Georgina Williams visits the London workshop of artist and maker Sophia Langmead
I first met Sophia Langmead a few years ago when we were taking part in Badger’s Velvet Underground, a design collective organised by designer and curator Ros Badger. Sophia rushed into the venue with armfuls of pictures and props and proceeded, with great pizazz, to transform a very ordinary backdrop and church trestle table into an alluring emporium for her witty, pretty pictures. A drama school graduate, Sophia is exuberant and stylish, with an artist’s eye for colour and detail. I was intrigued to hear of her Primrose Hill studio and the nearby flat she’d recently bought with her brother. Convinced the properties would pack as much of a punch as the temporary trading post she’d pulled together here, I bagged an invitation…
They are indeed a fitting reflection of this innately talented artist and creative. Sophia’s studio, above a shop on Regent’s Park Road, in the heart of Primrose Hill, would once have been home to a Victorian shopkeeper. Today it makes a wonderful studio and a welcoming salon where Sophia can work, call down to passing friends and invite clients to discuss potential commissions. Two large sash windows offer a connection to the drama of village life in the street below and ensure the room is flooded with natural light. The original chimneypiece creates a focal point around which the furniture and lamps are carefully positioned to maximise the space and create a practical but charming, comfortable place to work.
Here Sophia makes works of art under glass and in boxes, inspired by books, plays, music and poetry. All around are the tools of her trade: plan chests full of patterned papers, manuscripts, playing cards; shelves of vintage books, bell jars and boxes; trays of craft knives, glitter and glue. Her pictures are created from dazzling letters that vividly bring to life a line from a song, an exclamation or proclamation; “Oh What A Circus”; “Let’s Dance” and the best-selling “For Fuck’s Sake”, which all leave the studio in handpicked vintage frames. The bell jars and boxes that line the shelves around the fireplace are poised for transformation. They will contain bespoke paper creations made to commission as unique, considered objects of love and affection arising from the germ of an idea, an interest or passion, and realised by Sophia using vintage books and ephemera.
This is an extract from a longer piece which appears in Idler 75, Nov/Dec 2020.
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