01 July, 2012
19 June, 2012
15 June, 2012
Some father’s day gift suggestions for the Labour and Wait customer.
Our new Multi Spot Handkerchief, £5.00
The triple-laminate leather handled American Hammer. £48.00
The Horn Comb, made from North African cattle horn. Each is unique. £10.00
The Professional Corkscrew from France. £22.00
A Bridle Leather Belt, Handmade in England £60.00
The Black Enamel Milk Pan, £20.00
07 June, 2012
May we introduce our new line of handmade leather accessories.
From left to right; wallet, phone case, key holder and card holder.
The wallet has space for up to six cards and a couple of folded notes inside, with an extra pocket on the rear.
Made of vegetable tanned leather and hand-stitched using beeswax linen thread, these items will age beautifully.
The phone case was designed to fit an iPhone, but will work for all modern smartphones.
Keys can be kept safely secure inside this holder; the strap can be pulled out or clipped securely when not in use.
The d-ring allows you to hang the holder up, to ensure your keys are always where you expect them to be.
The small card holder will easily carry four cards, and is ideal for travelcards or oystercards.
All of these products are hand made in London.
Available now at our Redchurch Street Store and on our website.
01 June, 2012
To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee we will be having a day off!
Labour and Wait will be closed on Tuesday 5th June, so our opening hours for this weekend are as follows:
Sat 11.00 - 6.00
Sun 11.00 - 6.00
Weds 11.00 - 6.00
And may we wish a happy long weekend to Royalists and Republicans alike.
01 June, 2012
22 May, 2012
We found some postcards pushed through our letterbox the other day, with this picture on it.
The artist is Marc Gooderham, who ‘captures the decaying still-lifes of a forgotten London.’ Well I hope we’re not that forgotten, but its interesting to see the old Georgian building next to our shop, which for many years was a squat, and which was demolished to make way for another new block of flats. No doubt offering exclusive urban living with a touch of Shoreditch edge.
The artist’s website is marcgooderham.co.uk.
16 May, 2012
Available in store for a limited period, the finest German Legal String.
05 May, 2012
I think we can definitely see the need for a G&T or two outside Redchurch Street this summer…
01 May, 2012
25 April, 2012
01 April, 2012
27 March, 2012
Allow us to pass you over to our favorite city chronicler and blue-eyed bohemian The Gentle Author to introduce a new series of ‘Field Trips’, in which our esteemed author chronicles our most noteworthy manufacturers and suppliers. The first visit is to R. Russell, Brush-maker.
01 March, 2012
22 February, 2012
Zenith 520/E Desk Stapler
Zenith 548/E2 Handheld Stapler
Zenith 788 Hole Punch
Zenith 580 Staple Remover
UHU All Purpose Glue.
Additions to our Stationery range. Now available in our Redchurch Street store.
01 February, 2012
19 January, 2012
Our new products for 2012 are starting to arrive. We don’t seem to have had any time to look for new things since… well, since we started to plan Redchurch Street. So we welcome our first arrival of the year, these 100% linen Irish-made tea towels.
Available in red or blue, these are the best quality towels we’ve come across and, as vintage linen tea towels are getting harder to find and more expensive to buy, we are sure they will prove to be very popular.
Linen is traditionally the favoured material for tea towels and glass cloths, as it leaves no marks or residue, and doesn’t shed fibres like cotton - just give them a hot wash before use and the mesh tightens up to leave you with a perfect tea towel.
Available instore now, at £14.00 each.
13 January, 2012
Its Tachiagari at Dover Street Market. This bi-annual rebirth sees the entire store closed, refitted and remerchandised, ready for the new season.
As always, we’ve played our part, refreshing our concession and removing any sign of winter, as we set ourselves for Spring / Summer 2012.
This season sees exciting new developments at DSM, as Hussein Chalayan and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen open new spaces on the third floor, while Michael Costiff and Ann Demeulemeester will completely renew their existing homes. Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Stephen Jones and B Store will also be refreshing their spaces.
DSM are particularly excited to be introducing a lot of new highly individual and talented names in S/S 2012, ranging from collections by Simone Rocha, Jacquemus, Phoebe English, Tim Coppens, Craig Lawrence and Greg Lauren to shoes by Buruk Uyan, Simona Vanth, and lastly but very not leastly, Cherevichkiotvichki, amazing creations for the feet by Victoria Andrejeva.
Of course, if you are just looking for a toilet brush or a teapot our concession will serve just as well.
Dover Street Market will re-open on Saturday 17th of January, with Jake and Dinos Chapman signing copies of their new book ‘Flogging a Dead Horse’. Free drinks and snacks will be supplied by our neighbours on the fourth floor, the Rose Bakery.
07 January, 2012
Well we couldn’t have timed it any better; we sold out of our very last Independent London Store Guide on our last day before closing for Christmas, and we opened again in January with a delivery of Issue 3.
For those unfamiliar with this publication, Independent London is exactly what it says, your guide to the best independent shops and cafes in London, and is almost exactly like having a particularly knowledgeable and erudite friend telling you where to go and what to see. And who handily fits in your pocket.
Issue 3 also sees an expansion into more food and drink, with additions such as The Kenton pub, and a family butchers in still-to-be-gentrified Well Street, as well as coffee roasters, fishmongers, brewers and a particularly mouth-watering Chocolaterie in Peckham.
As 2011 saw the opening of a vast East London shopping megalopolis to mirror its counterpart in the West, and the arrival into Shoreditch of ‘brands’ disguised by shipping containers, the start of 2012 seems as good a time as any to remind everyone of the need ( and the pleasure ) of shopping small, shopping local, and shopping independent.
01 January, 2012
28 December, 2011
Throughout the new year we will be sharing each monthly image from our 2012 calendar.
At LABOUR AND WAIT we always stock a selection of vintage items which we hope customers will incorporate into their daily lives. For ten years we have enjoyed exploring vintage markets both in the UK and abroad in search of unique items to rescue and restore to life. We are always attracted by the often quirky design of products manufactured in the past, whose colours and shapes can seem startling to our eyes. We never know what we will unearth and sometimes we find it hard to part with our discoveries. In this calendar we would like to share some of our favourite finds with you.
22 December, 2011
16 December, 2011
03 December, 2011
A word about our postage, and in particular our environmental policy.
At Labour and Wait we are careful to reuse all our packaging. We go through vast amounts of cardboard, paper and bubble wrap, and all this is reutilised as we send out our own mail order.
We try to reuse everything that we receive from deliveries of our stock, which you can imagine, with such breadth in our offering, is quite substantial.
So if your package has old stickers, or tape marks, or is scuffed or scribbled on, or if your dustpan brush comes in a box marked ‘enamel mugs - priced’, then don’t worry, the items inside will be perfectly preserved and ready to be used, so just think of the old saying: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
03 December, 2011
Pictured above is a very dapper gentleman by the name of Neil, who would be happy to sell you a Tokyobike from his new showroom / workshop in the Sunbury Workshops, just around the corner from us here in Redchurch Street.
On the trip the Carradice Junior saddlebag attracted many admiring looks; we had a visit from Carradice recently, showing us a bag from their archive and discussing plans for the future. There look to be some great products coming down the line, tailored more for the urban cyclist rather than the traditional country hill-climber; more Peckham Rye than Pendle Hill.
We love traditional companies like Carradice. Owned and run by the same family for generations, they can tell you not only when each product was made, but in which factory, as the story of their expansion mirrors the story of their success.
When the Tweeders have lost interest, and dressing up as English Gent circa 1951 becomes passé ( or even outré ) there will still be companies like Carradice making great products for cyclists to use, and which make their bikes look even better. This is in complete accord with our philosophy of timeless functionality, favouring products that have always been and always will be desirable, outside of fashion or trends.
Carradice will be approaching their centenary soon, and they look as healthy now as they did in 1930.
01 December, 2011
Once again SCP have been very helpful in organising and co-ordinating all the Shoreditch shops of interest, and they have designed a map for the ’Shoreditch Christmas Triangle’. Although slightly outside of the strictest limits of the triangle itself, we are part of the wider Shoreditch Rhombus and so we can present the map here - with Labour and Wait included on the Eastern fringes.
( Click on map or here for a larger, downloadable copy of the map ).
The map highlights all the design-based shops in the Shoreditch area, with their plans for Christmas events, and is the perfect guide to what is happening in December.
As mentioned below, we will be open until 9pm on Thursday the 8th of December, and we will be serving mulled cider and mince pies, so come along and beat the Christmas rush!
01 December, 2011
The French jams are arrived!
One of our perennial Christmas bestsellers, these French jams are perfect for presents or as a treat for yourself - we have six flavours: Rhubarb, Fig, Black Cherry, Quince, Greengage and Pear.
They will be on the website very soon or, if you can’t wait, drop us an email at email@example.com.
25 November, 2011
After last year’s blizzard-hit whiteout we’re hoping this year’s Christmas Shopping evening will be a bit more enjoyable! All are welcome on the 8th of December for mince pies and mulled cider.
All the shops on Redchurch Street and Calvert Avenue will be taking part, including Anthem, Aesop, Hostem, A.P.C, Sunspel, Luna and Curious, Tracey Nuel, Ally Capellino, Leila’s Shop and our new neighbours Carousel Emporium, so you can make a Christmassy East London night of it!
Thursday 8th December, 6 to 9pm.
24 November, 2011
We have received our delivery of books from Little Toller, an imprint of the Dovecote Press. From their Dorset base this publisher specialises in books of the English countryside, rescued from obscurity and reprinted in new editions inspired by the spirit of the original editions, replete with contemporary illustrations in a wonderfully tactile, sewn paperback.
We have chosen six titles, each a reprint of a classic depiction of nature or of rural life, from the centenary edition of the poet Edward Thomas’ South Country, to the exploration of 1970s inner-city wildlife that is Richard Mabey’s The Unofficial Countryside. As the winter evenings draw in, surely now is the perfect time to lose yourself in a good book?
Men and the Fields - Adrian Bell
Introduced by Ronald Blythe, with a preface by Martin Bell. This edition restores the original colour lithographs and black and white line drawings by John Nash that appeared in the first edition.
‘I sat against an oak trunk, staring at oak trunks, tracing their boughs upward to the hurrying white clouds beyond, and wondered why one worried about anything. But then I ceased even to wonder, but dozed awake, like a tree.’
Four Hedges - Claire Leighton
Introduced by Carol Klein, with a preface by David Leighton. Includes 84 wood engravings by the author.
'In the Sky, above our meadow, larks sing. I feel a sudden rush of pride in the ownership of this untilled land; it is not that I value possession, but I am proud to be landlord to the lark who pays for his home with such boundless song.’
The South Country - Edward Thomas
Introduced by Robert Macfarlane. Cover illustration by David Inshaw, with engravings by Eric Daglish throughout.
'Unlearned, incurious, but finding deepest ease and joy out of doors, I have gone about the South Country these twenty years and more on foot… When, in the clear windy dawn, thin clouds like traveller’s joy are upon the air, it seems that up there also, in those placid places, they travel and know the joy of the road.’
Sweet Thames Run Softly - Robert Gibbins
Introduced by Luke Jennings. Cover by Edwin La Dell with wood engravings by Robert Gibbings.
’All I could see was the rushes and their reflections on either side of the river. Nothing was visible beyond them, and the banks, following each bend, cut off my view ahead so that I seemed to be floating on some enchanted lake, high up on the very rim of the world.’
The Unofficial Countryside - Richard Mabey
Introduced by Iain Sinclair. Cover illustration by Mary Newcomb, with illustrations from Mary Newcomb’s sketchbook.
’… the canal here was as clear as a chalk stream. Yellow water lilies drooped like balls of molten wax on the surface. Near the edge of the water drifts of newly hatched fish hung in the shallows. Anglers, fresh out of work, were setting up their tackle on the bank, and family parties chugged past in holiday cruisers…’
The Journal of a Disappointed Man - W.N.P. Barbellion
Introduced by Tim Dee. Cover illustration by Ed Kluz, with 3 facsimiles of handwritten letters by the author.
’… my pen is a delicate needle point, tracing out a graph of temperament… You get all my thoughts and opinions, always irresponsible and often contradictory or mutually exclusive, all my moods and vapours, all the varying reactions to environment of this jelly which is I… the book is a self-portrait in the nude.’
Each book is £10.00, and all are available at our Redchurch Street Store.
13 October, 2011
*Please note that this blog entry is from October 2011 and we no longer have North Sea Clothing in stock*
We’re very excited to be stocking North Sea Clothing Submariner Jumpers.
We’ve been looking for this particular product for a while now, and after having been tipped off about a company making perfect replicas of this classic style, we are happy to say that they are now in store.
War Office issue in both World Wars, the Royal Navy deck sweater was better known as the Submariner and, as is often the way, this item of clothing gained a new lease of life through ex-servicemen wearing them on civvy street, while at the same time large amounts of unused stock ended up in surplus stores.
During the 1950s this style was in particular favour amongst motorcyclists who would wear them underneath their leather jackets, and it is through a dealer of vintage Barbour and Belstaff leathers that this new Submariner came to life.
Made in Nottingham from the same heavy 5 gauge knit as the original, this loving recreation has been slightly altered for a modern market ( with longer sleeves and a shorter body ), while retaining all the classic features that made it such an essential piece of kit. The deep ribbing on the waist and the high roll-neck make it an unusual fit for one not used to the style, while the undyed wool can perhaps seem coarse to those more used to the fine gauges or cashmeres of many modern jumpers. These are, of course, part of the jumper’s essential raison d'etre and to smooth out these design features is to negate the very meaning of the jumper. In a similar vein, the slight aroma the jumpers carry is the lanolin in the wool, which helps to keep its new owners dry in the same was as it once did the original. All serve to remind that this is a functional product; yes, it looks great, but it was designed with a purpose in mind.
13 October, 2011
One of our most popular clothing lines is now back in stock.
The Schott Pea Coat is, we believe, the finest quality example of this classic style, and we are pleased to announce its rearrival for Autumn / Winter 2011. A true design original, this heavyweight jacket is one of the many reasons to welcome the arrival of colder weather.
Originating, as many menswear staples do, from the needs of military service, the Pea Coat was standard issue for British and American navies before being de-mobbed into civilian service. The heavyweight 32 oz Melton Wool is the original windcheater, being thick, warm and durable; the wool is mixed with 25% nylon and other threads which are interlocked and pressed together before being cut, to ensure maximum protection against the elements, whether you are battling your way against the high seas or up the high street.
The classic Pea Coat derives from the Royal Navy Reefer Jacket, originally intended for ‘reefers’ ( Midshipmen ) on board sailing ships, whose job was to climb the rigging and unfurl, or 'reef’, the ship’s sails. The jacket was short, to allow ease of movement through the rigging, while the double-breasted front, which displaced the buttons to each side, helped to reduce the chance of them getting caught on ropes as the wearer maneuvered the sails.
The classic Pea Coat has ten buttons; four pairs in the double breasted style, plus two at the collar. This allows the coat to be buttoned fully to the neck which, with the wide, heavy collar, ensures complete wind and weather resistance.
Richard Crenna exhibiting classic Pea Coat style in 'Wait Until Dark’
So why 'Pea Coat’? As ever with these stories, there are different explanations as to how this name was arrived at. The classic version is that these are 'P’ coats, as worn by the ship’s Pilot, although an older story has the name coming from the Dutch Pijjeker, where Pij is the coarse, heavy wool from which the jacket was made; this material itself became known as Pilot Cloth or P Cloth, hence the P Coat.
The longer, thigh length version is known as the Bridge Coat.
This year we are also offering this style in children’s sizes. As all well-dressed ladies know, the men’s cuts are often superior to the female and the Pea Coat is no exception. The female version has a shaped waist which offers a more feminine profile, but which also lacks the silhouette of the original style, so losing that classic look. The children’s Schott jackets offer the classic Pea Coat style even in smaller sizes.
Serge Gainsbourg showing how to wear a Pea Coat
Heavy but wearable, durable, and classic - the Pea Coat is perfect Winter wear and a wardrobe essential.
A Bridge Coat in a supporting role in 'On the Waterfront’
Robert Redford in a Pea Coat. You can’t get much cooler than this.
01 October, 2011
Here is a very quick sneak-peek at our new 2012 Vintage Finds Calendar.
Over the years we have collected some odd, unusual and interesting vintage items which we have then sold in the store. Some, however, were so nice that we couldn’t bear to sell them but thought instead that they should be put on display somewhere. Hence the Labour and Wait Calendar 2012.
A collection of 12 of our most interesting vintage finds, this calendar comes as loose leafs with a complimentary clipboard - in future years, the new design will simply slip into the existing clipboard. Quick, convenient and re-usable.
The calendar is available in store for £14.00, and will be available online soon.
22 September, 2011
Unfortunately one of our long-serving members of staff is leaving us - Nick will have been a familiar sight for many of our Sunday customers, and for many people in and around Shoreditch and Spitalfields, where he and his partner Paul could often be found engaging in the fine and half-forgotten art of flaneuring.
But now the time has come for Nick to leave us; we wish him well, and start the search for his replacement. If you are interested in working for us on Sundays, have experience of customer service, understand and appreciate the Labour and Wait ethos and are available over Christmas, please send your C.V to the address above, or pop in to the store.
We are also looking for temporary Christmas staff, so applications are welcome for these positions too.
17 September, 2011
We are pleased to introduce the Turner and Harper range of Luxury Goods and Homewares.
Turner and Harper is a British brand devoted to creating quality crafted products for the home. We create products which nod to tradition, balancing timeless aesthetics with considered material choices. At our core is a fascination with translating the small details that fill our daily lives into products which communicate their quality, function and place.
The Turner and Harper range of brushes and domestic tools represent a return to craft traditions and considered material selection. The quality of the woods and of the hog bristle, as well as the enameling on the bowls, make these an outstanding collection of products and, though you’d be tempted not to use them and to put them on display for all to see, they are functional products, designed to be used.
Completely hand made, finished with a hard wearing stain proof oil. Bristled with soft hog hair that will collect fine dust with ease. The bristle can also be washed to restore it as use takes its toll.
Materials: Black Walnut, Pure Hog Bristle.
A hard wearing stiff bristled brush, suited to brushing clothes, scrubbing vegetables or as a nail brush. Hand machined and finished with a waterproof oil; the unique quality of each piece is accentuated by the differing grain in the carefully selected wood.
Materials: Oak, Black Walnut, Pure Hog Bristle.
Brushed stainless steel dustpan with a rubber coated handle to grip the brush. The metal is shaped with a hyde mallet, carefully assembled by hand and finished with refined industrial processes.
Materials: Stainless Steel, PVC Rubber.
Enamel Household Basin
A vitreous enamel basin with tall sides that lend themselves to carrying water without spillage. The kink in the sides serves to make holding a full, heavy vessel more comfortable, while the unique properties of enamel result in a very hard wearing finish which is inert to chemicals.
The steel is cold formed in a spinning process which hardens the material, resulting in a strong, durable product.
Materials: Steel, Vitreous Enamel.
A soft hog bristle broom ideally suited for use on tiled and wooden floors. The wood is selected, machined and finished by hand, giving a unique character to each piece.
Supplied with a small hook to aid storage and prolong the life of the bristle.
Bespoke stainless steel bolts fix the handle to the brush head, employing skills usually reserved for restoration of vintage motorcycles. By bolting the elements together, the connection is strengthened, allowing for any maintenance that may be required with time and use.
Materials: Black Walnut, Pure Hog Bristle, Powder Coated Steel, Bespoke Stainless Steel Fixings.
Turner and Harper is being launched exclusively through Labour and Wait during London Design Week.
As part of this launch, and as part of Shoreditch Design Triangle, our Redchurch Street store will be opening late on Tuesday 20th September, when designer Tom Harper will be in store to introduce his range of products.
14 September, 2011
Labour and Wait feature in the October issue of The World of Interiors, alongside four other independent shops specialising in timeless and practical products.
We are no strangers to photoshoots in this shop, so we always know it will be a good one when the photographer has not only a medium format camera, but medium format film; these World of Interior photos prove the truth of this rule.
14 September, 2011
Labour and Wait have been shortlisted in the Best British Retailer section of the British Design Awards 2011.
The British Design Awards (BDAs) recognise beautiful, useful and original new work created by designers for UK and international brands, and are brought to us by ELLE Decoration in association with John Lewis and with support from Telegraph Magazine.
Although we don’t count as new, we’d like to see ourselves as being beautiful, useful and original. Thanks to all at Elle and the BDAs for including us.
( Should you wish to, you can vote here )
13 September, 2011
With the sudden onset of autumn, its time to for us to start introducing some of our warmer and woolier lines; these Irish Cottage Socks are a real treat for frozen feet and one of our most popular winter products.
Available in our Redchurch Street store now, or email us for more info.
09 September, 2011
Who is the Gentle Author? This mysterious character is as much a part of Spitalfields’ myth and mystery as any of the personages past and present featured in the exquisite historical and sociological blog Spitalfields Life.
We are very proud to have appeared in the backpages of this fascinating online record of the life and times of this part of London in which we settled ten years ago, and which we now call home. So we were intrigued by the appearance of an invitation to the unveiling of the Map of Spitalfields Life.
Drawn by Adam Dant, himself a Spitalfields character of no little renown, whose beautifully drawn, delicate and detailed maps of the East End of London have entertained and intrigued locals and visitors alike, this map promises to reveal the stories of fifty of the people who have made Spitalfields so distinctive.
The map, devised and drawn under the strictest security, will be unveiled by Sandra Esqulant, Queen of Spitalfields, at 7 o'clock sharp on Thursday 15th September, at Town House, Fournier Street. We’ll be there, and we can’t wait to see who’ll be on the map.
09 September, 2011
From the 17th to the 25th of September Labour and Wait will be taking part in this year’s Shoreditch Design Triangle. Thirty four local shops, galleries and studios will be hosting a variety of events and exhibitions showcasing the best in contemporary design.
As part of this, and to tie in with London Design Week, we will be launching the Turner and Harper range of brushes, as well as participating in the Late Night Shopping event on Tuesday 20th. This will be a chance to meet the designer of this exclusive range, as well as to have a browse of our Redchurch Street store, and to see all the interesting events taking place in and around Shoreditch.
27 August, 2011
We are pleased to present Labour and Wait’s collaboration with Tokyobike.
The resurgence of interest in urban cycling is one of the most remarkable stories of the past few years.
Perhaps the influence of ‘fixie’ culture has worked its way into the mainstream, for there is no avoiding the brightly coloured, narrow handlebarred single-geared machines weaving in and out of the London traffic, nor the classic ( and not so classic ) racers and their hunched and frantic riders. All these cyclists now take their place on the roads alongside the town bikes, the tourers, the Dutch bikes, mountain bikes, Bromptons, shoppers, choppers, BMXs, and cruisers; and lets not ignore the invigorating renaissance of the bike shops, workshops, renovators and restorers and, most curiously, the birth of the bike café.
Those of us who have cycled for many years recognize the freedom and the spontaneity of cycling, as well as the pure and simple pleasure of getting on your bike and pushing hard on the pedals, and it is a joy for us that this is something that more and more people are taking pleasure from. And it is also worth noting that at the start of the twenty-first century so many people are turning to a machine that has survived virtually unchanged for over one hundred years.
So we are delighted to be able to reveal our collaboration with Tokyobike. We first became aware of this company a couple of years ago, both through our Japanese contacts and through their British distributors, when we were taken by the simple, clean lines of the bicycles and the thoughtful, curated appeal of their pop-up shops.
The best way to describe the Tokyobike classic – the basis of this bike – is with the word that appears most often in our blog, in our shop and in our thinking: timeless. The Labour and Wait Tokyobike is truly timeless, for we are neither neon hipster nor tweed-clad gent, but we are who we are.
We love the mix of modern and classic on this bike – the full steel frame and Shimano gears with our specification Brooks B17 leather saddle and Carradice Junior saddlebag. The bike is a hybrid of Japanese and British style, the frame designed and built in Japan, the accessories handmade here in the UK.
This bike represents Labour and Wait, for it is not about ‘retro’ or nostalgia, but the simple pleasure of a well designed, functional and timeless product.
With most blogs and articles on cycling, it seems correct to quote H.G Well’s famous words ( “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race” ), but in this instance we should turn instead to another author, Iris Murdoch, for our closing sentiment:
“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.”
17 August, 2011
Here is a sneak preview of a collection we will be launching as part of London Design Week.
These boxes contain hand made brushes which, in the words of the designer, ‘combine a material quality that nods to tradition with a contemporary design aesthetic’. They will remain hidden, however, until their launch in September.
Based in North Yorkshire, Turner & Harper are a new British company focused on the design and manufacture of timeless, functional products for the home, and we are delighted that they have chosen to launch their brand and their products through Labour and Wait.
The launch will take place in London Design Week 2011 ( 17th - 25th September ), when all will be revealed!
21 July, 2011
Our recently arrived – and long awaited - delivery of Japanese products included amongst it a small selection of Syussai pottery. The story of the Syussai kiln is a fascinating one, a story that crosses back and forth across the globe and which makes clear the connections between English Arts and Crafts and Japanese Mingei, between British studio potters and Japanese craftsmen and which links the Cornish town of St. Ives with a small kiln on the banks of the Hiikawa river.
The Syussai kiln was established in 1947 by five friends who each shared the aim of making simple, utilitarian crockery for everyday use. Their work was influenced by the Mingei “folk craft” movement founded by Yanagi Muneyoshi in the early years of the Twentieth Century, and which saw pure and natural beauty in ordinary objects created by unknown craftsmen for practical purposes. Mingei products celebrate the work of the artisan and the fulfillment of an object’s innate purpose.
Tatano Hiromitsu, one of the founders of the Syussai kiln, learnt about Mingei through his studies of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement, the celebration of artisan craftsmanship which was in part a reaction against the industry and mass production of late Victorian England. Together with Kawai Ganjiro, an associate of Yanagi, Tatano came up with the idea of creating a kiln where individual craftsmen could create utilitarian pottery in a traditional manner.
The Syussai kiln was strongly influenced by the English potter Bernard Leach. Born in Hong Kong, Leach studied at the London School of Art and travelled and worked extensively in Japan and China before, in 1920, opening his own traditional Japanese “climbing kiln” in St Ives with his friend the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada. For the next 50 years, this kiln was the focal point for the studio pottery movement. Throughout Leach’s career he advocated that the potter’s focus should not be on decoration or embellishment but in the tactile and functional perfection of objects designed for everyday use. This belief, shaped by the principles of Mingei, defined the studio pottery movement and the St Ives kiln became the college for a new generation of potters making their way through Leach’s apprentice system.
Leach’s philosophy of pottery is contained in his classic A Potter’s Book. The required manual for any studio potter, practical tips are combined with aesthetic ideals and Leach’s interpretation of the values of Mingei - “Enduring forms are full of quiet assurance. Overstatement is worse than understatement.”
The Syussai kiln is one of the few remaining where Bernard Leach originally stayed and where he shared his designs and expertise; the jug we are selling is one of Syussai’s Leach products. The most noteworthy feature of it is the handle, in a Western style, and which Leach called the ‘wet handle’. This is made from a ball of clay and shaped using the heat and humidity of the hand, imagining a branch growing from the trunk of a tree. The shape of the potter’s thumbprint remains, making an ergonomic grip. Even within Syussai there are only a few craftsmen who can make this handle.
After 60 years, the Shussai kiln still insists on using local materials for its clay and glazes, and despite its fame, it continues to make practical crockery for ordinary people in the Izumo area. We are delighted to be able to provide this beautiful pottery to our customers here in England. The thread between English Arts and Crafts and Japanese Mingei, between St Ives and Hiikawa, runs through this Syussai pottery and defines the concept of studio pottery as laid down by Leach - the Marriage of East and West.
The Syussai jugs are available in three sizes from our Redchurch Street store.
The Leach Pottery in St Ives is still open as a studio, museum, gallery and shop.
20 July, 2011
A selection of samples, seconds and shop soiled products are now available in our Redchurch Street store.
12 July, 2011
We’re delighted to introduce our new range of lighting accessories. Bulbs, bulb holders and fabric cable are now available in store and online, the perfect partners for our enamel lampshades.
The delicate appearance of the Swiss-made filament light bulb belies the strength of its illumination, and as we have them above the counter here in our shop we can vouch for their quality and longevity.
The 60Watt bulb has a bayonet fitting, as have our bulb holders. These are available in brass, nickel and bronze and have a plastic grip to ensure a tight hold on the cord.
The Italian-made fabric cable is available in four colours; brown, red, black and white. With four colours of lampshade also available, there is plenty of scope to create your own fabulous lighting arrangement.
More information and pictures of our enamel lampshades can be seen below.
All products are available online from our website.
25 June, 2011
Enamel Lampshades are now back in stock.
We will have some interesting news about fixtures and fittings for the lights very shortly, but in the meantime make sure you come in or reserve your shades, as they are going fast.
19 June, 2011
As any visitor to Labour and Wait knows, we are a fairly hirsute lot. We wear a variety of beards, moustaches and ‘designer’ stubble, but we still acknowledge the importance of a good close shave, and so we are very excited about our new selection of safety razors and shaving accessories.
The Merkur range of razors, manufactured in Solingen, arrived in store recently. This area of Germany has long been renowned for the quality of its metalwork, particularly in bladed metal, and these razors are no exception. The Nickel plated safety razor is a design that can be traced back to 1904 and the first Gillette Double Edge Safety Razor, and is a simple, timeless design that should last a lifetime of shaving.
The Deluxe Safety Razor comes in its own case and is supplied with ten blades. The cream dial handle rotates to open the head, allowing easy replacement of the blade, and the razor itself has a wonderful heavy feel in the hand.
For the perfect shave the razors are ideally accompanied with either our Valobra Shaving soap, long a favourite amongst our discerning male customers, or with our new Proraso shaving soap.
Proraso has being making shaving soap in Italy since 1926, and is respected the world over for the quality of shave it provides. This shave cream has a delicate eucalyptus and menthol scent and is perfect used in conjunction with our 444 After Shave Balm.
All these shaving products are available from our website.
For a fantastic site full of information about classic razors and some beatiful illustrations and adverts, why not visit Mr-Razor?.
09 June, 2011
We are delighted to introduce our new range of footwear, available from our Redchurch Street Store.
We have searched for a long time to find the right espadrilles, and we are glad to have found the perfect supplier. Although these may look similar to those available in many other high street shops, we know these are of the highest quality, hand-made in Spain in the traditional manner and authentic in every detail.
As any visitor to Barcelona knows, La Manual Alpargatera is the place to go for your espadrilles, and we are very happy to be the first British stockist of their classic artisan footwear. Established during the Civil War, La Manual have been making their espadrilles in the traditional way ever since.
Really, though, we should be calling these slippers espardenyes, after all that is the original Catalan name ( before the French corruption of espadrilles ). And as these are made in Catalonia, it is only right to give them their true title.
Espardenyes are available in sizes 39 to 44 in Natural, Navy, Black, Brown and Red.
25 May, 2011
27 April, 2011
After seeing the unfortunate events in Japan recently, we were thinking about ways in which we could help out, when we received an email from Mizuyo Yamashita, a Japanese ceramicist who asked if we would be interested in carrying some of her chopstick rests.
We loved the look of these little houses so we agreed to sell them for her, with all profits going to the Japanese Red Cross and Civic Force. These have proved to be very popular with all of our customers and, thanks to their generosity, we have had to ask Mizuyo to bring us in new stock each week.
As we have suppliers, colleagues and friends in Japan we were glad to do our little bit to help and we are planning more for the future, but in the meantime please visit Mizuyo’s blog and have a look at some of her exquisite ceramics.
16 April, 2011
Labour and Wait was honored to received a visit from Spitalfields Life this week. A figure familiar yet mysterious to those of us living and working in the area, the Gentle Author is the chronicler and curator of all things East London, a modern day Charles Lamb and a single-handed reincarnation of the Illustrated London News.
Our esteemed author was here to visit our Brush Museum, a collection of curios and keepsakes assembled over many years by Simon and Rachel, Labour and Wait’s founders and owners. Now displayed with pride on our staircase, these brushes are only a small selection of those collected over the years, and range from a nineteenth century clothes brush to a modern Japanese plasterer’s brush and a Swedish floor scrubber. The gentle author, however, can write about this collection with far more style and charm than I ever could, so please take a trip to this wonderful blog for more on our repository of sweepers, scourers, scrubbers, wipers and washers.
13 April, 2011
At Labour and Wait we believe in form, function and affordability. Everyday jobs and tasks can be completed with ease and enjoyment - pleasure, even - if only the right tools are used.
The joys of simple, effective and affordable design are explored in Kim Colin and Sam Hecht’s new book ‘Usefulness in Small Things’. A collection of items from small local shops around the world, brought together through the theme of 'Under a Fiver’, the book is an examination of function and design, and of the relationship between object and user.
As well as contributing a foreword to the book, Paul Smith is also hosting an exhibition to celebrate the launch, timed to coincide with the Milan Furniture Fair, and we are very pleased to have been able to supply some useful items of our own for this exhibition.
“Usefulness in Small Things” is on display at Paul Smith Milan, Palazzo Gallarati Scotti,
Via Manzoni 30, from the 11th April.
For more information on Paul Smith, check out his blog.
10 February, 2011
The second edition of Independent London is now available at Labour and Wait. This great little book is your guide to the best of London’s independent shops, cafes and workshops.
We know how much time, effort and energy goes into running these small businesses, whether in retail or publishing, so a book like this is perfect in spreading the word about all these great companies. The London independent scene is vibrant and exciting, with new shops appearing all the time, especially in local areas traditionally ignored by the major high street brands. So support your local shops, support your local area, and shop independent.
09 February, 2011
So, after ten happy and successful years we finally bid farewell to our old home, number 18 Cheshire Street. All the stock has been packed up, the shelves have been taken down, the holes filled, the walls repainted and our vast collection of bits and pieces removed to Redchurch Street. All that remains is to give it one last clean, pull the shutters down and hand back the keys.
Simon and Rachel’s famous American Gothic pose, as seen in magazines worldwide.
We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us at Cheshire Street, we have really enjoyed our time here and have felt lucky to be a part of this community. The street has changed so much since 2001, when we first opened, and it looks set to keep evolving with a new generation of shops and shopkeepers soon to establish themselves. Cheshire Street has had a huge role in the revitalisation of the East End and we’re glad to have played our part.
Packing up and moving on…
23 December, 2010
21 December, 2010
We will be open as normal on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December, and for last minute shoppers we will be open until 8pm on Thursday the 23rd.
We will then be on our Christmas holidays until Tuesday the 4th of January.
Thankyou for your support and custom this year, and we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
09 December, 2010
02 December, 2010
Many thanks to those of you who made it to our opening party last week. Particular thanks go to Rochelle Canteen and Truman’s Beer. It is always good to work with local suppliers and businesses, and we were particularly pleased to have two firkins of beer from Truman’s, who have brought their famous name ( and their famous beer ) back to the pubs of East London.
Our thanks also go to our generous friends and suppliers who provided us with the goodies for our gift bags:
18 November, 2010
Labour and Wait’s new premises was once the old Dolphin, a Truman, Hanbury and Buxton Co. public house. The distinctive tiled exterior has long been a feature of Redchurch Street and we are delighted to bring this building back to public life.
The above photo, of the Dolphin in the 1930s, is taken from the Dead Pubs website, and when we found the image we were delighted to see the writing on the curved corner window. One of our original intentions for this new store was to have handpainted signage and lettering on the windows, and this was completed for us in some style by Peter Hardwicke.
Peter’s work is in evidence all over London, and in particular the East End, and he completed the finishing touches on our new store, helping to link the new Labour and Wait with the old Dolphin.
For more information on Peter and his signwriting, visit the ever-fascinating Spitalfields Life blog, from where this picture is taken. ( Photo by Jeremy Freedman )
04 November, 2010
So after ten successful years on Cheshire Street, Labour and Wait are proud to present our new home! Converted from an old Truman Brewery pub, 85 Redchurch Street is a short walk from our old store but represents an exciting new era for us. Open 6 days a week, the new store is bigger and brighter and features many new products alongside all the old favourites.
And alongside the new shop we’ll also be easing ourselves into the 21st Century with this blog. We’ll be keeping you updated with news of products, events and various interesting bits and pieces. Welcome to Labour and Wait, we hope to see you in the store soon!