This time last year, we were busy house hunting in a (then) completely unknown area of London.
I was about eight months pregnant, the weather was glorious for weeks on end, I’d huff and puff round houses, stopping outside every one to have a little sit down and a sip of water. We did stupid things like decide to look round 13 houses in one day. And then wonder why we couldn’t remember which was which.
At the time, it was pretty exhausting. Looking back, it was really quite exciting: discovering a new part of town, buying our first house together, knowing the baby was coming soon but not knowing anything more about him.
But for a good few weeks, one thing was confusing the hell out of me. Why were there so many houses for sale? It seemed as if every single street we walked down had at least ten houses with a for sale sign outside.
Eventually, we paid a little more attention to the signs and realised that, actually, this is what they were saying:
The area we were busy hunting in was, in fact, stuffed full of artists, all opening their houses for the annual Dulwich Festival.
This year, now ensconced in our new pad, I thought it would be fun to go along and check out some of the open houses. I’d been planning it for weeks, marking all the places I wanted to go and see on my map. The festival took place on the middle two weekends of May and I had a tight schedule sorted out, with the optimum route plannedbetween houses. (Yup. I’m a fun person to live with…)
Only thing was, when we set off, the baby immediately fell asleep in his pram, so we didn’t want to risk waking him by pushing him inside the houses. My partner said he’d just wander round outside and I could go in, but every time we got to the door of an artist’s residence, I felt a little bit awkward about wandering round their house on my own, sans money and without any intention of actually buying any art.
So, in the end, I only went in to about two of the planned route. One was the garden studio of Moth London, a duo who were making some gorgeous knitted cushions and lavender bags. This hugely appealing sign led the way through the side gate down to their studio:
Unfortunately, I was so over-excited at the sight of their knitting machine that I completely forgot to take any photos once I got inside. But you can see the lovely semi-felted knitted goods on their website: www.mothlondon.co.uk.
Luckily, for my suddenly self-conscious sensibilities, there was also lots of street art as part of the festival.
This giant mural was part of the amusingly titled Baroque the Streets installations:
And further down Lordship Lane, an entire house had been “loaned” with different artworks painted in each rooms. This rather lurid painting on the wall outside slightly reminded me of some more psychedelic clubs I visited in Bristol back in my student days…
A bit more to my taste, was this amusing montage, hidden away round the corner:
The little cherubs at the bottom were completely oblivious to the fact they were having paint poured all over them: