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JANE DAY: SECRETS OF A STYLIST

We loved reading the article by Jane Day, blogger and stylist at Tea with Ruby, in Reclaim Magazine about our friends at Arthur Swallows Fairs who have been creating and running antiques, home and salvage shows for almost 20 years, in a variety of beautiful venues, with the aim of inspiring and providing visitors with all they need to create a bespoke and unique living space.

Jane Day visited two Arthur Swallows fairs and discussed her salvage style with Reclaim Magazine.

"I have a thing for salvage hunting. I love the thrill of discovering unique items you'd never find anywhere else, or finding something that inspires a new interior styling concept. As a stylist I'm always on the look out for beautiful objects and I've sourced all kinds of wonderful things from salvage fairs and used them in my home,  from glass pickling jars that I've filled with fairy lights for a light installation, and garden sieves to hang on the wall as art, to Hungarian linens and worn wood. Antique linens play a huge part in my interior as they are so durable and versatile. I use them as throws over chairs and sofas, make tablecloths, curtains and blinds to cushions covers and bed linen. I always go to salvage shows early (because dealers get there early and buy in bulk), with an open mind and choose items I just can't walk past without buying.

Jane Day

Jane Day (Image courtesy of Jane Day)

The Lincoln Antiques and Home Show, an Arthur Swallows Fair held at the Lincolnshire Showground six times a year, has to be one of my favourite shopping destinations. Yes, you can find yourself a little overwhelmed by the size and sights of a show this big (think articulated lorries travelling from Europe filled to the brim with masses of stock from industrial lighting to linen), so once inside the show, my advice is to go 'micro' and really look at what’s  right in front of you. Zoom your focus into the stand you are in front of and soak up the textures, colours and different media, from metals and wood to glass and textiles, thinking about how they could work at home.

Monkey and Bird Frames

Monkey & Bird Frames (Image courtesy of Jane Day)

At the spring show I visited, some of the smaller items that caught my eye included an array of beautiful Indian antiques. The stand exhibitor had placed hand-carved printing blocks in large marble bowls which were particularly wonderful. Also, the diverse collection of original paint rollers from Romania drew my eye. These are the originals that inspired the modern equivalent of patterned paint rollers which are increasingly used as a quick way to customise and transform your plain fabrics, walls and furniture, such as those from The Painted House (the-painted- house.co.uk).

There is always, at all the shows, an extremely good selection of beautiful French homewares, Eastern European linens and glassware. If it's wood you want – and lots of it – then the Dutch contingent never fail either. Their stock is phenomenal and they have the best choice of wooden goods from large cabinets and planks to benches and bowls. They also host a great collection of wooden boards in all shapes and sizes, which are superb multi-functional items to have in your home. Even though I have many I did buy more so I can use them for different purposes. They add a natural display when not in use, placed on the kitchen table when having a feast or try one as a board over the bath to hold your essentials when having a leisurely soak.

Tiles & Lavendar

Tiles & Lavendar (Image courtesy of Jane Day)

The Decorative Home & Salvage Show, a slightly smaller, gentler Arthur Swallow show, held in various beautiful locations and minus the articulated lorries - next event Losely Park, near Guildford 15-17 July 2016, is a stylist's dream many items are all ready there for you to bring home and use straight away in your next project, many of the traders have a stylist's eye themselves. I'm always on the look out for the smaller things that would work well in a scheme; glass jam jars and earthenware vases, chippy painted chairs and stools that make for good display stands rather than sitting on. Held over five weekends during the year, it's a brilliant show for finding inspiration. Traders here have a wonderful array of wares and you get more of a feel for how an item would look at home as exhibitors style their stock in such a way that you almost forget you are at a show.

Unicorn

Unicorn (Image courtesy of Jane Day)

Look out for a large array of stunning French finds, from armoires and cafe tables and chairs to enamel ware and ceramics and a touch of pared-back Gustavian splendour. Stumble across salvaged shutters, elegantly rusted Parisian gates, antique daybeds and soft furnishings that would sit perfectly atop a linen-covered, 19 th century tub chair - I have a penchant for grain sacks, they are a wonderful addition to your home, I particularly love the utilitarian pared back look of these versatile sacks. They make wonderful no-sew cushion covers or bolsters to adorn your bed but their robustness means you can also use them as bathmats. This time I came home with one with a vibrant blue stripe that works perfectly as a cushion on my sofa.

Architectural salvage and garden paraphernalia feature heavily too. You'll find unique pieces that can transform your outside patch, such as zinc bath tubs – which look brilliant filled with kitchen herbs – or metal folding tables and antique reclining steamer chairs, which all add character. Indeed I find galvanised watering cans and enamel buckets hard to resist too and have an abundance in the garden. The watering cans make light work of refreshing the flower beds and the buckets make great alternative vessels for your floral cuttings to be taken inside to create a summer display."

 

Upcoming Shows:

Decorative Home & Salvage Show

  • - Loseley Park, 15-17 July 2016
  • - Ripley Castle, 9-11 September 2016
  • - Cheshire Showground, 5-7 August 2016

Lincoln Antiques & Home Show, Lincolnshire Showground

  • - 15-16 August 2016
  • - 10-11 October 2016
  • - 28-29 November 2016

 

Jane’s Top Tips:

  • - Get there early. It might sound obvious but many items get swept up really quickly by dealers who are buying in bulk for clients.
  • - Always take a notebook with measurements and a tape measure. There's nothing worse than buying an item then find it doesn't fit once home.
  • - Try not to be indecisive, know what you want and buy when you see it. The chances of it still being there if you go off to think about it are slim.
  • - Remember that things are worth what you are willing to pay. If you are happy with the price don't worry about whether or not it's market rate.
  • - Don't be put off by a poor weather forecast, as long as you are dressed correctly there are often better bargains to be had on wet days.

To read more from Jane Day’s blog, visit Tea with Ruby, and for more information on upocoming Arthur Swallows Fairs, visit Arthur Swallows Fairs.