One of my illicit pastimes in the 1960s – one I would not recommend now – was ‘liberating’ book jackets from the shelves of my local library. The work of many of my early design heroes graced this medium and I amassed quite a collection.
One designer I was particularly fond of was Jack Larkin, with his exuberant illustration style, colour and typographical approach.
For a more ‘all embracing’ inspiring experience, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge takes some beating. I first visited it in the 1970s and was bowled over by its sensitivity and beauty. Created by the late Jim Ede, a curator at the Tate Gallery in the 1930s, decades before TV makeover programmes arranged pebbles and driftwood in their stapled and rag-rolled interiors, Kettle’s Yard demonstrates Ede’s innate qualities in making a living space pulsate with creativity.
As Ede put it ‘…the house is a place in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used’. There is a wonderful collection of equally inspiring mid-20th century art and crafts, by the likes of Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Henry Moore, Lucie Rie, Barbara Hepworth and Christopher Wood. When I returned to Kettle’s Yard in the 1980s I got the same buzz, so much so that I proposed to my wife there.