Amelia’s Magazine | Modern Love: S/S 2012 Preview Interview with designer Sarah Arnett

Modern Love by Ola Szpunar
Modern Love by Ola Szpunar.

Sarah Arnett is a multi talented designer who just happened to train at the same university as me. She graduated the year above, and since then has had an extremely interesting and varied career – from contributing illustrations to Amelia’s Magazine to creating a beautiful fashion line that is exclusively stocked in Liberty – it seems she is capable of turning her hand to all aspects of design! Prepare to be very inspired….

Modern Love SS12
sarah arnett Modern Love by angela lamb
Modern Love by Angela Lamb.

You’ve had an eclectic career, training firstly in woven textiles for fashion on the same course as me at Brighton Uni, and then moving into illustration, interior design and back into the world of fashion. Can you tell us more about your journey across these disciplines?
I found it very difficult to decide what to do in the first place, all I knew was that I wanted to go to art college, I grew up with a family of designers and makers so being able to sew and paint seemed normal and I used to watch my father work in his studio, everyone was able to draw, paint… in fact my great uncle designed fabrics for Liberty. Things happen in your life like having children, and other things become important… it’s the same with my work, other things become more exciting and more important. I am totally inspired by the process and that drives me to try more things. It’s an exciting time for crossing over disciplines and I have always just thought of my self as a designer… It could be fashion, interiors… or illustration. I am so inspired by working on a range of projects; in the last couple of years year I have shown in a couple of exhibitions at Somerset House, worked on Modern Love, designed the new look of the uniform for the National Trust, as well as creating illustrations for The Sunday Times Style Magazine. I also design a small bridal collection that I sell through a vintage shop in Brighton… and there is a long list of other things that I want to do!

Modern Love SS12
Sarah-Harnett-by-Laura-Griffin
Modern Love by Laura Griffin.

What is the highlight of working across disciplines?
No day is the same….

Modernlove ss12 Long v neck dress
And what have been the difficult parts?
I love and hate fashion, sometimes I think it’s a frivolous waste of time and on the other hand can make someone feel beautiful and have a real impact on their life… I don’t think I am a fashionable person and have never felt very comfortable in my own skin, but I am and have always been fascinated by clothes. I find fashion a very big challenge. The stress of running your own business is hard work, as is that freelancer’s worry of where the next job will be coming from… and there is always self doubt. But I look at all of these as things that drive me on to try and do better.

Sarah Arnett Modern Love by Isher Dhiman
Sarah Arnett’s Modern Love by Isher Dhiman.

Why did you name your clothing brand Modern Love?
Myself and my business partner Kim Hunt really liked the idea of a name that encompassed what we felt and admired about good design. The Love of beauty, vintage, heritage and the feminine and the Modern… a way of thinking, responsibility to the environment, ethical and local manufacturing, our vision, our way of working and maintaining a good work/life balance for ourselves (we did have our production meeting on the beach over looking a very calm sea today!) and a reference to David Bowie never hurt anyone! I

Modern Love print design SS 2012
Print design from the current collection.

For S/S 2012 Modern Love is all about a mix of tropical and country garden prints – described as earthy African hues meet the soft English sky (love that description) Where did you find inspiration for the imagery?
I find that I am constantly working and re-working the same themes which are a mix of my African, big sunshine early influences and my love of the softer, rolling South Downs up-bringing. I can’t ever choose between them. If I admire or value or find something beautiful or fascinating I am drawn to design with it, I think it’s a very similar sensation to eating something or collecting things. It’s a different way of owning or tasting something. I draw it.

Modern Love print design SS 2012
How do you reconcile living on the sometimes rainy south coast of Brighton with your fabulous African childhood? Are there ways to bring a bit of African sunshine back into your life?!
In a strange way having the coast and that big expanse of water and sky to look can be as dramatic and uplifting as the sunshine and dry African plains: I walk down to the sea every day I possibly can, it’s very important to me. Without it I would hate the winter even more than I do! My ideal situation would be six months here, six months there. 

Modern Love print design SS 2012
How easy is it to design shapes to suit your prints, or do you begin the other way around?
The collection starts out with shapes and a woman in mind first. Then I feel like I have to think about that woman, what she would wear and start to fit the prints around it. It’s always a bit of a narrative, there has to be a reason for the print to be there. Quite often we will find an image of a woman for each season and then we will always question whether she will wear each design. Kim and I design the shapes together so we talk and talk and draw and have to justify why it has to be there. Once we have the bones of the collection together I go into my own world for a few weeks getting the new prints together. I like to engineer the print to the pattern pieces of the garment.

Modern Love print design SS 2012
Why did you decide to print the fabrics in Como, Italy?
There is a fantastic tradition of textiles in Como. I first went there when I did a work placement in Switzerland. We were very near to Como and visited it often. If you have to choose a location for a factory visit, I can’t imagine anything more beautiful! The printers I work with have printed in a traditional way for a couple of generations and then moved over to digital twenty years ago when it was first being experimented with. The laying down of pigment, whether via digital or by screen print, is only part of the process. They are very skilled in the handling and finishing of the fabrics which makes them feel beautiful and gives them a longevity. The digital process is much cleaner than traditional screen printing and uses far less water and energy. I like the tradition and the finesse of the final production. What they lack in delivering on time they make up in the detail and quality!

Modern Love SS12
Modern Love SS12 5
Modern Love by Nanae Kawahara
Modern Love by Nanae Kawahara.

Who are the craftspeople who make the collection for you? Can you introduce us to them!
Brighton is so full of talented machinists and pattern cutters, it’s a very sociable place and over the years I have met lots of people I can call on to help me. I have used the same machinists for the last ten years. They work form home and small studios as well as working for me they are working for lots of top designers; a good machinist is worth her weight in gold! There used to be a lot of small garment factories in the area and it’s a shame they have all disappeared. There is a new initiative called The Fashion Trust based in Sussex which is trying to pull all the local resources together which will be great for designer just starting up.

Modern Love SS12
Sarah Arnett Modern Love by Jacqueline Valencia
Sarah Arnett’s Modern Love by Jacqueline Valencia.

Modern Love is stocked exclusively in Liberty – a dream for most clothing brands. How did you get the label into this most prestigious of shops?
Well, Liberty made it very easy, even with beautiful photographs and constant emailing it’s very difficult to get the attention of the buyers unless you see them face to face at a show. We lined up with everyone else at their Best Of British Open Call and were the only womens wear brand to have got through last year. It was a great experience because at least you knew you had a few minutes of complete attention to show your collection in the flesh. I think it has been a great success and we feel very proud to have our collection there, especially since it was our first goal when starting Modern Love.

Modern Love SS12
Modern Love SS12
Find Modern Love at Liberty right here.

Categories ,africa, ,Angela Lamb, ,Best of British, ,Best Of British Open Call, ,Bridal, ,brighton, ,Como, ,David Bowie, ,fashion, ,Fashion Textiles, ,illustration, ,Interior Design, ,Isher Dhiman, ,Italy, ,Jacqueline Valencia, ,Kim Hunt, ,Laura Griffin, ,liberty, ,Modern Love, ,Nanae Kawahara, ,National Trust, ,Ola Szpunar, ,print, ,Sarah Arnett, ,Somerset House, ,Sunday Times Style Magazine, ,Sussex, ,The Fashion Trust, ,University of Brighton, ,vintage, ,Woven Textiles

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Kinder Aggugini


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

As part of Designers Remix, physician designer Charlotte Eskildsen, who is creative director of the enterprise published their signature collection last week. After winning the prestigious Danish Design Guldknappen award she has become a force to be reckoned with in international fashion since starting the line in 2002. Her S/S 2011 collection ‘Liquid Sky’ is inspired by cloud formations.

Draped fabrics. Origami folds. A flash orange dress. Scraped back hair tied in tight knots. The show, more about held in the Portico rooms was one of my favourites of the week. Like many others, it stuck strongly to a muted colour range, beginning with pieces in greys, creams and blacks. Small details like the delicate lace insets and just-seen underskirts pulled the collection together extremely well.

Charlotte’s skill lies in how well she collects the fabric together and makes it hang. Ruffles on the shoulders of her cream dresses are restrained and kept from looking fussy, the great bright orange dress (which I desperately want) is understated in all other ways bar the colour and the waterfall collars on the jackets carried the theme of softness through even on heavier fabrics.


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

The collection ranged from smart black dresses, to sand toned wafty jackets and ruffled party frocks in various shades of cream. This is a collection that is just good, I can’t put my finger on an exact feature or piece that puts it into a higher category for me and I think that’s why I like it. More than just a wearable summer collection, it mars together a floaty casual look with added details of specialness without being over the top.



Illustration by Andrea Peterson

As part of Designers Remix, viagra 100mg designer Charlotte Eskildsen, who is creative director of the enterprise published their signature collection last week. After winning the prestigious Danish Design Guldknappen award she has become a force to be reckoned with in international fashion since starting the line in 2002. Her S/S 2011 collection ‘Liquid Sky’ is inspired by cloud formations.

Draped fabrics. Origami folds. A flash orange dress. Scraped back hair tied in tight knots. The show, held in the Portico rooms was one of my favourites of the week. Like many others, it stuck strongly to a muted colour range, beginning with pieces in greys, creams and blacks. Small details like the delicate lace insets and just-seen underskirts pulled the collection together extremely well.

Charlotte’s skill lies in how well she collects the fabric together and makes it hang. Ruffles on the shoulders of her cream dresses are restrained and kept from looking fussy, the great bright orange dress (which I desperately want) is understated in all other ways bar the colour and the waterfall collars on the jackets carried the theme of softness through even on heavier fabrics.


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

The clothes ranged from smart black dresses, to sand toned wafty jackets and ruffled party frocks in various shades of cream. This is a collection that is just good. I can’t put my finger on an exact feature or piece that puts it into a higher category for me and I think that’s why I like it. More than just a wearable summer collection, it mars together a floaty casual look with added details of specialness without being over the top. If I wanted to sound very fashiony I would call it perfect ‘understated chic’, but hopefully I’ve described it better than that!


Illustration by Katie Harnett

Ten days is a long time to reflect on a catwalk show, purchase by this point in time, London has finished, Milan has finished and Paris started last night, which means this post is a bit late, coming a long time after the BFC tent has been removed from the courtyard of Somerset House. In the interim I have been struggling for the words to describe Kinder Aggugini’s ‘Africa’ inspired show as at the moment, it appears designers and their copy writers, forget Africa is not simply a place somewhere called ‘Africa,’ but a complex continent subdivided via colonial rule. consisting of multiple languages and cultures. But for the purposes of fashion, Africa has been relegated to Tiger skins and “super fantastic” Safari outfits. For a supposedly fashion forward industry; fashion is (un)surprisingly chained to peculiarly conservative ideas of wealth and escapism.

Illustration by Gemma Randall

It was not ‘Africa’ which inspired Kinder but a European idea of Africa, an idea which often fills the pages of Vogue’s distasteful summer fashion shoots of caucasian models in ‘Colonial Explorer’ inspired outfits striding the Safari. In a twist for a Spring Summer collection inspired by Africa, the catwalk featured Linen Jackets with trousers to match alongside simple shift dresses. The most exciting thing that appeared on the catwalk were the cardboard hats made by the fantastic Stephen Jones.

Fashion survives and feeds on escapist desires, Dior encapsulated a sense of jubilance with his “New Look” after years of rationing. Whether you want to or not we buy into the idea that what we wear is a projection of our opinions. As a result an entire industry (the High Street,the Ateliers and the Fashion Press) has developed to transform ideas created on the catwalk into the trends currently seen dominating shop window displays. Suddenly have an urge to feel like a pre-Second World War pilot? Then why not buy the Burberry inspired aviator jacket?

Illustration by Gemma Randall

Since Kinder’s show, London has finished, Milan began and ended and Paris is in the process of starting. The month of Spring Summer is drawing to a close. Trend spotters who have been waiting eagle eyed for clues to what we will be wearing next season, will have produced trend forecasts. The main problem, lies not with the designers such as (Sorry to keep using you as an example!) Kinder Aggugini who are transcribing their inspiration into garments, but with the increasing dislocation between clothes and the wearer. Fast Fashion means you can be one look tomorrow and another tomorrow, resulting in the constant plundering of the 70′s,60′s,50′s etc aesthetic. Catwalk shows can be absolutely beautiful and there were moments in Aggugini’s show of breathtaking draping alongside playfully deconstructed jacket hems and the aforementioned collaboration with Stephen Jones was exquisite.

Illustration by Katie Harnett

Categories ,africa, ,BFC, ,catwalk, ,kinder aggugini, ,Leopard Print, ,Linen, ,London Fashion Week, ,Safari, ,Stephen Jones

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week Poland S/S 2012 in Łódź: Lucja Wojtala

Lucja Wojtala  S/S 2012 by Kareena Zerefos
Lucja Wojtala S/S 2012 by Kareena Zerefos.

I really liked Lucja Wojtala‘s new collection, which featured intricate jacquard knits in a variety of wonderful designs inspired by the traditional aesthetics of South America, Turkey, India and Africa. She calls this look ‘global primary folk with a modern twist.’ Bandeau mini dresses came with a flouncy black peplum at the waist and longer dresses came with panels of different textured knit, either wrapped and tied or dangling to create different length interest. Panelled cardigans were worn over brilliant geometric designed leggings and hair was worn with side plait details. Mixing pastel shades of lemon yellow, mushroom and peach with greys, royal blue and black, this was a bold and wearable collection accessorised with brilliant matching brocade heels.

Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala comes from a family of knitwear specialists stretching back three generations and has trained as an intern in John Galliano‘s atelier. All her yarn is sourced from Italy and the garments are produced in the family workshops and knitting mill.

Lucja Wojtala S/S 2012 by Shauna Tranter
Lucja Wojtala S/S 2012 by Shauna Tranter.

Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala Fashion Week Poland people SS 2012-photography by Amelia Gregory
Lucja Wojtala S/S 2012. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

YouTube Preview ImageWatch the final run through here.

Categories ,africa, ,Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week Poland, ,India, ,Italian yarns, ,Jacquard, ,John Galliano, ,Kareena Zerefos, ,knitwear, ,Lodz, ,Lucja Wojtala, ,review, ,S/S 2012, ,Shauna Tranter, ,South America, ,Turkey

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Amelia’s Magazine | Central Saint Martins BA Graduate Fashion Show

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, cost something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, purchase this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, check being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, viagra approved something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, here something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, recipe this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, remedy being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, capsule something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, medications this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com


Eloise Jephson, seek illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

40 graduates showed their work at the Central Saint Martins BA Degree Show this year, combining eccentric creativity with well-mastered skill. From wild African carnival-like ensembles, to upholstered outerwear, and from inflatable swimwear to paintbrush-shaped headwear…

Catwalks ranged from vibrant, quirky, carnival-like processions, to romantic, tailored, and intricate. Having been a bit out of the loop for the last year, to see such vast amounts of creativity under one roof was quite overwhelming, and equally inspiring. The show took place in Bethnal Green’s York Hall, which, for those of you who haven’t been, is rather a grand setting. Built in the 1920s, it’s vastly high ceilings and simple design creates a high-brow feel, and a lovely stage for CSM graduates.

Anne Karine Thorbjoernsen’s Womenswear collection set the scene with some illusory wicker-work creating wonderfully hazy silhouettes, highlighting the female form.

Eloise Jephson’s highly commended collection of elegant silk dresses, kimono-style gowns and turbans, printed with dinosaurs and magical creatures encapsulated wearability, originality and beauty.


Eloise Jephson, illustrated by Lisa Stannard

Catapulting the show to new heights. Sorcha O Raghallaigh’s, also highly commended collection of models- on- stilts made for a show of towering, fabric laden models – bundled with crochet scarves and flowers, for dramatic effect. The last to grace the stage, a towering bride, exaggerating the typical white wedding, with a pale complexion and layers of sheer and knitted fabrics.


Sorcha O Raghallaigh, illustrated by Naomi Law

The Second Runner-Up Award went to Alex Mullins for his quirky, vibrant collection, which included inflatable puffa-style jackets, an eclectic range of head-dresses, from painted symbols and tools to hooded and toggled overcoats in rusty orange hues, and a whole lotta’ layering.


Alex Mullins, illustrated by Farzeen Jabbar

Philip Patterson, whose menswear collection was presented with First Runner-Up Award by Drusila Beyfus, showed a great, skillful collection, with Military influence, and a sense of the outback. Soft linens, neutral cottons and waxy leather combined for a laid-back, stylish collection.

Yi Fang Wan’s sumptuous collection of freshly draped cotton won her the L’Oreal Professional Young Designer of the Year Award. Delicious ivory and dusty pink layers created elegant, romantic silhouettes. Pretty collars, bubble-hem skirting and fabulous layering made this collection stand-out from the surrounding in-your-face flamboyance of the show.


Yi Fang Wan, illustrated by Matt Thomas

Sabina Bryntesson’s worm-like piping weaved through skin tight tops and tube-dresses.

Helen Price’s dramatic knitwear was a treat for the eyes – huge ostrich-like topiary-desses swooped along the catwalk to Cornershop’s ‘Brimful of Asha’.

Moon-like cape cum cloche-hats designed by Liz Black were inventive and flattering. Splattered with pollock-esque ink splats and teamed with drain-pipe jeans.

Kwan Tae Kim showed metallics in all their glory. Spangly tailored jackets, armour-like spacesuits and mirrored embellishment combined, creating a Prince-esque style with some delicate feminine edging to soften the structured silhouettes.

Onez Lau showed inventive. comical knitwear. A model with antlers and an ‘Oh Deer’ knitted dress stalked by a show-horse wearing a wizards hat took to the catwalk, whilst others sported whipped hair-do’s and layers of woolen frivolity.


Onez Lau, illustrated by Donna McKenzie

Tahari Roque’s tape-like swimwear ensembles came to life on stage, inflating into buoyant armbands and waistbands in turquoise and black.

Beautiful feathered millinery from Zoe Sherwood appeared as birds in stages of flight. Teamed with velour, chiffon and an earthy palette, exuding a pagan feel and creating a spirited show with beaded accessories, and peacock feather-printed outerwear.

Hiroko Nakajima took upholstered chairs and turned them into sweeping jackets, paintings became neck pieces and fabrics were used to create button-back effects over volumous velour outerwear.

Isabel Fishlock’s carnival-style collection showed swishing style, silk layers and appliqued flowers. Carrie Hill’s widow- twankie styled ladies with turbans and wicker bags showed refreshing colour combinations, whilst Zoe Cheng’s multi-coloured fabrics tied into oversized bows extended the carnival theme.

As Colin McDowell exclaimed at the end of the show: “Extreme, outrageous, exciting… utterly impossible.’ I couldn’t agree more.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,africa, ,Alex Mullins, ,Anne Karine Thorbjoernsen, ,Bethnal Green, ,Carnival, ,Carrie Hill, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Chiffon, ,Colin McDowell, ,Cornershop, ,Degree Show, ,Drusila Beyfus, ,Eloise Jephson, ,Farzeen Jabbar, ,fashion, ,graduates, ,Helen Price, ,Hiroko Nakajima, ,Isabel Fishlock, ,Kwan Tae Kim, ,L’Oreal, ,Liz Black, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matt Thomas, ,millinery, ,Naomi Law, ,Onez Lau, ,Paintbrushes, ,Phillip Patterson, ,prince, ,Sabrina Bryntesson, ,Sophie Hill, ,Sorcha O Raghallaigh, ,Stilts, ,Swimwear, ,Tahari Roque, ,Turbans, ,Velour, ,Yelena Bryksenkova, ,Yi Fang Wan, ,York Hall, ,Zoe Cheung, ,Zoe Sherwood

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Amelia’s Magazine | Central Saint Martins: Ba Hons Jewellery Graduate Show 2011 Review

Jing Jing Cao headdress
Headdress by Jing Jing Cao.

The Central Saint Martin Ba shows were held for the last time this year in the iconic Charing Cross building, visit before the courses depart for new accommodation in Kings Cross. What will happen to the beautiful vaulted hallways when they go? The caretaker couldn’t tell me…

I can’t help but love jewellery – whilst I’ll happily bypass the graphic design stands if there’s a glint of precious gem I’m in there, help nosing around. The Ba Jewellery offering was a mixed bag – much of it did not appeal to me at all but the designs that did grabbed my attention good and proper. Below are the best designers I found.

Kerry Huff
I was attracted to Kerry Huff‘s rough gemstone jewellery based on natural patterns even before I realised that she had sourced all her materials ethically… and is also passionate about fair-trade practice. How joyous to find students tackling design with a firm grounding in the implications of their work.

Hee Jung Son
Hee Jung Son also worked with recycled lids to create a well presented range of colourful rings on silver bases.

Yung-Han Tsai
Central Saint Martins jewellery graduate exhibition 2011 Yung-Han Tsai
Yung-Han Tsai reappropriated everyday objects and transformed them into something new – in this case she clumped bundles of headphones (I’m hoping they were recycled or upcycled) into sculptural forms.

Bonnie Yiu
Bonnie Yiu did some strange and wonderful things with copper wire and paper which produced curvaceous necklaces and bangles with detailed patterns that bore closer examination.

Central Saint Martins jewellery graduate exhibition 2011 Wenhui Li
Wenhui Li pink ring
Wenhui Li
Wenhui Li showed a fabulous display of coloured mixed media rings featuring strange alienesque bulbous shapes. See more on Wenhui Li’s website.

Lauren Colover
I didn’t notice Lauren Colover‘s work when I was at the exhibition but the piece she has chosen for the catalogue is stunning – based on a Ginkgo Biloba leaf and encrusted on the underside with semi precious stones.

Min Yoo
Min Kjung Yoo created some amazing hybrid creatures from a mix of resin, precious metals and gems. Some were far more out there than this particular frog/dolphin specimen – see her website.

Jing Jing Cao
Jing Jing Cao produced stunning brass and acrylic ruffs that spread around the face like a stylised human frame.

Anna Heasman barter bangle
In her final year Anna has found herself questioning the meaning of jewellery as simply adornment but rather as a means of exchange. Inspired by primitive forms of exchange (or indeed, some might say the most postmodern way to live) Anna Heasman offered exhibition attendees the chance to Barter for a Bangle. How could I resist? I offered to write about her here if she gave me a particularly fetching gold twisted number. But I haven’t heard from her yet, and look, here I am writing about her anyway. Clearly I’m not so good at bartering.

Central Saint Martins jewellery graduate exhibition 2011 Anna Heasman Barter Bangles
One of the most intriguing things were the other barters on offer, everything from a list of herbal medicines to other bits of jewellery, cupcakes and a drink on the town. If it wasn’t so incredibly frowned upon to take photos at the CSM shows I would have taken more snapshots of the amazing array of offered goods and services. Some of them can be viewed on Anna Heasman’s Tumblr.

Still to come… my favourite finds from the Jewellery MA.

Categories ,2011, ,Acrylic, ,Anna Heasman, ,Barter Bangles, ,Bonnie Yiu, ,brass, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Copper, ,Eco-Design, ,ethical, ,fairtrade, ,Gems, ,Ginkgo Biloba, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hee Jung Son, ,Hybrid, ,jewellery, ,Jing Jing Cao, ,Kerry Huff, ,Lauren Colover, ,Min Kjung Yoo, ,paper, ,Precious Metal, ,recycled, ,Resin, ,review, ,Silver, ,Upcycled, ,Wenhui Li, ,Yung-Han Tsai

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Amelia’s Magazine | EFF Innovation Awards

Featuring competitions in the already overly competitive world that is Art may seem somewhat crude to say the least. But in fact it’s through these well supported and sponsored prizes that new and underexposed artists and creative mediums gain a platform and a voice, information pills page and a fairly fair and just route for career progression out of the studios and into the spotlight. It’s also a darn good excuse to curate a fine exhibition of very talented folk, hospital and in a collaborative sense get together with a common thread, clinic be it the format, subject matter or genre, and share opinions, ideas and approaches. I call to the stand Foto8 and their annual Photographic Prize an exhibition of which opens with a right knees up of a party this weekend in London.

FOTO8%202brueggermann.jpg

Joerg Brueggermann (2009 Entry)

Foto8, in their own words, is ‘a space to share, comment and debate photography. The site exists to bridge the divide between photographers, authors and their audience through interactive displays and a constant stream of new works and resources’. Based on the belief that documentary photography has a vital role to play in contemporary society, Foto8′s ethos firmly pushes the medium as a valued tool for communication and self education about the world around us and the lesser understood worlds of others.

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Abbie Traylor-Smith (2009 Entry)

The London based website has regular postings of reviews, commentaries, interviews and picture stories as well as photographic events and news items, and serves as an outlet for the biannually published 8 magazine, which can be previewed, ordered and subscribed to from there. Now up to issue 25 the magazine blurs and tests the boundaries between photography, journalism and art and represents ‘the very best in design and print, following a graphic format that uses the medium of the printed page to its fullest.’

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Robert Hackman (2009 Entry)

The Gallery that will house this spectacular show was established by director of Foto8 Jon Levy along with Adrian Evans, the director of Panos Pictures, and celebrates it’s fourth birthday this year. HOST is dedicated to the specialised promotion and exploration of photojournalism and documentary photography, ‘from classical black and white reportage to contemporary mixed media’. They pioneer both new and traditional methods of manipulating the gallery setting with innovation and passion. The gallery proudly boasts a highly-respected exhibition schedule, complimented by an on-going program of face-to-face encounters with photography and film, including screenings, talks and regular book club meetings.

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Clemence de Limburg (2009 Entry)

From around 2300 images submitted from 44 different countries from as far afield as Thailand and Turkey, just over 100 carefully selected images will make up the final display at this year’s Foto 8 Summer Show at London’s HOST Gallery. As well as each entry appearing in the show’s published book, each photograph will be for sale to the public from the opening night and throughout the exhibition, and of course each and every exhibit will be in with the chance to win either the ‘Best in Show’ category or the ‘People’s Choice’, both highly sort after and respected prizes in the industry.

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Dougie Wallace (2008 Winner of ‘Best in Show’)

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Guido Castagnoli (2008 Winner of ‘People’s Choice’)

Whereas the Best in Show is awarded by an elite team of experts in the field, including The Times’ Director of Photography Graham Wood and the V&A’s Head of Images Andrea Stern, and entails a £1500 reward, the People’s Choice will be determined by public visitors to the show and in many respects is a more coveted title, given that each exhibitor’s work must speak to those with perhaps a less trained eye for artistic and technical merit, and must rely on more personal and emotional responses from the everyday spectator.

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Domenico Pugliese (2009 Entry)

The brief for prospective entrants was simple. They seek images that challenge and engage, convey stories and raise questions. They state that they ‘encourage free expression’ and ‘new ways of seeing and telling’, also adding that they value photography ‘that conveys feeling as much as fact.’ The entry requirements allow for up to three submitted images per person, and the submissions look set to be as diverse and varied as 2008′s collections were.

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Rachel Bevis (2009 Entry)

Being the biased art appreciators that we are, there is already a winner of an entry in our opinion, an image that stands out for us and will be certainly receiving the ‘Amelia’s Choice’ award at the opening on Friday evening. ‘Marie’ by semi-professional London based photographer Rachel Bevis commands our attention and holds our gaze. At first seeming to be a mono-chrome image of a lone figure at night, on second appreciation is actually a wintery street scene in which a female is immersed in falling snow. Mysterious, evocative and powerful this photograph is one we cannot tire of looking at. Best of luck Miss Bevis.

Who will you be exercising your democratic rights and voting for?

Foto8 Summer Show
HOST Gallery
1 Honduras Street
London, EC1Y 0TH

24th July: Opening Night Party
6:30pm – 11:30pm

Tickets: £5 in advance, £8 on the door
Tickets available to buy here

24th July – 5th September
Opening times:
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat 11am-4pm

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Kurt Tong (2009 Entry)
One of the organisations we’ve been following of late at Amelia’s Magazine is the Ethical Fashion Forum. Springing up in 2004 following the concerns made famous in the international press during the 1990s – sweatshop working, information pills terrible wages and mass environmental damage – a group of designers decided to do something about it by raising awareness. Liasing with over 400 designers, fashion brands and other fashion businesses, the EFF connects people who want to promote a sustainable future for the fashion industry; this includes creating safe working environments and increasing wages in oft-exploited third world countries, as well as encouraging minimal environmental damage. Closely tied to this venture is the Fair Trade Foundation – pinpointing exactly how topical a sustainable fashion industry has become in recent years alongside the massive interest in Fair Trade products.

Earlier in the year EFF launched it’s biannual “Innovation” competition for designers, the first being PURE, rewarding and recognising those who have shown innovation (!) and initiative regarding the greater good of the fashion world. The shortlist of competitors was announced last month, and gave publicity to an assortment of passionate designers who are keen to support a sustainable and ethical fashion future through their business strategies and design work. The competition hopes to raise awareness of the EFF’s goals and views by rewarding those who have shown similar ethical principles to itself, whilst at the same time inspiring this generation of designers to work together for a better future. The overused cliché of “green is the new black” really seems to be ringing true at EFF!

This years shortlist of 12 included designers from all over the world, all excited to promote the EFF message; those from or working in South Africa, Malawi, India, China and North America were all on show, with a good percentage of designers working in poverty-stricken Third World countries. The designers largely sourced their materials from traditional industries all over the world, and particularly in struggling areas, as shown by this quick survey of the territories they work within. Others are supporting local industries within the UK, such as crofting in the Scottish Highlands. Each were judged on their collection’s overall design and finish, their brand ethics, and their sale-ability, by a panel including Anna Orsini, head of London Fashion Week, Donna Wallace of ELLE magazine, alongside other senior fashion journalists and lecturers.

So who came up trumps in the end? Being selected to show at the PURE trade show, the winners were Cape Town brand Lalesso, and MIA, another African working in Malawi. Lalesso was a clear box-ticker: initially set up to provide a “socially responsible method of manufacturing”.

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Designing clothes based on East African traditions and current trends, the label aids struggling unemployment by providing well-paid work for several different groups, from the unskilled ‘beach boys’ to the traditionally skilled Masaai tradesmen. The clothes are vibrant, fun and youthful, including patterned prom dresses and casual beach wear, showcasing typical laidback African style tailored for a fashion-conscious audience who care.

MIA was an equally obvious winner. Recycling vintage pieces is no new idea; however MIA has taken this to new lengths with her remade clothing. Using second- hand streetwear combined with traditional Malawian dress, she has created designs that are thoroughly modern, embracing the current fascination with all things retro and uniquely individual.

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MIA’s message is to embrace our wardrobes and recycle them in order to prevent such widespread textile waste in the way that we recycle food packaging and other products in the new millennium. She’s another designer interested in the capacities of upcycled clothing, and is keen to promote change with her range of smock style mini dresses combining different materials in their zig-zag skirts.

Some of the other candidates we were keen on included Henrietta Ludgate, a Central Saint Martins graduate and Scottish designer hailing from the Highlands.

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Embracing her Highland roots, this designer used crofting techniques in her collections in a way that has not been seen in recent years, supporting local industries with her work. Crofting involves reusing excess waste material from mills as part of a small community of workers who all support each other.

A similar idea can be seen with Outsider, who support the oft-abused textile industries in China and India through sourcing organic fabrics and providing fair labour conditions and wages, true to the EFF message. Stating that “we believe ethical fashion should just look like fashion” these designers are certainly up there with the best of the bunch.

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Their latest collection featured reworked classic shapes with pleat detailing and simple lines, all in sophisticated black, with the main focus of the design work being on the use of sustainable fabrics to inspire confidence in what we’re wearing and how it is sustaining the fashion industry globally.

Coming up in September will be the Esethetica awards when more winners will be announced – what did you make of the shortlist and did you agree with the winners? Let us know!

Categories ,Crofting, ,Global Fashion, ,Streetwear, ,Sustainable Fashion, ,Traditional, ,Vintage

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Amelia’s Magazine | Remembering Saro-Wiwa

Monday 20th

Slow Club is a duo formed by Charles and Rebecca, this web buy information pills who both come from Sheffield. He does the singing and plays the guitar; she deals with the drums and all sorts of weird instruments, from bottles of water to wooden chairs. The result? You can go hear for yourself tonight at Barfly.
7pm. £5.

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Slow Club

Tuesday 21th

We Fell To Earth and special guests at the ICA theatre. Richard File (UNKLE) and PJ Harvey-ish singer/bassist Wendy Rae doing something that they call “sinister and kind of arousing rock music”.
8pm. £10.

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We Fell To Earth

Wednesday 22th
Vessels will be at Buffalo Bar this Wednesday launching “Retreat”, a collection of songs including a single, some remixes and an unreleased track by this Leeds five-piece.
8pm. £6.

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Vessels

Thursday 23th
Camera Obscura make a come back with “My Maudlin Career”, the band’s fourth studio album that is coming out today.
All their sweet freshness that you could feel from the first single out entitled “French Navy” will be performed on the stage of Shepherds Bush Empire next Thursday.
7pm. £13.50.

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Camera Obscura

Friday 24th

Je Suis Animal single launch party for the upcoming release ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget’ 7″ at The Victoria. Support comes from Betty and The Werewolves and Hong Kong In The 60s. People from Twee as F*** also promise free cupcakes for earlybirds so that is a Friday night out you can not miss.
9pm. £6/ 5 concessions.

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Je Suis Animal

Saturday 25th

The Camden Crawl Festival brings the best of Indie to town. Line up for Saturday looks like great performances will be on stage. The Maccabees, Little Boots, Marina And The Diamonds and The Golden Silvers are only a few to be named.
12pm. £32.50 (Saturday only).

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The Golden Silvers

Sunday 26th
Due to the Casiotone for the Painfully Alone‘s sell-out London show on 27th April, a new show has been added on Sunday 26th April – also at The Luminaire. Releasing their fifth album, Vs. Children, the band succeeded to make a record that feels just as warm and intimate as the first.
7:30pm. £8.50, adv £8.

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Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
On the cover of this CD, sickness Caroline Weeks appears to be a healthy, seek pink-skinned young woman. However, sildenafil fill your ears with her music, and you will be in no doubt that she is a ghost. And her clarinettist, too. Ghosts! Caroline has been to the other side, and seen things, and now wanders around my auditory cortex in a Victorian gown, lamenting the moment that life’s glories were cruelly wrenched from her grasp. Maybe Caroline drowned in a lake, or caught one of those Jane Austen chills, or fell under a horse, or was cuddled to death by an overaffectionate simple boy cousin. I can’t begin to imagine what happened to her polter-woodwindist. Probably choked on his reed.

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This is the spookiest music I have heard in a long time. She feels like a sister to SixToes, playing with similar moods, guitar work and larynx-trembling. But much spookier. I can’t help but think of Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice, a morbid teenager rejecting the world from her wilfully glum bedroom. So it’s not a huge surprise to discover that Caroline is also Ginger Lee, colleague of Natasha Khan in Bat For Lashes. Although you can actually dance to some of Natasha’s ditties, there is the moody, brooding moroseness there too. But while Bat For Lashes keeps this in the realm of relationships with sprinklings of dreamy visions, Caroline Weeks takes it to the pure Victorian pre-Pankhurst inner world of reflective femininity.
It turns out that all the lyrics are taken from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, an early Twentieth Century American who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Musically, it is very accomplished. Recorded quite simplistically, with a few dramatic reverb effects, the instrumentation has plenty of room to shine. The guitar gently drifts between dextrous, finger-picked, rhythmic regularity and airy pausing in a lovely, caressy, wavey kind of way. But it’s the tender voice that dominates, or haunts, the album. Caroline sings to you. It’s deeply personal, and unwavering in its humourless, sorrowful plea. And there is much depth of feeling and depth of lyric, which I cannot really do justice to here.
This is simply music to surrender to. Alone. Dim the lights, let the shadows fall across your soul and be utterly, utterly alone with the ghost of Caroline Weeks.

La Weeks is performing at The Good Ship in Kilburn on May 19.
Tuesday 21st April

2pm
Institute of Education?
20 Bedford Way, buy
?London WC1H 0AL?

“How to Educate Children in the UK About Sustainable Development”
discussion with Professor Randall Curren, more about Institute of Education. Info: fbrettell@ioe.ac.uk or call 020 7612 6000

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(Image courtesy of Lea Jaffy, email leajaffy_1@hotmail.com for further illustrations)

Wednesday 22nd April

“The Green Agenda: Are We Engaging The Consumer?”
9:30am

Dorich House Museum
67 Kingston Vale,
London SW15 3RN

The rise and rise of the green agenda is creating an ever increasing number of green initiatives, CSR projects, and local and national government proposals. Almost all organisations – both commercial and non commercial – want to establish their green credentials and communicate them to the consumer.
To explore these issues and to find new ways of engaging the customer, Kingston University has brought together a number of leading experts from a wide range of sectors – manufacturing, retailing, NGO’s, academics and a number of consultancies.
For full programme information and to book please go to http://business.kingston.ac.uk/flavor1.php?id=398.
Contact: Wendy Eatenton
?Tel: 020 8547 2000 ext. 65511
?Email: rm.rettie@kingston.ac.uk

“Can Developing Country Needs For Energy Be Met Without Causing Climate Change”

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(Image courtesy of Lea Jaffy, email leajaffy_1@hotmail.com for further illustrations)

1.00pm
Committee Room 14
Palace of Westminster, London
SW1A 2PW
Recent studies suggest a large potential for clean energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa; if fully implemented, they could provide more than twice the regions current installed power-generation capacity. It has been posited that Latin America has a comparative advantage in maximizing clean energy opportunities; energy consumption could be reduced by 10 percent over the next decade by investing in energy efficiency. This suggests that the adoption of clean energy technologies typically results in a “win:win” situation for developing countries: reducing costs and emissions.
But many developing countries have been failing to reach their full productive potential for years. Growth diagnostic studies in many developing countries regularly identify constraints such as lack of grid electricity and poor infrastructure. Typically, levels of investment in the electricity sector in developing countries are around 50 percent of needs. Credit constraints mean that the cheapest available options are often chosen as opposed to those that deliver environmental benefits. So can developing country needs for energy be met without causing climate change?  How can developing countries be incentivised to adopt cleaner energy? And what steps do developed countries need to take to facilitate this?

Professor Sir David King, Gordon MacKerron. Info: 7922 0300/ meetings@odi.org.uk/ ODI

Thursday 23rd April

“Financial Meltdown and The End of the Age of Greed”

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(Image courtesy of Aarron Taylor, www.aarrontaylor.com)

7pm
Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2 1QJ
Info: 7479 8950
£10 Online booking now available
This event will be moderated by Michael Wilson, Business Editor of Sky News
Paul Mason talks about the ongoing financial crisis that has brough the global economy to the brink of depression. Gordon Brown hailed the result of deregulation as the ‘golden age’ of banking in the UK. Mason will give insights into how deregulation is at the heart of the collapse of the banking system in September and October 2008 and how it led to expanded subprime mortgage lending, an uncontrollable derivatives market, and the lethal fusion of banking and insurance.
http://www.frontlineclub.com/events/


Saturday 25th April

People’s Republic of Southwark April Mini Eco-Fair
People’s Republic of Southwark
Brandon Street/Orb Street
SE17

12.00pm – 4.00pm 
On Saturday 25th April, 12-4pm, People’s Republic of Southwark’s mini eco-fair goes all the way to SE17, to the Nursery Row Park http://www.nurseryrowpark.org/SaveNurseryRow/Welcome.html , a beautiful green space located just behind the East Street Market (between Brandon and Orb Street).?? We are hoping to have another great day out for everyone and some of the activities for the day are:?- mulching the orchard?- planting sunflower seeds?- making art?- a free shop (space where you can swap/give away/take things you need for free – bring easy-to-carry usable things you don’t need, ex clothes, dvds, books. and swap them for something you do need or simply give them away to someone who does; please don’t bring anything bulky or electrical)?- seed swap (get your window boxes, balconies, gardens ready for spring and summer)?- you can also find out about local environmental projects, issues and campaigns. ?Or just come along for a chat
Prepare to throw your sensibilities and all sense of conventionality out of the window! Why I hear you scream? Well, search this week sees Alternative Fashion Week bombard an unsuspecting Spitalfields in all its wonderful obscurity. Forget all the opulence of London Fashion Week; Alternative Fashion Week is going to assail you with raw, viagra buy un-censored Fashion Design.

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The event unlike London Fashion Week is open to everyone and free for the designers to participate. It will be running all this week from the 20th-24th of April at Spitalfields Traders Market. So get your skates on people and get on down for all the outlandish action. With 15 shows a day, it will see at least 10,000-hop foot through their doors. Applicants range from recent graduates to independent designers keen to establish themselves in the fashion sphere. The participants are an eclectic range of designers from a myriad of different fields from the theatre to circus, so be prepared for a vivacious show. In conjunction with the free daily shows, the event hosts an adjacent market from noon till three showcasing a whole treasure trove of accessories, Womenswear and textiles for us to feast upon.

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Here is a sneak peak at one of the accessory designers that will showcase her A/W collection at the event. Helen Rochfort’s innovative designs focus on all things delectable. Infact just glancing at her liquorice allsorts bag is enough to have me running to the nearest sweet shop for a fix. She describes her delectable designs as simply “ a sprinkling of vintage and a dusting of retro all whipping together with a kitsch twist of humour” So keep your eyes out for Rochfort’s designs, they are hard to miss!

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The event prides itself on its promotion of sustainable fashion, and actively supports recycling and ethical sourcing. It’s organizers are The Alternative Arts, a group based in East London that invests in local artists and projects in the community. Its overriding ethos is the importance of accessible fashion and art in the public domain.

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The event is a riot of creativity that questions our ideological view of fashion design; Alternative Fashion Week provides that vital foundation for applications to bridge the gap between them and the seemingly intimidating abyss of the fashion industry.

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So keep your eyes peeled as Amelia’s Magazine will be reporting from the front line this week to bring you all the zany fun and frolics!
Sometimes the stories for Amelia’s Magazine come to us. And this story is one of unimaginable corruption by one of the worlds largest companies, search aided by an equally unscrupulous government. While there will never be a happy ending to this tale, medicine there may be, tadalafil after many years of campaigning, justice finally delivered. I was emailed recently by a group called Remember Saro-Wiwa, asking if I would attend a talk entitled Wiwa Vs Shell at the Amnesty International House in London.

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I went along to the event, which was fully attended, and listened to what this case was about. In 1995, a man called Ken Saro-Wiwa, along with eight colleagues from the Ogoni region of Nigeria, was executed by the Nigerian State for campaigning against the devastation of the Niger Delta by oil companies, specifically Shell Oil. Thankfully, this is not where the story ends. On May 26th, 2009, after fourteen years, Shell will stand trial in New York for complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria, including the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and his eight colleagues. The purpose of the evening was to highlight the case, and I listened in horror and disbelief to what has been happening in Nigeria. Having not known much about the unethical way that oil companies conduct their business – and the ways in which they silence their objectors – I could almost not comprehend what I was hearing. The panel speaking included Katie Redford, a U.S lawyer and co founder of EarthRights International, which, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights has filed the case against Shell.

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She discussed the upcoming trial, and included the seemingly never-ending charges which have finally been brought against them. As well as the charge of complicity in crimes against humanity, they are being charged with torture, arbitrary arrest and detainment. We learnt that this is a groundbreaking case – companies of this size do not usually find themselves in court for their actions – however reprehensible. If Shell are found liable, they could be forced to pay damages that could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

We learnt about the situation between Ken Saro-Wiwa and Shell. From the time that Shell had started producing oil in the Delta in 1958, the local communities had been concerned about the levels of pollution, along with the gas flares which were coming from Shell’s production plant. Furthermore, drilling operations were routinely destroying farmers lands with oil spillage and rendering the lands unsuitable for use. When faced with such levels of devastation to their land (and health), it seems only natural that the communities would protest.

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Unfortunately for them, Shell and the Nigerian Government were not in the business of facilitating these protests; instead, Shell would employ the presence of the Mobile Police Force, who were also known as the “kill and go”police. At one such protest, the MPF massacred 80 people and destroyed around 500 homes. Saro-Wiwa, who had always been a prominent figure in the campaigns against Shell was arrested and charged under bogus offences – unlawful assembly and conspiring to publish a ‘seditious’ pamphlet. On November 10th, 1995, Saro-Wiwa, along with 8 others was executed.

Speaking at Amnesty International, Ben Amunwa, who was chairing the evening, used a quote from Milan Kundera to help surmise the subsequent fight to continue with Saro-Wiwa’s cause, and bring long awaited justice : “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”. I spoke with one of the campaigners behind Remember Saro-Wiwa afterwards and asked how others can get involved. He told me that ” We’re currently in the process of developing a website and hopefully actions people can take as part of the shell guilty campaign, we hope to use viral films, the media and activist actions to generate loads of attention on Shell around the trial. At the moment it’s just about spreading awareness of the trial to warm people up for actions they can take further down the line.    

In the meantime we would encourage people join the facebook group. Our current aim is to get 1000 members. One way we are thinking about framing this call out is:

Take the 999 action:

9 Ogoni activists died for their cause
2009: the year their relatives must see justice and gas flaring in Nigeria must end
9: the number of your friends we urge you to invite to join this group.”

Everyone involved with this case will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of the trial in New York. After the panel had finished, I spoke with Katie Redford and asked her whether she felt positive about the outcome of this groundbreaking trial. She explained that while no one can predict whom the jury will side with, or what the outcome may be, the fact that a global and powerful company such as Shell will be finally held accountable for their actions in the Niger Delta demonstrates the power that non-violent protesters actually wield. Although it took twelve years to get to this stage, it seems like justice is finally being administered.

Categories ,Africa, ,Amnesty International, ,Shell Oil

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Amelia’s Magazine | Seedy Sundays: Get ready to plant something new and exciting in your garden!


Rachel Freire S/S 2011, troche 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, seek 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, sick 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.


Illustration 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.


S/S 2011, 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.


S/S 2011, 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.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Rachel Freire S/S 2011, tadalafil 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, page 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.


Illustration 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.


S/S 2011, 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:


S/S 2011, 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.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Rachel Freire S/S 2011, dosage 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, approved 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.


Illustration 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.


S/S 2011, 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:


S/S 2011, 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.

All photography by Matt Bramford
Seed Swap by Gilly Rochester
Seed Swap by Gilly Rochester.

I knew you could get yellow tomatoes, seek but apparently there are purple and yellow carrots too. Agricultural regulations have increasingly stifled the basic trading of seeds that was standard practice in an age gone by, order and there is a wide variety of fruit and vegetables available out there that you cannot even buy at your local greengrocers let alone at the big supermarkets. To counteract this local gardeners and enthusiasts have been clubbing together for Seed Swaps over the past decade. These are great places to swap your own seeds and discover little known but fabulously named plants and vegetables.

To find out why this practice is becoming vitally important to the environment I spoke to Sara Cundy, who became fascinated by the interaction between people and the natural environment during her degree in Geography. She has carried out research into consumers’ understanding of Fairtrade, and is currently Waste Minimisation Officer at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust where she works with communities to help reduce the amount of waste generated and sent to landfill. Trained as a Compost Ambassador, she also volunteers as co-ordinator for the Wiltshire Fairtrade Coalition; who are in the process of organising events during the upcoming Fairtrade Fortnight 2011. Phew! I have no idea how she also found the time to organise a successful Seed Swap!
 
Seed Swap Gent by Velimir Ilic
Green Fingered Gent by Velimir Illic
 
You organised Bradford-on-Avon’s first seed swapping event, did you go to many before you decided to run one yourself? Do you know how these swaps started?
??I went to some of the very early seed swaps in Brighton (well Hove actually) and it was about the same time that I got an allotment with friends. ?? 

I hope it was successful! Do these events educate people or are gardeners already quite clued up on this practice???
The event on Sunday was fantastic! We had over 300 people attend, and around 40 volunteers either helping on the seed swap stall, making refreshment and running the other 20 or so stands that where at the event. There was an amazing buzz for a really concentrated 2 hour slot. The stalls that we invited to the event had a connection with growing your own and gardening and where from the local area. We also had stands on Composting, food waste, Wiltshire Wood Recycling (who are part of a national network of wood re-use organisations), Beekeepers, Hen Keepers and Tools for Self Reliance, who send tools for use in Africa, but also gave advice on the day on how to maintain your own gardening tools. Freecycle, which is very active in our local area, ran a garden book swap, and promoted the fact that you can advertise through them if you have unwanted gardening equipment or are looking for someone, such as a chap wanting to try out Wormeries. We had three different children’s activities also; Growing Micro-Greens, Fitzmaurice Primary School Gardening Club; making bug houses, The Mead School Wingfield Gardening Club; and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, making your own willow woven hanging flowerpot holder.  Friends of Fitzmaurice Schools Gardening Club also made the fantastic cakes (cake is always a winner!) to raise funds for infrastructure such as raised beds at the school. ??We had a number of volunteers who were able to give advice such as the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Compost Ambassadors. One of the compost ambassadors is also a ‘seed guardian’ for the Heritage Seed Library and she was able to give advice on the some of the seeds that where available at the swap that had been kindly donated by the Heritage Seed Library, but also how to go about saving your seeds.
 
Sounds like a fun and interesting afternoon well spent. I read on the Seedy Sunday webpage that this event “…shows up the idiocy of draconian seed laws and the Gene Giants’ restrictive practices: in this warming world we need to exchange more diversity of uncontaminated plants to secure future food.” Can you explain to us what these laws and practices are?
??Yes – Seedy Sunday started in Brighton & Hove 10 years ago back in 2001.  Over the last decade the idea has caught on around the country and so from the original there are now numerous seed swaps around the country (which some combine with potato days – the selling of seed potatoes), the founders I think stumbled across the idea of seed swaps in America.  There are EU and national laws regarding the selling of seeds – requiring them to be registered on a national list. This was brought in to maintain quality, but has had the knock on effect of being illegal to sell seeds that aren’t listed. As it costs money and a considerable amount of paper work to list seeds it’s really only the commercially viable seeds that are on these lists.  Some of these heritage seeds produce fantastic tasting crops, but aren’t commercially worth growing.
 
 seedswap by cat palairet
Seed Swap by Cat Palairet.

??I’ve been a member of the Heritage Seed Library which is hosted by Garden Organic in Warwickshire for just over a year (but been aware for much longer) last year we had some Bronze Arrow Lettuce – this year I’ve got Cherokee Trail of Tears which was traditionally grown with other crops such as squash and maize which constituted the Three Sisters that provided the foundation of Native American agriculture. The connection to the growers and the history behind the various seed is fascinating – and you feel like you are playing a part in our agricultural history – food is fundamental to our life. It also helps to maintain our agrobiodiversity.?

How does swapping seeds benefit the environment?
??It helps to maintain our agrobiodiversity to support the future of agriculture and food security particularly in a time of changing climate. I also think that it re-connects us to the land and the importance of working in harmony with nature, the fragility and frustrations of growing your own can hopefully I think help us appreciate and value our food more. With the resurgence of growing your own, thrift, making and mending etc – I think that seed saving is an important skill that many of us could learn. The seed swap also feeds into tackling waste higher up the chain, by growing your own you can cut down on the amount of packaging that you consume (even if it’s just herbs in your window box), you tend to value food more so less likely to throw it away (hopefully!). Many people also get into composting which is part of the natural cycle of returning nutrients to the soil. Many people don’t realise that disposing of biodegradable waste in landfill, which is buried and then decomposes anaerobically, you produce methane, a greenhouse gas more than 20 times more damaging than C02 – which you avoid with home composting.

Colourful Swappers by Velimir Ilic
Colourful Swappers by Velimir Illic ???

These events also appear to create a brilliant excuse for communities to come together, will you organise anymore Seed Swaps?
I organised the event this year on behalf of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, working in conjunction with Climate Friendly Bradford-on-Avon and hopefully we will be able to run similar events in future years. We very generously got funding from the co-operative membership which helped with a lot of the costs, such as hall hire, advertising, producing banners/flyers/posters and distributing seed envelopes – which meant that this year we did not have to charge any stall holders (who were principally other charity groups) or entrance fee.

Find out where the next Seedy Sunday is taking place in your area by visiting their website.

Categories ,africa, ,beekeeper, ,biodegradable, ,Biodiversity, ,carrots, ,Cat Palairet, ,climate, ,Climate Friendly Bradford-on-Avon, ,Co-operative Group, ,co2, ,composting, ,fairtrade, ,Fairtrade Fortnight 2011, ,Faye West, ,Fitzmaurice Primary School Gardening Club, ,Freecycle, ,Garden Organic, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Greenhouse gas, ,herbs, ,Heritage, ,Heritage Seed Library, ,Native American, ,seeds, ,Seedy Sunday, ,Self-reliance, ,The Mead School Wingfield Gardening Club, ,thrift, ,tomatoes, ,wood

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Amelia’s Magazine | Five things you might not know about Chris Ofili

Sparky Deathcap is a twenty-something musician and artist from Cheshire, sildenafil whose wry tales of love and loss are in turns hilarious and heartwrenching. You may have caught him recently supporting the likes of Los Campesinos! and Hot Club de Paris.

On songs like “Berlin Syndrome”, case guitars and handclaps loop and whirl around lyrics like, recipe “Since then you just make cameos when I’m asleep/you’re the William Shatner of this elite genre of women that I have loved and lost,” creating a lo-fi landscape one that is simultaneously bleak and full of warmth. At times the songs are reminiscent of early Smog, when Bill Callahan wrote songs like he had a sense of humour and sometimes felt a bit awkward. As well as the recent Tear Jerky EP (available here) he maintains a brilliant cartoon blog at his website.

It’s a busy year for Sparky, off on a European tour as we speak, but I managed to send a few emails back and forth about comic books, rock operas and the Wonder Years.

So, you’re on tour with Los Campesinos! right now, how’s that going?

It has been really fun, it’s an absolute privilege to tour with my friends Los Campesinos! and the supports, Islet and Swanton Bombs, are two outrageously good bands. It was my birthday the other day coinciding with our Aberdeen date and the crowd sang happy birthday to me which was a really touching moment.

Sparky Deathcap presumably isn’t your real name – is it a sort of onstage personal that allows you to unleash your inner diva, like Beyonce Knowles’ Sasha Fierce?

I originally chose it something like 5 years ago when I started doing the one man and a guitar thing live because I felt like it would be easier to play if I could invent a persona. Now, however, there isn’t really a great separation between Sparky Deathcap and me, except for when I remember some of the crap, depressing gigs I used to do and I think about younger Sparky as this sort of beleaguered little brother or something and how excited he’d be by the exciting things I’m getting to do at the moment. Crikey, my mind is like Fellini directing The Wonder Years. Edited by Lassie.

When you play live you have drawings projected behind you, do you think you might ever make a whole comic book, is that something you’d be interested in?

Oh I have grand, grand plans for comic books. I’m working on a little comics booklet for my album and an illustrated valentines rock opera for next year. I’m also trying to resurrect my weekly comic strip for my new blog. The trouble is that comics are incredibly labour intensive. Chris Ware pointed out once that unlike writing a novel, comics don’t allow any sort of natural flow to occur as every page has to be planned out as a whole and so the panels within in it are predestined. I’d love to create a big Clowesian comic book one day, but for now I have to concentrate upon producing small, gimmicky things to “build my profile”… urggggghhhh, the modern world… adulthood…

You mentioned your rock opera there, what does that involve?

That was something I wrote for a ukulele festival in Manchester last year on Valentine’s Day. I was wrongly under the impression that we had to perform the whole thing on ukulele and didn’t really have any ukulele songs so I set about writing a sort of musical/rock opera about an organ transplant van driver finding love whilst snowbound in a rural town. I drew some illustrations for my old overhead projector as well. I hope to turn it into a special edition record and book for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

Musically, who would you call your biggest influences? You get compared to Jeffrey Lewis a lot, right? But that seems like a pretty easy comparison for anyone who sings and draws…

I have an awful lot of respect, naturally, for Jeffrey Lewis, and he has obviously influenced some aspects of my live show, even if it is in trying to steer away from his territory as much as I possibly can. I suppose the bands I have revered the most over the years are The Beach Boys, Pavement, Smog, Silver Jews, Magnetic Fields and Why?, but increasingly I’m becoming very interested in Steve Reich and Bill Evans. In terms of my artwork I’m very heavily influenced by Archer Prewitt, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine and Marcel Dzama. Archer Prewitt is another artist/musician; he plays in the The Sea And Cake and under his own name whilst also drawing the incomparable Sof’ Boy comics.

So, after this tour, what’s next for Sparky Deathcap?

Next up: more touring with Los Camp. I’m trying to perfect my world-weary, “oh, touring is such a drag,” but in truth it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. We have European and US tours to come which will be really amazing. In between I’m working hard on writing and recording my album, which is really very exciting.

Sparky Deathcap is a twenty-something musician and artist from Cheshire, viagra dosage whose wry tales of love and loss are in turns hilarious and heartwrenching. You may have caught him recently supporting the likes of Los Campesinos! and Hot Club de Paris.

On songs like “Berlin Syndrome”, generic guitars and handclaps loop and whirl around lyrics like, “Since then you just make cameos when I’m asleep/you’re the William Shatner of this elite genre of women that I have loved and lost,” creating a lo-fi landscape one that is simultaneously bleak and full of warmth. At times the songs are reminiscent of early Smog, when Bill Callahan wrote songs like he had a sense of humour and sometimes felt a bit awkward. As well as the recent Tear Jerky EP (available here) he maintains a brilliant cartoon blog at his website.

It’s a busy year for Sparky, off on a European tour as we speak, but I managed to send a few emails back and forth about comic books, rock operas and the Wonder Years.

So, you’re on tour with Los Campesinos! right now, how’s that going?

It has been really fun, it’s an absolute privilege to tour with my friends Los Campesinos! and the supports, Islet and Swanton Bombs, are two outrageously good bands. It was my birthday the other day coinciding with our Aberdeen date and the crowd sang happy birthday to me which was a really touching moment.

Sparky Deathcap presumably isn’t your real name – is it a sort of onstage personal that allows you to unleash your inner diva, like Beyonce Knowles’ Sasha Fierce?

I originally chose it something like 5 years ago when I started doing the one man and a guitar thing live because I felt like it would be easier to play if I could invent a persona. Now, however, there isn’t really a great separation between Sparky Deathcap and me, except for when I remember some of the crap, depressing gigs I used to do and I think about younger Sparky as this sort of beleaguered little brother or something and how excited he’d be by the exciting things I’m getting to do at the moment. Crikey, my mind is like Fellini directing The Wonder Years. Edited by Lassie.

When you play live you have drawings projected behind you, do you think you might ever make a whole comic book, is that something you’d be interested in?

Oh I have grand, grand plans for comic books. I’m working on a little comics booklet for my album and an illustrated valentines rock opera for next year. I’m also trying to resurrect my weekly comic strip for my new blog. The trouble is that comics are incredibly labour intensive. Chris Ware pointed out once that unlike writing a novel, comics don’t allow any sort of natural flow to occur as every page has to be planned out as a whole and so the panels within in it are predestined. I’d love to create a big Clowesian comic book one day, but for now I have to concentrate upon producing small, gimmicky things to “build my profile”… urggggghhhh, the modern world… adulthood…

You mentioned your rock opera there, what does that involve?

That was something I wrote for a ukulele festival in Manchester last year on Valentine’s Day. I was wrongly under the impression that we had to perform the whole thing on ukulele and didn’t really have any ukulele songs so I set about writing a sort of musical/rock opera about an organ transplant van driver finding love whilst snowbound in a rural town. I drew some illustrations for my old overhead projector as well. I hope to turn it into a special edition record and book for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

Musically, who would you call your biggest influences? You get compared to Jeffrey Lewis a lot, right? But that seems like a pretty easy comparison for anyone who sings and draws…

I have an awful lot of respect, naturally, for Jeffrey Lewis, and he has obviously influenced some aspects of my live show, even if it is in trying to steer away from his territory as much as I possibly can. I suppose the bands I have revered the most over the years are The Beach Boys, Pavement, Smog, Silver Jews, Magnetic Fields and Why?, but increasingly I’m becoming very interested in Steve Reich and Bill Evans. In terms of my artwork I’m very heavily influenced by Archer Prewitt, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine and Marcel Dzama. Archer Prewitt is another artist/musician; he plays in the The Sea And Cake and under his own name whilst also drawing the incomparable Sof’ Boy comics.

So, after this tour, what’s next for Sparky Deathcap?

Next up: more touring with Los Camp. I’m trying to perfect my world-weary, “oh, touring is such a drag,” but in truth it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. We have European and US tours to come which will be really amazing. In between I’m working hard on writing and recording my album, which is really very exciting.

‘The Holy Virgin Mary’ All Images Courtesy Tate Britain, order London © Chris Ofili

1)   Alongside his other works of art, dosage currently being showcased at The Tate Britain, decease one canvas has elicited more controversy than others. The Holy Virgin Mary, portrays an African Virgin Mary surrounded by clippings of genitalia taken from blaxploitation and porn films.

Hang on a minute, could he be making a cultural criticism on the fact that the media has a tendency to deify white idols (Vogue has been in monthly syndication since 1973, to date publishing 446 issues since then, 14 of the covers have featured black women) whereas black women are at best, overlooked and at worst, reduced to faceless sexual objects? Of course he’s not! He’s screwing up America! Bernard Goldman’s right wing book chronicling those who are most to blame for the current predicament of ‘screwed up America’ – the not too creatively titled ‘100 People Who Are Screwing Up America’ listed Ofili at Number 86 for his contributions to the decline of United States. Whether he is directly responsible for environmental decline, the War on Iraq or the 35.9 million citizens living below the poverty line in the US is not made clear. Quite a feat considering he’s actually British. Regardless, Mayor Giuliani was appalled enough by Ofili’s artwork, that in 1999 he threatened to withdraw The Brooklyn Museum of Art’s $7million grant because, as he said “There’s nothing in the First Amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects!” Well good sir, in which, can we ban Fox News? Or at the very least, Rush Limbaugh. No? Guess the pendulum doesn’t swing both ways. Digressing, I can’t help but wonder whether it’s the depiction of The Holy Virgin Mary as a black woman, the genitalia or the use of elephant dung as an art material that has caused so much outrage?

‘No Woman, No Cry’

2) Continuing from point Number 1; The Holy Virgin Mary had to be placed behind a plexiglass shield when on display in New York. However, crafty little old Christian pensioner, Dennis Heiner, 72, jumped behind the plexiglass shield and smeared white paint over the artwork until the Virgin Mary was obscured from view.  He was charged with second-degree criminal mischief and a $250 fine. That wasn’t a typo. $250. Who wants to place bets on what would happen to me if I threw paint around inside the Vatican?

‘Painting with Shit on it.’

3) Chris Ofili refuses to be molded by his own success. His more recent paintings that are displayed in this exhibition have shrugged off the bright glittery tones of their predecessors. Black on black-blue, the new canvases tell a story, but a story you have to dance around to see. Standing in front of dark canvas, adjusting your eyes to make out the images, like looking for sharks in a dark sea, you can make out a few images; a deer carcass, men making music – but being practically invisible, the mind is forced to project it’s own ideas on what Ofili is both displaying and commenting on.

‘Blue Riders’

4) After winning a scholarship to study in Zimbabwe, Ofili studied African cave paintings, which he has cited as a source of inspiration for much of his work.

5) Chris Ofili is one of the few black artists to be included in the artistically elite group ‘Young British Artists’ which also included Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.  Any young artists, or anyone young (under 26) can visit Chris Ofili at The Tate Britain for only £5. Pretty good, eh?

Click for our event listing for this exhibtion

Categories ,africa, ,african art, ,amica lane, ,art vandalism, ,cave paintings, ,Chris Ofili, ,controversy, ,discounts, ,equal rights, ,left wing, ,politics, ,right wing, ,sensations, ,Tate, ,Tate Britain, ,young british artists

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Amelia’s Magazine | An Interview with Ruth Babajide: African Heritage Exhibition Curator

SONY DSC

An exciting and refreshing showcase of established and emerging new talent from modern Africa and its diaspora, discount The African Heritage Exhibition opened on Wednesday 31st March 2010 at the Bedfordbury Gallery in Covent Garden. Exhibiting everything from photography, for sale to fine art, generic jewellery to ceramics, the show is a celebration of Africa’s rich and vibrant cultural output.
Is this your first curatorial effort? Yes it is! I have learnt so much through the curatorial process and understanding the space around the art is just as important as the art. I collaborated with the African Eden Safari Company to put this exhibition together along with other sponsors like MacIntyre Hudson from the finance sector and Obaseki Solicitors. We also received a lot of support from various African embassies, Fairmont Hotels, Lonely Planet and Lush soaps, so we have been very fortunate!

Photograph by Georgina Goodwin

What inspired you to put on this exhibition? I became extremely exhausted and bored of seeing the same images of Africa through the media which only showed poverty, lack of education, basically lack of hope or prosperity. I have travelled many times to different countries in Africa and while there is a side that struggles, there are also many positive things happening in the continent which the western world is not exposed to. That is what inspired me to hold an event that will allow the western audience to engage with the positive side of Africa through art, photography, music, food and travel which reflects a vibrant, modern united nation that has a lot to give. I also thought that it would be good time to do this with the World Cup being held in South Africa this year.

How did you select the artists involved? I am part of a network called Creative African Network which is part of Puma Vision. There are so many talented people who are part of it that are from Africa or are linked to the continent through their work or interests. I found photographers like Delphine Diallo, Nathalie Bikoro, Paul Sika and Laura El Tantawy on the website. The jewellery designer Doreth Jones (who I met through a colleague at the Holts Academy of Jewellery) and I met the two artists Georgina Goodwin and Jimnah Kimani on my safari trips to Kenya. It was easy to get all of them excited about the African Heritage project as it is an exhibition coming from a new and different angle and when they saw that I was passionate and working hard on it being a success, they wanted to be part of the journey.

Can you tell us about some of the work we’ll get to see? I will be showing bespoke ceramic vessels that are a fusion of my Nigerian heritage and growing up in Old Street London with the dance, punk rock music of the early nineties coming from the underground clubs. Paul Sika is showing for the first time a video piece of his photography that comments on modern West African culture, the people and their environment. Laura El Tantawy is showing her ongoing project called ‘The Veil’ that looks at a cross section of women around the world who wear it and how it has become the defining icon of Islam. Nathalie Bikoro is doing a live art performance and there will also be wildlife photography from Georgina Goodwin.

So African culture influences your working practise as a ceramicist? Most definitely! All my work has some sort of ‘African aesthetic’. I also travel a lot to East Africa where some of family are from, which inspires the prints I design for my ceramic pieces. My design philosophy has always been about designing and making ceramic products that allow for culture exchange and understanding. Right now I am focussed on creating things that will allow people to engage and learn more about different African cultures.

What do you know of your own heritage? I was born in London to Nigerian parents who came to this country when they were teenagers in the mid seventies. Being Nigerian and also English because I was born here has caused a lot of conflict within myself at times because it can be difficult to describe myself as one thing or belonging to one group of people. I lived in Nigeria for two years in the early nineties which was good for me as I got to learn the Yoruba language and understand more about where my parents come from and our culture. But I also acknowledge that being raised in Britain plays an important part in my life and who I am today.

Do you feel that many people in the UK are losing touch with their heritage? I think that as times move on, everywhere is becoming more globalised and everybody is becoming entities that are a culmination of various languages, races, religions and cultures. We are no longer a world where someone is just one thing or is from one place. The UK is a great example of a globalised nation and with our ties with the EU and other continents in the world, people who live here are being exposed to different things from different people who come and settle here. People do lose touch with their heritage because of this or their heritage is constantly changing and no longer seen as important in this day and age.

Is there a possibility of the exhibition touring? The idea is that every year in the summer season, we would curate a show that focuses on Africa through the arts and design but will become more specific, showing work that discusses an issue or theme. The next exhibition will hopefully be in a bigger gallery space that has more sponsors to support it. I would tell you what the next one is going to be about but I better keep it a secret till closer to the time… but it is going to be even more fantastic!

African Heritage at the 3 Bedfordbury Gallery, Covent Garden London WC2N 4BP Wednesday 31st March – Sunday 4th April 2010 11am – 8pm Nearest Station: Charing Cross (Bakerloo and Northern Line) Blog: http://www.getcreativeafricanheritage.wordpress.com and www.getcreativeafricanheritage.wordpress.com Tel: 0800 862 0457

Categories ,africa, ,african art, ,African Heritage Exhibition, ,bedfordbury gallery, ,Covent Garden, ,creative african network, ,Delphine Diallo, ,Doreth Jones, ,Georgina Goodwin, ,Jimnah Kimani, ,Laura El Tantawy, ,Nathalie Bikoro, ,Paul Sika, ,puma vision, ,Ruth Babajide

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