Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day: Gifts and Ideas


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, unhealthyJoan Wasser announces to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, discountJoan Wasser announces to introduce “Hard white wall”, adiposity a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, recipe Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.


But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, viagra ” announces Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig. Never the shrinking violet, Joan is standing in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converge on her small frame. Last Sunday was the seventh time I have seen Joan As Police Woman in London.

The first time I saw Joan play was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at now defunct The Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – in the same vein as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique which can be spine-tingling, served tender or harsh. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date. Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous work where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements, which is a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack that passes for music today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and upbeat, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the library area of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder over the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan and I discuss life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, being in a better place and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me; it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I really wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands and the rest, I guess they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arranging, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.


But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone…
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very anxious experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus (Wainwright) was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head; my own songwriting. I think it really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record; some of which I had been playing live, some I hadn’t been. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed and then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I really had never done that before. Before I would record what I had and decide what it needed and then wrote that kind of song to fit the record so this time, the new approach was a fun exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer and I feel very comfortable there; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. And then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolute glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I think all the time: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff because I have experienced a lot of stuff and it’s really been worth it even though things were very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last day because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home (just outside New York). It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20 year old Joan and 30 year old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20 year old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince…definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?”. Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, recipe which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, here now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. But between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think? Especially the ladies amongst us…

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

You can read more about my abysmal love life in my Valentines blog post from 2010.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Adam Smith, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Anieszka Banks, ,Ankolie, ,Artist Andrea, ,Becca Thorne, ,Bex Glover, ,Can We Shall We, ,Diana F+, ,EC One, ,Emma Block, ,Ethical Gold, ,etsy, ,fairtrade, ,Fisheye 2, ,Flowers, ,Gemma Smith, ,gifts, ,Gold, ,hearts, ,ica, ,Je t’aime, ,Jenny Lloyd, ,Jenny Robins, ,jewellery, ,Joana Faria, ,Laura Gravestock, ,Liz Lewis, ,Lou Cloud, ,Museum of Everything, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Oria, ,Peacock Heart, ,Peter Blake, ,Plastic Seconds, ,Prick your Finger, ,Quinky Art, ,rob ryan, ,Simon Critchley, ,Society 6, ,Soma Gallery, ,The School of Life, ,Valentine’s Day

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day – What’s it all about anyway?

valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.



Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,Bonbi Forest, ,Clara Francis, ,craft, ,Hummingbird, ,jewellery, ,Lady Luck Rules OK, ,Lisa Jones, ,make and do, ,rob ryan, ,screenprint, ,Soma Gallery, ,squirrel, ,Tatty Devine, ,Thereza Rowe

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

Soma Gallery - 10th anniversary prints

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

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

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

Soma Gallery - peskimo
Print by Peskimo, available here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soma Gallery - hellomarine
Print by HelloMarine, available here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour closes at Tatty Devine in Brick Lane

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane Biscuiteers

Okay, hospital I admit it, more about it’s taken me over three weeks to get around to writing about my final date on the ACOFI Book Tour… but it was all part of my cunning plan to let you all forget about it and then bring it up all over again! Plus, let’s be honest, I had some pretty darn great coverage around the time of the event. For example this beautiful blog by Alia Gargum, who describes how the process for working for me as a contributor to Amelia’s Magazine has helped her to develop as an illustrator. It’s really nice to get this kind of feedback as I work devilishly hard to promote up and coming creatives and it doesn’t exactly earn me much of a living.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A few ACOFI contributors also came along for the night – read lovely blogs by Emma Block (who has just graduated from Middlesex University with a first) and Gareth A Hopkins. Emily of Tatty Devine also did a round up, as did Mistry of Habs, Ickleson and Katie of The Young Creatives. Spoilt really! And they wrote theirs a lot faster than me… In the intervening weeks time just seems to have flown past and as the graduate shows have piled up I’ve let it slip and slip…

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emma Block
Emma Block.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Alia Gargum
Alia Gargum.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Gareth A Hopkins
Gareth A Hopkins – pretending that the camera is not really there. I’m not fooled.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emily
Emily Prichard of Tatty Devine helping out on the door.

Plus I just knew that this blog would become a bit of biscuit porn fest (in a good way). You have been warned.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers cassieTatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers cassieTatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers

The last date on my ACOFI Book Tour was held on Tuesday 7th June at the Brick Lane branch of Tatty Devine and it was a homecoming of sorts… mere minutes from my house. I had expected it to be a busy night but I was really quite overwhelmed by the amount of people who turned up: creatives of every age, stage of career and creative discipline, not just illustrators – although it was wonderful to meet so many contributors to Amelia’s Magazine who I speak to regularly by email.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers
Colourful icing ready to pipe onto biscuits.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers cassie
Cassie Merrick of the Biscuiteers with her assistant Lou Newton.

Cassie and Lou had laid out a wonderful Biscuiteers display on the counter by the time of my (as usual) frantic arrival: a delightful carpet of pretty biscuits – tiny iced gem tasters in a rainbow of colours and plenty of half iced biscuits on which guests were invited to pipe their own designs. It took awhile for people to warm to the idea, but once we got going there was no stopping us. Even my boyfriend had a go! (and he wasn’t the only boy who stepped up to the mark)

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers

Biscuiteers biscuits come in yummy vanilla and chocolate flavours but it is the handmade decoration that makes them so special. They have a rotating team of trained icers, and Emma Block (having met them at my event) will be joining them as a freelancer this summer. What a great part time job – where can I sign up?! In the meantime Biscuiteers will be helping out with the Letter Lounge event at Tatty Devine Covent Garden on Wednesday 6th July, a result of meeting up on the ACOFI Book Tour.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Sonja
Sonja from Tatty Devine welcomes a visitor to the shop.

It was also lovely to meet Richard Watson, who is the maestro behind Juiceology, the new juice brand that has been supporting all ACOFI Book Tour dates. He’d brought along some updated flavours for us to try in slightly bigger bottles of the type preferred by bars. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better sponsor, and it’s nice to know that the ACOFI Book Tour has enabled yet more introductions – Juiceology recently sponsored the Andy Smith solo show at Soma Gallery, which I visited a month ago.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Richard Watson Juiceology
Richard Watson of Juiceology.

I’ve started to see Juiceology for sale in boutique sandwich shops, so make sure you check them out next time you see them on the shelf – I can’t recommend them highly enough. Richard has some other flavours in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to trying his next flavour soon.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Lahloo TeaACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Lahloo Tea
Lahloo Tea once again provided some delicious peppermint and earl grey tea for the event, which was served to guests in dainty china cups.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Heather Stanton
And of course no event would be complete without some samples of Dr. Hauschka products. This time Heather Stanton of Dr.Hauschka was actually able to make it along and join in the fun with her hubby Will. It was lovely to catch up with her.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011

Once everyone had had ample time to meet, mingle, share work and decorate a Biscuiteers biscuit I invited everyone to gather around and stood with my computer held aloft on my shoulder to give the talk. Having done the spiel five times already I raced through it even faster than I have done in the past – mostly because I was aware that everyone was squished into the shop, all standing, and I felt pretty bad about that. I think everyone enjoyed it though.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Amelia Gregory

Amongst the many Amelia’s Magazine contributors who came along to the event were these lovely illustrators:

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Kristina Vasiljeva
Kristina Vasiljeva has just finished her FdA illustration course at Camberwell. She has been contributing some wonderful fashion illustrations to the magazine.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers
Hannah Simpson was recently awarded a prize at the V&A illustration awards. Here she is icing biscuits with Kristina.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Helena Maratheftis
Illustrator Helena Maratheftis also posted some photos of the event.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Naomi Law and Matt Bramford
Naomi Law is of course featured in ACOFI, here with her old chum, my ex fashion editor Matt Bramford.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Soni Speight, aka IcklesonACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Soni Speight, aka Ickleson
Soni Speight, aka Ickleson showed us her wonderful business cards.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Lou Cloud
Lou Cloud and her boyfriend.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Katie Byrne Emma Block
Other guests included Katie Byrne of The Young Creatives with her friend Emma Block, who showed us through some loose collage bits in her portfolio.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emma BlockACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emma Block
Emma Block’s delicate collage work.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Alia Gargum
Alia Gargum and a friend enjoy a nice cup of Lahloo tea.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-plastic seconds
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Maria Gareth and Alia
Maria Papadimitriou of Slowly the Eggs came along again (she also came to the first Tatty Devine event) this time sporting yet another amazing Plastic Seconds necklace (here with Gareth and Alia). Maria even went to the trouble of doing another write up on her blog. What a star!

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Gareth a Hopkins
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-The Intercorstal: Valentine
New work by Gareth A Hopkins – The Intercorstal: Valentine.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Karen
I first met Karen from Stepney City Farm on my twitter feed. Since meeting Gareth and Alia at my event they have helped to create artwork for the Paul Foot Farm Favourite Jigsaw Puzzle East End Weekend which is taking place at the farm on the 9th-10th July to raise much needed funds. You can see their wonderful artwork on Paul Foot’s website.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Agnes Bataclan Melinda Barbi
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011- Melinda Barbi Sara Lofwander
Other attendees included Melinda Barbi, an LCF Fashion Photography student who came along with Sara Lofwander and Agnes Bataclan in advance of my lecturing visit to the London College of Fashion. Inspired by the ACOFI event they made me cookies and cake for my visit, which was MUCH appreciated.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Siobhan of Flamingo Magazine
It was nice to see Siobhan Leddy of Flamingo Magazine – with whom I did an interview awhile back.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Susannah Cartwright
Susannah Cartwright is a textile designer who is taking part in The Stinging Netil Art Mart on Sunday 10th July in the Netil House car park. Why not check it out?

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Harriet Vine
Tatty Devine’s Harriet Vine.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Cari Steel Emma Crosby
My former music editor Cari Steel popped in briefly and I made her pose with sales agent Emma Crosby like they’ve known each other forever. Convincing no?

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011

Don’t forget that you can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration on my website or from all good retailers (including Amazon) – please do buy the book and support the wealth of talent within. And that, my friends, is the ACOFI Book Tour done and dusted…

Categories ,ACOFI, ,ACOFI Book Tour, ,Agnes Bataclan, ,Alia Gargum, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andy Smith, ,Biscuiteers, ,Book Tour, ,Cari Steel, ,Cassie Merrick, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,Emma Block, ,Emma Crosby, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Flamingo Magazine, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Hannah Simpson, ,Harriet Vine, ,Heather Stanton, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,Ickleson, ,Juiceology, ,Katie Byrne, ,Kristina Vasiljeva, ,Lahloo Tea, ,Letter Lounge, ,London College of Fashion, ,Lou Cloud, ,Lou Newton, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Matt Bramford, ,Melinda Barbi, ,Naomi Law, ,Netil House, ,Paul Foot, ,Plastic Seconds, ,Richard Watson, ,Sara Lofwander, ,Siobhan Leddy, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Soma Gallery, ,Soni Speight, ,Stepney City Farm, ,Susannah Cartwright, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Stinging Netil Art Mart, ,The Young Creatives

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Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour closes at Tatty Devine in Brick Lane

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane Biscuiteers

Okay, I admit it, it’s taken me over three weeks to get around to writing about my final date on the ACOFI Book Tour… but it was all part of my cunning plan to let you all forget about it and then bring it up all over again! Plus, let’s be honest, I had some pretty darn great coverage around the time of the event. For example this beautiful blog by Alia Gargum, who describes how the process for working for me as a contributor to Amelia’s Magazine has helped her to develop as an illustrator. It’s really nice to get this kind of feedback as I work devilishly hard to promote up and coming creatives and it doesn’t exactly earn me much of a living.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A few ACOFI contributors also came along for the night – read lovely blogs by Emma Block (who has just graduated from Middlesex University with a first) and Gareth A Hopkins. Emily of Tatty Devine also did a round up, as did Mistry of Habs, Ickleson and Katie of The Young Creatives. Spoilt really! And they wrote theirs a lot faster than me… In the intervening weeks time just seems to have flown past and as the graduate shows have piled up I’ve let it slip and slip…

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emma Block
Emma Block.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Alia Gargum
Alia Gargum.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Gareth A Hopkins
Gareth A Hopkins – pretending that the camera is not really there. I’m not fooled.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emily
Emily Prichard of Tatty Devine helping out on the door.

Plus I just knew that this blog would become a bit of biscuit porn fest (in a good way). You have been warned.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers cassieTatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers cassieTatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers

The last date on my ACOFI Book Tour was held on Tuesday 7th June at the Brick Lane branch of Tatty Devine and it was a homecoming of sorts… mere minutes from my house. I had expected it to be a busy night but I was really quite overwhelmed by the amount of people who turned up: creatives of every age, stage of career and creative discipline, not just illustrators – although it was wonderful to meet so many contributors to Amelia’s Magazine who I speak to regularly by email.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers
Colourful icing ready to pipe onto biscuits.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers cassie
Cassie Merrick of the Biscuiteers with her assistant Lou Newton.

Cassie and Lou had laid out a wonderful Biscuiteers display on the counter by the time of my (as usual) frantic arrival: a delightful carpet of pretty biscuits – tiny iced gem tasters in a rainbow of colours and plenty of half iced biscuits on which guests were invited to pipe their own designs. It took awhile for people to warm to the idea, but once we got going there was no stopping us. Even my boyfriend had a go! (and he wasn’t the only boy who stepped up to the mark)

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers

Biscuiteers biscuits come in yummy vanilla and chocolate flavours but it is the handmade decoration that makes them so special. They have a rotating team of trained icers, and Emma Block (having met them at my event) will be joining them as a freelancer this summer. What a great part time job – where can I sign up?! In the meantime Biscuiteers will be helping out with the Letter Lounge event at Tatty Devine Covent Garden on Wednesday 6th July, a result of meeting up on the ACOFI Book Tour.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Sonja
Sonja from Tatty Devine welcomes a visitor to the shop.

It was also lovely to meet Richard Watson, who is the maestro behind Juiceology, the new juice brand that has been supporting all ACOFI Book Tour dates. He’d brought along some updated flavours for us to try in slightly bigger bottles of the type preferred by bars. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better sponsor, and it’s nice to know that the ACOFI Book Tour has enabled yet more introductions – Juiceology recently sponsored the Andy Smith solo show at Soma Gallery, which I visited a month ago.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Richard Watson Juiceology
Richard Watson of Juiceology.

I’ve started to see Juiceology for sale in boutique sandwich shops, so make sure you check them out next time you see them on the shelf – I can’t recommend them highly enough. Richard has some other flavours in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to trying his next flavour soon.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Lahloo TeaACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Lahloo Tea
Lahloo Tea once again provided some delicious peppermint and earl grey tea for the event, which was served to guests in dainty china cups.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Heather Stanton
And of course no event would be complete without some samples of Dr. Hauschka products. This time Heather Stanton of Dr.Hauschka was actually able to make it along and join in the fun with her hubby Will. It was lovely to catch up with her.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011
ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011

Once everyone had had ample time to meet, mingle, share work and decorate a Biscuiteers biscuit I invited everyone to gather around and stood with my computer held aloft on my shoulder to give the talk. Having done the spiel five times already I raced through it even faster than I have done in the past – mostly because I was aware that everyone was squished into the shop, all standing, and I felt pretty bad about that. I think everyone enjoyed it though.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Amelia Gregory

Amongst the many Amelia’s Magazine contributors who came along to the event were these lovely illustrators:

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Kristina Vasiljeva
Kristina Vasiljeva has just finished her FdA illustration course at Camberwell. She has been contributing some wonderful fashion illustrations to the magazine.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Biscuiteers
Hannah Simpson was recently awarded a prize at the V&A illustration awards. Here she is icing biscuits with Kristina.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Helena Maratheftis
Illustrator Helena Maratheftis also posted some photos of the event.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Naomi Law and Matt Bramford
Naomi Law is of course featured in ACOFI, here with her old chum, my ex fashion editor Matt Bramford.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Soni Speight, aka IcklesonACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Soni Speight, aka Ickleson
Soni Speight, aka Ickleson showed us her wonderful business cards.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Lou Cloud
Lou Cloud and her boyfriend.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Katie Byrne Emma Block
Other guests included Katie Byrne of The Young Creatives with her friend Emma Block, who showed us through some loose collage bits in her portfolio.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emma BlockACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Emma Block
Emma Block’s delicate collage work.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Alia Gargum
Alia Gargum and a friend enjoy a nice cup of Lahloo tea.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-plastic seconds
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Maria Gareth and Alia
Maria Papadimitriou of Slowly the Eggs came along again (she also came to the first Tatty Devine event) this time sporting yet another amazing Plastic Seconds necklace (here with Gareth and Alia). Maria even went to the trouble of doing another write up on her blog. What a star!

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Gareth a Hopkins
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-The Intercorstal: Valentine
New work by Gareth A Hopkins – The Intercorstal: Valentine.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Karen
I first met Karen from Stepney City Farm on my twitter feed. Since meeting Gareth and Alia at my event they have helped to create artwork for the Paul Foot Farm Favourite Jigsaw Puzzle East End Weekend which is taking place at the farm on the 9th-10th July to raise much needed funds. You can see their wonderful artwork on Paul Foot’s website.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Agnes Bataclan Melinda Barbi
Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011- Melinda Barbi Sara Lofwander
Other attendees included Melinda Barbi, an LCF Fashion Photography student who came along with Sara Lofwander and Agnes Bataclan in advance of my lecturing visit to the London College of Fashion. Inspired by the ACOFI event they made me cookies and cake for my visit, which was MUCH appreciated.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Siobhan of Flamingo Magazine
It was nice to see Siobhan Leddy of Flamingo Magazine – with whom I did an interview awhile back.

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Susannah Cartwright
Susannah Cartwright is a textile designer who is taking part in The Stinging Netil Art Mart on Sunday 10th July in the Netil House car park. Why not check it out?

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011-Harriet Vine
Tatty Devine’s Harriet Vine.

ACOFI Tour Tatty Devine Brick Lane 2011-Cari Steel Emma Crosby
My former music editor Cari Steel popped in briefly and I made her pose with sales agent Emma Crosby like they’ve known each other forever. Convincing no?

Tatty Devine Brick Lane ACOFI 2011

Don’t forget that you can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration on my website or from all good retailers (including Amazon) – please do buy the book and support the wealth of talent within. And that, my friends, is the ACOFI Book Tour done and dusted…

Categories ,ACOFI, ,ACOFI Book Tour, ,Agnes Bataclan, ,Alia Gargum, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Andy Smith, ,Biscuiteers, ,Book Tour, ,Cari Steel, ,Cassie Merrick, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,Emma Block, ,Emma Crosby, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Flamingo Magazine, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Hannah Simpson, ,Harriet Vine, ,Heather Stanton, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,Ickleson, ,Juiceology, ,Katie Byrne, ,Kristina Vasiljeva, ,Lahloo Tea, ,Letter Lounge, ,London College of Fashion, ,Lou Cloud, ,Lou Newton, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Matt Bramford, ,Melinda Barbi, ,Naomi Law, ,Netil House, ,Paul Foot, ,Plastic Seconds, ,Richard Watson, ,Sara Lofwander, ,Siobhan Leddy, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Soma Gallery, ,Soni Speight, ,Stepney City Farm, ,Susannah Cartwright, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Stinging Netil Art Mart, ,The Young Creatives

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Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour: visiting The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011

On Tuesday I hit the second date of my ACOFI Book Tour, buy this time at the rather wonderful Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. I chat with super friendly bookshop guru Matthew via the wonders of twitter, symptoms so it was a delight to meet him in the flesh.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Narcissus Garden Yayoi Kusama
Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama.

After settling in for a nice piece of fruit tart and a glance at a selection of the newest titles in the incredibly well stocked bookshop I had a brief chance to wander around the current exhibition Narcissus Reflected, information pills which features a painting by Salvador Dali on loan from the Tate and for the very first time shown as it was meant to be, with the poem that accompanies it. Upstairs a mass of light silver balls floods the airy space – Narcissus Garden is an update of a piece by Yayoi Kusama first shown back in the 1960s. A small darkened room strewn with comfy floor cushions has been cordoned off to showcase a beautifully soporific film by Pipilotti Rist.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 biscuitsACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-iced gemsACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 biscuits

The Fruitmarket Gallery cafe was sadly closed for our evening event so I went a bit crazy in the local supermarket: plates of colourful Jammy Dodgers, Iced Party Rings, Jaffa Cakes, Iced Gems and Pink Wafers were soon adorning the cafe tables. Yup! It was a veritable E number fest. If it’s not going to be beautifully homemade why not head off to the other end of the spectrum I say?! These biscuits remind me of many a childhood party…

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Dr.Hauschka
At the front I arranged a tray of yummy Dr.Hauschka goodies for guests to take away and try later.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Juiceology
Matthew’s expert merchandising skills came to the forefront as he arranged a (fashionable) colour block display of Juiceology juices and appealing piles of ACOFI and AAOI atop a round table next to which I sat to give my talk.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
Abi Lewis of We Are Caravan.

I had been a bit nervous about travelling all the way to Edinburgh because it’s so far away from my normal stomping ground and I don’t really know many people up there… but I needn’t have worried because the cafe packed out very quickly with about 50 people, who gathered in friendly groups, chatting and taking the opportunity to sample the colourful Juiceology offerings before I settled down to do my talk, a very good write up of which you can read on the We Are Caravan blog.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
v
Lesley Barnes and her friend Libby.

Luckily my only Scottish-based ACOFI illustrator Lesley Barnes was also in able to make it along to The Fruitmarket Gallery – she brought along some wonderful work to share with us, and talked a little bit about the process of working with me so it was really wonderful to have her there, especially now we’ve been working together for nearly two years since she answered the brief for my first book. I only realised this week that this was in fact pretty much the start of her involvement with briefed illustration, although she was doing lots of her own work beforehand.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Lesley Barnes

I do like to remind people that hers is an exceptional talent – Lesley Barnes has never been formally trained, instead choosing to do a degree in English Literature, and yet she has managed to develop an utterly unique and identifiable style that is finally garnering some acclaim: she featured in a recent issue of the Sunday Times Style magazine and her work is stocked in the Soma Gallery, to which I will be trundling along on Thursday 26th May.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011

After the talk there was more time to speak to everyone and I managed to take snaps of just a few of the delightful creative people that I met: some of whom I persuaded to pose against the excellent neon sculpture in The Fruitmarket Gallery cafe area.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-We Are Caravan
Ian, Julz and Abi run We Are Caravan, with whom I’ve been chatting on twitter in the run up to my Edinburgh visit. You can also find Abi Lewis, who was dressed in the most wonderful patterned vintage dress, at Hateful Snippets. We Are Caravan run a mobile gallery that travels around in yes, you guessed it, a caravan.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Kirsty Jay Anderson and Emily Hall
Kirsty Jay Anderson and Emily Hall had come along to get inspired. Kirsty studied textiles and now runs A Wooden Tree which sells gorgeous upcycled vintage textiles and ephemera, whilst Emily has recently decided that she is going to turn her hand to illustration after doing many other things for years, including stone carving in castles, which sounds fantastic! I look forward to seeing what she produces.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Mabel Forsyth and Siobhan Murchie
Mabel Forsyth, aka Pink Pig came along with her work colleague Siobhan Murchie of Shiv Illustration – who just happens to be the cousin of Amelia’s Magazine contributor Sam Parr. What a small and wondrous world.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Roger la Borde
The Fruitmarket Gallery stocks my new range of Roger la Borde cards alongside my books (above), and so it was great to meet Lucy, who distributes my card designs all over Scotland. What a lovely lady she is! Here with her friend Sara.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Lucy and Sara

A very enjoyable part of the evening was giving a few portfolio crits. Yay! I hope I get to do more of these at the next few places I am visiting.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Casey Otremba
Casey Otremba.

First up I met American lass Casey Otremba, who was formerly a packaging designer in New York before becoming inspired to come to Edinburgh to study illustration a few years ago. The reason? Someone showed her a copy of issue 4 of Amelia’s Magazine. Double yay!

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Casey Otremba
Her fashion illustration portfolio features some really wonderful fine line pencil work with some stylish injections of pure vibrant colour. I particularly loved the meticulous fluidity of the poses she draws and I hope she’s going to start contributing to Amelia’s Magazine soon so you’ll get to see more of her work…

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson
Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-doodle by Lizzie Hudson
A doodle by Lizzie Hudson.

Elizabeth Hudson had travelled all the way from Glasgow, where she studies fine art, along with her friend Culloden Robertson of Iko Art. It was wonderful to see how a trained fine artist adapts to illustration briefs and I was particularly enamoured of the sweeping fantasies of her impulsive narrative work which make imaginative use of colour, line and text.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson, Amelia
Myself with Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson. I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to stick my finger in my ear. It was late.

As a special thankyou to everyone who turned up for this event we are extending the special offer that was available on the night at The Fruitmarket Gallery. Just quote Amelia’s Blog offer when you go in, and you’ll be able to purchase both Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration and Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration for £40 together, or for £22 apiece. The offer is valid for one more week, so if you didn’t decide to purchase on the night you can still take advantage of some very reasonable prices indeed. Thankyou Fruitmarket Gallery!

Next week I will be embarking on a triple whammy: Brighton on Tuesday 24th May at Castor & Pollux, where we’ll be fed by cupcakes from the Angel Food Bakery, then on to Comma Shop on Wednesday 25th May, where there will be the chance to sample a specially blended new flavour of ice cream from G & D’s Cafe: raspberry with white and dark chocolate chips. Nom nom nom. Plus rosette button making lessons from Anna Butler at Custom Made UK. Really, what’s not to like?!

Then on Thursday 26th May I’ll be turning up at the Soma Gallery in Bristol: where Hart’s Bakery will be providing home made iced biscuits, custard creams and gingerbread hearts, whilst local girl and Lahloo Tea founder Kate Gover will be on hand to answer all your tea-related questions.

Finally, I will be back at Tatty Devine on Tuesday 7th June the week after, where I will round up the ACOFI Book Tour with a little help from Biscuiteers. Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible en route! Don’t forget to join the facebook events by clicking on the various shop links above.

Categories ,A Wooden Tree, ,AAOI, ,Abi Lewis, ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Angel Food Bakery, ,Anna Butler, ,Biscuiteers, ,Biscuits, ,brighton, ,bristol, ,Casey Otremba, ,Castor and Pollux, ,Comma Shop, ,Culloden Robertson, ,cupcakes, ,Custom Made UK, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,edinburgh, ,Elizabeth Hudson, ,Emily Hall, ,G & D’s Cafe, ,Hart’s Bakery, ,Hateful Snippets, ,Ice Cream, ,Iced Gems, ,Iced Party Rings, ,Iko Art, ,Jaffa Cakes, ,Jammy Dodgers, ,Juiceology, ,Kate Gover, ,Kirsty Jay Anderson, ,Lahloo Tea, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Mabel Forsyth, ,Narcissus Garden, ,Narcissus Reflected, ,Oxford, ,Pink Pig Illustration, ,Pink Wafers, ,Pipilotti Rist, ,Roger La Borde, ,Salvador Dali, ,Sam Parr, ,scotland, ,Shiv Illustration, ,Siobhan Murchie, ,Soma Gallery, ,Sunday Times Style, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Fruitmarket Gallery, ,Yayoi Kusama

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Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour: visiting The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011

On Tuesday I hit the second date of my ACOFI Book Tour, this time at the rather wonderful Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. I chat with super friendly bookshop guru Matthew via the wonders of twitter, so it was a delight to meet him in the flesh.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Narcissus Garden Yayoi Kusama
Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama.

After settling in for a nice piece of fruit tart and a glance at a selection of the newest titles in the incredibly well stocked bookshop I had a brief chance to wander around the current exhibition Narcissus Reflected, which features a painting by Salvador Dali on loan from the Tate and for the very first time shown as it was meant to be, with the poem that accompanies it. Upstairs a mass of light silver balls floods the airy space – Narcissus Garden is an update of a piece by Yayoi Kusama first shown back in the 1960s. A small darkened room strewn with comfy floor cushions has been cordoned off to showcase a beautifully soporific film by Pipilotti Rist.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 biscuitsACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-iced gemsACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 biscuits

The Fruitmarket Gallery cafe was sadly closed for our evening event so I went a bit crazy in the local supermarket: plates of colourful Jammy Dodgers, Iced Party Rings, Jaffa Cakes, Iced Gems and Pink Wafers were soon adorning the cafe tables. Yup! It was a veritable E number fest. If it’s not going to be beautifully homemade why not head off to the other end of the spectrum I say?! These biscuits remind me of many a childhood party…

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Dr.Hauschka
At the front I arranged a tray of yummy Dr.Hauschka goodies for guests to take away and try later.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Juiceology
Matthew’s expert merchandising skills came to the forefront as he arranged a (fashionable) colour block display of Juiceology juices and appealing piles of ACOFI and AAOI atop a round table next to which I sat to give my talk.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
Abi Lewis of We Are Caravan.

I had been a bit nervous about travelling all the way to Edinburgh because it’s so far away from my normal stomping ground and I don’t really know many people up there… but I needn’t have worried because the cafe packed out very quickly with about 50 people, who gathered in friendly groups, chatting and taking the opportunity to sample the colourful Juiceology offerings before I settled down to do my talk, a very good write up of which you can read on the We Are Caravan blog.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011
v
Lesley Barnes and her friend Libby.

Luckily my only Scottish-based ACOFI illustrator Lesley Barnes was also in able to make it along to The Fruitmarket Gallery – she brought along some wonderful work to share with us, and talked a little bit about the process of working with me so it was really wonderful to have her there, especially now we’ve been working together for nearly two years since she answered the brief for my first book. I only realised this week that this was in fact pretty much the start of her involvement with briefed illustration, although she was doing lots of her own work beforehand.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Lesley Barnes

I do like to remind people that hers is an exceptional talent – Lesley Barnes has never been formally trained, instead choosing to do a degree in English Literature, and yet she has managed to develop an utterly unique and identifiable style that is finally garnering some acclaim: she featured in a recent issue of the Sunday Times Style magazine and her work is stocked in the Soma Gallery, to which I will be trundling along on Thursday 26th May.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011

After the talk there was more time to speak to everyone and I managed to take snaps of just a few of the delightful creative people that I met: some of whom I persuaded to pose against the excellent neon sculpture in The Fruitmarket Gallery cafe area.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-We Are Caravan
Ian, Julz and Abi run We Are Caravan, with whom I’ve been chatting on twitter in the run up to my Edinburgh visit. You can also find Abi Lewis, who was dressed in the most wonderful patterned vintage dress, at Hateful Snippets. We Are Caravan run a mobile gallery that travels around in yes, you guessed it, a caravan.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Kirsty Jay Anderson and Emily Hall
Kirsty Jay Anderson and Emily Hall had come along to get inspired. Kirsty studied textiles and now runs A Wooden Tree which sells gorgeous upcycled vintage textiles and ephemera, whilst Emily has recently decided that she is going to turn her hand to illustration after doing many other things for years, including stone carving in castles, which sounds fantastic! I look forward to seeing what she produces.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Mabel Forsyth and Siobhan Murchie
Mabel Forsyth, aka Pink Pig came along with her work colleague Siobhan Murchie of Shiv Illustration – who just happens to be the cousin of Amelia’s Magazine contributor Sam Parr. What a small and wondrous world.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Roger la Borde
The Fruitmarket Gallery stocks my new range of Roger la Borde cards alongside my books (above), and so it was great to meet Lucy, who distributes my card designs all over Scotland. What a lovely lady she is! Here with her friend Sara.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Lucy and Sara

A very enjoyable part of the evening was giving a few portfolio crits. Yay! I hope I get to do more of these at the next few places I am visiting.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Casey Otremba
Casey Otremba.

First up I met American lass Casey Otremba, who was formerly a packaging designer in New York before becoming inspired to come to Edinburgh to study illustration a few years ago. The reason? Someone showed her a copy of issue 4 of Amelia’s Magazine. Double yay!

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-Casey Otremba
Her fashion illustration portfolio features some really wonderful fine line pencil work with some stylish injections of pure vibrant colour. I particularly loved the meticulous fluidity of the poses she draws and I hope she’s going to start contributing to Amelia’s Magazine soon so you’ll get to see more of her work…

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson
Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011-doodle by Lizzie Hudson
A doodle by Lizzie Hudson.

Elizabeth Hudson had travelled all the way from Glasgow, where she studies fine art, along with her friend Culloden Robertson of Iko Art. It was wonderful to see how a trained fine artist adapts to illustration briefs and I was particularly enamoured of the sweeping fantasies of her impulsive narrative work which make imaginative use of colour, line and text.

ACOFI Book Tour Fruitmarket Edinburgh 2011 Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson, Amelia
Myself with Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson. I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to stick my finger in my ear. It was late.

As a special thankyou to everyone who turned up for this event we are extending the special offer that was available on the night at The Fruitmarket Gallery. Just quote Amelia’s Blog offer when you go in, and you’ll be able to purchase both Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration and Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration for £40 together, or for £22 apiece. The offer is valid for one more week, so if you didn’t decide to purchase on the night you can still take advantage of some very reasonable prices indeed. Thankyou Fruitmarket Gallery!

Next week I will be embarking on a triple whammy: Brighton on Tuesday 24th May at Castor & Pollux, where we’ll be fed by cupcakes from the Angel Food Bakery, then on to Comma Shop on Wednesday 25th May, where there will be the chance to sample a specially blended new flavour of ice cream from G & D’s Cafe: raspberry with white and dark chocolate chips. Nom nom nom. Plus rosette button making lessons from Anna Butler at Custom Made UK. Really, what’s not to like?!

Then on Thursday 26th May I’ll be turning up at the Soma Gallery in Bristol: where Hart’s Bakery will be providing home made iced biscuits, custard creams and gingerbread hearts, whilst local girl and Lahloo Tea founder Kate Gover will be on hand to answer all your tea-related questions.

Finally, I will be back at Tatty Devine on Tuesday 7th June the week after, where I will round up the ACOFI Book Tour with a little help from Biscuiteers. Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible en route! Don’t forget to join the facebook events by clicking on the various shop links above.

Categories ,A Wooden Tree, ,AAOI, ,Abi Lewis, ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Angel Food Bakery, ,Anna Butler, ,Biscuiteers, ,Biscuits, ,brighton, ,bristol, ,Casey Otremba, ,Castor and Pollux, ,Comma Shop, ,Culloden Robertson, ,cupcakes, ,Custom Made UK, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,edinburgh, ,Elizabeth Hudson, ,Emily Hall, ,G & D’s Cafe, ,Hart’s Bakery, ,Hateful Snippets, ,Ice Cream, ,Iced Gems, ,Iced Party Rings, ,Iko Art, ,Jaffa Cakes, ,Jammy Dodgers, ,Juiceology, ,Kate Gover, ,Kirsty Jay Anderson, ,Lahloo Tea, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Mabel Forsyth, ,Narcissus Garden, ,Narcissus Reflected, ,Oxford, ,Pink Pig Illustration, ,Pink Wafers, ,Pipilotti Rist, ,Roger La Borde, ,Salvador Dali, ,Sam Parr, ,scotland, ,Shiv Illustration, ,Siobhan Murchie, ,Soma Gallery, ,Sunday Times Style, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Fruitmarket Gallery, ,Yayoi Kusama

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

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 -000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Lahloo tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour visits Soma Gallery in Bristol

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011

Soma Gallery has been a faithful stockist of Amelia’s Magazine since the early days of its print version, generic so I’ve had a long and lovely relationship with gallery owner Fiona Hamilton:

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Fiona Hamilton

Fiona started up Soma Gallery in 2005 as a place to show up and coming artists, and thanks to her good eye she picked up on the likes of Rob Ryan, Anthony Burrill and Gemma Correll early on in their careers.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011

Soma Gallery used to be housed in a tiny space inside the Clifton Arcade but last year Fiona moved into a bigger shop across the road and it was in the upstairs gallery that we held the ACOFI Book Tour gathering just over a week ago.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 LahlooACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Lahloo Tea

When I arrived (last minute, slightly flustered, again. must learn to manage time better) Kate Gover from Lahloo Tea already had the kettle on. She was joined by Vicky and Stu, who were both excellent people to have helping out. Kate came to the tea trade via restaurant retail, but it was a slightly strange career path to choose because she hates normal builders’ tea.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Kate and Fiona
Kate Gover shows Fiona some of the tea.

Due to her inquisitive nature she decided to find a tea that she did enjoy drinking and spent many years developing her palette by training with some of the best tea masters – through them she met with the small scale producers who now supply her with the very best quality teas from their estates. Lahloo Teas can be bought in Chandos Deli and Arch House Deli in Bristol, as well as in fine food stores across the UK. I particularly love Kate’s dedication to the way her teas are presented – she has developed some lovely flyers to promote the tea, her logo features a great fat red heart, and larger quantities come presented in a wooden box. Each tin is decorated with an old shipping map that was inspired by the travels of a famous clipper that her great grandfather sailed on, after which the tea brand is named. Clearly she is a lady for whom attention to detail is important and it certainly pays off with her fragrant teas. Choose from such delights as Amber Oolong Tea, grown on a misty mountain in Taiwan or Guricha Green Loose Tea from China.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Hart's BakeryACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Hart's Bakery iced ginger heartsACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Hart's Bakery iced bicycle biscuits

Lahloo Tea is the perfect accompaniment to a very good hand made biscuit… and on the table were three expertly packed boxes of the most stupendously gorgeous biscuits from Hart’s Bakery: as promised Laura had hand made heart shaped custard creams, iced gingerbread hearts and the cutest hand iced shortbread bicycles. Honestly, I am flabbergasted at pâtissière Laura’s skills – she’s trained with the best of them and it shows. Good folks of Bristol, if you want to try something really special then you should visit her in her shop in Hampton Lane for some artisan delights, where you can also try rhubarb and almond danish, eccles cakes alongside savoury delicacies such as olive and rosemary bread and filled croissants. It really doesn’t get better than this. I am jealous of you Bristol folks.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Juiceology
ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Juiceology
Of course we once more had a little help from Juiceology drinks and Dr.Hauschka goodies, much appreciated by everyone who attended, thankyou!

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Bex Glover
At my Bristol leg of the tour I was lucky enough to be joined by two of the illustrators who are featured in ACOFI – Bex Glover of Severn Studios, whose work just keeps getting better and better. She’s just done a mural for a cafe in Harrods and she is currently featured in several other magazines including The Mighty Pencil – combining two of her favourite things: fashion illustration and animals.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Bex GloverACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Bex GloverACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Bex Glover
She has also been doing tutorials for the likes of Digital Artist Magazine, so you can catch up with some of her techniques there. I’m sure you’ll be seeing much more of Bex’ unique style.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Bex Glover Hart's Bakery
Bex Glover with a Hart’s Bakery bicycle biscuit.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Katie Harnett Lahloo Tea
Katie checks out the Lahloo tea – she’s a big tea fan! Hence her moniker Teabelle!

Katie Harnett is just coming to the end of her degree at UWE, so she’s been very busy putting that together – I look forward to seeing the show in July when it comes to London!

Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Katie Harnett
Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Katie Harnett. She has also been experimenting with some new techniques and animal drawings.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Katie Harnett
She came along with an old school friend and fellow UWE student Lilly Allen, but sadly no one else from UWE came along. I put it down to the frantic time of year…

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Kat and Rog of Howkowpow
It was a pleasure to meet Kat and Rog of Howkapow, who stock a delicious range of goodies on their website. Kat is a girl after my own heart – a lover of bright colours and patterns with an 80s flavour. All good things I say! She was wearing an eye-catching Gonzalo Cutrina Extinct necklace from her website. It’s a mere £55 – what a bargain:

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Gonzalo Cutrina Extinct necklace Howkapow
The Howkapow website invests in new and unknown designers and they plan to open an agency to fully support them alongside. Why not find out more about what they are up to on the Howkapow blog?

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Ben Newman
It was lovely to finally meet illustrator Ben Newman, who illustrated for two issues of Amelia’s Magazine back at the start of what has become a very successful career. What a lovely smiley chap he is!

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Lauren Neko, Bonina Silvestre and Charlotte Pain
Lauren Neko, Bonina Silvestre and Charlotte Pain.

It was also nice to meet the fabulously named Bonina Silvestre and her friend Charlotte Pain, both studying art. Lauren Neko sings and reads dreams. Impressed!

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Lesley Barnes badgesACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Lesley Barnes dancing bear tote
There are countless good reasons to visit Soma Gallery, either at Fiona’s space in Bristol, or online from anywhere in the world: Soma Gallery stocks Lesley Barnes prints, and also Lesley Barnes dancing bear badges… and tote bags.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Fiona Hamilton badgesACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Fiona Hamilton badges
Fiona has an old specialist printer with which she makes these adorable badges: I couldn’t resist buying a metallic pair of brightly coloured rodents. Also stocked at Comma Shop.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Tom Frost
Soma stocks a wide range of one off and limited edition art, including this lovely screenprinted wooden piece from Tom Frost.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Donna Wilson creaturesACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Donna Wilson creatures and Lisa Jones cushion
Donna Wilson animals are in abundant supply, as are Lisa Jones prints, cushions (above) mugs and cards:

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Roger La Borde cards
And of course Soma also does a roaring trade with my new Roger La Borde range. Yay! Make sure you visit Soma Gallery soon.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Ben Newman
Ben Newman reads my Anthology of Illustration.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Lauren Neko
Lauren Neko.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Lilly Allen
Lilly Allen.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Rog, Fiona, Kat
Rog, Fiona and Kat.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011 Stephanie Weise
Stephanie Weise.

ACOFI book tour Soma Gallery 2011
I sat on the floor to give my talk, it was all very informal!
You can read Fiona Hamilton’s marvellous account of the night here.

Don’t forget that I have one more date on my ACOFI Book Tour – if you live in London please do join me at Tatty Devine, Brick Lane, on Tuesday 7th May. I’ll be talking from 7.30pm and there will also be the opportunity to learn how to make iced biscuits with Biscuiteers! Read about my first tour date a few weeks back at Tatty Devine, Covent Garden. Lovely stuff. Join the facebook for the event here.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amber Oolong Tea, ,Anthony Burrill, ,Arch House Deli, ,Ben Newman, ,Bex Glover, ,Biscuiteers, ,Bonina Silvestre, ,Book Tour, ,Chandos Deli, ,Charlotte Pain, ,Clifton Arcade, ,Clipper, ,Comma Shop, ,Digital Artist Magazine, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,Dreaming with Neko, ,Extinct necklace, ,Fiona Hamilton, ,Gemma Correll, ,Gonzalo Cutrina, ,Guri-Cha Green Loose Tea, ,Guricha Green Loose Tea, ,Hart’s Bakery, ,Howkapow, ,Jasper Conran, ,Juiceology, ,Kat and Rog, ,Kate Gover, ,Katie Harnett, ,Lahloo Tea, ,Laura Hart, ,Lauren Neko, ,Lesley Barnes, ,Lilly Allen, ,Lisa Jones, ,pâtissière, ,rob ryan, ,Roger La Borde, ,Severn Studios, ,Soma Gallery, ,Tatty Devine, ,teabelle, ,The Mighty Pencil, ,Tom Frost, ,UWE

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentine’s Day 2012: Gift Ideas

Rebecca-Hendin Valentines bear
Art by Rebecca Hendin.

Yup, it’s that time of year, Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us again… and I’ve been inundated with press releases for any number of loosely affiliated products for weeks on end. Here, then, is my round up of some gift ideas… although I’d like to add that my favourite gifts are usually home made. Call me odd, but I like the thought that someone has put time into creating something – shopping does of course take time as well, but you could always put those hands to use instead of those legs. And if there’s time for neither there’s always the mouse to hand…. As to what to do on the big night: why not read my round up of Valentine’s related events (including classes where you can make your loved a little special something).

Rebecca-Hendin Valentines
Rebecca-Hendin Valentines shakespeare
Firstly, gorgeous prints from Rebecca Hendin, available from her website. A steal! And perfect for evermore.

madi illustration valentines
Amelia’s Magazine contributor Madi has produce this lovely card for all you lovers, available on Etsy.

carne-griffiths-severred-2011-ink-and-tea-on-bockingford-watercolour-paper-75x56cm
For the art lovers amongst you: Debut Contemporary recommend a selection of work from their stable of artists. I adore this beautiful rose painting by Amelia’s Mag contributor Carne Griffiths.

Meet in the Park at night Front Row Society
Front Row Society is a new ethical platform. I like their Meet in the Park at Night printed scarf by Philippines based designer Jennifer Dayrit.

Cleo Ferrin Mercury
Cleo Ferrin Mercury has designed some lovely hibernating animal printed silk neckerchiefs for the boys.

pip n stuff scrabblecufflinks
Also for the man in your life, I like these very simple upcycled scrabble cufflinks by Pipnstuff.

Rob Ryan Valentines soma gallery
I particularly love this year’s annual offering from the original romantic Rob Ryan: there’s something gloriously old fashioned about it which is especially charming. Yours for just £120 from Soma Gallery and it hasn’t sold out yet.

secret envelope you too can look like this
*you too can look like this*

I’ve never been given knickers and personally I’m fine with buying my own, but if your lady likes a bit more luxury in the nether region why not subscribe to Secret Envelope? A monthly subscription for these designer knickers could be just the ticket, available at a very reasonable price.

maggie semple Gift card
How about this for another bespoke idea? Maggie Semple promises to trace the history of a favourite garment, and present the outcome in a beautifully presented book. I like the way that this values treasured clothing: the antithesis of throwaway culture. And all it requires right now is a gift card addressed to your loved one.

hannah martin valentines
On the jewellery front, how about this gorgeous abstract signet ring by Hannah Martin, whose new work is on display at Darkroom – a great destination for unusual gifts.

Maiden rude cakes
Finally I’m not sure what I think about these ‘profane cakes’ from Maiden, but they might appeal to the particularly cynical amongst you. They will be on sale between Friday 10th until Tuesday 14th February at the Maiden shop on Shoreditch High Street. All cakes are made locally in Hackney by Cakey Muto

Find my recommended Valentine’s Day related events here.

Categories ,Cakey Muto, ,Carne Griffiths, ,Cleo Ferrin Mercury, ,Darkroom, ,Debut Contemporary, ,ethical, ,Front Row Society, ,gifts, ,Hannah Martin, ,Jennifer Dayrit, ,jewellery, ,Madi Illustration, ,Maggie Semple, ,Maiden, ,Pipnstuff, ,prints, ,Rebecca Hendin, ,Secret Envelope, ,shoreditch, ,Shoreditch High Street, ,Soma Gallery, ,Valentine’s Day

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