Amelia’s Magazine | S/S 2011 Press Days – An illustrated round-up


Ada Zanditon, website like this illustrated by Sara Chew

Wahoooo! Summer is finally here. No really, dosage it is. Seriously I don’t care how damp and dreary it is outside that office window, summer is most definitely here. I’m toasty warm and looking at shorts, t-shirts and dresses ranging from ethereal to barely there. Skipping round London in the increasingly cold weather this can be hard to believe, but that’s how it goes. Here’s a little look at some of the summer outfits I’ve been looking at…

Ada Zanditon
Held eight stories up in Holborn with a stunning view out over the Thames to the Oxo Tower, Ada showed her latest collection. A quick chat with the designer revealed a charming, intelligent woman and in her own words ‘geeky’. Who else would be so inspired by maths and formulas that they borrow text books from libraries? Well if that’s where inspiration comes from, long may it last. Ada is not just a lovely person but also incredibly talented. Three dimensional sculptural pyramids burst forth from the intelligently structured garments.

Even the prints were inspired by fractal geometry and swept across many garments from a particularly stunning floor length bias cut 1930s dress with backless detail to a leather minidress complete with a chiffon front panel. Hard seaming was juxtaposed with soft fabrics and details. The jewellery carried the same prints as the dress and were another hard counterpoint to some of the softness. Look out for more on Ada’s ethical collection in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Giorgio Armani

Armani called and off to Bond Street I went. Giorgio showed some great pieces with open weave jackets and low-breaking double-breasted jackets for the men, soft and light in beige, grey and smoke. T-shirts emphasised the lightness with sheer elements. Maybe this is a way to get the ‘heavage’ out without looking like a modern day medallion man. The shoes and accessories were simple and classic, from a soft leather briefcase to a brown woven leather shoe catching my eye in particular. Suede and salmon skin belts helped to further soften the tone. All very simple and invoking a cool Italian summers evening.

On the far side of the partition was the womenswear. Strong tailoring was paired with sheer blouses in varying shades of blue and deep purple. Skirts were long and flared slightly to the hem, though I will admit it was the shoes and accessories that stood out. High perspex wedges with wooden platforms excuded both freshness and class. Chunky cuffs, twisted silver necklaces and amulets of large dark blue/black stones hung on leather and fabric. Powerful, yet clean and sophisticated.

Emporio Armani

Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent
Emporio, the delinquent nephew of Giorgio, was my next visit. There may have been a similar colour palette across the brands, but that’s pretty much where the similarities ended. No Giorgio man is ever going to be seen in a chainlink bondage harness. The use of sheer panels as highlights was also shared, this time showing off what one imagines will be gym-honed biceps. The highlight for me was a double-fronted crock effect suit. Hiding underneath the croc, a layer of leather gave the hint of something more to come.

Draping and ruffles were mixed with simple clean lines in womenswear. A grey and purple halterneck knee length dress particularly appealed, not to mention vertiginous heels. A dainty black chiffon bow, gave the vampiest pieces a demure side. Combining both the soft and the sharp, a draped jersey dress was teamed with a pale grey cap sleeve tailored jacket. It’s youthful and energetic but with a business edge.

Paul Costelloe

Illustration by Karolina Burdon

Showing menswear for the third season Paul opened London Fashion Week with a strong summer collection including short suits, lightweight long coats, and intricate print details. The menswear of this brand is growing on a season by season basis and whilst the formalwear is available in stockists such as John Lewis and Austin Reed, it’s hoped the casualwear and the odd catwalk piece should start hitting the shops soon.


Illustration by Natsuki Otani

You can see reviews of Paul’s collections by Matt and Amelia here and here.

Snake & Dagger

This London based denim company are growing stronger and stronger. Having trained in Japan, they hope to bring a more traditional feel to the denim market. The quality of the denim and the range of finishes are exquisite and the designers behind the brand bring together the best of their training and the city of London to create a unique look.

Aqua

Illustration by Joana Faria

Wherever you thought you were going to buy your Christmas party dress, forget it. Scrub that idea now. Go straight to Aqua and get yourself sorted. This Christmas’ collection ‘Out to Sleigh’ is affordable glamour at its best.

The pieces are daringly cut but clever and in no way trashy. More importantly, whilst you’ve been eyeing up that dress on the high street for the last three weeks so has every other girl in your office, but it’s unlikely you’ll be in the same number if you visit Aqua.

Morphe

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Having previously shown in India, Morphe is thankfully launching in the UK. Playing with shape and form, the pieces are both dramatic and cutting edge. Born from countless hours of work, the statement pieces are surprisingly easy to wear, if somewhat out there.

However, the true gems in the collection include a one shoulder dress with silver trim along the neckline. Creating more than a simple point of interest this is a brand to watch as they develop their continued success in India.

Asher Levine

This was a fantastic collection from a burgeoning menswear designer. In particular, the asymmetric leather biker jackets were right on trend. Using differing leathers as well as digital printing, Asher showed a dynamic and contemporary collection.

Eleanor Amoroso

Most certainly one to watch. Eleanor graduated this summer from the University of Westminster. Her work with fringing has to be seen to be believed. Genuinely unique and fresh, I can only hope the future holds big things for Amoroso. This is one young designer who definitely needs to be nourished.

There were more…far more people that I saw during the press days. From the sublime to the ridiculous and everything inbetween. Trying to contain yourself when browsing all these wonders is a challenge, as is trying to get enough photos and remember everything. But I can safely say S/S 2011 is going to be a very, very good season.

All photography by Nick Bain

Categories ,Ada Zanditon, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustratio, ,Aqua by Aqua, ,Asher Levine, ,Blow PR, ,Bond Street, ,Eleanor Amoroso, ,Emporio Armani, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Giorgio Armani, ,Joana Faria, ,Karolina Burdon, ,london, ,menswear, ,Morphe, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Paul Costelloe, ,Press days, ,S/S 2011, ,Sara Chew, ,Snake & Dagger, ,Spring Summer, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: The Ozwald Boateng Extravaganza

Bolshie-A-W-2010-Amelias-Magazine-Antonia-Parker-A
Bolshie AKA Baby-Leg Girl, shop by Antonia Parker.

Over at Fashion Scout there is yet another array of amazing new designers to trawl through. As I entered the upstairs room at the Freemasons’ Hall I was greeted by a girl with plastic roast chickens attached to her breasts and fanny. Perfect for Lady Gaga.

Bolshie
Those chickens, that spike-encrusted big-shouldered body suit, the top knot, something was ringing a very big bell. And it wasn’t the giant gold glittery Big Ben headpiece in the corner. I turned around and went “oh, it’s you!” For it was none other than Baby-leg Girl. Bolshie is 18 year old Rhiannon Jones, thrown out of her East Yorkshire school at the tender age of 15 years old and now residing in fashion centrale, Shoreditch.

Bolshie-S-S-2011-Antonia-Parker-Amelias-Magazine-A
Bolshie by Antonia Parker.

We noticed her everywhere last season, usually to be found obscuring our view with giant shoulders and hair – little did we realise that this daring and very ambitious fashionista has got her very own label a spot at Fashion Scout. She’s even made it onto the local BBC news. Now there’s two fingers up at her old school eh?

The collection is a massive mashup of contemporary culture, full of passionate bravado. Think Mickey Mouse ears on a police helmet, guns, watch-encrusted glittery jackets, a print that appears to feature Coca-Cola baby bottles and of course the odd Baby-Leg adornment. I wonder if she ever reads Super Super?
You can see her entire collection here. Keep a beady eye on this one. She’s still only a teenager for gawd’s sake.

James Hock
This is the third season for the ex-accountant from Australia. But that’s about all I know about James Hock, since his website is ridiculously economical with any biographical information. The Unloved is a bold and playful collection of entirely black and red garments, based on an emotional journey. “It is sadness with a flickering of hope but ultimately, it is about the acceptance of fate.” So says the press release. Sheer fabrics are adorned with Swarovski crystals and juxtaposed against huge asymmetrical harlequin shapes cut across pantaloons, mini crinolines, sharp-shouldered capes and hybrid trouser-shorts. Audacious and definitely not for the faint hearted. He is currently stocked in uber trendy shop Machine-A.

James-Hock-by-Lisa-Stannard
James-Hock-by-Lisa-Stannard
James-Hock-by-Lisa-Stannard
James Hock by Lisa Stannard.

Kirsty Ward
Kirsty Ward graduated from Central Saint Martins MA in 2008 since when she has been working with Alberta Ferretti in italy. S/S 2011 saw the launch of her own label at Fashion Scout but I remember well how astonished I was by her jewellery for David Longshaw last season. Her own collection features amazing sculptural creations that echo the lines of the body in sheer pastel panels shaped with exaggerated wire and piping. Many pieces have integral jewellery or are meant to be worn with her huge wire and crystal bead necklaces in shades of pale peach and mint green. She was wearing an earring necklace when I met her: dangling earrings that connect under the chin. I’d personally be incredibly worried about pulling my earlobes off if I wore this creation, but she rocked the look with admirable confidence. I think a bit of upcycling could definitely fit into her aesthetic and I did nonchalantly suggest that she could use some old wire coat hangers… Definitely a new designer to keep a firm eye on.

felice perkins kirsty ward
felice perkins kirsty ward
felice perkins kirsty ward
Kirsty Ward by Felice Perkins.

Yong
Special mention goes to Yong, who studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Design before passing through the hallowed years of an MA at Central Saint Martins. He makes clever and elegant dresses, advised by my old friend Jason Leung. I particularly liked the royal blue dress with amazing white ruffled embroidery, but I think I need to see more of these dresses worn to really appreciate them. In fact I’d like to see all of these designers on the catwalk. Here’s hoping…


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

So then – the circus was finally over! The tent was in the process of being taken down, look designers were queuing for cabs with their collections in boxes, and the press made their individual ways home or to closing parties. But there was still one show to attend, which promised to be the most extravagant of them all… The final show on Wednesday and the closing spot for London Fashion Week S/S 2011 went to Mr Ozwald Boateng.

The invite won the award for the thickest, which gave details of this 25th anniversary celebration at the Leicester Square Odeon. I hadn’t had much time to think about it, but whispers were that it would be an all singing, all dancing display, and who was I to argue? I was gob-smacked when I showed up in Leicester Square to see that the cinema, famed for it’s glitzy premieres, had been covered in huge posters bearing the tailor’s name and fences had been erected to corden off fans desperate for a glimpse at a celebrity. What the hell was going on?!

The same build up ensued that I was oh-so used to by now – a heaving queue that descends into mush as soon as the gates are opened and a catfight to get in. Celebrities like Michelle Williams, Piers Morgan (!) and Joe McElderry were given the A-list treatment while we were herded in, catching a rare close-up glimpse of Amber Rose‘s enormous bosom as I shuffled past her.

Hilariously, I had been assigned the very last seat on the very last row – Z-47. Gee, thanks OB! I decided not to get too upset and took my seat, and was happy to discover a baby bottle of Moët & Chandon in the popcorn holder with one of those cheap flutes that you ram in the top so you can neck it quicker. Could be worse, I thought to myself, and I was desperate for an alcoholic drink. I admired the man who played guitar under the spotlight while I drank and thought that I could quite easily slip into a coma in this dark, relaxing atmosphere.

One hour and fifteen agonising minutes after the show was scheduled to start, the lights finally dimmed. I can only imagine that by now the guitarist had either worn down his fingers or ran out of tunes. The cinema screen came alive with a trailer for A Man’s Story; a forthcoming film about Boateng’s life. A who’s who of Hollywood including Will Smith and Laurence Fishburne waxed lyrical about the quality, craftsmanship and unique vision of Boateng and the film featured archival footage of life changing events, including the Brixton riots and the opening of Boateng’s store on Savile Row.




Ozwald Boateng was born in 1960 to Ghanian parents in North London. A combination of a laborious job in IT and his mother’s influence as a seamstress forced Boateng to reconsider his future, and he began selling his mother’s designs on Portobello Road. He quickly rose up the fashion ranks, being the first tailor to show in Paris and the first black tailor to launch on Savile Row. He’s also credited with bringing the famous sartorial street into the 21st century with his vibrant use of colour, modern cuts and Hollywood clientele.


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

When the film trailer had finished, the real show began on a purpose-built runway below the cinema screen. The audience went MENTAL as one by one models appeared, strutted to the front, and then waited at the back – some in pairs, some in groups, many solo.

They just kept on coming, and at varying points when they had collected at the back, they marched forward again. It was utterly mesmerising, even from my appalling seat (which might as well have been in the Odeon Sheffield, I was so bleedin’ far away).


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

The spectacle and celebration of such an event was immense, but it’s difficult to say much about the clothes when the models appear as tall as Lego men. I was hoping for a sort of retrospective of Boateng’s illustrious collections but it seemed most were very recent, and a quick Google search reveals it was the S/S 2011 collection with elements of last season’s, presumably because nobody creates a collection of 100 pieces required for a show of this scale.

Despite being miles away, I could see on the real-time projection on the cinema screen that each pair of trousers, each blazer and each different coat had been made to perfection. The fit was perfect, the cut was stylish but retained elements of sartorial old-English dress, and the collection itself was peppered with Boateng’s signature vibrant colours, inspired by his ancestry. Bright hues of purple, yellow, green and blue appeared as a welcome break from more traditionally coloured suits, and the use of aesthetic materials such as leather showed Boateng’s flair as a fashion forward thinker.

It was over in a flash. The finale featured all the models in a big love-in heap – hunky Tyrone Wood made an appearance, as did Richard Branson’s son Sam who was almost but not entirely as hunky. When they had exited the stage, Boateng appeared with his father to wild applause, whoops, cheers and the odd tear. Yes, including me. I will sob at anything – it’s all been about tits and tears this fashion week. Although, I have to say, I did once cry at DIY SOS, so my threshold is considerably low…

Congratulations, OB. Here’s to the next 25 years!

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,Amber Rose, ,Joe McElderry, ,Leicester Square, ,London Fashion Week, ,Michelle Williams, ,Moët & Chandon, ,Odeon, ,Ozwald Boateng, ,Piers Morgan, ,S/S 2011, ,Sam Bronson, ,Savile Row, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,Suits, ,tailoring, ,Tyrone Wood

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 On Schedule Womenswear Preview, Part Two: The Pioneers


Shambala 2010

The costumes have been returned to their dressing up boxes; the mud has dried out and been brushed from the boots; newly-learned dance workshop moves have become vague; reality has crept back into view… The Shambala Festival has packed itself away for another year – and, page my oh my, site what an incredible time it was.

Shambala is a 3-day voyage of discovery. Yes, stomach there’s a programme – and an impressive one at that – featuring acts and activities as diverse as chant-arousing Dizraeli & The Small Gods on the main Shambala stage, the jaw-dropping Cirque de Freq in the Kamikaze tent, min-beast safaris in the Permaculture garden and the Cock Drawing Club in the Random Workshop Tent. But the most magical Shambala experience is a haphazard one, in which the clocks stop and the concept of time is snubbed as punters follow their ears, noses and tapping toes into the most thrilling and unexpected of entertainments.

The Compass House of Lunacy
Noémie Ducimetière creeps out The Compass House of Lunacy

Wandering Word
Poet Rosie Carrick in the Wandering Word yurt

Bewitching bewilderment was the lifeblood of the Compass House of Lunacy, in which the ghosts of French songstresses (Noémie Ducimetière) and high-kicking, be-corseted madams ruled the stage. Just around the corner, the Wandering Word yurt beckoned dazed punters into its cosy folds to have their ears tickled by pirate poets and their imaginations led through eerie worlds summoned by storytelling eccentrics.

Shambala parade

Shambala parade_Picture Frames

Shambala Parade_Gorilla

After Friday’s inaugural explorations and familiarisations, on Saturday Shambala donned its gladrags and revelled in magnificent peculiarities and with newfound friends. For Saturday was the festival’s official fancy dress day (not that that prevented costumes from coming out to play all weekend…), and was topped by the spectacular Shambala parade.

Permaculture Garden

Shambala crazy golf

Didgeridoo
Shambala blows: Getting down with the didgeridoo

Peeping over the debauched brow of Saturday night, Shambala’s Sunday air was thick with drowsiness as the festival rubbed the night before from its eyes, picking up lost wellies, rogue headdress feathers and the first few threads of the real world. It was on Sunday that the Healing Area really came into its own, offering to knead the weariness from revellers’ muscles, revive their vocal chords in the Music & Voice workshops and fix them a jolly good old cup of chai to nestle between their crossed legs as they flanked the crackling camp fire.

Shambala dragon

Site and house

So, there’s a whole year until Shambala returns. Will it be the same? Of course not, and that’s exactly why we’ll love it. Expect the unexpected – and in the meantime keep the Shambala spirit of discovery alive by forgetting your watch every once in a while…


Shambala 2010

The costumes have been returned to their dressing up boxes; the mud has dried out and been brushed from the boots; newly-learned dance workshop moves have become vague; reality has crept back into view… The Shambala Festival has packed itself away for another year – and, medical my oh my, what an incredible time it was.

Shambala is a 3-day voyage of discovery. Yes, there’s a programme – and an impressive one at that – featuring acts and activities as diverse as chant-arousing Dizraeli & The Small Gods on the main Shambala stage, the jaw-dropping Cirque de Freq in the Kamikaze tent, min-beast safaris in the Permaculture garden and the Cock Drawing Club in the Random Workshop Tent. But the most magical Shambala experience is a haphazard one, in which the clocks stop and the concept of time is snubbed as punters follow their ears, noses and tapping toes into the most thrilling and unexpected of entertainments.

The Compass House of Lunacy
Noémie Ducimetière creeps out The Compass House of Lunacy

Wandering Word
Poet Rosie Carrick in the Wandering Word yurt

Bewitching bewilderment was the lifeblood of the Compass House of Lunacy, in which the ghosts of French songstresses (Noémie Ducimetière) and high-kicking, be-corseted madams ruled the stage. Just around the corner, the Wandering Word yurt beckoned dazed punters into its cosy folds to have their ears tickled by pirate poets and their imaginations led through eerie worlds summoned by storytelling eccentrics.

Shambala parade

Shambala parade_Picture Frames

Shambala Parade_Gorilla

After Friday’s inaugural explorations and familiarisations, on Saturday Shambala donned its gladrags and revelled in magnificent peculiarities and with newfound friends. For Saturday was the festival’s official fancy dress day (not that that prevented costumes from coming out to play all weekend…), and was topped by the spectacular Shambala parade.

Permaculture Garden

Shambala crazy golf

Didgeridoo
Shambala blows: Getting down with the didgeridoo

Peeping over the debauched brow of Saturday night, Shambala’s Sunday air was thick with drowsiness as the festival rubbed the night before from its eyes, picking up lost wellies, rogue headdress feathers and the first few threads of the real world. It was on Sunday that the Healing Area really came into its own, offering to knead the weariness from revellers’ muscles, revive their vocal chords in the Music & Voice workshops and fix them a jolly good old cup of chai to nestle between their crossed legs as they flanked the crackling camp fire.

Shambala dragon

Site and house

So, there’s a whole year until Shambala returns. Will it be the same? Of course not, and that’s exactly why we’ll love it. Expect the unexpected – and in the meantime keep the Shambala spirit of discovery alive by forgetting your watch every once in a while…


London Fashion Week, page photographed by Matt Bramford

As always at London Fashion Week there are the new and innovative designers we are told to watch……but let’s not forget the stalwarts that need no such introduction. They’ve shown at London Fashion Week for seasons (more than some would like to say) but always know how to please the audience, visit this so here’s our pick of the legends…

Betty Jackson

Betty Jackson A/W 2010, website illustrated by Gemma Randall

After seeing the show last year at LFW its clear that Betty Jackson, having nearly 30 years experience in the business, knows how to design for the everyday woman. Showcasing an array of tarnished gold pieces and full dirndl skirts; the materials seem to juxtapose each other as Jackson mixed heavy wool coats and corduroy accessories with the aforementioned “liquid tarnished gold” skirts and blouses. Let’s hope that her SS collection continues to play on the womanly trends that made her pieces flatter the female figure this Autumn Winter.

Margaret Howell

Margaret Howell A/W 2010, illustrated by Natsuki Otani

Another dab hand having been on the fashion scene for almost four decades this is a designer with experience dressing both the male and female form. Margaret Howell‘s SS11 collection is a step on from last year but still plays on the “beach stripes and loose fit” ideology of her summer look. Describing the Howell woman as someone who is independent and discerning it’ll be no surprise when Howell creates a contemporary collection that still plays on the quality she is renowned for.

PPQ

PPQ A/W 2010, illustrated by Paolo Caravello

Believe it or not Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker (aka PPQ) were the inspiration behind us all wearing skinny jeans and the Amy Winehouse/Pete Doherty looks that spawned a decade of copycats. Better know by their fashion pseudonym and with an army of celebrity followers (Rihanna, Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe amongst many) they’ve been in the business since 1992 and certainly know their stuff. Their A/W 2010 collection featured a cotillion of graphic print and there’s always a very nostalgic feel to their looks; something of the graphic cartoon mixed with Joan Collins in Dynasty. Maybe that’s just me though. Expect big things from their S/S 2011 look; its one for “Sophia Loren in a rush with Peter Sellers in tow.”

Jaeger London

Jaeger A/W 2010, illustrated by Stéphanie Thieullent

Such a grown up retailer like Jaeger that still knows how to impress the younger clientele as well as appealing to their heritage customers. This SS11 collection will be a nod to artistic movements; namely Modernism (confronting condition), Surrealism (juxtaposition of surprise elements) and Minimalism (simplicity in art). With these elements Stuart Stokdale, Design Director, has created “cohesive collection” fused from all of the above and inspired by the cream of London’s art gallery crop.

Pringle of Scotland

Pringle of Scotland A/W 2010, illustrated by Maria del Carmen Smith

More recently Pringle have been best known for their celebrity collaborations with, well everyone, from Tilda Swinton to David Beckham and even Madonna. Their traditional Scottish production is still a big selling part of the brand but long gone is the traditional twin set. Last year saw a quiet emergence of colour within the summer Resort collection upon a theme of minimalist chic. Let’s see what this summer has to bring.

Categories ,A/W 2010, ,Betty Jackson, ,british fashion council, ,David Beckham, ,fashion, ,Gemma Randall, ,Jaeger, ,London Fashion Week, ,Madonna, ,Margaret Howell, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Paolo Caravello, ,ppq, ,Pringle of Scotland, ,S/S 2011, ,Stéphanie Thieullent

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Craig Lawrence

If you’ve seen Amelia’s post about Charlie le Mindu’s show yesterday, about it you’ll already know what you’re in for. But allow me to indulge myself because we can’t possibly harp on enough about this show…

When I was a lad, salve Sundays were reserved for attending church (occasionally), watching The Waltons and generally relaxing or playing with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. My, how things have changed. My most recent Sunday – yesterday – was spent gawking at vaginas. Bit of a difference, eh?

I absolutely love Charlie le Mindu, that’s no secret and I recently had the chance to have a chat with him. He’s a welcome addition to the London Fashion Week line-up in that he has absolutely no shame and heaps of creative and daring talent.

Last season’s show was a spectacle enough, and my imagination had run wild with what he might show this season (little did I know he’d show literally EVERYTHING this bloody season).

As the show started and the first model appeared to excited whoops, I thought – hmmm, I like it, it is fun; love that candy-floss pink porno wig, love the lamp on her head, that human hair mankini she’s just about wearing is daring, could have done with a bit of work around the bikini line though, love. But overall, I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed. Well, I need not have been.

When the first absolutely starkers model appeared, wearing only a huge brimmed hat and carrying a fabulous purse in the crook of her arm, I actually caught myself mouthing OH MY GOD. To myself. Exaggeratedly. I was, yet again, rendered speechless. He’d done it – he’d dared to do what few others would; he’d shocked us in a ‘OMG-she-has-no-hair-down-there’ kind of way. I haven’t seen one of them for years and after yesterdays show, I’d like never to see one again, please. That’s enough for me. You can keep ‘em, ta very much.

What I most adore about Mr le Mindu is that his shows aren’t really about fashion. They’re about style. Style, not in the sense of what’s on trend this season blah blah blah, but about taking an idea and really making it exciting.

After last season’s sexed up religious collection, it seems this season was all about porn stars – an homage, in fact, to the ladies of the adult movie industry of Los Angeles. Hence tacky candy-floss wigs, crude bob cuts, sassy curls that covered bare chests (what is it with me and nudity this fashion week? Totally wasted on me), cartoon-like tailoring (in a good way) and the show piece which was a huge pink perspex Hollywood sign hat. As you do.

Even though I seem to be doing it a lot this season, it’s not fair just to go on about the quantity of arse and tit, because I actually think that Charlie’s more modest creations (modest in the sense that they cover said arse and tit, not modest in a conservative way) are exemplary. The flamingo halter-neck number with a huge bum and the floor-length numbers that cacoon models from head to toe are nothing short of genius. They’re totally unique on an somewhat perpetual catwalk line-up.

Oh, who am I kidding. This is sex, sex, sex at it’s best. Oh, what fun! I bloody loved it and I am counting the days until Charlie’s A/W 2011 show already. Can I suggest, though, that you cover up the see you next Tuesdays next time, purlease? Maybe with the odd human-hair merkin? Oh, the irony…

Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

I love the Portico Rooms at Somerset House. Up an elaborate sweeping staircase, website here lies a relatively small room in which I’ve seen some of my favourite presentations: Lou Dalton’s salon show a year ago, more about both this and last season’s Orla Kiely presentations, story and now Craig Lawrence’s presentation this weekend.

Presentations are my preferred preference to catwalk shows. You don’t have to fight for a seat, you can see the clothing and craftsmanship in close-up (particularly applicable with Craig’s astonishing knitwear) and, most importantly, they always have cakes.

This was no exception – just look at this table packed with the stuff. Delicious! Shame I decided on a cream-filled whoopie rather than something edible in front of fashion folk like a delicious slice of tiffin. Cue cream-covered chops, sloppy eating and and a general unfashionable mess. Ah, well.

Craig’s presentation was simple but oh so elegant. Three models perched around sculptural furniture wearing his latest offerings. I wonder how the pay-scale for models differs between catwalks and presentations? Surely sashaying to the end of a runway, striking a pose and then walking back is far easier than having people with zoom lenses oggle your pores and walk in circles around you? It’s a wonder they don’t fall over. They are good at looking into your camera though. Look at this one! She wurrrrks it. Give her a pay rise!

Craig Lawrence has quickly established himself as a man of exquisite craftsmanship, skill and style. I simply adore these floor length knitted numbers. Seeing them up close, you really develop an appreciation for the quality. I imagine that the wool he uses is of a high calibre, but staring closely at his pieces is quite something – hypnotic weaves create beautiful, rich textures.


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

The colours were industrial and pewter was the mainstay, with the occasion flourish of varying greens and white. This all white number rustled as the model moved around the room, and it’s only when you see garments like this move that you realise their full potential. She does look a bit like she’s been through a paper shredder, though. God I hope she hadn’t.

Also on display was a strikingly beautiful and somewhat haunting film, which was actually all I thought I was going to see – the static models were a massive bonus. The black and white film was shot by Ben Toms and styled by Dazed & Confused’s Katie Shillingford. Bloody hard to photograph.

At first glance, it appeared to be a collection of photographs – a model stands stock still in a variety of poses on rocks and in the sea. It’s only when you watch for a little while you realise it is actually a film – you notice the hair flickering slightly from the wind, or the almost still waves of the ocean moving back and forth. It really brought the collection to life. Plus it was edited beautifully – by our own Sally Mumby Croft, no less!

You can see the film (and I suggest you do) here.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,Ben Toms, ,Craig Lawrence, ,Dazed & Confused, ,Katie Shillingford, ,knitwear, ,London Fashion Week, ,Portico Rooms, ,S/S 2011, ,Sally Mumby-Croft, ,Somerset House, ,Stéphanie Thieullent

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jazzkatze

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, generic but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, pharmacy but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, medicine gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, clinic but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, treatment but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, view gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

YouTube Preview Image

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, drug but I greeted her warmly as soon as she joined me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, adiposity gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, information pills performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

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All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

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I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that’s the most meaningful music.”

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” Not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

After being amazed by Masha Ma, illness I had a short break before heading back into the Freemasons Hall to see Jazzkatze’s A/W 2011 collection. I had collected my ticket from Matt only a couple of hours earlier that morning and was eager to see what was on offer, not being familiar with Ayumi Sufu’s designs.

Jazzkatze was founded by Central Saint Martins graduate Ayumi Sufu who began her career working for Vivienne Westwood, Shelley Fox and Bernhard Willhelm. After returning to her native Japan she set up Jazzkatze, influenced by her surroundings whilst growing up; the old and the new, mixtures of traditional and westernisation and the chaos and energy of Tokyo.


Illustrations by YesGo!

Her A/W 2011 collection is named ‘The Name of the Rose’ and is inspired by the intellectual mystery novel of the same name written by Umberto Eco. The novel is said to reflect ‘the paradoxical relationship of existence made by you and your memories’.

Sufu introduced two signature prints in a selection of tones: one featuring scarlet and charcoal roses and another using snow covered ground in shades of grey strewn with blood-splattered roses.


Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent

The palette also covered burgundy, nude beige and navy in a wide array of fabrics including sheer mohair knits, satin, chiffon and Melton wool. Tights were beautifully embellished with clusters of pearls, giving cohesion to the eclectic mix of looks.

Hair was woven with electric blue and white strands and swept into futuristic towering piles held in place by tightly wrapped ribbons. Prominent pieces in the collection included a lambskin skirt, a synthetic fur panelled half skirt worn over print trousers, a medieval-inspired hooded dress and a print jumpsuit.

The looks in the collection were diverse and a brave sense of of experimentation was evident Sufu’s wide-ranging field of influences working playfully alongside eachother. Opposing textures and shapes were paired boldly with no fear of eccentricity; her experience gained working with Wilhelm has clearly given her the confidence to have fun with her work.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

She is described in her press release as “undeniably Tokyo, eccentrically London, creatively Antwerp, femininely Paris” which initially sounds like the usual give-or-take blurb you can find on handouts at London Fashion Week, but on reflection I think this is spot on. Sufu is clearly unafraid to take on several diverse ideas and see them through, rather than trying to force them to fuse together and lose the initial inspiration in the process. The collection offered a refreshing and individual aesthetic and I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next season…!

All photography by Naomi Law

See more of Gareth A Hopkins’ illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Ayumi Sufu, ,Catwalk review, ,Central Saint Martins, ,debut, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Jazzkatze, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout, ,Womenswear, ,YesGo!

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Amelia’s Magazine | Explore the world of Beautiful Soul

The inaugural round of graduates from London College of Fashion’s new MA course entitled Fashion and the Environment, about it site exhibited their findings this weekend within the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

P2012400Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting the work of Shibin Vasudevan.

The students have taken a variety of approaches to tackle their environmental concerns with the fashion industry, some more successful than others. I wasn’t totally convinced by the practicality and wearability of Shibin Vasudevan’s shirts made from the contents of a hoover bag, though they were very visually stimulating. I was really excited by a number of projects including Shibin’s as his idea was highly innovative.

handheadheartHandheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

Anna Maria Hesse utilised her background in knitwear and deep interest in sustainable fashion to produce a collection entitled ‘handheadheart’ that discourages consumerism. Her beautifully subtle, draped garments are made to be worn in a variety of ways – so a top is a dress is a skirt. Her thinking is thus: the more ways you can wear one garment, the less garments you need to buy, and they are timeless, the opposite of disposable fashion. Both the traceability and sourcing of the raw materials used are important to Hesse, who uses only pure alpaca wool farmed sustainably within the UK – resulting in luxuriously soft and hardwearing fibres. The resulting garments are beautiful and wearable, and most importantly have been created to last a lifetime.

handheadheart2Handheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

I was impressed with both the concept and design behind Julia Crew’s collection of man bags labelled i.did.nee.ken (taken from the Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘I didn’t know’). Taking a threefold approach to the design process, Julia has ensured each product fits the criteria of a) durable design b) responsible sourcing and c) sustainable lifestyle. Essentially the bags are made to last, they have a low environmental impact and they can be used as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Designed with the concerns and requirements of a cyclist in mind, the i.did.nee.ken accessories are urban, utilitarian, and feature beautiful soft leather combined with waxed canvas, with graphical touches such as the reflective material around zips – ticking every box a cyclist could ask for.

backpackBackpack courtesy of Julia Crew, photographer Sally Cole.

Another project that interested me was that of Energy Water Fashion. With an aim to create directional garments made from lovely fabrics such as Lamb’s wool and Merino, Energy Water Fashion creates garments that are naturally odour resistant therefore requiring less washing and general maintenance. The designer, Emma Rigby’s environmental concerns relate to the exorbitant figures regarding how much water we use in laundering our clothes (mentioned at length in Amelia’s magazines coverage of the LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Fashioning The Future Awards, where Emma Won the prestigious award in the Water category). Successfully designing a capsule wardrobe that offers real solutions in reducing our water consumption, there seems no end to Emma’s talents.

P2012385Emma Rigby presentation, photographed by Rachael Oku.

By staging exhibitions like this for the public, it’s good to know that Fashion colleges and indeed designers alike are addressing the need to develop more sustainable, less environmentally impacting methods. There are now a growing number of fashion labels devoted to seeking out cleaner, greener processes, which is great to see. I am continually impressed by two companies in particular whose truly sustainable approach and great designs mean consumers don’t have to choose between looking good and staying true to their environmental conscience and ethics.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Howies produce simple, functional pieces and pay attention to the little details. They use only the best in organic cotton, hemp and sustainable materials such as Merino and Lamb’s wool. The second brand is fair-trade fashion label People Tree, who offer a wide range of affordable fashion forward garments with a continual offering of designer collaborations including Richard Nicholl, Jessica Ogden and Bora Aksu to name but a few. This season, to appeal to a younger audience Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame has collaborated on a range, of which I have my eye on the organic cotton blue and white stripe Breton top (only £25!).

breton-stripe-topBreton stripe top by People Tree, image courtesy of PR shots.

So, until these talented, forward thinking MA graduates gain backing and start producing their collections for real, there are options – getting less limited by the day.
The inaugural round of graduates from London College of Fashion’s new MA course entitled Fashion and the Environment, sildenafil exhibited their findings this weekend within the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

P2012400Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting the work of Shibin Vasudevan.

The students have taken a variety of approaches to tackle their environmental concerns with the fashion industry, some more successful than others. I wasn’t totally convinced by the practicality and wearability of Shibin Vasudevan’s shirts made from the contents of a hoover bag, though they were very visually stimulating. I was really excited by a number of projects including Shibin’s as his idea was highly innovative.

handheadheartHandheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

Anna Maria Hesse utilised her background in knitwear and deep interest in sustainable fashion to produce a collection entitled ‘handheadheart’ that discourages consumerism. Her beautifully subtle, draped garments are made to be worn in a variety of ways – so a top is a dress is a skirt. Her thinking is thus: the more ways you can wear one garment, the less garments you need to buy, and they are timeless, the opposite of disposable fashion. Both the traceability and sourcing of the raw materials used are important to Hesse, who uses only pure alpaca wool farmed sustainably within the UK – resulting in luxuriously soft and hardwearing fibres. The resulting garments are beautiful and wearable, and most importantly have been created to last a lifetime.

handheadheart2Handheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

I was impressed with both the concept and design behind Julia Crew’s collection of man bags labelled i.did.nee.ken (taken from the Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘I didn’t know’). Taking a threefold approach to the design process, Julia has ensured each product fits the criteria of a) durable design b) responsible sourcing and c) sustainable lifestyle. Essentially the bags are made to last, they have a low environmental impact and they can be used as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Designed with the concerns and requirements of a cyclist in mind, the i.did.nee.ken accessories are urban, utilitarian, and feature beautiful soft leather combined with waxed canvas, with graphical touches such as the reflective material around zips – ticking every box a cyclist could ask for.

backpackBackpack courtesy of Julia Crew, photographer Sally Cole.

Another project that interested me was that of Energy Water Fashion. With an aim to create directional garments made from lovely fabrics such as Lamb’s wool and Merino, Energy Water Fashion creates garments that are naturally odour resistant therefore requiring less washing and general maintenance. The designer, Emma Rigby’s environmental concerns relate to the exorbitant figures regarding how much water we use in laundering our clothes (mentioned at length in Amelia’s magazines coverage of the LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Fashioning The Future Awards, where Emma Won the prestigious award in the Water category). Successfully designing a capsule wardrobe that offers real solutions in reducing our water consumption, there seems no end to Emma’s talents.

P2012385Emma Rigby presentation, photographed by Rachael Oku.

By staging exhibitions like this for the public, it’s good to know that Fashion colleges and indeed designers alike are addressing the need to develop more sustainable, less environmentally impacting methods. There are now a growing number of fashion labels devoted to seeking out cleaner, greener processes, which is great to see. I am continually impressed by two companies in particular whose truly sustainable approach and great designs mean consumers don’t have to choose between looking good and staying true to their environmental conscience and ethics.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Howies produce simple, functional pieces and pay attention to the little details. They use only the best in organic cotton, hemp and sustainable materials such as Merino and Lamb’s wool. The second brand is fair-trade fashion label People Tree, who offer a wide range of affordable fashion forward garments with a continual offering of designer collaborations including Richard Nicholl, Jessica Ogden and Bora Aksu to name but a few. This season, to appeal to a younger audience Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame has collaborated on a range, of which I have my eye on the organic cotton blue and white stripe Breton top (only £25!).

breton-stripe-topBreton stripe top by People Tree, image courtesy of PR shots.

So, until these talented, forward thinking MA graduates gain backing and start producing their collections for real, there are options – getting less limited by the day.
The inaugural round of graduates from London College of Fashion’s new MA course entitled Fashion and the Environment, mind exhibited their findings this weekend within the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

P2012400Image courtesy of Rachael Oku depicting the work of Shibin Vasudevan.

The students have taken a variety of approaches to tackle their environmental concerns with the fashion industry, some more successful than others. I wasn’t totally convinced by the practicality and wearability of Shibin Vasudevan’s shirts made from the contents of a hoover bag, though they were very visually stimulating. I was really excited by a number of projects including Shibin’s as his idea was highly innovative.

handheadheartHandheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

Anna Maria Hesse utilised her background in knitwear and deep interest in sustainable fashion to produce a collection entitled ‘handheadheart’ that discourages consumerism. Her beautifully subtle, draped garments are made to be worn in a variety of ways – so a top is a dress is a skirt. Her thinking is thus: the more ways you can wear one garment, the less garments you need to buy, and they are timeless, the opposite of disposable fashion. Both the traceability and sourcing of the raw materials used are important to Hesse, who uses only pure alpaca wool farmed sustainably within the UK – resulting in luxuriously soft and hardwearing fibres. The resulting garments are beautiful and wearable, and most importantly have been created to last a lifetime.

handheadheart2Handheadheart collection image, courtesy of Anna Maria Hesse.

I was impressed with both the concept and design behind Julia Crew’s collection of man bags labelled i.did.nee.ken (taken from the Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘I didn’t know’). Taking a threefold approach to the design process, Julia has ensured each product fits the criteria of a) durable design b) responsible sourcing and c) sustainable lifestyle. Essentially the bags are made to last, they have a low environmental impact and they can be used as part of a sustainable lifestyle. Designed with the concerns and requirements of a cyclist in mind, the i.did.nee.ken accessories are urban, utilitarian, and feature beautiful soft leather combined with waxed canvas, with graphical touches such as the reflective material around zips – ticking every box a cyclist could ask for.

backpackBackpack courtesy of Julia Crew, photographer Sally Cole.

Another project that interested me was that of Energy Water Fashion. With an aim to create directional garments made from lovely fabrics such as Lamb’s wool and Merino, Energy Water Fashion creates garments that are naturally odour resistant therefore requiring less washing and general maintenance. The designer, Emma Rigby’s environmental concerns relate to the exorbitant figures regarding how much water we use in laundering our clothes (mentioned at length in Amelia’s magazines coverage of the LCF Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Fashioning The Future Awards, where Emma Won the prestigious award in the Water category). Successfully designing a capsule wardrobe that offers real solutions in reducing our water consumption, there seems no end to Emma’s talents.

P2012385Emma Rigby presentation, photographed by Rachael Oku.

By staging exhibitions like this for the public, it’s good to know that Fashion colleges and indeed designers alike are addressing the need to develop more sustainable, less environmentally impacting methods. There are now a growing number of fashion labels devoted to seeking out cleaner, greener processes, which is great to see. I am continually impressed by two companies in particular whose truly sustainable approach and great designs mean consumers don’t have to choose between looking good and staying true to their environmental conscience and ethics.

Outdoor lifestyle brand Howies produce simple, functional pieces and pay attention to the little details. They use only the best in organic cotton, hemp and sustainable materials such as Merino and Lamb’s wool. The second brand is fair-trade fashion label People Tree, who offer a wide range of affordable fashion forward garments with a continual offering of designer collaborations including Richard Nicholl, Jessica Ogden and Bora Aksu to name but a few. This season, to appeal to a younger audience Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame has collaborated on a range, of which I have my eye on the organic cotton blue and white stripe Breton top (only £25!).

breton-stripe-topBreton stripe top by People Tree, image courtesy of PR shots.

So, until these talented, forward thinking MA graduates gain backing and start producing their collections for real, there are options – getting less limited by the day.
espalier tree fruit
Illustration by Vanessa Morris

Planting trees is EXHILERATING! So so underrated. Last Saturday I was gardening for the first time in my life at the Community Orchards project, online organised by BTCV’s Carbon Army and managed by Camden Council.  I mentioned the project briefly in my Green Gyms feature a couple of weeks ago.  BTCV have 22 dates scheduled to plant ten orchards in housing estates and sheltered housing across Camden. The project’s aim is to promote local interest in food growing and provide the opportunity for community groups to develop communal gardening projects. Gardening and growing your own food is great, prostate as I discovered, find and it doesn’t only have to be for people with their own gardens.
CIMG3845

Smiles all round.  Photo by Chris Speirs.

I went along last Saturday to Taplow Estate in Camden, to witness how the scheme works. Feeling rather worse for wear, I was convinced I’d only stay for an hour or two and then go home to sleep. Being hung-over does not exactly get you in the mood for planting community gardens. Or so I thought. Fast forward to four hours later, and I was feeling energised, ridiculously happy, surrounded by great people, and I’d planted the first tree I’ve ever planted IN MY LIFE! Everyone should try this truly underrated source of pure joy at least once in their lives, however hippy you may previously have thought that sounds. Do it in the name of food democracy, fitness, and plain old happiness. I mean it.
CIMG3839

Photo: Zofia Walczak

My first task after I’d met the group of 20-or-so volunteers, who were already busy at work, was to help in the removing of turf from one side of the green area. After this the soil was turned over and mixed with compost to get it ready for planting seeds. It is unbelievable how clueless I felt when I was given a huge heavy spade. Yes, a spade. That humble tool you’d think you’d know how to use. The others were quick to help me though and within two hours I went from total cluelessness to being able to plant a cherry tree, by myself!! My arms and back once again felt like they were getting the best workout they’ve ever had. Goodbye push-ups and weights, hello spades, forks and hoes.
CIMG3841

Photo: Zofia Walczak

Lunch was served to us by residents of the estate: delicious homemade soup and fresh baguette. I spoke to one resident, Ian, who explained that the orchard is being created on previously unused green space. He’d been pushing for the creation of garden space on the estate for four years, looking for funding, and is glad the scheme is now finally up and running. Using Taplow Estate in Camden as an example, the local gardening club are already working together to apply for grants to improve other under-utilised green spaces on the estate, and BTCV hope to be able to come back later in the year to give them a helping hand.

CIMG3846

Photo: Chris Speirs

The Community Orchards project is being managed by Camden Council, and BTCV’s Carbon Army have been commissioned to co-ordinate and facilitate the events. Camden Council have been canvassing local interest, with the key pre-requisite being that local residents take ownership of their new orchard. The Carbon Army are focusing on engaging as many residents from the local communities as possible in the preparation and planting. Local residents will also be offered follow-up training to ensure they know how to care for, prune and make the most of their new local food resource.

If you want to go along to the next session, check out the website and sign up, everyone is welcome. You won’t regret it one bit, especially on a groggy Saturday morning.
Planting trees is EXHILERATING! So so underrated. Last Saturday I was gardening for the first time in my life with Carbon Army’s Community Orchards project, drugs which I mentioned in my Green Gyms feature a couple of weeks ago. BTCV (the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) have 22 dates scheduled to plant ten orchards in housing estates and sheltered housing across Camden. The project’s aim is to promote local interest in food growing and provide the opportunity for community groups to develop communal gardening projects. Gardening and growing your own food is great, approved as I discovered, and it doesn’t only have to be for people with their own gardens.

I went along last Saturday to Taplow Estate in Camden, to witness how the scheme works. Feeling rather worse for wear, I was convinced I’d only stay for an hour or two and then go home to sleep. Being hung-over does not exactly get you in the mood for planting community gardens. Or so I thought. Fast forward to four hours later, and I was feeling energised, ridiculously happy, surrounded by great people, and I’d planted the first tree I’ve ever planted IN MY LIFE! Everyone should try this truly underrated source of pure joy at least once in their lives, however hippy you may previously have thought that sounds. Do it in the name of food democracy, fitness, and plain old happiness. I mean it.

My first task after I’d met the group of 20-or-so volunteers, who were already busy at work, was to help in the removing of turf from one side of the green area. After this the soil was turned over and mixed with compost to get it ready for planting seeds. It is unbelievable how clueless I felt when I was given a huge heavy spade. Yes, a spade. That humble tool you’d think you’d know how to use. The others were quick to help me though and within two hours I went from total cluelessness to being able to plant a cherry tree, by myself!! My arms and back once again felt like they were getting the best workout they’ve ever had. Goodbye push-ups and weights, hello spades, forks and hoes.

Lunch was served to us by residents of the estate: delicious homemade soup and fresh baguette. I spoke to one resident, Ian, who explained that the Orchard is being created on previously unused green space. He’d been pushing for the creation of garden space on the estate for four years, looking for funding, and is glad the scheme is now finally up and running. Using Taplow Estate in Camden as an example, the local gardening club are already working together to apply for grants to improve other under-utilised green spaces on the estate, and BTCV hope to be able to come back later in the year to give them a helping hand.

The Community Orchards project is being managed by Camden Council, and BTCV’s Carbon Army have been commissioned to co-ordinate and facilitate the events. Camden Council have been canvassing local interest, with the key pre-requisite being that local residents take ownership of their new orchard. The Carbon Army are focusing on engaging as many residents from the local communities as possible in the preparation and planting. Local residents will also be offered follow-up training to ensure they know how to care for, prune and make the most of their new local food resource.

If you want to go along to the next session, check out the website and sign up, everyone is welcome. I definitely recommend it, you won’t regret it one bit, especially on a groggy Saturday morning.

As the American teeny popper Jesse McCartney sang in 2004′s ‘Beautiful Soul’: ‘I don’t want another pretty face/ I don’t want just anyone to hold/ I don’t want my love to go to waste/ I want you and your beautiful soul’.

collections-mainThe Miss Butterfly collection (SS10), salve imagery throughout courtesy of Beautiful Soul.

If only London-based designer Nicola Woods had created her label Beautiful Soul back then, ambulance he’d have realised you can have the eponymous as well as the aesthetic quality. Indeed, this is less about a label being ethical – although, of course that matters greatly – so much as the fact it would be a travesty for Beautiful Soul not to up-cycle some of the gorgeous vintage kimonos and saris which it makes use of. As it is, Woods was at that time in the midst of an 11 year career as an insurance broker, after which she won a place at the London College of Fashion.

Celebrating its first birthday this month, Beautiful Soul was born of Nichola’s invitation to spend summer 2008 in South Africa with community-focussed charity, Tabeisa. While there, she helped establish a small cooperative, Umdoni Creek, from whom she sources the embellishments and accessories for Beautiful Soul.

Rei coatRei Coat, taken from Smallprint collection AW09/10).

Once back in London, the garments are produced by a registered women’s project. Beautiful Soul’s debut A/W 09 collection ‘Smallprint’ included Fair Trade cotton and satin and jersey made from sustainable bamboo alongside up-cycled kimono fabric from the 1940s. Swathes of fabric in muted, patterned materials are gathered into rouching, and structured collars add definition to compelling silhouettes. The collection precipitated a run of awards, including Ethical Fashion Forum’s Innovation Award in February 2009 and more recently the brand won a Future 100s Budding Entrepreneur on the Horizon 2009 recognition.

Yoshie CoatYoshie Coat, taken from Smallprint collection AW09/10).

Beautiful soul’s critically acclaimed second collection ‘Miss Butterfly’, was shown at London Fashion Week’s Estethica with a more colourful direction. Each style in the Madame Butterfly-inspired S/S 10 collection is named after a famous Japanese geisha; Korin is a turquoise shift evocative of a waterfall, the Satoka coat is a fabric-heavy shrug while the Mineko skirt is a structural dream with high, thick waistband and tulip gathering at the hem.

Miss Butterfly Promotional 3Izuko blouse and Kimie skirt taken from the Miss Butterfly collection (SS10).

Nichola believes Beautiful Soul’s target audience to be women ‘aware of the importance of originality and quality in a garment, relishing also the story behind each creation’. It’s a formula which has proved popular, as this spring Beautiful Soul adds the V&A to its list of stockists, which also includes Ascension Boutique and Junky Styling. Not bad, we’re sure you’ll agree, for a one-time city insurance broker.

Miss Butterfly Promotional 2Kimina dress and Cio Cio coat taken from the Miss Butterfly collection (SS10).

Categories ,Ali Schofield, ,Ascension Boutique, ,Beautiful Soul, ,estethica, ,Ethical Fashion Forum, ,Future 100s Budding Entrepreneur on the Horizon 2009, ,Jesse McCartney, ,Junky Styling, ,London College of Fashion, ,London Fashion Week’, ,Madame Butterfly, ,Nicola Woods, ,Tabeisa, ,Umdoni Creek, ,va

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fash Off! Closing LFW Party

The Israli born Inbar Spector‘s gothic collection certainly raised eye brows and expectations in an explosion of delicate laces, ask buy more about zipped corsetry and mass of tulle. Her pieces consisted of futuristic and OTT couture-like constructivism with an edgy twist which made her designs captivating.

Taking the nomadic immigrant as her muse for autumn/winter 09-09, there was a mix of energetic movement created by the twisted chiffon, zips and pvc trousers, but there was also a sense of structure. Tight corsets, belted waists and armoured tops, ensured an empowered woman emerged.

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one of my favourites from the collection

The last two pieces twisted tulle ballgowns was greeted by whoops of applause. This was a perfect finish for a collection that bursted with intelligently conceived modern gothic pieces.

inbar%20spector%209.jpg

inbar%20spector%2010.jpg
i want this dress!

After a whole week of hot footing it to fashion shows and cocktail swigging after parties, help we wanted to celebrate the last day in style. Cue an invite to ‘Fash Off‘- a Closing LFW Party at the fancy Beach Blanket Babylon in association with Stimuli magazine.

When we first got there we were excited but we were soon confused at the long queue at the door. After much waiting around we were eventually let in. However I must note that there was a rather annoying PR lady who kept disappearing, information pills then reappearing only to haphazardly look at a chart and exclaim ‘only guess list!’ brushing people aside like flies. I like to think of her as dragon lady.

However when we were eventually in we went downstairs for a much needed drink. It wasn’t until 11ish that things hotted up with Skin spinning some tunes and people dancing along. Amongst those at the party were Daisy Lowe, the model Lara Stone and plenty of Stimuli magazine people. Although I was much more excited about the music and a big fan they had in a corner (perhaps you had to be there!)

fash%20off%20image%20one.jpg
sarah and mel lookin’ beauuutiful

fash%20off%20party.jpg
sarah’s sexy fan pose

fash%20off%20party%202.jpg
…and it’s mel’s turn

fash%20off%205.jpg
this girl even gets in on the act-gettin’ down and dirty on the floor

fash%20off%20party%203.jpg
what look is that guy trying to go for?! well at least he’s having fun!

skin%20.jpg
skin getting the party started

fash%20off%204.jpg
and the crowd goes wild…well comparatively..

After toasting to this years LFW Sarah, Mel and I parted ways, with fond memories of all things fashion.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pet Portraits: Your Furry Friends Illustrated for Christmas

irkafirka unicycle
Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, approved I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, diagnosis how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.
For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, decease I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, order how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, pills and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, decease I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, view how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, viagra dosage I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, information pills how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, sickness and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, viagra I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (and let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, information pills I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

**************************************************************************
Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (and let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, ambulance I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

**************************************************************************
Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
Daria H cat
Pet Portrait by Daria Hlazatova.

I think it’s fair to say that pet portraits have a slightly naff reputation. A quick google reveals the existence of reams of *traditional* pet portraitists who offer tacky artwork fit only for those with very little concept of style. And yet I know full well that there are lots of people out there who have both pets and good taste. Who then to cater for them? A portrait of a much loved pet is the perfect gift – especially for those who dote on their animals.

Back when I had time to create my own handmade artwork I liked to paint our cats Orlando and Grace. Nowadays I work with a constantly shifting team of very talented illustrators, visit this site many of whom are deeply attached to their own pets and much enamoured with animals as subjects. Amongst these I felt certain to find pet portraitists who could create personalised paintings with a bit of spirit – for pet portraits can also be fun, more about as epitomised by Daria’s offering. What follows is the pick of my discoveries: all of whom offer a unique piece of art for an incredibly good price. There’s still time to commission one of these illustrators for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present, and not only will you receive the perfect gift for a pet lover, but you will also be supporting the artistic community. Rather that than buy mass produced tat on the high street? No?

Gemma Randall toby milly
Toby and Milly by Gemma Randall.

Gemma Randall
Gemma was hot off the mark with her Christmas offering: she accepts commissions for intricate artworks of your best friend, all framed and wrapped for a total of £96, and she even offers two different styles – Contemporary and Classic. Find out more information here.

Molly & Fred Karina Yarv
Molly & Fred by Karina Yarv.

Karina Yarv
Saint Petersburg based Amelia’s Magazine contributor Karina Yarv offers both people and pet portraits in her inimitable bold style. She works fast and will produce either a computer created image or one made in black ink and a few colours. Prices start from £43 – find out more information here.

Mavis the Cat Kayleigh Bluck
Mavis the Cat by Kayleigh Bluck.

Kayleigh Bluck
Kayleigh Bluck offers a personalised gift via Etsy. She works predominantly in watercolour and coloured pencil and needs only three days to complete her gorgeous artworks, which will be done from an emailed photograph straight onto watercolour paper. A bargain at just £25. More info about creating this particular portrait here!

Piers and Fulton by Daria H
Piers and Fulton by Daria Hlazatova.

Daria Hlazatova
Daria is another of our far flung illustrators – this time hailing from the Ukraine. She creates lovely bright scenes and all she needs are: a photo, a name and a little bit of information about your furry friend. The price is £50, and you would need to contact her by email to discuss further details.

Piers+Fulton by Holly Exley
My parents’ new rescue cats frolic in the snow. Piers+Fulton by Holly Exley.

Holly Exley
Holly has created a Facebook event for her special Christmas pet portrait offer. This has already prompted a huge response, so I’d advise you to get in there quick – she’s creating beautiful watercolour A4 paintings for just £15, which is ridiculously cheap.

stephanie thieullent tabitha
Tabitha by Stephanie Thieullent.

Stephanie Thieullent
Stephanie is predominantly a digital designer who offers people portraits as well as pet portraits, but she can also work in ink to order. A simple postcard starts at just £15, and prices go up to £130 for an A2 portrait, so there’s a wide variety to choose from. Just click here.

It does rather seem that most of my friends and families are cat lovers… but these illustrators would love to tackle anything from cats and dogs…. to rabbits and hamsters. Just wonderful, I am sure you will agree. Why not get in touch with your favourite illustrator and commission them now before they get too busy to accept any more?

Categories ,Cat Portrait, ,cats, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Dog Portrait, ,Dogs, ,Gemma Randall, ,Holly Exley, ,illustrations, ,Karina Yarv, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Pet Portraits, ,Russian, ,Stéphanie Thieullent

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pet Portraits: Your Furry Friends Illustrated for Christmas

irkafirka unicycle
Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, approved I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, diagnosis how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.
For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, decease I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, order how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, pills and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, decease I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, view how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the Technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr [http://www.flickr.com/photos/irkafirka/] picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, viagra dosage I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, information pills how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, sickness and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (even if my favourite was a retweet)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, viagra I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (and let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, information pills I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

**************************************************************************
Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (and let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
irkafirka manflu goblin

Intrigued by a side project by one of our contributors, ambulance I decided to get to the bottom of this irkafirka business…

irkafirka: illustrated tweets. “Anything you say may be taken down and coloured in.” What a great idea, how did the project start?
My old friend Chris challenged me to draw a Twitter-inspired doodle a day and post it. My initial reaction was “I don’t have time for this” but the seed was planted, and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm to try it once. The response was instant and we were both hooked.

irkafirka batman joker

Who is irkafirka and why the name?
irkafirka is Nick Hilditch (illustrator, that’s me) and Chris Bell (curator). The name is a Hungarian word meaning doodle. I lived in Budapest for 7 years and speak Hungarian poorly, but its a beautiful word, and I filed it away years ago for future use. Everything about irkafirka came together very spontaneously – the concept, the name, the little dog logo. Everything about it feels right to us.

How did you two hook up and how long have you been in business?
Chris and I have been friends since school, although our lives took us in different directions. It was only through Twitter that we re-ignited our teenage delusions of grandeur. The business relationship is informal – we didn’t start out to make money from the project, we did it for the sheer fun of it. Now it consumes so much of our time and we have such a big audience, we’d love to take it to the next level, but as yet, the means to monetise our success alludes us. One goal we set was to get an irkafirka book published, but we want to get this right rather than rushing into it. We’d love to talk to any interested publishers.

irkafirka horse

How does the technical side work?
Here’s Chris on the technical side: “It’s a clunky-chunk of social-webbery. The website is built on the Fullscreen template for WordPress. Illustrations are taken from TwitPic and posted along with a picture of the original tweet. The illustrations are automatically cross-posted to our Tumblr page. Each new post updates the RSS feed, which populates the iPhone and Nokia apps automatically. We then add a link to the post on the Facebook page, which also carries other miscellaneous nonsense including a gallery of the 200 most recent illustrations, which are pulled from our Flickr picture stream. We also have various pictures on show in cities around the country using the crazy magic of augmented reality. We use Layar and a back-end system run over in Belgium by our dear friends at Hoppala. Best of all, apart from hosting the website everything we use is totally free. We are a pair of cheapskates…”

irkafirka squirrel

How do you decide what tweets to illustrate?
This is the hardest part. The truth is, the vast majority of tweets are utterly banal. It really is just a case of using any means possible to find great visuals, and when I see a tweet I can illustrate I jump straight on it. We look for recommendations from our audience of over 1700 followers, we browse other people’s lists, we search keywords. We do have rules the most important of which is rule 6, “If we stop enjoying it, we’ll stop.” I believe that when a creator is enjoying their work that will come across in the end product, so I’m really just looking for things that amuse me. We also ask that people recommend vivid tweeters to us using the #firkafursday tag, every Thursday. This way, we’ve built up a watch list which occasionally yields results – it’s no guarantee of getting your tweet illustrated, but it almost certainly improves the odds.

irkafirka swedish moon

If you were to chose anything from my recent tweets to illustrate, what would it be? (go on, do me an illustration… or does that count as a suggestion and will therefore be ignored. pretend I didn’t say anything… it’s all subliminal…)
I had a skim through your recent timeline. As is often the case, most of your tweets are either parts of conversations with little meaning out of context, or links. We’re all for wilfully taking things out of context. To this day, one of my personal favourites is “The oven’s broken. I’ll have to get the bloke out”. A very important part of what we do is the element of surprise – we don’t like the subject to know they’re going to get firked. You can commission an illustration, but technically, a commission wouldn’t be an irkafirka. It would simply be a work by the artists behind irkafirka. And it wouldn’t be free.

You try to post daily but of course real life gets in the way… when is an irkafirka more important – what would prompt you to miss a favourite film in favour of an illustration?
irkafirka has become a compulsion for me. If I miss a day, I feel more pressure to make sure I deliver something the next. On a day when I’m busy and can’t see when I’ll be able to produce something, I’m agitated. Usually we try and let our followers know when it’s a rule 5 day (that’s the rule that let’s us off the hook due to other commitments), but I never like to rule it out. My wife has been incredibly patient. A favourite film is a good example of something I wouldn’t miss, though. I’m a bit of an old school cineaste.

irkafirka unicycle

Nick: you used to live in Hungary. Why on earth did you come back to the UK, and what do you miss most about Hungary?
I loved living in Hungary, and I haven’t ruled out moving back. I miss my friends there, the long hot summers and the bableves (bean soup). I came back because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find relevant work. My wife is Hungarian, so we go back as often as possible. People often say “yours is a job you could do from anywhere” which is true to some extent, but to find the work you usually need to get out there and meet the clients. The dream is that one day my work will be so much in demand, I’ll be able to live where I want. So start demanding, demanders.

You also jacked in a career at a digital agency to become a freelance artist. What prompted this move and has it been a success? What’s the best job you’ve worked on so far, and has Irkafirka got you any jobs?
Working at a digital agency was interesting, and I got to work on a lot of great brands. I even helped them win 2 BAFTAs. However, I was there for over 4 years and the work was beginning to feel repetitious. I also wanted to develop my own IP so that I’d have work would that generate an income for me. I didn’t quit because of irkafirka, but it did give me confidence in my own work and helped me build up a portfolio that wasn’t exclusively comprised of other people’s brands. irkafirkas are drawn quickly, in a single sitting, with little or no advance planning, so they’re frequently full of mistakes, but as with great music, I like to think that this is compensated for by the energy put into them. When showing my portfolio, it is the work that generates the most interest. As irkafirka is a significant part of my portfolio, I like to think it’s played a part in all the work I’ve picked up since I started freelancing. The only paid work that’s resulted directly from irkafirka is a side-project for Nokia where we draw illustrations based on comments from the official Nokia blog. It’s too early to say whether it’s been a success, but I certainly don’t regret it, and it’s very hard to imagine going back.

How can someone get hold of an irkafirka print, and which ones would you recommend as christmas presses for specific members of the family?
Selling prints wasn’t initially part of the plan, but the demand was there, so we set up a shop at Zazzle. They’re most frequently bought by the subject, so the market is fairly limited, but we’re looking for ways to make irkafirka-based products with a broader appeal in the new year. The images that make it into the shop are added on the basis that somebody expressed an interest in buying them, rather than because we necessarily think they’re the best works. However, based on what’s there already, here’s my handy irkafirka shopping list that’s surely better than the tired recommendations you’ll find on Amazon.

For your Mum: @BangsandaBun
For your Dad: @BruceandSimon
For your Grandparent: @Whatleydude
For your dirty uncle: @bennycrime
If you find something on irkafirka that isn’t in the shop, and you’d like to buy a copy, just let us know and we’ll upload it. Happy Christmas!

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Alas, I broke the rules, so I have yet to inspire my own illustrated tweet… although I’m fairly sure that a quick glance through tweets produced in the 24 hours previous to Nick completing this Q&A could have turned up a few goodies (let’s just gloss over the fact that the best was a retweet, okay?)

Best go put the hob on in the kitchen so I can spread them around a bit. (Hob to keep me warm, bloody arctic down there)

RT @PennyRed I am a tiny protesting icicle. A protesticle.

have not left house for nearly three days. or seen anyone. I am a hermit.

pah! I wouldn’t miss it that much, I just went out for food supplies and my face nearly fell off – staying put now

I live in hope that one day I will be deemed worthy…
Daria H cat
Pet Portrait by Daria Hlazatova.

I think it’s fair to say that pet portraits have a slightly naff reputation. A quick google reveals the existence of reams of *traditional* pet portraitists who offer tacky artwork fit only for those with very little concept of style. And yet I know full well that there are lots of people out there who have both pets and good taste. Who then to cater for them? A portrait of a much loved pet is the perfect gift – especially for those who dote on their animals.

Back when I had time to create my own handmade artwork I liked to paint our cats Orlando and Grace. Nowadays I work with a constantly shifting team of very talented illustrators, visit this site many of whom are deeply attached to their own pets and much enamoured with animals as subjects. Amongst these I felt certain to find pet portraitists who could create personalised paintings with a bit of spirit – for pet portraits can also be fun, more about as epitomised by Daria’s offering. What follows is the pick of my discoveries: all of whom offer a unique piece of art for an incredibly good price. There’s still time to commission one of these illustrators for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present, and not only will you receive the perfect gift for a pet lover, but you will also be supporting the artistic community. Rather that than buy mass produced tat on the high street? No?

Gemma Randall toby milly
Toby and Milly by Gemma Randall.

Gemma Randall
Gemma was hot off the mark with her Christmas offering: she accepts commissions for intricate artworks of your best friend, all framed and wrapped for a total of £96, and she even offers two different styles – Contemporary and Classic. Find out more information here.

Molly & Fred Karina Yarv
Molly & Fred by Karina Yarv.

Karina Yarv
Saint Petersburg based Amelia’s Magazine contributor Karina Yarv offers both people and pet portraits in her inimitable bold style. She works fast and will produce either a computer created image or one made in black ink and a few colours. Prices start from £43 – find out more information here.

Mavis the Cat Kayleigh Bluck
Mavis the Cat by Kayleigh Bluck.

Kayleigh Bluck
Kayleigh Bluck offers a personalised gift via Etsy. She works predominantly in watercolour and coloured pencil and needs only three days to complete her gorgeous artworks, which will be done from an emailed photograph straight onto watercolour paper. A bargain at just £25. More info about creating this particular portrait here!

Piers and Fulton by Daria H
Piers and Fulton by Daria Hlazatova.

Daria Hlazatova
Daria is another of our far flung illustrators – this time hailing from the Ukraine. She creates lovely bright scenes and all she needs are: a photo, a name and a little bit of information about your furry friend. The price is £50, and you would need to contact her by email to discuss further details.

Piers+Fulton by Holly Exley
My parents’ new rescue cats frolic in the snow. Piers+Fulton by Holly Exley.

Holly Exley
Holly has created a Facebook event for her special Christmas pet portrait offer. This has already prompted a huge response, so I’d advise you to get in there quick – she’s creating beautiful watercolour A4 paintings for just £15, which is ridiculously cheap.

stephanie thieullent tabitha
Tabitha by Stephanie Thieullent.

Stephanie Thieullent
Stephanie is predominantly a digital designer who offers people portraits as well as pet portraits, but she can also work in ink to order. A simple postcard starts at just £15, and prices go up to £130 for an A2 portrait, so there’s a wide variety to choose from. Just click here.

It does rather seem that most of my friends and families are cat lovers… but these illustrators would love to tackle anything from cats and dogs…. to rabbits and hamsters. Just wonderful, I am sure you will agree. Why not get in touch with your favourite illustrator and commission them now before they get too busy to accept any more?

Categories ,Cat Portrait, ,cats, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Dog Portrait, ,Dogs, ,Gemma Randall, ,Holly Exley, ,illustrations, ,Karina Yarv, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Pet Portraits, ,Russian, ,Stéphanie Thieullent

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Amelia’s Magazine | Gabby Young Tour Poster Design Competition Winners

gabby young uk tour posters competition winners

Gabby Young has always been a big fan of collaborating, cialis 40mg hence her popular ‘Become an Animal’ scheme. Her forthcoming UK tour is appropriately named, patient the ‘All Together Now’ tour, in homage to her wonderful song ‘We’re all in this together’.

Artwork by Katelan van Foisy

Artwork by Sandra Dieckmann

Gabby recently came up with the fantastic idea of pooling her fans’ creativity in an artwork competition, with the best entries becoming posters for the different dates of her tour. With the help of Amelia’s magazine who promoted the competition, Gabby was overwhelmed with entries, and here you can see the winners- many of whom are Amelia’s Magazine regulars; see if you can recognise any illustrators!

Artwork by  Claire Sells

At each event 10 limited edition prints of each poster will be on sale alongside other Gabberdashery merchandise which includes everything from Rosa Bloom’s bustles and lace gloves, to feather headbands and vintage inspired jewellery from Crème Nouveau, organic beauty products and Merrimaking animal hoods.Expect more goodies by Love from Hetty and Dave, Hatastic, and many more.Everything is handmade here in the UK, so get yourself along to a gig to do some early Christmas shopping and support your local craftspeople!

Artwork by Soraya Tengan

Artwork by Betty Rasberry

Artwork by Yoyo

Artwork by Rob White

Artwork by Kat Flint


Artwork by Samantha Zaza

Artwork by Andrea Peterson

Artwork by Michelle Urval Nyren

Artwork by Stephanie Thuillet

Artwork by Emily Cox

Artwork by ‘Estelle’

Categories ,art, ,Artist Andrea, ,betty rasberry, ,claire sells, ,competition, ,emily cox, ,estelle, ,gabby young, ,illustation, ,kat flint, ,katelan van foisy, ,michelle urllan nyran, ,poster, ,rob white, ,samantha zaza, ,Sandra Dieckmann, ,soraya tengan, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,UK tour, ,yoyo

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