set tools and live materials essential in creating a mental ritual for making.
As a backdrop for this exhibition, Choosing Keeping’s existing shop interiors with its furniture and fittings commissioned in 2018 from the artist, offers the viewer a mise-en-scène à la Hammershøi, echoing the tones and atmosphere of Steve Harrison’s own domestic environment.
‘Desk' is also the logical outcome following many years of friendship between the artist and Choosing Keeping shop-owner Julia. Understanding how each other’s work, skills, tastes and interests can complement, excite, inspire and challenge the other will have brought about a truly collaborative drive for this exhibition - to see the writing implement alter-ego to Harrison’s perfect cup of tea.
About Steve Harrison
Steve Harrison was born in Wallsend, Newcastle in 1967.
Age 16, he obsessively watched The Craft of the Potter on repeat, a 1976 BBC series following the celebrated studio potter Mick Casson (father of Ben Casson (above) and who would later become Harrison’s mentor) observing the techniques of glazing and firing. While still in school, Steve set up a studio in his grandparents garage in order to pursue his interest.
He graduated from Middlesex University and Royal College of Arts with a BA and MA in Ceramics in 1991 and 1993 respectively. In 1994 a Craft Council grant lead Steve to set up his work- shop in Enfield while firing at his Mother-in-law’s house in Wales, once again calling on relatives for the greater good of pottery. He would eventually relieve her of this duty, setting up more permanently in Powdy mid-Wales, where Steve has had 3 kilns, each lasting a little under a decade, a period over which it is gradually degraded by the salt during each firing. To this day he continues to ferry his pots back and forth between both work-places in a continual 3 month cycle of production.
Each firing amounts to 100 pots approximately, some of which are deemed exceptional, while others are instantly destroyed if considered inferior. Harrison admits to the challenges and rewards of salt glazing which is an inherently unpredictable process - he explains the need for acceptance on his part; to submit to the surprise it can bring, and sometimes also, to its disappointments.
While Harrison is specifically known for his work in salt-glaze, he artfully combines other mediums highlighting the breadth of his skillset and full persona as a craftsman. Brass, burr oak, silver smithing, gilding, iron work are part of Harrison’s visual lexicon and contribute to his pots’ sense of historicity.
Choosing Keeping presents its favourite Japanese fountain maker
Join us for an exclusive event for fountain pen lovers and collectors
6 FEBRUARY 2020 6-8PM
Always keen to give our customers an insider’s view into the stationery world, Choosing Keeping is delighted to host Platinum, one of its favourite pen makers from Japan, for a special evening of exclusive insights into the company archive and manufacturing history at our shop premises.
Platinum’s latest high-tech and highly guarded secret new fountain pen in 5 exciting colours will be revealed and available exclusively at Choosing Keeping one month after the launch.
This is a rare opportunity to meet the Platinum team, travelling especially from Japan to hand deliver and showcase 10 historical rare pens from their archive. These pens, seldom taken out of the company vaults, will shed light on Japanese fountain pen making often off limits and a mystery to Western audiences.
The historical pens will accompany a wide range of Platinum’s most exclusive pens from its present day catalogue many of which are rarely seen outside Japan. Urushi lacquer, exotic and rare woods, pearl inlays, celluloid are all luxurious materials fundamental to Japanese fountain pen production and which can only be produced by a handful of in-house artisans in very small quantities. To be able to handle, try and see these design writing implements in person should delight any fountain pen or design buff.
Discover Platinum’s 100 year Anniversary pen “The Prime” - a pen made of solid Platinum limited to 100 pieces worldwide.
Enjoy a complimentary Choosing Keeping x Platinum goodie bag with any purchase a fine writing Platinum fountain pen. The goodie bag includes: a Choosing Keeping x Platinum notebook, ink made with water from Mt Fuji and special edition tote bag.
Platinum Company Profile
Inspired by early fountain pens produced in the West, notably by Waterman, Shunichi Nakata set out on a mission to produce and sell his own Japanese domestic counterpart. In 1924 he establishes Nakaya Seisakusho (later to become Platinum Pen) in Ueno, Tokyo. Platinum came to be known as one of the major fountain pen makers in Japan and throughout the 20th century broke new ground both in design and technological achievements. Today thanks to close supervision of its production and quality control, it is undoubtedly among the finest companies for the craftsmanship of fine writing implements in Japan and worldwide.
CHOOSING KEEPING CHRISTMAS
PRIVATE VIEW 14th NOVEMBER 2019 5-8pm
10% LAUNCH NIGHT DISCOUNT
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Choosing Keeping presents its own curated and extensive selection of Christmas ornaments from around the world inspired by victorian and Black Forest traditions.
Who will grace the branches of your Christmas tree this year? Will it be the Queen of England, a small farmyard animal or Krampus, the evil Christmas devil? Whatever your heart desires, in the form of a handblown glass ornament, you will surely find it at Choosing Keeping this Christmas.
No subject matter has been left unturned in this year's selection of fine hand-blown glass ornaments: cute pets, angels and demons, international cuisines, even Brexit are covered for all your bauble needs. These will be available only in store. Please come to our opening reception on November 14th 5-8pm for a 10% discount.
Our selection of Christmas cards is ever expanding - Christmas cats, religious kitsch, sober and elegant for professional use, we have all these bases covered. These can be ordered my mail order here.
All the best gift wrap available, modern and simple, ornate and full-kitsch, we have been seeking high and low for the best patterns out there for you to choose from. We offer competitive pricing for bundles of 5, 10, 50 and 100 sheets. Find available bundles for mail order here.
ANN HEPPER BOXES: BRITISH REGENCY
PRIVATE VIEW 3RD OCTOBER 2019 6-8pm
A presentation of decorative boxes featuring a vast collection of papers and ephemera
The first in a new series of exhibitions at Choosing Keeping, presenting exquisite stationery related items handmade by some of the finest and undiscovered craftspeople worldwide.
Ann Hepper has a passion for boxes - if she’s out visiting a museum or out shopping; paintings, posters, and patterns trigger her internal box-making dialogue : “is it boxable?”
Choosing Keeping is honoured to present the largest collection ever of Ann Hepper boxes, in her first UK solo exhibition, exploring themes of the British Regency period in architecture, fashion, formal gardens, and domestic objects. Expect some surprises and delights, Hepper is known for her witty use of external and internal papers, revealed in a tongue-and-cheek play of papers.
Originally from Ireland, Hepper has been living in Florence for over 50 years where she trained in book restoration at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale. After working both for Harvard at Villa I Tatti and for the German Kunsthistorisches Institut, in their art manuscript department, Hepper digressed into box making, eager to inject her own sense of humour, colour and imaginative spirit into the bookbinding field. Her boxes have been sold internationally, often bespoke on commission.
Exhibitions runs from 4th - 10th October 2019 at 21 Tower Street.
Closest Tube: Leicester Sq / Covent Garden
All boxes will be for sale, each one-of-a-kind.