As Mother’s Day draws closer, we take a moment to sit with the mother of our founder and creative director so that we may share with you the short story of her life as a landscape artist. A plein air oil painter, Angela Uren speaks of her motivations, of her muses and of motherhood.

Briefly, how might you describe your style of painting?

“This I find not so simple to answer as I paint not to a certain style but simply by instinct. I become absorbed in the essence of the subject, the place, the time and a connection between all three soon becomes apparent. Perhaps then this is the best word to describe my work – instinctive.”

Have you always been a painter or was this something you began to explore later in life?

“Creativity has always been central to everything I have done and believed in. It is something that seemed to come to both of my daughters too – by nature and by nurture I suppose. It wasn’t until I left behind my vocation as an art teacher in 2010 however that I was able to fully explore my personal creativity. I am so fortunate that I am now able to do what I love in a full time capacity.”

Is there one particular aspect that you love most about being a painter?

“I consider painting and my family to each be a lifeline. Painting is all consuming and a total distraction, to such an extent that I have at times felt that sleep gets in the way – and fading light – from me wanting to paint all day and all night long. The fact that people want to pay me for something I so love doing is very humbling and rewarding. I am so very lucky and it is important to recognise this.”

What is your favourite material to work with?

“Now this is one that I can answer readily and swiftly – oil and knife on natural canvas. This gives me the greatest physical connection with what it is I am painting.” 

Are there any artists or movements whose work you admire most of all?

“It’s the pattern, line and palette of artists such as Paul Nash Alexander Walker and Vanessa Bell that I aspire to. I also love the later, loose portraits of various 1940s artists, such as Modigliani and Winifred Knight.”

Do you have a single greatest inspiration for your work? 

“The surrounding world and all within it invokes an emotional response in me. This is something that has always been true. I am predominantly an outdoor painter and the changing face of nature continually moves me, day by day.”

If you were to elect one painting of yours as a favourite of all time, what might it be? 

“My favourite is always my current piece. I become so impassioned with what I am painting in the present that it inevitably becomes my new favourite. So to choose one is simply not something I could ever so. I have many, and I find that a lovely thing.”

In 2019, you painted a piece called ‘Unconditional Love’ of your daughter and newborn granddaughter. Tell us how that felt, as a painter, to capture the moment.

“For me, the physical connection between paint, knife and canvas translates my personal response to my subject, the essence of that moment, that time and that place, rather than what I am looking at. When I was painting my daughter and newborn granddaughter, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion to try to capture something of what I was feeling as well as the essence of the love I saw between my daughter and her newborn – a love so pure and unconditional that I felt compelled to translate that onto canvas.”

Do you feel art and painting gifted you certain qualities or views that you were able to transfer into motherhood? 

“I think my response to this is more what motherhood has gifted to my painting. I was blessed personally to have two wonderful mothers – my own mother and my mother-in-law.Their unconditional love encouraged and supported my creativity beyond all measure. I was also blessed with the gift of two wonderful daughters, enriching my life and creativity beyond words.I realise how very fortunate I am and take nothing for granted.”

Finally, for people seeking a specific piece, do you accept private commissions?

“I do, however I work differently and offer a selection based on the commission’s criteria. That way, there is no compulsion to buy, offering greater flexibility for buyers and myself as an artist. I want my buyer to buy because they love a piece and not because they feel forced to due to a commission. I wish the process to feel as freeing as the act of painting does to me.”

To see more of Angela Uren’s work, see her portfolio here.


To those of you who missed our email update, we have decided to update our website so that you are always able to see and read our stance on the COVID-19 crisis as well as any updates that may be affecting our creative community.

As we write this, we have in mind every other small (and perhaps scared) business, every vulnerable soul and every positive person doing their bit to buoy others through these troubled waters we find ourselves in. It is the spirit of togetherness that shall help us to navigate through them, together.

Through the close relationships we are proud to have with our makers – those here in Britain and those overseas – and through the tireless commitment from our nearby warehouses, until 24th March 2020, we were very thankful to say that we had been able to upkeep the availability of most of our collection and our delivery promises. And indeed, we still are able to promptly deliver the majority of accessories, hardware, lighting and bathroom orders. This update only currently concerns larger items of furniture.

Needless to say, every morsel of safety guidance has, and always will be, stringently followed. Therefore, this has meant that the new government measures have brought about the sad but safe news that one of our warehouses has closed its doors until it is able to begin operating again in the coming weeks.

We have been overjoyed to see how many of you are placing orders over recent days – choosing to do so over the telephone so that there is company to be found in self-isolation. Knowing that our pieces can provide you with a small token of comfort and a simple sort of pleasure as we all retreat to our homes is a tonic.

So please know that our phone lines, our inbox, our social media accounts and yes, even our postbox (because it’s nice to write), remain there for you. Should you wish to continue placing furniture orders with us, please do so, and we shall keep them safe and sound until we are able to dispatch them – which we hope will be in not too long. Consider this yet another something to look forward to when our world is turned the right way around once more.

Keeping each other afloat we must, and lean upon one another we shall.

This maxim has lead us to also make the decision that throughout these troublesome times, we shall gift 10% of our weekly proceeds to The Trussell Trust – a charity doing all that it can to ensure Britain’s food banks remain stocked and able to support those in need.

Any further updates may be found here and on our social media accounts.

Otherwise we shall, as best as we are able, continue onwards and upwards.

With love,

The Rowen & Wren team

 

In curating our new collection for Spring/Summer 2020, our creative team was drawn to colours cast in sunlight. An earthy melange of hues that begin with spring’s tender illumination and develop later into those heady at the hand of summer’s beams. A promise of warmth-to-come is a trait each pigment in the palette bears and shares. Pigments to be found in fine linen cloth napkins, hues that emanate from plump pillows and tones in glassware that glints and gleams gaily – a family of colours that are of balanced blends and of radiant beauty. At once dappled, mellowed and honeyed, the light in spring opens its chorus with velveteen softness. Belongings touched and landscapes graced by it are doused in its dewy amber glow. It is a light so inherently bound to the time of year and nature’s re-awakening that spring is unmistakably seen before it is felt. It is here that we nurtured Honey Lemon alongside Stone Grey – the first colour an expression of such amber showers, the second signifying our earliest ventures outdoors to pebble-strewn beaches. You may appreciate the former in the rattan weave of the Polperro bench; the recycled glass tumblers, Arlo and Elif; and the flax fibres of our linen napkin sets. Stone Grey is evident in the very same napkins but too in woven, circular rugs

In placid pursuit of buds blossoming and frosts thawing comes summer’s first sigh. The first of many warm rushes in close company of a headier, deeper light that serves a considerate helping of the Mediterranean. Observe the parched tones of baked ground, the rise of terracotta and the fall of milkier springtime shades. A blanket of amber sunlight remains, but it has evolved from what was witnessed in the months prior. Once more, it is the light that takes us by the hand into seasons new. With terracotta our minds stayed and strayed into nearby olive groves, unearthing further nature-led hues of Olive and Plaster Pink – a colour that speaks of summertime dawn and mesmeric dusk. Soak up such colours in the company of washed linen cushion covers, table linens further still and indeed our Kapok mattress where pink-tinted Tea Rose is a finish option.Be it spring or be it summer, throughout the many days to come, explore the richness of nature’s sun-soaked palette by inviting honeyed hues into the home alongside those that marry well, such as olive and terracotta. The occasional contrast hurts not either, hence our side-step to deeper shades of blue and crisp seashell whites that cannot help but evoke imagery of white horse crested waves crashing in the beguiling deep blue. 

See the palette in its entirety throughout the new Spring/Summer 2020 collection here.

 

It is at the stroke of March that many assume spring is underway. Collections are released from sundry brands, signalling spring’s arrival from the moment that the calendar strikes one. But it is in fact not solely the 1st March that is deemed spring’s starting point. There are, in fact, two sections to spring’s preface, one narrated by the meteorological calendar and the other by that of the astronomical which perceives the earth’s orbit as its guiding star.  

Let us begin by studying, briefly, what it is the simpler of the two origins. 

The meteorological calendar is based, as the name in fact suggests, on the climate, namely that of annual temperature cycles. This is the one to which most are accustomed as it divides the calendar year into four decipherable seasons, each occupying three full months that coincide with the ancient Gregorian calendar. Simply then, spring, on this watch, shall commence always on 1st March and shall draw to a close on 31st May. 

Oppopsingly, the more complex astronomical calendar proffers a start date that differs year on year. The reason for such is at the hand of orbital patterns – those of the earth in relation to the sun – and it’s these that gift us with annual equinoxes and solstices. Two of each that denote a different meaning. 

The equinox receives its name from the Latin term for equal night. Understand this then as when the sun finds itself directly above the equator, and so day and night are of equal length, and a new season ensues. The equinox in March announces spring, whereas September’s proclaims autumn. 

Solstices, by contrast, mark either the shortest or longest day of the year, when the sun’s path is the farthest north, or indeed the farthest south, from the equator. Through solstices, we are able to learn the reason for seasonal differences according to which side of the globe you reside in. For example, in the Northern hemisphere, the summer solstice in June denotes the sun’s rays being over the Tropic of Cancer, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, they would be above the Tropic of Capricorn, indicating winter’s arrival. 

Note that there is a general pattern to such orbits, but it is by no means  perfectly mirrored, and so this is why astronomical equinoxes and solstices have a tendency to shift by a few days with each occurence. Though for the new decade that we find ourselves in, spring’s vernal equinox shall fall on 20th March. From this point on, for those of us who reside in the northern hemisphere, we shall be tilted towards the sun. Consequently, our days shall be all the longer, and gladly, all the lighter.

In time for spring’s arrival, meteorological or astronomical, see our Spring/Summer 2020 collection here.

 

Should you or should you not subscribe to the ceremony that is Valentine’s Day, might the question of its origins have cropped into your consciousness for at least a fleeting moment on 14th February’s past? 

Though it is recognised as a day of romantic celebration across countries far and wide, recounting its hazy history is not a story that many can narrate with the matched ease that we might for calendar events such as Bonfire Night. This is perhaps partly due to the lack of a sole Saint Valentine figure to whom we can look. Indeed there are said to have been three saints named Valentine – or Valentinus – within the Catholic Church. The tales tied to all three are markedly mysterious, yet they are united by a shared narrative of figures who were sympathetic, heroic and most crucially, romantic. Much-recited stories include clandestine weddings held by Saint Valentine,  and another such Saint Valentine who when imprisoned fell in love with the daughter of his captor and wrote to her before his death, signing it, from your Valentine. It is an expression widely used in Valentine’s cards to this day.

While the history of Valentine’s Day has no clear, single figure to whom it is dedicated, many believe there is a reason for it falling in February each year. Herein, lies the link with Ancient Rome and its pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia, which took place at the ides of February, and resulted in the union of man and woman. It is said that the Christian church offered a version of the festival, placing a Saint Valentine’s feast in the middle of this, the shortest month. As time passed and Christiany prevailed, Lupercalia was outlawed and at the close of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius pronounced 14th February as Saint Valentine’s Day.

Much later did the heady, romantic rituals become intertwined with 14th February. During the Middle Ages in both France and England, the view was held that the date signalled the beginning of mating season for many birds, which encouraged nations to associate Saint Valentine’s Day with love, fertility and romance. This was reiterated in English poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, Parliament of Foules, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day, whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” 

With the rise and fall of each new century, Valentine’s Day celebrations became all the more amorous in countries including Canada, Australia, France, America and Great Britain, amongst others. By the middle point of the 18th century, it was quite common for friends and lovers to exchange tokens and hand-written notes of affection, regardless of class. Advancements in printing technology allowed Valentine’s Day cards to soar in popularity in the 1900s, thus the power of the written word cemented it as a day for arduous expressions of love and deep devotion. 

While the history and Saint Valentine figure continue to be shrouded in mystery with scholars disputing that fact is, in effect fiction, there is no question that somewhere, somehow and thanks to a certain someone, love and the 14th February became one. To part ways they never have, and we very much hope never will.

For gifting inspiration, peruse our collection here. 

 

Are you about to set upon springtime ridding and reorganisation rituals? Is a closet calling out to be decluttered, or perhaps a utility room wishing for storage that is easily and always in reach? Enter then, ever so calmly and ever so quietly, two companions that will aid you in achieving both. 

Unsung heroes, the hook and rail duo will affix to hallway walls to hold onto keys, a dog lead, and hats bobble-topped or wide-rimmed – depending on the season. Similarly, the wall space above the kitchen sink or stove is ripe for a rail with utensils, bundles of fresh herbs, pots, pans and wooden-handled scrubbing brushes dangling from S-shaped hooks. 

In tandem do they come, both hook and rail thrive independently too. A hook is not simply for the backs of doors for towels, coats and robes, but an entity from which mirrors can be hung or even the dust pan and brush. Similarly, rails ask not always for a wall, but may be fitted to the end of a run of cabinetry for tea cloths to rest, idly but gladly.

See the Full Hardware Collection here.

 

Now that winter’s unrelenting downpours have momentarily ceased – even if just for a handful of days – it gives rise to a perspective of brightness over bleakness. Observe closely as shoots and buds begin to sprout, as morning light starts to show its mellower side, and as the hour for lambs frolicking and wagging their tails in nearby fields draws ever closer. 

It is at this time – the first month of a new year and when the first sightings of spring are spotted – that we reflect on how the home is a habitat for new beginnings too. 

Might you prefer to reinvest in what you already call your own, casting belongings in a fresh light to encourage you to fall in love with them all over again? Cushions relocated from sitting room sofa to bedspread, pantry jars emptied of grains and pulses to be refilled with bath salts and cotton balls, and candlesticks placed into a new context, be it a window ledge or hearth rather than on the kitchen table, can feel as though a never-before-seen character has been newly welcomed to the nest. 

For it is when you take hold of items truly timeless in nature that you open up the opportunity of appreciating them time, and time, again. 

Peruse our promise of timelessness here.

 

Once December’s dashing and prancing is all but complete, allow not a dampened sense of spirit to take hold in January’s five long weeks. See this as a time to reset, stepping back, slowing down, taking stock, counting blessings, restoring fully, and remerging only when your pace is a steady one.

Named so after Janus, the Roman god of fresh beginnings and transitions, January presents the most natural invitation to turn over a new leaf. Blossom then beautifully 2020, gently teasing you out of winter’s grip to sway serenely into spring, which stirs as we speak – out of sight, though certainly not out of mind.

Have and hold in your home therefore those possessions of ease and simplicity. Objects that call out to be gazed at for more than a fleeting moment and whose tactility reminds you to savour the small things. For these are what encapsulate January’s much overlooked ability to enrich the everyday.

 

The plates have been cleared, the figgy pudding devoured, the gifts unwrapped and the carols sung. In the days of Christmas past, recoup gently before the desire to host once more takes hold and New Year’s Eve comes into plain sight. 

In response to the question that so many of you wrote in to ask us – what will we be serving our guests for 2019’s closing act? – let us present our delectable seasonal Negroni. Spiced with star anise, scented with orange rind, garnished with burnt rosemary, and served in the fair hands of our Clara flared glasses, it is an apéritif aspiring to toast to a year been and (almost) gone.

In the place of the much-expected gin measure, this cocktail introduces English sparkling wine (or Prosecco, though we favour keeping things local wherever possible). To lighten its heady concoction, pour your choice of fizz to the top of the glass and you might perhaps be able to enjoy more than just one. 

 

Ingredients

Per serving

25ml Campari

25ml sweet vermouth 

25ml English sparkling wine

1 star anise

1 shaving of orange rind

1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs 

1 large ice cube 

 

Steps for serving 

1. Decant all three, equally-measured liquids into a cocktail shaker. Tumble vigorously for a few moments to combine.

2. Place a single, large ice cube (for these chill the cocktail best without quickly diluting) in the Clara glass and slowly pour the Negroni blend on top. 

3. Drop a star anise into the glass followed by the orange rind. Before adding the rosemary, light it at one end so that it begins to char, and then delicately place it into the liquid. It should naturally extinguish itself and remain slightly smouldering so that you enjoy a richer fragrance as you sip. You may wish to add a second sprig for a stronger botanical note. 

 

To watch our winter Negroni being made and served, we invite you to watch our short, festive film. And from all of us at Rowen & Wren, we wish you the happiest of new years. 

 

Throughout the festive period, our deliveries will be slightly slower than usual while our warehouse team are at home with loved ones for Christmas. 

So, simply note that should you place an order between 23rd December–2nd January, it will sit safely and patiently until everyone returns. The moment that it is on its way to you, our couriers will contact you to inform you of your delivery date. 

Our care team will also return on 2nd January should you have any questions or need a helping hand. You may reach them on 01276 451 077 or enquiries@rowenandwren.co.uk.

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases. 

 

Now that the prospect draws ever closer of bestowing upon the dining table turkey and its respective trimmings, attention should deservedly be paid to dressing for the occasion. Here, we refer not to guest attire but to spreading festive cheer to tabletop decoration so that food and flourishes perform the most enchanting ensemble.

Come forth candlelit centrepieces to draw everybody in, behold glassware to mark the occasion most handsomely, and dedicate generous time and creative attention to the many which ways to present what emerges from the stove. For the truest of festive feasts begins with what you see first and taste moments later…

Browse our Gather and Feast Collection here. 

 

At this point of the year, promotions present themselves each way you turn. But at Rowen & Wren, we have always instead favoured donating as opposed to discounting when Black Friday happens upon us.

Each year, we choose to donate a portion of sales made on Black Friday to a charity close to our hearts. This, we feel, is a more worthy cause and a more kind-hearted agenda, so that together, we can give back.

Should you decide to purchase anything from us tomorrow, Friday 29th November, know that 10% will be gifted to The Honey Pot – a young carers charity local
to the home of Rowen & Wren.

We can but hope that our contribution will be some source of support in giving a child a chance at childhood.

Is there not something deeply enriching about stepping back for a moment to be nothing but recognisant of our lot? To be thoughtful and to be thankful about what life has brought our way, to appreciate the minutiae and the major in our circumstances, to eat, drink and be merry much before Christmastime descends in full fervour?

Over the oceans do those live who come together to celebrate the holiday that is Thanksgiving. Whether your home is found here or it is more a case of you paying homage to a cherished cultural norm, we are firm advocators of opening our minds and hearts to true expressions and reflections of gratitude.

So come forth 28th November – an occasion to surround yourself with the finest of food and the dearest of fellows and a shared sense of appreciation for all and sundry.

 

CHRISTMASTIME DELIVERIES – A BRIEF NOTE

For those whose attention is turning in the direction of gifting and decorating for the forthcoming festivities, know that you we have made our Christmas delivery cut-off date as late as we possibly can.

You will have until midday on Friday 20th December to make up your mind and we pledge to still be able to deliver it to you in time for the night before Christmas. For last-moment furniture however, festive delivery dates are unique to your postcode. Simply speak to our care team to see when is the latest we could deliver to your home address.

Begin browsing our Christmas Collection here.

From the ashes of Bonfire Night does a sense of magic rise. By now, mindsets have moulded, ready to warmly greet winter’s presence. By now, thoughts of candied peel and spice-dusted wines tempt, rather than rush us before we’re ready to bid adieu to autumn. By now, carolling and Christmas card writing is a pastime to anticipate merrily. For it is when Christmas moves slowly onto the horizon that we appreciate it most.


Browse our Christmastime Collection here. 

‘To have and to hold’. Such phrasing rushes to mind whenever we create a new piece for our hardware collection. Be it a cabinet pull or a hallway hook, to overlook a home’s staples is to overlook an opportunity in quiet beauty.

Take note that such beauty is not purely visual. The smoothed contours of a door’s handle traced by palms and fingertips, the serene glide of S-hooks as they are drawn down the length of a rail, the sublimely satisfying pegging-into-place of towels and robes over a helpful hook – there’s beauty to be found in the most fleeting of motions.

It is with this level of slow thought and fastidious detail that our new hardware collection was sculpted.

It is now that every piece comes into full view.

See the full hardware collection here.