Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Holly Fulton


Illustration by Gemma Randall

Christopher Shannon burst onto the catwalk in true and typical chavvy style to launch menswear day, see for me at least, more about on Wednesday. His wasn’t the first show; we didn’t get tickets for Lou Dalton (a real shame, as I was really looking forward to that one) or Topman Design (meh). There’s a strange feeling in the air on LFW’s Wednesday – it’s eerily quiet, people are more relaxed and you could actually swing a cat around in the press room, should you desire, for the first time in five days.

Shannon showed alongside JW Anderson in the BFC space, but even with these two heavyweights of menswear design presenting back to back, the venue still wasn’t full. It’s a shame that there isn’t as much interest in menswear, but the editors had all shipped off to Milan, I guess…

Shannon was up first and his show featured some of my favourite guilty pleasure tracks – Blu Cantrell, for instance. Tune! This kind of music sits hand in hand with his unique blend of street-inspired sportswear and edgy, boyish tailoring. The first looks were all crisp white numbers, featuring engineered t-shirts with geometric holes, multi-pocketed shorts and bucket hats, followed by sweaters with mesh details. I like Shannon’s fancy-free approach to menswear – it’s for young, hip individuals who care about style but not about stuffy suits.

Progressing into outerwear, the collection bore sports-luxe jackets, more mesh, and shorter shorts. Shannon’s garish but great rucksacks, a long-term callabo with Eastpak, made an appearance in similar tones as last season – pale greys and baby blues.


Illustration by Gemma Randall

Further in, Shannon’s signature camo-graffiti prints showed up, bringing a welcomed burst of colour in the form of pale blues. I like this print A LOT – it works on padded puffas, shorts and even bucket hats (although I doubt I’ll be seen in the entire get up – the pattern is intense and it needs breaking up a little, I think).

His scally charm shone through on more printed numbers, where sections had been cut away, and the reappearing camo print. Panelled trousers, though, displayed the menswear designer’s continual progression – sand chinos displayed oblong sections in luscious pastel colours made the move from teenage fashion. Vibrant yellows hinted at that ballsy appeal many of us were looking for.

Faces were painted like colloquial masks, apparently inspired by longing for a holiday, but I’m going to ignore this literal influence — as much as it looked fun, it fought to distract from some pretty sophisticated tailoring. All in all, a toned-down collection compared to what we are used to. As the chavvy charmer continues to grow up, so will – I hope – his collections.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Illustration by Gemma Randall

Christopher Shannon burst onto the catwalk in true and typical chavvy style to launch menswear day, find for me at least, on Wednesday. His wasn’t the first show; we didn’t get tickets for Lou Dalton (a real shame, as I was really looking forward to that one) or Topman Design (meh). There’s a strange feeling in the air on LFW’s Wednesday – it’s eerily quiet, people are more relaxed and you could actually swing a cat around in the press room, should you desire, for the first time in five days.

Shannon showed alongside JW Anderson in the BFC space, but even with these two heavyweights of menswear design presenting back to back, the venue still wasn’t full. It’s a shame that there isn’t as much interest in menswear, but the editors had all shipped off to Milan, I guess…

Shannon was up first and his show featured some of my favourite guilty pleasure tracks – Blu Cantrell, for instance. Tune! This kind of music sits hand in hand with his unique blend of street-inspired sportswear and edgy, boyish tailoring. The first looks were all crisp white numbers, featuring engineered t-shirts with geometric holes, multi-pocketed shorts and bucket hats, followed by sweaters with mesh details. I like Shannon’s fancy-free approach to menswear – it’s for young, hip individuals who care about style but not about stuffy suits.

Progressing into outerwear, the collection bore sports-luxe jackets, more mesh, and shorter shorts. Shannon’s garish but great rucksacks, a long-term callabo with Eastpak, made an appearance in similar tones as last season – pale greys and baby blues.


Illustration by Gemma Randall

Further in, Shannon’s signature camo-graffiti prints showed up, bringing a welcomed burst of colour in the form of pale blues. I like this print A LOT – it works on padded puffas, shorts and even bucket hats (although I doubt I’ll be seen in the entire get up – the pattern is intense and it needs breaking up a little, I think).

His scally charm shone through on more printed numbers, where sections had been cut away, and the reappearing camo print. Panelled trousers, though, displayed the menswear designer’s continual progression – sand chinos displayed oblong sections in luscious pastel colours made the move from teenage fashion. Vibrant yellows hinted at that ballsy appeal many of us were looking for.

Faces were painted like colloquial masks, apparently inspired by longing for a holiday, but I’m going to ignore this literal influence — as much as it looked fun, it fought to distract from some pretty sophisticated tailoring. All in all, a toned-down collection compared to what we are used to. As the chavvy charmer continues to grow up, so will – I hope – his collections.

All photography by Matt Bramford

LFW Holly Fulton by KAYLEIGH BLUCK
Holly Fulton by Kayleigh Bluck.

For S/S 2011 Holly Fulton took inspiration from Joan Collins and 60s cruise wear as her “ladies” went on a fantastical tour of luxury living in all the most chic resorts: Monaco, order Egypt, ed Brazil, Hollywood. If this woman exists in reality she would surely be the most shallow creature on the planet, but such is the way of fashion: it thrives on escapism.

Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

holly fulton by Michelle Urvall Nyrén
holly fulton by Michelle Urvall Nyrén
Holly Fulton by Michelle Urvall Nyrén.

This was the first Holly Fulton catwalk show I’ve attended, and being a fan I was intrigued to see how her aesthetic has held up in a year when her influence on the high street has been massive – particularly where large jewellery is concerned.

Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton by Aniela Murphy
Holly Fulton by Aniela Murphy.

The show started strongly with a bright orange cracked paving print blouse atop a tiered fringed pencil skirt before giving way to a look that I would say took as much inspiration from the flared shapes of the 70s as it did the decade before. Yellow skater style flared skirts featured laser cut cocktail patterns. Heels were so high one model was forced to remove hers for the finale.

Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
LFW Holly Fulton by KAYLEIGH BLUCK
Holly Fulton by Kayleigh Bluck.

Holly is at her strongest when she puts together Aztec, Aboriginal and Memphis School inspired appliques on the front of long panels. Flares, shift dresses and maxi skirts provided ample opportunity for this, accessorised with the usual fabulous necklaces and decorated clutch bags. They were accompanied by suitably luxe big earrings and big hair.

Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

The collection only started to falter once towards the end, when Holly sent a few dresses down the runway that seemed obviously tacked on to appease sponsors Swarovski. Goodness knows why she decided to finish on these less polished numbers, instead of interspersing them through the whole show.

Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Holly Fulton by Aniela Murphy
Holly Fulton by Aniela Murphy.

Like David Koma before her Holly used python, this time in its natural colouring as part of heavily textured patterning so that it was less obvious from afar. Maybe a luxury feel demands some kind of obvious domination over the rest of the world, but I’m not sure I like this new trend towards exotic animal skins (see my David Koma blog for more on my thoughts). Other than this blip she remains an innovative and individual designer who’s very definitely one step ahead of her imitators.

Holly Fulton SS2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,1960s, ,1970s, ,Aboriginal, ,Aniela Murphy, ,Aztec, ,BFC Tent, ,David Koma, ,Holly Fulton, ,Joan Collins, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Memphis School, ,Michelle Urvall Nyrén, ,Python skin, ,Swarovski

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011, Catwalk Review: Fashion Mode No.3 Carlotta Actis Barone (by Helen)

Hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Whilst in the press lounge I had a natter with a benefits investigator and a lady who runs an art gallery. The benefits investigator did the media bits as a relief from fraud and because ‘the people are always so friendly.’ This is true, viagra 100mg help somewhat surprisingly. I have met some super and interesting people at LFW, seek and this man was no exception. A delight to chat to. All three of us were heading for the Fashion Mode show, cure but I was faffing about with Toni and Guy etc. so didn’t walk with the investigator or art lady. But I saw them opposite me in the audience and it was obvious, although we had talked mostly about high class fraud, investigator man, liked his threads. And why not? I love it that Charlie, my boyfriend, loves his clothes, and he’d be all over watching a male fashion show, like the one at Fashion Mode: James Hillman.

hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Most men, I want to say ALL MEN, look great in a well cut suit. Boys turn to men, and previously bland chaps, turn to hotness. Is it the shoulders? Is it the old school charm? Or is it because it’s almost rare to see everyday, thus special and alluring? It’s a shame, because men look fantastic when they’re wearing something cut correctly. Why not embrace the suit more? Have you not seen Mad Men, with Don etc. and err Don? In real life Jon Hamm looks like Bon Iver in the middle of his woods escapade. In Mad Men, he is all that millions of women desire. I don’t think it’s the 50s ideologies of man protecting woman, whilst woman looks perfect and alert. It’s just a suit looks NICE.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

So, James Hillman shows that men look good dressed in black clothes, cut well, particularly suits. The collection is all black because James used crude oil as his inspiration for his designs. Embracing crude oil wholeheartedly, he has studied the distillation of crude oil, learning that different temperatures produce different iterations of oil. Each fabric thus, represents a different tier in the crude oil process. The heavyweight oils are represented with heavyweight woollen cashmere mixes and reindeer leather. Whilst the lightweight oils are represented in rip stock and lightweight wax cottons.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

The deigns are sleek and sharp. Whilst the pockets and necklines are detailed, with for example; reflective fabric; pock and crepe pocket panelling; high neck or collarless necklines, all the pieces retain luxurious simplicity. I still have issues with man bags, but the rest of the show was hot to trot. This was confirmed by a man, by the investigator who I saw at the end of the show. “I don’t normally go in for men’s fashion, but I loved that. I would wear all of that. Hmmm…may need to investigate this James Hillman further.” Indeed. And spread the word.

Hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Whilst in the press lounge I had a natter with a benefits investigator and a lady who runs an art gallery. The benefits investigator did the media bits as a relief from fraud and because ‘the people are always so friendly.’ This is true, viagra 100mg somewhat surprisingly. I have met some super and interesting people at LFW, and this man was no exception. A delight to chat to. All three of us were heading for the Fashion Mode show, but I was faffing about with Toni and Guy etc. so didn’t walk with the investigator or art lady. But I saw them opposite me in the audience and it was obvious, although we had talked mostly about high class fraud, investigator man, liked his threads. And why not? I love it that Charlie, my boyfriend, loves his clothes, and he’d be all over watching a male fashion show, like the one at Fashion Mode: James Hillman.

hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Most men, I want to say ALL MEN, look great in a well cut suit. Boys turn to men, and previously bland chaps, turn to hotness. Is it the shoulders? Is it the old school charm? Or is it because it’s almost rare to see everyday, thus special and alluring? It’s a shame, because men look fantastic when they’re wearing something cut correctly. Why not embrace the suit more? Have you not seen Mad Men, with Don etc. and err Don? In real life Jon Hamm looks like Bon Iver in the middle of his woods escapade. In Mad Men, he is all that millions of women desire. I don’t think it’s the 50s ideologies of man protecting woman, whilst woman looks perfect and alert. It’s just a suit looks NICE.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

So, James Hillman shows that men look good dressed in black clothes, cut well, particularly suits. The collection is all black because James used crude oil as his inspiration for his designs. Embracing crude oil wholeheartedly, he has studied the distillation of crude oil, learning that different temperatures produce different iterations of oil. Each fabric thus, represents a different tier in the crude oil process. The heavyweight oils are represented with heavyweight woollen cashmere mixes and reindeer leather. Whilst the lightweight oils are represented in rip stock and lightweight wax cottons.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

The deigns are sleek and sharp. Whilst the pockets and necklines are detailed, with for example; reflective fabric; pock and crepe pocket panelling; high neck or collarless necklines, all the pieces retain luxurious simplicity. I still have issues with man bags, but the rest of the show was hot to trot. This was confirmed by a man, by the investigator who I saw at the end of the show. “I don’t normally go in for men’s fashion, but I loved that. I would wear all of that. Hmmm…may need to investigate this James Hillman further.” Indeed. And spread the word.

Hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Whilst in the press lounge I had a natter with a benefits investigator and a lady who runs an art gallery. The benefits investigator did the media bits as a relief from fraud and because ‘the people are always so friendly.’ This is true, viagra approved somewhat surprisingly. I have met some super and interesting people at LFW, try and this man was no exception. A delight to chat to. All three of us were heading for the Fashion Mode show, but I was faffing about with Toni and Guy etc. so didn’t walk with the investigator or art lady. But I saw them opposite me in the audience and it was obvious, although we had talked mostly about high class fraud, investigator man, liked his threads. And why not? I love it that Charlie, my boyfriend, loves his clothes, and he’d be all over watching a male fashion show, like the one at Fashion Mode: James Hillman.

hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Most men, I want to say ALL MEN, look great in a well cut suit. Boys turn to men, and previously bland chaps, turn to hotness. Is it the shoulders? Is it the old school charm? Or is it because it’s almost rare to see everyday, thus special and alluring? It’s a shame, because men look fantastic when they’re wearing something cut correctly. Why not embrace the suit more? Have you not seen Mad Men, with Don and err Don? In real life Jon Hamm looks like Bon Iver in the middle of his woods escapade. In Mad Men, he is all that millions of women desire. I don’t think it’s the 50s ideologies of man protecting woman, whilst woman looks perfect and alert. It’s just a suit looks NICE.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

So, James Hillman shows that men look good dressed in black clothes, cut well, particularly suits. The collection is all black because James used crude oil as his inspiration for his designs. Embracing crude oil wholeheartedly, he has studied the distillation of crude oil, learning that different temperatures produce different iterations of oil. Each fabric thus, represents a different tier in the crude oil process. The heavyweight oils are represented with heavyweight woollen cashmere mixes and reindeer leather. Whilst the lightweight oils are represented in rip stock and lightweight wax cottons.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

The deigns are sleek and sharp. Whilst the pockets and necklines are detailed, with for example; reflective fabric; pock and crepe pocket panelling; high neck or collarless necklines, all the pieces retain luxurious simplicity. I still have issues with man bags, but the rest of the show was hot to trot. This was confirmed by a man, by the investigator who I saw at the end of the show. “I don’t normally go in for men’s fashion, but I loved that. I would wear all of that. Hmmm…may need to investigate this James Hillman further.” Indeed. And spread the word.

Hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Whilst in the press lounge I had a natter with a benefits investigator and a lady who runs an art gallery. The benefits investigator did the media bits as a relief from fraud and because ‘the people are always so friendly.’ This is true, unhealthy somewhat surprisingly. I have met some super and interesting people at LFW, tadalafil and this man was no exception. A delight to chat to. All three of us were heading for the Fashion Mode show, but I was faffing about with Toni and Guy etc. so didn’t walk with the investigator or art lady. But I saw them opposite me in the audience and it was obvious, although we had talked mostly about high class fraud, investigator man, liked his threads. And why not? I love it that Charlie, my boyfriend, loves his clothes, and he’d be all over watching a male fashion show, like the one at Fashion Mode: James Hillman.

hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Most men, I want to say ALL MEN, look great in a well cut suit. Boys turn to men, and previously bland chaps, turn to hotness. Is it the shoulders? Is it the old school charm? Or is it because it’s almost rare to see everyday, thus special and alluring? It’s a shame, because men look fantastic when they’re wearing something cut correctly. Why not embrace the suit more? Have you not seen Mad Men, with Don and err Don? In real life Jon Hamm looks like Bon Iver in the middle of his woods escapade. In Mad Men, he is all that millions of women desire. I don’t think it’s the 50s ideologies of man protecting woman, whilst woman looks perfect and alert. It’s just a suit looks NICE.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

So, James Hillman shows that men look good dressed in black clothes, cut well, particularly suits. The collection is all black because James used crude oil as his inspiration for his designs. Embracing the concept wholeheartedly, he studied the distillation of crude oil, learning that different temperatures produce different iterations of oil. Each fabric thus, represents a different tier in the crude oil process. The heavyweight oils are represented with heavyweight woollen cashmere mixes and reindeer leather. Whilst the lightweight oils are represented in rip stock and lightweight wax cottons.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

The deigns are sleek and sharp. Whilst the pockets and necklines are detailed, with for example; reflective fabric; pock and crepe pocket panelling; high neck or collarless necklines, all the pieces retain luxurious simplicity. I still have issues with man bags, but the rest of the show was hot to trot. This was confirmed by a man, by the investigator. I saw him at the end of the show. Statement on James Hillman follows: “I don’t normally go in for men’s fashion, but I loved that. I would wear all of that. Hmmm…may need to investigate this James Hillman further.” Indeed. And spread the word.

Hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Whilst in the press lounge I had a natter with a benefits investigator and a lady who runs an art gallery. The benefits investigator did the media bits as a relief from fraud and because ‘the people are always so friendly.’ This is true, nurse somewhat surprisingly. I have met some super and interesting people at LFW, view and this man was no exception. A delight to chat to. All three of us were heading for the Fashion Mode show, but I was faffing about with Toni and Guy etc. so didn’t walk with the investigator or art lady. But I saw them opposite me in the audience and it was obvious, although we had talked mostly about high class fraud, investigator man, liked his threads. And why not? I love it that Charlie, my boyfriend, loves his clothes, and he’d be all over watching a male fashion show, like the one at Fashion Mode: James Hillman.

hillman

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Illustration by Anne N’Toko

Most men, I want to say ALL MEN, look great in a well cut suit. Boys turn to men, and previously bland chaps, turn to hotness. Is it the shoulders? Is it the old school charm? Or is it because it’s almost rare to see everyday, thus special and alluring? It’s a shame, because men look fantastic when they’re wearing something cut correctly. Why not embrace the suit more? Have you not seen Mad Men, with Don and err Don? In real life Jon Hamm looks like Bon Iver in the middle of his woods escapade. In Mad Men, he is all that millions of women desire. I don’t think it’s the 50s ideologies of man protecting woman, whilst woman looks perfect and alert. It’s just a suit looks NICE.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

So, James Hillman shows that men look good dressed in black clothes, cut well, particularly suits. The collection is all black because James used crude oil as his inspiration for his designs. Embracing the concept wholeheartedly, he studied the distillation of crude oil, learning that different temperatures produce different iterations of oil. Each fabric thus, represents a different tier in the crude oil process. The heavyweight oils are represented with heavyweight woollen cashmere mixes and reindeer leather. Whilst the lightweight oils are represented in rip stock and lightweight wax cottons.

Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia Hillman - Amelia

LFW A/W 2011 James Hillman Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

The deigns are sleek and sharp. Whilst the pockets and necklines are detailed, with for example; reflective fabric; pock and crepe pocket panelling; high neck or collarless necklines, all the pieces retain luxurious simplicity. I still have issues with man bags, but the rest of the show was hot to trot. This was confirmed by a man, by the investigator. I saw him at the end of the show. Statement on James Hillman follows: “I don’t normally go in for men’s fashion, but I loved that. I would wear all of that. Hmmm…may need to investigate this James Hillman further.” Indeed. And spread the word.

I will confess now. I may have gone over the top. Yes, information pills this blog is positively popping at the seams with illustrations. And it’s the FOURTH, order yes the FOURTH one to hit our website. But really it’s no surprise that Prophetik is such a big draw for both writers and illustrators, capsule peddling as he does an uber romantic view of the world that is steeped in a deep love for the natural world.

For his A/W 2011 Artist Wonderment collection designer Jeff Garner once again referenced times past, this time the “frivolous snobbery” of the court of Louix XV, an epoch that for him epitomises the falsity of impulsive consumption. Having interviewed Jeff Garner for my book, Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration I know how important to him it is to live a fully accountable life, and it seems to me that the title of this collection refers to the purity of artistic vision with which he himself attempts to live his own life.

It was the detailing which really stood out as the models swept past me. His ball gowns and corseted dresses were awash with gorgeously constructed patchwork, twirly brocade, gilded buttons and ruffles. But the absolute stand outs were a couple of stupendous quilted jackets. And by quilted I really do actually mean made out of an antique quilt, one of which belonged on his childhood bed that he must surely have baulked at destructing – just a tiny bit. But as his stylist Rebekah Roy pointed out to me later on, it makes absolute sense to refashion a quilt in this way – a quilt that in the very first place was made from fabric remnants.

This approach of continuous upcycling is certainly innovative, and what I love most about Jeff is his dedication to sustainable practice. All his fabrics are painstakingly hand dyed with a magical potion of herbs in a process that takes many weeks to accomplish – this season’s special plum colour was obtained by mixing up a blend of madder root, sorrel, logwood and indigo. Of anyone on the ethical fashion scene I really feel that Prophetik is pushing the way forward by putting on a ambitious catwalk show that ensures excitement amongst mainstream fashionistas. Prophetik opened Fashion Scout for the third season running and the Freemasons Hall was packed to the rafters, including famous front row attendees in the form of Hilary Alexander and Livia Firth, erstwhile wife of Colin and celebrity advocate of ethical fashion.

I can only hope that Jeff’s dedication to the ethical cause will rub off on other members of the fashion industry. Soon.
I will confess now. I may have gone over the top. Yes, store this blog is positively popping at the seams with illustrations. And it’s the FOURTH, yes the FOURTH one to hit our website. But really it’s no surprise that Prophetik is such a big draw for both writers and illustrators, peddling as he does an uber romantic view of the world that is steeped in a deep love for the natural world.

For his A/W 2011 Artist Wonderment collection designer Jeff Garner once again referenced times past, this time the “frivolous snobbery” of the court of Louix XV, an epoch that for him epitomises the falsity of impulsive consumption. Having interviewed Jeff Garner for my book, Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration I know how important to him it is to live a fully accountable life, and it seems to me that the title of this collection refers to the purity of artistic vision with which he himself attempts to live his own life.

The show opened in typical Jeff style, with live vocals followed by a madly thrashing classical violinist, who strutted down the catwalk as if her life depended on it. But it was the finer detailing which really stood out as the models swept past me. His ball gowns and corseted dresses were awash with gorgeously constructed patchwork, twirly brocade, gilded buttons and ruffles. But the absolute stand outs were a couple of stupendous quilted jackets. And by quilted I really do actually mean made out of an antique quilt, one of which belonged on his childhood bed that he must surely have baulked at destructing – just a tiny bit. But as his stylist Rebekah Roy pointed out to me later on, it makes absolute sense to refashion a quilt in this way – a quilt that in the very first place was made from fabric remnants.

This approach of continuous upcycling is certainly innovative, and what I love most about Jeff is his dedication to sustainable practice. All his fabrics are painstakingly hand dyed with a magical potion of herbs in a process that takes many weeks to accomplish – this season’s special plum colour was obtained by mixing up a blend of madder root, sorrel, logwood and indigo. Of anyone on the ethical fashion scene I really feel that Prophetik is pushing the way forward by putting on a ambitious catwalk show that ensures excitement amongst mainstream fashionistas. Prophetik opened Fashion Scout for the third season running and the Freemasons Hall was packed to the rafters, including famous front row attendees in the form of Hilary Alexander and Livia Firth, erstwhile wife of Colin and celebrity advocate of ethical fashion. At the end Jeff took a demure bow dressed in a cream silky top and powder blue peddle pushers: if there’s one major advocate for dressing this way it’s the ever dapper Jeff Garner himself.

I can only hope that Jeff’s dedication to the ethical cause will rub off on other members of the fashion industry. Soon.
Carlotta_Actis_Barone_Abby_Wright_LFW

LFW A/W 2011 Carlotta Actis Barone Collection. Illustration by Abby Wright

Well the third of Fashion Mode’s designers this Sunday was simply put: stunningly pretty and explosive. Frosted make up, and backcombed and massive hair, more about beige skyscraper heels and icy pouts – all complimented utterly beautiful pieces from the designer. Carlotta Actis Barone drew gasps and ‘ooohs’ as her models sashayed down the catwalk. These girls were ice princesses. With enormous hoods, view fluffy shrugs, pom poms, exposed zips, extravagant fishtail dresses, flamboyant netting and super sleek, pencil skirts; they all had a heavenly, intense, snowy fairytale vibe.

Gemma Milly-Carlotta Actis Barone-Fashion Mode-A-W11

LFW A/W 2011 Carlotta Actis Barone Collection. Illustration by Gemma Milly

Reading about the designer, her artistic training has been life -long. Carlotta Actis Barone is the daughter of Italian visual artist Manuela Corti and writer Gianni Actis Barone. Although she discovered her true passion for fashion at the age of 24. During her study at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design for a BA in Fashion Print, she went on a gap year, working with Korean designer Moon Young Hee, B.C.B.G Max Azria Manoukian and Balmain.. Explaining the bold colour use in her collection, we discover that Carlotta’s pieces are based around strong, feminine women. She often also has a political edge to her designs, and is extremely passionate about the ethical issues surrounding fashion. These ethical opinions are often reflected in her designs, this season being no exception. The Autumn/Winter 2011 collection focuses on cruelty against animals, with particular focus on fur, and seals. We all know fur is wrong, our animals should be celebrated, not worn. We at Amelia’s feel very fiercely about this. See Amelia’s own ethical fashion book, here.

Gareth A Hopkins Carlotta Fashion Mode AW11

LFW A/W 2011 Carlotta Actis Barone Collection. Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Hence for Carlotta, the frosted lipped models, beige faux fur and red, white and navy blue palette. The seals being the beige faux fur, the blue the cold sea, and the white symbolic of the snow and ice. Red is obviously the horrendous slaughter of the seals, shown in the underskirts and showpieces.

Carlotta Actis Barone

LFW A/W 2011 Carlotta Actis Barone Collection. Illustration by Matilde Sazio

The enormous, white eyelashes, iced lips and enormous hair, paired with fitted 50s influenced dresses, short knitted, luxurious, hooded pieces… faux fur shrugs, hand muffs, sleeves and collar details… were so strong and and almost, beautifully angry. Carlotta also referenced Inuit people in her designs, each of the skirted models wore transparent leggings and geometric patterns ran through the collection, similar to their attire. The whole collection represents how I’m sure many girls would love to look in the winter time. It’s so feminine, heavenly and bold. A mixture of prom dresses, Narnia and Victorian fashion – a fantasy, a drama – and of course in terms of the seals; a harsh reality.

LFW Kayleigh Bluck

LFW A/W 2011 Carlotta Actis Barone Collection. Illustration by Kayleigh Bluck

I adored the pronounced peplum dress, the fitted black coat, with full skirt from the waist. The blue, white and red mixed beautifully, if slightly shocking. Which of course, is part of the message Carlotta is making with her show. Without doubt the finale piece, a red fishtail, strapless dress, with a faux fur beige, large shrug, was just INCREDIBLE. I was in love with that dress. I still am in love with that dress. It was the perfect ending to a show that inspired, amazed and informed. This fabulous collection, left me in awe.

Carlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia GregoryCarlotta Actis Barone LFW A/W Amelia Gregory

LFW A/W 2011 Carlotta Actis Barone Collection. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Buy Amelia’s Book on Ethical Fashion: here. You will also find illustrations by Abby Wright, Gemma Milly and Gareth A. Hopkins in the book.

Categories ,Abby Wright, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Carlotta Actis Barone, ,Fashion Scout, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Milly, ,Helen Martin, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,lfw, ,LFW A/W, ,Matilde Sazio

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: KTZ


Illustration by Antonia Parker

Over at Osman, this sleek silhouettes glided gracefully down the beautiful blue ink-blotched catwalk on models sporting blunt Cleopatra bobs with eyelash-skimming fringes.

Osman Yousefzada showed a sophisticated palette featuring lot of ivory and charcoal in sharp yet flowing shapes. Colour flooded in, information pills taking the form of feature linings and leather trims in rust, scarlet, pale aqua, neon pink and lime. The show opened with a beautiful ivory dress, featuring a v-shaped accent to the bodice in bright cobalt, echoing the beauiful inky stripe printed on the catwalk itself.


Illustrations by Donya Todd

The chic and sharply flared wide leg trousers were particularly prominent, billowing around the models’ legs as they sashayed their way towards the photographers’ pit. I was sitting way back in the sixth row but semi-successfully found a gap in the rows of heads to capture some of the looks. Key pieces seemed to keep on coming; dresses with contrast-lined capelets, black leather with hot pink horizontal stripes, a Morticia-length charcoal wool dress, a leather-fronted blouse with bright orange floor-length tied tails to the back, the list goes on.


Illustration by Madi Illustrates


Photography by Naomi Law

There was a hint of the 1960s with a-line shapes and geometric capped sleeves, but pattern or ornamentation was minimal, save for one striking orange chiffon dress with chocolate brown embroidery. The collection managed to make crayon brights into something more sophisticated – the careful balance of colour and monotone combined with expert tailoring in subtly varyied textures was sharp, modern and crisp.


Illustrations by Rachel Lewis

There were two show-stopping floor-length black dresses with dramatic fluffy sleeves so huge I assumed they must be fake fur (hence asking two of our illustrators to work from these designs). I was disgusted to discover later that Osman has made the vile decision to use real fur in his collections. It’s nasty enough that anyone would choose to use animal fur in the first place, but even harder to understand when they’re going to end up dyeing it a completely unnatural colour anyway. Unfortunately this took the shine off the collection, none of this next season thank you!


Illustration by Antonia Parker

See more of Antonia Parker’s illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration!

KTZ A/W 2011 by Andrea Peterson, <a target=viagra approved aka Artist Andrea” title=”KTZ A/W 2011 by Andrea Peterson, page aka Artist Andrea” width=”480″ height=”595″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-37005″ />
KTZ A/W 2011 by Andrea Peterson, approved aka Artist Andrea.

I wasn’t going to go into Somerset House on Wednesday, I really wasn’t. But the lure of a new Kokon To Zai collection was just too much. And boy was I glad that I did head into town for what turned out to be one of my very favourites shows of the week.

KTZ A/W 2011 by LJG Art and Illustration
KTZ A/W 2011 by LJG Art and Illustration.

On entering an extremely packed BFC tent (menswear seemed much busier this season) I was left wondering where to sit when Lida Hujic grabbed me and led me to a prime spot near the catwalk entrance, right next to Prince Cassius, Leroy of Diary of a Clothes Horse and, erm…. the Bosnian ambassador. There’s nothing like a bit of diversity on the front row!

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
KTZ A/W 2011 by Kayleigh Bluck
KTZ A/W 2011 by Kayleigh Bluck.

Building on their monochromatic S/S season KTZ served up a primary coloured delight…. a little bit 80s, a little bit Memphis and a whole lot of fun. Calder-like 80s graphic sculptures rose in whorls out of heads. Huge ball bangles created bold wrist protuberances.

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
KTZ A/W 2011 by Maria Papadimitriou
KTZ A/W 2011 by Maria Papadimitriou.

Earrings, necklaces, brooches and sunglasses were striped, gold, abstracted statements. And for the men? Primary coloured balaclavas with bobbles: part bank robber, part cold small child.

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
KTZ groupies by Andrea Peterson, aka Artist Andrea
KTZ groupies by Andrea Peterson, aka Artist Andrea.

But, onto the main course. This was a massive collection that took in easy to wear striped jersey tops and Dynasty meets Mondrian statement dresses with amazing marbled, flounce waists and layered tailoring. For men there were patent leather jackets, striped trousers and zig zag braces. The shoes are most definitely worth a mention – striped and block-heeled for women, platformed and buckled for the men – they were a wonderful complement to the clothing. This collection was by no means for the faint hearted, but that, in my book, is a very good thing.

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
KTZ A/W 2011 by Antonia-Parker-
KTZ A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

But then I started to worry, just a little bit, that a dampener was about to be put on my enthusiasm. These days it really is so hard to tell what is real fur and what is not, and without the aid of a press release I presumed the former. Luckily I was put right straight away after the show through the power of twitter when KTZ informed me that only fake fur was used to create the fabulous oversized pompom scarf and killer colour hooded duffle coat.

KTZ A/W 2011 by Kellie Black
KTZ A/W 2011 by Kellie Black.

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

I think I’m in love… I actually left this show beaming from ear to ear, and I can’t often say that. Major kudos must surely be given to Anna Trevelyan for the styling; she also styled the Alex Noble installation, and Charlie Le Mindu’s show. This lady has got some seriously diverse and wonderful ideas going on. You can follow her adventures on twitter here.

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.Kokon to Zai by Dan Stafford
Kokon to Zai by Dan Stafford.

KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
KTZ A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

You can see more work by Andrea Peterson, Antonia Parker and Kellie Black in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,80s, ,ACOFI, ,Alex Noble, ,Alexander Calder, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Anna Trevelyan, ,Antonia Parker, ,Artist Andrea, ,BFC Tent, ,Bosnia, ,Charlie le Mindu, ,Dan Stafford, ,Diary of a Clothes Horse, ,Dynasty, ,Fake Fur, ,Front Row, ,Fur, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Kellie Black, ,Kokon To Zai, ,KTZ, ,Leroy, ,Lida Hujic, ,LJG Art and Illustration, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Memphis, ,Mondrian, ,Prince Cassius, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Somerset House, ,stylist

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week Catwalk Review: Swedish School of Textiles 2010 Graduate Show


Illustration by Abby Wright

It’s always a treat at Fashion Week to find that the show you are about to see, website starting in the next few minutes, is at a totally different venue to the one you had in your head and are currently standing at. I found myself in this marvellous situation as Tim Soar’s show approached. God knows why I thought it was at Somerset House and not at the Freemason’s Hall. Menswear day brought these kind of surprises all day – with many designers scaling down their presence. I had seen Tim’s show a year ago in the BFC tent, so how dare they move its location?!

I need not have worried as I legged it up Drury Lane, for, true to form, the show was running late and hadn’t even been seated when I showed up. I was right at the back of the queue, though – AGAIN – so decided to perch by the photographer’s pit in the hope of getting a better shot than I would have positioned on one of the back rows.

This show saw Soar draw inspiration from the 1970s, and in particular David Bowie’s character ‘Mr Newton’ in Nicholas Roeg’s epic ‘The Man Who Fell From Earth.’ This inspiration was, in true Tim Soar style, handled with delicacy and acted only as a descrete reference here and there. Trousers flared off, but not in a grotesque fancy dress sense, and lapels were elongated, but not in a Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive, Hah Hah Hah Hah sense. The bulk of the collection relied on Soar’s showmanship as a really great tailor with a unique vision.


Illustration by Abby Wright

Making the best use of luxe fabrics like mohair, satin, wool crepe and linen, models wore strict suits with a piecemeal utilitarian aesthetic. The use of Tyvek, the waxy crushed industrial material usually reserved for workers boiler suits, also adds to this technical flavour.

Blazers were banded with cummerbund-like straps in contrasting colours – where jackets were dark, the bands were of gold silk, and where jackets were sand, the bands were black. Denim made an appearance, also creating horizontal lines across structured tailoring.

Alongside this semi-formal attire, there were the usual design quirks that Tim Soar is quickly faming himself for. His appreciation of the aesthetic properties of materials and quality of texture was also on display, with crushed materials and bursts of vibrant colour (he is, after all, also a graphic designer).

It’s hard to imagine how a Tyvek jailer-style striped suit will work alongside an exemplary tailored blazer, but somehow Tim Soar’s collections always convey a stylish coherence.

This season also brought more womenswear, which is basically menswear with allowances for hips, busts and bums. It’s a testament to Tim Soar’s generally cool attitude, though, that his aesthetic works wonders on both women and men.


Illustration by Abby Wright

It’s always a treat at Fashion Week to find that the show you are about to see, price starting in the next few minutes, is at a totally different venue to the one you had in your head and are currently standing at. I found myself in this marvellous situation as Tim Soar’s show approached. God knows why I thought it was at Somerset House and not at the Freemason’s Hall. Menswear day brought these kind of surprises all day – with many designers scaling down their presence. I had seen Tim’s show a year ago in the BFC tent, so how dare they move its location?!

I need not have worried as I legged it up Drury Lane, for, true to form, the show was running late and hadn’t even been seated when I showed up. I was right at the back of the queue, though – AGAIN – so decided to perch by the photographer’s pit in the hope of getting a better shot than I would have positioned on one of the back rows.

This show saw Soar draw inspiration from the 1970s, and in particular David Bowie’s character ‘Mr Newton’ in Nicholas Roeg’s epic ‘The Man Who Fell From Earth.’ This inspiration was, in true Tim Soar style, handled with delicacy and acted only as a descrete reference here and there. Trousers flared off, but not in a grotesque fancy dress sense, and lapels were elongated, but not in a Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive, Hah Hah Hah Hah sense. The bulk of the collection relied on Soar’s showmanship as a really great tailor with a unique vision.


Illustration by Abby Wright

Making the best use of luxe fabrics like mohair, satin, wool crepe and linen, models wore strict suits with a piecemeal utilitarian aesthetic. The use of Tyvek, the waxy crushed industrial material usually reserved for workers boiler suits, also adds to this technical flavour.

Blazers were banded with cummerbund-like straps in contrasting colours – where jackets were dark, the bands were of gold silk, and where jackets were sand, the bands were black. Denim made an appearance, also creating horizontal lines across structured tailoring.

Alongside this semi-formal attire, there were the usual design quirks that Tim Soar is quickly faming himself for. His appreciation of the aesthetic properties of materials and quality of texture was also on display, with crushed materials and bursts of vibrant colour (he is, after all, also a graphic designer).

It’s hard to imagine how a Tyvek jailer-style striped suit will work alongside an exemplary tailored blazer, but somehow Tim Soar’s collections always convey a stylish coherence.

This season also brought more womenswear, which is basically menswear with allowances for hips, busts and bums. It’s a testament to Tim Soar’s generally cool attitude, though, that his aesthetic works wonders on both women and men.


Illustration by Abby Wright

It’s always a treat at Fashion Week to find that the show you are about to see, more about starting in the next few minutes, is at a totally different venue to the one you had in your head and are currently standing at. I found myself in this marvellous situation as Tim Soar‘s show approached. God knows why I thought it was at Somerset House and not at the Freemason’s Hall. Menswear day brought these kind of surprises all day – with many designers scaling down their presence. I had seen Tim’s show a year ago in the BFC tent, recipe so how dare they move its location?!

I need not have worried as I legged it up Drury Lane, for, true to form, the show was running late and hadn’t even been seated when I showed up. I was right at the back of the queue, though – AGAIN – so decided to perch by the photographer’s pit in the hope of getting a better shot than I would have positioned on one of the back rows.

This show saw Soar draw inspiration from the 1970s, and in particular David Bowie’s character ‘Mr Newton’ in Nicholas Roeg’s epic ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ This inspiration was, in true Tim Soar style, handled with delicacy and acted only as a descrete reference here and there. Trousers flared off, but not in a grotesque fancy dress sense, and lapels were elongated, but not in a Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive, Hah Hah Hah Hah sense. The bulk of the collection relied on Soar’s showmanship as a really great tailor with a unique vision.


Illustration by Abby Wright

Making the best use of luxe fabrics like mohair, satin, wool crepe and linen, models wore strict suits with a piecemeal utilitarian aesthetic. The use of Tyvek, the waxy crushed industrial material usually reserved for workers boiler suits, also adds to this technical flavour.

Blazers were banded with cummerbund-like straps in contrasting colours – where jackets were dark, the bands were of gold silk, and where jackets were sand, the bands were black. Denim made an appearance, also creating horizontal lines across structured tailoring.

Alongside this semi-formal attire, there were the usual design quirks that Tim Soar is quickly faming himself for. His appreciation of the aesthetic properties of materials and quality of texture was also on display, with crushed materials and bursts of vibrant colour (he is, after all, also a graphic designer).

It’s hard to imagine how a Tyvek jailer-style striped suit will work alongside an exemplary tailored blazer, but somehow Tim Soar’s collections always convey a stylish coherence.

This season also brought more womenswear, which is basically menswear with allowances for hips, busts and bums. It’s a testament to Tim Soar’s generally cool attitude, though, that his aesthetic works wonders on both women and men.

All photography by Matt Bramford
sara anderson by laura callaghan
Sara Anderson by Laura Callaghan.

Every now and again fashion week throws up something truly astonishing that I didn’t know about before… and on this occasion that honour must surely go to the unexpectedly fabulous graduate show from the Swedish School of Textiles, viagra showing for the first time at LFW. I sat with my old intern Sarah Barnes of Uplift Magazine, check so we had a good chance to catch up on the gossip before the show started to a very under capacity audience.

Swedish Textiles SS2011 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles SS2011 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Stina Randstad. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Of course, it is to be expected that the crowd might be a little sparse for the first year that someone shows at LFW, but it is nevertheless somewhat bemusing to be provided with so little information about the contributing graduates; nothing beyond the flimsiest of explanations on our seats. Not even a list of designers! It baffles me that an institution would go to all the cost of sending their graduates over to the UK and then neglect the most basic of PR opportunities. To keep up I had to take photos of the projection of the back wall between collections, and then squint through them to label each designer correctly. About the individual students I know nothing more: I can’t even find a website for the college.

Swedish Textiles SS2011 Emelie Johansson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles SS2011 Emelie Johansson photo by Amelia Gregory
Emelie Johansson.

I had absolutely no expectations bar a pretty good gut feeling that as a former textile designer myself I was going to like what I saw. I could not have been more on the mark.

Swedish-Textiles-2-by-Lisa-Stannard
Sara Anderson and Emelie Johansson by Lisa Stannard.

Swedish Textiles 2010 students photo by Amelia Gregory
Students rollcall.

The opening collection, Prepositions by Sara Anderson, was a pretty good indicator of things to come. Models strode down the catwalk in what looked like the lime and carrot angular offcuts of some 60s furniture factory mishap – great angular bulks attached to head, waist and shoulder. Glistening metallic fabrics and foiled polka dots completed the look. And instantly my interior art director gremlin was hopping up and down with excitement just thinking about what our illustrators could do once they sunk their teeth into this.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Sara Anderson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Sara Anderson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Sara Anderson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Sara Anderson photo by Amelia Gregory
Sara Anderson.

Next up was a fabulous menswear collection from Johanna Milvert. Just the right side of barking, it featured massively oversized sleeves and bulbous mismatched proportions that cocooned the models in deep orange deck chair stripes and ribbed knits. A lopsided leather man bag was a particularly individual touch.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Johanna Milvert photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Johanna Milvert photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Johanna Milvert photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Johanna Milvert photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Johanna Milvert photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Johanna Milvert photo by Amelia Gregory
johanna milvert by laura callaghan
Johanna Milvert by Laura Callaghan.

This was followed by a relatively calm collection, Efterklang by Elin Klevmar, in which the lopsided theme continued apace as the models strode down the catwalk in softly draped pebble and cream coloured loungewear.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Klevmar photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Klevmar photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Klevmar photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Klevmar photo by Amelia Gregory
elin klevmar by laura callaghan
Elin Klevmar by Laura Callaghan.

Stina Randstad’s Breed hit the catwalk in an outrageous large shouldered ruffled denim affair that Leigh Bowery would have been proud to wear. Mixing African fabrics, Scottish tartan and 80s pop art club kid inspired prints shouldn’t work but it somehow did – we need more of this kind of inspired madness at the shows. Tartan rara skirts, veil like head necklaces, knitted cockerel crests, crazy facepaint and huge superhero shaped tailoring: this collection really did have it all… and I say that in a good way.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Stina Randstad photo by Amelia Gregory
Stina Randstad.

Structure is Everything by Emelie Johansson appeared to have been influenced by coloured pencil shavings. Taking oversized accessories to the next level some of the headdresses resembled alienesque head tumours that would surely not look out of place on the deck of the Starship Enterprise. Peeking out from beneath the styling madness were some really wonderfully constructed primary coloured garments.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Emelie Johansson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Emelie Johansson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Emelie Johansson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Emelie Johansson photo by Amelia Gregory
LFW Swedish Textiles Emelie Johansson KAYLEIGH BLUCK
Emelie Johansson by Kayleigh Bluck.

Another menswear collection from Jennie Siljedahl – Control Me As I Control You – showcased autumnal themed pieces in quilted golds, reds and burnt orange, all accessorised with big recycled necklaces and arm jewellery. I particularly liked the overgrown eyebrow glasses.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Jennie Siljedahl photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Jennie Siljedahl photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Jennie Siljedahl photo by Amelia Gregory
LFW Swedish Textiles Jennie Siljedahl  KAYLEIGH BLUCK
Jennie Siljedahl by Kayleigh Bluck.

Swedish-Textiles-Jennie Siljedahl-by-Lisa-Stannard
Jennie Siljedahl by Lisa Stannard.

Elin Sundling‘s monochrome collection I Paint Myself Into A Corner featured models who looked as if they had been dragged through the cobwebs of an attic – gauzy face netting gave a sinister feel to (another) lovingly cut lopsided collection that featured some fabulous dusty and oily prints.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Sundling photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Sundling photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Sundling photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Sundling photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Elin Sundling photo by Amelia Gregory
Elin Sundling.

For sheer styling nuttiness though the prize had to go to Ellinor Nilsen with Nobodies – she sent models down the catwalk in strange eyeless masks, fake hair protruding from all the wrong places in all the wrong colours. One can only presume the models practiced beforehand by counting their steps, for it all went off seamlessly. Beneath the amazing masks knitwear and tailoring took inspiration from the hairy fuzzy scratchy parts of bodies. Particularly odd was a hair print dress. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Ellinor Nilsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Ellinor Nilsen.

Charlotta Mattson’s dark collection was perhaps most instantly notable for her angular neck adornments that echoed the theme on many other catwalks this season, but I also particularly liked the use of swirling linear black on white prints that encased legs, head and fabulous shoes. Oh and did I mention the fabulous shoes? Fabulous they were.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Charlotta Mattson photo by Amelia Gregory
Charlotta Mattson.

Hommage featured bulky pants, cowled hoods and bleached floral prints on menswear from David Soderlund, all accessorised with giant resin scorpion jewellery. An open shirt over bleached print jean shorts held up with red braces was a particularly strong look.

Swedish Textiles 2010 David Soderland photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 David Soderland photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 David Soderland photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 David Soderland photo by Amelia Gregory
David Soderlund.

Finally Helena Quist showed a kimono and kaftan inspired collection in which the colouring was particularly strong. Stripes, overgrown pompoms, metallics, tassels and block prints jostled together in a stunning combination that closed the show.

Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
Swedish Textiles 2010 Helena Quist photo by Amelia Gregory
LFW Swedish Textiles Helena Quist KAYLEIGH BLUCK
Helena Quist by Kayleigh Bluck.

I hope the Swedish School of Textiles will be back next year. Somehow I don’t think they will have any trouble packing out their second show… but please please sort out your promotion. NONE of these students has a proper internet presence; not one functioning website that I could find. Shocking in this day and age.

Categories ,Charlotta Mattson, ,David Soderland, ,Elin Klevmar, ,Elin Sundling, ,Ellinor Nilsen, ,Emelie Johansson, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Graduate Show, ,Helena Quist, ,Jennie Siljedahl, ,Johanna Milvert, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Laura Callaghan, ,Leigh Bowery, ,lfw, ,Lisa Stannard, ,London Fashion Week, ,Sara Anderson, ,Stina Randstad, ,Swedish School of Textiles, ,Uplift Magazine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion on Film: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

thumbnailthe_books_jpeg

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, approved or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an ever changing source of material as their inspiration, so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t deal with the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with the both of them on the phone; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut; because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, pharmacy or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an ever changing source of material as their inspiration, case so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t deal with the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with the both of them on the phone; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut; because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, treat or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an everchanging source of material as their inspiration, so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t appreciate the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with the both of them on the phone; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, dosage or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an everchanging source of material as their inspiration, information pills so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t appreciate the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with both of them on the phone recently; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

It’s nigh-on impossible to define The Books, web or the genre of music that they create. Because they are relying on an everchanging source of material as their inspiration, adiposity so too does their music morph and flow into new directions and styles; a constant evolution of sounds. If pressed, you could say that they were a ‘folktronica’ band, but even then, this doesn’t appreciate the complexities of their music. Building a track out of a computer can sometimes render a song as cold and clinical as the software on which it was created, but The Books have a warmth and deftness of touch that permeates through their work and makes each song seem human. It’s no coincidence then that the men behind The Books, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are both highly attuned to their surroundings, appreciating and needing to be immersed in the natural world in order to do what they do. I caught up with both of them on the phone recently; I was sat in noisy old Brick Lane, they were calling from their homes in New York State. I was a little jealous.

Can you talk me through the creation and the concept of your new album, The Way Out?
Nick: Basically the primary instrument of The Books is the sample library and Paul is the master librarian. So I will let you fill him on the creation of that…..
Paul: Since we’ve started I have always been a collector of sounds and images. When we started going on tour about five or six years ago I had the opportunity to visit a lot of different cities in the US and worldwide, and when there was time, I would try to hit as many thrift stores and book stores as I could find and pick up LP’s and tapes and video tapes. So by the time I would get home I would have a room full of new material that I could then get cut into new samples. In the past four years the library really grew enormously. I had so much material about certain subjects that they kind of presented themselves out of the library, it gave us a real choice to find a body of samples that deal with a certain subject that we can then create a new narrative from. In the first track of the record (Group Autogenics I) there are a lot of samples from hypnotherapy recordings and self help records. We had a lot of those samples so we had the opportunity to use the best ones. The way these people speak makes them really easy to cut because they separate their voices and they speak very slowly, so we could move their voices around at will and create a completely new narrative out of that.
Nick: Then the next step in the process is to figure out how it all fits together, which is an equally obsessive process!

Are your roles clear cut? How does the creative process work?
Nick: There is a significant crossover in our roles, but the basic dynamic is that Paul is the collector and I am the composer.

If you are assimilating that much material in your library, I’m guessing the process of recording an album must take a long time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s hard to finish one track in less than a month!

So, when you create your work and put that much effort into it, does it automatically have to lead to an album? Is it too much effort to just create one single?
Nick: No, we have done some one-off singles in the past, and we have also done remixes for people.
Paul: We made a song for the Cultural Ministry in France for their elevators recently and we recorded a Nick Drake song for a compilation. (Featured on Louisiana; compiled by Kenneth Bager). So we do shorter projects but we like the idea of having an album and a body of work. It’s a good reflection of a period of time and work for us.

Is there a particular concept or narrative to this album?
Nick: There is no center to it, necessarily. The hypnotherapy samples frame the record, I think; we are trying to go deeper, not in an overbearing way, but in kind of a playful style.

I see what you mean about the playfulness…. In the hypnotherapy samples, I distinctly heard the Doctor say “you will get fat and lose your self esteem”. That doesn’t sound like typical hypnotherapy to me!
Nick: Of course, that wasn’t its original form. That was Pauls mission, to turn a weight loss record into a weigh gain record! (laughs) So he was able to pull different fragments from the same tape and rearrange them to mean their opposite.
Paul: Nothing is quite what it appears to be. Not that the original songs can’t stand by themselves, it just means that in this new narrative they take on another identity. The only track that is completely undoctored is the track of Ghandi making a short statement, which is something that is so beautiful in itself and so deep that you don’t want to change it, you just want to pass it on.

Is there is a particular way that your tracks come together? Is it samples first, then lyrics?
Nick: I think that Paul and I are always working in parallel, while he is putting the library together I am sketching out melodies and different kinds of musical textures. Eventually the work that I am doing and the work that Paul is doing comes together somehow and there’s a kind of resonance; we call it the ‘critical mass moment’ where it looks like there is something that is worth exploring in a deeper way. Once you have the body of samples that you want to use and a rhythm and a melody you can start to figure out where the beginning is.

You both clearly have a symbiotic relationship, but do you ever come to each other with work that doesn’t mesh well or work out?
Nick: I think that’s most of the time (laughs) There is so much going on in both of our computers that there is always something in there that’s worth pursuing, but yeah, there is a lot of trial and error. I sometimes think of it as an evolutionary approach to music. Brian Eno has used the word ‘emergence’ which I like. There is a lot of chaos and a lot of sounds going every which way and every once in a while, the sounds find each other in a way that is really unexpectedly beautiful. You know, like the way that organisms will mutate and change over time into something completely different. I think, we look at those moments that are worth saving and let them grow on each other and eventually we have something.

Was there anything in particular that was inspiring you while you were creating this record, or was it a case of just having your ear to the ground and seeing what comes your way?
Nick: It’s both, for sure.

I was wondering if your surroundings affect your work; you both live in the Catskill Mountains (in New York State). I can imagine that it’s quite an experience to be surrounded by such peace and tranquility.
Nick: Yeah, I have spent a lot of time in my life living outside, and to have that more direct connection to the natural world has always been a way for me to stay sane.

Do you mean that you have literally lived outside?
Nick: Uh-huh, I spend a lot of time camping and hiking, going on extremely long hikes. (pauses) There is the standard existential crisis that you have in your twenties when you realise that you are probably going down a path that you really don’t want to be on, and hiking was a way for me to reset my life at that time, so now living out here in the mountains just makes me feel at home, it always brings me back to that deciding moment in my life.

Do you switch off when you are hiking, or are you busy thinking up new melodies?
Nick: It’s more of a complete emptying of my thought process; that’s been its value to me, a time where I can leave everything behind. That’s where everything starts from, the silence, and I could never find it in the city, it was so chaotic and noisy that I needed to change my surroundings in order to make the work that I wanted to make.

I have read that you both have your own recording studios in your homes.
Nick: Yes, that is a key part to it, we never pay for studio time.

I’m guessing that this gives you the freedom to experiment when you are not watching the clock, and paying for the time.
Nick: Definitely, it’s sort of a complicated idea, but I think what we are doing is nu-folk music; people are taking technology out of the hands of corporations and big businesses and into their homes. The folk instrument of our time is the computer, and it’s changed how people make music. You see a lot of music coming out of the woodwork now where people are living with the music instead of doing it in a rush in some expensive place, they can pick away at it.

I’m curious if you focus as much on visuals as you do on audio; do you incorporate visuals into your live shows?
Paul: Yes, the visuals came about because we really didn’t start as a live project at all, we were just making music at our homes in our studios, and once we found out that it’s really the only way to sustain ourselves with our music – to go on the road, we saw that as an opportunity to create something around our visual interests so we started creating videos. In the beginning we retrofitted our videos with our music, and now we are moving towards creating a video library which is being created in the same way as the sound library. When we are on the stage we call the video screen our frontman. It’s more than just a light show or a vectorial, it comes more to the foreground than the live musicians.

You’ve recently been touring around Europe. Do you have plans to do more touring, I can imagine that the whole process takes a lot of effort!
Nick: Well there is no effort in the sense that we don’t jump on stage very much! The real limitations are that we both have young children so we don’t leave home too much at this point in our lives, but we will be back in Europe sometime next year.

YouTube Preview Image

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, online illustrated by Naomi Law

Plans to large it in East End boozers or at Green Kite Midnight‘s Ceilidh on Saturday night turned sour when my other half broke his arm in a freak gymnasium accident. So, unwilling to sit in sulking, we took a trip to the Rich Mix Cinema.

Mainstream fashion films don’t come around that frequently. Okay, so we had Tom Ford‘s plotless but beautiful adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, but it’s rare for those who control film production company’s purse strings to invest their cash in fashion biopics. Things might be changing though – we had Coco avant Chanel recently – an exceptional film starring Audrey Tatou (who, I’d like to add, should stick to acting en Francais). Next up, it’s the release this week of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky.

Viewers will be forgiven for thinking that this is the sequel to Coco avant Chanel – the bulk of the movie focusses on Gabrielle Chanel’s life post lover Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel’s death. There are many similarities – the fashion, the smouldering actress, the references, the consultants (Monsieur Lagerfeld lent his services and granted full access to the couturier’s archives). The films, in fact, have nothing professionally to do with each other. 

This film actually kicks off in 1913. We join the male protagonist (played by devilishly handsome Mads Mikkelsen – well, until you Google him and see what he really looks like) as he is about to present his first major opera, at which Coco (devilishly beautiful Anna Mouglalis) is in the audience. The Rite of Spring is a disaster; the audience descends into chaos. It’s here though that fashion fans first get a feast for the eyes. Row after row sit bourgeois women dressed decadently in the early indications of the prosperous fashion of the 1920s, with stunning millinery galore.  


Illustration by Stacie Swift

The film then jumps to 1920, and we see the chic Chanel meet Stravinsky properly for the first time at a party. Coco Chanel was nothing short of a tart. Dressed in a risque (for the era) shoestring-strap floor-length dress and hair in a 1920s twist, Coco oozes appeal and ‘even makes grief seem chic’ according to one bystander. She has, after all, just lost Boy Capel in a car accident – but you’d never know.


Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

The pair arrange to meet at Paris’ Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, where Gabrielle invites Igor (and his wife and children) to stay at her glorious villa outside Paris. He accepts, and the rest of the film takes place here. Here we’re treated to Coco’s impeccable interior design taste – room after room decorated with stunning art-deco style, and rooms themed on exotic locations from around the world. Chanel dazzles in outfit after outfit, and after a few scene/outfit changes, it’s easy to see where Lagerfeld gets his ideas from.  

I won’t spoil it for you, but the frivolous pair get it on at the villa while poor Stravinsky’s wife is laid up in bed upstairs with a bad cough. Cue gratuitous sex scenes on various carpets. Chanel is always impeccably dressed in floor-length silk numbers, while tormented Stravinsky, dressed in simple sartorial style, tinkles the ivories and stomps around the villa’s gardens like a bear with a sore head. You can’t carry on like this without somebody finding out…


Chanel No.5, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

1920 is also the year that Chanel devised and launched what is probably the world’s most iconic scent – the Chanel No.5 perfume. Cut to Gunther-Von-Hagens-slash-Willy-Wonka-esque perfumer Ernest Beaux, who appears with a twirl of his chemist lab coat like a zany magician; here the film goes a little pantomime, and while committing this crucial piece of fashion history to film is inspiring, it’s difficult not to cringe at the ‘ooo! numero cinq’ revelation at the end of this scene…

This is certainly a film for fashion fans and documents a fascinating piece of history – rumour has it that the makers of Coco Avant Chanel plan to pick up where this film leaves us, so that’s something we can look forward to. We do get a glimpse of glamour-granny Chanel at the end, too; perhaps to whet our appetite – Anna Mouglalis makes a fantastic mature Coco decked in prosthetic make-up.


31 Rue Cambon, illustrated by Thomas Leadbetter

What this film occasionally lacks in empathy for the characters – it’s a marriage of egos and there’s little to make you feel anything for this homewreckin’ harlot – it certainly makes up for in sophistication. Most exciting for me were scenes at 31 Rue Cambon, fashion’s most famous address, both inside and out. With a soundtrack of Stravinsky’s effortless symphonies and Coco Chanel’s visionary and groundbreaking fashion, this film celebrates two massive twentieth-century figures in style.

Cinemas nationwide.

Categories ,1920s, ,A Single Man, ,Anna Mouglalis, ,Arthur Boy Capel, ,Audrey Tatou, ,Borgeois, ,Chanel No.5, ,Christopher Isherwood, ,Coco Avant Chanel, ,Coco Chanel, ,Ernest Beaux, ,fashion, ,film, ,Gabrielle, ,Google, ,Gunther Von Hagens, ,Igor Stravinsky, ,Karl Lagerfeld, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Mads Mikkelsen, ,millinery, ,Muséum national diHistoire naturelle, ,Naomi Law, ,Natasha Thompson, ,paris, ,Rich Mix Cinema, ,Stacie Swift, ,The Rite of Spring, ,Thomas Leadbetter, ,Tom Ford, ,Willy Wonka

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Amelia’s Magazine | Transition Towns Conference 2010: The Automatic Earth Stoneleigh Lecture on the Financial Crisis.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, information pills but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood and his work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, here Andrew James Jones, order Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

Finally, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff.
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, adiposity but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

Finally, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, unhealthy but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, drug Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

On a bit of a tangent, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

Finally, I have to say that I continue to be massively surprised by the lack of online engagement from the majority of graduating illustrators. I suppose what irks me most is that I actually lectured most of these particular illustrators when I visited Camberwell during their second year, and I distinctly remember devoting a large part of my lecture to the importance of online networking. I suppose that what I take from this is that unless I actually sit down and spend significant amounts of time helping illustrators (or other artists and designers) to set up their online presence, then it simply goes straight over their heads. But then, that’s completely down to whether the art colleges will employ me to do so. I don’t think they can afford not to. Tutors, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me….
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, visit this site but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, side effects Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

On a bit of a tangent, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

Finally, I have to say that I continue to be massively surprised by the lack of online engagement from the majority of graduating illustrators. I suppose what irks me most is that I actually lectured most of these particular illustrators when I visited Camberwell during their second year, and I distinctly remember devoting a large part of my lecture to the importance of online networking – and especially the importance of being on Twitter. I’ve yet to find one of these illustrators on there.

I suppose that what I take from this is that unless I actually sit down and spend significant amounts of time helping illustrators (or other artists and designers) to set up their online presence, then it simply goes straight over their heads. But then, that’s completely down to whether the art colleges will employ me to do so. I don’t think they can afford not to. Tutors, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me….
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, viagra approved but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, price Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

On a bit of a tangent, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

Finally, I have to say that I continue to be massively surprised by the lack of online engagement from the majority of graduating illustrators. I suppose what irks me most is that I actually lectured most of these particular illustrators when I visited Camberwell during their second year, and I distinctly remember devoting a large part of my lecture to the importance of online networking – and especially the importance of being on Twitter. I’ve yet to find one of these illustrators proactively on there.

I suppose that what I take from this is that unless I actually sit down and spend significant amounts of time helping illustrators (or other artists and designers) to set up their online presence, then it simply goes straight over their heads. But then, that’s completely down to whether the art colleges will employ me to do so. I don’t think they can afford not to. Tutors, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me….
Camberwell degree show2010 Miriam Elgon
Illustration by Miriam Elgon.

Because I don’t always share the same taste with the wonderful Matt Bramford, cheapest here’s a quick double blog review of the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration degree show, Save Our Souls, which I popped down to in the now defunct Nicholls and Clarke head office in Shoreditch a few weeks ago. I wrongly imagined I would be able to whip around it super fast, but as Matt has already said in his round up, there was so much to see I was soon running late for my next appointment….

Here, then, are my favourites:

Soju Tanaka
As soon as I entered the exhibition I was drawn towards the delicate artwork of Soju Tanaka, which featured lots of strange little creatures cavorting around in trees, or climbing on clouds. Her website is full of slightly blander digital artwork – she should stick to this style IMO. I hope Soju is a she…

Camberwell degree show2010SojuTanaka
Camberwell Degree2010 Soju Tanaka

Polly Philp
In a darkened room behind curtains Polly Philp showed her colour saturated film The Caretaker – a right old romp through all things currently trendy. A mystical looking gentleman with a long beard walks through a cave of stalactites. Encounters all sorts of ethnic and occult objects. Smokes a skull pipe. Finds an eyeball in his mouth. Gazes into a candlelit mirror. Eats an egg. I’ve no idea what the hell it all meant but it was so much fun I watched it three times. It’s a shame then that Polly’s presence on the web is near to zero. The website on her postcard doesn’t work, her blog is set to private (like, duh) and her flickr account tells me very little, apart from she is quite odd. As if I didn’t know that already. Maaaaan, it just makes me so cross. Get online lady! Start promoting your work. Because it’s very good!

Camberwell Degree2010 Polly Philp
Camberwell Degree2010polly philp

Colin Stewart
Former Amelia’s Magazine contributor Luke Best apparently teaches at Camberwell College and his cut and paste painted style has had a marked influence on some of his proteges – particularly Siobhan Sullivan and Colin Stewart, the latter of whom has done some wonderful work for this very website – you can see his pictures of Patch William in my blog about Glastonbury this year.

Colin Stewart

Miriam Elgon
Miriam Elgon has produced some of the most individual work I’ve seen from any recent illustrator – her scratchy overlays creating a rich narrative tapestry that calls to mind the work of impressionist painters. But she has no website. Why oh why oh why?

Camberwell degree show2010Miriam Elgon
Camberwell degree show2010Miriam Elgon

Ella Plevin
Ella Plevin was one of my very favourite Camberwell illustration degree graduates. Her gorgeous combinations of pastel colour-filled line drawing and photocopied montages look deceptively simple and work brilliantly. Plus she has a fabulous and comprehensive website up and running, as all graduates should. Go take a look…

Camberwell Degree2010 Ella Plevin
Ella Plevin Vitalism
Vitalism by Ella Plevin.

Harriet Wakeling
Harriet Wakeling showed a beautiful shell trailer attached to a bike. Some of the work in this show was really pushing the boundaries of what defines illustration and this was mos def one of them. I’m not sure this has anything to do with illustration, but I love all things bike-inspired, so can I have one please?

Camberwell degree show2010HarrietWakeling

Kai Chan
Kai Chan contributed one of her colourful intricate illustrations to the last ever print issue of Amelia’s Magazine, and it’s good to see her very distinct style has developed into something really wonderful. Here’s a detail from a long banner she had wrapped around one of the pillars.

2010Kaichan

Andy Ainger
Rounding a corner at the bottom of the stairs I encountered the work of Andy Ainger, who makes strange paper mache characters. Here The Band (a collaboration with Sean Fitzpatrick) was a collection of nearly life-size (in a munchkin vein) models in bright primary colours. A lot of fun.

Andy Ainger

Oscar Bolton Green
Despite a glaring error in the spelling of Oscar Bolton Green‘s website on the exhibition tag which meant I had to hunt him down via the Save Our Souls website despite taking thorough notes *wrings hands in despair* I loved Oscar explorations of the different types of bird beak – he’s a natural for graphic children’s book design. Lovely stuff.

Bird Beak Book oscar bolton green
Bird Beak Book oscar bolton green

Yana Elkassova
Yana Elkassova is one for all those fans of old Ladybird books – a clear inspiration on this extremely talented illustrator who mixes retro hyperealism with a dash of darkness. She also had some wonderful custom made Russian dolls on show that you can view over on Matt’s blog post. And a beautiful website to boot.

Camberwell Degree2010YanaElkassova
Detail from Yana Elkassova’s work.

Jess Stokes
The lovely Jessica Stokes was a very able editorial intern at Amelia’s Magazine who produced some wonderful articles for us, and since then she has completed her degree, the main body of which centres around the most wonderful intricate architectural line work. She also specialises in some fabulous oddball portraiture.

jess stokes
Jessica Stokes

I’ll be rounding up the best of the rest in my next blog post so stay tuned…

For the launch of Amelia Gregory’s (Editor: Amelia’s Magazine) wonderful illustration anthology in which illustrators illustrated the range of alternative energy sources. The artists were asked to illustrate the walls of Concrete Hermit. Two of the participants Liv and Jess have subsequently formed an interesting project called Pencil Chit Chat in which their conversations happen entirely through their drawings. Culminating in an exhibition soon to occur at the Front Room in Cambridge. Liv and Jess will each have a side of the room in which to draw their conversations live. Part of the remit of the project is that in real life Liv and Jess have barely met and the illustrations arrive in the post.

Liv:It was at the drawing on the walls day at Concrete Hermit back in December. But I don’t think we even had an extensive chat at all. We were getting into the scribble zones. I was really impressed with Jess’ wall. It looked so bold and vibrant.

Jess: I remember Liv commented on my good use of type and I watched her slowly throughout the day and thought “wow”

How did you become to be involved in Amelia’s Anthology?

Jess: I’d already done some stuff for Amelia and thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get involved in.

Liv: My local toon is intrinsically involved in environmental policies and it has positively rubbed onto me. I feel strongly about 4×4 vehicles. I have a pencil. I can draw stink lines.

Explain Pencil Chit Chat please…

Jess: I had the idea for a while and was just waiting for the right person to come along. I thought Liv’s type was different enough in style to mine but still had hand rendered qualities which helps fuse the project together.

Liv: It was Jess’ idea. I was bowled over and really excited by her email asking me to take part and be the other shoe to walk along a meandering little journey into scribbledom.

Where do you see Pencil Chit Chat developing?

Liv: Into print and to keep going. The whole idea of the Chit Chat is personal work but not self-indulgent. Maybe other illustrators could do the same. It’s like the Slow food movement, doctor pigeon post, back to the old writing desk days of yore.

Jess: Really I see it as a creative outlet where I can experiment and discover. I get many projects where people want a illustration which looks like a previous one. This is a chance for me to explore new techniques and avenues. Where do I see Pencil Chit Chat developing…….where it wants to really. Possibly I’d like a better website, but it have to be idiot proof for me and liv! Me and Liv where thinking we’d published the first years illustrations in a book by Christmas.

What are your plans?

Liv: Make a wee book, possibly in time for Crimbletime. Make up more words and infiltrate them into society. I’d like to see it passed onto others designers. Illustrators possibly sometimes feel like doodle hermits cooped up in their sheds or ships.

How did you become involved in front room?

Liv: This was also through Jess. As you can tell she is the brainchild of the operation- an extremely prolific and hardworking dude she is.

Jess: I came across there website whilst browsing on the internet. I got in touch! Originally I was going to do a solo exhibition. But I thought it be funnier and better with Liv.

How will the exhibition unfold? Will you take over the gallery walls again as at Concrete Hermit?

Jess: Pretty much! There going to be two different conversations unfolding, so we are both working all the time. “busy bees”

Liv: We will have two starting points i.e. two conversations will be underway, and we will swap over when one has finished their reply. It will be different I’m sure.

What is it that interests you about type, particularly hand rendered typography?

Liv: It’s really cathartic to draw letters and take your time over something that people do everyday, scribbling a note on a napkin or by the side of a crossword. It’s pure communication and you can be witty or stupid. I like like illustrations that educate you too. I was alwys pouring over my encyclopaedia when I wes a younger.

Jess I like the expression and extra meaning you can give to a word when its hand rendered type. I have always done it really it’s just natural.

What is your relationship between text and the illustration or is there no separation between the two?

Liv: Definitely the educational slant and informing an audience directly. I’d be more than happy to make versions in different languages, as that is a downside to hand rendered type if one doesn’t understand English. Maybe I should go and research in Japan..
I feel letterforms make my work look better! It’s an extra graphic detail, but it also has substance.

Jess: I see it as all part of my work. Sometimes the type can give extra meaning to the illustration

How did you develop as an illustrator?

Jess: I always really enjoyed drawing and being creative and it just seemed a natural progression for me. I like working to a brief also which is something illustrators seem to do often.

Liv: I decided it was the path for me when I realized it was in between fine art and graphic design. I didn’t want to be either of those. Illustration is for the people (as is Comic Sans- that’s a font for the people, but that’s another story) as it bridges gaps between understanding and informing one of a text or an idea, rather than alienating and putting something on a pedestal.

Favourite Illustrators?

Jess: Recently Cristina Guitian is doing brilliant stuff, and Adam Hayes. I really like the big shows that Le Gun put on. I saw there one at Pick Me Up I thought it was ace.

Liv: Old cookery books- the kitsch photography is joyous. Ren and Stimpy and other fifties-esque cartoons. Dirty edges and bits you get out of photocopiers, collaging Victorian style, Blists Hill museum, music pumping into my earlugs- plenty of textures and bleeps, Books books and more books. The music video ‘The Tain’.

In your interview in the Anthology your (Jess) use of Lightbox is mentioned, what and how does this work?

Liv: I hope this isn’t some new software everyone is in on. It’s a tracing cube with a switch and electricity, powered by a lemon battery used on the old spice ships to help sailors navigate in the lower decks. I think the Lumiere brothers invented it.

Jess: It’s a errrrrrrrr..(this is hard). Right!

It’s a box which you can draw on to copy the images underneath. So I draw all my roughs first, to get the alignments and proportions and then trace the images in color.

What were your thoughts about your respective technologies?

Jess: Why isn’t being used!

Liv: The sea serpent, The Anaconda- what a beast. It stays tethered to the seabed and gathers the power of the waves in its rubber body. A fantastical piece of engineering I want to see in our high seas.

For the launch of Amelia Gregory’s (Editor: Amelia’s Magazine) wonderful illustration anthology in which illustrators illustrated the range of alternative energy sources. The artists were asked to illustrate the walls of Concrete Hermit. Two of the participants Liv and Jess have subsequently formed an interesting project called Pencil Chit Chat in which their conversations happen entirely through their drawings. Culminating in an exhibition soon to occur at the Front Room in Cambridge. Liv and Jess will each have a side of the room in which to draw their conversations live. Part of the remit of the project is that in real life Liv and Jess have barely met and the illustrations arrive in the post.

Liv:It was at the drawing on the walls day at Concrete Hermit back in December. But I don’t think we even had an extensive chat at all. We were getting into the scribble zones. I was really impressed with Jess’ wall. It looked so bold and vibrant.

Jess: I remember Liv commented on my good use of type and I watched her slowly throughout the day and thought “wow”

How did you become to be involved in Amelia’s Anthology?

Jess: I’d already done some stuff for Amelia and thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get involved in.

Liv: My local toon is intrinsically involved in environmental policies and it has positively rubbed onto me. I feel strongly about 4×4 vehicles. I have a pencil. I can draw stink lines.

Explain Pencil Chit Chat please…

Jess: I had the idea for a while and was just waiting for the right person to come along. I thought Liv’s type was different enough in style to mine but still had hand rendered qualities which helps fuse the project together.

Liv: It was Jess’ idea. I was bowled over and really excited by her email asking me to take part and be the other shoe to walk along a meandering little journey into scribbledom.

Where do you see Pencil Chit Chat developing?

Liv: Into print and to keep going. The whole idea of the Chit Chat is personal work but not self-indulgent. Maybe other illustrators could do the same. It’s like the Slow food movement, illness pigeon post, back to the old writing desk days of yore.

Jess: Really I see it as a creative outlet where I can experiment and discover. I get many projects where people want a illustration which looks like a previous one. This is a chance for me to explore new techniques and avenues. Where do I see Pencil Chit Chat developing…….where it wants to really. Possibly I’d like a better website, but it have to be idiot proof for me and liv! Me and Liv where thinking we’d published the first years illustrations in a book by Christmas.

What are your plans?

Liv: Make a wee book, possibly in time for Crimbletime. Make up more words and infiltrate them into society. I’d like to see it passed onto others designers. Illustrators possibly sometimes feel like doodle hermits cooped up in their sheds or ships.

How did you become involved in front room?

Liv: This was also through Jess. As you can tell she is the brainchild of the operation- an extremely prolific and hardworking dude she is.

Jess: I came across there website whilst browsing on the internet. I got in touch! Originally I was going to do a solo exhibition. But I thought it be funnier and better with Liv.

How will the exhibition unfold? Will you take over the gallery walls again as at Concrete Hermit?

Jess: Pretty much! There going to be two different conversations unfolding, so we are both working all the time. “busy bees”

Liv: We will have two starting points i.e. two conversations will be underway, and we will swap over when one has finished their reply. It will be different I’m sure.

What is it that interests you about type, particularly hand rendered typography?

Liv: It’s really cathartic to draw letters and take your time over something that people do everyday, scribbling a note on a napkin or by the side of a crossword. It’s pure communication and you can be witty or stupid. I like like illustrations that educate you too. I was alwys pouring over my encyclopaedia when I wes a younger.

Jess I like the expression and extra meaning you can give to a word when its hand rendered type. I have always done it really it’s just natural.

What is your relationship between text and the illustration or is there no separation between the two?

Liv: Definitely the educational slant and informing an audience directly. I’d be more than happy to make versions in different languages, as that is a downside to hand rendered type if one doesn’t understand English. Maybe I should go and research in Japan..
I feel letterforms make my work look better! It’s an extra graphic detail, but it also has substance.

Jess: I see it as all part of my work. Sometimes the type can give extra meaning to the illustration

How did you develop as an illustrator?

Jess: I always really enjoyed drawing and being creative and it just seemed a natural progression for me. I like working to a brief also which is something illustrators seem to do often.

Liv: I decided it was the path for me when I realized it was in between fine art and graphic design. I didn’t want to be either of those. Illustration is for the people (as is Comic Sans- that’s a font for the people, but that’s another story) as it bridges gaps between understanding and informing one of a text or an idea, rather than alienating and putting something on a pedestal.

Why is comic sans the font for the people?

Liv: Aha! This made me chuckle a lot! I’m an inverted snob I suppose and it’s a symbol of anti style and there’s a font snobbery surrounding it. Plus teachers have to use it on school reports- it’s compulsory apparently. To me, it’s comforting and reassuring and I quite like it- as is the same for group of my fellow Falmouth uni illo pals. We are Comic Sans Fans. See The G2 a few weeks back – awesome article about it (I think this is just an edited version)-

My sister’s a graphic designer so I like to mock her too.

Favourite Illustrators?

Jess: Recently Cristina Guitian is doing brilliant stuff, and Adam Hayes. I really like the big shows that Le Gun put on. I saw there one at Pick Me Up I thought it was ace.

Liv: Old cookery books- the kitsch photography is joyous. Ren and Stimpy and other fifties-esque cartoons. Dirty edges and bits you get out of photocopiers, collaging Victorian style, Blists Hill museum, music pumping into my earlugs- plenty of textures and bleeps, Books books and more books. The music video ‘The Tain’.

In your interview in the Anthology your (Jess) use of Lightbox is mentioned, what and how does this work?

Liv: I hope this isn’t some new software everyone is in on. It’s a tracing cube with a switch and electricity, powered by a lemon battery used on the old spice ships to help sailors navigate in the lower decks. I think the Lumiere brothers invented it.

Jess: It’s a errrrrrrrr..(this is hard). Right!

It’s a box which you can draw on to copy the images underneath. So I draw all my roughs first, to get the alignments and proportions and then trace the images in color.

What were your thoughts about your respective technologies?

Jess: Why isn’t being used!

Liv: The sea serpent, The Anaconda- what a beast. It stays tethered to the seabed and gathers the power of the waves in its rubber body. A fantastical piece of engineering I want to see in our high seas.

Do you send Pencil Chit Chat by post or by email and if by post – how was this decision made?

Liv: We do it by email, but it would be nice to carry on part of it by post- that’s actually a really good idea! I really believe in the slow food movement as a holistic view how we should do everything in life. Whether it be setting up businesses, in the music industry (back to the d.i.y), growing food, how we travel about too. In reference to this, I really enjoyed Will Self’s radio 4 programme a few months back about Psycho-Geography. It inspired me to write/draw a bit of the pencil chit chat on it, as it explains this is a way to travel about and take in more as we walk and ponder about. Being cooped up in a metal tube hurtling about the skies to the t’other side of the planet in 5 minutes isn’t exactly au naturelle.

How do your conversations start? Do you pick a word or a phrase at random and are there any rules with how you each have to respond to the previous illustration?

Liv: It all started with a ‘hello’ and we got to know one one another from there. Talking gibber jabber and making sense along the way.

How will you start the conversation during the exhibition? You will each have your walls – will you have the same starting point, or will one draw and one will respond? Or will it be incredibly organic and you decide on the same starting point and keep drawing until you meet in the middle?

Liv: I think it will good to bring in talking points like newspapers and books to add some weight to it, I want to steer it away from being anything like a self-indulgent display. This is because I think the idea of chit chat could be used by other designers, swapping ideas. That postage idea is a great one.

We will have a structure with two conversations/two starting points and we will swap over with a reply.

For the launch of Amelia Gregory’s (Editor: Amelia’s Magazine) wonderful illustration anthology in which illustrators illustrated the range of alternative energy sources. The artists were asked to illustrate the walls of Concrete Hermit. Two of the participants Liv and Jess have subsequently formed an interesting project called Pencil Chit Chat in which their conversations happen entirely through their drawings. Culminating in an exhibition soon to occur at the Front Room in Cambridge. Liv and Jess will each have a side of the room in which to draw their conversations live. Part of the remit of the project is that in real life Liv and Jess have barely met and the illustrations arrive in the post.

Liv:It was at the drawing on the walls day at Concrete Hermit back in December. But I don’t think we even had an extensive chat at all. We were getting into the scribble zones. I was really impressed with Jess’ wall. It looked so bold and vibrant.

Jess: I remember Liv commented on my good use of type and I watched her slowly throughout the day and thought “wow”

How did you become to be involved in Amelia’s Anthology?

Jess: I’d already done some stuff for Amelia and thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get involved in.

Liv: My local toon is intrinsically involved in environmental policies and it has positively rubbed onto me. I feel strongly about 4×4 vehicles. I have a pencil. I can draw stink lines.

Explain Pencil Chit Chat please…

Jess: I had the idea for a while and was just waiting for the right person to come along. I thought Liv’s type was different enough in style to mine but still had hand rendered qualities which helps fuse the project together.

Liv: It was Jess’ idea. I was bowled over and really excited by her email asking me to take part and be the other shoe to walk along a meandering little journey into scribbledom.

Where do you see Pencil Chit Chat developing?

Liv: Into print and to keep going. The whole idea of the Chit Chat is personal work but not self-indulgent. Maybe other illustrators could do the same. It’s like the Slow food movement, health pigeon post, visit this back to the old writing desk days of yore.

Jess: Really I see it as a creative outlet where I can experiment and discover. I get many projects where people want a illustration which looks like a previous one. This is a chance for me to explore new techniques and avenues. Where do I see Pencil Chit Chat developing…….where it wants to really. Possibly I’d like a better website, sale but it have to be idiot proof for me and liv! Me and Liv where thinking we’d published the first years illustrations in a book by Christmas.

What are your plans?

Liv: Make a wee book, possibly in time for Crimbletime. Make up more words and infiltrate them into society. I’d like to see it passed onto others designers. Illustrators possibly sometimes feel like doodle hermits cooped up in their sheds or ships.

How did you become involved in front room?

Liv: This was also through Jess. As you can tell she is the brainchild of the operation- an extremely prolific and hardworking dude she is.

Jess: I came across there website whilst browsing on the internet. I got in touch! Originally I was going to do a solo exhibition. But I thought it be funnier and better with Liv.

How will the exhibition unfold? Will you take over the gallery walls again as at Concrete Hermit?

Jess: Pretty much! There going to be two different conversations unfolding, so we are both working all the time. “busy bees”

Liv: We will have two starting points i.e. two conversations will be underway, and we will swap over when one has finished their reply. It will be different I’m sure.

What is it that interests you about type, particularly hand rendered typography?

Liv: It’s really cathartic to draw letters and take your time over something that people do everyday, scribbling a note on a napkin or by the side of a crossword. It’s pure communication and you can be witty or stupid. I like like illustrations that educate you too. I was alwys pouring over my encyclopaedia when I wes a younger.

Jess I like the expression and extra meaning you can give to a word when its hand rendered type. I have always done it really it’s just natural.

What is your relationship between text and the illustration or is there no separation between the two?

Liv: Definitely the educational slant and informing an audience directly. I’d be more than happy to make versions in different languages, as that is a downside to hand rendered type if one doesn’t understand English. Maybe I should go and research in Japan..
I feel letterforms make my work look better! It’s an extra graphic detail, but it also has substance.

Jess: I see it as all part of my work. Sometimes the type can give extra meaning to the illustration

How did you develop as an illustrator?

Jess: I always really enjoyed drawing and being creative and it just seemed a natural progression for me. I like working to a brief also which is something illustrators seem to do often.

Liv: I decided it was the path for me when I realized it was in between fine art and graphic design. I didn’t want to be either of those. Illustration is for the people (as is Comic Sans- that’s a font for the people, but that’s another story) as it bridges gaps between understanding and informing one of a text or an idea, rather than alienating and putting something on a pedestal.

Why is comic sans the font for the people?

Liv: Aha! This made me chuckle a lot! I’m an inverted snob I suppose and it’s a symbol of anti style and there’s a font snobbery surrounding it. Plus teachers have to use it on school reports- it’s compulsory apparently. To me, it’s comforting and reassuring and I quite like it- as is the same for group of my fellow Falmouth uni illo pals. We are Comic Sans Fans. See The G2 a few weeks back – awesome article about it (I think this is just an edited version)

My sister’s a graphic designer so I like to mock her too.

Favourite Illustrators?

Jess: Recently Cristina Guitian is doing brilliant stuff, and Adam Hayes. I really like the big shows that Le Gun put on. I saw there one at Pick Me Up I thought it was ace.

Liv: Old cookery books- the kitsch photography is joyous. Ren and Stimpy and other fifties-esque cartoons. Dirty edges and bits you get out of photocopiers, collaging Victorian style, Blists Hill museum, music pumping into my earlugs- plenty of textures and bleeps, Books books and more books. The music video ‘The Tain’.

In your interview in the Anthology your (Jess) use of Lightbox is mentioned, what and how does this work?

Liv: I hope this isn’t some new software everyone is in on. It’s a tracing cube with a switch and electricity, powered by a lemon battery used on the old spice ships to help sailors navigate in the lower decks. I think the Lumiere brothers invented it.

Jess: It’s a errrrrrrrr..(this is hard). Right!

It’s a box which you can draw on to copy the images underneath. So I draw all my roughs first, to get the alignments and proportions and then trace the images in color.

What were your thoughts about your respective technologies?

Jess: Why isn’t being used!

Liv: The sea serpent, The Anaconda- what a beast. It stays tethered to the seabed and gathers the power of the waves in its rubber body. A fantastical piece of engineering I want to see in our high seas.

Do you send Pencil Chit Chat by post or by email and if by post – how was this decision made?

Liv: We do it by email, but it would be nice to carry on part of it by post- that’s actually a really good idea! I really believe in the slow food movement as a holistic view how we should do everything in life. Whether it be setting up businesses, in the music industry (back to the d.i.y), growing food, how we travel about too. In reference to this, I really enjoyed Will Self’s radio 4 programme a few months back about Psycho-Geography. It inspired me to write/draw a bit of the pencil chit chat on it, as it explains this is a way to travel about and take in more as we walk and ponder about. Being cooped up in a metal tube hurtling about the skies to the t’other side of the planet in 5 minutes isn’t exactly au naturelle.

How do your conversations start? Do you pick a word or a phrase at random and are there any rules with how you each have to respond to the previous illustration?

Liv: It all started with a ‘hello’ and we got to know one one another from there. Talking gibber jabber and making sense along the way.

How will you start the conversation during the exhibition? You will each have your walls – will you have the same starting point, or will one draw and one will respond? Or will it be incredibly organic and you decide on the same starting point and keep drawing until you meet in the middle?

Liv: I think it will good to bring in talking points like newspapers and books to add some weight to it, I want to steer it away from being anything like a self-indulgent display. This is because I think the idea of chit chat could be used by other designers, swapping ideas. That postage idea is a great one.

We will have a structure with two conversations/two starting points and we will swap over with a reply.

Hire me by Joana Faria
Hire Me by Joana Faria.

Nicole Foss is a finance writer and energy analyst known as Stoneleigh when she blogs on The Automatic Earth website – a fact which confused me thoroughly for some time after hearing her fantastically absorbing talk at the Transition Towns conference back in June 2010.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference nicole foss
Nicole Foss of The Automatic Earth.

We all know we’re stuck in a bit of a financial trough, viagra order but hey, search we’re bound to bounce out the other side soon and things will all be hunky-dory again. Right? Wrong. The climate crisis and attendant social crisis notwithstanding, according to Nicole Foss we’re still heading for the biggest financial crash we’ve ever known.

Sayaka-Monji-Transition-Towns
Nicole Foss by Sayaka Monji.

This mess – the result of our insatiable capitalist global system – ain’t going nowhere. To make matters worse, declines in the economy are normally sharper than inclines, so get ready for a steep ride down and a big bump when we hit the bottom. Nicole is so determined to forewarn ‘ordinary’ people of the imminent perils we face that she’s left her native Canada to travel the world on a punishing lecture schedule. This way maybe the bankers won’t be able to lay their grubby mitts on all that remains of our money. Which would be a good thing, right?

money rollercoaster Kayleigh Bluck
The Money Rollercoaster by Kayleigh Bluck.

Here then, is a distillation of the lecture that she gave at the Transition Towns conference in mid June 2010. Nicole also has a website called the Automatic Earth where you can find out more about her research, but if you’re like me you may well find it a little hard to understand. For this reason I hope I’ve managed to distill her key messages into something a little more comprehensible to the masses – read on, and be chilled to the marrow.

Abi Daker - Valuation Graph
The Psychology of Valuation by Abigail Daker.

Nicole has a theory, backed up by rigorous research: that right now we’re in serious denial about the situation of the financial markets and according to an investment graph called the psychology of valuation we’re merely riding a momentary upward blip which describes every mania the markets have ever seen, including the famous tulip mania of the 1600s and the South Sea Bubble. And we always end up worse off than where we started.

Abi Daker - South Sea & Tulip Graph
Market Manias by Abigail Daker.

She dates the current bubble back to 1982, just as the banking regulations that had been put in place during the 1930s were beginning to be dropped. Sadly it seems we have forgotten the lessons of the depression just in time for everything to go wrong again, so her estimation sees us returning to the house prices of the 1970s when the bubble finally bursts. We’ve just had the most ginormous party, so imagine the hangover that’s coming: the next depression is staring us in the face and yet we carry on with business as usual. Sounds horrendous? Is this merely scaremongering or worth investigating further?

Automatic-Earth-Yelena-Bryksenkova
The party is nearly over, by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Maybe a rudimentary analysis of the financial system would come in handy at this point. Here goes: as credit expands to accommodate the demands of a failing economy (a process still occurring now) there will eventually be an excess of credit. Witness the huge derivatives market that sits at the top of this pyramid. Looks stable eh? You’ve probably heard of the great beast known as quantitive easing, or the 62 trillion dollar debt monetization market, both of which hand excess cash to those at the centre of the finance industry – hence bailouts are always for insiders, ie the bankers. Yes, our world economy currently relies entirely on the inside trading of debts, not real products or services. So, if that implodes we’re utterly fucked.

Abi Daker - Inverted Pyramid Cartoon
The Derivatives Pyramid by Abigail Daker.

As cash gets harder to come by people will start to hoard, resisting the temptation to spend in the economy. If there is no motion of money then the value of cash will start to rise. This effect can be likened to trying to run a car without any oil. The light is on to warn us that there is not enough lubricant, and indeed, if we carry on this way the entire economy will start to seize up. The relative costs of goods and services will go up as wages fall faster than prices, and this will be exasperated by increasingly rare and costly resources – think of our beloved gadgets that contain so many rare trace elements. As well as peak oil we’re heading for peak pretty much everything. Then credit will disappear. And of course those at the bottom of the pile will experience the worst of it when their credit card debts get sold to Vinny the Kneecapper. Who will try his hardest to get some of that debt repaid in anyway he can.

Vinnie_the_Kneecapper_by_Abigail_Nottingham
Vinny the Kneecapper by Abigail Nottingham.

This is what happened during the recession of the 1930s – buyers and sellers couldn’t be connected, and even though there were lots of things that could be bought the lack of money meant they went to waste. And when there is a demand collapse (due to a lack of available cash to spend) a supply collapse will follow, followed by civil unrest. In fact Nicole predicts a likely insurrection in places such as Saudi Arabia. To make matters worse, during times of shortage any available supplies get grabbed by the military. Of course.

At the moment we are in an “extend and pretend phase” that merely continues the fiction we have been living for many decades. Money continues to chase its own tail in the City of London (witness record profits from the banks, announced this week) but Britain is still headed for much bigger trouble.

Worlds highest standard of living by Jenny Costello
World’s Highest Standard of Living by Jenny Costello.

Pension funds are famously feeling the effects of a failing economy because they’ve been chasing risk and that makes them extremely vulnerable, but all kinds of financial investment have always been predicated on making money out of someone else’s misery and misfortune – for example when water becomes scarce we are encouraged to buy shares in water companies, thereby making money out of the desperate.

The agribusiness model will fail because the Just In Time model of production (much trumpeted as the best, most efficient method when I was at school in the 1980s, quelle surprise) is brittle and liable to fall apart at the first lack of resources. Many other product services have adopted this model and will likely suffer a similar fate.

automatic earth - octavi navarro
Illustration by Octavi Navarro.

The price of real estate could fall by up to 90% which means that we will be stuck with property in a recession in the desperate hope that its value will increase. For this reason Nicole recommends that renting is now a better bet because it offers more mobility than owning a property. What’s more, it’s likely that we will need centralised power for rationing. Urban areas, despite being more dependent on services, are more likely to survive in times of crisis due to their closer communities.

Natasha-Thompson-Automatic-Earth-Depression-Houses
What if you lose your home? by Natasha Thompson.

Chillingly Nicole predicts that the credit markets will fall in the next six months (remember that this lecture was a month and a half ago), and she predicts that the real economy will fall within about a year. Then the positive feedback will escalate fast. In September 2008 we came within 6 hours of complete seizure of the whole banking system… and Nicole accurately gave 6 months notice of the Icelandic Crash on her website – so she must be doing the sums right somewhere.

What then, to do with your money (presuming you have any?) Put it in precious metals? There’s a reason why humans have always valued gold – it holds its value for over 1000 years. Unbelievably Gaza has become a gold exporter in recent times, not because of the famous gold mines of Gaza, but because the people have become so desperate that they have sold their dowries. But even precious metal ownership may be banned as a failsafe route to retain the worth of your cash – it was banned in the depression. And anyway, what good is gold when there is no food to eat?

The Need for Gold by Olivia Haigh
The Need for Gold by Olivia Haigh.

Not all green companies will turn out to be good places to invest, simply because no one can make 20 year guarantees at this time when there is so much upheaval ahead. Nicole suggests keeping money in government gilts as the next best option to keeping hard cash literally under the mattress. Simply because the government is likely to stand longer than the banks and it would be wise not to leave our hard earned cash to the whims of the markets. Although she warns against a mistaken perception of safety in the dollar because there is always the risk that the currency could be reissued in the US, thereby targeting foreigners who could not convert their cash quickly enough. Transition Towns have been launching their own community currencies – could this be the answer? Unfortunately local currencies may become redundant if authorities realise they want a cut. Risk will be everywhere, so we desperately need to move towards no growth economic models that rely on real skills and hard cash currencies.

Automatic-Earth-by-Mina-Bach
Illustration by Mina Bach.

Worst of all, social cracks are revealed in times of contraction because liberty tends to be the first casualty. Benjamin Franklin famously said that he who trades liberty for security shall enjoy neither, but frightened people will do these things. Multi culturalism is likely to be the first culprit – witness the rise of fascism across the West. Social unrest of the type we have seen recently in Greece will continue to happen as the centre pushes out to the periphery, creating horrible political divisions. But we have all been inveigled into this situation together – after all there would be no predator without a prey. We are all responsible for this crisis – like Hansel and Gretel, we’ve been tempted into the trap awaiting us by our insatiable desire to consume.

Dee-Andrews-Automatic-Earth
Illustration by Dee Andrews.

But not all is lost. Whilst there was a palpable air of unrest in her Transition Town audience Nicole remained resolutely upbeat – for she thinks (and I tend to agree) that we are living through exciting times of change. We cannot sustain our current pathological capitalist world economy so now is the perfect time to prove a more positive model of living and the folks involved in Transition Towns and all the other sustainable initiatives around the world are perfectly placed to showcase these new ideas.

Automatic-Earth-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Human relationships are the most important thing we have so we must work hard to build strong and resilient networks abundant with useful skills. We need to become more self-sufficient: looking after our own health and producing far more goods locally because there will be much less global trade. The final rub? Nicole predicts that we can expect to see the worst outcomes of the crash in just 2-5 years. No lie. So we need to show how sustainable systems can work with a slightly panicked sense of urgency.

Great Depression by Joana Faria
Great Depression by Joana Faria.

Of course this is all prediction, and I personally question how much of Nicole’s prophesies will come to pass. Will house prices really revert to those of the 1970s? Maybe it won’t be quite that bad. I hope not. What I don’t question in any way is the need for a massive change in our parasitical global financial systems. The huge risks to our current way of life are definitely there. And where better place to start making changes than at home, in the way we lead our own lives. Transition Towns offers one of the best possible ways to build a resilient and happy local communities and we should all be doing our best to make that happen.

Ready. Set. Go!

Dee-Andrews-Automatic-Earth
Illustration by Dee Andrews.

There’s a whole host of further information about this subject matter on the web and here is some of the best.

A tribute to The Automatic Earth, with voiceover snippets from the lecture I attended. Inspiration for many of the illustrators on this blog and essential viewing if you’ve got this far:

YouTube Preview Image

A video of Rob Hopkins and Peter Lipman discussing their response to Stoneleigh’s Transition Conference Lecture shortly afterwards:

YouTube Preview Image

Another very comprehensive overview of the lecture courtesy of Shaun Chamberlin.

Mike Grenville discusses his thoughts on the lecture on this podcast.

In the meantime business continues as usual for the bankers, who have been celebrating record profits in the city once more this week as they continue to fund gross climate injustices such as tar sands and expansion of open cast coal extraction across the UK with our money – even as the financial and climate crises loom ever more prominently. In a few weeks I will be joining Climate Camp to help close down the epicentre of banking misbehaviour at the global headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Scotland. Come and help us say no to austerity cuts which help to finance bank bailouts that jeopardise our future in pursuit of profit for the few.

Let’s connect the dots and make a better future together.

If Climate Camp made Avatar: the reason why we’re tackling RBS in Edinburgh between 21st-24th August 2010. Facebook event here.

YouTube Preview Image

This is where we’re going to set up a sustainable camp where we can show the world a better way to live whilst drawing highlight to the root of our problems: we’re going to shut down the global headquarters of RBS on the day of action: August 23rd. Inspiring, no?

YouTube Preview Image

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Abigail Nottingham, ,Avatar, ,Climate Camp, ,Dee Andrews, ,edinburgh, ,Jenny Costello, ,Joana Faria, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Mina Bach., ,Natasha Thompson, ,Nicole Foss, ,Octavi Navarro, ,Olivia Haigh, ,RBS, ,Rob Hopkins, ,Royal Bank of Scotland, ,Sayaka Monji, ,Stoneleigh, ,The Automatic Earth, ,transition towns, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | Willow Organics: Luxurious Organic Skincare

lindsey_akamuti_darren fletcher
Why did you decide to set up business?
 
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, price herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, cialis 40mg mixing up tiny amounts of creams & balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
Its good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too! We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. 
I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater!  
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world!

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes you can be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future!

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one! 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd.

Why did you decide to set up business?
 
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, click herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, doctor mixing up tiny amounts of creams & balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, health with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
Its good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv
Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too! We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. 
I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater!  
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

Akamuti-by-Nina-Hunter
Akamuti by Nina Hunter.

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world!

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes you can be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
lindsey_akamuti_darren fletcher
Lindsey by Darren Fletcher.

Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future!

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one! 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd.

Why did you decide to set up business?
 
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, and herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, mixing up tiny amounts of creams & balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
Its good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv
Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too! We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. 
I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater!  
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

Akamuti-by-Nina-Hunter
Akamuti by Nina Hunter.

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world!

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes you can be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
lindsey_akamuti_darren fletcher
Lindsey by Darren Fletcher.

Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future!

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one! 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd.

Why did you decide to set up business?
 
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, prescription herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, mixing up tiny amounts of creams & balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
Its good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv
Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too! We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater!  
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

Akamuti-by-Nina-Hunter
Akamuti by Nina Hunter.

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world!

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes you can be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
lindsey_akamuti_darren fletcher
Lindsey by Darren Fletcher.

Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future!

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one! 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Willow by Sandra Contreras
Illustration by Sandra Contreras

Willow Organics was founded by Sue Stowell in 2005. Just a few weeks ago she opened her first pop up shop in London’s Kings Road, ailment so we decided to track her down and find out more about this luxury organic skincare brand.

What made you first approach skincare in an organic and natural way?
For a long time I have believed that eating organic food unadulterated by artificial additives is better for our health. We have had an organic vegetable garden for the past 18 years and grow all of our own vegetables as well as keeping free range chickens. There are many harmful chemicals used in farming and in the making of conventional beauty products and we don’t know the long term effect on our selves or our environment, so luxury organic beauty products were the only route I wanted to take when I started Willow Organic. I was also adamant from the start that I would use biodegradable and recyclable packaging that would fit in with Willow as a luxury brand.

Sue Stowell by Avril Kelly
Sue Stowell by Avril Kelly.

How did you set up Willow Organics?
I had been an interior designer for several years when I decided to make a career change. I was asked to design a Thai themed spa at Careys Manor Hotel, Brockenhurst in The New Forest and became involved in finding organic products for use in the spa treatments. There were very few if any beautifully packaged and genuinely organic products, many claimed to have 100% organic oils but when you looked at the ingredients they only had say 3% oils and the rest was made of synthetic materials. Many had cheap plastic packaging. I travelled to Thailand to look for artefacts to put in the spa and when I saw these beautiful silk boxes I had a Eureka moment; I thought how lovely the products would look in these gorgeous boxes. I saw a gap in the market for genuine organic beauty products in luxurious boxes. It wasn’t easy to find manufacturers who were able to make organic products because preservation can be tricky – in fact it was far more complex than I had imagined. We had to use different companies to make the fragrance and the final products, the bottle manufacturers wanted had a huge (to us anyway) minimum order of 10,000 units and the pumps to fit these bottles were only sold in 15,000 lots. The labels and ribbons were made by yet more companies and the European legislation was a nightmare. But we got there eventually and started selling at charity fairs to raise brand awareness and create a data base.

Why did you decide to make Willow a luxury brand?
I think that girls appreciate beautiful things. All of our boxes can be kept and used for storing trinkets and they look lovely in the bathroom or on dressing tables. And of course being a luxury brand does make us stand out… but that wasn’t the initial idea.

Willow_necklace_abby_wright
The website also sells jewellery such as this Champagne Ribbon and White Pearl Bracelet. Illustration by Abby Wright

What is the philosophy of Willow Organic and what makes it so special?
Organic and Gorgeous. There are now many organic skincare brands on the market that seem to favour the pharmaceutical style packaging or the brown paper and string look, so we would like to think that Willow stands out because of our luxury silk packaging and first rate organic formulations, as well as the fact that all Willow Beauty Products are made in England. We make organic products that really look, feel and smell beautiful and they really work. Willow Organic products have soft natural scents rather than over powering chemical fragrances, so you can pamper yourself with a clear conscience. There are lots of other brands out there that call themselves ‘organic’ but their ingredients are not certified organic and in fact their products contain only a small minority of organic ingredients.

willow_organics_ KAYLEIGH BLUCK
Illustration by Kayleigh Bluck.

You have a prominent men’s skincare section on your website; why is this market important to you?
Men are taking more care of themselves, and they are conscious of the environment. We have regular male clientele who buy our products – the face and body wash and black rice exfoliating soap in cedarwood and spicy citrus are particularly popular. We sell a great many of our men’s gift boxes at Christmas, and have been told that they made a very pleasant change from socks and ties!

On average, what percentage of organic ingredients do you use in Willow products?
On average our products are over 85% organic and some are 100%, but that isn’t to say that the remaining 15% are not organic. The Soil Association has strict guide lines, so for example if an oil is changed, perhaps by heating or separating, or if the fragrance from organic Jasmine flower buds is extracted by means of alcohol, then they may not choose to allow it to be called organic under their criteria. In order to be certified organic all the ingredients must be approved.

How easy is it to use all biodegradable and recyclable packaging?
All of our packaging is biodegradable and/or recyclable and meets high standards of sustainability – for example our filler is made of corn chips which you can put on the compost heap. It is a fine line however, because people obviously don’t want their products damaged when they receive them, so we use the minimum of packaging but enough to protect the products whilst in transit.

Willow by Werner Fismer
Illustration by Werner Fismer

What key product would you suggest for an individual thinking of moving towards a an organic skincare regime?
A good place to start would be replacing the soap that you use on a daily basis. As well as lovely hand soap we make a very gentle hand wash in two delightful fragrances; Lime & Lavender and Orange Lime & Bergamot. We make everything you need for a daily routine: lovely cleanser, toner, exfoliator, face mask and a wonderful moisturising face balm.

As Christmas is fast approaching, do you have any gift products to recommend to our readers?
Yes, our gorgeous limited edition Gold, Frankincense and Myrhh candle costs £38. and the oils it contains are very expensive so it really smells of Christmas. These precious oils have been used since biblical times for their soothing, calming and spiritually uplifting properties. The candle contains a piece of real gold leaf and comes in a gold box with a gold organza ribbon.

What else would you like to do with the Willow Organics brand in the future?
We would love to have several shops in London; in Sloane Square, Marylebone, Covent Garden, Notting Hill, and perhaps Richmond. Then we’d like to expand into Manchester, Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, Birmingham. And of course we are planning to export into Europe and then the Middle East and the Far East: China and Japan are very enthusiastic about beautifully packaged organic luxury beauty products.

You can visit the Willow Organics pop up shop at 340 Kings Road, London SW3 5UR (between Cath Kidston and Bora). There’s a special shopping evening on 8th December, with mince pies and mulled wine plus 10% off everything and free gift wrapping. Nice!

Categories ,Abby Wright, ,Avril Kelly, ,Black Rice, ,candle, ,Careys Manor Hotel, ,Certified organic, ,Cleanser, ,Exfoliator, ,face and body wash, ,face balm, ,Face Mask, ,Frankincense, ,Gold, ,hand wash, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Men’s skincare, ,Myrhh, ,Sandra Contreras, ,Soap, ,Soil Association, ,Sue Stowell, ,Toner, ,Werner Fismer, ,Willow Organics

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Amelia’s Magazine | Secret Garden Party 2010: Soul Fire Restaurant Review

SGP 2010- headdress by Amelia Gregory

On my rambles around festivals this year it has been hard to escape the omnipresence of floral head garlands on the ladies, more about and indeed worn by some of the more daring men… I recall a particularly dashing pair of matching flower topped bald male bonces espied through the crowd in the Cabaret Arena at Latitude. I’m sure they were straight.

At Glastonbury and Latitude these garlands were usually bought off the peg at a stall, tadalafil but Gardeners (as they are called) at Secret Garden Party were a little more inventive with their head gear. From decorated top hats to Indian feather headdresses to stuffed birds, viagra decorative headwear provided ample opportunity for experiment in colour, combination and height.

Here are some of the most inventive and appealing creations I saw at Secret Garden Party. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
I loved this creation – the height, the space, the use of colour. Beautiful.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had used her own hair to create ears.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Gorgeous butterflies. Simple but effective.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Bees. Leaves. Flowers. Pile em on!

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had found loads of crap in her house and stuck it all on, including a Sheriff’s badge and a Toucan (just visible on the top)

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A boy with a stuffed bird in this afro. As you do.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A huge holographic rainbow butterfly headdress.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Native American Indian inspired headdresses were very popular.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
My friend Dora does a simple red top hat extremely well.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A little molecular number.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Channelling Louix XVI via Burlesque.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Sometimes more is more, don’t you find?

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Jemima with a found thistle and fake flowers.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Classy, and strangely inaccurate too.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress by Amelia Gregory
Lastly, Pearl and Ivy, or should that be Carly and Sam, here seen modelling their own creations which were for sale at Secret Garden Party.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress Amelia Gregory
And myself wearing one – c’mon, I had to get into the spirit of it all didn’t I?! You can buy a similar feather headdress from Pearl and Ivy from their online website.
SGP 2010- headdress by Amelia Gregory

On my rambles around festivals this year it has been hard to escape the omnipresence of floral head garlands on the ladies, cialis 40mg and indeed worn by some of the more daring men… I recall a particularly dashing pair of matching flower topped bald male bonces espied through the crowd in the Cabaret Arena at Latitude. I’m sure they were straight.

At Glastonbury and Latitude these garlands were usually bought off the peg at a stall, website like this but Gardeners (as they are called) at Secret Garden Party were a little more inventive with their head gear. From decorated top hats to Indian feather headdresses to stuffed birds, decorative headwear provided ample opportunity for experiment in colour, combination and height.

Here are some of the most inventive and appealing creations I saw at Secret Garden Party. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
I loved this creation – the height, the space, the use of colour. Beautiful.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had used her own hair to create ears.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Gorgeous butterflies. Simple but effective.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Bees. Leaves. Flowers. Pile em on!

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had found loads of crap in her house and stuck it all on, including a Sheriff’s badge and a Toucan (just visible on the top)

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A boy with a stuffed bird in this afro. As you do.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A huge holographic rainbow butterfly headdress.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Native American Indian inspired headdresses were very popular.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
My friend Dora does a simple red top hat extremely well.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A little molecular number.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Channelling Louix XVI via Burlesque.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Sometimes more is more, don’t you find?

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Jemima with a found thistle and fake flowers.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Classy, and strangely inaccurate too.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress by Amelia Gregory
Lastly, Pearl and Ivy, or should that be Carly and Sam, here seen modelling their own creations which were for sale at Secret Garden Party.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress Amelia Gregory
And myself wearing one – c’mon, I had to get into the spirit of it all didn’t I?! You can buy a similar feather headdress from Pearl and Ivy from their online website.
SGP 2010- headdress by Amelia Gregory

On my rambles around festivals this year it has been hard to escape the omnipresence of floral head garlands on the ladies, shop and indeed worn by some of the more daring men… I recall a particularly dashing pair of matching flower topped bald male bonces espied through the crowd in the Cabaret Arena at Latitude.

At Glastonbury and Latitude these garlands were usually bought off the peg at a stall, but Gardeners (as they are called) at Secret Garden Party were a little more inventive with their head gear. From decorated top hats to Indian feather headdresses to stuffed birds, decorative headwear provided ample opportunity for experiment in colour, combination and height.

Here are some of the most inventive and appealing creations I saw at Secret Garden Party.

Photography by Amelia Gregory.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
I loved this creation – the height, the space, the use of colour. Beautiful.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had used her own hair to create ears.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Gorgeous butterflies. Simple but effective.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Bees. Leaves. Flowers. Stuffed animals. Pile em on!

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had found loads of crap in her house and stuck it all on, including a Sheriff’s badge, handcuffs and a Toucan (just visible on the top)

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A boy with a stuffed bird in his ‘fro. As you do.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A huge holographic rainbow butterfly headdress.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Native American Indian inspired headdresses were very popular.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
My friend Dora does a simple red top hat extremely well.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A little molecular number.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Channelling Louix XVI via Burlesque.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Sometimes more is more, don’t you find?

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Jemima with a found thistle and fake flowers.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Classy, and strangely inaccurate too.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress by Amelia Gregory
Lastly, Pearl and Ivy, or should that be Carly and Sam, here seen modelling their own creations which were for sale at Secret Garden Party.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress Amelia Gregory
And myself wearing one – c’mon, I had to get into the spirit of it all didn’t I?! You can buy a similar feather headdress from Pearl and Ivy from their online website.
SGP 2010- headdress by Amelia Gregory

On my rambles around festivals this year it has been hard to escape the omnipresence of floral head garlands on the ladies, buy and indeed worn by some of the more daring men… I recall a particularly dashing pair of matching flower topped bald male bonces espied through the crowd in the Cabaret Arena at Latitude.

At Glastonbury and Latitude these garlands were usually bought off the peg at a stall, unhealthy but Gardeners (as they are called) at Secret Garden Party were a little more inventive with their head gear. From decorated top hats to Indian feather headdresses to stuffed birds, decorative headwear provided ample opportunity for experiment in colour, combination and height.

Here are some of the most inventive and appealing creations I saw at Secret Garden Party.

Photography by Amelia Gregory.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
I loved this creation – the height, the space, the use of colour. Beautiful.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had used her own hair to create ears.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Gorgeous butterflies. Simple but effective.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Bees. Leaves. Flowers. Stuffed animals. Pile em on!

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had found loads of crap in her house and stuck it all on, including a Sheriff’s badge, handcuffs and a Toucan (just visible on the top)

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A boy with a stuffed bird in his ‘fro. As you do.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A huge holographic rainbow butterfly headdress.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Native American Indian inspired headdresses were very popular.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
My friend Dora does a simple red top hat extremely well.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A little molecular number.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Channelling Louix XVI via Burlesque.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Sometimes more is more, don’t you find?

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Jemima with a found thistle and fake flowers.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Classy, and strangely inaccurate too.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress by Amelia Gregory
Lastly, Pearl and Ivy, or should that be Carly and Sam, here seen modelling their own creations which were for sale at Secret Garden Party.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress Amelia Gregory
And myself wearing one – c’mon, I had to get into the spirit of it all didn’t I?! You can buy a similar feather headdress from Pearl and Ivy from their online website.
SGP 2010- headdress by Amelia Gregory

On my rambles around festivals this year it has been hard to escape the omnipresence of floral head garlands on the ladies, click and indeed worn by some of the more daring men… I recall a particularly dashing pair of matching flower topped bald male bonces espied through the crowd in the Cabaret Arena at Latitude.

At Glastonbury and Latitude these garlands were usually bought off the peg at a stall, price but Gardeners (as they are called) at Secret Garden Party were a little more inventive with their head gear. From decorated top hats to Indian feather headdresses to stuffed birds, decorative headwear provided ample opportunity for experiment in colour, combination and height.

Here are some of the most inventive and appealing creations I saw at Secret Garden Party.

Photography by Amelia Gregory.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
I loved this creation – the height, the space, the use of colour. Beautiful.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had used her own hair to create ears.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Gorgeous butterflies. Simple but effective.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Bees. Leaves. Flowers. Stuffed animals. Pile em on!

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
This girl had found loads of crap in her house and stuck it all on, including a Sheriff’s badge, handcuffs and a Toucan (just visible on the top)

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A boy with a stuffed bird in his ‘fro. As you do.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A huge holographic rainbow butterfly headdress.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Native American Indian inspired headdresses were very popular.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
My friend Dora does a simple red top hat extremely well.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
A little molecular number.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Channelling Louix XVI via Burlesque.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Sometimes more is more, don’t you find?

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Jemima with a found thistle and fake flowers.

SGP 2010-headdress by Amelia Gregory
Classy, and strangely inaccurate too.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress by Amelia Gregory
Lastly, Pearl and Ivy, or should that be Carly and Sam, here seen modelling their own creations which were for sale at Secret Garden Party.

SGP 2010-Pearl and Ivy headdress Amelia Gregory
And myself wearing one – c’mon, I had to get into the spirit of it all didn’t I?! You can buy a similar feather headdress from Pearl and Ivy from their online website.
Latitude 2010-Active Child by Amelia Gregory
Active Child. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The falsetto sounds of Active Child were our new discovery for Saturday morning. American Pat Grossi alone on stage with just his mixer, cheapest computer… and harp: another lone electro maestro. Soporifically beautiful.

JAMES-LATITUDE-JENNY-GOLDSTONE
James by Jenny Goldstone.

James were our mid afternoon treat over at the Obelisk Arena – but we didn’t just sit down, we lay spark out and enjoyed a full tour through their back catalogue of hits from a horizontal position. I was somewhat surprised to note that the lead singer is now bald of bounce and goatee of beard when I am sure he used to have lots of curly locks and a clean shave – oh the perils of ageing.

Latitude 2010-kids by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-family by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-girls by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-chips by Amelia Gregory

We were surrounded by lots of families, parents obviously revelling in a favourite from their youth, whilst even the teens next to us could sing along to the band’s most famous tune. And it seems we weren’t the only ones having a relaxing time.

Latitude 2010-gaggle choir by Amelia Gregory

In the woods we encountered a bunch of singing girls in wonderful outfits. Now why don’t all choirs dress like the Gaggle? I couldn’t really hear them, but darn it, who cares when they look this good?!

faye skinner FIRST AID kit
First Aid Kit, protected by a burly security man, by Faye Skinner.

I love it when a band I’ve loved forever starts to gain widespread success, and First Aid Kit have now reached a stage where they could draw suitably impressive crowds to the wooded environs of the Sunrise Arena. If you haven’t yet seen them live, then why the hell not? You can read a previous review of their gig at the Union Chapel here.

Crystal-Castles-Latitude-2010-by-Mina-Bach
Crystal Castles by Mina Bach.

Over on the other side Crystal Castles arrived to a cascading wall of squelching beats that had the middle aged couple next to me pulling somewhat bemused faces at each other. Goodness knows what they made of Alice’s performance thereafter. Whilst slugging on a bottle of Jim Beam *rock n roll* she declared that gang bangers should “all be castrated” – the first inkling I had that all was not well at Latitude. Thereafter she was hellbent on crowdsurfing through the entire set, which mainly involved flinging herself into the rather excited male audience down front and then punching them if they grabbed her inappropriately, before being dragged back by security. Oh how the burly men in uniform love it when the singer does that. Rather inexplicably one fan insisted on giving Alice a placard featuring the immortal word TOAST and, yup, you got it, a picture of a piece of toast. There’s been much grumbling online about Alice’s performance but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it did look rather like she had to yak at one point.

Latitude 2010-belle and sebastian by Amelia Gregory
sarah martin belle and sebastain by kate blandford
Sarah Martin of Belle and Sebastain by Kate Blandford.

The pace changed down a gear with the arrival of headliners Belle and Sebastian, playing their first gig in many years. First comment from those next to me? “She looks a bit mumsy.” And so what if Sarah does? Belle and Sebastian are not exactly in the first flush of youth, a fact which frontman Stuart Murdoch picked up repeatedly as he declared “they promised us an old crowd” – as usual the front was of course packed out with teenagers whilst the oldies (that seems to include me these days) hung back for a bit of air. Not that I’ve ever been a massive fan of the mosh pit. At one point Stuart threatened to take his top off (he was looking rather fit) which caused a fresh round of adolescent screaming “it would be like walking in on your dad in the shower” he laughed. It was a delightful set that featured an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash and finished with a gaggle of very happy teenagers dancing around on stage in front of the wrinkles and their orchestra. “You just made an old man very happy,” laughed Stuart in his lilting Scottish brogue, “now get off.” You show them who’s boss round here!

Read my Sunday music review here.
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones.

Over the course of Latitude I saw numerous comedians, web some of whom appeared as comperes on other stages when not performing to surely one of their biggest ever audience (of thousands) in the Comedy Arena. The Cabaret Arena was much favoured, unhealthy as of course was the Literary Arena – hanging out with Robin Ince and his fabled posse.

Kevin Eldon, prostate Phil Jupitas, Josie Long… they all dropped by, frequently.

Latitude 2010-Phil Jupitas by Amelia Gregory
Phil Jupitas. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Robin Ince by Stacie Swift
Robin Ince by Stacie Swift.

My favourite part of the longstanding Book Club was a guide to one of Robin Ince’s favourite bad books: Mens’ Secrets, set to a duelling musical accompaniment.

Latitude 2010 James Acaster by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster.

James Acaster was one such novice who I saw happily entertaining pre-act literary crowds with clever improv. Teenage wonder Ivo Graham kept the Cabaret crowd thoroughly entertained with his impromptu rendition of Blind Date – amusingly he is so young he had to be told of Cilla’s name. Weird to think of Blind Date already consigned to ancient TV history.

Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
Ivo Graham improvises a round of Blind Date in the Cabaret Arena.

The main Comedy Arena was my favourite place to hang out in 2007, and it’s popularity continues to grow. Despite additional wing tents on each side of the huge central marquee, the arena remained unable to contain the enthusiastic crowds, who kicked up huge volumes of dust with every new exodus and influx.

Abi Daker - Ivo Graham
Ivo Graham by Abigail Daker.
YouTube Preview Image

One of the biggest draws of Latitude is the chance to discover new talent. Ivo Graham is a mere 19 years old, which made his ability to engage a massive audience all the more impressive. With jokes centred around Facebook, pesky younger brothers and getting in trouble with mum, he still struck a chord with the older folks.

Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins
Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins.

Eric Lambert was winner of the Latitude New Act of the Year 2010, although from what I heard Ivo would have been way more deserving…. or James. Eric’s winning performance centred around an improv routine that wasn’t always quite up to scratch.

Latitude 2010-Eric Lambert by Amelia Gregory
Eric Lambert.

He was cheeky and sexual, no doubt a hit with the ladies. It’s proved nigh on impossible to do any research into Eric since he seems to have zero internet presence… but I would guess from his demeanour that he’s a big fan of Russell Brand.

docbrown_by_iamanoctopus
Doc Brown by Iamanoctopus.

Of the better known comedians I really enjoyed the guide to slang courtesy of Doc Brown, who was formerly a rapper and just happens to be younger brother of Zadie Smith. Sucking snot out of his small child and inappropriate comments on packed buses define his descent towards the normality of family life.

stephen-k-amos-suziewinsor
Stephen K. Amos by Suzie Winsor.

Following him on Friday South Londoner Stephen K. Amos was suitably un-PC, berating his previous Yorkshire audience for its lack of diversity, ripping the piss out of posh people, bemoaning his old age (he’s 35. there’s no hope for me) and generally causing loud if somewhat uncomfortable chuckles across the arena.

On Sunday we caught the tail end of Rufus Hound, who was indeed face-painted up like a dog, if somewhat lacking of a tail. He spoke of the trials and tribulations of marriage and babies… which led onto the misogynistic diatribe of Richard Herring, a 43 year old singleton who made jokes about tit wanks and gay sex, accompanied by a signer for those hard of hearing. Or perhaps just to afford the opportunity to make yet more lewd jokes.

Richard Herring by Sine Skau
Richard Herring by Sine Skau.

He also over-milked an incredibly tedious tirade about Mars Bars that met with a fairly frosty reception… that became part of the act… that increased it’s tediousity. I think he was my least favourite comedian at Latitude.

ANDREW LAWRENCE Faye Skinner
Andrew Lawrence by Faye Skinner.

Next up Andrew Lawrence was really quite sinister but also strangely endearing, geared as his jokes were around his all round lack of appeal. Hey, why the sadness? I’ve always had a soft spot for scrawny gingers! Leaning back at a jaunty angle and grinning demonically he spoke of his semi-autistic relationship with his current (long-suffering) girlfriend. Hey, doesn’t that cover most men?

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Deborah Francis White.

Lastly, Deborah Francis White put on her genius show How To Get Almost Anyone To Want To Sleep With You on Sunday in the Cabaret Arena. “Every actor wants to be in a sitcom, every man wants to be in a woman,” she informed us, talking us through a series of pie charts that showed the different state of mind for women. Whilst we’d like practically every man we meet to want to sleep with us (approximately 95% according to Deborah) the reverse is true when it comes to the amount of men we actually want to sleep with.

Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins
Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins.

To a chorus of knowing laughter from women, slightly nervous laughter from the men, she talked us through the best way to pull the opposite sex. “Be a Scorsese movie!” she opined, extolling the virtues of confidence. “You’re probably not going to get a part in me…” But the point is that every man should want to. Even if the reason they’re so fixated on lesbian porn is simply “two tits good, four tits better.”

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Women stroking themselves to much amusement.

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Tube-hanging.

She persuaded the women in the audience to stroke themselves on the breast to turn the men on, pulled people out of the audience to follow her instructions on how to tell a girl on the tube she’s gorgeous, and finished with a bra wrestling match between two men. Because who wants to sleep with a man who can’t get a bra off with one hand?

The comedy at Latitude Festival is undeniably one of its biggest selling points… now if only they could figure out how to accommodate the heaving numbers of people that yearn to be amused.

James Acaster by Kathryn Jones
James Acaster by Kathryn Jones.

Over the course of Latitude I saw numerous comedians, viagra approved some of whom appeared as comperes on other stages when not performing to surely one of their biggest ever audience (of thousands) in the Comedy Arena. The Cabaret Arena was much favoured, web as of course was the Literary Arena – hanging out with Robin Ince and his fabled posse.

Kevin Eldon, Phil Jupitas, Josie Long… they all dropped by, frequently.

Latitude 2010-Phil Jupitas by Amelia Gregory
Phil Jupitas. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Robin Ince by Stacie Swift
Robin Ince by Stacie Swift.

My favourite part of the longstanding Book Club was a guide to one of Robin Ince’s favourite bad books: Mens’ Secrets, set to a duelling musical accompaniment.

Latitude 2010 James Acaster by Amelia Gregory
James Acaster.

James Acaster was one such novice who I saw happily entertaining pre-act literary crowds with clever improv. Teenage wonder Ivo Graham kept the Cabaret crowd thoroughly entertained with his impromptu rendition of Blind Date – amusingly he is so young he had to be told of Cilla’s name. Weird to think of Blind Date already consigned to ancient TV history.

Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Ivo Graham Blind Date by Amelia Gregory
Ivo Graham improvises a round of Blind Date in the Cabaret Arena.

The main Comedy Arena was my favourite place to hang out in 2007, and it’s popularity continues to grow. Despite additional wing tents on each side of the huge central marquee, the arena remained unable to contain the enthusiastic crowds, who kicked up huge volumes of dust with every new exodus and influx.

Abi Daker - Ivo Graham
Ivo Graham by Abigail Daker.
YouTube Preview Image

One of the biggest draws of Latitude is the chance to discover new talent. Ivo Graham is a mere 19 years old, which made his ability to engage a massive audience all the more impressive. With jokes centred around Facebook, pesky younger brothers and getting in trouble with mum, he still struck a chord with the older folks.

Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins
Eric Lambert by Gareth A Hopkins.

Eric Lambert was winner of the Latitude New Act of the Year 2010, although from what I heard Ivo would have been way more deserving…. or James. Eric’s winning performance centred around an improv routine that wasn’t always quite up to scratch.

Latitude 2010-Eric Lambert by Amelia Gregory
Eric Lambert.

He was cheeky and sexual, no doubt a hit with the ladies. It’s proved nigh on impossible to do any research into Eric since he seems to have zero internet presence… but I would guess from his demeanour that he’s a big fan of Russell Brand.

docbrown_by_iamanoctopus
Doc Brown by Iamanoctopus.

Of the better known comedians I really enjoyed the guide to slang courtesy of Doc Brown, who was formerly a rapper and just happens to be younger brother of Zadie Smith. Sucking snot out of his small child and inappropriate comments on packed buses define his descent towards the normality of family life.

stephen-k-amos-suziewinsor
Stephen K. Amos by Suzie Winsor.

Following him on Friday South Londoner Stephen K. Amos was suitably un-PC, berating his previous Yorkshire audience for its lack of diversity, ripping the piss out of posh people, bemoaning his old age (he’s 35. there’s no hope for me) and generally causing loud if somewhat uncomfortable chuckles across the arena.

On Sunday we caught the tail end of Rufus Hound, who was indeed face-painted up like a dog, if somewhat lacking of a tail. He spoke of the trials and tribulations of marriage and babies… which led onto the misogynistic diatribe of Richard Herring, a 43 year old singleton who made jokes about tit wanks and gay sex, accompanied by a signer for those hard of hearing. Or perhaps just to afford the opportunity to make yet more lewd jokes.

Richard Herring by Sine Skau
Richard Herring by Sine Skau.

He also over-milked an incredibly tedious tirade about Mars Bars that met with a fairly frosty reception… that became part of the act… that increased it’s tediousity. I think he was my least favourite comedian at Latitude.

ANDREW LAWRENCE Faye Skinner
Andrew Lawrence by Faye West.

Next up Andrew Lawrence was really quite sinister but also strangely endearing, geared as his jokes were around his all round lack of appeal. Hey, why the sadness? I’ve always had a soft spot for scrawny gingers! Leaning back at a jaunty angle and grinning demonically he spoke of his semi-autistic relationship with his current (long-suffering) girlfriend. Hey, doesn’t that cover most men?

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Deborah Francis White.

Lastly, Deborah Francis White put on her genius show How To Get Almost Anyone To Want To Sleep With You on Sunday in the Cabaret Arena. “Every actor wants to be in a sitcom, every man wants to be in a woman,” she informed us, talking us through a series of pie charts that showed the different state of mind for women. Whilst we’d like practically every man we meet to want to sleep with us (approximately 95% according to Deborah) the reverse is true when it comes to the amount of men we actually want to sleep with.

Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins
Deborah Francis White Oversees a Bra Fight by Gareth A Hopkins.

To a chorus of knowing laughter from women, slightly nervous laughter from the men, she talked us through the best way to pull the opposite sex. “Be a Scorsese movie!” she opined, extolling the virtues of confidence. “You’re probably not going to get a part in me…” But the point is that every man should want to. Even if the reason they’re so fixated on lesbian porn is simply “two tits good, four tits better.”

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Women stroking themselves to much amusement.

Latitude 2010- Deborah Francis White by Amelia Gregory
Tube-hanging.

She persuaded the women in the audience to stroke themselves on the breast to turn the men on, pulled people out of the audience to follow her instructions on how to tell a girl on the tube she’s gorgeous, and finished with a bra wrestling match between two men. Because who wants to sleep with a man who can’t get a bra off with one hand?

The comedy at Latitude Festival is undeniably one of its biggest selling points… now if only they could figure out how to accommodate the heaving numbers of people that yearn to be amused.

Soulfire Illustration Kayleigh Bluck
The Soul Fire Restaurant illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck.

A gourmet three course meal served up by a world class chef (Charlie Nicoll, cialis 40mg formerly of the River Cafe) – at a festival? You could be forgiven for thinking you’d just heard wrong. But this was exactly what I enjoyed on Friday night at the Soul Fire Restaurant at Secret Garden Party this year.

SGP 2010-soulfire yurt by Amelia gregory

Guests were encouraged to book their place online, seek and the restaurant (housed in three cosy yurts backing onto a kitchen preparation area) was busy as soon as we arrived for the first sitting at the leisurely hour of 9.30pm.

Soulfire restaurant SGP by Amelia gregory

In the first yurt diners were treated to some live music, physician and out back we were seated in candlelit surroundings at a shared table, with walls decorated in contemporary art. The waiters were delightful, and from the incredibly reasonably priced £30 three course menu we were soon chomping on our starter choices of Uig Lodge Smoked Salmon Blinis with Sour Cream and Avruga Caviar, and a large portion of succulent Wild Mushroom Arancini with Rocket and Aioli.

katie-harnett-smokedsalmon
katie-harnett-mushroom arancini
Illustrations by Katie Harnett.

My only quibble with the menu was the lack of an obvious main vegetarian option (we had to ask for it) but in the end we all settled on the same dishes – French Freerange Guinea Fowl with Sweet Potato Dauphinoise and Greens. I am generally a vegetarian but will occasionally eat freerange and organic meat – and this just sounded too good to pass up.

Guinea_Fowl_Tigz_Rice
French Guinea Fowl by Tigz Rice.

“The Soul Fire menu has been deliberated over with the utmost love and attention to offer guests an exquisite choice of fine food to suit all palates,” states the press release for the restaurant, which served only ethically and locally sourced food. I can confirm that our guinea fowl was absolutely delicious, sentiments agreed on by my two dining partners as we enjoyed our meal with an accompanying bottle of wine.

Dee-Andrews-Soulfire-Restaurant-3Yurts-SGP-2010
Illustration by Dee Andrews.

For desert we chose Lemon Curd Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce and a moistly rich Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream, which were both superb and again arrived in very reasonably sized portions that would set us up nicely for a long night of partying.

Soul Fire Restaurant-Lisa-Stannard
Puddings by Lisa Stannard.

It may seem slightly strange to choose such a fabulous dining experience at a festival, but we returned to the madness outside refreshed, relaxed and fully sated.

On our travels later we overheard a punter passing the restaurant say “Best Eggs Benedict ever” to his companion. My only disappointment was that I was unable to sample the Soul Fire brunch experience for myself – by the time we made it back to the restaurant in the mornings it was always full already. It’s funny how news of a good thing will travel so fast.

I very much look forward to news of the next Soul Fire pop up restaurant in a yurt. This idea could grow and grow…

Categories ,Charlie Nicoll, ,Dee Andrews, ,Katie Harnett, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Lisa Stannard, ,River Cafe, ,Secret Garden Party, ,Soul Fire Restaurant, ,Tigz Rice, ,Yurt

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