Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour visits Castor and Pollux in Brighton

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 -000

Art and design shop Castor and Pollux is situated in three airy arches on Brighton seafront, ampoule a location that was formerly public loos and then a yoga studio.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011
The view outside the shop. How gorgeous is this?

The arches now house a beautifully curated collection of well designed goodies: there’s a kids’ section, for sale a book section, a gallery space and lots of cards, note books, homewares and hand made jewellery. It’s all highly desirable, so I’m super happy that my Roger La Borde cards now have a home in Castor and Pollux alongside Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. You really must visit the shop if you are in Brighton!

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011

Unfortunately I arrived last night for my ACOFI Book Tour with very little time to spare. (Thankyou traffic, in the four years since my beloved Cinquecento departed for the great car graveyard in the sky London streets have started to resemble the chaos of cities like Delhi, what with all the large trucks a-honkin’ and a-hootin’ at each other). Luckily April was on hand to help me shift piles of books down onto the seafront – aided by Suki and Alice Pattullo, who studied illustration at Brighton.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 postcards
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 ALICE Pattullo and April
Alice Pattullo and April of Castor and Pollux.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Suki, Alice with a guest
Suki and Alice with a guest.

I should have known that if I went to Brighton I was bound to bump into some people who studied on the same course as me at University of Brighton (Ba Hons Fashion Textiles with Business Studies since you ask). Turns out the fabulous illustrator Sarah Arnett, who I first discovered at Pick Me Up (and who has since started contributing to Amelia’s Magazine) was in fact a few years ahead of me.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Sarah Arnett
Lovely Sarah Arnett.

Sarah has taken an interesting route to illustration – she specialised in weave at college (we had a choice of print, knit or weave) and then went into the textiles swatch trade, before setting up a small studio making clothes that ended up becoming a shop. She only discovered the joy of illustration when a friend bartered some Illustrator lessons in exchange for a dress. Now, not only does she produce gorgeous illustrations, but she has also recently launched the most BEAUTIFUL collection of clothes featuring her inimitable flower designs. The label is called Modern Love and you can find it in Liberty.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Lou Taylor, Jo Vintage Brighton, Kate Jenkins, April
Lou Taylor, Jo of Vintage Brighton, Kate Jenkins and April.

When Kate Jenkins turned up I recognised her instantly, and not because we have run multiple blogs featuring her unique knitted artworks. She looked familiar because she too was the year above me at Brighton. How wonderful to discover that Brighton fashion textiles graduates are doing such diverse and interesting things that have fed into the world of Amelia’s Magazine.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Juiceology
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Angel Food Bakery
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Angel Food Bakery.

Before my talk started guests had a chance to once again try out the lovely Juiceology juices, which I have decided are a bit like a juice equivalent of Refreshers sweeties – they have such a wonderful tang to them, quite unlike any other juice I’ve tasted. April had also managed to source some outstanding cupcakes from the Angel Food Bakery – who, quite without my knowledge, had baked the most beautiful buttery creations featuring a transfer design of the Amelia’s Magazine logo.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Lahloo tea

This time round I also had a moment to drink a few cups of Lahloo Tea, and can confirm that both the Peppermint and Darjeeling were absolutely delicious, served very prettily in tea cosy covered china teapots. There were also of course samples of Dr.Hauschka aplenty to take away, much appreciated by those in attendance.

There were plenty of other interesting people at Castor and Pollux, and here’s a selection of those that I managed to talk to:

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Paul from Chichester
Paul had come all the way from Chichester on behalf of his girlfriend… and he’d sneaked out a copy of her issue 2 for me to sign for her birthday (hope she’s not reading this) which I thought was incredibly sweet. Fortunately he didn’t seem at all daunted by the heavy female quotient: sadly one boy ran away before my talk began. Boys, please come and meet me, my talk is just as much for you! I’d also really like to encourage as many people as possible to come and talk to me at the remaining talks… I want to hear what you are up to so that I can give your creative projects as much exposure as possible.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Sarah Meredith and Matilda
ACOFI book tour rock cakes pumpkin ring
Sarah Meredith of Rock Cakes could only stay for a little while because her little girl Matilda needed to get home for bed, but she too had brought along some back copies for me to sign. She was sporting some fantastic rings from her dainty jewellery collection – I particularly love the enamelled pumpkin and the cute birds which sit together as if talking. You can find more of her designs on the Rock Cakes website and on Etsy.

ACOFI book tour angel food bakery cupcakes
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Angel Food Bakery
Me chomping on a cupcake from the Angel Food Bakery.

Also present was Lou Taylor, who has also recently started contributing to Amelia’s Magazine. She has been using paper art to create the most amazing props for many years, but illustration is a new thing. I think her paper cut techniques work marvellously well as illustration – see her CocknBullKid illustration for example – and am glad she has found a place to showcase this new work.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Jessie Ford
I also met illustrator Jessie Ford, whose website you can check out here.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Racheal Brooks, Racheal Stott, Verity Brown, Judith Wilding
Racheal Brooks, Racheal Stott, Verity Brown, Judith Wilding

Judith Wilding of Delicious Industries is a graphic designer, who keeps a great blog about old school design.

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Verity Brown
Verity Brown shows me her portfolio.

A few recent graduates of my course turned up just as I was finishing my talk and one had been savvy enough to bring her portfolio of lovely fashion illustrations to show me. They missed most of the part where I talk about how you absolutely have to be online and engaged with social media to promote yourself as an up and coming creative, but I hope they will listen to my advice as, unbelievably, none of them had any web presence at all! I wish my old course would ask me back to teach the students a bit more about self promotion and marketing for creatives…

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Verity BrownACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Verity Brown
Illustrations by Verity Brown.

Jo of Vintage Brighton has very speedily blogged about my talk last night, so you can find out more about it by hopping over here. Thankyou Jo!

As I upload this blog I am sitting in the Pegasus Theatre cafe in Oxford and in a few minutes I have to get along to the next date on my #ACOFI Book Tour. Tonight I will be talking at Comma Shop at about 7.30pm tonight: please do join me from 6pm to network, eat Good Biscuits, taste a new G&D ice-cream flavour and learn how to make button rosettes with Custon Made UK. Then tomorrow I will be rolling on up to Bristol to speak at the Soma Gallery. It’s all very exciting because I love meeting so many different creative communities, so do come and join me at one of these venues soon and tell me what you’re up to. I am back at Tatty Devine in Brick Lane on Tuesday 7th June. Over and out.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Alice Pattullo, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Angel Food Bakery, ,brighton, ,Castor and Pollux, ,Cinquecento, ,CocknBullKid, ,Comma Shop, ,cupcakes, ,Custon Made UK, ,Delicious Industries, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,G&D Cafe, ,G&D ice-cream, ,Good Biscuits, ,Ice Cream, ,Jessie Ford, ,Judith Wilding, ,Juiceology, ,Kate Jenkins, ,Lahloo Tea, ,liberty, ,Lou Taylor, ,Modern Love, ,Oxford, ,Pegasus Theatre, ,Racheal Brooks, ,Racheal Stott, ,Rock Cakes, ,Roger La Borde, ,Sarah Arnett, ,Sarah Meredith, ,Soma Gallery, ,Tatty Devine, ,University of Brighton, ,Verity Brown, ,Vintage Brighton

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Amelia’s Magazine | Soma celebrates 10 Years: an interview with founder Fiona Hamilton

Soma Gallery - 10th anniversary prints

Like Amelia’s Magazine, the fabulous Bristol based Soma Gallery launched in 2004. Founder Fiona Hamilton was a big supporter and stocked Amelia’s Magazine in print from the very outset. Since then we have kept in touch and Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration visited Soma Gallery on tour back in 2011. I caught up with Fiona to talk about ten years of working with emerging and established artists. Read on for more and to view all ten of the wonderful prints featured in the 10th anniversary celebration show and box set.

Soma Gallery - spencer wilson
Print by Spencer Wilson, available here.

How did Soma begin, and how has it changed over the years? Can you give us a short potted history…
Soma started way back in June 2004 and opened with an exhibition by Anthony Burrill, Jon Burgerman, Richard May, Container and Dettmer Otto. The original idea was to exhibit work by a mixture of illustrators and graphic designers alongside ceramics, jewellery and textiles. In that respect, things haven’t changed all that much in the last 10 years! We started off in a small single room space in Clifton Arcade and in 2010 moved to a much larger space on two floors over the road. We are now able to have larger exhibitions in a separate gallery space and we’ve also been able to hold events like book signings and a Tatty Devine jewellery making workshop in this space. We’re currently in the process of installing a small print workshop in a small room at the back of the shop.

Soma Gallery - peskimo
Print by Peskimo, available here.

Soma Gallery - Graham Carter
Print by Graham Carter, available here.

How did you pick the artists who have contributed to your 10th anniversary collection of limited edition prints?
It was very hard to choose just 10 artists. Some of the artists we have chosen have worked with Soma since the early days including Adam Bridgland and Lucy Gough who both exhibited in our second exhibition in 2004 and have continued working with us. Alice Pattullo is one of our newest artists and joined us before Christmas last year. Hazel Nicholls joined us for Pick Me Up graphic art fair in 2013 and has continued to work with us ever since. Andy Smith, Peskimo, Gemma Correll and Crispin Finn have also exhibited with us at Pick Me Up as well as many solo and group exhibitions in our gallery. Graham Carter and Spencer Wilson are both original founding Peepshow (illustration collective) members and have been with us for a long time!

Soma Gallery - gemma correll
Print by Gemma Correll, available here.

Out of the 10th anniversary collection can you recommend your top tip: for a child’s room? for a new boyfriend? and for a mother in law?
The perfect print for a child’s room would be either Peskimo’s ‘Flying Saucers’ (which glows in the dark!) or Spencer Wilson’s ‘Bring the Noise’. For a new boyfriend, Crispin Finn’s ‘Double High 5’ or perhaps Graham Carter’s ‘Oh James!’. A good mother in law print would be HelloMarine’s ‘Jungle’ print.

Soma Gallery - crispin finn
Print by Crispin Finn, available here.

Which other artists are amongst your favourites at the moment?
Tom Frost and Nicholas John Frith are other artists I would have loved to have been part of the 10. Both were unfortunately too busy to take part, Tom was working towards his solo show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which opened just after the prints were launched. There will be other projects in the future, I’m sure!

Soma Gallery - hellomarine
Print by HelloMarine, available here.

Soma Gallery - hazel nicholls
Print by Hazel Nicholls, available here.

What are the biggest trends (that you have spotted) in prints in 2014?
We don’t tend to follow trends here at Soma, but something I have noticed is that tropical plants, birds of paradise and very bright colours are very much on trend. One thing about not being led by trends too much is that we hope people will treasure our prints for years to come and so for that reason don’t want anything that might date too quickly. Bright colours are definitely something we fully embrace at Soma though!

Soma Gallery - andy smith
Print by Andy Smith, available here.

Which artists should we look out for in the coming years?
I think it’s worth keeping an eye on Alice Pattullo and Hazel Nicholls. And maybe the next young artist who joins us!

Soma Gallery - Alice Pattulo
Print by Alice Pattullo, available here.

What do you love most about producing prints and selling specialist designer goods?
One of the nicest things is working directly with the artists and building good relationships with them. We work with a great bunch and it’s a pleasure selling their prints and goods.

Soma Gallery - adam bridgeland and lucy gough
Print by Adam Bridgeland and Lucy Gough, available here.

What have been the high points and low points of the past ten years?
There have been some great high points. The most memorable are moving to the larger space in 2010 and exhibiting in Pick Me Up for the first time in 2012. Andy Smith’s solo exhibition, ‘Sunny Side Up’ in 2011 was a huge success. Our 10th anniversary print project and event was also quite a high! The low points are thankfully few, but the long hours and how hard you have to work as a small creative business can feel quite thankless at times. But in the end it’s all worth it!

Each print is 30 x 40cm to fit in a standard size frame. They are available as singles at £30 each or as a boxed set of all 10 at £275. All prints are printed on GF Smith Colorplan or Mohawk Superfine.

Categories ,10 Years, ,10th Anniversary, ,Adam Bridgland, ,Alice Pattullo, ,Andy Smith, ,Anthony Burrill, ,Bristo, ,Clifton Arcade, ,Container, ,Crispin Finn, ,Dettmer Otto, ,Fiona Hamilton, ,GF Smith Colorplan, ,Graham Carter, ,Hazel Nicholls, ,HelloMarine, ,Jon Burgerman, ,Lucy Gough, ,Mohawk Superfine, ,Nicholas John Frith, ,Peepshow, ,Peskimo, ,Pick Me Up, ,Richard May, ,Soma Gallery, ,Spencer Wilson, ,Tatty Devine, ,Tom Frost

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Amelia’s Magazine | An Interview with Kathy Shenoy, Creative Director of Ethical Design Shop Shake the Dust

Kathy Shenoy by Louise Smith
Kathy Shenoy by Louise Smith

Shake the Dust, is an online shop which sells everything from wooden heart-shaped pendants to fluoro vases. Creating relationships between emerging British designers and ethical producers, this green-minded boutique produces hand-made, luxury products perfect for shoppers with an environmental conscience.

We’ve mentioned Shake the Dust before and Amelia nods to them in her round-up of Christmas Gift Ideas 2012. If you like your furnishings to come with peace of mind and your placemats to come from ethical producers, then Shake the Dust is your new one-stop port of call for all for all your nesting instincts. Not only is it supporting the British creative industry in its time of need, but Shake the Dust is also supporting ethical production pathways. If you want furnishings and accessories with a squeaky-clean past and ethical styling, then these are the products for you. Having recently made appearances at East London Design Show, Pop Up Britain Xmas Shop and Southbank Designers Makers Christmas Market, the future is sure to have lots on store for this socially responsible businesses. Whether it’s an Aztec Snood or a Gone Rural Dining Set, you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a product from a contientious supply chain without breaking the bank.

I love a start-up with a good back-story and so I spoke to Kathy Shenoy about the tale that led to ethical brand Shake the Dust, and discovered how the seeds of the business were planted.

Alice Pattullo Harvest of the Sea
Rosecraft threads

How did you get the idea to start your own business?
The business was conceived following first-hand experience of living and working with those trapped in the poverty cycle and wanting to help grow a creative economy. I saw a connection forming when I moved back the UK and witnessed the struggles faced by emerging UK creatives faced with an over-saturated industry and the impact of the recession. As a creative graduate myself, I understand how hard is it to bridge a gap between independent creative practice and making a sustainable living.

Stemming from my textiles degree, passion for design and professional experience in the arts industry, I decided to build a business that linked my experiences and the people I had worked with there to new and adventurous opportunities in the UK that could connect people and ideas.

Alice Pattullo My Word

You spent three years living and working in Southern Africa, what did you learn from this experience?
I met so many people living in Swaziland, from rural artisans to top international designers and felt that there is a real need to connect all these talented people in some way. It took me a long time to figure out how that would manifest, and how I would fund it (!) but eventually Shake the Dust was born at the end of 2012. Living in a place with a relatively small creative industry gave me an opportunity to explore my creative direction to a degree that would be much harder to accomplish in the UK. But what I achieved and the inspiring people I met gave me a lot of confidence to branch out on my own over here.

Baobab Batik Protea Cushion

What made you decide to setup an ethical brand in particular?
The primary focus of Shake the Dust is to work with partners who share my philosophy for socially responsible business. I want to prove that investing in and developing creative economies can really impact on the lives of those living in poverty. This is particularly true in parts of the world where creativity has always been in abundance but which needs to move with the times to be sustainable. We have so much talent in the UK, but in an over-saturated creative industry, emerging designers struggle to find work and start producing without having to buy huge minimums from big factories. Shake the Dust creates opportunities for collaboration between designers and producers. Designers get to work with new and unique materials and processes; producers get new fresh and contemporary designs to grow a UK market.

The term ‘ethical’, to me, means transparency through the supply chain and clear communication about producer’s good working practices and fair prices. But there’s no reason why an ethical business can’t also compete with mainstream design trends and remain fresh- part of the reason I started the business was to prove that there’s no excuse for ethical products to be either naff or too expensive.

Dyed grass drying in the sun
Rainbow Mat

Do you design any of the pieces yourself?
The first stage of launching the business has been to work with producers and designers on their existing products. I have worked with them to either select and adapt or make new designs/colourways and prints which suit our market. I’m currently designing a new Shake the Dust collection in partnership with a new producer which will be unveiled in the summer.

Gone Rural Bonakele Block Weave Set Red
Gone Rural Fluoro Fabric Vases
Gone Rural Placemats

Which designers are you working with right now?
I have collaborative projects on the go with illustrator Alice Pattullo and textile designer Kangan Arora which I can’t wait to launch! My very talented sister [Josie Shenoy] is part of my ‘in-house’ creative team but is also “>launching some of her new products with me soon, including lampshades and new prints

GoneRural Patchwork Baskets

Grass on hat

Are you looking for future collaborators? What do you look for in a designer?
Absolutely! I’m really open to hearing from anyone from illustrators to jewellery/print/ceramic/textile/furniture designers who are interested in partnering with us. Shake the Dust sells designer’s own products as well as commissioning new collaborations- so people need to be open to new ideas and good at communicating and working with others. It’s an opportunity for designers to work potentially with completely new and unexpected materials which can be exciting but also potentially a challenging experience! Anyone who is interested can get in touch with us.

Josie Shenoy prints
Josie Shenoy Notebooks

You sell a range of products, is there anything you’d love to sell but don’t currently?
I’d love to have furniture and lighting. We’re launching a jewellery range very soon which is something that I’ve wanted to expand on for a long time.

Mongoose Cow Apron
Mongoose ladies toiletry bag cows

Are the products created uniquely for Shake the Dust?
Currently, most of the products are existing product lines that have been adapted and selected for our market. It was important at the start to make sure the business could be sustainable and also to help support our partners and establish a working relationship first. This has been done by helping them develop their existing lines before spending a lot of time and money on developing completely new products. We are launching the collaborative projects this year which is very exciting and is a very unique business model.

Mongoose Nordic Bag
Mongoose Wonderland Satchel Lime

What plans do you have for the brand in future?
We are launching a number of new products in May at Clerkenwell Design Week, where we will have a feature shop in the Farmiloe Building. There will also be a few pop-up events throughout the year, dates and venues to be announced! In terms of the long-term future I hope to be able to start development projects and an exchange programme for both designers and our artisan producers by the end of the year.

Tintsaba Heart Pendant Wood and sisal

Unless otherwise stated, images were provided by Kathy Shenoy.

Categories ,accessories, ,Alice Pattullo, ,British designers, ,Clerkenwell Design Week, ,Creative Director, ,ethical, ,fluoro vases, ,green, ,Homeware, ,jessicasrcook, ,Kangan Arora, ,Kathy Shenoy, ,Louise Smith, ,poverty, ,producers, ,Shake the Dust, ,Southern Africa, ,sustainable, ,Swaziland, ,UK

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