MUST DO: Laura Lea’s pop-up art store

Make a bee-line here throughout August for the area’s most enticing art and tempting homewares

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The Dream, by Rebecca Mason
If Leytonstone homes are looking a tad more stylish of late, it’s mostly down to Laura Lea, an E11 resident who reps an ‘eclectic collective’ of artists and is the latest occupant of the space to the right of Leytonstone station’s Church Lane exit, previously filled very nicely by Filly Brook.

Open since 14 July, the boutique is full of all kinds of lovely artworks, homewares, gifts and jewellery, made by one of the 27 artists Laura works with, many of whom are east Londoners too. The space is crammed with covetable buys but my faves include graphic wall art by Archie Proudfoot, old school movie prints by Anna Stiles, East Wick scented candles and coloured glass bottles in retro shades by An Artful Life and everything by Hooksmith press (is it too early to compile a Christmas wishlist?)

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bottles: An Artful Life, vases: Geo Fleur, candles: East Wick, ceramics: Fat Ceramics, patterned plates: Edge Of Home

The whole experience of shopping at Laura Lea couldn’t be more different from the high street. Laura knows each artist well and will happily chat to you about their background, as well as the story behind each piece, which only serves to make you want everything even more than you do already.

Many pieces in the boutique have been especially created for the pop-up including a limited edition run of The Sun Rises In The East prints and a selection of letterpressed ‘swears’ – think beautifully designed framed swearwords starting at ‘shit’ and going all the way up to the c word, all by Russell from Hooksmith Press. Show your love for the ‘Stone with an I Love Leytonstone canvas totebag, £5, or free with purchases over £25, which is as good a reason as any to treat yourself, or someone you know.

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If you’ve given the shop a wide berth, for fear of having to take out a second mortgage on your flat to afford anything, well, although some of the pieces are undeniably spendy – for example the most expensive of the Rebecca Mason neon artworks costs £3000+, you can pick up greeting cards scattered with gold stars by Oscar & Wilde and concrete letters by An Artful Life for just a couple of quid. And if you’ve already popped in it’s worth taking a second look as Laura is adding new artists and pieces all the time.

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Cards by Alfred & Wilde, wire baskets by An Artful Life

As well as operating as a shop, the boutique has played host to a number of events and workshops, with two more lined up for this week. On Thursday (13th August) there’s a drinks reception to open the Fire exhibition, a collection of screen-printed works by artist Felix Gannon and on Saturday (14th) wine expert Rosamund Hall of Burgess & Hall is leading a sparkling wine workshop, where you can taste six different wines, each paired with a carefully selected cheese. Sounds like my kinda workshop.

Then Russell from Hooksmith will be creating bespoke prints in-store on Saturday 15th, Archie Proudfoot will do the same with artworks on Sunday 16th and on Sunday 23rd Stacey from Two For Joy will be running a paper cutting workshop.

Currently scheduled to run until the end of August, Laura’s hoping to make her pop-up permanent in the not too distant future.

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Find Laura Lea Design Boutique at Shop 1, Station Forecourt, Church Lane, Leytonstone, E11 1HE. Open Tuesday and Wednesday 10am – 6pm, Thursday 11am – 8pm, Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 4pm. Find out more at www.lauraleadesign.com and follow her on Instagram too.
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  • Robin Farr

    I thought it was a collection of last place prizes ! Gosh I’m sutch a Neanderthal!