Amelia’s Magazine | extInked – One hundred species one hundred tattoos

This November the Brilliantly Birmingham International Contemporary Jewellery Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary in style by hosting two exhibits at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery comprising of the annual selling show, ask promoting both international and home grown eco designers, website like this and a Tenth Anniversary Retrospective featuring the work of seven acclaimed designers whose work has headlined previous festivals: Mikaela Lyons, price Kathryn Marchbank, Betty Pepper, Lisa Juen, Anke Plath, Vaishali Morjaria and Sally Collins.

Firmly rooted within Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter (a designated conservation area which employs around 4,000 people and is home to more than 80 contemporary designer makers), Brilliantly Birmingham started in 1999 when a few designers started out to promote their work under a single brand name. Since its humble beginnings this festival has gone from strength to strength becoming an integral event in the international crafts calendar.

Among the wealth of innovative designers exhibiting this year are three British designers Sally Collins, Kathryn Marchbank and Betty Pepper whose quirky designs caught our eye. An avid champion of ‘Make Do and Mend’ culture Sally Collins creates her pieces from second-hand fabrics such as crochet and lace, heat treated copper and gold-plated elements to create compositions of layered pattern, colour and form. With a playful emphasis on excess detailing and frills Sally’s sometimes eccentric designs add to the charm of her work making her a much loved designer. Of her work Sally says: “My concern is not only with the ecological benefits of re-using and re-inventing something old, discarded or forgotten, but with the beauty of the history of an object when it has been passed down through a family or transformed into something else for another purpose.”

Kathryn Marchbank designs by the name of Everygirlsenvy creating jewellery with a playful yet elegant aesthetic, giving an interpretation of the forms and lines that she observes in the movement and language of dance. By interacting and working alongside artists established in the fields of performance, dance, choreography and music Kathryn aims to embody a visual expression of movement through form and colour in abstract styles and figurative shapes. Using materials such as oxidised sterling silver, Perspex and enamel Kathryn’s pieces are highly wearable and unique. Recent commissions have included London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre supplying accessories for their Hip Hop festival ‘Breakin’ Convention’. Having appeared in several publications a highlight this year saw Kathryn’s most eye catching designs feature in Mario Testino’s ‘Good Vibrations’ shoot for British Vogue back in May.

Betty Pepper’s stunning and ornate collection is made from recycled materials such as clothing, textiles and paper preferring to use materials that have a past rather than creating disposable fashion. Betty says of her designs: “I like to feel that they have ‘lived a little’ and have their own story to tell with signs of ageing and how they have been treated or, perhaps, mistreated. Every discarded object is a piece of the patchwork of someone else’s life. Fashion is so throw away, it’s that waste of textiles that makes me sad.” Inspired by stories, poems and memories Betty uses traditional jewellery techniques evolved into stitch; the threads of which translate into beautiful lace and crochet one-off pieces. Betty’s designs incorporate word games, hidden messages and secrets which reflect her personality and also inject a playful sense of humour into her jewellery collections.
Brilliantly Birmingham takes place from 21st November 2009 – 28th February 2010 at a selection of venues across Birmingham. For further information visit www.brilliantlybirmingham.com.
Ultimate Holding Company, pharmacy a design collective responsible for some of the most iconic and forward thinking projects over the past decade, abortion while remaining true to their ethical, environmental and social principles, have embarked on a new experiment to celebrate Charles Darwin’s bicentennial birthday.

EX2

ExtInked is giving people the chance to become life long ambassadors for threatened and rare birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, plants and fungi by getting a tattoo of one of 100 endangered species that live in Britain.

Tattooists from Ink Vs Steel will begin transferring these images to willing ambassadors from Thursday 26th November and continues until Sunday 29th November. This is no halfhearted walk-round exhibition, but will be pushing the boundary of volunteer-led and audience interaction.

ExtInked offers you the chance to stay involved for life by getting one of the tattoos. Instead of your conventional event, where leaving with a vague notion of the point and an overpriced notebook is the norm you will instead be walking out with a sharp and piercing perception and reminder of the importance of keeping some of beautiful species in Britain alive.

ex5

This will also be one of the first opportunities, possibly ever, for when your grandma asks you about why you got that tattoo you can have an answer ready to turn the scorn around. No longer the usual explanation, “yeah that’s a Celtic design that relates to mans equilibrium of strength” or “my first boyfriend’s middle name” or some such bollocks, this is a tattoo with real meaning! It will undoubtedly offer you the chance to explain the importance of conserving endangered species to hundreds of people throughout your life, a pretty important task if you ask me.

EX4

With assistance from prominent conservation charities, Marine Conservation Trust, Buglife and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species as well as taking inspiration from Charles Darwins meticulous documentation of species around the world the event is ready to kick off. Jai Redman from UHC has spent months creating the hundred intricate designs which will be exhibited at the opening in Manchester from tomorrow Thursday 12th of November.

EX3

Get yourself there early to make sure you get your preferred species: the humble bumble bees of Britain are already pretty popular. I’m not quite sure if bribes are being accepted yet, but possibly worth a try. The tattoos will be for free but as there is no commercial sponsor it would be good to offer some donation either on the day or on the website. There is list of all the species here to have a think about, as well as details on the venue – oh and start thinking which part of your body you want to keep at least the notion of your species alive on.

Categories ,ambassadors, ,Bug Life, ,conservation, ,design, ,endangered, ,ethical, ,ethical design, ,manchester, ,Marine Conservation Trust, ,People’s Trust for Endangered Species, ,social, ,species, ,Tattoos, ,UHC, ,UHC tattoo, ,Ultimate Holding Company

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Amelia’s Magazine | extInked – One hundred species one hundred tattoos

Ultimate Holding Company, a design collective responsible for some of the most iconic and forward thinking projects over the past decade, while remaining true to their ethical, environmental and social principles, have embarked on a new experiment to celebrate Charles Darwin’s bicentennial birthday.

EX2

ExtInked is giving people the chance to become life long ambassadors for threatened and rare birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, plants and fungi by getting a tattoo of one of 100 endangered species that live in Britain.

Tattooists from Ink Vs Steel will begin transferring these images to willing ambassadors from Thursday 26th November and continues until Sunday 29th November. This is no halfhearted walk-round exhibition, but will be pushing the boundary of volunteer-led and audience interaction.

ExtInked offers you the chance to stay involved for life by getting one of the tattoos. Instead of your conventional event, where leaving with a vague notion of the point and an overpriced notebook is the norm you will instead be walking out with a sharp and piercing perception and reminder of the importance of keeping some of beautiful species in Britain alive.

ex5

This will also be one of the first opportunities, possibly ever, for when your grandma asks you about why you got that tattoo you can have an answer ready to turn the scorn around. No longer the usual explanation, “yeah that’s a Celtic design that relates to mans equilibrium of strength” or “my first boyfriend’s middle name” or some such bollocks, this is a tattoo with real meaning! It will undoubtedly offer you the chance to explain the importance of conserving endangered species to hundreds of people throughout your life, a pretty important task if you ask me.

EX4

With assistance from prominent conservation charities, Marine Conservation Trust, Buglife and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species as well as taking inspiration from Charles Darwins meticulous documentation of species around the world the event is ready to kick off. Jai Redman from UHC has spent months creating the hundred intricate designs which will be exhibited at the opening in Manchester from tomorrow Thursday 12th of November.

EX3

Get yourself there early to make sure you get your preferred species: the humble bumble bees of Britain are already pretty popular. I’m not quite sure if bribes are being accepted yet, but possibly worth a try. The tattoos will be for free but as there is no commercial sponsor it would be good to offer some donation either on the day or on the website. There is list of all the species here to have a think about, as well as details on the venue – oh and start thinking which part of your body you want to keep at least the notion of your species alive on.

Categories ,ambassadors, ,Bug Life, ,conservation, ,design, ,endangered, ,ethical, ,ethical design, ,manchester, ,Marine Conservation Trust, ,People’s Trust for Endangered Species, ,social, ,species, ,Tattoos, ,UHC, ,UHC tattoo, ,Ultimate Holding Company

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Amelia’s Magazine | At War for the Whales: #1 Heading Out

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The M/V Steve Irwin looks for a way out of a dense field of icebergs (Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

As a young kid, visit this dosage I was always fascinated by the idea that the Blue Whale, more about the biggest animal ever to have lived on this planet, pill was still out there roaming the oceans. I prized a giant mural of a whale above my bed and every couple of months I sent some of my pocket money off to organisations who worked to keep my whale friends safe. Although whales and the whaling issue were kept in the back of my mind, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-twenties that I started realizing that these wonderful creatures were still actively being hunted, despite all the protection they are supposed to enjoy under international treaties. The more I read up on it, the crazier the whole situation seemed. For example, Fin whales are listed as an endangered (and thus protected) species on the IUCN Red List since 1996. They are illegaly hunted down and killed every year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, a protected area for whales put in place by the United Nations in the mid 90′s. A whaling fleet from Japan enters these Antarctic waters around mid December to kill nearly 1000 whales (Piked whales and Fin whales) for ‘scientific research’.

Minke whaleIllustrations by Kerry Lemon

One night, after reading some news articles about whaling, I just got so angry. Here are these beautiful creatures, hunted down and killed for a bit of quick money. Scientific research? Yeah, right! It makes me mad when I think about some ignorant businessmen down the line, filling their pockets with total disregard for the animals, the environment and the future generations that I hope will live to see these majestic creatures live freely like they deserve to, just as much as we humans do.

My anger quickly translated into action and within weeks I signed up to join the Sea Shepherd ship’s crew for their annual anti-whaling campaign in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson is known for his direct action tactics and the fact that he won’t back down from opposition or controversy and is more willing than anyone to put up a fight to defend ocean wildlife. Since 1979, Sea Shepherd has scuttled and sunk 10 illegal whaling ships at dockside, rammed and boarded ships at sea and confiscated many miles of illegal longline and driftnet. All this in the last 32 years in a war that has put the lives of whales, seals, dolphins, sharks, fish and sea birds first. Most importantly, a war in which Sea Shepherd has never sustained or caused injury to anyone as a result of its actions.

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A whale surfaces at the edge of the sea ice in Antarctica. (Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

As a trained violin maker I had no ship skills whatsoever but the ship’s carpenter role was one I was able to fill. Sometimes people ask me what carpentry work there is to do on a ship. ‘Surely it’s all steel?’ Honestly, I have never made so many cabinets, bunks, cupboards, boxes, holders, storage racks, tables, benches, toilet roll holders and other wooden contraptions as in the last 18 months. The ship is always a hive of activity with deckhands, engineers, quartermasters, officers and cooks working hard to get the ship in top shape for the job at hand. Having been involved in activism for over 10 years, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with such a dedicated, hard working and committed bunch of people.

Bryde's whale

With a samba band, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin and many local people waving us off at dockside, we left Fremantle on 7th December with a course set for Antarctica. As soon as we left the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone we were trailed by a Japanese surveillance vessel, which has been following us ever since. We will reach the whaling grounds within the next few days and more that ever before we have the ability to shut them down. We have more resources at our disposal, more public support than ever before and the people of Japan are increasingly questioning the ongoing spending of millions of their tax payers money on this useless and cruel industry.
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Close up of the Japanese harpoon ship. (Photo: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd)

As the world leaders gathered in Copenhagen last month, failing to come to an agreement on tackling climate change and make emission cuts mandatory by international law, we were forced to set sail for thousands of miles to uphold another bit of major legislation they had agreed upon, but which they chose to ignore to enforce. What was it again, this thing agreed upon in the 80′s and at the time hailed as a massive victory for conservation? Something to do with whales?

If the nations of the world can so blatantly ignore an international treaty that is supposed to protect an endangered species in an established whale sanctuary, than what hope is there for the international community to enforce any type of legislation that is to fight climate change? The ongoing illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean is a slap in the face to conservation efforts around the world. A set back for environmental activists the world over. A stab in the back to those people who worked so hard to get the legislation agreed upon in the first place. For the sake of the whales, the international community and future generations we will sail into the Antarctic, find the whalers and give them what they deserve.

For latest updates and news, please see the Sea Shepherd website: www.seashepherd.org

Categories ,Antarctica, ,australia, ,Blue Whale, ,conservation, ,Endangered species, ,Hunting, ,japan, ,Kerry Lemon, ,Research, ,Sea Shepherd, ,Steve Irwin, ,united nations, ,Whales, ,Whaling, ,Wietse Van Der Werf

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Amelia’s Magazine | At War for the Whales: Part 2

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The Japanese harpoon ship, approved Shonan Maru No 2 appears behind the iceberg (photo credit: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd)

It has been an eventful couple of months at sea and most of us are eager to get back to the whaling grounds as soon as possible. Two days ago we departed from Fremantle, Western Australia, for the third voyage down to the Antarctic waters, where the whalers continue their whaling season under the guise of ‘scientific research’. We have been at sea for well over 2 months now and returned to port twice for refuelling. When we initially left for the campaign in early December, we were tailed by the Shonan Maru II, a Japanese harpoon ship turned spy vessel, as soon as we left Australian waters. The ship stayed with us wherever we went. We tried to lose it by heading into ice or heavy weather, but could not shake them.

Sei whale

Illustration by Kerry Lemon

I step outside on the aft deck to see the spy ship, Shonan Maru II, bearing down upon us fast. Our helicopter had been launched earlier to verify what ship it actually is, as we hadn’t come within clear visual range before. Upon arrival, the helicopter had a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) pointed at it. This is a device that sends out a highly directional noise, aimed at disorientating or even incapacitating a person. Using it on our helicopter while it is mid-air is, to say the least, totally irresponsible. With the helicopter now safely back on the Steve Irwin, it seems that the Japanese ship is coming in for the attack. With its water cannons blasting at full power, it is trying to come alongside us, presumably to give the helicopter a wash down, in an effort to damage it. As it chases us, loudspeakers blast: “This is the Shonan Maru captain! You are too close to me! You are too close to me!” Meanwhile we have a prop-fouler ready, which is a long rope we trail from the end of our ship to keep them at bay. If they were to come too close and run over the line, it could get entangled in their propeller and cause serious damage. They know this and are unable to come as close as they’d like. They keep trying but by now we are entering an ice field full of mid-size growlers and after a few sharp manoeuvres the Japanese ship backs off. They fall back but stay behind us within radar range.

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The Japanese harpoon vessel, Shonan Maru No 2 on the run with water cannons blasting (photo credit: Michael Williams / Sea Shepherd)

A couple of days later we are anchored up in Commonwealth Bay, overlooking the Antarctic continent on one side and the open sea on the other. Our spy ship can still be seen lurking about on the horizon. We haven’t been able to get rid of her, so we take shelter in these waters, which are French territory. Perhaps the French can help.

We switch off the engines and while one of the officers gets in the helicopter to visit the French base Dumont D’urville, some of the crew strip down for the traditional dive in the freezing Antarctic waters. As negotiations with the French continue into the afternoon, some of us head out in the small boat towards Cape Denison, home to a colony of 30.000 Adelie penguins and the spot where the Australian scientist Mawson landed in 1911. I step foot on land and realise how few people must have been fortunate enough to see this place. Snow covers the land as far as the eye can see and the smell of the fresh and sharp air takes some getting used to. Looking out at sea, the coastline is covered with rocks and home to thousands of Adelie penguins.

penguin

A penguin on an iceberg in Antarctica (Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

Following a bunch of penguins walking towards a huge icy ridge, it strikes me that this is probably one of the very few places of true wilderness left. Untouched by human hands, growth, development, exploitation. So far Antarctica has enjoyed fairly good protection. The Antarctic Treaty prohibits commercial and/or military activity on and around the continent and states that the number of cruise ships is to be kept to a minimum.
However, there are vast resources, such as oil and there are theories that when the treaty is re-negotiated in a few years, some countries including Japan will try to loosen these conditions in order to gain access. Some people argue that the only reason Japan continues its whaling operations in the Southern Ocean is so that it will have some ‘historical claim’ over the resources in the area, if it would ever be opened up for exploitation. Whatever the reasons, right now the Japanese fleet operates illegally in the area, threatening this habitat and the creatures that depend on its protection for their survival, which is all that matters to us.

Sperm whale

Illustration by Kerry Lemon

Seeing our ship in the far distance, anchored up in the bay, makes me feel proud to know that we are here for these animals and to protect this unique and untouched wilderness from the destructive hands of corporate power. I head back down towards the water, in the small boat and back to the ship. The commander of the French base has written a letter of support, but without some kind of navy presence in the area, they are unable to do much more than that. We pull up anchor and head back out into what now has become quite a rough sea. Not getting much sleep as we are thrown about by the 15 foot swells.

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photo credit: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd has always enjoyed support from the ranks of Hollywood with, among many, Martin Sheen, Pierce Brosnan and Darryl Hannah donating their time and resources for the cause. The latest to join the list is Ady Gil, a businessman from Los Angeles, who has donated a large sum of money to help us purchase a second vessel. The ship, previously known as Earthrace, is a super fast trimaran powerboat which broke the world circumnavigation record in 2008, is bio-diesel powered and looks like something to have sailed straight out of the latest batman movie. Its skipper and creator Pete Bethune is eager to join the Sea Shepherd campaign and with the financial backing, the ship is refitted and renamed Ady Gil. We are on our way to meet up with the Ady Gil, which left Hobart two weeks earlier, to transfer food and other supplies. As we steam north, our spy ship keeps a steady two nautical miles behind us.

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photo credit: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

We are getting closer to the Ady Gil and I go up to the bridge to see what is going on. Nothing shows on the radar. The boat is so small that it can go about its business virtually undetected. In addition, we take advantage of the short bit of darkness to covertly meet up. I step out on deck. ‘Over there, can you see?’ I can just about make out a tiny black spot in the vast darkness. We launch a small boat and pick up two of the crew. After a short meeting they head off into the darkness again. We set course for Hobart and the Ady Gil heads towards the spy ship in an attempt to take it out of action. Prop-foulers come out, stink bombs are thrown onto the deck and a photonic disruptor aimed at distracting those on the bridge is put to use. It is all part of our essential arsenal of non-violent tactics to shut down the whalers. In 30 years of operations Sea Shepherd has never caused a single injury as a result of any of its actions. We are non-violent yet honest about the fact that we take aggressive action. Exactly the type of action that is necessary to stop these criminal whale poachers. A few hours later we notice that the spy ship has caught up with us again. As we sail into Australian waters the Japanese ship stays put at the Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) boundary, unwilling to escalate the ongoing international stand-off over whaling.

Read Part 1 here.  Part 3 coming soon…

For latest updates and news, please see the Sea Shepherd website: www.seashepherd.org

Categories ,Adelie penguins, ,Ady Gil, ,Antarctica, ,Atlantic, ,Barbara Veiga, ,Cape Denison, ,conservation, ,Darryl Hannah, ,Dumont D’urville, ,Eric Cheng, ,france, ,Harpoon, ,Hollywood, ,Ice, ,Illegal Whaling, ,japan, ,Kerry Lemon, ,Los Angeles, ,Martin Sheen, ,Mawson, ,Michael Williams, ,Penguins, ,Pete Bethune, ,Pierce Brosnan, ,Sea Shepherd, ,Ship, ,Southern Ocean, ,Whale, ,Whaling, ,Wietse Van Der Werf

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Amelia’s Magazine | BTCV Green Gyms

My muscles are aching as I type, treatment my cheeks are glowing more than ever and I have a satisfied grin on my face…why?  I’ve spent half the day clearing woodland and sawing huge branches in the name of biodiversity and, no rx admittedly, doctor fitness…

hedge stage 1[All photos by Zofia Walczak]
Today I took part in my first ever Green Gym session, an initiative run by BTCV (the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers).  Funded by NHS Camden, the Green Gym is basically a combination of volunteering on biodiversity projects in London’s green spaces, getting a good work out and meeting new people.  As someone who detests gyms (positively loathes them), I was keen to find out exactly what these ‘Green Gym’ sessions entailed.  The thought of working out in a green area, fresh air and not doing exercise just for the sake of exercise appealed greatly. 

I have tried gyms extensively, and failed.  Gyms make me feel tired and bored.  The constant monotonous whir of exercise bikes and running machines, coupled with people in their own bubbles looking stressed and thinking about other things, monitoring their heart rates and counting every calorie they burn makes me depressed.  Likewise, seeing my reflection in the mirror-covered walls everywhere I turn, under the unflattering lights that make everyone (even the buffest-looking posers in the highest-end gym wear) look like sad, old potatoes, has made me finally admit to myself that gyms are not the answer.  After a run in the park (rare, lately) I always feel energised and glowing, but the gym just makes me look and feel grey, sweaty and blotchy…more like I should be in bed on medication than like I’ve just had a 45-minute workout.Green Gym area

So here I was, on my way to Baker Street, battling severe delays on the circle line, and modelling some of the least fashionable garments in my wardrobe.  I was wearing a pair of old, black hi-top trainers (NB these were my dad’s old pair from his engineering work, not of the retro ilk).  I had baggy woollen long-johns underneath some rather tired looking tracksuit bottoms tucked into long green and red thick woollen socks, about 3 jumpers, big fat bright green men’s fleece gloves, an old bright pink scarf, and a men’s waterproof jacket.  Chris, the organizer, had warned me to dress warm and prepare to get muddy.  For a second, as I stood on the packed London tube, it struck me that I might bump into an ex in this less-than-attractive get-up, but I soon felt liberated, and everyone else started to seem over-dressed!

Today’s green gym session was in a blissfully serene, snowy, slushy, empty Regent’s Park.  It’s incredible how the grey, heavy sky which is a permanent backdrop to the London skyline actually looks so beautiful and poetic in a wide open space, a background for the silhouettes of huge old oak trees and their twisted branches. 
trees sky

Super-keen, but with no idea of what I was letting myself in for, I skipped insouciantly into The Hub, a cafe/sports area in Regent’s Park, where I was greeted by the smiling faces of the group I’d be working with.  There were a few more newbies so I wasn’t on my own, but mainly people who had already been to a few sessions.  After quickly filling us in on what we might expect they praised us for being hardcore enough to have our first green gym session in the current muddy and cold conditions.  Apparently it’s all much easier and more pleasant in summer…

After a brief introduction we wandered to the site that Green Gym participants will work on in the next few weeks.  It was so easy to talk to everyone, and it was such a mixed group.  There were people who had been referred by the NHS (the scheme is a physical and mental well-being initiative as much as a ‘green’ one), editors and anthropologists who had been made redundant, new graduates and people on volunteering schemes…in all we were about 16 or 17 people, though I’m told groups number between 20 and 30 in spring and summer.

clearing

We started off with a warm-up, and then Chris from BTCV explained the tools we’d be using and went through health and safety…basically, the saws and shears used for cutting up big boughs and clearing huge twisted areas of extra-thick bramble are not to be chucked and swung around carelessly if you want to come out intact!

Laurent, who had done the warm-up, showed us around the area, and explained more or less what our aims were.  The area had once been a meadow, but was now covered in thick, intricately interwoven ivy, bramble and deadwood. Ivy is a great habitat on trees, Chris explained, but on the ground it acts as a thick barrier preventing birds from finding food.  One of the key aims of BTCV is to enhance biodiversity, which the UN has decided to dedicate this year to (see International Year of Biodiversity).  We would also be clearing and thinning-out the south-facing side of the space, allowing trees and plants to receive more sunlight rather than it being blocked out by dead branches.  The best branches would be used to start making a deadwood hedge.

sawing

So we got to work, with smaller groups working in different sections.  I worked with Catherine, a nutrition graduate who was taking up volunteering after finding it impossible to find work.  It was also her first session, so we stumbled along and asked lots of questions together.  With over-enthusiastic use of the huge shears, we quickly cleared a very messy area of the woodland, forming a huge pile of dead branches, bramble, weeds and ivy.  Any doubt that an indoor gym session would have actually been a better workout soon disappeared; there is not a single muscle in my arms or back that escaped un-used!  

Whenever we found a thicker, straight and strong branch, we would cut it to size (about 5 feet) to make stakes for the hedge.  The stakes needed to be sharpened at one end and hammered into the earth, and then long bendy branches would be woven around the stakes.

weaving

The session was split into two, with a tea and biscuits break in the middle.  The hard work meant a re-fuel was definitely on order, and we got to mingle and chat again.  We got back to work, sawed and sheared and chatted some more, and when 2 o’clock came around most people didn’t want to stop.  This kind of work can be so refreshingly addictive if your workout ‘routine’ is usually a mind-numbingly repetitive set of excercises you have stuck to on and off for seven years.

I initially planned today to be a one-off trial, but it would be ideal to continue.  The sessions will be held in the same place for the next few weeks, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-2.  Some people come to every session and some come along sporadically; there’s no pressure to commit but people seem to keep returning.  To sign up for a session you can go to BTCV’s website, send them an email, and they’ll reply with all the joining info. The Green Gym certainly beats running around in circles in my small local park, but the disadvantage is that you can only really take part if you don’t work 9-5 full-time. 

I spoke to Chris after the session, and he told me some more about what BTCV is up to this year.  Green Gyms are soon to start in four other boroughs, and Camden Council is also funding a BTCV Carbon Army project to plant orchards in council estates.  To be selected for the scheme, residents of the estates had to express and prove an interest, since they will be planting the fruit and berry trees themselves with guidance from BTCV, starting their own vegetable patches, and later taking care of them.  It is a way to get people working together as much as an environmental and local food initiative.  We are so  removed from most food production now that this will be a great way to start democratising the process again.  Having grown up on an inner city estate myself I can definitely appreciate the scheme and it will be interesting to see where it goes.  

duck_ice

Ducks recklessly ignoring Police ‘Do not cross’ signs

I’ll be going along to the setting-up of one of these orchards in the coming weeks, so will write up about the experience.  For now though, I really really need to go and stretch some more.  I have a slight fear I won’t be able to move when I roll out of bed tomorrow morning… but at least I’ll have spent the day breathing fresh air and surrounded by green leaves rather than grey concrete…bliss.

Categories ,Biodiversity, ,bramble, ,BTCV, ,camden, ,Carbon Army, ,climate, ,conservation, ,deadwood hedge, ,environment, ,Green Gym, ,ivy, ,NHS, ,orchards, ,permaculture, ,Regent’s Park, ,UN, ,Volunteering, ,Year of Biodiversity

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Amelia’s Magazine | BTCV Green Gyms

My muscles are aching as I type, treatment my cheeks are glowing more than ever and I have a satisfied grin on my face…why?  I’ve spent half the day clearing woodland and sawing huge branches in the name of biodiversity and, no rx admittedly, doctor fitness…

hedge stage 1[All photos by Zofia Walczak]
Today I took part in my first ever Green Gym session, an initiative run by BTCV (the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers).  Funded by NHS Camden, the Green Gym is basically a combination of volunteering on biodiversity projects in London’s green spaces, getting a good work out and meeting new people.  As someone who detests gyms (positively loathes them), I was keen to find out exactly what these ‘Green Gym’ sessions entailed.  The thought of working out in a green area, fresh air and not doing exercise just for the sake of exercise appealed greatly. 

I have tried gyms extensively, and failed.  Gyms make me feel tired and bored.  The constant monotonous whir of exercise bikes and running machines, coupled with people in their own bubbles looking stressed and thinking about other things, monitoring their heart rates and counting every calorie they burn makes me depressed.  Likewise, seeing my reflection in the mirror-covered walls everywhere I turn, under the unflattering lights that make everyone (even the buffest-looking posers in the highest-end gym wear) look like sad, old potatoes, has made me finally admit to myself that gyms are not the answer.  After a run in the park (rare, lately) I always feel energised and glowing, but the gym just makes me look and feel grey, sweaty and blotchy…more like I should be in bed on medication than like I’ve just had a 45-minute workout.Green Gym area

So here I was, on my way to Baker Street, battling severe delays on the circle line, and modelling some of the least fashionable garments in my wardrobe.  I was wearing a pair of old, black hi-top trainers (NB these were my dad’s old pair from his engineering work, not of the retro ilk).  I had baggy woollen long-johns underneath some rather tired looking tracksuit bottoms tucked into long green and red thick woollen socks, about 3 jumpers, big fat bright green men’s fleece gloves, an old bright pink scarf, and a men’s waterproof jacket.  Chris, the organizer, had warned me to dress warm and prepare to get muddy.  For a second, as I stood on the packed London tube, it struck me that I might bump into an ex in this less-than-attractive get-up, but I soon felt liberated, and everyone else started to seem over-dressed!

Today’s green gym session was in a blissfully serene, snowy, slushy, empty Regent’s Park.  It’s incredible how the grey, heavy sky which is a permanent backdrop to the London skyline actually looks so beautiful and poetic in a wide open space, a background for the silhouettes of huge old oak trees and their twisted branches. 
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Super-keen, but with no idea of what I was letting myself in for, I skipped insouciantly into The Hub, a cafe/sports area in Regent’s Park, where I was greeted by the smiling faces of the group I’d be working with.  There were a few more newbies so I wasn’t on my own, but mainly people who had already been to a few sessions.  After quickly filling us in on what we might expect they praised us for being hardcore enough to have our first green gym session in the current muddy and cold conditions.  Apparently it’s all much easier and more pleasant in summer…

After a brief introduction we wandered to the site that Green Gym participants will work on in the next few weeks.  It was so easy to talk to everyone, and it was such a mixed group.  There were people who had been referred by the NHS (the scheme is a physical and mental well-being initiative as much as a ‘green’ one), editors and anthropologists who had been made redundant, new graduates and people on volunteering schemes…in all we were about 16 or 17 people, though I’m told groups number between 20 and 30 in spring and summer.

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We started off with a warm-up, and then Chris from BTCV explained the tools we’d be using and went through health and safety…basically, the saws and shears used for cutting up big boughs and clearing huge twisted areas of extra-thick bramble are not to be chucked and swung around carelessly if you want to come out intact!

Laurent, who had done the warm-up, showed us around the area, and explained more or less what our aims were.  The area had once been a meadow, but was now covered in thick, intricately interwoven ivy, bramble and deadwood. Ivy is a great habitat on trees, Chris explained, but on the ground it acts as a thick barrier preventing birds from finding food.  One of the key aims of BTCV is to enhance biodiversity, which the UN has decided to dedicate this year to (see International Year of Biodiversity).  We would also be clearing and thinning-out the south-facing side of the space, allowing trees and plants to receive more sunlight rather than it being blocked out by dead branches.  The best branches would be used to start making a deadwood hedge.

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So we got to work, with smaller groups working in different sections.  I worked with Catherine, a nutrition graduate who was taking up volunteering after finding it impossible to find work.  It was also her first session, so we stumbled along and asked lots of questions together.  With over-enthusiastic use of the huge shears, we quickly cleared a very messy area of the woodland, forming a huge pile of dead branches, bramble, weeds and ivy.  Any doubt that an indoor gym session would have actually been a better workout soon disappeared; there is not a single muscle in my arms or back that escaped un-used!  

Whenever we found a thicker, straight and strong branch, we would cut it to size (about 5 feet) to make stakes for the hedge.  The stakes needed to be sharpened at one end and hammered into the earth, and then long bendy branches would be woven around the stakes.

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The session was split into two, with a tea and biscuits break in the middle.  The hard work meant a re-fuel was definitely on order, and we got to mingle and chat again.  We got back to work, sawed and sheared and chatted some more, and when 2 o’clock came around most people didn’t want to stop.  This kind of work can be so refreshingly addictive if your workout ‘routine’ is usually a mind-numbingly repetitive set of excercises you have stuck to on and off for seven years.

I initially planned today to be a one-off trial, but it would be ideal to continue.  The sessions will be held in the same place for the next few weeks, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-2.  Some people come to every session and some come along sporadically; there’s no pressure to commit but people seem to keep returning.  To sign up for a session you can go to BTCV’s website, send them an email, and they’ll reply with all the joining info. The Green Gym certainly beats running around in circles in my small local park, but the disadvantage is that you can only really take part if you don’t work 9-5 full-time. 

I spoke to Chris after the session, and he told me some more about what BTCV is up to this year.  Green Gyms are soon to start in four other boroughs, and Camden Council is also funding a BTCV Carbon Army project to plant orchards in council estates.  To be selected for the scheme, residents of the estates had to express and prove an interest, since they will be planting the fruit and berry trees themselves with guidance from BTCV, starting their own vegetable patches, and later taking care of them.  It is a way to get people working together as much as an environmental and local food initiative.  We are so  removed from most food production now that this will be a great way to start democratising the process again.  Having grown up on an inner city estate myself I can definitely appreciate the scheme and it will be interesting to see where it goes.  

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Ducks recklessly ignoring Police ‘Do not cross’ signs

I’ll be going along to the setting-up of one of these orchards in the coming weeks, so will write up about the experience.  For now though, I really really need to go and stretch some more.  I have a slight fear I won’t be able to move when I roll out of bed tomorrow morning… but at least I’ll have spent the day breathing fresh air and surrounded by green leaves rather than grey concrete…bliss.

Categories ,Biodiversity, ,bramble, ,BTCV, ,camden, ,Carbon Army, ,climate, ,conservation, ,deadwood hedge, ,environment, ,Green Gym, ,ivy, ,NHS, ,orchards, ,permaculture, ,Regent’s Park, ,UN, ,Volunteering, ,Year of Biodiversity

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Amelia’s Magazine | Earth Listings 20th – 26th July

Recently discussing with a fellow fashion blogger the growing interest in the Scandinavian fashion world, information pills treatment she quipped that it was very easy for Scandinavians to be fashionable; after all, link each and every one of them seem to be all long legs and white blonde hair. Her remark seemed to suggest that perhaps the Scandinavians have no street style genius or imaginative flair when it comes to dressing. Indeed, sale the stereotype of beautiful dumb models hailing from the North of Europe is far from rare – but there’s something going on over there that’s worth a bit of investigating.

Taking just one look at street style websites Lookbook or the Face Hunter confronts us with the fresh new faces of Scandinavian fashion. The majority of the most ‘hyped’ looks on Lookbook come from sassy, fashionable (and often very young) North Europeans, hailing from Stockholm, Helsinki and beyond. Indeed, for a clear picture of Swedish success on Lookbook, just look at “Shelley M, 18 year old art student and blogger from Sweden,” with her knack of combining little girl cuteness (headbands and bows) with serious sex appeal (short black skirts and lace) topped off with crazy heels and splashes of kitsch accessories straight out of Tatty Devine.

And she’s not a lone phenomenon. Sporting brave and bold urban prints in vivid colours, these bright young things from Scandinavian meccas of style exude a perfect blend of 90s skate culture with CluelessCher Horowitz, with her high school polished, blonde doll-faced perfection. See Amelia’s Magazine’s recent articles on Daniel Palillo and CTRL for examples of this kind of styling, something that appears to be truly specific to the Scandinavians. The 90s, it seems, are the nostalgic wardrobe reference du jour here, embodying past positivity and youth in a pre-doom and gloom world of the new millennium.

Ever since the Swedish Institute’s exhibition – ‘Swedish Fashion: Exploring a New Identity’ – launched at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum this February, Scandinavian fashion has seen a markedly rising profile in the fashion world. Celebrating a new wave of Swedish design talent, the exhibition questioned the static view that fashion blooms only in the eponymous fashion capitals of Paris, London, New York and Milan. In fact, this collection instead raised the debate over whether globally, we neglect fashion from all four corners of the globe at the cost of fresher and more interesting approaches to design, simply because they have traditionally been ignored by the industry.

Ann-Sofie Back must be considered one of the most influential and successful of these designers, with her place at London Fashion Week and her capsule collection for Topshop, not to mention her collaboration with that uber-successful Swedish brand, Cheap Monday. As seen at her s/s 09 collection, Back is unafraid to incorporate social comment into her shows, holding celebrity obsession with plastic surgery up to ridicule with her bandaged and felt-tipped models.

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But then, there are also the clothes. Back’s most recent collection sported ripped and distressed pieces supposedly representing ‘Ann-Sofie Back goes to Hell’. Striking the balance can be near-impossible, yet she really knows how to shock whilst also providing wearable fashion pieces.

And Back’s not the only one causing a stir. Joining her from the recent exhibition for particular note are Sandra Backlund, Helena Horstedt and Martin Bergström, who showcased similarly effortless Scandinavian cool.

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If you saw our feature on Backlund’s knitwear in recent weeks, you’ll know that it is really something special; with oversize knotting and draping, with the designs exude wooly coziness whilst remaining edgy and thoroughly modern. Alongside Backlund stands Horstedt whose work focuses on intricacy of shape in order to create highly fascinating designs that swirl and envelope the body with draping and fringing detail, all in solid black.

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Indeed, for both designers, it seems that the human body is paramount to their designs, with Backlund quoted as saying the it is her chief inspiration. Finally we have Bergström, who once again predominantly centres on futuristic shapes enveloping the body with volume, but in a more vivid aquamarine colour palette.

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It seems then, that the Finns and the Swedes are well and truly indulging in some kind of sartorial breakthrough at the moment. Whatever it is that’s doing it, there is undoubtedly something linking these North European designers spurring them into a fashion frenzy. Hopefully, the fashion world will take notice, and we will be joining the likes of Shelley M in her fashion credentials all too soon.

What I find so fascinating, search bewildering and ultimately beautiful about Japan can all be found in Shu Okada, site and her stunning watercolour illustrations. Perfectly and carefully rendered, aesthetically desirable but with undertones of the dark and unspoken, her work is enchanting and haunting in equal measures. Okada is true to her Japanese roots though she now chooses to reside in the more artistically liberal city of New York from where she not only illustrates, but blogs, photographs and produces animation.

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One of the most important things I think for an artist to do is to take themselves out of their comfort zones and immerse their entire beings in different worlds, different cities, different cultures, and that is exactly what Okada has achieved and she’s still only in her early twenties. Her creative passion has taken her around the globe in search of inspiration; schooling in Switzerland, a spell at St Martins, some time at Parsons New School for Design, and already her work has been recognised and awarded by Bologna Book Fair, New Ink Cover Design and New York Times.

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We talked about Kimonos, moving around the world and where to find inspiration, our conversation follows below.

Hello, how are you today?

Good! August is my birth month, so I am very excited now.

What have you been doing recently?

I just finished my college life this summer, so now I have a lot of time to paint and draw anything I want.

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What materials or mediums do you like to work with best?

I like to experiment with different media such as watercolour, ink, and oil paint. Recently I’ve been using watercolour and colour pencil the most. I like how watercolour shows differently when it is wet and dry.

How is the New York art scene different from the Tokyo art scene? What made you decide to leave Japan?

New York is mix of many different cultures and nationalities. I feel that New York art has more variety than in Japan. Also, the attitude of illustrators is slightly different in New York. Before I came here, I thought illustration was about comics (manga) or animations for young kids. I decided to come to New York to see how other cultures see art.

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What inspires your work?

Knowledge is very important, not just for art, but also for living. So now I am trying to read books and watch different kinds of movies when I have time. It doesn’t necessarily need to connect to my art directly, but I believe it helps my way of thinking. Also, I get inspiration from architecture and I sometimes travel to other countries and like to imagine people’s lives there.

How long do the illustrations usually take you to do?

Watercolour has to be quick, because when it is dry, I can’t fix it. So when I start putting watercolour, it doesn’t take a long time to paint at all…but if I make any mistakes, I have to repaint it all over again.

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At what age did you realise you were creative?

My dream was always related to art. When I was in 2nd grade, I wanted to be a fashion designer, and when I was in junior high school, my dream was to be a trumpeter. However, I knew these dreams were just dreams. The time I decided to follow my creativity was in high school. I went to a high school in Switzerland and the way they thought was different from Japan. After we made something in art class, we had a critique time, which was unusual for a Japanese high school. At that time, I realized how I love to show my art to other people and decided to study art more.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I have no idea where I will be living because I am constantly moving around the world; such as Switzerland, New York, London, Tokyo, and Kanazawa. What I am sure about is that I will have a cute dog and I will name it “Maru the 6th” (my family’s dog is always named “Maru”), and painting everyday.

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Besides art and photography, what are you passions or interests in life?

Kimono is traditional clothing that is still worn in Japan. However, there are many rules about the choice of patterns, colours, and fabric. Because my family works in the Kimono business, I have always wanted to study the Kimono. One of my passions is to study the Kimono and become a Kimono teacher.

Which are your favourite artists/illustrators/photographers?

For now, I like Makoto Aida, a Japanese artist. When I first saw his paintings, I couldn’t move for long time.

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Tell us a secret!

Follow your mind!

Sound advice from a lady who obviously tastes her own medicine.
Emma Puntis

Supplement
31 Temple Street
Bethnal Green
London E2 6QQ

25th July – 16th August
Thursday – Sunday 12 – 6pm

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“Emma Puntis, hospital a Chelsea College of Art and Design graduate, paints strangely intense small-scale portraits. The images which act as inspiration for her work are collected from a wide range of sources, from contemporary family snapshots to historical documents of early photography and traditional landscape painting. In translating these images into paintings she suggests a puzzling connection between these apparently disparate snapshots.”

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A Tradition I Do Not Mean To Break

176 Gallery
176 Prince of Wales Road
London NW5 3PT

Until 16th August
Thursday & Friday 11am-3pm
Saturday & Sunday 11am-6pm
Other times by appointment

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Continuing with the theme of music and folklore at the 176 Gallery, this exhibition promises exciting new audiovisual work including films by David Blandy, Henry Coombes and Tereza Bušková, and will be presented alongside works, by the same artists, from the Zabludowicz Collection.Each artist explores a particular cultural subject with which they strongly identify, using myth, custom and symbolism, delving into gothica, melancholy and opulence.

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Make Do and Mend

V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Rd
London, E2 9PA

Until 8th November
Monday – Sunday 10am to 5:45pm

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“Make Do and Mend combines the work of contemporary designers and local schoolchildren. Jon Male, Lou Rota and Max McMurdo rework salvaged domestic and industrial waste to create stylish, quirky new products. The exhibition is based around a display of objects which have been salvaged and refashioned to make useful new items, with an eye on both the environment and the wallet. Anti-waste wartime tips on cutting excessive consumption have an obvious resonance in today’s economic climate and the campaign to salvage, recycle, and reduce your carbon footprint is also impacting on design.”

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Team Lump: DIY Rapture

Cell Project Space
258 Cambridge Heath Rd
London, E2 9DA

Until 2nd August
Friday – Sunday 12pm – 6pm

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A fascinating discussion on the culture of cults in America lead by native art collective Team Lump, collaborating nicely with drawing, sculpture, painting and film & music. With a focus on the social and political unrest surrounding cults, founder Bill Thelen presents the group who are connected by a DIY aesthetic and a self publishing ethic.
Team Lump Collective, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Leah Bailis, Jerstin Crosby Josh Rickards, Bill Thelen ,Tory Wright

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Village Fete Jubilee

V&A
Cromwell Rd
London SW7 2RL

24th July 6.30-10pm
25th July 1-5pm
Admission: £3
Kids 12 years and under: 50p and must be accompanied by an adult

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This year the V&A’s famous Village Fete goes POP ! with the aid of our fabulous sponsors French Connection and just a few balloons. This balloon popping extravanganza is brought to you by Scarlet Projects and Mark Garside. Once again, we bring you the best and most extraordinary in contemporary British design and creative practice. Never has Splat The Rat, coconut shies and homemade jam seemed so much fun. Many thanks go to all the designers taking part in the Fete for their wonderful ideas, their time and their energy.

Highlights:

Carl Clerkin Goes -BING!
Bada Bingo
Kieron Baroutchi, Carl and Cavan Clerkin, Danny Clarke, Gitta Gschwendtner, Rosie Irvine and Ed Ward do Bada Bingo. This years cultural roulette has a distinct Italian American flavor. Cigars, revolving costumes and plenty of drama and of course everyones a winner at the Bing.

Here’s One I Made Ea rlier Goes -Rustle!
Pick ‘n’ Mix Bags
Make like an eco magpie and delve into our pick ‘n’ mix selection of bits and bobs for you to stamp, stick and style your own unique canvas bag. Perfect for transporting your stash of fete goodies!!

Tatty Devine Goes -hoopla!
Welcome to The Ring Master!
The trusty Tatty team will be handing out giant rings for you to throw onto the giant ring master’s hands. If you manage to get a ring on any finger then you win either a Tatty Devine moustache ring or a limited edition hand shaped ring made especially for the fete. Ready Steady. . .Tatty Hoop la!

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Candy Coated Canvas

London Miles Gallery
212 Kensington Park Road
Notting Hill
London W11 1NR

24th July – 24th August
Tuesday / Wednesday : 10am to 6pm
Thursday : 11am to 8pm
Friday: 10am to 7pm
Saturday: 11am to 7pm

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“Candy Coated Canvas is a themed group exhibition showcasing unique artworks by various established and emerging international talent. All artists have been asked to take inspiration from the title “Candy Coated Canvas” and create a unique art piece which is visually extremely colourful and playful, whilst sparking up memories of childhood, sweets, fantasy lands and those naughty but nice pleasures in life.”

Exhibiting artists include:
D’ Holbachie Yoko, Matthew Bone, Zoe Lacchei, Tadaomi Shibuya, Mike Bilz, Lost Fish, Ryan Myers, Sebastian Otto, Scrumptious Delight, Robert Tirado, Rudi Fig, Natalie Shau, Jade Klara, David Palumbo, Luke Kopycinski, Amanda Riley, KuKula,
Tiffany Liu
For me, sildenafil albums by bands I love leaking pre-release onto the internet is not dissimilar to that childhood dilemma of deciding whether to peek at your birthday presents too early ( I say “childhood”-I’m 23 and I still do it), advice you can’t really imagine not doing it but you always feel guilty for the gift-giver afterwards.
Extended metaphors aside, I personally have fallen both sides of the download/ not download leaks even though I always buy the album when it comes out. I always seem to be sitting on my hands trying not to click ‘download’ (Veckatimest, Spring 2009) or staring down at them in shame whilst I enjoy the album guiltily like you would a 5-7 love affair in a seedy hotel after 20 years of separate bed pious marriage (Merriweather Post Pavillion, Christmas Eve 2008).

So this is why when news of the Dodos‘ Time to Die reached my beady music geek eyes, I abstained from scouring Rapidshare links in a darkened room. I’ve turned over a new leaf and besides the Dodos’ fun jingle-jangle psychedelic folk pop offerings; ‘Beware of the Maniacs’ and ‘Visiter’ were pretty much my go-to albums of last summer; we danced at parties and took many a long train journey together so I pretty much owed them some of my very low self-restraint levels.

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Imagine my relief when I got the golden tickets of emails from the Dodos’ PR and all round good- guys; Radar Maker heralding (in what I imagine to be a peeling of bells and rippling fanfares) that the Dodos have embraced the leak of Time to Die, that the band have even released a high quality stream of the album on the website and a video of the band telling me it’s OK to listen to it as long as I buy the album when it’s released. My palms sweaty at the anticipation of revisiting last summer’s aural romance I click the link to listen.

‘Small Deaths’ opens the album in typical Dodos foot-stomping fashion and I’m reminded of just how rousing their drums are as my toes begin a-tapping under my desk and of their happy/sad blend that I vibed last summer; how heartbreakingly nostalgic their lyrics are, and how they contrast so nicely with the childlike simple happiness of their melodies. It also ends with a nice shoegaze noise which is exciting.

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The album continues with all the best parts of the previous two albums, their awesome guitar strumming/ danceable drums that sound like this is going to be the soundtrack to the best day of your life, noticeable on ‘Fables’ and ‘Longform’. Yet there is a definite sense of new things being tried out; there is a definite nod to shoegaze and ‘Time to Die’ is more electric sounding than it’s predecessors; ‘This is the Business’ starts of sounding like Simon and Garfunkel moving into some Pavement-esque riffs and ending somewhere totally new. Two Medicines is a stand out track for me; it starts of with, and is held together by an acapella harmonious chant; like if Brian Wilson was in a Barbershop quartet with Animal Collective circa Sung Tongs; then add some 90s guitar riffs again contrasting with a lush sounding xylophones and glockenspiels slipping and sliding away in the background.

‘Troll Nacht’ starts with the most intense xylophone solo not unlike the music they’d play whilst someone was trying to answer an important question on a quiz show melting into some gentle guitar plucking loops and sad quiet vocals, then it explodes into something bigger and exciting, I can feel my year-old summer romance with the Dodos warming up again. ‘Acorn Factory’ follows on seamlessly in it’s folky simplicity. Time to Die ends the album in a grandiose fashion, it kind of sounds like if My Bloody Valentine swapped black for plaid, moved to the country and developed a penchant for folk, which lets’ face it is always going to sound awesome. Dare I name their new exciting tryst with shoegaze mixed with their old folky, psychedelic ways; Birkenstock-gaze? I think so.

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Time to Die is everything you could want in a new album from a band you love; enough of the things you loved about them before with a definite sense of new things being tried out.

So say thank you to the Dodos (Thank You The Dodos!) for their infinite talent and the good vibes to streaming the album by buying/ downloading Time to Die when it comes out; I can promise you that it is worth it, it will be the soundtrack to the best summer you could have, with none of the sweaty guilt of illicit downloading!
In the mean time kids: Just Say No (and stream instead)…and ermm…Stay In School.

You can stream the album here.
Time to Die will be available physically on 31st August in the UK on Wichita Recordings
and metaphysically (to download) on 27th July.

Monday 20th July

The Truth about Climate Change by Sir David Attenborough

A film screening of Sir David Attenborough’s personal journey to discover how global warming is changing the planet he knows so well. Examining the evidence for this confusing phenomenon, cost Sir David find out what’s causing it and whether mankind is to blame. From Hurricane Katrina to the glacier ice crashing into the sea, visit this site Attenborough discovers it’s a race against time. Starving polar bears and the first direct victims of global warming, the recently extinct golden toad, demonstrates that the danger for humanity may not be far behind. David explores the personal and technological changes we can make to avert catastrophe.

7.30pm – upstairs at the Arcola Theatre.

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DIY Solar Hot Water Course in Spain

Over five mornings course attendees will construct two clip fin solar hot water panels. Attendees will learn how to solder copper piping, basic plumbing, how to install solar hot water collectors and be given an introduction to system design and sizing. 280 euros high waged, 230 euros medium waged, 180 euros low waged. Courses attendees are eligible to a 20% reduction in the normal Sunseed rates for a period of 1-3 weeks before or after the course.

Contact: Sunseed Apdo 9 04270 Sorbas Almería Spain (0034) 950 525 770 www.sunseed.org.uk
E-mail: sunseedspain@arrakis.es
www.sunseed.org.uk

Tuesday 21st July

From ‘me’ to ‘we’

Mark Earls discusses the emergence of the “social revolution” in marketing management and social policy, the changing focus from individual, narrow, goals-oriented thinking to a broader, community-led approach.

Contact: lectures@rsa.org.uk
1pm – RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2

Wednesday 22nd July

Demonstration to save Vestas Wind Turbine factory

Take to the streets to protest the imminent closure of the only wind turbine factory in the UK.

Contact: info@campaigncc.org
6pm – outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place, London

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Vestas-built wind farm, Black Banks, Ireland

Thursday 23rd July

Resurgence Readers Weekend & Camp

A unique event bringing together Resurgence readers, speakers and supporters. Share four days of stimulating discussion, music, dance, crafts and walks with fellow readers and contributors to the magazine at this year’s camp. The Resurgence Summer Camp is hosted by Green and Away – Europe’s only tented conference centre situated on an idyllic site near Malvern, Worcestershire. Organic food, wood-burning showers, crafts, electricity from the sun and wind, and saunas.

Contact: Resurgence, Ford House, Hartland, Bideford, Devon EX39 – info@resurgence.org
Dates: Thursday 23 Jul 2009 to Sunday 26 Jul 2009 – Green and Away, Worcester

Friday 24th July

Peace News Summer Camp

Come to the Peace News Summer Camp and join people from across the broad spectrum of the British peace movement for five days of exploration, celebration and empowerment. Bring your contribution to a hothouse of creativity, a small self-governed society run by democratic camp meetings, a viable example of the kind of world we are trying to bring about. The Peace News Summer Camp helps build a radical movement for the future by building a living community today.

from Thursday 23rd to Monday 27th July – Faringdon, Oxfordshire
Find out all about it, here.

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Saturday 25th July

Furniture Conservation

Bring your own furniture and repair/re-polish/refurbish it with the help of Anne Holden, a former professional furniture restorer. Suitable work would be small repairs, French polishing, stripping and re-polishing, surface cleaning and revival, replacing missing bits of veneer etc. Bring several pieces if possible as it may be necessary to leave stripped or glued furniture to dry for a period.

No previous experience necessary. Tools are available for loan but bring your own if you have them and learn how to sharpen them. Materials will be provided, but a small charge will be made if large quantities are used.

Contact: Anne Holden – 01787 229955 – info@assingtonmill.com
9.30am – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday – Assington Mill, Suffolk

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Photo : Brenda Hochachka

Sunday 26th July

Annual Bug Hunt at RSPB Rainham Marshes

If you like bugs then our expert ‘Spiderman’ will show you the small wonders of the natural world. From Wasp Spiders to Devils Coachman – we hope to find them all. Bring a packed lunch as this will be a fun packed day. Booking Essential.

RSPB Members: £3.50, WEX members: £1.50, Adult non members: £7, child non members: £3

11am – 4pm – RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve, New Tank Hill Road, Purfleet. RM19 1SZ

Contact: RSPB Rainham Marshes – 01708 899840 – Rainham.marshes@rspb.org.uk

Categories ,camp, ,conservation, ,green, ,rainham, ,rspb, ,solar, ,sundays, ,vestas

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Amelia’s Magazine | University of Brighton Illustration Graduate Show 2011 Review: the Collagists

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Illustration by Rosanna Webster.

So much to see at the very professionally laid out Brighton Graphic Design and Illustration Graduate Show at the Rochelle School a few weeks ago. There were plenty of lovely prints and limited edition books to buy and the beautifully printed catalogue will likely be the only show catalogue I am keeping once summer is over: high praise indeed as I chuck out most of the bits I pick up straight away. In the recycling of course. (Although I did find a Free Range catalogue from 2004 the other day… which is precisely why I need to throw things out, information pills fast.)

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jerome Caine Miller
Illustration by Megan Turner-Jones.

A noticeable aspect of illustrative work produced by Brighton students was the emergence of some really distinct themes and methods. Which means that I can loosely arrange my write ups into a few blog posts: I’ll start with the Collagists, viagra approved of whom there were many. You might even call it a trend, which is handy since I am about to write about graduate illustration trends for Eye Magazine.

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jerome Caine Miller
Megan Turner-Jones collaged old prints, photos of fruit and holiday destinations together to create a wall of art: this was to prove a popular technique amongst Brighton students (collage walls).

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011 Hyerim Lee
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011 Hyerim Lee
Hyerim Lee featured what looked like elements of family photos, arm movements and flowers to create graphic designs. His work is influenced by the separated families of his native Korea.

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna WebsterBrighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Rosanna Webster
Rosanna Webster‘s cut and paste approach was far more playful and surreal – skulls, bones, birds and landscapes were used to create beautiful shapes and designs, sometimes overlaid on humans with projections to add another layer of imagery. Rosanna was inspired by primitive beliefs of the fluidity between human and animal form. Her beautifully put together books emulated the tight graphical approach of high quality fashion magazines. I can see her elegant juxtaposition of imagery featuring in glossy mags, as it goes. Follow Rosanna Webster on Twitter.

Zoe Austin
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Zoe Austin
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Zoe Austin
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Zoe Austin
Zoe Austin was also bitten by the collage bug, with restaurant scenes overlaid over extraterrestrial landscapes and surreal flower heads. She is inspired by sci fi novels and cats.

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Anieszka Banks
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Anieszka Banks
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Anieszka Banks
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Anieszka Banks
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Anieszka Banks
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Anieszka Banks
Anieszka Banks is an Amelia’s Magazine illustrator, so I was delighted to see that she had included some of her work for me in her final show, and also the banner that Climate Camp took to Copenhagen back in 2009. Most of her work is influenced by environmental issues such as conservation, sustainability and biodiversity. It’s so good to see that at least one graduating illustrator is engaged in and tackling these issues properly. Her Simple Living book featured some gorgeous photography as well.

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jennifer Bailey
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jennifer Bailey
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jennifer Bailey
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jennifer Bailey
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jennifer Bailey
Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Jennifer Bailey
Jennifer Bailey juxtaposed painting, photos and fine collaged plant drawings together.

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Chihiro KyozukaBrighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Chihiro Kyozuka
Chihiro Kyozuka followed the collaged theme, using a fixed palette of tropical flowers in reds and yellows, on top of which were placed old photos of her grandmother. These were inspired by her love of Sogetsu Ikebana flower arranging.

Brighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Chihiro KyozukaBrighton University illustration graduate show 2011-Chihiro Kyozuka
Chihiro Kyozuka had produced a series of beautiful postcards that I am tempted to frame (and the images were much admired on twitter) but is let down by a flash website… I can’t get further than the opening animation. Folks, just say NO to flash, please!

Next up… 80s influences and brilliant drawing…

Categories ,2011, ,Anieszka Banks, ,Arnold Circus, ,banner, ,Biodiversity, ,Brighton Graphic Design and Illustration Graduate Show, ,Catalogue, ,Chihiro Kyozuka, ,Climate Camp, ,collage, ,Collagists, ,conservation, ,copenhagen, ,eye magazine, ,Flash, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hyerim Lee, ,illustration, ,Jennifer Bailey, ,Jerome Caine Miller, ,korea, ,Megan Turner-Jones, ,photography, ,photomontage, ,prints, ,projection, ,Rochelle School, ,Rosanna Webster, ,Simple Living, ,Sogetsu Ikebana, ,surrealism, ,sustainability, ,trend, ,typography, ,Zoe Austin

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Amelia’s Magazine | University of Central Lancashire Ba Hons Photography Graduate Show 2011 Review

UC Lancaster Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Christopher T. Finch
Photography by Christopher T. Finch.

UCLan, buy more about University of Central Lancashire presented a very clear collection of experimental work in their stand alone space as part of Free Range at the Truman Brewery.

UC Lancaster Photography degree show Free Range 2011-UC Lancaster Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Christopher T. Finch
Christopher T. Finch works with primitive home made cameras and digital technology. For his final show he presented a selection of pore framing facial close ups, various characters layered closely, almost on top of each other.

UC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Lizzie GodfreyUC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Lizzie GodfreyUC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Lizzie Godfrey
Lizzie Godfrey has obviously been influenced by the political climate. In a book titled The Fire This Time? she followed protestors through anti cuts marches earlier this year. Photographs were accompanied with lots of text to explain the evolution of her thought process too.

UC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Teresa Roberts UC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Teresa Roberts
Teresa Roberts produced a book too: The Maasai: Changing of Traditions mapped the ways that Western culture is influencing this nomadic people.

Richard Lewis Pryce looked through a blur onto the streets of London. Apologies for the lack of artwork but there was nowt in his online portfolio and my shot was rubbish. Shame I can’t show you because it was very clever stuff.

UC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Jennifer ColvinUC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Jennifer Colvin
Jennifer Colvin did some interesting things with resin and bits of collected ephemera.

UC Lancashire Photography degree show Free Range 2011-Ma in travel photography
The University of Central Lancashire is starting a new MA in Travel Photography this September – the course will engage in global politics, sustainable development and environmental issues, conservation and colonialism. Modules will be field based and the first will take place in Kenya. Maaaaan, if I didn’t have a magazine to run and a life to be responsible for then I would so run away and take this course.

Categories ,#UKuncut, ,2011, ,Christopher T. Finch, ,collage, ,Colonialism, ,conservation, ,digital, ,Ephemera, ,Free Range, ,global politics, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hand-made, ,Jennifer Colvin, ,Kenya, ,Lizzie Godfrey, ,ma, ,photography, ,Richard Lewis Pryce, ,Riots, ,sustainable development, ,Teresa Roberts, ,The Fire This Time?, ,The Maasai: Changing of Traditions, ,Travel Photography, ,Truman Brewery, ,UCLan, ,University of Central Lancashire

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentine’s Day- Pas Pour Moi?

Abe-penny1Illustration courtesy of Mari Mitsumi

Valentine’s Day is soon to creep upon us and discharge its usual bile inducing or saccharine coated brand of bland commercial overload. What is a uniquely dedicated love-fest can make or break couples… How revealing the choice of a particular date night or specific card can be! Who said Lovers’ Day had to be like everyone else’s? The following suggestions of places to take her or presents to give him are for those who enjoy a good dose of self-parody or do care to treat their special loved one to a rare gift as cute as those lovely dimples!

CrochetdermyPhotograph courtesy of Shauna Richardson.

Spine-chillingly Cuddly Valentine:

In Shauna Richardson’s Crochetdermy, doctor the Endangered craft of crochet fashions life sized endangered species. Knitting has never looked so eerily attractive! For more information, no rx contact the artist here.

TypePhotograph courtesy of Handmadebymachine

Unleash the Geek in You!:

He or she is a type lover? The Just My Type gift set is a series of postcards that will delight the typography nut in your life. Get them at Handmade By Machine

Abe-pennyIllustration courtesy of Mari Mitsumi

Lovelorn Ones Need not Be Alone!

Resist the Vitamin Love deficiency blues with Abe’s Penny: the one and only postcard magazine. Why pay for martinis at the bar to drown your sorry ass when you can shake or stir at home for (at least $2) less? And send them postcards to all those trusted friends who stuck by you through thick and thin? Subscribe here.

VIM Vancouver Island Marmot print courtesy of Molly Schaffer and Jenny Kendler

And a Big Hug for the Furry Ones:

Warm the heart of your animal lover companion! Molly Schaffer and Jenny Kendler’s latest illustration project plans to raise awareness and funds for critically endangered species. 100% of the proceeds of The Endangered Species Print Project (ESPP)’s limited-edition art prints support the species they depict. Prints are limited to the species’ remaining population count. For example only 37 Seychelles Sheath-tailed bats remain in the wild, recipe so for this edition only 37 prints will ever be made. These two artists desire to operate outside this white-wall system and use their artistic talents to directly support conservation efforts and biodiversity on Planet Earth. They aimed to craft a project that would use drawing (the thing they were best at and most enjoyed doing) to positively impact the natural world (the thing they cared most about and most enjoyed experiencing).

Blockz-bday

Photograph courtesy of Incredible Things

Bilmey! Your Birthday is the 14th!

Well, those Lego Blockz birthday candles are unlike any other and fun! Get them at Incredible Things.

TeresaGreenImage courtesy of  Oriel Myrddin Gallery

Reap and Sew my Heart Stronger:

Twelve makers from a range of craft disciplines have been invited to participate in ‘Reap & Sew’, an exhibition to open on the 27th of February. All use nature as an inspiration for their creative output. In the mid-time, a selection of beautiful craft and design objects influenced by gardens and growth are available to purchase now at the shop. And don’t forget, you and your Nature Lover are invited to join the folks at Oriel Myrddin Gallery for A Garden Party – plants, cakes, beekeeping and bunting…

Saturday 20th March 2-4pmOriel Myrddin Gallery, Church Lane, Carmarthen SA31 1LH/ Lôn Llan, Caerfyrddin SA31 1LH

Stylish-Eve Photograph courtesy of Stylisheve

Love me Tender:

Stylish Eve is an online craft website with wonderful tutorials. Her current selection of Handmade Romantic gift ideas is perfectly suited to those wanting to transform simple and cheap ideas into matchless treats for Valentine! Learn here how to make soap yummy!

Wrong-LovePhotograph courtesy of Wrong Love

Torture me Tender:

WRONG LOVE is a naughty orgy of performances, site-specific installation, video and live music set within A Foundation, Liverpool galleries. Featuring 40 artists who will seduce a Valentine’s night crowd with explorations of romance, sexuality, and unconventional love. WRONG LOVE is the first happening produced by the new live arts event collective LAND and aims to showcase thought-provoking works from local, national and international artists. The night will include a bespoke hour filled with ‘wrong’ love poetry and short story readings from BRICKFACE press, a team of young, independent writers and self-publishers as well as performances and installations by Samantha Sweeting, Kimbal Bumstead, Shelly Nadashi, Baptiste Croze, Unit 4, Fools Proof Theatre and many more.

For a full listing of the artists involved visit the WRONG LOVE website. Tickets £10/ £6 concession on sale here. ?Saturday 13 February 2010 ?9pm-3am

Flowers2 FlowersPhotograph courtesy of Mossonline

Flowers are Nasty:

…When they are polluted with insecticides and other repellent things! You should know already because you’ve read the Earth article today! Well, these ones are handmade and good for your heart. Nymphenburg Treasure Box of 7 unique handmade and hand painted flowers by designer Franz Joseph Ess available here

School-of-LifeIllustrations courtesy of The School of Life

Learn to love life:

At the The School of Life Love Week End , be guided through love’s joys and pitfalls. You will explore some essential questions: How can lovers have better conversations? How important is sex? How can love be made to last? What can science usefully tell us about love? You’ll draw on ideas from philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature and art and discover what Plato, Shakespeare, Freud and others had to say about compassion, empathy and self. How institutions of love, such as courtship and marriage, have changed over the centuries and where that legacy leaves us now?

For further details and to book your place on the Love Weekend please click here.

Price: £125.00

Rob-RyanIllustration courtesy of Rob Ryan

I think you are Lovely:

Loveliness has never been so artily crafted! Get Rob Ryan’ s hand printed silk screens and say it with a “Leaf Kiss”.

Categories ,A Foundation, ,Abe’s Penny, ,art, ,Biodiversity, ,conservation, ,craft, ,design, ,ecology, ,events, ,Franz Joseph Ess, ,Hand Painted, ,handmade, ,illustration, ,knitting, ,Lego Blockz birthday candles, ,Liverpool galleries, ,magazine, ,Mari Mitsumi, ,Molly Schaffer and Jenny Kendler, ,Oriel Myrddin Gallery, ,Postcard Art, ,print, ,rob ryan, ,screen-printing, ,Stylisheve, ,Taxidermy, ,The Endangered Species Print Project, ,The School of Life, ,tutorials, ,Valentine’s Day, ,Wrong Love

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