A little bit about me – I was born into quite straitened circumstances: my parents were a middle class, educated couple, who, somewhere along the line, had taken a vow of poverty: they met at a communist party meeting in Hampstead – cute I know. This weekend was a nostalgia trip for me because I went on an Abigail Ahern masterclass, in Islington, where I lived for the first three years of my life, in a prefab estate on Brecknock Road.
I stayed in a smart hotel in Bayswater, The Shaftesbury, where my parents later lived, in a beautiful council flat, until they very sadly died when I was 21. After a long train journey, listening to a guy behind me talking Hungarian for the last half of the journey (my Dad was Hungarian) I was predictable a heap by the time I arrived, I phoned my cousin, who has heroically carried on the London baton for us and with whom I normally stay, and who completely understood – thank you Gaby, you are so kind, and I calmed down!
Abigail’s workshop was nothing short of amazing, you are greeted by this beautiful overgrown fig tree in the front garden (yes, she plays with scale a lot.)
The small group walked round enraptured, as we were treated to a house tour.
This participant had come all the way from Iceland.
Soft, hand dyed bedding against a textured wall? Yes please!
We lined up in in awe in front of one of Abigail’s sculptures. Apparently the sight of this figurine’s hip joints gets Abigail up in the morning and on to her yoga mat.
I will be passing this advice on to Doug.
Abigail talks us through her design philosophy on this incredibly intense, but all too short day: none of us could get enough of her advice and ideas.
I was a little bit uncertain about her fondness for faux foliage – everyone seemed to think that real plants were ‘so hard to look after’ but I am afraid, I slightly feel, ‘no plants are better than faux plants’, but then I do not share Abigail’s bank balance which is seemingly dizzy from the amount of faux foliage she sells, so I am obviously pretty much alone with this feeling.
You know what, I would not say no to one of her faux banana plants though…
Outside was as heavenly as inside… sofas and sweet little coffee spots all over the place.
We were all firm friends by the end and I was very lucky to have gone with a friend anyway – Sandy the fabulous sales director for Walker Homes.
Here she is chatting away – we both loved our day with Abigail, she is an utter inspiration.
At the end we were taxied off to her shop in Essex Road – more joy… faux foliage, koalas, deeply pigmented paint and books written by Abigail.
Plus, a banana plant! Now, where is my wallet??