This is a cause that Alex loved and here is why I have chosen it to commemorate Alex's life.
Alex’s diverse friends reflect the different strands of his life: teacher in the Way of Tea; lecturer in contextual studies at Central Saint Martin’s, proprietor of East Teas at The Borough Market, photographer, consummate wordsmith, and a man of great warmth, charm and wit. His artistic story started at Nottingham where he studied Fine Art with another student called Tim Stead and the two became lifelong friends ...
Alex and Tim
Alex moved to London while Tim Stead moved to Scotland, carving out a career as a wood artist, furniture maker, sculptor and poet whose very distinctive designs were way outside the mainstream of art at the time; his infectious style influenced countless makers who came afterwards. Tim was Alex’s mentor and greatest friend, helping to fund his life-changing trip to the Urasenke Foundation in Japan. On his return, Alex remained very close to Tim's family - Maggy, Sam and Emma - regarding them as his second family until he rediscovered a branch of his real family late in life - a time of huge joy to him. This photo shows a tea kettle on a special table made by Tim for Alex's exhibition 'A Tea House for Glasgow' in 2000.
Throughout his life, and bit by bit, Tim Stead created the most extraordinary and beautiful interior to his house, eventually covering the whole of the inside with his sculptural forms and organic, sculptural furniture. When, tragically, Tim died in 2000 aged only 48, Alex wrote a beautiful obituary for him in The Guardian, and also the opening chapter of a book about Tim in 2005. Tim died on Easter Friday that year. Alex died on Easter Saturday this year.
In 2015, a charitable trust was formed to save The Steading for the nation and in 2020 The Steading was given Category A listing (equivalent to Grade 1 in England), recognising its huge cultural and artistic importance, so this really is a very special place.
Alex was a Patron of the Trust, and I know that he would have been incredibly touched and honoured to be remembered in this way. He would have loved the idea of becoming a permanent part of the Steading and I can think of no better place than this to commemorate him. With your help we can do this.
Have a look at Alex's space
You can see a full video of The Steading and find out more about what the Trust would like to achieve here www.timsteadtrust.org. The video is at the bottom of the Home page. Please give generously to honour Alex and save this remarkable building. He spent so much time here around the kitchen table with his closest friends and wanted to save The Steading.
Who am I?
I am Nichola Fletcher (Nickie to Alex & friends) and I first met Alex some time back in the early 1980s though our mutual friendship with the Steads. They came up to us every year for some pretty crazy Hogmanay and summer parties, and Alex came with them, becoming a friend of ours in his own right. He took some amazing photographs of our children. I’m a designer goldsmith (I made the fukatori and tea kettle lid for Alex in the tea photo above) and also a food writer. Alex was always especially interested in the feasts I liked to prepare, and it was him who inspired me to write my favourite book Charlemagne’s Tablecloth; a piquant history of feasting, indeed he supplied the saucy cover photograph.
I still have some paperback copies and would be happy to send one to anybody donating to this excellent cause, if you'd like one. I should also say that Maggy asked me to chair the Tim Stead Trust, so I guess I have a vested interest in making this happen - we were all such a close circle of friends. When I ran this idea past Maggy she said he would have been chuffed to bits and we both had a fond chuckle remembering that particular type of very pleased smile that Alex could give.
You can contact me with any of your questions via www.timsteadtrust.org.
Please donate either using the 'Donate' buttons here, or through the Tim Stead Trust website. Some people have already donated this way, for which many thanks.
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If we don't manage to raise enough to save The Steading, then the money raised in memeory of Alex will be used to buy a piece of Tim's work and we will then donate it to a suitable place in his memory. I'd consult you for your suggestions.