Olive Wakefield is a writer, editor, and the founder of PIECES– a monthly interiors mailout and online vintage shop. Olive launched PIECES in May 2020, as a space to celebrate her favourite creatives. Each month she picks out pieces by the makers that have inspired her, profiles upcoming ones-to-watch alongside sharing arts and culture highlights.
Filled with contributors like Linda Rodin, Hugo Guinness and Frances Costelloe, the PIECES mailout is packed with endless visual inspiration to enjoy and has become one of our favourite go-to destinations for discovering something new.
Can you tell us a little about what lead you to launching PIECES last May?
The idea had been percolating in my mind for a while. I wanted to create a platform to share my curation of all the creatives I admire out there, as well as celebrate and sell vintage which I love to source. The pandemic hit and- given my sudden lack of social life- it seemed like the right time to dive in at the deep end and launch the mailout. I spent my evenings designing the website and just writing and writing.
What do you find the most rewarding part of running PIECES?
I’ve met so many incredibly talented people through PIECES, many of whom have become friends. I’ve been lucky enough to have some wonderful contributors too, like Laurence Leenaert of LRNCE, Georgia Spray founder of Partnership Editions and designer Lulu Guinness… to name a few.
How do you incorporate vintage pieces into your every-day family life?
Although I’m not too precious about my things, with young kids it’s not always realistic (or sensible) to put your irreplaceable items on display in the middle of the floor. Whatever I can put in a frame, high up on a wall, I will… be it textiles, posters, artwork or items of clothes. Otherwise on a mantelpiece, out of reach, can be a good spot for fragile ceramics and sculptures.
What are your best tips for vintage shopping?
The early bird catches the worm! It’s best to get to a market early and stick it out until the end. Commitment is key so set Google searches and carve out time to sift through the results. Most things I have had on my vintage wish-list have found their way to me over time… and forensic-style internet-trawling.
How do you like to style your table?
I tend to err towards a more retro spread. I love antique and vintage textiles; crochets, doilies, embroidered Irish linen as well as wonky old ceramics, silverware and lots of candles (even in daytime). It’s possible to find old pieces with character at a fairly low cost. I have rarely spent more than £10 on an item of tableware in all the years I’ve collected.
Where do you find your vintage tableware?
I find the best old crockery and tableware in charity shops. Portobello Road also has a good selection. If you don’t have time to thrift in-person, there are some wonderful vintage dealers online who offer a more curated selection. My favourites include; By Alice, Folie Chambre, Q.Diff, Mantel and 510 Laundry (a mother and son duo who source beautiful vintage textiles and also do rock and roll things like dip-dye old doilies.) I recently discovered Nonna’s Napkins who will embroider your favourite song lyrics onto antique linens for you; a real centrepiece.
What are your favourite pre-loved pieces for summer?
I love an old broderie anglaise tablecloth, bone-handle cutlery, silver candlesticks and some etched crystal bud vases for flowers. I also love milk glass and Victorian hobnail tumblers- Picnic at Hanging Rock-style.
What do you like to cook?
Classic and nostalgic dishes with a touch of retro; a big Cacio e Pepe, stuffed olives, pineapple rings, pies, iced buns, prawn cocktails, trifle and sausages-on-sticks. Think Rochelle Canteen meets Abigail’s Party.
Follow PIECES on Instagram:
Sign-up for the PIECES mailout at:
Images by Liz Seabrook