Amelia’s Magazine | STACK Magazine Subscription Service: an interview with founder Steve Watson

Stack Magazines by Jo Cheung
Stack Magazines by Jo Cheung

There is something about print magazines; the aroma of them, sometimes thick and woody, sometimes fresh and glossy. There is something undeniably comforting about holding a magazine in your hands, the texture: solid and reassuring beneath your fingers. A magazine is something real and tangible that your eyes and tips can really get to grips with. There’s no feeling in world like getting your mitts on a virgin mag, previously unopened, your eye-balls the first to drink in the words and pictures of that copy. Even the ink-dust that sticks to your fingers on some mags; that’s something that I love, to have words physically rub off on my fingers. What could be better than that?

Little White Lies

For all these reasons, subscribing to Stack, a magazine subscription service which sends out a different independent magazine to its customers each month, is one of my indulgences. Every 30 days or so, I get an envelope in the mail. I collect it from the welcome mat and I bring it upstairs to digest. I open it like a kid at Christmas, cheeks flushed with excitement. I love the smell of magazines in the morning.

Stack Magazines

In the last year they’ve sent out: Boat, a magazine which transports itself to a new city for each issue; The Ride Journal, a magazine which weaves together the anecdotes of cyclists the world over; your new friend Oh Comely, a mag that wants to keep your curiosity alive. Old favourites such as Anorak, the kid’s magazine with a difference, make an appearance too. These are the mags that cross the divide between zine and art and with cover prices as high as £10.50 you’re likely to get your money’s worth if you subscribe.

Stack Magazines

With June came sun, and also Port Magazine, food lover’s heaven. Stylish and chic, it has a hint of glossy men’s mag about it. Kicking off with an open letter to Old Fulton Fish Market and complete with a pinch of Nigella Lawson, this mag will whet your appetite for future issues.

The July delivery brought me the music edition of Wooden Toy Quarterly, which not only came inside album-like packaging but also had little sister typography mag Lyrics and Type tucked inside. Put together by Kaleidoscope Festival co-founder Timba Smits, WTQ is a visual delight.

WTQ Music Issue Cover

Wooden Toy Quarterly Music Issue

Lyrics and Type

September brought issue 4 of Juke. With some of the adverts made in collaboration between brand and mag, this music magazine (with a side of fashion) takes a walk on the wild side. The editorial informs me that “it’s time to get your weird on” and it’s hard not to follow Juke through to obscurity and beyond.

Stack Magazines by Karen Brotherton
Stack Magazines by Karen Brotherton

Very Nearly Almost, a Stack staple, came one chilly October. Issue 20 was so devoted to its main subject matter: graffiti, that I initially thought that the name of the mag was Retna, one of the graffiti artists it covered. This mag caught hold of my imagination, filled with street art, this is an urban art mag at its best and strong visuals made up a large bulk of this publication.

VNA

These are just a few of the mags that have been sent to me in the post since I subscribed. August presented an issue of Rouleur packed to the rafters with “the world’s finest cycle racing reportage”, and Delayed Gratification, “the slow journalism” magazine also made an appearance in my mailbox around Xmas.

Delayed Gratification

Stack really is revolutionary. Each magazine comes with a letter which explains why the mag was picked and what it has to offer. In one side of A4 it tells you a bit about the contents, whether it’s some info about the mag creators, or how Stack stumbled across the mag. This gives the service a personal element and really helps you connect with the issue in-hand as well as get to know the team over at Stack headquarters. Most letters also make you privy to the ‘message’ of the mag, meaning that you have a little insight before you crick its back.

The founder of Stack, Steven Watson is a guy with a real lust for magazines; “magazines are constellations of ideas,” he says. He had the brainwave to start Stack in September 2008; merging the t-shirt subscription model with a blog post he read about consuming different independent magazines as a way to stay interesting. Stack was launched pretty soon after and was up-and-running by December 2008.

Rouleur

Steve‘s love for mags stems from their ability to display the bigger picture, “with a print mag you can glance at a spread and focus in on a small detail. They’re read in a different way…they haven’t quite got this with iPad and tablet mags yet.” He’s a passionate printy himself “I love the fact some of these are mags being made by people not getting paid, sometimes not even breaking even; they are just hugely passionate about the subject matter.”

Stack Magazines

He identifies a Stack Magazine as, “a mag with something to say, with a distinctive point of view and a stylish way of saying it”. He goes on to elaborate further saying the mags they choose are “niche but welcoming”.

His passion for the print stuff started when he was off sick from school and his mum got him a copy of Smash Hits. During his teens this progressed to a love for FHM and Steve currently works for The Church of London, the Creative Agency which makes Little White Lies (which coincidentally began life in Amelia’s house when publisher Danny Miller lived there.)

He notes that over time a lot has changed and Stack now have around 1,200 subs and hope to break 2,000 by the end of 2013. He explains that they sometimes send out additional mags “but it mainly depends on the weight. When we started, we had 300 or so subscribers and it was ok, but now our circulation’s higher, it’s harder to convince mags to send us more than a thousand copies for free.”

DogEar
These additional mags are varied and include DOGEAR, which is both a magazine and a bookmark, and boasts illustration, poetry and fiction in its miniature pages. Each instalment comes on a different shade of pastel coloured card and the pieces in this nifty little bookmark are often short and pithy and many even take advantage of the mag’s small stature with their layout.

Your Days Are Numbered

I’ve also received a visually striking issue of Your Days Are Numbered which featured an interview in French which I think (although my French is a little rusty) is with Bastien Vives. This little mag is a real gem with a comic book slant and one of the pages gets up-close and personal with a member of the Judge Dredd team.

Shellsuit Zombie

Issue 3 of Shellsuit Zombie opens with a Trainspotting-style speech, and does not shy away from a well-placed profanity or two. A healthy shot of illustration and a young creative vibe give this mag its edge, making me draw comparisons to The Skinny because of both its colour newspaper format and street-savvy tone. These are just some of the mags which have been included with the main mag gratuit.

It’s been around a year since I subscribed to Stack. It’s been an emotional journey for me, whether it’s pulling apart a magazine and using the sheets to wrap my Christmas presents, as with the November 2012 delivery, issue 6 of Wrap magazine, or ohhing and ahhing over the vinyl like cover of Wooden Toy Quarterly, subscribing to Stack has been one of my highlights of the last 12 months.

Wrap

Each month with the service is a surprise and all you know before you get the tell-tale envelope in the post is that you’ll be getting one of the best independent English-language mags out there. I can’t recommend it enough, whether you’re a word lover, a design fanatic, an illustrator looking for inspiration, or you just want something interesting to get your teeth into each month; this is the best purchase I’ve made in years. If you want a fresh perspective or you just want to make sure that your coffee table is the most beautiful of them all, then Stack is for you. Sign up on their website here.

The Ride Journal

People have been throwing round the phase lately that ‘print is dead’. And while it might be declining, I like to think that it will rise up in pulp zombie form and take on digital in a fight to the death. Stack is part of the changing evolution of print distribution and evidence that the last rasping gasp the papers have been shouting about might in fact have just been a yawn, while it waited for something like Stack to come along and shake it up a little. (Amelia: If only STACK had existed before I decided to stop producing Amelia’s Magazine in print: distribution through the usual channels was an absolute nightmare and one of the reasons I decided to pull out of print back in 2008.)

Steven Watson by Rosemary Kirton
Steve Watson illustration by Rosemary Kirton

Categories ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Church of London, ,circulation, ,Danny Miller, ,design, ,DOGEAR, ,illustration, ,Jessica Cook, ,Jo Cheung, ,journalism, ,Juke, ,Karen Brotherton, ,Little White Lies, ,Love Letter to Print Magazines, ,Magazines, ,Oh Comely, ,Port, ,print, ,Rosemary Kirton, ,Shellsuit Zombie, ,Stack Magazines, ,Steve Watson, ,Subscription, ,Very Nearly Almost, ,Wrap

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Amelia’s Magazine | Nottingham Trent University: Photography Ba Hons Graduate Show 2011 Review

Lydia Anne Stott  Solitudo
Solitudo by Lydia Anne Stott.

Nottingham Trent University had a huge range of styles on show at Free Range.

Nottingham Trent photography graduate exhibition 2011 Jonathan Marsh
I was most taken by Jonathan Marsh‘s large photograph Now Fades the Glimmering Landscape which seemed to signify a preoccupation with the decimation of our landscape, hospital an effect achieved by over laying faint imagery of road signs on top of a bleak and wild black and white landscape. Apologies for my bad photo – this was work probably best appreciated in the flesh.

Jonathan Marsh landscape
Jonathan Marsh landscape
Jonathan Marsh‘s bio declares an interest in ‘the impossibility of modern wilderness and the precarious position of modern democracy.’ Odd then that he also shoots for the Conservative party and the Royal Bank of Scotland. It’s possible to make large amounts of money taking photos for big corporations which can then be ploughed into more interesting personal projects, but this can present something of a dilemma. Where does one draw the line? There’s a certain irony in making money from a corporation like RBS that is hardly a bastion of environmental sustainability… to then draw attention to our foolish unsustainable human ways. Perhaps a more moral stance is needed, in which case it may not be possible to create that personal work in the first place. It’s an issue that many creatives struggle with, including myself, and I’m not sure I know the answer anymore. Beautiful photos nonetheless.

Gabrielle Brooks Animalia owl
Gabrielle Brooks Animalia
Gabrielle BrooksAnimalia caught my eye because for a moment her stuffed animals placed in a natural environment fooled me, until on closer inspection it became obvious that these animals were very much dead, leaving the feeling of a peculiar displacement between object and location. Unsettling.

Jodie Herbage girl wall
Jodie Herbage yellow
Jodie Herbage yellow flowers
Jodie Herbage girl woods
Jodie Herbage showed an enigmatically beautiful series of girls roaming a rural mountain landscape, the use of projection in the exhibition giving her work an even more ethereal feel. These are photos that would sit well in magazines such as Ballad Of and Oh Comely.

Lydia Anne Stott Solitudo
Nottingham Trent photography graduate exhibition 2011 Lydia Anne Stott
With a similar feel Lydia Anne Stott created atonal dreamy landscapes in Solitudo, the inherent unreality of the photos used to emphasise the hazy memories of some kind of familiar yet distant folklore.

Kat Borvinko Twilight Transparencies
Kat Borvinko Twilight Transparencies
Kat Borvinko chose to display her late night Twilight Transparencies of urban landscapes against light boxes to great effect, the blurring haze around the lights flooding ever outward against the purple urban night sky.

Categories ,Animalia, ,Ballad Of, ,Conservatives, ,Free Range, ,Gabrielle Brooks, ,Graduate Shows, ,Jodie Herbage, ,Jonathan Marsh, ,Kat Borvinko, ,Lightboxes, ,Lydia Anne Stott, ,Nottingham Trent University, ,Now Fades the Glimmering Landscape, ,Oh Comely, ,photography, ,Royal Bank of Scotland, ,Solitudo, ,Twilight Transparencies

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best of D&AD New Blood Illustration Graduates 2011: part one

New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
Illustration by Adam Avery.

And now time for the best illustration that I discovered at this year’s D&AD New Blood, symptoms part one.

New Blood show review 2011-oona brown
New Blood show review 2011-oona brown
At Glasgow School of Art Oona Brown‘s Bad Eggs considered how the pass time of collecting eggs is now frowned upon and considered stealing.

New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
I was most taken by Adam Avery at Norwich University College of the Arts, sickness one of many graduates who have taken a Nobrow palette to heart. Introspection Out was a wonderful autobiographical book about his time spent in Norfolk.

New Blood show review 2011-Rosalind Johnson
The Mouse, the Bird, the Sausage by fellow graduate Rosalind Johnson was charming.

New Blood show review 2011-MATT BRAND
As were spooky images by Matthew Brand.

New Blood show review 2011-Joe Lyward
At University of Plymouth Joe Lyward featured some evocative line drawings to demonstrate a story, My Fear – about facing fear head on.

New Blood show review 2011-Emma Carlisle
Emma Carlisle tackled historical figures – she has worked for Oh Comely and Ballad Of.

New Blood show review 2011-Josh Neal
New Blood show review 2011-Josh Neal
New Blood show review 2011-Josh Neal
I was impressed by Josh Neal‘s colourful woodcut work, and he had a lovely screenprinted book on sale.

New Blood show review 2011-Southampton Solent University
At Southampton Solent University the girl looking after the display *joked* that her tutor had nicked a prime spot with this nice animal poster.

New Blood show review 2011-Jen Hainsworth
Jen Hainsworth had made this delightful print of a woman.

New Blood show review 2011-Southampton Solent University
The central table was laid out with a whole range of delights.

New Blood show review 2011-Laura Clare Davis
New Blood show review 2011-Laura Clare Davis
New Blood show review 2011-Laura Clare Davis
At Edinburgh College of Art my eye was caught by a little scratch n sniff book by Laura Clare Davis.

New Blood show review 2011-Samuel Hawkins
I’d missed a few from my earlier Westminster University blog, so here they are: Follow Anyone by Samuel Hawkins may not have entirely got the point of twitter, but he wasn’t the only one making a commentary – it was a popular theme this year.

New Blood show review 2011-Natacha Malkin
Natacha Malkin‘s Red Feather was a lovely loose bit of fashion illustration.

More to come in a wee while… read part two of my New Blood illustration review here.

Categories ,2011, ,Adam Avery, ,Bad Eggs, ,Ballad Of, ,D&AD, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Glasgow School of Art, ,graduate, ,illustration, ,Introspection Out, ,Jen Hainsworth, ,Joe Lyward, ,Josh Neal, ,Laura Clare Davis, ,Matthew Brand, ,My Fear, ,Natacha Malkin, ,New Blood, ,Nobrow, ,Norfolk, ,Norwich University College of the Arts, ,Oh Comely, ,Oona Brown, ,Red Feather, ,review, ,Rosalind Johnson, ,Samuel Hawkins, ,Southampton Solent University, ,Suffolk, ,the Bird, ,The Mouse, ,the Sausage, ,University of Plymouth, ,Westminster University

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best of D&AD New Blood Illustration Graduates 2011: part one

New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
Illustration by Adam Avery.

And now time for the best illustration that I discovered at this year’s D&AD New Blood, symptoms part one.

New Blood show review 2011-oona brown
New Blood show review 2011-oona brown
At Glasgow School of Art Oona Brown‘s Bad Eggs considered how the pass time of collecting eggs is now frowned upon and considered stealing.

New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
New Blood show review 2011-adam avery
I was most taken by Adam Avery at Norwich University College of the Arts, sickness one of many graduates who have taken a Nobrow palette to heart. Introspection Out was a wonderful autobiographical book about his time spent in Norfolk.

New Blood show review 2011-Rosalind Johnson
The Mouse, the Bird, the Sausage by fellow graduate Rosalind Johnson was charming.

New Blood show review 2011-MATT BRAND
As were spooky images by Matthew Brand.

New Blood show review 2011-Joe Lyward
At University of Plymouth Joe Lyward featured some evocative line drawings to demonstrate a story, My Fear – about facing fear head on.

New Blood show review 2011-Emma Carlisle
Emma Carlisle tackled historical figures – she has worked for Oh Comely and Ballad Of.

New Blood show review 2011-Josh Neal
New Blood show review 2011-Josh Neal
New Blood show review 2011-Josh Neal
I was impressed by Josh Neal‘s colourful woodcut work, and he had a lovely screenprinted book on sale.

New Blood show review 2011-Southampton Solent University
At Southampton Solent University the girl looking after the display *joked* that her tutor had nicked a prime spot with this nice animal poster.

New Blood show review 2011-Jen Hainsworth
Jen Hainsworth had made this delightful print of a woman.

New Blood show review 2011-Southampton Solent University
The central table was laid out with a whole range of delights.

New Blood show review 2011-Laura Clare Davis
New Blood show review 2011-Laura Clare Davis
New Blood show review 2011-Laura Clare Davis
At Edinburgh College of Art my eye was caught by a little scratch n sniff book by Laura Clare Davis.

New Blood show review 2011-Samuel Hawkins
I’d missed a few from my earlier Westminster University blog, so here they are: Follow Anyone by Samuel Hawkins may not have entirely got the point of twitter, but he wasn’t the only one making a commentary – it was a popular theme this year.

New Blood show review 2011-Natacha Malkin
Natacha Malkin‘s Red Feather was a lovely loose bit of fashion illustration.

More to come in a wee while… read part two of my New Blood illustration review here.

Categories ,2011, ,Adam Avery, ,Bad Eggs, ,Ballad Of, ,D&AD, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Glasgow School of Art, ,graduate, ,illustration, ,Introspection Out, ,Jen Hainsworth, ,Joe Lyward, ,Josh Neal, ,Laura Clare Davis, ,Matthew Brand, ,My Fear, ,Natacha Malkin, ,New Blood, ,Nobrow, ,Norfolk, ,Norwich University College of the Arts, ,Oh Comely, ,Oona Brown, ,Red Feather, ,review, ,Rosalind Johnson, ,Samuel Hawkins, ,Southampton Solent University, ,Suffolk, ,the Bird, ,The Mouse, ,the Sausage, ,University of Plymouth, ,Westminster University

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best of D&AD New Blood Illustration Graduates 2011: part two

New Blood show review 2011-katie harnett
Illustration by Katie Harnett.

The quality of work at University of the West of England really stood out – not least because ACOFI illustrator Katie Harnett has just graduated.

New Blood show review 2011-katie harnett polar post
New Blood show review 2011-katie harnett polar post
New Blood show review 2011-katie harnett polar post
New Blood show review 2011-katie harnett polar post
Katie Harnett showed a dreamy illustration based on a sea shanty, order and her children’s book Problems with the Polar Post – a delightful tale featuring as she said it would, website plenty of animals.

New Blood show review 2011-Liam Barrett
Liam Barrett had put together the beautiful D&AD New Blood UWE invitation, and has designed wrapping paper for Nobrow.

New Blood show review 2011-nat osborne
Natalie Osborne‘s long creature from her Elliot’s Adventure picture book was super engaging.

New Blood show review 2011-jay wright
While you were at in the Dentist by Jay Wright featured all sorts of toothy situations.

New Blood show review 2011-The Highwayman Annual jacob stead
New Blood show review 2011-The Highwayman Annual jacob stead
New Blood show review 2011-The Highwayman Annual jacob stead
New Blood show review 2011-The Highwayman Annual jacob stead
New Blood show review 2011-The Highwayman Annual jacob stead
The Highwayman Annual by Jacob Stead was presented in becomingly old style – a glorious romp through all things masked robber related. Jacob has done a big feature for the current issue of Oh Comely magazine.

New Blood show review 2011-Abigail Nottingham
At Hull School of Art and Design Amelia’s Magazine contributor Abigail Nottingham showed off her impish creatures and idiosyncratic people.

New Blood show review 2011-Abby Wright
Abby Wright gave pride of place to her drawing of Fifi Bijoux that I commissioned for Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

New Blood show review 2011-Anne-Marie Jones
At University College Falmouth book covers by Anne-Marie Jones were created in a strong painterly ink style.

New Blood show review 2011-Hannah Goodacre
Hannah Goodacre‘s angular designs for book covers were also striking.

New Blood show review 2011-Cathy Hookey
I liked Cathy Hookey‘s children’s book illustration New Friends.

New Blood show review 2011-Lewis Shaw
New Blood show review 2011-New Blood show review 2011-Lewis Shaw
Lewis Shaw painted brightly coloured dogs in fluid brushstrokes. See more from these students on their very own Falmouth illustration agency website.

New Blood show review 2011-Faye Moorhouse
From UCA Maidstone Faye Moorhouse won Best New Blood for her Cat Lady of Czechoslovakia.

New Blood show review 2011-Emmanuel Okpanachi
Emmanuel Okpanachi painted lots of heads, some sat around a table for a discombobulated party.

New Blood show review 2011-Sebastian Arnold
New Blood show review 2011-Sebastian Arnold
New Blood show review 2011-Sebastian Arnold
Sebastian Arnold had put together an intriguing book, Idealised Suburbia, about Ashford being twinned with a town in Germany.

And thus concludes my 2011 New Blood coverage. Don’t forget to check in with part one of my New Blood illustration review. Enjoy!

Categories ,Abby Wright, ,Abigail Nottingham, ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Anne-Marie Jones, ,Ashford, ,Best New Blood, ,Cat Lady of Czechoslovakia, ,Cathy Hookey, ,D&AD, ,Elliot’s Adventure, ,Emmanuel Okpanachi, ,Falmouth University, ,Faye Moorhouse, ,Fifi Bijoux, ,Hannah Goodacre, ,Hull School of Art and Design, ,Idealised Suburbia, ,illustration, ,Jacob Stead, ,Jay Wright, ,Katie Harnett, ,Lewis Shaw, ,Liam Barrett, ,Manny Boy, ,Natalie Osborne, ,New Blood, ,New Friends, ,Nobrow, ,Oh Comely, ,Problems with the Polar Post, ,Sebastian Arnold, ,The Highwayman Annual, ,UCA Maidstone, ,University College Falmouth, ,University of the West of England, ,UWE, ,While you were at in the Dentist

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Amelia’s Magazine | Arts University College of Bournemouth: Feral Show 2012 Illustration Review

AUCB Feral Show 2012 flyer
Students from the Arts University College of Bournemouth habitually show in the last week or so of Free Range, with creative graduates from a number of disciplines (fine art, illustration and photography) sharing their work across a big open space in the huge Truman Brewery warehouse. Historically this has meant that I don’t get around to covering their show, and I feel particularly bad that I didn’t cover the 2012 show, since this crew were very proactive in networking the brilliantly named Feral Show on social media (hallelujah). Still, here, at long last, is a taster of what I discovered.

Feral show Bournemouth 2012
Illustrator Natasha Durley was justifiably crowned Best of Year by the D&AD Awards in 2012. Her work features lots of winsome characters, often amongst trees and little log cabins, all rendered in a luscious sweetie coloured palette which surely appeals to the romantic in all of us. Since graduating Natasha has worked for an illustrious trio of editorial clients; Nobrow, Oh Comely and Wrap Magazine.

Feral show Bournemouth 2012
Kate Rowland‘s watercolour and ink drawings were inspired by an obsession with science and space exploration. She has recently written a very honest blog about the trials and tribulations of life after university: well worth a read for anyone about to graduate. Kate is now creating jewellery, a popular product choice for many illustrators.

jack reynolds
Surrealism reigns supreme in vibrantly coloured work by Jack Reynolds, also known as REN. All three of the illustrators above were also featured in my review of the D&AD awards show.

Feral show Bournemouth 2012
Polish illustrator Justyna Plec created a series of wall mounted portraits featuring a cast of curious characters: sadly it’s impossible to follow her career since as her only web presence beyond the Feral Show site is now inactive.

Fay Myers Naked Nana
A cast of muted watercolour Naked Nanas were created by Amelia’s Magazine contributor Fay Myers. Her fox puzzle illustration features in the Anorak Magazine Summer Games issue, out mid July, and she has a great tumblr which is regularly updated with new work.

jessica durden
Jessica Durden‘s watercolour drawings of wildlife in the woods are given a fairytale quality with the use of a subdued colour palette. She is currently working on a designer range of printed scarves from her studio in Surrey. You can buy products by Jessica Durden on Society6.

Feral show Bournemouth 2012
Norwegian illustrator Maria Midttun created a giant mural on the wall to go with her 87 Octane risograph zine, available from etsy here.

louise-byng-please-wait-self-service
Prolific blogger Louise Byng creates images with meaning in a consumer saturated society, and much of her beautifully drawn illustrations provide a commentary on contemporary society.

Feral show Bournemouth 2012
This delightfully engaging creature is by Emily Hughes. I love him!

Feral show Bournemouth 2012
And lastly – mine and Snarfle‘s reflection in one of the fine art installations: how tiny he was back then! He may not sleep through the shows this time around…

Categories ,87 Octane, ,Anorak Magazine, ,Arts University College of Bournemouth, ,Best of Year, ,D&AD Awards, ,Emily Hughes, ,Fay Myers, ,Feral Show, ,Free Range, ,Jack Reynolds, ,Jessica Durden, ,Justyna Plec, ,Kate Rowland, ,Louise Byng, ,Maria Midttun, ,Naked Nanas, ,Natasha Durley, ,Nobrow, ,Oh Comely, ,REN, ,Risograph, ,Snarfle, ,Society6, ,Summer Games, ,Truman Brewery, ,Wrap Magazine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration launch party illustrations: meet Jenny Robins


Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, mind you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, pilule that’s well over 600,000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named Trash Fashion exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.


Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.


Illustration by Stephanie Melodia

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.


Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History Museum or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to www.flickr.com/groups/trashfashion


Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, buy you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, patient that’s well over 600, buy 000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named Trash Fashion exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.


Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.


All photographs courtesy of Lois Waller/Bunnipunch

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.


Illustration by Stephanie Melodia

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.


Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History Museum or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to www.flickr.com/groups/trashfashion


Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, information pills you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, that’s well over 600,000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named Trash Fashion exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.


Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.


All photographs courtesy of Lois Waller/Bunnipunch

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.


Illustration by Stephanie Melodia

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.


Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History Museum or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to www.flickr.com/groups/trashfashion

Eliza Newman by Jenny Lloyd
Eliza Newman by Jenny Lloyd

Eyjafjallajokull. How did you say that it your head? The impressive word refers to the glacier on top of the volcanic mountain (remember the ash cloud?) in Iceland. Understanding the perils of uninformed pronunciation, click Icelandic native Eliza Newman, health wrote a little song on how to actually pronounce the word. It featured on the Al Jazeera News channel and has since become one of Al Jazeera’s most popular news pieces ever.

Ta daa:

Eyjafjallajökull – Eliza Newman performed on Al Jazeera News
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Eliza Newman | Myspace Music Videos

But there is far more to Eliza (Geirsdóttir) Newman than chuckling at our pronunciation shortcomings. She plays violin, ukelele and piano, and is also a trained opera singer. Her song; ‘Ukelele Song for You’ was one of the most popular in Iceland in 2009. The tune is about ‘attracting trouble’, ‘broken promises’ and forgiveness. With ukelele strumming and high pitched notes, it’s lighthearted in its sound, contrasting with the seriousness of the topic. This is refreshing and conjures up thoughts for me, of Blue Valentine, and the heartbreak within the love and jovial moments. The uke can be (in a touching folky way) deep! It’s a pleasure to listen to:

Previously Eliza was the lead singer of girl group, Bellatrix and the rock band, Skandinavia. Through Bellatrix, Eliza and Co. released four albums on Björk’s Bad Taste label, signing to Fierce Panda for their fourth album release. They also headlined the Carling Stage at the Reading Festival and co-headlined a tour with Coldplay. These days Eliza is a solo artist and promotes Icelandic female artists by being part of the Trubatrix movement, which encourages gigs and album releases around Iceland.

Eliza-Newman-by-Mina-Bach

Illustration by Mina Bach

Eliza’s second album, Pie In The Sky, is out on April 4, on Lavaland Records . Watch out for my review. For now here’s a little interview with Eliza:

Could you describe your music? Its beyond words, like touching heaven with your inner ear! Or just a kind of quirky pop style sweet on top but dark underneath muhahaha!….

Do you write your own music? Yes I write all my stuff and have always done , that’s the only way to go.

What is your inspiration?
Cats.

How do you feel about having one of the most popular songs in Iceland, ‘Ukulele Song For You’?
It feels great , very unexpected and a pleasant surprise. Icelandic people have good taste in music!

You play many instruments and are a trained opera singer, when did you start playing music and singing? 
I started playing the violin at seven and studied that until I was 15 then I started a band and didn’t feel like practising violin any more. I started singing the day I started my first band. Never sung a note before then! Later I went on to study opera and I learned the piano, guitar and ukulele on the way.

Eliza Newman 1 Chloe Cook
Illustration by Chloe Cook

What’s you favourite instrument, musical style?
My favourite musical instrument is the harpsichord and the hurdy-gurdy, I really would like to get my hands on those two instruments to play! My favourite musical style is kind of pop rock indie opera classical hip hop and easy listening : )

Could you tell us about your former band, Bellatrix?
Bellatrix was my first band, we were an all girl band and started quite young, got signed and released five albums both in Iceland on Björk‘s Bad Taste Label and later with Fierce Panda in the UK. The music developed from a punk rock sound to electro pop and we did loads of cool stuff like tour the world, headline Reading and do a tour with Coldplay. Fun and games!

Eliza Newman by Avril kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

What were the highlights of being in the band?
Headlining the Carling stage at Reading and Leeds Festival and travelling the world.

What about Skandinavia?
Skandinavia was my venture into heavy rock! Loads of fun. I was studying opera at the time in London and wanted to do some epic rock music inspired by opera. We recorded an album and did a UK tour and it satisfied my longing to do a heavy rock album, so that box is ticked now!

How does being a solo artist differ from being in a band?
It’s very different because as a solo artist you have to take all the responsibility which is both good and bad. You have no one to blame but yourself haha! You get more freedom to do your own thing as a solo artist but in a band you get more feedback and have to compromise sometimes, both things have their advantages. Having said that, I am very much a band person and enjoy working with others, so I would not rule out joining another band at some point.

Eliza Newman 2 Chloe Cook
Illustration by Chloe Cook

And how is your own music different?
My music is more relaxed then the band stuff I did, I have calmed down quite a bit!

How is the new album in comparison to your last album, Empire Fall (Series 8 Records)?
The new album is more hopeful and has a lighter tone to it with ukuleles, synths and various fun instruments mixing it up. Empire fall was more minimalist and had a darker undertone.

eliz 2

Where do you want to go now in your career?
I would like to go to Japan and play, also keep writing and finding new interesting ways of expressing myself through music, yeah and learn the hurdy-gurdy!

END. Thank you so much Eliza. Helen x

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - laura snoad - design week - tatty devine
Laura Snoad of Design Week sporting her Tatty Devine necklace. She wrote a great write up of the party here: check it out.

Oh dear. My brilliant plans to get all ACOFI launch party blogs online by the end of last week were laid waste by a pre-booked four day trip to Cornwall. Which was just lovely in case you were wondering: so good to feel the wind in my hair on a coastal path again.

Amelia Gregory in Cornwall

Jenny Robins is the illustrator who has worked closest with Amelia’s Magazine to do live illustrations from the catwalk in the past. For this reason she was a natural choice to bring along for the tea party… and she did not disappoint, viagra dosage holding court over by the window all afternoon long and churning out an amazing amount of stunning live artwork right in front of our guests. In fact she did so many I’m going to have to run through them as quickly as possible or I’ll never get onto my next illustrator. All I’ve got to say, story is Jenny, you rock my world.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - alex cox - amelia gregory
Here I am, being interviewed, I am not sure who by!

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - alex cox - don't panic
Here’s Alex Cox of Don’t Panic.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - amisha ghadiali - take a moment
Amisha Ghadiali once again. Read her lovely write up on Elegance Rebellion here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - amy - tantrum magazine
Amy from Tantrum Magazine – here’s her write up.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - bette davis - oh comely
Bette Davis from Oh Comely – here’s her lovely blog.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - bettina krohn - make lemonade
Bettina Krohn from Make Lemonade – I wonder, am I the Mad Hatter that she references in her write up?

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - carrie - wish wish wish copy
The super stylish Carrie of Wish Wish Wish. The launch inspired her to have a go at fashion illustration herself.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - danielle drown - poppy cleopatra
Danielle who runs a blog called Poppy Cleopatra. Read her write up here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - ellen grace jones - the real runway
Ellen Grace Jones of The Real Runway which is a great sartorial fashion blog, and she has also contributed to Amelia’s Magazine.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - micheal - anastasia and duck
Michael Ford of Anastasia Duck. Read his blog here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - michelle Urvall Nyren - probably naomi
Fellow illustrator Michelle Urvall Nyren at work.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - sabrina - the science of style
Sabrina of The Science of Style.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tamara cincik
A heavily pregnant Tamara Cincik. Read her blog here.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tatty devine - rosie and harriet
Rosie and Harriet of Tatty Devine.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tigz rice
Tigz Rice – photographer and social media maven. Here’s her blog.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium - tom and crystal - spoonfed
Tom and Crystal from Spoonfed.

ACOFI - jenny robins - Amelia's compendium -david alphonso - noisy writing
David Alphonso of Noisy Writing.

ACOFI launch Jan 11-Jenny Robins
Jenny Robins at work.

You can follow Jenny Robins on twitter on @jennyrobins and don’t forget you can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration here, with a special 10% if you use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH up until the 28th February 2011. Here’s Jenny talking to me via the power of Skype in her youtube interview:

YouTube Preview Image

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Alex Cox, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Amisha Ghadiali, ,Amy, ,Anastasia Duck, ,Bette Davis, ,Bettina Krohn, ,Carrie, ,Cornwall, ,David Alphonso, ,Design Week, ,Don’t Panic, ,Ellen Grace Jones, ,Jenny Robins, ,Laura Snoad, ,Make Lemonade, ,Michael Ford, ,Michelle Urvall Nyrén, ,Noisy Writing, ,Oh Comely, ,Rosie and Harriet, ,Sabrina, ,Spoonfed, ,Tamara Cincik, ,Tantrum Magazine, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Real Runway, ,The Science of Style, ,Tigz Rice, ,Wish Wish Wish

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