London Craft

London Craft Week has been on for the last couple of days with a host of curious and beautifully made things. I made a beeline for the Steinway restoration demonstration at Oxo Tower on the Thames. They were fixing cracks in the soundboard of a 1889 piano when I was there. Carefully inserting a fine wedge of spruce into the crack then shaving it back in line with the sound board. They also had a new Steinway just sitting there, asking to be played – I couldn’t say no! Such a pleasure to play an instrument of that quality. It was quite lovely to play a Steinway in a shed. The juxtaposition of luxury, ultra-refined piano in an old wharf building was wonderful. I also forget how much I miss playing piano when I’m away.

Steinway Oxo Towers

Later in the day I stumbled across Tom Woods Cellos in the Opera Arcade near Trafalgar Square. Ben, the resident cellist, was practising at the time, so after a chat about cellos he treated me to a private concert. There is something very special about one person playing music for another person. It made me wish I could have my own cellist as an alarm clock – live Bach to start the day!

Tom Woods CellosBen the Cellist

My adventures then took me to Savile Row where the delightful young Scottish cutter talked me through the process of making a bespoke suit at Kathryn Sargent. She’s the first woman tailor to break into Savile Row and if the half hour I spent there is anything to go by, is doing it extremely well. I learnt all kinds of things about suit making – horse hair fabric lining for structure; a gazillion hand stitches, sleeve width and jacket width are related… If I’d had a spare 8,000 pounds I would have ordered one!

By Amie Brûlée

Amie Brûlée is a musician, performer, teacher and researcher. She sings, plays piano, double bass and ukulele, unearths old songs and writes new ones. Amie also has a PhD in wine and anthropology and adores teaching wine tasting, gastronomy and song-writing. Amie lives in central Victoria with a house full of instruments, a head full of songs and a cellar full of wine.

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