Amelia’s Magazine | Swatch Watches Over the Rainbow and Be Black, designed by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel

Jean-Michel Othoniel Over the Rainbow swatch by catherine stone
Jean-Michel Othoniel Over the Rainbow Swatch by Catherine Stone.

Last week I was invited to Venice to find out about the newest Swatch watch: created by the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. Swatch fell in love with his decorative use of Murano glass in incredible jewelled artworks that began life for an exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim gallery in Venice itself. Jean-Michel was told there was no official space in which he was able to showcase artworks due to strict instructions left in Peggy Guggenheim‘s will, viagra but looking around he wondered whether the branches of a tree in the gallery courtyard could be exempt from this rule and his aerial bound sculptures began to take shape. Jean-Michel Othoniel draped strung baubles in the tree at the Guggenheim and the rest, as they say, is history. He has continued to work in the same way using all the colours of the Murano glass rainbow to create ethereal installations more akin to giant jewellery than art.

Jean-Michel Othoniel jewels
Jean-Michel Othoniel sculpture
Jean-Michel Othoniel sculpture
Jean-Michel Othoniel Guggenheim
Some of Jean-Michel Othoniel‘s art, including the necklace draped over the Guggenheim Venice.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review Jean Michel Othoniel
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review Jean Michel Othoniel
Jean-Michel Othoniel showcases his Over the Rainbow watch.

On the glorious sunny rooftop of the Biennale building in Venice the soft spoken artist described how pleased he was to be asked to create a little piece of art that will be available to lots of people. Ever the romantic he hopes that wearing one of his watches will offer the wearer that bit of otherworldly magic and wonder that he aims for in his sculptures. He described how using Murano glass within the design was key, because the beads look like beautiful precious stones.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-jean michel othoniel over the rainbow
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-jean michel othoniel over the rainbow
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-jean michel othoniel over the rainbow

I can certainly appreciate this in the sparkling Murano beads of the colourful Over the Rainbow limited edition version which is slightly oversized so that it can be worn on the wrist the wrong way round – as Jean-Michel demonstrated this to me I was most taken (as a non watch wearer myself) with the idea of wearing a private timepiece which on the exterior just looks like a pretty bracelet. It comes presented in a beautiful blown glass bubble – difficult to achieve but an absolute necessity for Jean-Michel Othoniel, who conceives his watch as art. The Be Black version sports slightly bigger and more manly black beads with a clasp, though both are unisex watches.

SWATCH in Venice Be Black by Abi Heyneke jean michel othoniel
SWATCH in Venice. Jean-Michel Othoniel‘s Be Black by Abi Heyneke.

swatch Be Black by Laura Godfrey
Swatch Be Black by Laura Godfrey.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review Madame Emch wears Jean Michel Othoniel
Swatch president Madame Emch wears Jean-Michel Othoniel’s Be Black watch.

Even though the watches (which use the Swatch Skin model as a base) cost a very reasonable £190.50 for Over the Rainbow and £76 for Be Black, both Swatch and Jean-Michel very much hope that these will be more than throwaway watches – instead they are designed to become fetishistic charms, reminders of the need for fantasy and fairytales. Sound far-fetched? With the light glinting gleefully off the Murano beads in the Venice sunshine, a world of enchantment doesn’t seem that far away.

swatch by Daria Hlazatova
Swatch by Daria Hlazatova.

Categories ,Abi Heyneke, ,artist, ,Be Black, ,Beads, ,Bracelet, ,Catherine Stone, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Glass, ,Jean-Michel Othoniel, ,jewellery, ,Launch, ,Laura Godfrey, ,Limited Edition, ,Madame Emch, ,Murano, ,Over the Rainbow, ,Peggy Guggenheim, ,review, ,Swatch, ,Swatch Skin, ,Venice, ,Venice Biennale, ,Watch

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review: Emily Jane White – Ode to Sentience

Mary Katrantzou A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Emily Jane White by LJG Art & Illustration
Illustration by Laura Godfrey, ed LG Illustration

I know that folk music isn’t all organic, this web whole foods, and love – or indeed deep lust – buried in a haystack. Happy all day, before campfires and passions at night. No, folk musicians don’t spend their days wearing slightly grubby lumberjacks or floaty, ethereal frocks. See evidence: Grizzly Bear aren’t happy all the time and Bon Iver is a delightfully melancholy chap. And then just listen to Nick Drake and young Laura Marling. To be honest I’m not really sure where I got the skippy, clappy, dancing in the hazy afternoon sunshine vision from. Perhaps it’s because folk artists tend to sing about the earth, nature and love in one breath. There is no chat of ‘honeys’ or ‘bling’. Gah, And of course, folkers may be generally creative and appreciative of the natural world, but it in no means leaves them exempt of sadness, hurt and darkness. I wonder, does it in actual fact make them more open and adept to describing their feelings than the blingers? Regardless, folk is often as rhythmic and warming as the grandfather clock that my 40s’ Grandpa chopped the bottom of, to fit in his house. Tick, tock. Folk is cosy and true, which is why it feels so pure – which is why it makes me want to reside in a yurt.

Emily Jane White - Sarah Matthews
Illustration by Sarah Matthews

Let me introduce you to Emily Jane White. The PR sheet in-front of me says that her album is: ‘a collection of ten opulent, uncluttered and captivating ballads.’ A friend asked me other day, “If you had to only use one adjective for the rest of your life, what would it be?” If I was a news writer, I would say: “Peh, what even are adjectives?”. As a PR I would pass out. Whilst as a writer of my own devices, I would say – ‘blissful’. Then I could put ‘anti’ in-front of a word perhaps. Awkward. Anyway, off on a tangent again: Emily Jane White’s music is BLISSFUL.


She is melancholy. But in the way that makes you feel perhaps strangely, very contented. Maybe it is because in a sense Emily is making peace with herself and her thoughts through the act of writing her music. She said that she found writing her latest album, Ode To Sentience, out now on Talitres Records, cathartic to write: “They speak to the emotional simplicity and complexity of human relationship. I chose to call the record Ode To Sentience because it is the capacity to feel that creates a share human experience of music. We all share the potency of music by having the capacity to feel, and I found the simplicity of this fact very beautiful.”

‘Tis true.

emily Jane White
Illustration by Laura Godfrey, LG Illustration

Her album is about leaving home, her’s was California – I Lay To Rest (California) – the drawn out strings longing to leave. The sharper notes; the sadness of leaving it. Clipped Wings is ghostly and full of yearning, reflections of love’s passed. The Cliff holds classic American twangs, whilst Oh Katherine, is a string filled heaven of a song. Her voice is as soft and delicate as a peach, whilst her fearless approach to singing from the darker depths of her consciousness matches the strings perfectly.

She is much like a Californian Kate Bush, but less obviously ethereal and screaming. Or she could be a gentler Alela Diane or singular Mountain Man. Black Silk has to be my personal favourite. The Law is guitar based, slow and… actually quite a lot like my Grandpa’s Grandfather clock. It wraps you up. Says it’s all ok. For a little bit of this, here we have ‘The Law’, for you to download for free: here. Download it now.


Emily Jane White’s Album, Ode to Sentience is available now on Talitres Records.

Categories ,album, ,Alela Diane, ,california, ,Cathartic, ,Contented, ,Emily Jane White, ,Ethereal, ,folk, ,Grandfather clock, ,grizzly bear, ,Helen Martin, ,Kate Bush, ,Laura Godfrey, ,Laura Marling, ,Melancholy, ,Mountain Man, ,music, ,Nick Drake, ,Ode to Sentience, ,Relationships, ,review, ,Sarah Matthews, ,strings, ,Talitres Records, ,Yurt

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Amelia’s Magazine | Spring is in the air: Music to go travelling by

Bodyamr A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen-Smith
Bodyamr A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen-Smith.

For the Bodyamr show the upstairs hall of Freemasons Hall had been laid out in a strange network of criss-crossing aisles, cure approved variably lit with spotlights from all directions. I was on the end of a row just across from Amber Rose, viagra 60mg sick though I hasten to add that I had to be told who she was as I am not that up on celebrities who have no discernible career: model/actress whatever – you get the picture.

Amber Rose at Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Amber Rose at Bodyamr A/W 2011.

Louise Redknapp at Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Louise Redknapp with a fan at Bodyamr A/W 2011.

I will concede that she pulled off a gunmetal S/S 2011 Bodyamr dress with considerable panache – hers is a curvaceous physique to envy. Also in attendance was Louise Redknapp, that famous fashion guru.

Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker
Bodyamr A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

Somewhat inexplicably the show started with the prolonged sounds of revolution, and throughout the show lighting altered drastically between interrogation bright and near darkness – changes which definitely kept me on my photographic toes as I constantly swung around in my seat and adjusted my camera settings. My cousin-in-law-to-be is a fashion designer who works for Bodyamr and so I know that this was not an attempt to ensure that bloggers took only shit photos, and in fact the results were a pleasant surprise: the models bathed in a warm ethereal glow that gives a very different feel to most of my catwalk photos.

Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker
Bodyamr A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

Bodycon tailoring is at the centre of all Bodyamr collections; sleekly fitting fabrics encasing leggy models, draped flatteringly over shoulders and featuring well placed cutaway designs. Tightness was offset with flowing chiffons split thigh-high, all picked out in a highly desirable selection of plum and jade green colours. An occasional fez made an appearance, emphasising the languid opulence of flowing fabrics. Shoulders were fluffed out with woolly capes, heels were gold spiked – a collaboration with Gianmarco Lorenzi. Where collars existed they were high and bejewelled. Caramel, golden yellow and the ubiquitous bright red provided highlights.

Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen-SmithBodyamr A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen-Smith
Bodyamr A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen-Smith.

The show ended on a stunning lilac gown with a golden woven bodice and Amber Rose stood to kiss Bodyamr designer Amir Ali as he came loping down the catwalk for his photo call.

Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryBodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It’s not surprising that a Bodyamr show attracts so many celebrities. His is a very superior brand of glamour, designed to unashamedly wow the red carpet crowd. And wow it did.

Bodyamr A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory

You can see more illustrations by Antonia Parker in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Annie: Chewing gum (bonus track), salve illustrated by Mhairi-stella McEwan

Spring officially starts the first day you can run to the corner shop without a jacket, ed and that was a couple of weeks ago now. Soon it will be summer – the prime season for hitting the road, whether it’s for city breaks, festivals or far-away backpacking. So we’ve put together eight songs (and a bonus track) for getting on the road – each interpreted by an illustrator. The first half of the list is fitting of a road trip, for singing loud out of open windows, but it also works as a soundtrack for the Gatwick Express, as is more often the case for me. While the destinations make it worthwhile, the travelling itself can be a chore – meaning the second half has some more meditative tracks. These are for turbulent airplanes, or when you’ve been driving too long – they also work for hungover mornings on freezing buses or delayed flights with no end in sight. (If all else fails, try AC/DC.)

As this piece is a virtual illustrator-palooza, music videos have been omitted to curb the length, but click on the song names for the full YouTube experience. So without further ado – here’s the Amelia’s Magazine Spring 2011 Vagabond Soundtrack!

Illustration by Wanni

Squeeze: Tempted
This is the song Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofaldo sing in the car in ‘Reality Bites’ – a film about being young and not knowing what to do with your life (I may have worn out a video tape once upon a time). The song is about packing up your essential belongings and taking off: ‘I said to my reflection, let’s get out of this place’ … yes let’s do that.

Illustration by Claire Sells

Madonna: Express yourself
Ah early Madonna – the badass years. I’ve been listening to her again lately since the rise of Lady Gaga (who I do appreciate). Madonna doesn’t have a particularly amazing voice but oh my does she want it bad. You can hear it in this song, and in ‘Vogue’ and ‘Material girl’ too – and when she sings not to go for second best … well Madonna we would never, not when you say it like THAT.

Illustration by Karina Yarv

Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar
You can’t sing along to a Rolling Stones track but that’s not the point – you just shuffle your shoulders and shout along at the chorus. There are several ‘better’ Stones tracks but I think this is my favourite one (okay so it’s tie a with ‘Gimme shelter’). Mick’s practically shimmying out through the speakers with the energy of it.

Illustration by Sarah Matthews

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Fortunate son
I love Creedence, The Dude (The Big Lebowski, you know) loves Creedence, and my dad loves Creedence, judging from the pile of records from his hippie days. Either way, the beardy fellas of CCR remain underrated. ‘Fortunate son’ is one of their more ‘Summer of Love’-sounding tracks, coupled with anti-war lyrics that makes me want to wear dip-dyed clothes with flowers in my hair.

Illustration by Laura Godfrey

Jimi Hendrix: Highway chile
He’s quite poetic, Jimi Hendrix, and there’s something almost happy-go-lucky about ‘Highway chile’. It’s an ode to life on the road – I like this one when I’m travelling above the clouds and can do nothing but sit idle as the plane hurls forward. ‘Woodoo child’ is probably the better track, but it’s too much for when you are forced to sit still.

Illustration by Sanna Dyker

America: A horse with no name
This song is for jetlagged stopovers in boring airports with bad food, when you’re so tired your body aches but you can’t sleep. America and its simple logic will soothe you: ‘The heat was hot and the ground was dry but the air was full of sound.’

Illustration by YesGo!

Death Cab for Cutie: Soul meets body
Listening to the wonderfully named Death Cab for Cutie when travelling alone is almost like having someone talking to you – because all their lyrics are excellent. Not everyone listens to the lyrics of music, but with Death Cab it’s practically a crime not to: ‘Cause in my head there’s a Greyhound station / where I send my thoughts to far-off destinations / so they may have a chance of finding a place / where they’re far more suited than here.’ … paints a picture, doesn’t it.

Illustration by Romain Lambert-Louis

Björk: Immature
This little ditty from saga-queen Björk only contains one line of lyric (it loops, but yes really), and it’s an excellent one. It’s a wall of sound, this song, without any of the scratchiness of the rest of the album (the wonderful ‘Homogenic’). It brings to mind dark Scandinavian forests, the smell of pine and blowing bubbles.

Categories ,A horse with no name, ,AC/DC, ,America, ,Annie, ,bjork, ,Brown sugar, ,Chewing gum, ,claire sells, ,Creedence Clearwater Revival, ,death cab for cutie, ,Express yourself, ,Fortunate son, ,Highway chile, ,Immature, ,Jessica Furseth, ,Jimi Hendrix, ,Karina Yarv, ,Laura Godfrey, ,Madonna, ,Mhairi-Stella McEwan, ,Mick Jagger, ,music, ,Reality Bites, ,Rolling Stones, ,Romain Lambert-Louis, ,Sanna Dyker, ,Sarah Matthews, ,Soul meets body, ,spring, ,summer, ,Summer of Love, ,The Big Lebowski, ,travelling, ,Wanni, ,YesGo!

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Amelia’s Magazine | Austra, Viv Albertine & Daughter at the Windmill: music review

Sarah Baardarani, search illustrated by Naomi Law

With Fashion Scout releasing their Ones to Watch for the coming season last week, it was only going to be a matter of fashion minutes before the British Fashion Council announced who was going to feature on the stands this A/W 2011 fashion week. And here they are!

I like the exhibitions a lot. You get to really get a feel for the collections – you can see them up close and touch them – hell, you can even smell them if that’s your bag. While a big-budget catwalk show has the atmosphere to accompany the clothes, I often miss many of the design quirks and fabric features because I’m just too damn busy photographing, tweeting and scribbling what will later become illegible notes. With the stands, you can see the colossal effort that a designer has put into their collection and often they’re hanging around, so you can EVEN chat to them too.

It’s also a great place to find up-an-coming design talent: fresh ideas and new ways of doing things. Sod the oldies on the catwalks. This year looks like it won’t disappoint. Here’s a round of the ‘Emerging Designers’ that the BFC has added to its roster:
austra by anko
Austra by Anko

It may have been a typically miserable Monday night in January, thumb but we were safe from the elements within the hallowed hall that is the Windmill in Brixton. This unassuming little pub just off the busy thoroughfare of Brixton Hill (and in the shadow of a real windmill, the only one remaining in London), has seen many upcoming bands and surprise appearances from old faces grace its stage over the years. My favourite music venue in London (and my second gig there in 48 hours), I’ve had a lot of nights at the Windmill that have been great (including my second New Year’s Eve in London), hazy (ditto) and just plain bizarre.

elena tonra by ellie sutton
Elena Tonra by Ellie Sutton.

The evening began with some haunting acoustica from Daughter, aka Elena Tonra. Plucking at an acoustic guitar, and backed by some subtle electric guitar washes, Tonra’s hushed vocals delivered some daintily dark lyrics that drew the onlookers in. As the Windmill began to fill up, Viv Albertine took to the stage with her new band, Limerence. Once the guitarist and co-songwriter with iconic punk band The Slits, Albertine had been off the music scene for over 20 years after pursuing a career in TV and film directing, but she recently made a return to the stage (indeed, her debut was here at the Windmill) and has gone on to release an EP on the label of Sonic Youth’s very own Thurston Moore.

Viv Albertine by Karina Yarv
Viv Albertine by Karina Yarv.

“Limerence” was a term coined to describe a near-obsessive form of romantic love, though Albertine joked that her songs were generally about pretty much the opposite. Limerence the band is a loose collective of musicians – I’d seen them play at the George Tavern in Stepney last year with pretty much a full compliment, but tonight it was just a pairing of violin and a combo of keyboard, guitar and ukulele. Musically, Albertine has moved on from the reggae infused sound of her old band, though her guitar is still as distinctive as it was on songs like Typical Girls. If anything, there’s a hint of Syd Barrett about songs like Fairytale and the twisted pop of Never Come, and the lyrics are as witty and spiky as you’d expect. Void references a darker part of her punk past, and was introduced with a few reminiscences of 1976. The paired down line-up actually gave an extra edge to Albertine’s songs, highlighted on the unsettling set closer, Confessions Of A Milf, which descended into a one-chord riff on suburban paranoia.

Canadian headliners Austra have been causing a bit of a buzz of late. Hailing from Toronto, and centred on vocalist Katie Stelmanis, with Maya Postepski on programming and Dorian Wolf on bass, they recently renamed themselves (having previously been going under Stelmanis’ moniker), signed to Domino and currently have a 12” single out, with an album in the pipeline for later this year.

Austra gig at The Windmill by Laura Godfrey
Austra gig at The Windmill by Laura Godfrey.

For the UK leg of a whistle-stop European tour, starting tonight, Stelmanis and co were joined by a drummer, keyboard player and two extra vocalists. There was a bit of a shaky start with a technical hitch before things got into their stride. It would be easy to make comparisons with Fever Ray and Glasser (especially as I’d seen both live fairly recently), and Austra do fall into that category of brooding female vocals over dark electronic beats. However, they’re not as dense as Fever Ray or as spectral as Glasser, especially live. I’d read somewhere that Austra were like “Fever Ray gone disco”, which actually isn’t a million miles off the mark. The single, Beat & the Pulse, is distinctly dance-friendly, and while Stelmanis’ vocal delivery may be reminiscent of Karin Dreijer Andersson, the general vibe is more akin to the early to mid 80’s indie-dance crossover. In the confined space of the Windmill, Austra’s songs become much more organic, with the live drums and bass giving an added kick. There was also plenty of theatricality, with Stelmanis and her sidekicks whirling and dipping during each song.

It was a typically great and varied mix of bands and styles tonight, another in a long line of great nights that I’ve experienced at the Windmill, and another one I’m sure that the venue’s legendary Roof Dog would approve of.

Categories ,acoustic, ,Anko, ,Austra, ,Brixton, ,dance, ,Daughter, ,domino, ,electronic, ,Elena Tonra, ,Ellie Sutton, ,Fever Ray, ,George Tavern, ,Glasser, ,Karin Dreijer Andersson, ,Karina Yarv, ,Laura Godfrey, ,Limerence, ,LJG Art, ,punk, ,reggae, ,Roof Dog, ,Sonic Youth, ,Stepney, ,Syd Barrett, ,the slits, ,Thurston Moore, ,Toronto, ,Typical Girls, ,viv albertine, ,Windmill

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