My 7 days of smallness began with a visit to the Essex village of Finchingfield and the newly restored Guildhall. The enchanting space is small but perfectly formed; a capsule of culture containing a museum, community venue, library and shop all wrapped up in medieval wood and limewash with a sparkling, clean newness which adds to the charm. There’s a Christmas craft event there on 14th Dec 2013 so you can see for yourself.
From rural Essex into the heart of London and the Garden Museum. Although surrounded by the big boys including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, as well as Lambeth Palace right next door this modest museum holds its own. The perfectly formed knot garden houses the ornate family tombs of Captain Bligh (think mutiny on the bounty) and the father and son plant-hunting duo, the Tradescants (think tiny, blue-flowered Tradescantia.) This small green space punches above it’s weight with a level of peace and tranquility in excess of its tiny dimensions. It’s also home to a fine collection of art currently on display in the Picturing the Garden exhibition and the best vegetarian food and home made cakes to be found alongside the Thames. Entrance to the museum is only £3.00 on Sunday 1st December 2013 as the space is filled with a Christmas craft market.
From gardens to shops and “ShopSmall” is an AmericanExpress backed initiative promoting small businesses and local traders. This Saturday 7th December 2013 is ShopSmall Saturday and you can do no better than visit the recently opened homewares boutique, aStore, and a few doors along, Just Imagine. Personal service and everything you might want to buy right in front of you!
My 7 days of smallness concluded in one of the biggest, most impressive of London’s buildings, listening to the artist Rob Ryan talk on the subject, “You can still do a lot with a small brain!” In the V&A lecture theatre, next to the breathtaking silver collection, Rob talked about his time at art college, how he was in the “losers” group organising small exhibitions and how trying to let go of text in his drawings lead him down the paper-cutting road which has made his name. Small beginnings, a modest man and tiny, tiny lines on paper leading to something very beautiful.