Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Preview: Jayne Pierson


Rachel Freire S/S 2011, order illustrated by Krister Selin

‘I’m terrible at interviews’ I announce shortly after arriving at Rachel Freire‘s East London studio. A bit of a melodramatic introduction, this site maybe; but as I now sit staring at my notes which resemble the scribbles of a toddler I now know why I said it.

My trouble is that I just like to listen to people. I get lost in conversation and forget to write anything down. I refuse to record interviews because I hate the sound of my own voice and I find it a bit of a distraction, so my erratic notes are all I have to record our meeting. Sometimes, if I meet up with somebody and they don’t say much, I can manage it; when I meet people like Rachel Freire – gorgeous, mesmerising, opinionated, articulate – I’m left with nothing.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Abby Wright

Rachel is based at the Dace Road studios, home also to the likes of Christopher Raeburn (featured in ACOFI) and Rui Leonardes. Ex-tennants include Mark Fast and Mary Kantrantzou who’ve now moved to Shacklewell Studios, aka hipster central, but despite her successes, Rachel’s staying put. I meet her on a grey Saturday afternoon, she’s been up for most of the night, but you wouldn’t notice despite her protests.

”Whoever says January is a dead month is LYING!’ Rachel exclaims as she makes the tea. I do find that I get on better with people who drink lots of tea. I just don’t trust people who don’t like it. I know, as she gives them a stir, that we’re going to get along. We sit at a big oak desk in the centre of the studio, Rachel lights a cigarette and we begin our conversation. I ask Rachel how it’s going, and she seems pretty positive. She has an army of interns and creates ‘a sense of family’ in her studio, which is adorned with all sorts of interesting antiquities like skulls and baseball paraphernalia. A sign above the door, Rachel’s mantra, reads ‘IF IN DOUBT, SPRAYPAINT IT GOLD,’ a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Naomi Law

Rachel brands herself as a ‘costumier’ who happened to fall into fashion, which explains her unique and innovative approach to dressing. ‘I’ll never lose track of my costumier routes,’ she tells me, ‘I’m pretty anti-fashion. It dictates what we wear and how we feel, and I’ve never subscribed to that.’ Her models ‘need to have an arse’ and she’s conscious of the responsibility a fashion designer must adopt, whether that be ethical or environmental. ‘I am the cheapest person!’ Rachel admits, ‘but I will never shop in Primark. I look at the clothes and think ‘somebody suffered for this’. I want customers to hold things knowing somebody’s crafted it – that something is special.’


S/S 2011, illustrated by Gemma Milly

Rachel won’t compromise. She’s staying true to herself and won’t put her name on anything that she hasn’t rigourously vetted and knows exactly where everything has come from. Rachel is as much an ethical designer as any of the Estethica designers – if not more so. She values the work of other people and believes that you ‘have to be ethical in so many different ways’. How you treat your interns, where you source your fabrics, how you communicate with suppliers – all these things, Rachel believes, are necessary for good business, not just opting for ethical fabrics.

Rachel’s previous collections provide sculptural, architectural pieces with innovative techniques (read all about her glow-in-the-dark S/S 2011 collection here) and it seems A/W 2011 will be even more exciting. As we chat about the boy Rachel’s texting and get mixed up with whose tea is whose (easy mistake – Rachel’s recently got a new mug but the Queen of Fucking Everything option she’s given me still has sentimental value) we’re surrounded by leather nipples. REAL nipples.

Rachel and her team of merry men (and women) have been hard at work in the previous weeks to marry them together to make roses. They’re absolutely beautiful to touch and look at but there’s something rather unsettling about them. ‘That’s my aesthetic!’ Rachel declares.

A sneak peek at some of the fabrics, techniques and colours Rachel’s preparing to show this week:


A/W 2010, illustrated by Joana Faria

Rachel’s also working with Ecco, who are developing processes for leather manufacturing for couture houses. Rachel has devoted a lot of her time visiting the Netherlands tannery working alongside them in their quest to transform how we produce and approach leather goods. ‘I’m obsessed with materials!’ Rachel tells me. ‘It’s much nicer to make a jacket out of something that you’ve had an input in from the start.’ She shows me a new process she’s working on (damned if I can remember the name) which gives leather an ethereal ripple-like pattern that looks as if it’s been photoshopped. I’m speechless, and we both sit caressing it for a while until I can think of something to say.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

So what’s up next for Rachel? Well, A/W 2011 looks set to be her bravest collection yet, and I had a sneak peek at some of the fabrics, textures, techniques and cuts she’s working on. On a grander scale, she ‘loves to teach’ and wants to establish a system where the efforts of designers to instil good practises and skills into their army of interns is recognised. She describes mainstay teaching as ‘box ticking’ and, as someone whose never done what she was told to do, feels there’s more to give in a studio-based environment than anything in the classroom. I hear ya, love.

Rachel’s excited about the future. She plans to dazzle once a year at the A/W 2011 shows while maintaining commissions with an ever-expanding roster of clients and other projects during the rest of the year. She also wants to live on a boat and explore costume design in cinema. She references Jean Paul Gaultier‘s work on flicks like The Fifth Element and is excited by the prospect of applying her unique aesthetic to film. It all comes down to financing. ‘Money dictates and creates a standard,’ Rachel tells me. ‘The system to support new designers is very small, but I won’t compromise my values. I’m here to stay.’

I should bloody hope so.

Rachel’s original draqing for her collaboration with Neurotica:

All photography by Matt Bramford
Illustration by Mina Bach

Chad Valley is Hugo Manuel. Oxford born and bred, viagra buy this musician and producer is a member of the recently established Blessing Force Collective and the frontman of alt-folk band Jonquil. As the cold light of the new year dissolved in February, sale Hugo Manuel finished a tour with Twin Shadow and participated in Blessing Force’s recent Warehouse Party at The Old Bookbinders in Oxford. In the days inbetween, Manuel chatted to Amelia’s Magazine about his latest solo venture and what would happen if he ever went for tea with Neil Young…

First things first, how are you finding 2011 so far?

2011 has so far been a blur and feels like its about 10 days old. Its still fresh, and there are lots of plans being hatched.

What’s the story behind the name Chad Valley? I see in previous interviews you’ve mentioned that it’s the name of a toy company begun in the Victorian era?

Chad Valley is actually a place near Birmingham where the toy company was based and it just a wonderful sounding pairing of words. I have no connection with the toy company and when I first knew of the word it wasn’t anything to do with toys. In fact, a friend of mine used it as his stage name when he was in a punk band. Its a kind of generational thing though, because people of my age don’t tend to know about the toy company whereas older generations are like ‘why did you name yourself after Chad Valley!?’ I guess it is a bit like calling myself Argos.


Video for Chad Valley’s Up and Down by Katie Harrison

Which era or decade would you say has inspired your music the most?

For Chad Valley specifically I would have to say the late 80s to very early 90s. Its a kind of end of the decade thing where there is change and new things coming in, a rebellion against what has come before. I think the production values of electronic music had, by then, reached something of a pinnacle and things had got so slick that its almost sickly, but quite amazing at the same time. Outside that though, I think the period of 1969 to 1974 is probably the time I would most love to be making music. The records that came out of that era by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Browne are all some of my favourites of all time.

What’s the musical inspiration behind Chad Valley? Are you still listening to Studio and The Tough Alliance or have you moved on to pastures new?

I still have so much love for those bands, absolutely. And Ceo, which is one of the guys from TA’s new project, is also great. That was definitely the jumping off point for Chad Valley, but things are moving on, for sure. I’m listening to a lot more R&B at the moment, and that is having a big impact on the stuff I’m making right now. I’m delving deep into R Kelly’s back catalogue for inspiration.

Illustration by Maria del Carmen Smith

If Chad Valley were a geographical landscape, what or where would it be? How would you map Jonquil?

It would be New York in the early 70s, just like in Taxi Driver. Jonquil would be LA, in the early 90s. Like in the Ice Cube videos.

What are your thoughts on Up and Down being described in the Guardian as “a slinky Hot Chip on downers, a disco-infused summer “joint” featuring some shimmering synths, padded drum beats and Manuel’s impressive croon”?

That was nice to hear. I like Hot Chip a lot, I think they’ve done pretty amazing things considering how weird a band they are. Also, it’s nice to get press in places like the Guardian because you can show your parents, and they can be very impressed.


Video for Chad Valley’s Portuguese Solid Summer by Katie Harrison

Who is the most inspirational person you have come across? What would a meeting between the two of you be like?

Neil Young, without a shadow of a doubt. I would love to have a cup of tea with him and just talk about writing music. I’m sure I would be 100% intimidated and just drool or something weird like that.

What is the most exciting or scary thing that 2011 will throw at you?

At the moment I’m fairly petrified about writing and producing an album. Because it’s just me and I don’t have other people to bounce ideas off, it can be very quite scary making the big decisions about lyrics, or song titles, artwork… those kind of things. But I’m getting way ahead of myself… I have about 2 and a half tunes for the album I guess.

I really like the ambient atmosphere of the video for Up and Down – how did the idea behind the video develop? How did you come across the footage?

It was actually made by my girlfriend when she had the summer off, and a lot of free time on her hands. It’s all stuff from across the internet, so it’s a pretty amazing patchwork of different people’s home videos, pretty much. I like that idea a lot, and its fairly mind-boggling, the fact that that is at all possible!

Illustration by Alia Gargum

What’s been your favourite gig to play at so far?

There are two that I’ll mention, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for live shows. One was at a launderette in Hackney. A working laundrette that had been closed for the night and fixed up with a PA and some projectors. They place was heaving, in the best possible way, and everyone danced. Everyone. So at the other end is the show I did with Foals on New Years Eve at the Kentish Town Forum. I was on first, but being NYE there was excitement in the room, and the vibes were excellent.

What impact does being based in Oxford have on your sound?

The scene we have here… the whole Blessing Force thing, is so supportive and encouraging that I think being from Oxford has had a huge affect on the way I make music, and just simply the fact that I do make music. Being surrounded by other musicians all doing similar bedroom-recorded stuff gives you a huge amount of drive to make shit happen. But the things that make Oxford great are also the things that make Oxford not so great. People are always coming and going from Oxford… its in a constant state of flux and this give it an uneasy feeling sometimes. Like, if you stay here for a long time there must be something wrong with you. I can see myself leaving Oxford in the future for sure, but right now it offers so much to me, that I couldn’t keep away.

Illustration by Mina Bach

Chad Valley is Hugo Manuel. Oxford born and bred, see this musician and producer is a member of the recently established Blessing Force Collective and the frontman of alt-folk band Jonquil. As the cold light of the new year dissolved in February, medicine Hugo Manuel finished a tour with Brooklyn’s acclaimed Twin Shadow and participated in Blessing Force’s recent Warehouse Party at The Old Bookbinders in Oxford. In the days inbetween, approved Manuel chatted to Amelia’s Magazine about his latest solo venture and what would happen if he ever went for tea with Neil Young…

First things first, how are you finding 2011 so far?

2011 has so far been a blur and feels like its about 10 days old. Its still fresh, and there are lots of plans being hatched.

What’s the story behind the name Chad Valley? I see in previous interviews you’ve mentioned that it’s the name of a toy company begun in the Victorian era?

Chad Valley is actually a place near Birmingham where the toy company was based and it just a wonderful sounding pairing of words. I have no connection with the toy company and when I first knew of the word it wasn’t anything to do with toys. In fact, a friend of mine used it as his stage name when he was in a punk band. Its a kind of generational thing though, because people of my age don’t tend to know about the toy company whereas older generations are like ‘why did you name yourself after Chad Valley!?’ I guess it is a bit like calling myself Argos.


Video for Chad Valley’s Up and Down by Katie Harrison

Which era or decade would you say has inspired your music the most?

For Chad Valley specifically I would have to say the late 80s to very early 90s. Its a kind of end of the decade thing where there is change and new things coming in, a rebellion against what has come before. I think the production values of electronic music had, by then, reached something of a pinnacle and things had got so slick that its almost sickly, but quite amazing at the same time. Outside that though, I think the period of 1969 to 1974 is probably the time I would most love to be making music. The records that came out of that era by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Browne are all some of my favourites of all time.

What’s the musical inspiration behind Chad Valley? Are you still listening to Studio and The Tough Alliance or have you moved on to pastures new?

I still have so much love for those bands, absolutely. And Ceo, which is one of the guys from TA’s new project, is also great. That was definitely the jumping off point for Chad Valley, but things are moving on, for sure. I’m listening to a lot more R&B at the moment, and that is having a big impact on the stuff I’m making right now. I’m delving deep into R Kelly’s back catalogue for inspiration.

Illustration by Maria del Carmen Smith

If Chad Valley were a geographical landscape, what or where would it be? How would you map Jonquil?

It would be New York in the early 70s, just like in Taxi Driver. Jonquil would be LA, in the early 90s. Like in the Ice Cube videos.

What are your thoughts on Up and Down being described in the Guardian as “a slinky Hot Chip on downers, a disco-infused summer “joint” featuring some shimmering synths, padded drum beats and Manuel’s impressive croon”?

That was nice to hear. I like Hot Chip a lot, I think they’ve done pretty amazing things considering how weird a band they are. Also, it’s nice to get press in places like the Guardian because you can show your parents, and they can be very impressed.


Video for Chad Valley’s Portuguese Solid Summer by Katie Harrison

Who is the most inspirational person you have come across? What would a meeting between the two of you be like?

Neil Young, without a shadow of a doubt. I would love to have a cup of tea with him and just talk about writing music. I’m sure I would be 100% intimidated and just drool or something weird like that.

What is the most exciting or scary thing that 2011 will throw at you?

At the moment I’m fairly petrified about writing and producing an album. Because it’s just me and I don’t have other people to bounce ideas off, it can be very quite scary making the big decisions about lyrics, or song titles, artwork… those kind of things. But I’m getting way ahead of myself… I have about 2 and a half tunes for the album I guess.

I really like the ambient atmosphere of the video for Up and Down – how did the idea behind the video develop? How did you come across the footage?

It was actually made by my girlfriend when she had the summer off, and a lot of free time on her hands. It’s all stuff from across the internet, so it’s a pretty amazing patchwork of different people’s home videos, pretty much. I like that idea a lot, and its fairly mind-boggling, the fact that that is at all possible!

Illustration by Alia Gargum

What’s been your favourite gig to play at so far?

There are two that I’ll mention, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for live shows. One was at a launderette in Hackney. A working laundrette that had been closed for the night and fixed up with a PA and some projectors. They place was heaving, in the best possible way, and everyone danced. Everyone. So at the other end is the show I did with Foals on New Years Eve at the Kentish Town Forum. I was on first, but being NYE there was excitement in the room, and the vibes were excellent.

What impact does being based in Oxford have on your sound?

The scene we have here… the whole Blessing Force thing, is so supportive and encouraging that I think being from Oxford has had a huge affect on the way I make music, and just simply the fact that I do make music. Being surrounded by other musicians all doing similar bedroom-recorded stuff gives you a huge amount of drive to make shit happen. But the things that make Oxford great are also the things that make Oxford not so great. People are always coming and going from Oxford… its in a constant state of flux and this give it an uneasy feeling sometimes. Like, if you stay here for a long time there must be something wrong with you. I can see myself leaving Oxford in the future for sure, but right now it offers so much to me, that I couldn’t keep away.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Welsh designer Jayne Pierson won the Graduate Fashion Week Ecological Design Award in 2007 and since then has quickly risen up the fashion ranks. Her latest collection, capsule S/S 2011, was a riot of colour and military influences, with luxurious fabrics and bold tailoring.

Jayne’s previous employers include Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, and their influence is evident in her collections. She debuted solo-stylee in 2009 which saw her featured in Vogue Italia, Vogue and Grazia to name a few.

It’s Jayne’s combination of superior fabrics and innovative design concepts (as well as her extraordinary cutting ability) that makes her a stand-out label in a sea of new designers.

I caught up with Jayne in the run-up to fashion week A/W 2011 to find out how she’s coping and what the rest of the season holds…

Your SS11 collection went down a storm – can you tell us a bit about it?
My Spring/Summer 2011 was based on The Twin Parallel.  The theory of space and time and the existence of gravitational time dilation.  It engages with the notion that one could change the past to recreate the future. I wanted to create a collection that was ultimately timeless.


Illustration by Karolina Burdon

What’s inspiring you for A/W 11?
Black, bondage, gloss and industrial.

What can we expect to see on the catwalk from Jayne Pierson this season?
The silhouette juxtaposes the two opposites of restrained tailoring and freeform drape. The organic shapes and the mystery between the folds represent an unknowing, an uncertainty and an alienation. This inexpicably draws me in.

Have you had any major hurdles or experiences in the run up to this season? 
Not really but I can always do with another few months to schedule a holiday somewhere…??

What techniques/fabrics/patterns are you using?
Opposites of restrained tailoring and freeform drape; leather with taffeta.??

How do you gage the response to each collection? Do you read reviews?
Not really as I usually base it on how well the sales are doing.


Illustration by Rukmunal Hakim

??What kind of woman wears Jayne Pierson? Has this changed? 
I’m developing wearable garments with a high-end finish that retains a knowing irony for women that choose to march to the sound of their own drum. ??

What do you make of the current London Fashion scene?
I don’t really follow it as I’m based in Wales. I think it helps to give me space to reflect.

Which fashionable London hotspots would you reccommend to relax?
Tate, Hakkasan, Whiskey Mist and Spitalfields Market.

What does the rest of 2011 have in store for Jayne Pierson?
Paris Fashion Week and a well needed rest at my mum’s house in Dallas, Texas.

Jayne will show her A/W 2011 collection at On|Off today

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Graduate Fashion Week, ,Hakkasan, ,interview, ,Jayne Pierson, ,leather, ,London Fashion Week, ,preview, ,S/S 2011, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Tate, ,The Twin Parallel, ,Vivienne Westwood, ,wales, ,Whiskey Mist

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Amelia’s Magazine | Jewellery Week 2013: Jewel East Review

Amberwood jewellery by Marta Wlodarska
My first experience of Jewellery Week 2013 was a trip to Jewel East in Spitalfields Market. Here a range of up and coming designers display their wares in a sheltered spot that delineates them from the rest of the bustling market. I was expecting a far larger showcase, but the trip was well worth it for a few really exciting discoveries.

Amberwood jewellery by Marta Wlodarska earrings
Amberwood jewellery by Marta Wlodarska matching pendants
Firstly, Amberwood, the astonishing work of Polish jewellery designer Marta Wlodarska, who had travelled over from Poland specifically to take part in the show. Marta‘s passion for her materials is evident in the way she describes her creations. To find the baltic amber that is the core of her creations she heads down to the beach and sifts through piles of floating driftwood, some of which becomes a part of her earrings and pendants. She also sources beautiful woods from further afield, searching high and low for unusual colours to include in her conical shapes and chequered patterns which are all individually glued and sanded, so that no two pieces are the same.

Amberwood jewellery by Marta Wlodarska ring
Nestled inside bands of wood the strips of amber glow enticingly like lamps, and I found it very hard to decide which big (but very light) earrings I liked best. Marta told me she is super pleased with the response she has so far received on her trip to the UK, so here’s hoping she’ll return as her pieces are not currently available online.

Decadorn stalactite amethyst pendants
Decadorn drusy pendants
Helen Bailey is the brains behind Decadorn, utilising raw gemstones such as druzy quartz and crystal encrusted geodes to create unique pendants encased in luscious layers of gold plate. Her previous career as a buyer for the high street might explain why she was not keen for me to take photos of her beautiful display, but I’m a firm believer that if someone is going to nick your ideas they will find a way to do it, so designer makers should always welcome photographic attention. Anyway, long story short, I couldn’t resist those amethyst stalactites…

Michelle Oh coral ring
For those more keen on delicate jewellery I was taken by a coral inspired collection by Michelle Oh, particularly a bespoke ring featuring an upside down green sapphire. Love those coloured sapphires.

I hope to discover many more exciting jewellery designers over Jewellery Week and at the graduate shows.

Categories ,2013, ,Amberwood, ,Amethyst, ,Baltic Amber, ,Decadorn, ,Druzy quartz, ,Geodes, ,Helen Bailey, ,Jewel East, ,Jewellery Week, ,Marta Wlodarska, ,Michelle Oh, ,poland, ,review, ,Sapphire, ,Spitalfields Market

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Amelia’s Magazine | Diesel Party 2007: Paris

The last time I saw Final Fantasy was in the tiny Spitz venue. Tonight he is playing to full capacity at the Scala; word has clearly spread and expectations are high. I am here on my own with only a monster coldsore for company. Prior to the gig I sit down at a table opposite a morose and unenthusiastic man in his mid-30s (that point where the unfulfilled of the gender start to become manically desperate) who is nevertheless keen to talk to me – his profession changes from writer on the blag to “actually I work at an internet company and I am a frustrated musician” at the drop of my job description. Not so worth trying to impress me, purchase buy eh?! I persuade him that Canadian impresario Owen, decease the man who is Final Fantasy, will be well worth watching. Post-set I am vindicated, but Mr. Morose is nowhere to be seen.

Owen takes to the stage with his inimitable banter in full flow, and proceeds to play his entire set on his lonesome, with just his trusted viola, a keyboard, and some looping mechanism (that I can’t hope to understand) for company. Oh, and a lovely young lady, who stands with her back to the crowd in front of an old fashioned projector that she proceeds to masterfully manipulate. Final Fantasy‘s music has been set to acetate drama, and the result is mesmerizing, even if I have to struggle to see the events unfold through the lighting rig that obscures my view on the top balcony.

Final Fantasy is on a one-man misson to coax as many sounds as he can possibly can from a viola, and in his looping hands this one instrument becomes a full orchestra, and the crowd loves it. There is even a lady at the front of the audience whose frantically waving hands can’t decide whether they are vogueing or conducting throughout the entire set. “Has anyone got any questions?” he asks at one point. “Any constructive criticism?” “No, I don’t normally do poppers!” he replies to the one query he gets. “Lesson learned, never talk to the audience!” Even when things go slightly pear-shaped with the looping business, which they inevitably do, he carries on in such a postive manner that no one minds. As the climax is reached and the star-crossed silhouette of lovers finally meet on the projection screen, Owen lifts his miniature partner into the air and they both stumble off stage. There will be a wave of enquiries into viola lessons across the capital shortly.

Did you know that the man who designed Battersea Power Station (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott) also designed the classic red phone box? Clearly a talented guy. I went to see the Chinese exhibition at the Power Station (as it has now been rebranded) for the same reason as everybody else was there – mainly to see the station before it is at last transformed. The art I could give or take – it was haphazard and I was unsure of its meaning, remedy although I particularly enjoyed the fermenting apple wall (mmmm, store yummy appley smell) – the other stuff was merely an adjunct to the amazingly damp interior of the building, (you will find out a lot more about Chinese contemporary arts by reading my new issue). I really hope that the ludicrously long-in-the-planning development will do this amazing building justice – the ominous and ugly “luxury resort hotel” going up next to it must surely be one of the ways in which they have at last found funding. I hadn’t realised how much I treasure the iconic shape of the station, what with me being a sarf-Londoner and all.

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Amelia’s Magazine | New Designers 2013 Product Design Review: The Best Product Designers and More

Elizabeth Roberts product design
To round off my coverage of New Designers I’m going to introduce my random top selections from the product design colleges, as well as some stray surface design and some ace work from the One Year On room. Firstly, Lizzy Roberts at Camberwell College of Art was inspired by ways in which lives can be improved. She calls these curious objects Theraputty, and they are designed for use in Occupational Therapy to help those with poor dexterity to improve strength.

Liv Stevens Pocket shelf
I like the concept of a Pocket Shelf, by Liv Stevens – store all your unsightly stuff and save the surface for cherished objects.

Rosie Holman Cardiff School of Art
It seems odd that Cardiff School of Art and Design chose to show work by their surface pattern designers at part two of New Designers, but they must have had their reasons. Tucked away at the back of a room full of architectural models I discovered some lovely displays. Rosie Holman used a mid century colour palette to hand stamp a mix of organic designs inspired by the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford.

Louise Webber Cardiff School of Art
I loved Louise Webber‘s laser cut wood inlays featuring animals and plant life, but sadly you’ll have to make do with one slightly out of focus photo, as I can’t find her work anywhere online.

Joanne King Cardiff school of art
Joanne King was inspired by the Art Deco period in her creation of fabrics and wallpaper in a variety of textures, including silks and rich velvet. She envisages these designs in commercial interiors such as hotels and bars.

Lulu & Luca
Over in the One Year On room it was nice to see a familiar display of simple yet elegant textiles designs from Lulu & Luca, who were last spotted in Spitalfields Market.

Decorative lampshades by Josie Shenoy in #oneyearon
These decorative lampshades are by Josie Shenoy, who applies her delicate mirrored illustrations to a host of interiors and stationary products.

Katherina Manolessou hedgehog gardening bakers dozen
I spotted this print of a hedgehog mowing the lawn by Katherina Manolessou at the AOI stand; it was created as part of a project called Baker’s Dozen.

Pot handles by Aidan Blaik at edinburgh napier - productdesign
I’m not one to obsess over the small aspects of kitchenware design, but I can’t resist this exploration of pot handles by Aidan Blaik at Edinburgh Napier.

recycled glass lights from Brenda Curry at birmingham city
And I love these recycled glass lights from Brenda Curry at Birmingham City University.

Patchwork quilt by Joshua Barnes of Brighton
This patchwork quilt comes with an integrated app to help children in hospital, by Joshua Barnes of Brighton University.

Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa
Also at Brighton, product designer Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa had created an intriguing steel tree with magnetic balls, to be added and removed with children to initiate conversation.

ceramics by Alex Allday at loughborough uni
And finally, to round off my reviews of the 2013 New Designers shows, these pretty patterned ceramics by Alex Allday at Loughborough University are clearly inspired by the intricate designs of plant cells.

Here’s hoping many of the designers that I have discovered go on to long and illustrious creative careers!

Categories ,2013, ,Aidan Blaik, ,Alex Allday, ,AOI, ,Art Deco, ,Baker’s Dozen, ,Birmingham City University, ,Brenda Curry, ,Brighton University, ,Camberwell College of Art, ,Camberwell College of Arts, ,Cardiff School of Art and Design, ,Edinburgh Napier, ,Eloisa Henderson-Figueroa, ,Joanne King, ,Joshua Barnes, ,Josie Shenoy, ,Katherina Manolessou, ,Liv Stevens, ,Lizzy Roberts, ,Loughborough University, ,Louise Webber, ,Lulu & Luca, ,New Designers, ,One Year On, ,Pitt Rivers, ,Pocket Shelf, ,Product Design, ,review, ,Spitalfields Market, ,surface design, ,Theraputty

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Amelia’s Magazine | Putting optical illusions on homeware: an interview with designer maker Dionne Sylvester

Dionne Sylvester plate designs
I first discovered the striking homeware of designer maker Dionne Sylvester at Spitalfields Market earlier this year, where they immediately caught my attention. Her colourful designs give traditional teacups, plates and upholstery a zingy modern update inspired by the play of light on the Caribbean sea and a fascination with optical illusions. I love them!

Dionne Sylvester portrait
Where do you find inspiration for the combinations of colours that you put together?
My inspiration first came from looking at different menswear books, which led to researching the phenomenon of British Dandies and the collections of Ozwald Boateng in particular. I like the smart appearance of the Dandies and the extravagant colour clashes so beloved of Boateng, who uses unexpected shades for the inner lining as his signature look. My shocking colour ways are also influenced by Caribbean culture. You can see these references running through my range because it is both fun and traditional.

Dionne Sylvester designs Meadow
How do you create the feel of optical illusions within your artwork?
I use a combination of simple techniques to create illusions. The main image is often created in a prominent colour so that your eye is led to it, even though it has been well hidden in the final design. Sometimes other colours further distract the eye from the original image. When your eye detects a form your mind will then create logic from the whole pattern. It’s really nice to hear what people see in my designs: birds, dancing people, faces and just about anything you can think of. Everyone sees something different in my work.

Dionne Sylvester bolster cushion
What was the best thing you learnt during your degree in fashion design in Falmouth?
The best thing I learnt was digital printing, I was really lucky that I had the best technicians and I was taught so much about the practical uses of the equipment because I was in the first year to do the fashion degree. This meant that the technicians had a bit more time to give us tips on using everything and it was all new. I completed the first year on a Contemporary Crafts degree before I changed over to Fashion, which is funny since I have now gone back full circle and my work could be included under the umbrella of ‘craft’. My studies enabled me to pick up a real fusion of different skills.

Dionne Sylvester teacup designs
Why did you decide to crossover into the production of homewares, and what has been the easiest and hardest things about the transition?
I’m still not sure how it happened! But, I knew I wanted to do something of my own and I love making and being creative. I bought the same equipment that I used at uni to do digital printing for fabric and it started from there when I began to experiment with the equipment boundaries. The first products I produced were sets of teacups which I got into a shop in Margate a week later, and the original prints on those are still being used on products which I sell.

Dionne Sylvester designs mugs
The easiest part of all of this is how creative I can be and I am basically making, designing, painting and producing pretty things on most days. But the hardest transition is that I’m learning as I go along. I didn’t know anything about homewares or the craft business. From production to location of selling and keeping accounts, I am constantly learning. But it is still fun and I have met lovely people on the journey.

Where and how are your products made?
I source all my products locally or from within the UK, and I produce all my products from my home studio in Kent. It’s a bit crazy and gets messy, but it works at the moment. I’m looking into getting the ceramics made by a specialist outsource as I want to expand my ceramic range.

White Horses Whitstable art sails
How did you get involved with the White Horses Whitstable project and what inspired the final design that appeared on a sail? (see Dionne’s sail on the far left)
I got involved with White Horses when I saw their advertisement for local artists and I wanted to be part of the project because it sounded very unusual and I have never been involved with producing public art before. The print that was featured on my sail is called A Water Dance and was inspired by my travels to the Caribbean – inspiration came from looking at how the sea reflects the different colours around it, changing the tone and creating movement and textures. I thought that would fit in well with the theme and it is also one of my favourite designs that is featured on my range of cushions.

White Horses Whitstable 2013
White Horses Whitstable 2013. Photo courtesy of Leo Mason.

Whom do you produce fashion prints for, and how do these complement your own range?
I have sold to Bally, Gap and straight to textiles houses. My designs for fashion are very different as they tend to feature hand drawn illustrations in pen and ink and use a lot less colour than in my own work. I make mini collections of prints around themes such as decaying nature, the human body and creepy animals.

Dionne Sylvester- a water dance
Dionne Sylvester – A Water Dance.

How has the Prince’s Trust enabled your business to grow?
The Prince’s Trust has been brilliant! I went to them when I was unsure of what I wanted to do, and my mentor made me think about the possibilities of my small idea. She made me realise how much I had learnt from my studies and what an enormous love of art, craft and design I have. Taking part gave me the confidence to use all the skills I have.

Dionne Sylvester designs cushions
Where can interested readers find you in the run up to Christmas?
With the run up to Christmas, I’m going to be selling in Style Market on Saturdays at Spitalfields Market, at Handmade Christmas in the O2 on 15th December and at the Of Cabbage of Kings Christmas Market in Stoke Newington on 15th December.

Lastly, I believe you now live in Chatham in Kent – can you share with us what is happening creatively in the area? I’d love to know…
I have always worked and socialised in London but it has been three years since I left uni and I’ve kind of settled in Chatham now. There is a really creative buzz going on in Medway with lots of artists and designers hosting interesting events. This is not just because of the different arts universities in the area – it feels as if the local people are coming together to make a creative community, which is growing very quickly. It will be interesting to see how Medway artists affect the local landscape in the coming years.

You can find Dionne Sylvester‘s etsy shop right here. Photography by Caroline Wenham.

Categories ,A Water Dance, ,Bally, ,Caribbean, ,Caroline Wenham, ,Chatham, ,colour, ,Contemporary Crafts, ,craft, ,Dandy, ,designer, ,Dionne Sylvester, ,Falmouth, ,fashion, ,Fashion Print, ,Gap, ,Handmade Christmas, ,Homeware, ,kent, ,Leo Mason, ,Maker, ,Margate, ,Medway, ,Medway Towns, ,O2, ,Of Cabbage of Kings, ,Optical Illusion, ,Ozwald Boateng, ,Sail, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Stoke Newington, ,Style Market, ,textile, ,The Prince’s Trust, ,White Horses Whitstable

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Amelia’s Magazine | D&AD New Blood 2013 Review: Best Graduate Illustration and Graphic Design

Bird man by Charlotte Cox at southampton solent screenprinting
This year the D&AD New Blood graduate show was held once again in a cordoned off section of Spitalfields Market. It’s a small space with hoards of exhibiting students crammed into the tight corridors, which can make it hard to manoeuvre around when it’s busy. Most colleges had as usual opted for a simple display on plain white stands, but one in particular had pushed the boat out: Southampton Solent had hand stamped the brown boards of their Wooly Bully Illustration show stand, providing an excellent foil to large scale screen printed work, handmade badges and a high quality promotional package. Amongst a sea of stands featuring A2 printed copies of students work this was a delightfully visceral experience. One of my favourite pieces was the bird man above by Charlotte Cox. They were also handing out invites to their stand alone London show, Solstice, at the Coningsby Gallery, but I was sadly away when it took place: I hope I’ll get an earlier invite next year!

Southampton solent book
Southampton solent book
These images are from a book that was hanging on the wall, illustrator unknown.

Southampton solent - Rake
This screenprint titled Rotam Vitea features alchemical symbolism and is by the enigmatically named Rake.

Elliot Kruszynski at Bath Spa Uni - Save the forests and the animals and the wizards
And from the rest of the show, here’s the illustrations and design work that caught my eye: Elliot Kruszynski at Bath Spa University wants us to Save the Forests and the Animals and the Wizards with this wonderful atmospheric print.

Austrian folk tale by Carina Dewhurst
I didn’t get an invite to the Westminster University standalone degree show this year, which is a shame as on the strength of their small New Blood display it looks like this was a particularly talented group. This beautiful illustration is based on an Austrian folk tale, by Carina Dewhurst.

Louise Byrnes
Printed textiles by Louise Brynes
This gorgeous abstract artwork is by Louise Byrnes, who also created textile designs that reminded me of the trend for splashy abstracts that was very prevalent at New Designers. Just lush, so lush in fact that someone tried to make off with the very print shown above whilst I was there!

Carmen Lynch environmental disaster westminster uni
Carmen Lynch was inspired by environmental disasters to create this threatening yet engaging image.

UCLAN
These cute animals are by someone at UCLAN – unfortunately I didn’t note who as there were no labels. Then the artist responsible tweeted me, but I failed to to take a note of her name then. If it’s you, let me know!

Lunchtime atop a Tree by Rhiannon Izard at plymouth uni
Lunchtime Atop a Tree features a trio of monkeys, by Rhiannon Izard, a paper artist and illustrator from Plymouth University.

Sophia Viney's ghost
Sophia Viney goes under the name Littleinkstain – I like her ghost, which is part of a story about a dark forest inhabited by pixies, created for the BimbaGirls Comic Anthology.

New Blood design show 2013-Saif Chowdhury
Saif Chowdhury‘s fantastical characters are inspired by Japanese video games and bizarre worlds – this image was created for a story about a child on a quest to find their dead father, whilst overcoming monsters and obstacles.

Children's book by Lucy Wooler at norwich uni
This colourful children’s book by Lucy Wooler at Norwich University was inspired by a Victorian morality tale.

Bumble bee by Tori Gray at Dundee
Behold, a humble bumble bee made of type by Tori Gray at the University of Dundee.

Marco Galloway abstract dundee
Marco Galloway researched colour theory to make this great abstract illustration.

Danielle Smith ceramics
These ceramics by Danielle Smith were inspired by mysterious tales of the traveller community.

New Blood design show 2013-Dictionopolis by jame wilson
Dictionopolis by Jamie Wilson at northumbria uni
Dictionopolis tells the tale of a city of words: this beautiful hand printed concertina book by Jamie Wilson of Northumbria University simply took my breath away. I wasn’t sure where to find him online, since Jamie Wilson is apparently quite a common name for an illustrator. This seems most likely to be his home though.

Flower print by Sarah Baskeyfield at Staffordshire Uni
Shells, pineapples & flowers by Sarah Baskeyfield
These hyper colour flower, fruit and shell printed patterns are by Sarah Baskeyfield at Staffordshire University, and were standout pretty amongst all the angular graphic designs on show.

Pottery ampersand by Helen Player at staffordshire uni
This giant pottery ampersand by Helen Player was created as part of a design brief for the V&A.

Dominic Kesterton at ECA
Dominic Kesterton at Edinburgh College of Art based these designs on the linguistics of a fictional seaweed picking culture.

Alex Tait at bucks new uni
Lastly these brilliant black characters are by Alex Tait at Bucks New University.

There were lots of other interesting things on show, but I’ve been writing (or am still writing) stand alone reviews about a number of illustration degrees, so you’ll find their best work elsewhere on my site.

*Many of these images first appeared on my instagram feed, where you can view my pick of design graduates and other inspiring finds as I see them.*

Categories ,2013, ,Alex Tait, ,Bath Spa University, ,BimbaGirls Comic Anthology, ,Bucks New University, ,Carina Dewhurst, ,Carmen Lynch, ,Charlotte Cox, ,Coningsby Gallery, ,D&AD, ,Danielle Smith, ,Dictionopolis, ,Dominic Kesterton, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Elliot Kruszynski, ,Helen Player, ,Jamie Wilson, ,Littleinkstain, ,Louise Byrnes, ,Lucy Wooler, ,Lunchtime Atop a Tree, ,Marco Galloway, ,New Blood, ,New Designers, ,Northumbria University, ,Norwich University, ,Plymouth University, ,Rake, ,review, ,Rhiannon Izard, ,Rotam Vitea, ,Saif Chowdhury, ,Sarah Baskeyfield, ,Save the Forests and the Animals and the Wizards, ,Solstice, ,Sophia Viney, ,Southampton Solent, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Staffordshire University, ,Tori Gray, ,University of Dundee, ,va, ,Westminster University, ,Wooly Bully Illustration

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Amelia’s Magazine | D&AD New Blood 2014 Review

New Blood review 2014
This year the D&AD New Blood show returned once more to Spitalfields Market. The overwhelming emphasis was on work aimed at the more commercial sector of the graphic arts, with less colleges than in previous years choosing to showcase pure illustration.

New Blood Don't be a Dick
Straight away, I picked up a copy of the Don’t be a Dick newspaper by Shellsuit Zombie, offering some salient graduate advice in a nicely edited one page form.

New Blood Southampton type
Nothing was labelled on the otherwise always excellent Solent Illustration stand, so I tried to match up artwork to illustrators using their A4 hand out and nicely produced newspaper. It wasn’t easy! And even harder to locate websites in quite a lot of cases… The funky circus inspired typography above is by Laura Hunt. Dontcha just love the word funky?

New Blood southampton
Luke Baker is responsible for this gridlocked city scene.

New Blood southampton skull
Kirby Pyle made this skull and other wooden cut outs.

New Blood southampton stencil
Hannah Bartlett’s stencilled lady looks into her looking glass.

New Blood southamption grace williams
In the newspaper: I liked this abstract image by Grace Williams.

New Blood southampton emily wilks
Emily Wilks made this cool pattern of animals and foliage. We were not officially invited but I picked up an invite to the students’ stand alone show at the Coningsby Gallery, and asked former student Jenny Robins to cover the Wooly Bully studio work in more detail… to be posted soon.

New Blood Jennifer Humphreys
These decorative blue hands by Jennifer Humphreys at Gray’s School of Art went down a storm when I shared them on instagram.

New Blood Hannah Botma
Dinosaurs in bottles were held up by the ever popular bulldog clip method, by Hannah Botma at Edinburgh College of Art.

New Blood Caitlin Parks
I was most taken by this exploding bird from Caitlin Parks, part of a series designed to draw attention to the plastics found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

New Blood troll lips
At the University of the West of England Holly Dennis made this arresting image: the word Troll collapsing over overprinted neon lips.

New Blood 2014 -Mark Cook
At Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design the designer Mark Cook had produced this very appealing poster of fish lures.

New Blood David Hill
This tram coming up a hill is by David Hill at Sheffield Hallam University.

New Blood Emily Elvin
At Edinburgh Napier University Emily Elvin explored sleep in this rotating paper sculpture.

New Blood  By Heather McCarthy at Sussex College Hastings
At Sussex College Hastings Heather McCarthy had created some wonderful cards and posters designed to promote foreign destinations.

New Blood Dream Good by Hilary Newman
Colour, type and pattern were used to great effect in this Dream Good pamphlet by Hilary Newman at Bath Spa University.

New Blood Hipsters by Jacqueline Fryars at Blackpool & Flyde college
These hipsters are by Jacqueline Fryars at Blackpool & Flyde College. So true… beards and tattoos… everywhere. I have to say though, that it’s not the greatest to discover one of my own tweets (and that’s all) when trying to track down a student’s presence online.

New Blood Sophie Heywood
The trend for all things handmade shows no sign of abating. I like this risograph print for Handmade Studio by Sophie Heywood at UCLAN.

New Blood Midwinter Mischief by Dawn Williams
I was very sad to have missed the Middlesex University illustration show (no invite) because a small selection will never give me a full view of the talent on any one course. At New Blood I was drawn to this wonderful Midwinter Mischief fold out book by Dawn Williams.

New Blood Kayleigh Pavelin
I also liked these strong images of an African wild dog and giraffe by Kayleigh Pavelin.

New Blood Gary Curzai
Typography by Gary Curzai was clearly inspired by traditional Indian signage, but his is a fresh new update for a modern world.

New Blood David Doran
David Doran from Falmouth University already has an impressive list of clients to his name. I’m not surprised, his colourful patterned work is extremely clever and hugely engaging.

New Blood Dream Alphabet by Lauren Humphrey
Lauren Humphrey has adopted a similar curvaceous outlook, rendered in an appealing neon colour palette. I loved her humorous Dream Alphabet.

New Blood Rachel Saunders- Let's Play PeePo
The sea air must nuture illustration talent. Rachel SaundersLet’s Play Peepo! features lots of fabulous animals and foliage.

Falmouth students are also notable for their hearty online presence: I always find it intriguing how students at one college can be so incredibly useless at self promotion, whilst at another they are all on top of it. Can it all be solely down to talent that so many Falmouth students are doing well professionally before graduation? Maybe, but it doesn’t hurt to put yourself out there, and the sooner the better.

New Blood Necklace by Kristi Minchin
This quirky and colourful laser cut necklace is by Kristi Minchin at Arts University Bournemouth, who had also created a bizarre greeting machine replete with waving hands. I will be covering other discoveries at their High Noon stand alone show in another blog post.

New Blood Annabel Davis cats
Daft but brilliant. Annabel Davis imagines kittens and cats as kings and queens.

New Blood Strange animals by Dan Widdowson
These strange animals are by Dan Widdowson.

New Blood Lauren Rothery at Plymouth Uni
Lauren Rothery at Plymouth University had created these pamphlets with titles such as ‘How to Interact Socially.’

New Blood Norwich uni
I really liked the little hand out sheets about artists at Norwich University of the Arts: a nice touch.

New Blood Oddities by Tim Blann
These oddities are by Tim Blann, who has an appealingly blobby style.

New Blood Chris Shuttleworth - Learn to Sail
New Blood Shuttlefingers Pitch a Tent
Chris Shuttleworth at Leeds College of Art made these eye catching promotional posters adorned with the slogans Learn to Sail and Pitch a Tent.

New Blood staffordshire dogs
Finally, I didn’t record the name of the designer behind these marvellous pink Staffordshire Dogs. Sorry!

The hall was buzzing on my visit to New Blood, and I thought it interesting to hear from one graduate that it was a great opportunity for her to meet all the other students she had been following online for so long. Times have changed! How wonderful that nowadays the most engaged illustrators can discover and friend each other from across the UK before they have even graduated. Just think of the potential work partnerships.

Categories ,2014, ,Annabel Davis, ,Arts University Bournemouth, ,Bath Spa University, ,Blackpool & Flyde College, ,Caitlin Parks, ,Chris Shuttleworth, ,Coningsby Gallery, ,D&AD, ,Dan Widdowson, ,David Doran, ,David Hill, ,Dawn Williams, ,Don’t be a Dick, ,Dream Alphabet, ,Dream Good, ,Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Edinburgh Napier University, ,Emily Elvin, ,Emily Wilks, ,Falmouth University, ,Gary Curzai, ,Grace Williams, ,Graphic Design, ,Gray’s School of Art, ,Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ,Handmade Studio, ,Hannah Bartlett, ,Hannah Botma, ,Heather McCarthy, ,High Noon, ,Hilary Newman, ,Holly Dennis, ,How to Interact Socially, ,illustration, ,Jacqueline Fryars, ,Jennifer Humphreys, ,Kayleigh Pavelin, ,Kirby Pyle, ,Kristi Minchin, ,Laura Hunt, ,Lauren Humphrey, ,Lauren Rothery, ,Learn to Sail, ,Leeds College of Art, ,Let’s Play Peepo!, ,Luke Baker, ,Mark Cook, ,middlesex university, ,Midwinter Mischief, ,New Blood, ,Norwich University of the Arts, ,Pitch a Tent, ,Plymouth University, ,Rachel Saunders, ,review, ,Sheffield Hallam University, ,Shellsuit Zombie, ,Solent Illustration, ,Sophie Heywood, ,Southampton Solent School of Art and Design, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Staffordshire Dogs, ,Sussex College Hastings, ,Tim Blann, ,Troll, ,typography, ,UCLan, ,University of the West of England, ,Wooly Bully

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best of D&AD New Blood Illustration & Graphic Design Graduates 2012: part two

§New Blood graduate show 2012 -Andrew Duncan
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Andrew Duncan
Images by Andrew Duncan.

Continuing on from my introduction blog here’s the next load of design talent discovered at the D&AD New Blood show this year…

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Andrew Duncan
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Andrew Duncan
Andrew Duncan‘s NU(UN)CLEAR prints at the University of the West of England were an example of eye-catching screenprinting in colours that seem to be indicating a bit of a trend: mint green, neon orange and salmon pinks.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Pete Adam
Pete Adam‘s calligraphic type updated the old with a beautifully loose feel.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Philippa Lightburn
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Philippa Lightburn
Stockport College showcased fabulous fox themed surface design from Philippa Lightburn.

Lisa rockall new blood
Lisa rockall new blood
Lisa Rockall‘s dancing teacup paper cut outs were a lot of fun.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Holly Mcloughlin
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Holly Mcloughlin
Holly Mcloughlin‘s mutant critters danced with babies and letters.

dominiquebyron_lobster-rocket-2-with-flames-in-shape-Dominique Byron
Dominique Byron‘s spaceship is modelled on a lobster: love it.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson at Southampton Solent University imagined engineering minds for the future in this bold monochromatic poster.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Carlie McGarity
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Carlie McGarity
The trend of futuristic collage was alive and strong with Carlie McGarity in Cerulean, a project interpreting how the brain responds to music.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Rebecca Roberts
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Rebecca Roberts
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Rebecca Roberts
There was some impressive art at Sheffield Hallam University. I was captivated by ‘trout tickling‘ and teacups decorated with illustrations inspired by idioms by Rebecca Roberts, yet another Best New Blood.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Chris Stanley
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Chris Stanley
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Chris Stanley
Chris Stanley‘s stylised animals would definitely appeal to small children.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Maria Midttun
At The Arts University College at Bournemouth Maria Midttun‘s Oh-Damnit-Dagny was a strong series. Yet another New Blood winner.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -jack reynold
Jack Reynold‘s bold illustration of Fears and Loathing was a real eye grabber.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Emily Hughes
Beautiful watercolour work by Hawaiian student Emily Hughes (love the pic of her as wee nipper meeting her illustration idol!)

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Natasha Durleyq
Love the little people and surreal vignettes in work by Natasha Durley.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Kate Rowland
Beautifully realised spaceships and shells by Kate Rowland.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Sally Hackett
At University of Dundee Sally Hackett‘s Streaker Euphoria in porcelain was offset by abstract neon patterns.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Ken Iizuka
At Southampton Solent University Ken Iizuka picked out elongated figures on a black background.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Joe Staples
Joe Staples stuck to a simple colour palette for his bold hand made prints.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -William Brant
William Brant chose dinosaurs for a repeat pattern that appealed to my inner textile designer.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Christopher Todd
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Christopher Todd
Christopher Todd won a Best New Blood award for his intricate rendition of the age of industrialisation.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Holly Harwood
I liked Holly Harwood‘s painterly typography for a La Haine poster.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Christopher Bayley
Beautiful illustrations of people by Christopher Bayley at the University of the Creative Arts in Maidstone.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Amanda Jackson
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Amanda Jackson
Dark drawings by Amanda Jackson at Hull School of Art and Design: piggy gamblers and a rabbit transforming in an eery wood.

There’s more to come… oh yes, I’m not done yet! Read my final New Blood review here.

Categories ,2012, ,Amanda Jackson, ,Andrew Duncan, ,Carlie McGarity, ,Cerulean, ,Christopher Bayley, ,Christopher Todd, ,D&AD, ,Dominique Byron, ,Emily Hughes, ,Fears and Loathing, ,Free Range, ,graduate, ,Graphic Design, ,Holly Harwood, ,Holly Mcloughlin, ,Hull School of Art and Design, ,illustration, ,Jack Johnson, ,Jack Reynold, ,Joe Staples, ,Ken Iizuka, ,La Haine, ,Lisa Rockall, ,Maidstone, ,Maria Midttun, ,New Blood, ,NU(UN)CLEAR, ,Oh-Damnit-Dagny, ,Pete Adam, ,Philippa Lightburn, ,Rebecca Roberts, ,review, ,Sally Hackett, ,Sheffield Hallam University, ,Southampton Solent University, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Stockport College, ,Streaker Euphoria, ,The Arts University College at Bournemouth, ,University of Dundee, ,University of the Creative Arts, ,University of the West of England, ,William Brant

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Amelia’s Magazine | Art Listings

Here at Amelia’s Magazine HQ this week we are all feeling rather revitalised, this salve with the prospect of spring safely in our sights and a stomach full of Easter eggs we thought what better time to share our energized disposition with you are faithful readers, and boy do I have a treat in store for you fashionista’s today.

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It comes in the form of exciting new Aussie talent Fashion Designer Josh Goot, heralded as “modernisms new messiah” it’s enough to get anyone in the fashion sphere jumping up and down excitedly in their Chanel heels. Goot first catapulted his way into the fashion sphere in 2005 after winning Young Designer of the Year Award in Sydney, but only made his debut on the London fashion circuit at this years London Fashion Week with his S/S 09 collection

josh_goot_02.jpg

Goot studied Media Art and Production at Sydney’s University of Technology where he graduated in 1999. This background has shaped his distinctive approach to fashion design, renowned for his use of print and his minimalist aesthetic Goot has injected a healthy dose of artistic expression onto the catwalk.

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Goots A/W 09 collection did not fail to get our taste buds flowing, paying homage to the natural world it’s an explosion of texture and colour. Heavily inspired by geology the collection focuses on organic lines and silhouettes.

josh_goot_03.jpg

Goot’s exquisite tailoring techniques come to the forefront in his A/W 09 collection. Enthused by the erosive textural quality of rock Goot uses angular tailoring with reverse contour lines to mimic the harsh lines that occur in sedimentary rocks. This masculine tailoring is then softened by his subdued use of colour; the palette is a hazy of distilled greys that merge with soft violets, yellows and blues to create quixotic and distinctly feminine pieces. His modernist aesthetic creates a look that is both functional yet expressive, with styles ranging from tailored jackets, panelled shirts to asymmetric tops and body con suits.

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The most enthralling element to the A/ W collection has to be Goots Marble effect series. Audiences were mesmerised by the haze of colour gliding down the catwalk. To me it conjures old childhood memories of marbling from art class. I remember excitedly leaning over a tank of water mixing oil inks and eagerly gliding my stick through the water to create patterns. I was mesmerised by the beautiful hues merging together to create such vivid canvases of colour. Goot encapsulates this perfectly in his prints, which were created from large-scale digitally printed water coloured pieces.

josh_goot_07.jpg

After such awe inspiring pieces in his A/W collection I am eager to inspect what else Josh Goot has tucked up his sleeve. With stores such as Browns Focus in London and Marie Luisa in Paris already stocking his collections I have no doubt Goot is set to take the fashion sphere by storm!

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Lewes’ quaint, story cobbled streets and Dickensian finery belie the town’s rebel status and heritage. Thomas Paine, ask 18th century philosopher and all round radical was a local while the annual bonfire festivities are the kind of Pagan perverse, politically loaded Wickerman shindigs that grab national newspaper headlines. Situated slap bang in the life-affirming environs of the Sussex Downs and home to Harvey’s ale, it’s easy to see why Lewes is something of a hippy haven – genteel on the outside, pretty bizarre on deeper investigation. The perfect host to the neo-psychedelic revolution. Or a place where a bunch of bearded dudes get to hang out and discuss obscure Nuggets. Either way, I was home.

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The happening unfolded in the All Saints Centre, a church where, most appropriately, Pink Floyd played in 1966. Heightening the sense of lysergic lasciviousness that characterised the night was the mind mulching lightshow provided by locally sourced hero, Innerstings. Such visual freak-ery was offset perfectly by the evening’s DJs who, for the most part, dealt in psychedelic music of the guitar based variety. No bad thing, especially if the crate digger behind the decks is Richard Norris, whose set seemingly unearthed the kind of gems Lenny Kaye would kick himself for missing. As was the desired effect, this all blended perfectly with the live performances which served to give the evening a modernist sheen and kick several shades of shit out of any sense of nostalgia that pervaded. Take, for example, The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers, whose singer resembled Jerry Garcia but whose band kicked up a beautifully godless stoner-rock racket. (Un)natural heirs to Rocky Erickson’s throne perhaps, they tore their way through an acid-spanked set of psychedelic garage punk and sounded far bigger than you’d expect from three blokes from South London.

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Having obliterated the dance floor of rug cutting psychedelic Mods, it was left to headliners, The Yellow Moon Band, to restore some kind consensual good will. This was entirely apt as the Yellow Moon Band’s founders are Jo and Danny, hirsute curators of the Greenman Festival. Consummate professionals to a hilt, they play note for note the majority of their recent (and peculiarly danceable) debut album, Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World. On paper, their Steeleye Span meets Slayer schtick looks decidedly unappealing but, bathed in a wash of kaleidoscopic lights and played out with merciless efficiency the Yellow Moon Band are a strangely alluring, downright compelling and very psychedelic experience. Just ask the mass of people throwing shapes and gyrating down the front. Pouring out into the graveyard post show, chatting with likeminded souls and new friends, it seemed Lewes had given birth to a new spring time institution, one worthy enough of taking its place next to the other grand traditions of this beguiling and beautiful town.
The Otesha Project team are an ambitious lot. They want to tackle climate change, more about poverty, cheap injustice, and educate thousands of young people on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Their weapon of action? The humble bicycle. You heard me! But the folks behind Otesha are a clever and forward thinking bunch. They can achieve more with a bicycle and a deceptively simple mission statement then most global corporations could possibly dream of.

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Back in 2003, the team that would go onto create the Otesha Project in Canada had recently returned from working in Kenya. Rather than being inspired by life in Africa, Jocelyn Land – Murphy and Jessica Lax were dismayed to find vast inequalities between the North Americans and the Kenyans. The extent of the unfair trading, irresponsible over consumption and labour exploitation that they witnessed left a bitter taste in their mouth but equally seemed too insurmountable a problem for two people to tackle. The feeling of powerlessness acted as a catalyst for their own personal change. On return to Canada they began to alter their lifestyles to reflect the change that they wanted to see in the world. And thus began the Otesha way of being. It’s a beautifully uncomplicated concept, and practically the only one that we can adhere to when all of the world’s problems seem too huge to tackle – that change can occur on the most massive scale by simply altering your own life – in other words, be the change! So this is what they did, and set off through Canada on their bikes, stopping off to make presentations to young people about the importance of social change. Seeing that this was a resounding success, and that they made over 250 presentations to more than 12,00 young people, Otesha was ready for more!

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This brings us to the Otesha Project UK, which promotes social change in a number of ways. The most well known way is through their cycle tours. I met with some of the team behind Otesha UK; Liz McDowell and Hanna Thomas recently, and they filled me in on these expeditions. Needless to say, I am not much of a cyclist, but even I was segmenting off part of my summer for the following year to join the next wave of cycle tours. So, for any of you that are interested in spending your summer doing something slightly different to the status quo, this is how it works. A team of volunteers (like yourself, or me after I have done a couple more spinning classes) cycle around a particular part of Britain for around 6 weeks; last year the venues included Cornwall and Wales; this year’s venues are East Anglia, a section of Scotland, and the coast of Wales. Whilst on the travels, the team stop off to speak at schools and communities about environmental and social sustainability. They don’t just speak; plays and workshops are also performed. Whilst on the road, the team record their experiences on journals and video recorders.

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There is a bit of a travelling circus element to it; and Liz and Hanna told me that the team clearly love what they are doing. Equally as important – the response from the groups that they speak to is always overwhelming. Many of the group return year after year; Otesha are good to their teams! As well as stopping off at schools, the team also have excursions organised for them. In Wales they get a couple of learning days at the Centre for Alternative Technology, as well as a visit to a permaculture farm. Those who head over to East Anglia get a chance to stay in a tipi at a Roman archaeological site. While this is all good fun, the skills that the team take away with them are invaluable. Getting a head start in public speaking, learning to work alongside and live with a large team of people – and maintain a great relationship with them – are attributes that can be taken anywhere.

When they are not cycling around Britain, The Otesha Project are working with groups of young people over longer periods of time to help create change in their local community. They work from the Otesha Handbook, which highlights issues such as Food, Money, Fashion, Energy, Trade and Transport. Last summer, Otesha worked with students in Tower Hamlets Summer University, who chose to do a project about food; specifically the issues of seasonable and organic food. The students approached local cafes, shops and markets to discover who was using organic, fairtrade food, and wrote to their MP’s asking that organic food be subsidised. This culminated with the students creating a Seasonal Summer Feast for their friends and family, which by all accounts was a great success.

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(all images courtesy of The Otesha Project UK)

Other projects have included Getting Ethical About Fashion, held at the Princes Trust XL Club in Barnet, where students discussed issues in fashion that are often swept under the carpets, such as sweatshops, child labour, and the chemicals put in clothes. My favourite sounding workshop was the Dirty Weekend held at Goldsmith’s EnviroClub Community Gardens. Ok, so it was not that kind of dirty weekend, and it involved plans for creating a garden for the local residents and students, but at least the students still got their hands dirty!

The Otesha Project like to say that they are germinating good things, and it does seem that way. Everything that they do is for the benefit of the Earth, and the people who are inhabiting it. If you are interested in working with them, get in touch at:
info@otesha.org.uk
After last years’ unforgettable appearances from Bobby Digital, physician Felix Kubin, online Gay Against You and Agaskodo Teliverek amongst others, one cannot help but be wracked with anxiety about what they can pull out of the bag for this years’ follow-up Futuresonic Festival. The festival will be taking place between Thurs 14th – Saturday 16th of May, this year.

Taking a glimpse at the line up it promises to be something to rival last years’ festival unequivocally.

Starting off with Mexican electronic pioneer Murcof (& AntiVJ) with Jóhann Jóhannsson, the festival then dips its toe into Hip Hop with the New York collective ‘The Anti-Pop Consortium‘. From this we trawl through some dark and muddy psychedelic rock from Electric Wizard. A real highlight comes in the form of a one off performance from the legendary Philip Glass; playing Etudes and Other Work for Solo piano.

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Not to omit an audio assault from Ariel Pink with Marnie Stern and Crystal Antlers. It’s gonna be an absolute monster of a year for the futuresonic team.

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“The best, most explosive, most all-encompassing Futuresonic music line-up to date, covering genres as diverse as dubstep, contemporary classical, lo-fi indie, electronica, deep house, math rock, leftfield hip-hop and italo disco.” – The Futuresonic team.

Some of the venues sequestered for the festival include the RNCM, The Deaf Institute and Urbis, where you will see “a celebration of musicianship and a salute to those who perform on the cutting-edge”.

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Photo by www.andthewardrobe.co.uk

With oodles of other events going on over the entire weekend including exhibitions, theatre productions and club nights, there’s no excuse to completely miss out, unless you’re in a coma that is.
You may not have heard much about My Tiger My Timing – yet – but I guarantee that you will be hearing their curiously titled name a lot more in the upcoming months. This is a band destined for success. Their songs are an irresistible mix of hypnotic dark alt pop and potent melodies . Sung by smart and self aware South Londoners, drugs they have a killer style, approved a strong image and are in it for the long haul.

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I sat down with three members of the five piece recently, abortion Anna, James and Jamie, to talk about their debut single, ‘This Is Not The Fire‘, as well as their musical style and influences, and what it means to be geeky and sexy at the same time.

So, your new song, ‘This Is Not The Fire’ is released this week. Tell me a bit about the first single –
James: The song it’s quite rhythmic. It’s a dark pop song.
Anna: It is kind of about the moment that we are at now. With our lyrics, we want to be universal but at the same time not vague. The lyrics are about that moment when you know something that no one else does. It could be when you are about to unleash something; this is the moment when we are about to unleash the fire. But equally it is a personal song about the breakdown of relationships. We want people to be able to relate to the song as well as to be able to dance to it. Having an emotional side to the music is something that we try to do as well.

There is a brother and sister team here somewhere?
Anna: Yeah, James and I.

So who does what?
James: I play guitar and bass, and Jamie does the same. And we all sing. We have a new guy, Sebastian who is on synth, so we have now become a five piece. Which is logistically a bit difficult getting everyone in the car at the same time!

And you are all from New Cross, is that right?
Anna: Yes, we are based around there, and we formed just over a year ago. We were all in different bands; Seb was in The Cock N’ Bull Kid.

You have a good pedigree behind you – can you explain this?
Jamie: Andy Spence, who does the producing of New Young Pony Club has produced our new single “This Is Not The Fire’ , which was also up for single of the week on Radio 2 recently.
Anna: We lost out of the single of the week to Bat For Lashes – who we love, so that’s fair enough!
Jamie: There seems to be a Mercury Music Prize trailing us! (laughs) She beat us for Single Of The Week, and she was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize . Andy produced us, and he was also nominated. And we have just recorded with Joe from Hot Chip – who has also been nominated!

How did the Hot Chip connection come about?
Anna: We met him at a party – he knew our manager Brian, so we got chatting. We talked about the band name – we were named after a song by Arthur Russell. He was one of our initial influences, he was a New York based electronic artist; quite avant-garde. We bonded over that and he got in touch the next day.

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You have a very strong image. There is a bit of an 80′s electro vibe going on, right?
Jamie: Our image is very important to us. You get up on stage and people are paying to come and see you, it’s almost disrespectful to ask people to watch a bunch of scruff bags jumping around! (laughs). It’s definitely important, it’s to do with us being quite exuberant. And our music is quite fun and vibrant, and that comes through with what we wear.
Anna: The whole visual side of things is very important to us, even beyond what were wearing on stage and in photos. We also want to incorporate light shows and visuals into our shows.
James: One of the things we decided early on with our visual side was that we wanted our images to be back to basics, using almost solely primary colours. So we are aiming to hone a streamlined, simplified look. We don’t adhere to a particular image or era. Overall though, it’s about putting on a show.

Are you all inspired by the same music?
James: No, it’s rag tag.
Anna: We are all big Blur fans though. It’s a mixture of pop and the dark stuff that we like. Happy Mondays, Primal Scream– we definitely like dark British pop music.
Jamie: Also, musically we are influenced by each other. There is a friendly one up-manship in the band. Especially with the brother and sister!

Anna, how do you find being the only girl in a band full of guys? Do you get to rule the roost?
Anna: I am a bit of a tomboy, so I feel like one of the guys most of the time. But I can get away with not having to lug amps – although I actually can do it (laughs)
James: It’s cause we a band of gentlemen. We have old fashioned values. (All laugh)
Jamie: Anna is definitely not out on a limb – she is the driving force!

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There was a great description of My Tiger My Timing on your website – that you are geeky and sexy. Who is the geeky or sexy one, or are you all a bit of both?
Anna: We are all a bit of both, the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive.
James: We wear that oxymoron on our sleeve.
Jamie: We like the French phrase – “jolie/ laide”, which means ugly/ beautiful – the common definition about what is cool and sexy is so arbitrary.
Anna: We are making quite dancy music, quite rhythmic music but we are all quite…. white!.. so we are not particularly cool! (laughs!)
James: What’s wrong with being geeky? It’s part of the geeky thing to be into anything in an obsessive way, like how we are with music. And that is always going to come across with us.

Where do you see My Tiger My Timing heading? What are your goals?
Anna: We are writing an album, we hope to have the beginnings of an album by the end of the summer, and we are trying to tour a lot.
James: It’s rocketing along pretty quickly, we just don’t stop writing. If you had told us last year where we would be…. it’s mad, we wouldn’t believe it. We are doing festivals, we’re playing The Great Escape in Brighton, Hinterland in Glasgow and we have a few lined more lined up, and a few to be confirmed, which is all pretty exciting. As a band you don’t want to go into festival season and not be on the line up!
Anna: We have got a bit of an alternative band name, and every time I say it, people go “what?” (laughs) so one of my goals is that we so well known that we won’t have to say the band name twice! And we also want to champion the idea of British pop music.
In a world of fast fashion and cheap labour for inflated profit margins it’s sweet relief to meet a person who is wholly true to her craft. Xuan-Thu Nguyen (pronounced Swan-Toe nuhWEN) is a Parisian haute couture and prêt-à-porter designer whose approach to each isn’t altogether different; when it comes to materials and execution she spares nothing to perfectly produce the design in her head, stomach at times closing that typically wide divide between couture and ready to wear. Her mix of Old World skill and care with innovative techniques results in garments and accessories that are both exquisitely crafted and fashion-forward.

Thu offers us a glimpse into her work and explains what makes her pieces so extraordinary (with some prodding, and she’s very modest!)

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Tell us a bit about yourself, Thu?

I was born in Vietnam and grew up in Holland. When I was 10 years old I wanted to become a florist, but I always wanted to design, so I decided to go fashion design school. Up graduating in 1999 I started my own label in Amsterdam before coming to Paris to open my boutique four years later, in 2005. I began showing my prêt-à-porter collections at Paris fashion week then added the haute couture, which I’ve been showing since July, 2008.

Can you take us through your creative process?

I design in my head, see the pattern and work out the adjustments before I begin putting anything together. In school I would do up the sketches after I’d made the garment! I have so many ideas, it can be difficult to focus on one thing and I have to separate my ideas and choose one direction. Sometimes the starting point is something as simple as a colour, a shape or a technique.  My creations are a mixture of modern and geometric pleated shapes with fragile and delicate accents like handmade embroideries. I use natural fabrics like 100% cotton, silk or wool which give the garment even more of a delicate expression.

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Do you have a design team???

No, I design everything myself.??

Where is your prêt-à-porter made???

Some pieces, like the accessories, are made here in Paris. I do the first few myself. The prêt-à-porter is made in Holland. My parents own a textile factory there and the numbers I need are small enough that I’m able to produce there.

??Do you find that allows you to control the production???

Yes, I have some unique finishing processes that I’ve had to work hard to get right on the production side, but in the end I’ve gotten things made as I want them. I could have my clothes made in China, but for me, it’s not about bigger profits. ?

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With that kind of commitment to detail in your prêt-à-porter it seems you blur the lines a bit between that and your haute couture collection, would you agree with this?

??You could say that. I will do some prêt-à-porter pieces like haute couture, like if I really want to use an expensive fabric or trim I will, or I might spend a lot of time to get the detail just right. Many of my pieces look very simple from the outside but have a lot of work on the inside. It’s not about making a big show of it; these are likely things that just the wearer and I will know. (Ed. note: Whilst browsing Thu’s Paris boutique I noticed some examples of this understated yet significant detailing: her placement of jacket side pockets, invisible button holes on shirts and the extensive finishing on the underside creates clean lines and gives the garment a polished simplicity. Truly chic.)

Your Fall/Winter 2009 collection is very light and summery; what was your thinking behind that?

I don’t really follow the seasons; I design what I want to at that time. Also, many people live in places where they don’t have winter or they need clothes for warm holidays, and I don’t want to restrict myself to working in just wools and dark colours or be dictated by a season. And we could all use some brightening up during the winter!

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What’s next for Xuan-Thu Nguyen?

We’re working on launching the brand in Asia for 2010..

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Xuan-Thu Nguyen will be showing her A/W collection at Paris Haute Couture week in July, so we can anticipate more inventive and truly beautiful clothes that will surely brighten the spirits, regardless of the season!

There is an iceberg. An iceberg of edgy London Jazz. Below the surface, prescription you will find a few dozen bands that are generally brilliant, boldly avant-garde, and built out of the same jazzy-family of a dozen people or so. There’s too much going on under there for me to say much more about it. Maybe another day. For, you see, the iceberg also has two peaks, and one of these peaks is the subject of this here bit of text. Not the wonderful Polar Bear, who were the token Jazz-nomination at the Mercury thingy a little while back, but Acoustic Ladyland, who shocked arty Hoxtonians into Jazz a few years ago with their stunning 2nd album, Last Chance Disco.

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The ‘Land are soon to release their fourth album, and decided to try it out at The Lexington in Angel last week. It seems to be that each of this iceberg’s pointy bits has a different helmsperson, and on this one, it is saxophonist Pete Wareham. Whether through choice or Musical Differences Syndrome, Pete has replaced 50% of the band. Tom Herbert has been downsized to Ruth Goller, who is far more punchy and energetic. Where Tom used to slickly stand around like a cool pimp, fingering effortlessly, and pretending not to sweat profusely in his dapper suit, Ruth’s dressed for Reebok Step and premeditatedly lunges at her fretboard, like a wolverine. More dramatic still, is the replacement of Tom Cawley with Chris Sharkey, who doesn’t even play the same instrument. Tom and his hi-lo-fi Nord Electro synth were one of the defining features of Last Chance Disco. Sharkey is a guitarist. Is this the same band?

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Yep. Overall, the show came across as ploughing the same furrow as LCD, but with more heavy-heavy intensity and less melodic reliance and repetition. Drum-legend Seb Rochford plays it like Dave Lombardo of Slayer would play it. Anger is fun. Wareham gets caught up in that vibe, honk-honk, then bollocks to tonality, hurtles through the Ornette Coleman barrier, and parpsqueaks about in the Zornosphere. Ruth’s knotted brow keeps it all together until, until, STOP! The song’s over, we made it, it was good. It’s all tense, 94% of the time. I’m going to call it Agit-Bop.
And the guitar is a real surprise. Sharkey has noodly fingers. He can scribble across the strings with precision and flair, but he’s a texture guitarist. A line-up of pedals laid out before him makes it possible for you to think that Tom Cawley’s ghost has been zapped into a boutique stompbox. It’s bizarre how similar he can sound. It’s that same distorted, imbalanced end-of-level-baddy sound, but with a completely different note-sense: Cawley was Duke Ellington riffing as petulant teenager. Sharkey is kind of Jeff Beck or maybe LA Rocker lead-soloing as electro-sophisticate. In fact, Sharkey probably has a wider range of sounds in his repertoire. I wasn’t expecting it to work, but it does.

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Yet this is a deja-vu moment for me. I caught AL gigging a preview to their last album, Skinny Grin, in 2007.So I know that the live sneak peek is not necessarily what you’ll get on the CD with Pete’s gang. That show gave me the impression that they’d turned metal and more relentlessly intensely consistently so (with a couple of single-aimed guest vocalist tunes). But when the album came, it was awash with depths far beyond LCD, depths that simply hadn’t been in the teaser-gig, that couldn’t have been there. While some of the CD’s high points came across well, like Road Of Bones or Red Sky, others weren’t represented (check out Hitting Home [swoon] or The Rise [swoon again]) So, it is with much confidence that I can say I haven’t really got a clue what the new album’s going to sound like. But this band is tight. Ruth and Seb have a lot of fun, and Pete and Chris are pretty cleverly interacty, too (deep within the iceberg, you will find these two in The Final Terror, in which they perform Olivier Messiaen’s complex, modernist, classical masterpiece, Turangalila – pretty highbrow for apparently chaotic punk-jazzwits). So I’m expecting gritty, pounding, intense bombast. But I’m also expecting a surprise.

Album #4 is expected in July. Meanwhile, Kinder Eggs are available at your local shop.
I have to concede that I was unduly dismissive when I made the presumption that online shopping was a lost cause. Since jumping up and down excitably last week about innovative online shop Your Eyes Lie, look I have unearthed another, order yes another! Tremendous online shop to grace you with! Supersweet is an online lifestyle magazine come shop that fuses alternative fashion, art and underground music while showcasing fabulous designers, unique accessories and alternative Womenswear.

The first to catch my eye on the site was kitsch Jewellery brand Alex and Chloe, heralding from the sunny shores of LA this duo have been producing their zany cut out acrylic designs since 2004. Evoking an almost juvenile yet undeniably cool approach to jewellery, pieces range from nautical anchors to vibrant pink octopuses! To top it all off there is 50% off for most of the collection so pendants average at about £15 pounds each! So get your skates if you want to bag a bargain!

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Another favourite has to be shoe designer Lise Lindvig. I don’t know if I am alone in this but I have been witnessing my wardrobe ebbing into obscurity as I try in vain to find anything that can pass as spring attire. It’s that kind of tran- seasonal stage where you’re contemplating the repercussions if you wear that skirt without tights. It’s a complicated season spring, we are finally banishing away our winter woes and embracing the sun like our long lost relative! So when I saw lindvig’s vibrant designs nothing seemed to encompass the whole ethos of spring more accurately. The Danish designer’s vibrant yellow wedge heels exude warmth. I can just see myself hop footing to work on a spring’s morning in this delightful pair!

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The team at Supersweet have such a diverse array of talented designers under their belt it’s hard to squeeze them all in. The most vivacious addition to their collection has to be Womenswear designer Teerabul Songvich. Heralding from Thailand, Songvichs Middle Eastern roots resonates in his work; each piece is an explosion of colour and form. You feel as if you have unearthed a unique treasure trove brimming with sequins and vivid fabrics. Each piece is highly intricate and comprehensive, beautifully crafted from diverse materials such as leather and sequins to create a gradient of beautiful tones. With iconoclastic fans such as Bjork and the late Isabella Blow to boot I would definitely be boasting my socks off I was him!

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Another designer to stand out from the herd in is Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch. His designs are a floral tour de force, teaming classic paisleys against traditional floral motifs with voluminous ruffles and bat wings. It’s sheer Bohemian indulgence. You just want to clad yourself out in a Herchcovitch piece grab your straw hat and tent and hop foot down to the nearest green field!

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It’s safe to say Supersweet is a definite hazard to my bank balance, with such a myriad of talented designers it’s hard not to just want it all. If only money did grow on trees………………………..
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You know, drugs some nights you just know it’s going to turn into a big one… and so it was yesterday. An early evening outing to view my friend’s exhibition in Stepney turned into a marathon drinking, scrabble-playing and snogging-cute-boy-in-the-kitchen session that carried on into the wee hours. It’s been a long time since I last did that. And it was a lot of fun.

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But this blog isn’t about my debauched Thursday night – it’s about Ciaran Begley‘s model railway overpass. Ciaran is like most boys – he gets excited about things that other people (namely girls) find it hard to countenance. Like inventing new origami shapes and playing warlock board games. And he particularly loves his Hornby Dublo model railway overpass. So much so that he found funding to build it scaled up to fit snugly inside a railway arch. For the past two weeks Ciaran has been holed up with his plywood and his saws in the Hold & Freight art space, assisted by aforementioned cute boy. He’s been living, breathing railway overpass and archway.

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Last night was the unveiling of this project, Overpass/Underpass, and the look of glee on Ciaran’s face said it all. He was a man insanely happy to have achieved what on the face of it seemed fairly perverse, but in the world of art is perfectly possible if you’ve enough of a mind to do it.

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I had to wind down the back roads through the housing estates so typical of this area to find the Hold & Freight gallery, where a welcoming fire had been lit on a raised bit of scrubland. There was wine and beer. Forget the hi falutin’ galleries of the west end, this is why East London is justifiably famous for its art.

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In a nice little turn of events Ciaran helped to clear rubble from the space – rented for a brilliant £50 a month fact fans – when curators Amal Khalaf and Tom Trevatt set up the gallery just under a year ago. And he helped to construct the cunning toilet in a crate – much cosier than it sounds. Hold & Freight will be wrapping up in just over a month – the landlords quite like the newly refurbed archway and they’re putting the rent up, as is wont in these matters. Like Ciaran’s art piece the space is transitory.

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We were encouraged to walk up the overpass, which was built to a 1:4 scale. This meant that the steps were too small for our big clumpy human feet, and so we took pigeon steps up to the top, hunching to shuffle along under the exposed brickwork of the archway – an oddly discombobulating experience! I like my installation art to be interactive, and this certainly was. The scaled up overpass is imbued with a subtle pathos in its simplicity – looking the mirror plywood image of the Hornby Dublo model lovingly placed on a table, surrounded by tealights and, erm, beer.

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The model is heavy and slightly worn – I wonder who played with that overpass back in the 60s – what small boy or larger man had so much fun with model trains? Now we were having fun with a larger version. For me the wonder of this piece is that we never really grow up – we always want to play, in whatever form that might take.

Ciaran had asked our choir – the ramshackle Hackney Secular Singers – to sing and so as the gallery filled out we took advantage of the fabulous acoustics to belt out Denis by Blondie. We progressed from railway arch to local pub, and from there returned to Ciaran’s flat for more. Needless to say my head hurts today, but the impromptu nights out are always the best ones.

Overpass/Underpass will be showing until May 3rd, so get in touch with Hold & Freight if you want to view it. And keep an eye out for their last few shows and closing party – due to take place just as summer arrives. That arch hasn’t seen the last of me!

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Eleven Howland Presents Robert Dowling

Robert Dowling
The artist visually explores the boundaries between painting and sculpture using two and three dimensional arrangements.

Eleven Howland LTD, more about 11 Howland Street, information pills Fitzrovia, find W1T 4BU
20th March – 25th April 2009

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The Dog Show, The Cat Show

A collection of Dog and Cat paintings and drawings from the 19th century to the present day.

Hepsibah Gallery, 112 Brackenbury Road, London W6 0BD
2nd Apr – 22nd Apr 09

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Dress 2

Following 2008′s Skirt 1 exhibition comes Dress 2, a collaboration between the Wapping Project and the Fashion Department of the Fine Art Academy at Antwerp.

The Wapping Project
, Wapping Wall, Wapping, E1W 3SG
Monday 20th April – 3rd May 2009 from 12:00 – 22:30, Free

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Alternative Fashion Week

Alternative Fashion Week in Spitalfields Market is a free event that showcases works by innovative emerging young UK designers.

Spitalfields Market, 109 Commercial Street, Whitechapel E1 6EP
Wednesday 20th April- 24th April 2009, from 12:00 – 15:00, Catwalk shows start daily at 1.15pm

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Student Illustration Exhibition

A selection of graphic and illustration works by the London college students.

Well Gallery
, London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6SB
20th Apr – 24th Apr 2009, 10.00am – 6.00pm, free.

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The Photographic Object

The exhibition takes a look at various approaches to the photograph as ‘object’, and combines it with different methods such as overlaying, stitching, cutting, piercing, punching or moulding the works.

The photographers’ gallery
, 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW
Apr 24th – 14th June 2009

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New to DACS

New to DACS brings together sculpture, ceramic, drawings, paintings, prints and photography by members of the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS).

The Kowalsky Gallery at DACS, 33 Great Sutton St, London EC1V 0DX
4TH February – 24th April 2009, Mondays to Fridays 10am- 5pm

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Categories ,Alternative Fashion Week, ,Antwerp, ,ceramic, ,Commercial Street, ,DACS, ,drawings, ,Dress 2, ,Elephant & Castle, ,Eleven Howland, ,Fine Art Academy, ,Hepsibah Gallery, ,Howland Street, ,London College of Communication, ,paintings, ,photography, ,prints, ,Robert Dowling, ,sculpture, ,Spitalfields Market, ,The Cat Show, ,The Dog Show, ,The Kowalsky Gallery, ,The photographers’ gallery, ,The Wapping Project, ,Wapping, ,Wapping Wall, ,Well Gallery, ,Whitechapel

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Amelia’s Magazine | Best of D&AD New Blood Illustration & Graphic Design Graduates 2012: part one

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Ivana Thomas
Image by Ivana Thomas.

This year the New Blood graduate talent show eschewed the lofty halls of Free Range at the Truman Brewery and relocated to a cramped custom built exhibition space in Spitalfields Market. I popped down to do a bit of talent spotting on the night the awards winners were announced so it was immensely busy, making it hard enough for the average punter to get around and doubly so for me since I had brought Snarfle in his pram. As usual this was a huge show so I have left out the work by colleges whose stand alone exhibitions I visited at a later date but this still leaves me with a huge amount to share… and it’s taking me forever to get these blogs online (Snarfle, again). It also takes ages to get everything together but I think it’s really important to include as much information about the designers and illustrators as possible, so that any prospective employers can track them down should they want to.

Because illustration and graphic design are becoming ever more entwined I’ve decided to blog about them together. Here we go….

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Richard Sweeney
At Burton and South Derbyshire College Richard Sweeney showcased his branding skills with this confident piece of artwork for the Dam Busters, created for the Derwent Dam Museum.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Melissa Preston
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Melissa Preston
The crafting influence on graphic design continues apace at this year’s shows: at Edinburgh Napier University graphic designer Melissa Preston embroidered Money Can’t Buy Me Love and other slogans on cotton.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -chris cole
Loved this multi image plane print for the RAF Museum by Chris Cole from Norwich University of the Arts.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -joe smith
New Blood graduate show 2012 -joe smith
There was some live action at Cardiff Metropolitan University in the form of a twitter message chalk board by Joe Smith, graphic communicator.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Alex Johnson
Beautiful typography on old fashioned packaging by Alex Johnson.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Eliot Wyatt
There was some very promising artwork on display at Bath Spa University so I was very sad to see that I missed their stand alone show at the Rochelle School. Eliot Wyatt asked whether gangs are defined by what they do or the way they look? Delightful illustrations in very fashionable slightly off neon colours (the risograph influence).

New Blood graduate show 2012 Tess Redburn
Tess Redburn‘s colourful lithographic print also caught my eye.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Melissa Leiva
I liked expressionistic portraits by Melissa Leiva at the American Intercontinental University.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Hannah Bartlett
Paper cutting was alive and well with Hannah Bartlett at Carmarthenshire College. Check out also her jellybean poster!

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Ruth Wood
More 3D paper cutting on a poster at Nottingham Trent by Ruth Wood.

New Blood graduate show 2012 Maddy Crampton
Sussex Coast College Hastings showcased typographic interpretations of bird sounds by Maddy Crampton.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Kirsty Turpie
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Kirsty Turpie
The Waitress by Kirsty Turpie at University of Dundee was a worthy winner of a Best New Blood award.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Megan Elizabeth Taylor
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Megan Elizabeth Taylor
Megan Elizabeth Taylor painted these intriguing figures at Glasgow School of Art. So badly mounted though… tut tut.

New Blood graduate show 2012 Gabriella Marcella DiTano
New Blood graduate show 2012 Gabriella Marcella DiTano
New Blood graduate show 2012 Gabriella Marcella DiTano
Gabriella Marcella DiTano won Best New Blood with her outstanding display of 80s influenced artworks. Love that cassette tape packaging vibe she’s got going on.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Megan Brooks
At University College Falmouth Megan Brooks created a response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria – a decorative pattern that on closer inspection was revealed to bbe 10,000 hands raised in the V for Victory sign – each representing a protestor who has died in the crackdown. She has projected 10,000 Syrians onto buildings to raise awareness and is another Best New Blood winner. NB – I love a description next to a piece of work, makes it so much easier to understand (and to describe to my readers).

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Joanna Halpin
Joanna Halpin chose the decline of bees in Britain as the subject of her appealing graphic poster.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Kudzai Dyirakumunda
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Kudzai Dyirakumunda
Kudzai Dyirakumunda london riots news block New Blood graduate show 2012 -Kudzai Dyirakumunda
I was immediately drawn in by Kudzai Dyirakumunda‘s work, London Riots, on the stand from The Arts University College at Bournemouth – inspired by egalitarian commentary gleaned from twitter and featuring wooden blocks engraved with quotes, shattered glass, riot helmeted police, and stunning typography – another deserving New Blood winner.

New Blood graduate show 2012 Blaire Frame
Blaire Frame created this lovely graphic collaged poster at University of Wolverhampton.

New Blood graduate show 2012 Juliet Bankes
New Blood graduate show 2012 Juliet Bankes
Yet another one of my picks chimed with the New Blood judging panel: Juliet Bankes at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (part of De Montfort University) displayed Memory and Preserving V. In these she deconstructed the meaning of simple objects – spatulas and serving spoons from a manor house are embedded with lives past: home produce grown on an allotment, the old village ways.

New Blood graduate show 2012 -Ivana Thomas
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Ivana Thomas
New Blood graduate show 2012 -Ivana Thomas
I also absolutely adored curvaceous illustrations by Ivana Thomas, who took inspiration from Slovak proverbs which have an equivalent in English such as ‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.’

More coming up soon!
Read my second blog review of New Blood 2012 here.
Read my third blog review of New Blood 2012 here.

Categories ,2012, ,Alex Johnson, ,American Intercontinental University, ,Bath Spa University, ,Bees, ,Blaire Frame, ,Burton and South Derbyshire College, ,Cardiff Metropolitan University, ,Carmarthenshire College, ,Chris Cole, ,D&AD, ,Dam Busters, ,De Montfort University, ,Derwent Dam Museum, ,Edinburgh Napier University, ,Eliot Wyatt, ,embroidery, ,Free Range, ,Gabriella Marcella DiTano, ,Glasgow School of Art, ,Graphic Design, ,Hannah Bartlett, ,illustration, ,Ivana Thomas, ,Joanna Halpin, ,Joe Smith, ,Kirsty Turpie, ,Kudzai Dyirakumunda, ,London Riots, ,Megan Brooks, ,Megan Elizabeth Taylor, ,Melissa Leiva, ,Melissa Preston, ,Memory, ,Money Can’t Buy Me Love, ,New Blood, ,Norwich University of the Arts, ,Nottingham Trent University, ,Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, ,Preserving V, ,Proverbs, ,RAF Museum, ,review, ,Richard Sweeney, ,Risograph, ,Rochelle School, ,Ruth Wood, ,Slovak, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Sussex Coast College Hastings, ,Syria, ,Tess Redburn, ,The Arts University College at Bournemouth, ,The Waitress, ,University College Falmouth, ,University of Dundee, ,University of Wolverhampton, ,Visual Communication

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