A new selection of gifts from Leslie Williamson as part of our Friends of M&B series. This festive season, we have invited some of our friends to talk about the objects they love, their homes and the gifts they like to give. For us, the excitement of this project comes from gaining further insight into some interesting creative minds. We often choose products for the way they make us feel, so we look forward to hearing how others react to our offering.
We first stumbled upon Leslie's work in LA back in 2010. Her book, 'Handcrafted Modern' had just been published and it was a beauty we could not resist.
A gentle photographer, she has the rare ability to see beyond the clutter of the everyday into the soul of a place. She explores interiors with the utmost respect for its creators and those that inhabit the space. Her humble and human approach reveals moments of warmth and intimacy, the layers of a life well lived, the gathering of time and thought. There is a rare warmth and sense of a human touch in Leslie's work, photographs that are in many ways portraits without people. It is her sense of place and home that made us very curious to see her selection.
Do you have a particular memory of a special gift received in recent years?
I had a new acquaintance (now a dear friend, but then we had literally just met) give me the most beautiful hand-forged brass coffee scoop for absolutely no reason/occasion. We had been talking about being particular about bringing just items that you absolutely love into your life and how that can mean waiting for a long while for the right one. I had been looking for a coffee scoop for about two years at that point and on our second meeting, he surprised me with that coffee scoop. It was just completely unexpected. His thoughtfulness was the biggest gift but I do love that beautiful little thing. I enjoy using it every day.
"Everyone should own a beautiful copy of Walden. A personal favourite."
Do you remember the first gift you gave?
No not the first, but I do remember that there was a point in my twenties when I realized that the best gifts to both give and receive are the ones that signify a thoughtfulness for both who the giver is as well as the receiver. A gift around a common interest for example, or giving something on a subject that you know your friend is interested in but a bit scared to explore. I feel like the best gifts I’ve ever given or received are the ones where I felt very understood and known by whomever gave it to me.
"It is simple, sculptural, stackable, and wonderfully multifunctional. Plus a pile of them in different colors just looks pretty in the corner of any room."
What makes you feel at home?
Well this is a particularly poignant question for me. I am in the middle of a two-year period of living nomadically. The meaning of home has been changing for me with every “home" I have lived in this year - seven and counting (not including hotels).
Are there any particular elements or objects you need in a room to feel comfortable and grounded?
I have had to distill home down into a few objects that are easily portable. The basics include - my favorite cashmere blanket, a hand thrown ceramic coffee cup, warm slippers and a bit of candlelight.
"The perfect gift for all my best girlfriends."
"They have become some of my favourite things I own. I bring them with me when I travel and they make everyplace I go feel a little more like home."
Words by Leslie Williamson
Portrait by Adam Thorman
Ilse Crawford | Georg Jensen