Amelia’s Magazine | Magnetic Wallpaper Designs: an interview with interiors surface designer Sian Zeng

Sian Zeng Yellow Green Dino Boy in jungle

I first encountered Sian Zeng‘s sew your own bespectacled bears a couple of years ago at a craft fair, and am the proud owner of one such bear which I made with my own fair hands. But soft toys are not the only product this multi-disciplinary interiors designer makes; her offering includes high tech magnetic wallpapers adorned with whimsical movable designs such as the plethora of cacti, dinosaurs and ‘flycopters’ which feature in her new S/S 2014 collection, guaranteed to appeal to adults as much as children. Here she shares her journey and some sage advice about the value of looking at the numbers when you run a small business.

Sian Zeng office bear

You’ve had a very multi-cultural upbringing, how did your family come to live in Hungary and what brought you to London?
In ‘90s China, it was a popular choice to move to the West to look for better economic opportunities. After the fall of communism, Hungary’s visa requirements to Chinese citizens were very relaxed and so my parents decided to move Budapest. I first came to England to study in secondary school so that I would have better chances of going to a British university; my parents felt a British degree would open more doors for me in the future.

Sian Zeng Pink Green Detail magnetic wallpaper

What are the best things that have fed into your design work from your time in China and Hungary?
In my first year of Hungarian primary school, I loved looking at the beautifully drawn pictures in Hungarian folk tale books. I obsessively copied and altered the images so that they would become stories to tell to my classmates: my interest in visual storytelling has continued in the products I design. One summer, during the holidays, I went back to China to study painting and drawing. It was one of the most intensive periods of training I’ve ever had, but I came out with a deeper understanding of how Chinese art schools dealt with colour and composition. I still use many of the techniques in my work today.

Sian Zeng Yellow Green Dino boy magnetic wallpaper play

Where did the idea of creating magnetic wallpapers come from?
During my final year, I was interested in how fairy tales were told and how they had changed through time. It occurred to me that creating a magnetic wallpaper for my degree show would let visitors act out their own stories using a cast of magnetic characters, creating an interactive display that was constantly changing.

Sian Zeng Grey dino magnet close up

What was the process of producing them, from your initial ideas as a student, to commercial production under your own brand?
The first sample I created for my degree show was made using magnetic paint on thick paper. I realised later it was too expensive to produce and not very practical, so I began to look at alternative methods. While I was still in my research stage, Hilary Duff’s interior designer contacted me and asked me to send a sample over to her. I told her I only had the prototype and that the end product may look different: at that stage, I was still cutting out the magnets by hand. It was really low-tech! Based on my prototype, Hilary Duff placed a large order and the lead time was very tight as it had to be completed before her son was born. I was on the phone to my manufacturers every day, asking questions and pleading for a faster turnaround. Thankfully, in a very short period of time I had my first batch of wallpapers manufactured and sent out. It was so rewarding!

Flying pig black cushion

What kind of narrative tales most often influence your choice of imagery?
I enjoy depicting stories that are removed from reality, giving you the freedom to play with the imagery and create alternate endings and moods.

Sian Zeng magnetic wallpaper

How did you secure a place with Cockpit Arts and how has being with them helped you grow your business?
I filled in an online application and was invited to an interview with my portfolio. Being part of Cockpit has been so helpful; it’s such a collaborative space and I have other designers as my neighbours. It’s so easy to knock on someone’s door and ask for help or advice.

Pink flying pig cushion

What is an average day in the life of Sian Zeng like?
I wake up around 7.30am and the first thing I do is look at my emails and social network posts on my phone so I can start to plan my day. If there is anything urgent I put it down on my morning to-do list; I find myself most productive in the mornings so I try to work on important big projects first and answer e-mails and work on smaller tasks after 3pm. I live very close to work so I can walk to my studio. I’m usually in by 9am and finish work around 7pm. On a good day I go to the gym after work and then head home. My husband comes home around 9pm and we have a very late dinner while watching a movie together. We go to bed around 11pm.

Blue duvet set sian zeng

Do you have any little ones in your life to help test your projects and if so who are they?
I often think of myself as the little one! I also have friends with children so I sometimes give some of my products to them for a test drive. Open studio days are also a good place to see how children react to my products.

What is your best selling product and why do you think it is so popular?
My magnetic wallpapers are my best-selling product. I think it’s because they offer something totally different and customers love the interactive, playful element of them – they’re not just for kids!

Brown pink bed linen - Sian Zeng

What was the best bit about studying at Central Saint Martins, and do you have any tips for anyone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
The best part of studying at Central Saint Martins was learning how to research and create collections based on creative concepts. My advice may sound boring to a creative person, but I think it’s essential to record expenses and sales figures well so that you are able to understand your own market and product range better. When you take care of the admin elements of a creative business, it makes it so much easier to see what improvements need to be made and focus on what makes the most profits. Saying that, I don’t always take my own advice and sometimes I just have to create things that are most exciting to me at the time!

Sian Zeng Yellow Green Dino Magnet close up

Do you have any new cutting edge ideas for interiors up your sleeve for 2014? if so can we have a sneak peak?
I’m developing a conceptual fabric range for 2014 and I can’t wait to share the results later in the year. It’s in that exciting stage right now where I’m experimenting with colours and patterns: keep your eyes peeled!

Categories ,Bear, ,Budapest, ,Cacti, ,Central Saint Martins, ,children, ,China, ,Chinese, ,Cockpit Arts, ,dinosaurs, ,fairytales, ,Flycopters, ,Hilary Duff, ,Hungary, ,interview, ,Magnetic Wallpaper, ,Play, ,S/S 2014, ,Sian Zeng, ,surface design

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Amelia’s Magazine | New Designers 2011 Part One: Textile Design Graduate Show Review

New Designers review 2011-Louise Collis Loughborough
Textile design by Louise Collis of Loughborough.

New Designers is held every summer at the Business Design Centre in Islington and it’s a great one stop shop for anyone interested in the best up and coming new creative design talent, information pills boasting two weeks of exhibition to visit. I went along to week one to check out the best in textiles, viagra approved surface design, ceramics, glass, jewellery and craft, and I hope to also visit the second week which is currently taking place and features product design, photography, illustration and graphic design. It really is a crucial place to showcase work and snag the best graduate jobs: it was where I caught the eye of the gift card company I wanted to work for and was subsequently snapped up by a major textile print design agency when I graduated from the University of Brighton… Quadriga later folded and took all the money I earnt, thanks, but that’s another story.

New Designers review 2011-Louise Collis LoughboroughNew Designers review 2011-Louise Collis LoughboroughNew Designers review 2011-Louise Collis Loughborough
New Designers review 2011-Louise Collis Loughborough
New Designers review 2011-Louise Collis Loughborough
My first stop was at Loughborough University, where my eye was caught by the laser etched wall panels of Louise Collis, who pounced on me the minute I revealed my camera. She’s created a stunning range of interiors textiles that she displayed on padded stools and as cushions.

New Designers review 2011-Olivia Streatfield-James New Designers review 2011-Olivia Streatfield-James
Next door Olivia Streatfield-James had produced some wonderful monochrome animal prints.

New Designers review 2011-Gillian Armstrong
Gillian Armstrong had gone for a flowery theme, but her bold use of colour and shape made sure it stood out. Check out Gillian Armstrong’s blogspot here.

New Designers review 2011-Stacey Laura Houghton
Stacey Laura Houghton was inspired by mathematical equations and radical design to create these stunning neon light shades.

Louise Collis
Design by Louise Collis.

Turns out that Loughborough University turns out a very high standard of print graduate. I would have stayed longer to admire the rest but I got frightened out of the area by my constant need to justify why I’d like to take pictures – I understand student’s reticence in case ideas are nicked by big commercial companies but it’s also surely a good thing to get some much needed press… and they should have websites showcasing their work anyway!

New Designers review 2011-New Designers review 2011-Carrie OsborneNew Designers review 2011-Carrie Osborne
At Leeds College of Art Carrie Osborne had won the Tigerprint award for her very detailed and possibly quite commercial wallpaper and fabric designs. My favourite were the unabashedly out there floral designs. Follow Carrie Osborne on twitter here.

New Designers review 2011-Damien Barlow
New Designers review 2011-Damien Barlow
New Designers review 2011-Damien Barlow
Round the back I met Damien Barlow, who stood out with his illustrative papercut designs. We had a bit of a chat and he expressed excitement at his sudden discovery of the powers of twitter – interest from magazines within seconds. I’m not surprised because his work is ace.

New Designers review 2011-Damien Barlow
New Designers review 2011-Damien BarlowNew Designers review 2011-Damien BarlowNew Designers review 2011-Damien Barlow
He starts with text and then layers images around the words. Dinosaurs roaming amongst billowing clouds would be ideal for kiddie’s books, which he told me he has considered. He also has a zine and some exhibitions in the pipeline. I look forward to hearing more ideas soon. Follow Damien Barlow on Twitter.

Leeds College of Art also produced the New Designer of the Year 2011, Louise Tiler, so they must be doing something right!

Next up: Surface Design. Part Two of New Designers continues until Saturday 9th July 2011. Follow New Designers on Twitter for updates.

Categories ,2011, ,Business Design Centre, ,Carrie Osborne, ,dinosaurs, ,fashion, ,Furnishings, ,Gillian Armstrong, ,Graduate Shows, ,Islington, ,Leeds College of Art, ,Lighting, ,Loughborough University, ,Louise Collis, ,Louise Tiler, ,New Designer of the Year 2011, ,New Designers, ,Olivia Streatfield-James, ,Quadriga, ,Stacey Laura Houghton, ,surface design, ,Textile Design, ,textiles, ,Tigerprint, ,University of Brighton

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings

With many universities leaning heavily towards womenswear – in some cases wholly – Epsom pleased many with several of its strongest collections coming from menswear designers. One of the running themes throughout the Epsom show seemed to be an obsession with blood, advice buy the body and corporal violence (you’ve got to wonder what’s going on down there) with one dress revealing a Westwood-esque red, cialis 40mg jewelled wound-like gape on its back.

Not pandering to this was Antigone Pavlou, viagra buy who opened the show with loud, bold and funky collection for the streetsmart city boy, with bomber jackets, tracksuits and distressed denim (the latter a phrase that struck fear into my heart when I first read it in the notes, only to be pleasantly surprised). With coloured headphones carelessly slung around the models’ necks, the designer plainly had a clear lifestyle in mind and played to its strengths in all the right ways, combining strong block primary colours with clashing graphic prints.



If some previous designers during GFW have shown a tendency to elevate and romanticise the pastoral, I think Pavlou successfully did the same for the city, offering an attractively laid-back vision of urban life where you pull on some comfortable but sharp threads, plug into your walkman and swagger down the street, content to shut the outside world away for a moment, a sentiment I’ve evidently been drawn to in featuring CTRL and Daniel Palillo in recent weeks. Another menswear designer of note was James E Tutton, whose reversible designs (addressing the issue of functionality in contemporary fashion) we’ll be featuring later in the week.


Soozi Welland’s ‘Geeks Know Style’ penultimate menswear collection was best received by the audience, with an endearing ode to all things geeky: spectacles, anoraks, bobbled hats, bow ties, and socks tucked into trousers. The geek has oft been described as the personification of a roll of duct tape, with functional apparel that will always get you out of a sticky situation, and Welland’s designs seem to celebrate this idea, with an abundance of oversized pockets, accessorising her looks with binoculars and cameras.



By the last look, though, this geek had got himself a makeover, and was now spec-free, with the bow tie sexily hanging loose and sporting a satin and velvet playboy jacket. An endearing and humorous collection that I thought was commercially viable too, and that’s no mean feat.

Amongst the womenswear Stephanie Moran gave us a hard-hitting collection about desire, fabulously quoting Mae West ‘s ‘Ten men waiting for me at the door?…send one of them home I’m tired’, and a vision of the glamorous dominatrix. One of the standout pieces was a cream PVC dress with a cinched feather corset around the waist, and for better or worse, one of the most popular trends during GFW was feathers. This was certainly one of the better examples:


Considering Epsom had given us notes on each designer and their collection, I think it was admirable that Moran’s designs needed no explaining whatsoever, with her models bombing down the runway dressed in all manner of things naughty.

A particularly well-crafted collection was April Schmitz’s, who gave us a series of garments with some serious work put into unusual fabrics including hardware, folded leather and metal rings and eyelets. Entitled ‘Visions of the Future’ it gave a throwback to 1930s aviation with leather flight caps, a retro colour palette and the repetition of some swinging circles, with panels ejecting out of the garments providing strange contraption-esque silhouettes that you expected to take off at any moment.



Feathers popped up again, this time from Lucie Vincini with a stunning jacket from an eclectic menswear collection. Mixing embroidered jumpers with carrier bag trousers, basket weave coats with a jacket constructed out of Royal Mail bags, it showed that it is possible to draw from resources across the board and still construct a cohesive collection. A thrifty delight, and with its recycling sensibilities, obviously an Amelia’s Magazine favourite!




Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009

Barbican Art Gallery
Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS
19 June – 18 October

Daily 11am-8pm except Tue & Wed 11am-6pm
Open until 10pm every Thursday

Tickets: £8/£6 concs, ailment £6 online


A new season of ecologically focused exhibits, talks, events and screenings is taking place over the Summer at the Barbican. Kicking off the proceedings is this fascinating exhibition which deals with land art, environmental activism, experimental architecture, and inspiring ideas about utopian solutions to the urgent matter of climate change.
See the Barbican website for full details of all events over the next few months.


Sarah Bridgland: In Place- New Collage Works

Man and Eve Gallery
131 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4JJ
19th June – 1st August

Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm


Bridging the gap between sculpture and collage, Sarah Bridgland’s intricate paper creations combine her own made printed media with junk shop treasure to form nostalgic pieces of meticulous craftsmenship. Simultaneously dreamlike and miniature while remaining technically genius, Bridgland’s collection of new work will transport you to other colourful, playful worlds.


Various Artists: Two Degrees 2009

Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB
16-21 June


The opening night of Two Degrees, Artadmin’s week long programme of politically, socially and environmentally charged events, is this Tuesday. Getting it’s name from last month’s report that a hugely damaging global temperature rise of 2C could be a mere 40 years away, the 20 or so artists involved are putting the issue of climate change at the forefront of our concerns.
The opening night features among other things Daniel Gosling’s video installation ‘I Can Feel the Ice Melting’ and the forward thinking London based group Magnificent Revolution generating music for the evening with a live bicycle-powered DJ set.


R-art assist BASH@The Sustainable Art Awards 2009

BASH STudios
65-71 Scrutton Street
London EC2A 4PJ
June 16th

Open Sailing by Cesar Harada

“The Sustainable Art Awards are open to any UK artist working within on the themes of sustainability, environmental issues, climate change and ecology. R-art will provide the awards for the SAA, these mini eco sculptures are the oscars of eco art! Sustainable Art Awards are a 2 week showcase of eco talent @ BASH Studios.
The Sustainable Art Awards is part of Respond! who aim to engage arts audiences in discussing and questioning environmental change. Respond! highlights how the arts industries are in a unique position to communicate environmental issues. Featuring exhibitions, talks, programmes, workshops and other activities. Respond! is an initiative co-founded by the Arts and Ecology center at The Royal Society of The Arts and BASH Creations.”



Camden Arts Centre
Arkwright Road
London NW3 6DG
20th June
12:00 – 5:30pm


Current artist in residence Alexandre da Cunha is putting together a Swapshop, which is becoming an ever increasingly popular means for people to get together and shed some of their unwanted belongings in exchange for new. Anything goes at this particular exchange; buttons, furniture- even art. To book your own stall please contact Ben Roberts on 0207 472 5500.


Out of Range

The Rag Factory
16-18 Heneage Street
London E1 5LJ

12th June 22nd June
12-6pm daily, Saturdays 10-6pm


Tigran Asatrjan

If the extensive material on show at Brick Lane’s Free Range isn’t enough to satisfy your graduate show cravings, hop along to The Rag Factory to catch Out of Range where work from 29 emerging UK and European photographic artists recently set free from the University for the Creative Arts at Rochester is on display. The work promises to be fresh, innovative, exciting and diverse.


Dominic Allan: The Irresistible Lure of Fatty Gingo 

Transition Gallery
Unit 25a Regent Studios
8 Andrews Road
London E8 4QN

13th June – 5th July
Fri – Sun, 12-6 pm


With what might just be the best title of an exhibition I’ve ever heard, Allan’s work is self described as ‘a world of rotten teeth, bubble and squeak and uncommon sense.’ With an unhealthy interest in British seaside culture and the bizarre link-ins local holiday getaways have with sugar coated junk we feast on, Allan’s work is repelling, alluring, mysterious and addictive all at once.

Monday 15th June
The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo at the Southbank Centre, sales London.

Tonight’s gig is one not to be missed- The Jonas Brothers at Wembley, health only joking of course. If you like your music a little more deflowered and lots more awesome, then I excitedly announce that Yo La Tengo will be playing the Southbank Centre tonight as part of Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown Festival. Yo La Tengo have shaped what is almost the last 20 years with their beautiful music which moves between eerie girl boy woozy vocals and minimal keyboards, to rocking genre bashing highs. Also ‘I’m Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass’ is the best album title ever!


Tuesday 16th June
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs at Pure Groove, London.

I really love dinosaurs, so imagine my delight when I saw that a band called Totally Enormous Extinct Dinousaurs are playing Pure Groove on Tuesday evening. Being a music editor and planing gig going around loving extinct creatures is never the best idea so I checked their myspace and I can conclude my top 3 favourite things about this band, in descending order are:
3. They dress as dinosaurs a lot!
2. They have the longest list of alphabetised dinosaurs listed as their band members (Alphabetisation being my second favourite thing after fore-mentioned dinsosaurs)
1. Their keyboard tinged synthy-fun electro sounds so fun it makes me want to make up all kinds of dances called things like the ‘Triceratops Jive’ and the ‘Stegosaurus Shake’.
What’s your favourite dinosaur?


Wednesday 17th June
Jolie Holland at Dingwalls, London.

When Tom Waits says he likes something you can pretty much tell it’s going to be good and Jolie Holland doesn’t disappoint. This Texan singer has had Waits’ outspoken support since the very beginning of her career, and her fresh take on traditional folk, country, blues and jazz place her as a definite protegée of Waits, as well as a talented musician in her own right.


Thursday 18th June
A Hawk and a Hacksaw at Cecil Sharp House, London.

A Hawk and Hacksaw have skittered and clattered their way into my heart with their Klezmer- Indie hybrid loveable mess music. It sound like if Neutral Milk Hotel (indeed they share a drummer) got lost in the Baltic States for several decades in the early 20th century, armed only with a full brass band and a trusty band of wolves who were also in their own Mariachi band- and quite frankly how could that not sound amazing?


Friday 19th June
Clinic at The Lexington, London.

I was lucky enough to see Clinic play last year and they are terrifying (they wear surgical masks) and brilliant in equal measure- like a melodic nightmare, lots of keyboards, creepy samples, garage-y clatters and wails are a-given, yet they manage to be as enjoyable as they are creepy.


Saturday 20th June
Kitsuné Maison Party at La Scala, London.

We reviewed the Kitsune Maison 7 compilation a while back and liked it, they’re having a party at La Scala featuring Delphic (pictured below underwater), Chew Lips, We Have Band and Autokratz to name but a few. I can’t help but compare it to the Strictly Come Dancing tour that happens after the show ends; with everyone’s favourites appearing live, so maybe it’ll be like that but a very hip, French version.


Categories ,Dinosaurs, ,Electro, ,Folk, ,French, ,Indie, ,Klezmer, ,Listings, ,London, ,Pop, ,Pure Groove

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Dodos- ‘I hate Joey Joe Joe’ and Other Stories

So what do you do after you’ve taken back the gown, viagra approved order after you’ve drunken all the champagne, seek there after your parents have cried as much as physically possible and you’ve uploaded all the pictures of your friends throwing their hats in the air onto Facebook? When you leave the warm bosom of your university institution after doing a creative degree what’s most important, page even more so than talent, (although that helps) is to surround yourself with likeminded individuals. This is something David Angus, Rafael Farias and Andrew Sunderland have kept in mind during their first year of university free existence. They all met at the Maidstone Campus of the University of the Creative Arts and have been working together under the name Bumf since they graduated.

How Bumf Collective works is that one member of the group sets a time limit and a rule and everyone makes a piece of work which must be viewable on the internet and not discussed until the project hand in. Rafael studied graphic design, Andy video media arts and Dave photography and media arts which means the work they show on the website is an interesting mix of the conceptual rule framework (1. Must be edible) and just brilliantly clever and simple design responses (a brain made out of bread titled Food for Thought)


Food for Thought – Rafael Farias

“Basically we wanted to form a collective, but we have different ways of working. Raf is more graphic design based and I was more video and Dave is more photography so it wasn’t that we had a similar theme and we wanted to work together it’s that we wanted to make work separately almost against each other.” Andy tells me as we search for somewhere cheap (we are all struggling artists after all) to have a cup of tea in Bethnal Green where two out of three of them live.

They all admit to how hard they’ve found it since leaving full time education and with a big focus on photography and video for Dave and Andy lack of equipment is something they’ve struggled with.
“You instantly lose all facilities that you had, you lose your space to work in and it’s already harder. I was always in the dark room doing film and now most of the projects I do are digital and that’s annoying for me.”
“The one thing people say when you leave uni is to keep making work, you leave quite a structured environment. Coming out of university nobody cares about you.” It was from this realisation and the need to stop art from becoming “a kind of side project” because of the time demands of day-to-day life that Bumf was started.
The rules that govern the projects seem to have been implemented to make up for the loss of structure from leaving university. The rules can be anything from the fairly simple (the title must be Woman), to the more abstract (100 meters) and they increase every time. “We each start off doing a rule each and then we go onto two rules each and then three rules each and then we’re gonna keep going until we’re doing sixty rules each forever!” Andy tells me.


Rafael Farias
Type-lace Typeface (Uppercase)


David Angus
Untitled (Flash)

However what’s interesting is how the rules have been manipulated by each artist to meet their own interests and to challenge each other.
“What I found interesting when I set that typeface challenge was to see what someone who doesn’t do graphic design would come up with. Like with the edible project, it was so that they couldn’t use a camera to see what would happen.”
For this project all the artists had to create a typeface with a single found object. Rafael having trained in graphic design obviously found the project easy, creating a visually pleasing yet fully working alphabet. Interestingly Dave still managed to gear his work to photography by using as his found object a camera flash. He also managed to use the photographic process by making a contact print out of food colouring for the ‘must be edible’ rule.
“I find that each of us manages to fight our own corner for our own discipline. These two are always slagging off graphic design so I’m always fighting my corner, so it’s interesting to see how we represent our own backgrounds.” Rafael tells me.


Andrew Sunderland
Portion #1 (Pink/Green)


David Angus
5×4 contact on edible paper with food colouring

There are times though when the artists have been forced to completely change their practice, like the project in which the work couldn’t be anything manmade. With Andy and Dave relying heavily on video and stills cameras for their own practice they were forced to try something completely different. Dave turned guerrilla gardener with his East London turf work and Andy, in my favourite work from the website, documented bird pooh for the series Bird Made 1-6. It is in this way that the website becomes more than just a game and a way into making work and evolves into something that makes them challenge what ‘type’ of work they make and therefore what ‘type’ of artist they are.
“The thing that is almost annoying in art college is that there’s always this need to mould you into this polished artist. You get into a rut of making similar work and you have an idea but think if I do that it doesn’t look like any of my other work.”


Andrew Sunderland
Bird Made 1


Rafael Farias
Stone Fruit Family (Cherry, Plum, Peach, Apricot, Nectarine)

They started the website because they naturally wanted to index the projects, but it’s fast become a reason in itself for making work. Despite art often being a sensory and tactile experience with Charles Saatchi using his website as an ‘interactive art gallery’, and Amelia’s Magazine now showcasing new talent online, your computer is becoming an acceptable way of seeing art work. I ask them whether showing their work in this way effects the making of it.
“I think about it a lot, that’s graphic design for you, it’s all about presentation. There are a lot of things we don’t do because it wouldn’t look good on the internet. No one’s done anything really sculptural because it wouldn’t translate well.” Rafael tells me.
“Well the internet is the whole reason for doing it and it’s quite interesting that we put in a rule at the end which is that if you make anything physical, like an object then the work is the image of it. If you make a sculpture obviously you can’t put it on the internet. We make these things but all of them are very temporary. The one that I did with the skittles in the end we ate them.” Says Andy.

The group don’t see Bumf as their main focus, the name itself meaning “waste and all these little things that you either pick up or you don’t”. Not that the projects are throwaway, just that with all the artists heavily into process, the outcome isn’t their main concern.
“I don’t think the projects are there to make an amazing piece of work, they’re good but it’s more something to keep your mind in a creative flow.” Says Dave.
”I see it as a creative bookmark so it’s something that might not be finished, but I’ll bookmark the idea for another project.” Rafael adds.


David Angus
Red, Green, Blue


Rafael Farias
The Grass Is Always Greener (On The Other Side)

With our drinks empty and the boys needing to drop off work for an exhibition at BASH Studios I ask them if they have any advice for new graduates.
“Yeah keep making work!” Exclaims Andy. “Even if it’s bumf keep making it because it means keeping up that creative process. If you don’t make anything for a year it can be really hard to get that back. Follow the Bumf rules and send it us!”

A website and some friends is all you need to avoid falling into a black hole of obscurity, you heard it here first! To look at all Bumf projects past and future or to view the individual artist’s work, click the links to their websites.

Thumbnail: David Angus – East London Turf
Having emerged from the Farm, symptoms picking straw out of my hair and ears still ringing, my first thought was – well, to have a bath – and then, to tell everyone I know how amazing Lounge was this year, and how I wish I was still sat beneath the stars, listening to Gong with my cup of tea.


Lounge is very much a local festival, for local people, and local bands were very well represented in every tent. Our weekend kicked off with The Psychotic Reaction, who hail from Whitstable and make a sound like no other…part Joy Division, part librarian rock, they sing of the cupboard under the stairs, hand-me-downs and the trials and tribulations of living in a small town. The Boxing Octopus, all from Herne Bay, brought in the funk on Saturday morning, and had the whole Furthur Tent dancing before noon – quite an achievement! Syd Arthur put on an absolutely amazing show, their haunting psychedlia filling the Furthur Field.


So often their songs deceive you, starting off laid-back and mellow and becoming all encompassing tidal waves of sound to sweep you off into the stars and beyond…Dancing to their soul-filling songs in a field full of hippies is certainly an experience I won’t forget for a while! Current torch-holders for the Canterbury sound, they’ve moved on from Wilde Flowers and Soft Machine (well, it’s been forty years) but not without using their influence for good and emerging with mellow yet powerful tunes to sway to, dance to or completely lose yourself in. These guys are also part responsible for the Furthur Tent and creating the atmosphere which makes the Furthur field so unique. Back in the Sheep Dip, The Ukelele Gangstas rocked their pimp hats and tiny guitars, while Hotrods and Dragsters brought out the hula girls.

Oh, the music? We shimmied and jived to the upbeat blues they were rocking, as did the rest of the tent and shame on the fools who missed out. Dropping the beats in the Bar tent was Mr. Wolfe, a young Canterburian with beat-boxing skill that begged the question ‘Why only an interlude?!’ Hopefully, next year, a longer set for Mr. Wolfe, preferably in the Hoedown. (Oh, if I ruled the festival world…) The coup, for me, in terms of Canterbury bands though, was Gong. Nothing prepares one for the rambling, overwhelming psychedelic journey that the progenitors of the Canterbury sound produce, short of a cup of mushy tea.


We sat in the Furthur field watching the stars, lights and pixies in their teapot taxies fly past – definitely the perfect way to experience a band whose music often seems to lose its train of thought and ends up at quite a different station to the one you bought a ticket for…

There were a few bands who travelled further than five miles to perform at Lounge, and while nothing beats home-grown talent, they did pretty well. I did drop in on Mr. Scruff who played a six hour set, perfect for dipping in and out of like a hobnob in early grey. He began the afternoon with laid-back beats, working up to a dirtier evening set which got the crowd moving. He doesn’t look quite as cartoon-esque in person, either. Upon hearing the cry ‘The Aliens are in the Cowshed’, it didn’t take me long to head there for a good look, and well worth it too. Comprised of three members of The Beta Band, they mix psychedelia and rock with a smattering of cheery choruses (chori?) into a sound which creeps up behind you and pokes you ‘til you dance. Jouis surprised us at the Further tent, starting off with some spoken word, creepy fairground-esque songs, then switching singers and moving into a more sixties groove – perfectly complemented by the guttural, earthy tones of ‘the hipipe’ as I dubbed him.

After chatting to the sax player, we were directed towards Jonquil – two lads, a keyboard and trumpet – whose music reminded us of Patrick Wolf, but less whiny. They generate a mellow, organic ambience wherein you can almost see the layers of sound filling the tent (or equivalent!). Far and away the best set of the weekend though (closely followed by Mr. Wolf) were Alessi’s Ark. One girl, her guitar, an incredible voice, and the Ark. Her melody-led lyrical stylings are whimsical and sweet, but never sugary, and she was hardly phased when someone with trousers on their head and shoes on their hands wandered in, telling them the next song Dancing Feet was perfect for them. Talking of libraries and similes, her lyrics were ideal for cleansing my mind of all that psychedelia… I spent my last pennies on her album, which came in a cd sized knitted bag!, and only just had enough left for dinner.


Talking of food, Lounge on the Farm cannot be faulted in that department. Almost all the food is locally sourced by local people. Merton Farm had their own barbecue stall, – ‘Less than a mile from gate to plate!’ – which we bypassed on the way to Al’s Hogroast. Does the fact I was vegetarian for a month prior to the festival say more about the deliciousness of the soft white bap, filled with freshly roasted pork, smearings of apple sauce and dollops of stuffing…Sorry, where was I? Food! Yes. Wonderful stuff. Vegetarians were equally well catered for with the Good Food Café on hand providing soups, sandwiches and beetroot brownies. I had a very filling cous-cous sald with chickpeas and pitta from some lovely ladies who admitted to never having done anything like that before, in between belting out eighties classics…Tasty food though. For breakfast we went to Strumpets with Crumpets, delightful women serving baked goods in corsets – Eggy-fried crumpets with cinnamon and icing sugar?! My favourite. And they did tea too. Tea, and caffeine lovers, were not forgotten – The Tea Temple gave good brew, though no homemade flapjacks this year. Luckily, the Mole Hole Café, an eco-sustainable café up in the Furthur Field, had biscuits for ten pence as well as chocolate brownies and squishy strawberry cheesecake. Enzo’s Bakery provided us with gorgeous pastries, chocolate filled lobster tails and pain au chocolate, while Ana’s Sweets served Portuguese style desert, and the most divine cheesecake ever, according to my thorough researchers. And, as always, the Groovy Movie Picture Tent could be relied upon for chocolate fudge cake, infinitely strange films, and yet more tea, well past everyone else’s bedtimes.


The Groovy Movie Picture Tent is the only solar powered cinema in the UK and makes it aim to play independent films, animations and documentaries. This year’s top GMPT picks have to be Nina Paley’s Sita sings the Blues, which switches between a heartbroken New Yorker, gossiping Hindu gods, and Sita, singing the blues. The film is available for free at and is well worth the perusal. On Friday night, after Gong, the GMPT held an exclusive airing the BBC South East documentary about the Canterbury Sound; featuring interviews with Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers and Steve Hillage as well as Joel and Liam Magill or Syd Arthur- passed to the tent only an hour before the showing. Highly informative and worth a watch, especially if you have no idea about the Sound to which I keep referring!


This year’s Lounge was definitely the best so far, and between running around from bands to burlesque, burlesque to fire shows, fire shows to portaloos, we also managed a lot of lounging- although I never did find the petting zoo. Still, Lounge on the Farm is only getting better and if I could get a lifetime ticket, I would. In the meantime, The Farmhouse will just have to tide us over until next year.

Photos by Amelia Wells
I have a new happy place.

Sometimes when I find these rare serene pools of magic and inspiration my selfish streak comes through and I want to keep them to myself for secret, help indulgent pick me up moments in times of disgruntled annoyance. But Eva Monleon Cifo would not approve, dosage for she is far fairer and kinder than my greedy alter ego, troche and her creativity is about spreading a sunnier smilier experience, which surely does not bode well with keeping newly found craft talent to one’s self.


Her doll creations are the epitome of ‘kawaii’, the Japanese word for cute that has become a genre of kitsch playful toy-like art to which many dedicated crafters are these days inspired by. With names like ‘doli donkey ears’, ‘doli bank robber’ and doli pink meringue’ they are hard not to love. I felt honoured to ask her about her work and life, beautiful details and snippets of which appear on her gorgeous blog, Misako Mimoko.


Hello, how are you today?

It’s twenty past eleven in the evening. I’m at home listening to music and writing some emails, it’s a nice but bit chilly night. I feel happy and tired after having worked all day.

What have you been doing recently?

I’ve been finishing some of my dolls, planning and thinking about new stuff, cooking biscuits, waiting for the sales to buy these black shoes I really want, and then buying them (hooray!), going for walks in the evenings, having dinner on our tiny balcony, watering twice a day (hot weather is killing my plants!), and developing an animation about medicine for a video presentation…



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

I’m completely smitten with all kind of fabrics, but especially linen and vintage fabrics. It’s pretty unhealthy. I fall in love with a colour, a texture… I can’t go to too many flea markets much because I come home laden with lots of bags and there’s no more room! I think that I’ll have to work on bigger designs in the future just to use all the material I’ve stored.

Who would be your dream collaboration/who would you like to work with artistically?

Maybe Lili Scratchy or Something’s hiding in here or Elisabeth Dunker or Yoshitomo Nara or Marc Boutavant or Friends with you or Sirena con Jersey
My close friend emedemarta and I are thinking about doing some embroidered purses together and I’m preparing some tutorials for a new Spanish craft magazine (we love crafts). It’s going to be a collaboration between several crafts bloggers, looks amazing.
I’m also persuading my partner, the illustrator Gabriel Corbera, to make silk printed plushes, maybe someday…


How is Barcelona’s art scene different from other cities you have visited?

Barcelona is a highly open minded city, it’s really receptive to what happens around the world and so excited by style that loves being up to date. It’s possible that art and city day life are strongly influenced by what we think about life, our sense of humour, the sun or being by the seaside… There are many gallery-shops as Iguapop, Vallery, Todojunto, or Duduá… where you can buy a hand-crafted toys, independent publications, originals, join a cake contest or an amigurumi workshop, enjoy live music…

What inspires your work?

I’m really taken with 1930s-60s culture, old Walt Disney cartoons, classic films, children books and illustrations… and Japanese art, mostly kawaii.


How long do the dolls usually take you to make?

It depends on the doll. I spend a whole day or two making the body and face, then I use to leave it for a short time. I crochet some accessories, or I try different bows, berets, and hats on… just to see what happens.
One of the lasts dolls I’ve made was a gift for a friend, I wanted to make a book doll or maybe a popular character from literature, but it was harder than usually and I needed about four-six months to finish it… Each doll has a very different personality, sometimes I know what they want to be almost at the beginning, other times I have to try and try again…

At what age did you realize you were creative?

As any other little girl a loved to draw, I spent a lot of time on my own drawing. I always dreamed having a good job, (I was a very good student!) and making art as a hobby. One day our line drawing teacher (I was studying Science at High School) asked us to draw an architectural piece from the street. I chose a typical fountain. He encouraged me on doing Fine Arts or Architecture so I considered it seriously because I was getting tired of studying.


I always thought that people are creative doing things they really love to do. But the body needs some exercise, imagination and creativity too. You can make it bigger or let it die; I think that we don’t need to just make art, life is easier with a little bit of imagination, and humor too! I think taking life too seriously isn’t a very good thing at all.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I don’t know life is so weird… It’s funny how things and situation changes. I’ve been working as a designer for the last twelve years and I never thought I would start doing my little things again.
There’s an old saying that says that you have to be aware of what you dream, because dreams sometimes happens. I hope that wherever I’ll be in next ten years I enjoy doing things as if for the first time.


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

There’re so many things… I enjoy mostly the whole part of the day. I love to walk, nearby my home there’s a small hill with a wonderful view of the city and the sea, it makes me feel so good… Nature is one of the things I need the most. Swimming on the quiet blue sea, good food, gardening, dancing, going for a drink and having long talks, and tea, I could drink tea all day long…

Which are your favorite artists/illustrators/photographers?

Calder, Dubuffet, Duchamp, Miró, Cage, Hopper, Niky de Sant Phalle, Tinguelly, Tove Jansson, Satie, Wharhol, Richard Scarry, Elisabeth Peyton, Stella Vine, John Currin, Damien Hirst, Stella Vine, Makiko Kudo, Yoshitomo Nara…


Tell us a secret!

I (and my partner too) hate the telephone so much… Telephones are always bothering us, it interrupts what you are doing. We work at home so we always use internet to communicate.
Sometimes we stare in front of the ringing phone, looking at the number and asking ourselves who can be calling us, there are so many companies calling trying to do business… We only pick up if it’s a known number. The phone doesn’t ring very often fortunately! :)

What is the story behind the name ‘Misako Mimoko’?

Japanese names always make me smile. They are funny names as they sound similar to Spanish words. In Spanish if you say Misako Mimoko what people understand is: “I pick out my nose” or “I pick out a booger”. It would be almost the same “me saco mi moco” (me sako mi moko).
As we are used to Japanese names Spanish people doesn’t realize the joke, but children begin to laugh as soon they hear it and I love to use it.


If you were showing Amelia’s Magazine around your city, where would you take us?

We could go to Montjüic first, it’s a shallow hill by the sea. There’s a fortification on top overlooking the harbour, museums such as Fundació Miró, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Caixa Forum, swimming pools, the Olympic Stadium, as well as gardens and winding paths that cover some slopes, the Font Màgica and Mies Van Der Rohe’s pavilion at the foot of the hill.
We should go down to La Rambla, visiting La Boquería market and walking along some narrowed streets of the old city in Barri Gótic. We could stop to have a drink and go shopping on the Borne Quarter, there are some of the coolest independent shops in the city. The beach is really close to here and you can go along the boardwalk, have a bathe or have lunch by the sea.


“We should visit Gràcia, it is a district full of bars and restaurants with terraces and there’re plenty of small shops and independent designers too.
There are so many things to do in Barcelona… oh! You can’t miss city flea markets Els Encants Vells, you can find new or secondhand stuff there, and Sant Antoni, a second hand book flea market.”


Misako Mimoko is the eigth wonder of the world in my opinion. I wonder how quick I can relocate to Barcelona and live in my happy place full time…

Following my review of Time To Die, online that was so excited and gushing it seemed to have been written by puppy. I made my way, try practically skipping, to meet the Dodos yesterday afternoon with my clammy nervous fist wrapped around my list of questions, and the autoharps and drums of Visiter ringing in my ears. It’s always a bit make or break meeting bands you love, what if they thought my questions were goofy? (they always are kinda goofy) or what if I had a piece of gaffer tape stuck to my bum? (I did). Although I was too much of a wimp to follow up my boyfriend’s suggestion to exchange animal impressions with them, the interview was definitely a make rather than a break, and they didn’t mention the gaffer tape!


So, I really liked the new album! What else is new with you guys?
Logan: Well that’s pretty much it, we finished the Visiter tour, had some personal time, and then started recording in the studio.

I guess quite a big deal has been made here about the album leak and your decision to stream a high quality version yourselves…how did you reach that decision?
Meric: Well it happened pretty quick, I guess our label here and our label in the States came up with the idea of setting up the website. We were on tour and were like “yeah!”

OK! If you had to pick someone as a main musical influence in your life who would you pick?
Meric: For me, I would say John Fahey is a very important musical figure. It’s weird because I didn’t start listening to him until quite late on in my guitar development, but now between albums and writing, I always go back to him and get stuff out of him. He’s just like a source of learning and inspiration. I know Logan’s a fan of him too and there’s something there that we draw from even if it’s not that direct, because he’s a solo guitarist and we’re a band… I feel like we’re inspired by a lot of the melodies and chord choices and where he goes with stuff
What about you Logan? Would you agree with that?
Logan: Yeah, I’m a huge John Fahey fan, I feel like it’s a connector between me and Meric, the first time I saw Meric play, I was really admiring his ability to play in that style…I would say it’s [being a fan of John Fahey] has been a constant throughout.

So, would you pick Fahey to provide the soundtrack to your life? Or would you chose another band?
Logan: I would definitely say that if I was going to soundtrack my life there would be like the Misfits scene, and the Slayer scene, but if I had to pick just one thing, I’d pick something more emotionally resonant like Fahey
Meric: It would be a pretty ecclectic mix tape.
A lot of people pick the Beatles interestingly…
Meric: I guess a lot of people choose the band they grew up listening to or listened to throughout their adolescence but I don’t really have that, I listened to too many different bands and went through too many superficial musical phases to grasp onto anything.


Can you tell me a secret about the Dodos...
Meric: We really like to dance…
Meric: I feel like the best shows are determined by whether there’s a good dance party afterwards.
Do you have a signature move?

Logan: My girlfriend calls my dance move ‘The Bounce’ because I go really rigid and bounce to the music whereas she tries to dance more flowy- we have opposite dance styles, that’s the only way I know how ‘The Bounce’
Hmmm I gave up trying to be a flowy dancer, I’m a bit elbows and knees the whole time, it kinda works out in a strange way.
Logan: You can come to our dance party

Ace! I’ll save my signature move until then.
Who or what is your nemesis?

Logan: Do you ever have people just throw it out there like “I hate Joey Joe Joe” ?
Yeah, I interviewed Wavves and they went for this infomercial guy apparently he has a stupid beard and sleeps with prostitutes…
Logan: Oh did they mean Billy Mays? He’s dead! Dude-bad ju-ju on Wavves part!
Meric: It’s a cheap shot.
I wouldn’t have approved if I’d have known at the time, I would have said “That’s too far guys…too far”
Logan: Well I’m sure he didn’t know
Meric: I like to think I don’t hate anybody but I know that’s not true…
It can be a thing as well maybe…
Logan: How about that asteroid that’s on it’s way here?
Logan: I’ll direct all my hate at that giant rock
It’s quite a good one…I’m not sure you’ll win though
Meric: I’ll hop on that train
If we all channel our hate into one big burning laser of hate maybe we can break it up and it’ll evaporate…
Logan: Though maybe it’s fuelled by hate, hate makes it move faster
So maybe we should all love it and that’s how we’ll stop it.


What’s your guilty pleasure?
Logan: Bobby Brown, I’m pretty hard up, I was wikipedia-ing all my favourite songs to see who wrote them, like he had a string of hits that all had the same quality to them that I really really loved and I just had to know, yeah I’m really in deep for Bobby Brown.
Is that a guilty thing though?
Logan: I don’t view it as one but I have received some strange glances from people if we’re drunk at someone’s house youtube-ing videos and I put on Bobby Brown.
Everyone has a weird song they play at parties and get flack for…
Meric: If it’s good though I don’t really feel guilty, if you truly love it the guilt is gone. I would say online poker.
I’ve never played.
Meric: It doesn’t feel good….(laughter) but it’s always there just before I go to sleep, like “I haven’t gone to sleep yet I might as well play a few hours online”. I love playing actual poker with people, but online it’s just hand after hand of up and down emotions and then you’re really angry at these avatars
Is it other people playing as well?
Meric: Yeah it’s other people
Logan: Do you set up a PayPal account?
Meric: Well, you can give them your credit card, I haven’t done that yet, I’ve been using fake money, but you’d be surprised at how infuriating losing fake money can be…it’s like an ego thing… like PokeyMaHaunches1234 is gonna bet me out off this.

So if you had to pick 5 songs to put on a mix tape what would they be?
Logan: Who’s it for?
ME! or it can be for that man over there (point to man)
Logan: But I know him even less than I know you…a bunch of songs I’ve been listening to recently have romantic overtones so don’t take it too seriously…Tom Petty‘s “Built to Last”
Meric: On the Tom Petty front “Congratulations by the Travelling Wilburys
Logan: Roy Orbison‘s “You Got It” and “Strange Magic” by ELO
Meric: ummm….”West End Girls” [Pet Shop Boys]. Keep it light!


OK! So if you built a time machine which era in the past or the future would you travel to?
Logan: I was always a bit lost deciding when I’d go..but now I know that I’d travel 100 years into the future; see if civilisation was still going strong, then I’d come back to now and be less neurotic
Yeah like leave the lights on and I guess if you went and it’s all gone to pot, you can come back and be like “fuck it!”
Logan: Yeah, do something extravagant
Meric: Like “We’re all gonna die anyways”
Logan: There was a time when I wanted to ride a dinosaur, but now I want to live my life as happily as I can, that would ensure it.
Meric: It might kinda fuck things up if you know though…I feel like not knowing is a big part of it
Logan: Perception does change the outcome of experiments, wouldn’t it be lovely and ironic if I destroyed the world?
You might come back and be the smuggest man alive…
Meric: Winning bets
Or online poker
Logan: How could my joy destroy the world?
I always would pick going back to the age of dinosaurs….I’m kinda into dinosaurs, but I’d only go for a couple of hours not ages
Meric: If you’re just visiting anytime before 100 years ago would be interesting…I like dinosaurs though, I’d like to see them. Like Jurassic Park…Fuck it- I’ll just watch the movie!!
Logan: Dude, I’d go back to 93 and watch it opening night, red carpet!
Meric: That would require more than a time machine though…you’d have to buy a ticket, rent the tux.
I’d like to go back to 1977 when the first Star Wars came out and have never seen it before and for the effects to be new and cutting edge
Logan: Yeah…

What would your quiz specialist subject be?
Meric: Food
Logan: Skateboarding History


Good broad subjects there! You’ll totally win…so which 5 people would you invite to your dream dinner party ?
Logan: This is good…shall we invite Phil?
Meric: Sure…
Logan: Ok, so Phil Eck [music producer]
Meric: I’m trying to think of a nemesis for Phil to cause some drama
Logan: I’m thinking of a food celebrity
Meric: Bret Michaels
Logan: Bobby Flay so you and him could have it out
Is it going to turn into a fight?
Meric: No it’s a sit down affair. We need some ladies in the mix
Logan: Aretha Franklin, she’d like to eat
Meric: I don’t know why but...Janet Jackson.
She could do with a nice dinner party at the moment
Logan: She’s grieving right now…
Exactly, cheer her up with some nice food
Logan: Hopefully our rag-tag team will cheer her up!
Who would you make wash up?
Logan: Phil
Meric: Bret Michaels can dry
Sounds great, it would also be the best crime solving rag-tag team ever if you wanted to branch out!

Categories ,Dinosaurs, ,Folk, ,Indie, ,Interview, ,Pop, ,Seattle, ,Star Wars, ,The Dodos

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