Amelia’s Magazine | Tatty Devine launch new central London store in style

The ExtInked project dreamt up by the Ultimate Holding Company to mark Charles Darwin’s bicentennial birthday is no doubt one of the most unique and amazing projects I’ve heard about in a long time. Along with an exhibition illustrating 100 of the most endangered animals in the British Isles, viagra 40mg sick the event came to an astounding conclusion with the tattooing of 100 volunteers who then became ambassadors for their animal. So as the exhibition closed yesterday, pilule what is to become of the ambassadors, now back in their natural habitats?

A friend of mine was lucky to be involved in the project and here he shares his experiences with me.

So why did you take part in the ExtInked Project?

Since getting involved with UHC sometime last winter, I’ve been a part of a number of really interesting projects with them. ExtInked was something they have been talking about for a long time and the idea always really appealed to me. I think it’s a really great thing to be a part of, people have learned so much about which animals are endangered and hopefully will think about why that is, and what can be done about it. For me, I try to make a lot of environmental decisions in my life and feel extremely passionate about the use of animals and our finite natural resources for human gain.

Wildlife conservation and the environment are extremely important, in our relatively short time on this earth we have managed to destroy so much. Positive and big things are happening from the ground up. There is a fast growing environmental movement, but the important decisions need to be made from the top, which, unfortunately is not happening nearly enough.

It seems easier for leaders of governments and corporations to pretend they are doing something, rather than making an important change, that could make a really big difference.

Ext Inked was a great way to be involved in one of the most creative bottom-up environmental actions I know of, I now have a species permanently on my body, which throughout my life no doubt, hundreds of people will ask about, and I will be able to tell them the information I learned about that particular species, the project, the movement, and, in my case, the RSPB and other organisations helping to protect birds in the UK.

Which animal did you get? Tell me about the tattoo!

I went for the Black Grouse; I love birds, so for me it had to be a bird. The black grouse is found in the north of England, much of Wales and Scotland. I think to me, it was important to get something that I would be likely to come into contact with, I love golden eagles and leatherback turtles, but I’ve never seen either unfortunately! I don’t think it really matters too much which species I had tattooed though, as it’s more about the project and the issues as a whole than one particular species.

Tell me about the experience! What happened when you went to Manchester?

We went along on the last day around lunch time, which was bit quieter than when I visited on the Thursday night. I was quite pleased about that as all the tattooing happened much like a tattoo convention. There were barriers up at the front, and a stage with the three tattooists from Ink vs. Steel in Leeds, tattooing live in front of whoever was there to watch. As it was my first tattoo, and I didn’t know how much it would hurt, I was a bit nervous about being watched!

I thought I was being tattooed at 1 o clock, but somebody was running late, and I was early, so they switched our places, I didn’t really have any time to feel too nervous, before I knew it I was laid face down, being tattooed. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt, because it did, but the mix of the atmosphere, and the rush of adrenaline you get puts you in a really strange place. I just laid their trying to work out how much it hurt and which bit he was doing, it was actually a pretty good feeling! Having had the tattoo a couple of days now, the pain seems totally insignificant.

Your girlfriend was part of the project too wasn’t she?

My girlfriend Sally got involved too; she got the Rampion Bellflower on her inner arm. She has a lot of tattoos already, so I think she probably had a different experience to me, although she was still a bit nervous. She was really excited to be a part of the project and has already done some good work telling people about the project and spreading the word! Sally is a very creative person, but isn’t able to be too involved in art, so I think it’s great that she really connected with this project and was really receptive to the ideas artists had on conservation.

What about the future? How do you think you’ll feel about the tattoo in 20 years time?

In twenty years time I have no idea how I will feel about the tattoo, but the more I live, the more I learn, and the more I learn, the more passionate I become.

Climate change and human activity is affecting our wildlife, and that’s only going to get worse unless we act quickly and dramatically. If we act now, while we still have a bit of a chance, I will be able to look at my tattoo and think, I’m glad we did something, and If not, I don’t think anybody will see it because my leg will probably be under water!

DSC_0608All imagery throughout courtesy of Natalia Kneen.

The recent grand opening of Tatty Devine’s new Covent Garden boutique was an affair to remember. A mini marching band led an excited crowd from Tatty Devine’s Soho shop to the new boutique in Covent Garden’s Seven Dials. Wearing giant Tatty Devine jewellery pieces and holding banners, web balloons and streamers the crowd ascended on to the brand’s new central London home on Monmouth Street. Guests enjoyed mulled cider and cupcakes as they celebrated the momentous occasion for the ‘plastic fantastic’, rx cult jewellery brand. Everyone who attended was treated to a lovely gift bag containing, among other treats, a beautiful pendant necklace from the ‘Button Up’ range.

DSC_0676Tatty Devine founders Rosie and Harriet pictured in the new store.

Tatty Devine founders, Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine will, next year, celebrate the 10th birthday of the company they started together way back in 2000. Since their humble beginning the brand has released well over 20 Collections and has collaborated with a wealth of creatives such as Rob Ryan, Ashish, Peter Jensen, Gilbert and George, Peaches, Bernstock Speirs and the V+A to name but a few. In addition to their stand alone stores Tatty Devine now have over 100 stockists worldwide including MOMA, Selfridges, Tate and Urban Outfitters. With such an established position within London’s fashion scene makes the brand an ideal addition to the exclusive Seven Dials location.  “Monmouth Street has a tradition of independent British fashion boutiques, which suits us perfectly. We’re bringing the spirit of our Soho shop to a new space where we can celebrate our 10th birthday next year in style!”

DSC_0604

The boutique will sell all the current collections, the Best of Tatty Devine range featuring the 50 most popular pieces, and of course their famous name necklaces. Also in stock will be; knitwear by KIND, sunglasses by Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wong, bags by Mimi, and excitingly they will be the exclusive UK stockist of Eley Kishimoto’s flash print purses.

DSC_0599

The Autumn/Winter 2009 ‘Button Up’ collection, inspired by the classic iconography of London’s Pearly Kings and Queens brings out a sense of London pride (and when you buy the Pearly King Brooch or Necklace, £1 from every sale will be donated to charity through the Pearly Kings and Queens Association). For the Tatty Devine aficionados out there you can also see Tatty Devine at Bust’s Craftacular event on December 12th, from 12-7pm, at York Hall in Bethnal Green.  Tatty Devine, 44 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9EP.

Categories ,Alexander Wong, ,Ashish, ,Bernstock Speirs, ,Bust Magazine, ,Covent Garden, ,Crafacular, ,Eley Kishimoto, ,Ester Kneen, ,Gilbert and George, ,Harriet Vine, ,Jeremy Scott, ,KIND, ,London’s Pearly Kings and Queens, ,Mimi, ,MOMA, ,Peaches, ,Peter Jensen, ,rob ryan, ,Rosie Wolfenden, ,Selfridges, ,Seven Dials, ,Tate, ,Tatty Devine, ,Urban Outfitters, ,va

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Amelia’s Magazine | Thirty Years of Ally Capellino at The Wapping Project

little comets

Photos by Jazzy Lemon

It’s not often that a support band makes your ears prick up and pay attention; too often I’ve been to gigs where sub-standard support acts make the wait for the headliners feel that little bit longer. I doubt in their short career that Little Comets have ever had that problem.

They caught my attention when they supported the Noisettes on their national tour last year, and so it was exciting to see the band headline the Joiners in Southampton last week.

Little Comets are already favourites with the music press after a few well publicised stunts such as playing on the Metro, purchase or in the bakery isle of the local Marks & Spencer store, sales in their hometown of Newcastle. Their single ‘One Night In October’ reached No. 1 in the independent singles chart, so they’ve already got a relatively huge following.

It was the busiest I’ve seen the Joiners; it was a room full of sweaty, drunk lads who were all pretty excited for the band to start. When Little Comets play live they breathe life into their bouncy, poppy songs. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the fun of their live sets. At such an intimate venue, the gig really felt like we were watching something special.

Yes, Little Comets are a guitar band and that’s nothing new, but their songs and the way they approach them really are. In a genre that’s been done to death already, Little Comets are unexpectedly unique. In half an hour they convinced me that there is a future for guitar bands; something that no one has been able to do for a good year or so.

The audience sang along to pretty much every song as the band bounced their way through their perfectly formed pop-tracks such as ‘Friday Don’t Need It’ and ‘Adultery’, but it was ‘Joanna’ that really stood out. Unlike their other guitar-pop tunes, this a capella track quietened the room. It’s the song that sets them above their contemporaries and proves they’re not just four guys playing poppy lad-rock. They’re not a grown-up version of McFly, they’re a group of proper musicians who write proper lyrics and know how to engage the crowd.

Someone in the crowd shouted up to singer Rob, confessing that his girlfriend loved him. Rob got a lot of love that night; a couple of tracks in someone shouted that they loved him too. His witty responses, which were quicker than a heartbeat, had the crowd laughing throughout the set. Little Comets are the kind of band that will do well during the festival season. The fun they radiate is infectious and I can imagine nothing nicer than dancing in the afternoon to one of their sets.

They won over my friend whose CD collection extends to a collection of Now albums and the Glee soundtrack If they can do that, I have no doubt they’ll charm their audiences on the rest of the tour, and wherever else they get to play this summer.

Illustration by Aniela Murphy

The other Saturday I took a little trip down to The Wapping Project to see the rather splendid Ally Capellino exhibition. Completely under-publicised, drugs I have to thank Susie over at Style Bubble for bringing it to my attention. I’m a huge fan of this understated label, and I often pop into their store on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch to salivate over their rather wonderful bags, rewarding myself with a coffee at Leila’s afterwards.

Turns out I’m a mere moment from The Wapping Project too, so I popped down with a couple of pals, only to be told by a florist, who shall remain nameless, that the exhibition was closed due to a wedding. Saddened, we stood outside hoping that we could at least get a glimpse through the window. LUCKILY, the director of the WP ushered us in. The wedding wasn’t due to start for a while (the International Sales Director of Topshop’s wedding, none-the-less, lah-de-dah) so we had twenty-two minutes to zip round.

The Wapping Project is ‘an idea consistently in transition’ and is set in the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. Its interior remains pretty much as it would have done when in commercial use, with power hydrants and various power station ephemera still clinging solidly to the floors, around which the space is managed. During the evenings, the main room is transformed into an a la carte restaurant, and said wedding looked pretty incredible.

In the lower, darker, damper room, the Ally Capellino exhibition occupies the entire space. The central exhibition, made from recycled doors and different types of wood, tells the story of this intriguing brand, encircled by portraits of various fashionistas modelling different luggage and apparel.

Ally Capellino is the baby and brainchild of Alison Lloyd, began in 1980 (obv, being its thirtieth birthday). It’s gone from being a very small operation to an acclaimed British leather label. In her own words, she’s gone from ‘young designer to old bag lady’ and this exhibition sees Alison take a nostalgic and sometimes ‘embarrassing’ trip down memory lane.

The essence of Ally Capellino is predominantly British, with sneaky and slight European influences – often the simple style of the Scandinavians. The choronilogical exhibition explains, in just the right amount of detail, the progression of the label year-on-year.. The focus is it’s creative bag and luggage range, with clothing peppered here and there.

The label was originally set up as a clothing brand, and some of the examples on display of early garments are a total treat. It’s only been the past ten years where the accessories have shone through and become the stronghold, but the label has produced some exciting and innovative clothing throughout its existence.

There were graphic patterns, floral prints and neat tailoring in the 1980s:

…While a more futuristic style came through in 1990s with clean lines and masculine shapes:

…and childrenswear has remained fun and hip, reflecting the styles of the mens and womenswear whilst remaining playful:

The focus of the exhibition is the ‘bag wall’ – a huge wall dedicated to said bags – a mixture of new styles and vintage examples sent in by dedicated followers of the brand. Each bag has it’s only story to tell and numbers attached to the bag link to a wall of numbered stories. The essence of the brand is it’s focus on quality – some of these bags, which appear relatively new, are twenty years old for God’s sake!

Rupert Blanchard is behind the recycled, industrial look of the exhibition, and he shares Alison’s ‘passion for salvage and dread of waste’ and nothing looks out of place in this historical landmark.

There’s also a great selection of press material and advertising spanning the whole Ally Capellino era, with some great menswear advertisements, photographic thumbnails, and Vogue featured-in cards:

What does the future hold for the brand? Well, more of the same, please. With a host of collaborations with the likes of the Tate galleries and Apple, I expect there’ll be more of this in the pipeline. And what to say of the bags? Well, hopefully these beautiful creations, in a variety of subtle leathers and complimentary materials, will be produced for years to come.

Head down to the exhibition fast because it’s not on for long – go on, you’ll have a whopping time, even if fashion’s not necessarily your bag. (With puns like these, I should really work in Wapping for a certain tabloid newspaper.)


Illustration by Aniela Murphy

Check out all the important deets here.

Categories ,Alison Lloyd, ,Ally Capellino, ,Apple, ,Bags, ,Calvert Avenue, ,fashion, ,Hipstamatic, ,leather, ,Leila’s Café, ,Recycled wood, ,Rupert Blanchard, ,Salvage, ,shoreditch, ,Tate, ,The Wapping Project, ,vogue, ,wapping

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Preview: Jayne Pierson


Rachel Freire S/S 2011, order illustrated by Krister Selin

‘I’m terrible at interviews’ I announce shortly after arriving at Rachel Freire‘s East London studio. A bit of a melodramatic introduction, this site maybe; but as I now sit staring at my notes which resemble the scribbles of a toddler I now know why I said it.

My trouble is that I just like to listen to people. I get lost in conversation and forget to write anything down. I refuse to record interviews because I hate the sound of my own voice and I find it a bit of a distraction, so my erratic notes are all I have to record our meeting. Sometimes, if I meet up with somebody and they don’t say much, I can manage it; when I meet people like Rachel Freire – gorgeous, mesmerising, opinionated, articulate – I’m left with nothing.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Abby Wright

Rachel is based at the Dace Road studios, home also to the likes of Christopher Raeburn (featured in ACOFI) and Rui Leonardes. Ex-tennants include Mark Fast and Mary Kantrantzou who’ve now moved to Shacklewell Studios, aka hipster central, but despite her successes, Rachel’s staying put. I meet her on a grey Saturday afternoon, she’s been up for most of the night, but you wouldn’t notice despite her protests.

”Whoever says January is a dead month is LYING!’ Rachel exclaims as she makes the tea. I do find that I get on better with people who drink lots of tea. I just don’t trust people who don’t like it. I know, as she gives them a stir, that we’re going to get along. We sit at a big oak desk in the centre of the studio, Rachel lights a cigarette and we begin our conversation. I ask Rachel how it’s going, and she seems pretty positive. She has an army of interns and creates ‘a sense of family’ in her studio, which is adorned with all sorts of interesting antiquities like skulls and baseball paraphernalia. A sign above the door, Rachel’s mantra, reads ‘IF IN DOUBT, SPRAYPAINT IT GOLD,’ a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.


A/W 2010, illustrated by Naomi Law

Rachel brands herself as a ‘costumier’ who happened to fall into fashion, which explains her unique and innovative approach to dressing. ‘I’ll never lose track of my costumier routes,’ she tells me, ‘I’m pretty anti-fashion. It dictates what we wear and how we feel, and I’ve never subscribed to that.’ Her models ‘need to have an arse’ and she’s conscious of the responsibility a fashion designer must adopt, whether that be ethical or environmental. ‘I am the cheapest person!’ Rachel admits, ‘but I will never shop in Primark. I look at the clothes and think ‘somebody suffered for this’. I want customers to hold things knowing somebody’s crafted it – that something is special.’


S/S 2011, illustrated by Gemma Milly

Rachel won’t compromise. She’s staying true to herself and won’t put her name on anything that she hasn’t rigourously vetted and knows exactly where everything has come from. Rachel is as much an ethical designer as any of the Estethica designers – if not more so. She values the work of other people and believes that you ‘have to be ethical in so many different ways’. How you treat your interns, where you source your fabrics, how you communicate with suppliers – all these things, Rachel believes, are necessary for good business, not just opting for ethical fabrics.

Rachel’s previous collections provide sculptural, architectural pieces with innovative techniques (read all about her glow-in-the-dark S/S 2011 collection here) and it seems A/W 2011 will be even more exciting. As we chat about the boy Rachel’s texting and get mixed up with whose tea is whose (easy mistake – Rachel’s recently got a new mug but the Queen of Fucking Everything option she’s given me still has sentimental value) we’re surrounded by leather nipples. REAL nipples.

Rachel and her team of merry men (and women) have been hard at work in the previous weeks to marry them together to make roses. They’re absolutely beautiful to touch and look at but there’s something rather unsettling about them. ‘That’s my aesthetic!’ Rachel declares.

A sneak peek at some of the fabrics, techniques and colours Rachel’s preparing to show this week:


A/W 2010, illustrated by Joana Faria

Rachel’s also working with Ecco, who are developing processes for leather manufacturing for couture houses. Rachel has devoted a lot of her time visiting the Netherlands tannery working alongside them in their quest to transform how we produce and approach leather goods. ‘I’m obsessed with materials!’ Rachel tells me. ‘It’s much nicer to make a jacket out of something that you’ve had an input in from the start.’ She shows me a new process she’s working on (damned if I can remember the name) which gives leather an ethereal ripple-like pattern that looks as if it’s been photoshopped. I’m speechless, and we both sit caressing it for a while until I can think of something to say.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

So what’s up next for Rachel? Well, A/W 2011 looks set to be her bravest collection yet, and I had a sneak peek at some of the fabrics, textures, techniques and cuts she’s working on. On a grander scale, she ‘loves to teach’ and wants to establish a system where the efforts of designers to instil good practises and skills into their army of interns is recognised. She describes mainstay teaching as ‘box ticking’ and, as someone whose never done what she was told to do, feels there’s more to give in a studio-based environment than anything in the classroom. I hear ya, love.

Rachel’s excited about the future. She plans to dazzle once a year at the A/W 2011 shows while maintaining commissions with an ever-expanding roster of clients and other projects during the rest of the year. She also wants to live on a boat and explore costume design in cinema. She references Jean Paul Gaultier‘s work on flicks like The Fifth Element and is excited by the prospect of applying her unique aesthetic to film. It all comes down to financing. ‘Money dictates and creates a standard,’ Rachel tells me. ‘The system to support new designers is very small, but I won’t compromise my values. I’m here to stay.’

I should bloody hope so.

Rachel’s original draqing for her collaboration with Neurotica:

All photography by Matt Bramford
Illustration by Mina Bach

Chad Valley is Hugo Manuel. Oxford born and bred, viagra buy this musician and producer is a member of the recently established Blessing Force Collective and the frontman of alt-folk band Jonquil. As the cold light of the new year dissolved in February, sale Hugo Manuel finished a tour with Twin Shadow and participated in Blessing Force’s recent Warehouse Party at The Old Bookbinders in Oxford. In the days inbetween, Manuel chatted to Amelia’s Magazine about his latest solo venture and what would happen if he ever went for tea with Neil Young…

First things first, how are you finding 2011 so far?

2011 has so far been a blur and feels like its about 10 days old. Its still fresh, and there are lots of plans being hatched.

What’s the story behind the name Chad Valley? I see in previous interviews you’ve mentioned that it’s the name of a toy company begun in the Victorian era?

Chad Valley is actually a place near Birmingham where the toy company was based and it just a wonderful sounding pairing of words. I have no connection with the toy company and when I first knew of the word it wasn’t anything to do with toys. In fact, a friend of mine used it as his stage name when he was in a punk band. Its a kind of generational thing though, because people of my age don’t tend to know about the toy company whereas older generations are like ‘why did you name yourself after Chad Valley!?’ I guess it is a bit like calling myself Argos.


Video for Chad Valley’s Up and Down by Katie Harrison

Which era or decade would you say has inspired your music the most?

For Chad Valley specifically I would have to say the late 80s to very early 90s. Its a kind of end of the decade thing where there is change and new things coming in, a rebellion against what has come before. I think the production values of electronic music had, by then, reached something of a pinnacle and things had got so slick that its almost sickly, but quite amazing at the same time. Outside that though, I think the period of 1969 to 1974 is probably the time I would most love to be making music. The records that came out of that era by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Browne are all some of my favourites of all time.

What’s the musical inspiration behind Chad Valley? Are you still listening to Studio and The Tough Alliance or have you moved on to pastures new?

I still have so much love for those bands, absolutely. And Ceo, which is one of the guys from TA’s new project, is also great. That was definitely the jumping off point for Chad Valley, but things are moving on, for sure. I’m listening to a lot more R&B at the moment, and that is having a big impact on the stuff I’m making right now. I’m delving deep into R Kelly’s back catalogue for inspiration.

Illustration by Maria del Carmen Smith

If Chad Valley were a geographical landscape, what or where would it be? How would you map Jonquil?

It would be New York in the early 70s, just like in Taxi Driver. Jonquil would be LA, in the early 90s. Like in the Ice Cube videos.

What are your thoughts on Up and Down being described in the Guardian as “a slinky Hot Chip on downers, a disco-infused summer “joint” featuring some shimmering synths, padded drum beats and Manuel’s impressive croon”?

That was nice to hear. I like Hot Chip a lot, I think they’ve done pretty amazing things considering how weird a band they are. Also, it’s nice to get press in places like the Guardian because you can show your parents, and they can be very impressed.


Video for Chad Valley’s Portuguese Solid Summer by Katie Harrison

Who is the most inspirational person you have come across? What would a meeting between the two of you be like?

Neil Young, without a shadow of a doubt. I would love to have a cup of tea with him and just talk about writing music. I’m sure I would be 100% intimidated and just drool or something weird like that.

What is the most exciting or scary thing that 2011 will throw at you?

At the moment I’m fairly petrified about writing and producing an album. Because it’s just me and I don’t have other people to bounce ideas off, it can be very quite scary making the big decisions about lyrics, or song titles, artwork… those kind of things. But I’m getting way ahead of myself… I have about 2 and a half tunes for the album I guess.

I really like the ambient atmosphere of the video for Up and Down – how did the idea behind the video develop? How did you come across the footage?

It was actually made by my girlfriend when she had the summer off, and a lot of free time on her hands. It’s all stuff from across the internet, so it’s a pretty amazing patchwork of different people’s home videos, pretty much. I like that idea a lot, and its fairly mind-boggling, the fact that that is at all possible!

Illustration by Alia Gargum

What’s been your favourite gig to play at so far?

There are two that I’ll mention, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for live shows. One was at a launderette in Hackney. A working laundrette that had been closed for the night and fixed up with a PA and some projectors. They place was heaving, in the best possible way, and everyone danced. Everyone. So at the other end is the show I did with Foals on New Years Eve at the Kentish Town Forum. I was on first, but being NYE there was excitement in the room, and the vibes were excellent.

What impact does being based in Oxford have on your sound?

The scene we have here… the whole Blessing Force thing, is so supportive and encouraging that I think being from Oxford has had a huge affect on the way I make music, and just simply the fact that I do make music. Being surrounded by other musicians all doing similar bedroom-recorded stuff gives you a huge amount of drive to make shit happen. But the things that make Oxford great are also the things that make Oxford not so great. People are always coming and going from Oxford… its in a constant state of flux and this give it an uneasy feeling sometimes. Like, if you stay here for a long time there must be something wrong with you. I can see myself leaving Oxford in the future for sure, but right now it offers so much to me, that I couldn’t keep away.

Illustration by Mina Bach

Chad Valley is Hugo Manuel. Oxford born and bred, see this musician and producer is a member of the recently established Blessing Force Collective and the frontman of alt-folk band Jonquil. As the cold light of the new year dissolved in February, medicine Hugo Manuel finished a tour with Brooklyn’s acclaimed Twin Shadow and participated in Blessing Force’s recent Warehouse Party at The Old Bookbinders in Oxford. In the days inbetween, approved Manuel chatted to Amelia’s Magazine about his latest solo venture and what would happen if he ever went for tea with Neil Young…

First things first, how are you finding 2011 so far?

2011 has so far been a blur and feels like its about 10 days old. Its still fresh, and there are lots of plans being hatched.

What’s the story behind the name Chad Valley? I see in previous interviews you’ve mentioned that it’s the name of a toy company begun in the Victorian era?

Chad Valley is actually a place near Birmingham where the toy company was based and it just a wonderful sounding pairing of words. I have no connection with the toy company and when I first knew of the word it wasn’t anything to do with toys. In fact, a friend of mine used it as his stage name when he was in a punk band. Its a kind of generational thing though, because people of my age don’t tend to know about the toy company whereas older generations are like ‘why did you name yourself after Chad Valley!?’ I guess it is a bit like calling myself Argos.


Video for Chad Valley’s Up and Down by Katie Harrison

Which era or decade would you say has inspired your music the most?

For Chad Valley specifically I would have to say the late 80s to very early 90s. Its a kind of end of the decade thing where there is change and new things coming in, a rebellion against what has come before. I think the production values of electronic music had, by then, reached something of a pinnacle and things had got so slick that its almost sickly, but quite amazing at the same time. Outside that though, I think the period of 1969 to 1974 is probably the time I would most love to be making music. The records that came out of that era by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Browne are all some of my favourites of all time.

What’s the musical inspiration behind Chad Valley? Are you still listening to Studio and The Tough Alliance or have you moved on to pastures new?

I still have so much love for those bands, absolutely. And Ceo, which is one of the guys from TA’s new project, is also great. That was definitely the jumping off point for Chad Valley, but things are moving on, for sure. I’m listening to a lot more R&B at the moment, and that is having a big impact on the stuff I’m making right now. I’m delving deep into R Kelly’s back catalogue for inspiration.

Illustration by Maria del Carmen Smith

If Chad Valley were a geographical landscape, what or where would it be? How would you map Jonquil?

It would be New York in the early 70s, just like in Taxi Driver. Jonquil would be LA, in the early 90s. Like in the Ice Cube videos.

What are your thoughts on Up and Down being described in the Guardian as “a slinky Hot Chip on downers, a disco-infused summer “joint” featuring some shimmering synths, padded drum beats and Manuel’s impressive croon”?

That was nice to hear. I like Hot Chip a lot, I think they’ve done pretty amazing things considering how weird a band they are. Also, it’s nice to get press in places like the Guardian because you can show your parents, and they can be very impressed.


Video for Chad Valley’s Portuguese Solid Summer by Katie Harrison

Who is the most inspirational person you have come across? What would a meeting between the two of you be like?

Neil Young, without a shadow of a doubt. I would love to have a cup of tea with him and just talk about writing music. I’m sure I would be 100% intimidated and just drool or something weird like that.

What is the most exciting or scary thing that 2011 will throw at you?

At the moment I’m fairly petrified about writing and producing an album. Because it’s just me and I don’t have other people to bounce ideas off, it can be very quite scary making the big decisions about lyrics, or song titles, artwork… those kind of things. But I’m getting way ahead of myself… I have about 2 and a half tunes for the album I guess.

I really like the ambient atmosphere of the video for Up and Down – how did the idea behind the video develop? How did you come across the footage?

It was actually made by my girlfriend when she had the summer off, and a lot of free time on her hands. It’s all stuff from across the internet, so it’s a pretty amazing patchwork of different people’s home videos, pretty much. I like that idea a lot, and its fairly mind-boggling, the fact that that is at all possible!

Illustration by Alia Gargum

What’s been your favourite gig to play at so far?

There are two that I’ll mention, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for live shows. One was at a launderette in Hackney. A working laundrette that had been closed for the night and fixed up with a PA and some projectors. They place was heaving, in the best possible way, and everyone danced. Everyone. So at the other end is the show I did with Foals on New Years Eve at the Kentish Town Forum. I was on first, but being NYE there was excitement in the room, and the vibes were excellent.

What impact does being based in Oxford have on your sound?

The scene we have here… the whole Blessing Force thing, is so supportive and encouraging that I think being from Oxford has had a huge affect on the way I make music, and just simply the fact that I do make music. Being surrounded by other musicians all doing similar bedroom-recorded stuff gives you a huge amount of drive to make shit happen. But the things that make Oxford great are also the things that make Oxford not so great. People are always coming and going from Oxford… its in a constant state of flux and this give it an uneasy feeling sometimes. Like, if you stay here for a long time there must be something wrong with you. I can see myself leaving Oxford in the future for sure, but right now it offers so much to me, that I couldn’t keep away.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Welsh designer Jayne Pierson won the Graduate Fashion Week Ecological Design Award in 2007 and since then has quickly risen up the fashion ranks. Her latest collection, capsule S/S 2011, was a riot of colour and military influences, with luxurious fabrics and bold tailoring.

Jayne’s previous employers include Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, and their influence is evident in her collections. She debuted solo-stylee in 2009 which saw her featured in Vogue Italia, Vogue and Grazia to name a few.

It’s Jayne’s combination of superior fabrics and innovative design concepts (as well as her extraordinary cutting ability) that makes her a stand-out label in a sea of new designers.

I caught up with Jayne in the run-up to fashion week A/W 2011 to find out how she’s coping and what the rest of the season holds…

Your SS11 collection went down a storm – can you tell us a bit about it?
My Spring/Summer 2011 was based on The Twin Parallel.  The theory of space and time and the existence of gravitational time dilation.  It engages with the notion that one could change the past to recreate the future. I wanted to create a collection that was ultimately timeless.


Illustration by Karolina Burdon

What’s inspiring you for A/W 11?
Black, bondage, gloss and industrial.

What can we expect to see on the catwalk from Jayne Pierson this season?
The silhouette juxtaposes the two opposites of restrained tailoring and freeform drape. The organic shapes and the mystery between the folds represent an unknowing, an uncertainty and an alienation. This inexpicably draws me in.

Have you had any major hurdles or experiences in the run up to this season? 
Not really but I can always do with another few months to schedule a holiday somewhere…??

What techniques/fabrics/patterns are you using?
Opposites of restrained tailoring and freeform drape; leather with taffeta.??

How do you gage the response to each collection? Do you read reviews?
Not really as I usually base it on how well the sales are doing.


Illustration by Rukmunal Hakim

??What kind of woman wears Jayne Pierson? Has this changed? 
I’m developing wearable garments with a high-end finish that retains a knowing irony for women that choose to march to the sound of their own drum. ??

What do you make of the current London Fashion scene?
I don’t really follow it as I’m based in Wales. I think it helps to give me space to reflect.

Which fashionable London hotspots would you reccommend to relax?
Tate, Hakkasan, Whiskey Mist and Spitalfields Market.

What does the rest of 2011 have in store for Jayne Pierson?
Paris Fashion Week and a well needed rest at my mum’s house in Dallas, Texas.

Jayne will show her A/W 2011 collection at On|Off today

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Graduate Fashion Week, ,Hakkasan, ,interview, ,Jayne Pierson, ,leather, ,London Fashion Week, ,preview, ,S/S 2011, ,Spitalfields Market, ,Tate, ,The Twin Parallel, ,Vivienne Westwood, ,wales, ,Whiskey Mist

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Amelia’s Magazine | A Review of 50 Fabulous Frocks at the Fashion Museum, Bath

Fashion Museum, Bath, 50FF Review
Illustration of 1900s champagne fancy dress costume, unknown maker, by Freddy Thorn.

Like any good birthday bash, it begins with champagne; a bottle of 1904 Veuve Clicquot to be exact, taking the form of an elaborate Edwardian fancy dress ensemble.

Recently listed by CNN as one of the top ten fashion museums in the world, Bath’s Fashion Museum has come a long way since its creation by Doris Langley Moore and the Bath City Council in 1963. This is a varied exhibition, featuring 50 of the fashion museums ‘greatest hits’ with dresses spanning across the ages, from one of the oldest dresses in any UK museum (a 1660 piece affectionately known as the ‘Silver Tissue Dress’) to a fresh-off-the-catwalk 2012 Louis Vuitton piece. Eveningwear sits comfortably by poolside attire, sportswear next to corsets; each dress a snapshot of fashion history.

5 dresses at 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition, Fashion Museum, Bath
Illustration of 5 of the 50 dresses by May Van Milllingen.

There are plenty of ‘celebrity’ frocks here: a Christian Dior dress from the 1950s, a Chanel from the 1960s and a Jean-Paul Gaultier from the 1990s just a few of the gems in this collection. With dresses that have graced the pages of Vogue alongside cages and crinolines, these pieces form a dynamic exhibit exploring dresses across the centuries.

Black lace Rocha dress now part of 50 Fabulous Frocks Exhibition
Red lace Erdem Dress on Catwalk
Photos of red and navy lace Erdem and black Rocha dress by Chris Moore.

An ostrich feather 1960s Yves Saint Laurent concoction made for ballerina Margot Fonteyn catches my eye as does a Dame Vivienne Westwood regency style dress nestled among the kinds of dresses it’s emulating. A 1940s pink Mickey Mouse aertex dress sits next to a polka-dot housecoat lined with gingham and there’s even a wedding dress from the 1890s among the ranks. These clothes are famous; there’s a red mini dress worn by Ernestine Carter, a former Fashion Editor of The Sunday Times, as well as an Ossie Clark dress literally taken straight out of a David Hockney, Tate painting.

Dress by Poiret part of 50 Fabulous Frocks Exhibition.
Alexander McQueen dress from 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition
50 Fabulous Frocks  cream silk dress
Photos of Poirot dress, Alexander McQueen dress and cream silk ball gown provided by Fashion Museum, Bath & North East Somerset Council.

I go to the exhibit twice, once with my friends on a sunny Saturday and we whizz through it in true tourist fashion (pun intentional) as I snap a few photos. We amble through the corsets and cages, pantsuits and Burberry raincoats, quickly and hungrily. We notice a group of young female museum-goers all wearing the same outfit in alternate colours, each one clad in a pair of converse paired with brightly coloured jeans. I note that in this exhibit, the tables have turned, and the dresses, behind the security of their glass cases, are the audience for our own catwalk as we prance back and forth.

3 dresses at Fashion Museum, Bath
A Vivienne Westwood dress (centre) alongside two dresses from the late 1800s, illustration by Karolina Burdon.

The second time I go by myself on a rainy Sunday and I listen to every single commentary for each dress, writing notes as I go. The other gallery-folk are, like the dresses, a melting pot: families with young children; a few fashion students drawing the dresses in their sketchbooks. Amongst the chatter I can hear loud, excited French. Thirty or so people come and go while I examine the collection.

Bath Fashion Museum, Georgian
Wall text at Fashion Museum, Bath
50 Fabulous Frocks Dresses Bath Fashion Museum
50 Fabulous Frocks
50FF Dresses, 50 Fabulous Frocks Dresses Bath Fashion Museum
50 Fabulous Frocks Exhibition, Fashion Museum, Bath
All photography by Jessica Cook.

While I sit on the floor sucking the end of my pen and agonising over the spelling of ‘Vuitton’, there is a mother and her two children in the museum providing an alternative narrative to the info handsets. “Mummy, what is it?” says child no1. The mother pauses for a second as though thrown off balance by the question, “It’s dresses from the last 50 years,” she says, which is wrong, and I feel the same wince I had as a kid when I first realised that parents aren’t infallible. The exhibition is a celebration that the Fashion Museum is 50 years young, but the dresses themselves span across the ages as far back as the 1600s. Her mistake is understandable, as the date underneath the sign does read 1963- 2013 after all.

50 FF 3 of 50 Fabulous Frocks, Fashion Museum
Red wool mini dress by André Courrèges, black Ossie Clark gown and 1930s evening dress, illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

Wow!” says child no2 as he reaches a dress from the 1800s. “Isn’t it amazing?” says the mother, her eyes alight. “Just like mummy used to wear,” she says pointing at a short, red little number. The children press their faces against the glass as though they are looking into the past.

Woman in champagne dress
Photo of champagne bottle dress provided by Fashion Museum, Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition at the Fashion Museum, Bath is open from 2 February 2013 to the 31st December 2013. Entry is £2.

Categories ,50 Fabulous Frocks, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Bath, ,Bath City Council, ,Birthday, ,celebration, ,Champagne, ,Christian Dior, ,CNN, ,corset, ,David Hockney, ,Doris Langley Moore, ,Dresses, ,Edwardian, ,Erdem, ,Ernestine Carter, ,Eveningwear, ,exhibit, ,fashion, ,Fashion Museum, ,Freddy Thorn, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,history, ,Jean Paul Gaultier, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Louis Vuitton, ,Margot Fonteyn, ,May van Millingen, ,Mickey Mouse, ,museum, ,Ossie Clark, ,Silver Tissue Dress, ,Tate, ,The Sunday Times, ,Veuve Clicquot, ,Vivienne Westwood, ,vogue, ,Wedding Dress, ,Yves Saint Laurent

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tate is complicit in the creation of the largest oil painting in the world.

makeandmend
oil map - abi daker
Illustration to show the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico by Abigail Daker.

You know that huge oil slick? The really foul one currently creating environmental havoc across the Gulf of Mexico? Well, page you might well call this deathly stain the world’s largest work of corporate art – proudly brought to you by oil giant BP, health sponsor of the Tate.

In January this year The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination was asked to host a workshop at the Tate Modern on art and creative civil disobedience. They were not, medications however, allowed to stage any interventions which were not “commensurate with the Tate’s mission” and to make sure this did not happen the workshop was policed by curators.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL-2
Black helium balloons float up to the ceiling of the Tate Turbine Hall. Photography by Robin Bell.

In response to this it was decided to launch a new campaign group, Liberate Tate, with the intention of severing the Tate’s close relationship with climate-wrecking oil-guzzling corporate behemoth BP. A series of planned interventions got off to a flying start this weekend, when a series of art activists managed to join the 10th anniversary celebrations in the main turbine hall at Tate Modern, where they released dozens of black helium balloons that floated up to the ceiling. Attached to the balloons were dead fish and oily fake birds, a reminder that BP will never be able to greenwash its actions away through association with innovative art at the Tate. Sections of the No Soul for Sale event were closed down as employees desperately tried to burst the oil-bubble like balloons, which hung looming over the celebrations.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL
A dead fish on the Turbine Hall floor. Photography by Robin Bell.

As long as the Tate continues to accept sponsorship from BP, a company that pursues oil and money without care for its employees or the looming climate crisis, then its various galleries up and down the country can expect more creative visits from members of Liberate Tate. You can follow Liberate Tate on twitter, or visit the Art Not Oil website for more information.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Art Not Oil, ,Balloons, ,BP, ,civil disobedience, ,Dead Fish, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,Direct Action, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Labofii, ,Liberate Tate, ,oil, ,Oil Spill, ,Robin Bell, ,Tate, ,Tate Modern, ,The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tate is complicit in the creation of the largest oil painting in the world.

makeandmend
oil map - abi daker
Illustration to show the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico by Abigail Daker.

You know that huge oil slick? The really foul one currently creating environmental havoc across the Gulf of Mexico? Well, page you might well call this deathly stain the world’s largest work of corporate art – proudly brought to you by oil giant BP, health sponsor of the Tate.

In January this year The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination was asked to host a workshop at the Tate Modern on art and creative civil disobedience. They were not, medications however, allowed to stage any interventions which were not “commensurate with the Tate’s mission” and to make sure this did not happen the workshop was policed by curators.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL-2
Black helium balloons float up to the ceiling of the Tate Turbine Hall. Photography by Robin Bell.

In response to this it was decided to launch a new campaign group, Liberate Tate, with the intention of severing the Tate’s close relationship with climate-wrecking oil-guzzling corporate behemoth BP. A series of planned interventions got off to a flying start this weekend, when a series of art activists managed to join the 10th anniversary celebrations in the main turbine hall at Tate Modern, where they released dozens of black helium balloons that floated up to the ceiling. Attached to the balloons were dead fish and oily fake birds, a reminder that BP will never be able to greenwash its actions away through association with innovative art at the Tate. Sections of the No Soul for Sale event were closed down as employees desperately tried to burst the oil-bubble like balloons, which hung looming over the celebrations.

Liberate Tate ROBIN BELL
A dead fish on the Turbine Hall floor. Photography by Robin Bell.

As long as the Tate continues to accept sponsorship from BP, a company that pursues oil and money without care for its employees or the looming climate crisis, then its various galleries up and down the country can expect more creative visits from members of Liberate Tate. You can follow Liberate Tate on twitter, or visit the Art Not Oil website for more information.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Art Not Oil, ,Balloons, ,BP, ,civil disobedience, ,Dead Fish, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,Direct Action, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Labofii, ,Liberate Tate, ,oil, ,Oil Spill, ,Robin Bell, ,Tate, ,Tate Modern, ,The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas 2011: Eco-friendly, Ethical and Crafty Gifts

Christmas-gifts-by-Sinead-O-Leary
Christmas gifts by Sinead O’Leary.

Just in time for a last minute eco Christmas round up before the Royal Mail goes totally pear shaped….

Marks & Spencers baking set
Firstly, I am a bit in love with Kirsty Allsopp, either that or I am just really bloody jealous – how did she get to the position where she has managed to forge an entire career out of learning to craft? That’s like my ideal job. And her own entire range at Marks & Spencer? If you fancy yourself a bit of Kirsty why not take a peek at some of the gift packages she’s put together. They’re a bit girly for me, so I’m gunning for this Marks & Spencer baking set, currently on special offer for £15. With all the things you need to make festive treats over Christmas in a pretty red and white heart tin. Get in.

Candy Wrapper Stars
On a purely decorative from how about these? I love these candy wrapper stars from Re-Found – they’re the kind of thing that I would make out of my rubbish in that alternate Kirsty Allsopp world where I have lots of spare time… handily these ones come ready made.

Sparkling Silver T Light Holder Nigel Eco Store
One of the best place to hunt for interesting eco goodies is Nigel’s Eco Store, which is a veritable treasure trove of environmentally aware goodies, including this pretty silvered tea light holder, made from recycled glass.

Tara Starlet Patchwork Pooch
Tara Starlet Patchwork Pooch
Tara Starlet, an ethical fashion designer who is featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, has put together this adorable Patchwork Pooch kit from leftover fabrics, vintage buttons and recycled ribbons: so adorable, and the perfect project to keep crafty types happy over Christmas.

Culture beyond oil
Lastly, I couldn’t go without mentioning Culture Beyond Oil, a publication put together by my friends at Platform and perfect for the environmentalist and art enthusiast in your life: as recommended by me in a recent interview about arts and activism with Sierra Club online. Not If But When: Culture Beyond Oil is a long hard look at the way that oil funding has infiltrated our art institutions, with contributions from a range of top artists including Banksy and Matthew Herbert. This line of investigation could not come at a better time, as proved by an article in the Guardian only today which confirms that four of the UK’s biggest cultural organisations – the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and Tate – have announced they are to renew sponsorship deals with BP worth £10m despite protests from environmental campaigners. Here’s to more positive news on that front in 2012.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Baking Set, ,banksy, ,BP, ,British Museum, ,craft, ,Culture Beyond Oil, ,diy, ,ecodesign, ,ethical, ,Kirsty Allsopp, ,Kit, ,Marks & Spencer, ,Matthew Herbert, ,national portrait gallery, ,Nigel’s Eco Store, ,oil, ,Patchwork Pooch, ,platform, ,Re-Found, ,Royal Opera House, ,Sinead O’Leary, ,Tara Starlet, ,Tate, ,Upcycled

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gift Ideas 2011: Eco-friendly, Ethical and Crafty Gifts

Christmas-gifts-by-Sinead-O-Leary
Christmas gifts by Sinead O’Leary.

Just in time for a last minute eco Christmas round up before the Royal Mail goes totally pear shaped….

Marks & Spencers baking set
Firstly, I am a bit in love with Kirsty Allsopp, either that or I am just really bloody jealous – how did she get to the position where she has managed to forge an entire career out of learning to craft? That’s like my ideal job. And her own entire range at Marks & Spencer? If you fancy yourself a bit of Kirsty why not take a peek at some of the gift packages she’s put together. They’re a bit girly for me, so I’m gunning for this Marks & Spencer baking set, currently on special offer for £15. With all the things you need to make festive treats over Christmas in a pretty red and white heart tin. Get in.

Candy Wrapper Stars
On a purely decorative from how about these? I love these candy wrapper stars from Re-Found – they’re the kind of thing that I would make out of my rubbish in that alternate Kirsty Allsopp world where I have lots of spare time… handily these ones come ready made.

Sparkling Silver T Light Holder Nigel Eco Store
One of the best place to hunt for interesting eco goodies is Nigel’s Eco Store, which is a veritable treasure trove of environmentally aware goodies, including this pretty silvered tea light holder, made from recycled glass.

Tara Starlet Patchwork Pooch
Tara Starlet Patchwork Pooch
Tara Starlet, an ethical fashion designer who is featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, has put together this adorable Patchwork Pooch kit from leftover fabrics, vintage buttons and recycled ribbons: so adorable, and the perfect project to keep crafty types happy over Christmas.

Culture beyond oil
Lastly, I couldn’t go without mentioning Culture Beyond Oil, a publication put together by my friends at Platform and perfect for the environmentalist and art enthusiast in your life: as recommended by me in a recent interview about arts and activism with Sierra Club online. Not If But When: Culture Beyond Oil is a long hard look at the way that oil funding has infiltrated our art institutions, with contributions from a range of top artists including Banksy and Matthew Herbert. This line of investigation could not come at a better time, as proved by an article in the Guardian only today which confirms that four of the UK’s biggest cultural organisations – the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and Tate – have announced they are to renew sponsorship deals with BP worth £10m despite protests from environmental campaigners. Here’s to more positive news on that front in 2012.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Baking Set, ,banksy, ,BP, ,British Museum, ,craft, ,Culture Beyond Oil, ,diy, ,ecodesign, ,ethical, ,Kirsty Allsopp, ,Kit, ,Marks & Spencer, ,Matthew Herbert, ,national portrait gallery, ,Nigel’s Eco Store, ,oil, ,Patchwork Pooch, ,platform, ,Re-Found, ,Royal Opera House, ,Sinead O’Leary, ,Tara Starlet, ,Tate, ,Upcycled

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Amelia’s Magazine | The ACOFI Book Tour visits Comma Shop in Oxford

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011

Last Wednesday was my second night on the ACOFI book tour last week – and my first time visiting the lovely new Comma Shop on Iffley Road in Oxford. Comma Shop has only been open since last October and it’s a truly wonderful little store that stocks all kind of goodies. I arrived in brilliant sunshine so it was easy to spot – gleaming like a brightly coloured gem in this mainly residential area, abortion intermingled with car dealerships and hippy cafes. This part of east Oxford is enjoying something of a renaissance thanks in part to the newly refurbished Pegasus Theatre in a nearby side street.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Gemma CorrellACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Gemma Correll
Details from Gemma Correll’s mural for Comma Shop.

Gemma Correll has done a truly wonderful mural on the wall as you enter Comma Shop and everywhere hand made and unusual items have been stacked in expert manner. Dave quit his job in IT to start an innovative designer tea towel business with his partner Sally who was formerly in marketing. To Dry For showcases the work of up and coming designers and the window of Comma Shop is used to showcase the tea towel artwork.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Dave Emery
Dave Emery of Comma Shop.
ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 To Dry For tea towels
To Dry For tea towels in the window.

ACOFI book tour Comma ShopACOFI book tour Comma Shop postcardsACOFI book tour Comma Shop

It comes as no surprise to find that Dave grew up in shops: his parents always ran small shops, ampoule and despite the fact that he saw what long hours they had to work he has clearly caught the bug too. He also previously worked as a merchandiser, sickness which would explain his knack for putting stuff together. Who else would have thought of interspersing my Roger La Borde cards with designs from everyone else? Yup, he’s got an eye, this one.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Roger la BordeACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Dave and Sally
Dave and Sally. Sally has had to take some time out of the business due to the unexpected early arrival of their first child – but I was glad to meet her a bit later in the evening.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badgesACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badgesACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badgesACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badges

From 6pm attendees began to dribble into the store and we set to making some fab little fabric rosettes with Anna Butler from Custom Made UK, who was on hand to show everyone (including the children and the men) just how easy it is to make these fun little badges.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badges Anna Butler
Custom Made UK button badges from Anna Butler.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badgesACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badgesACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badges Anna ButlerACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badgesACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Custom Made UK button badges Anna Butler
Just some of the lovely button badges that were produced in a jiffy.

Anna also runs classes at Darn It and Stitch – the brains behind this new Oxford based haberdashery shop and teaching centre is Jo, who turned up with her partner Luke and friend Sally. Her store is part of a growing trend for a return to hands on creativity – it seems we just can’t get enough of it these days, and I for one heartily approve.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Jo Darn It and Stitch
Jo of Darn It and Stitch.

Many of the goods stocked in Comma Shop are one offs. Amongst those that really stood out were the gorgeous intricate papercut framed artworks of Helen Musselwhite – if you’re an owl fan you can’t go wrong! And I loved the Charity Shop Orphans – reappropriated with a lick of bright paint by Emma Harding. She also produces a zine if you prefer your collectable items in print.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Helen MusselwhiteACOFI book tour Comma Shop Emma Harding Charity shop orphans

Other stuff I love: the fact that Jack Teagle has committed one of my favourite art pieces to print in the form of a greetings card from Toasted. Comma Shop also stocks cards produced by Rachel Wilson, who was on hand with boyfriend Ben to help serve the Juiceology juices and G & D ice cream.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Toasted Jack Teagle
Toasted card by Jack Teagle.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop JuiceologyACOFI book tour Comma Shop G & D ice creamACOFI book tour Comma Shop Rachel Wilson and Dave Emery enjoy ice cream
Rachel Wilson and Dave Emery enjoy some raspberry and chocolate ice cream.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Dr.Hauschka
Love the Dr.Hauschka samples displayed in a pottery log and some vintage jelly moulds!

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford London Walks Baudade
One of the first to turn up was Joanne, known as Baudade. She’s just published a new comic book, London Walks! with the Tate.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Will Mccallum
Will Mccallum, aka Art of Activism, also popped in to buy a book. Although he sadly wasn’t able to stay for the talk his purchase was much appreciated! And it was nice to see a friendly face from someone who is doing good stuff in the world.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Oxford Good Biscuits
It made me very happy that Caroline of Good Biscuits (whom I met at Wood Festival) not only came along in person to drop off her delicious creations – vanilla melts, vegan chocolate buttons and chewy pistachio cookies, nomnom – but she also stayed to listen to me talk. What a lovely lady, who was inspired to start a healthy sustainable biscuit brand after her job in local authority led her to work with local food producers. Make sure you try some Good Biscuits if you’re in the Oxford area.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop Drew and Jo
Drew and Jo. Also present was Drew, who is the press officer for Wood Festival. I wasn’t sure why he looked familiar and then it suddenly twigged that I had met him at Wood, but only when it was late and very dark. Fortunately his unmistakable bush of hair gave him away!

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Laura and Helen
Later on we were joined by another member of the Truck clan, younger Bennett brother Chris, with girlfriend Beehive, who was teaching clay model making at Wood Festival. It really was an Oxfordshire love fest for me last week!

The Oxfam Fashion crew
The Oxfam Fashion crew. Apparently the biggest employers in Oxford are the university, publishing (of all sorts) and Oxfam… which has it’s global office there. So it was nice to see quite a few Oxfam types in attendance.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Sarah PlantACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 custom made uk
Sadly Sarah Plant of Ferment Zine did not stay for my talk but it was nice to meet someone that I have chatted with on twitter. And we also had a very small visitor in the form of Aisha, who enjoyed making a fabric button.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Laura and Helen
Laura and Helen. Laura Hill Lines works at Bridget Wheatley and is hoping to launch her own jewellery brand soon, featuring big uncut gems. I can’t wait to see what she produces!

Malaika Aleba
Malaika Aleba is a Canadian staying in Oxford over the summer and a writer for the Sierra Club.

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 postcardsACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Anastasia DuckACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Anastasia Duck

Last but very not least it was really lovely to see Michael aka Anastasia Duck – who is a fashion blogger who came along to my launch party at 123 Bethnal Green Road back in January. Not only was it great to see a friendly face but I am very thankful because he did a very speedy and good write up of the event, which you can read here. I like his description of me as being ‘haphazard’….heehee

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011 Jo and Michael

Don’t forget that my final ACOFI Book Tour date is at Tatty Devine Brick Lane with Biscuiteers on Tuesday 7th June. Akeela Bhattay has just posted a very lovely blog about the last event in Covent Garden. See you there x
Here’s who I gave my talk to:

ACOFI book tour Comma Shop OxfordACOFI book tour Comma Shop 2011

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Akeela Bhattay, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Anastasia Duck, ,Anna Butler, ,Art of Activism, ,Baudade, ,Biscuits, ,Bridget Wheatley, ,Caroline, ,charity, ,Charity Shop Orphans, ,Chris Bennett, ,Comma Shop, ,Custom Made UK, ,Custon Made UK, ,Darn It and Stitch, ,Dave and Sally, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,Emma Harding, ,Ferment Zine, ,G&D Cafe, ,G&D ice-cream, ,Gemma Correll, ,Good Biscuits, ,Helen Musselwhite, ,Ice Cream, ,Iffley Road, ,Jack Teagle, ,Juiceology, ,Laura Hill Lines, ,Malaika Aleba, ,oxfam, ,Papercut, ,Pegasus Theatre, ,Rachel Wilson, ,Roger La Borde, ,Sarah Plant, ,Sierra Club, ,Tate, ,Tatty Devine, ,Tea Towels, ,To Dry For, ,Truck Festival, ,Will Mccallum, ,Wood Festival

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Threadneedle Prize at the Mall Galleries


Man on Fire courtesy of Tim Shaw.

To be honest I had not heard of the Threadneedle Prize before nor was I rushing to attend the preview party on Wednesday the 1st of September. The Mall galleries have managed over the years to develop a reputation as the purveyor of stuffy exhibitions.

Phenomena (1) courtesy of Jarik Jongman

But no! No this new cool kid on the block of a prize with its decisively rock n roll intention of freeing figurative art from the shackles of conceptual taste. Move over Turner Prize. It was a nice surprise to get acquainted with this young show at a time when similarly funded prizes are running scarce and the government siphons money erstwhile dedicated to the Arts to programs deemed more “in the public’s interest”.


Oil Baron courtesy of Martin Roberts.

Detail of Moon Loght courtesy of Mark Entwisle

Let’s huff a long sigh of relief! At last art on display that does not pretend to be what it’s not… Yep, this dedicated art lover has been more than once unimpressed by the shovelful of bad abstract material pushed down her throat! But let’s not be mistaken by what kind of art Threadneedle is offering us either; theirs is a bold break from the past with a new kind of figurative art that does not pretend to ignore the Tate came that way and altered the artistic landscape.


Displace courtesy of Louise Folliott.

This second will last forever courtesy of Fiona Finnegan

This year the public is encouraged to choose the Visitor’s Choice award’s £10,0000 winning entry. Let me tell you what I was definitely not going to vote for! Some things seemed rather gimmicky to me such as the upside down portrait of Georgina by Oliver Jones. It’s upside down so it is clever so it’s in?


It’s a Bloomin’ Marble! courtesy of Garry Martin


Plexus courtesy of Valerie Jolly and Toilet Pipes courtesy of Thomas Doran

The exhibition’s booklet read, “our selectors have chosen a smaller but more coherent exhibition than previous years” with 2,170 submissions to arrive to a final 46. So why in the world choose such dreary artefacts that seemed to me to make more of a statement than to offer any redeeming value to the overall group! I was mightily unimpressed by Simon Carter’s Gulls on a Breakwater – it’s representational but hey look, doesn’t it seem abstract? Or Enzo Marra’s John Singer Sargent- it’s got thick paint and tonal Sargent palette. Is that all? Toilet pipes seemed to be all the rage this year…

But to be fair the overall level of work on display was very high. I fell in love with the sculptures and installations. Man on Fire by Tim Shaw (see above) got me all worked up and Stuart McCaffer (see below) got the crowd queuing to enjoy its view! Built like a shed, it reminded me of a watchtower somewhere in the Scottish Highlandds. The dichotomy between the sense of isolation and of space and freedom was interesting.


Den courtesy of Stuart McCaffer.

The prize spoke to me most when it was attempting to be political, daring, intriguing or just plain funny. Special mention to Wendy Elia’s Elsewhere, Jarik Jongman’s piece or the Anna Adamkiewicz cabinet.

Cabinet courtesy of Anna Adamkiwicz

Elsewhere courtesy of Wendy Elia


Frame, Figure, Frame, Figure courtesy of Caroline Walker

But my personal favourite was Caroline Walker’s surreal narrative. I am still haunted by the evocative psychological space this painting put me in. Very troubling.


Clee Hill courtesy of Boyd and Evans

The Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture runs until the 18th of September 2010 at the Mall Galleries, the Mall, London SW1.

Categories ,abstract, ,Anna Adamkiewicz, ,Caroline Walker, ,conceptual, ,Enzo Marra, ,figurative art, ,Jarik Jongman, ,Oliver Jones, ,Simon Carter, ,Tate, ,the mall galleries, ,Threadneedle Prize, ,Turner Prize, ,Wendy Elia

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