Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Stepney Green Design Collection


I'm thrilled to finally be able to share with you a project I've been working on for a while now- VIVO London approached me earlier this year to help them curate a collection to coincide with the new housing development.
VIVO commissioned Dezeen, the Londoneer and myself to acquire ten pieces of original design each by creatives surrounding Stepney Green.
We were challenged to hunt down arts, fashion, jewellery, sculptures, furniture, photography or textiles, to bring together 30 hidden gems from in and around Stepney Green, the heart of east London’s arts scene. 



First up is Lauren Baker, an artist who's been going from strength to strength, recently running a brilliant workshop at Tate Modern. I first met Lauren at Burning Man in 2009, but was only introduced to her artwork recently. Lauren Baker gives life back to perished animals. Her work is Inspired by the power of nature, afterlife and mythological, magical creatures. Stags and deer skulls gilded in gold leaf, embellished with handcut mosaic tiles, treasures and beads. Every skull is carefully and ethically sourced and each one comes with a story. Fashion fans should also check out Lauren's collaboration with shoe designer Joanna Stoker and label Velvet Johnston


Luna and Curious is a wonderful shop in East London that showcases a number of fantastic artists, designers and jewellery makers- it was there I discovered the work of Jennie Sharman-Cox; I love her military themed, embroidered and embellished textile necklaces and brooches (see below). Whilst looking through her website, I discovered she also makes these beautiful boxes, and..wait for it... these stunning bears! They come in all sorts of vintage costumes, but it's the sailors that struck me as hugely appropriate for the Stepney Green Design Collection, given the East End's nautical history surrounding the docks. In fact, Jennie's ancestors all come from the East End, some even working in the docks! What I loved most about the sailor bears was their embroidered tattoos- I've asked jennie to create one with a special Stepney Green tattoo so I can't wait to see what she comes up with!



Alice Gabb is a regular at the East London markets where her handmade stationery has gained much attention - Anthropologie are even going to be stocking her work now! Alice has handmade my Christmas cards for me for the last few years and I always get so many lovely comments from their recipients. I'm particularly excited about what I've commissioned Alice to make- I've asked her to fill a vintage writing box with her handmade stationery and paper goods.


Rosie Emerson is an artist I'd heard a lot about from various friends of mine for ages- a make-up artist I work with had worked with her and even posed for some of her photographs. I love the vintage aesthetic of her screenprints, they hark back to a time of sepia prints and timeless glamour.



Next up are Twinkle Troughton and Tinsel Edwards , two artists I've known for many years- and they have in fact known each other since they were 9! They both create a lot of work that looks at British identity, often using intricate text and slogans. I've asked them both to collaborate, painting on a reclaimed object representing East London and covering it with sentiments relevant to the history and future of the area. I'm very excited to see what they come up with!



So many brilliant fashion and accessory designers work in East London, it was hard to pick just one! I ended up choosing Little Glass Clementine, as her necklaces are really also a work of art and could look just as good displayed in a frame as they could worn on a person.


I've asked East London Furniture to make one of their brilliant floor lamps for the collection- they use reclaimed wood from the East End to create fantastic, original pieces of furniture.

'We love Kaoru' is another range stocked at the wonderful Luna and Curious store. To celebrate London 2012 welovekaoru has designed a souvenir inspired by the traditional Willow pattern motif and given it a London - centric twist in this pigeon's eye view of the modern city. Surrounded by a circle of Big Ben's, we see contemporary landmarks such as the London Eye along side older icons like the BT Tower  but not forgetting London's most loved features - CCTV cameras and traffic lights.




Last but not least, I'm incredibly happy to announce the final artist I've curated for the project; Petra Storrs. Petra has created stunning props and costumes for some of the biggest names in popular culture- she mad Lady Gaga's stained glass dress from the Born this Way video, Paloma Faith's mirror dress, Florence Welch's props for the Kiss with a Fist music video and my personal favourite; this tea-themed costume and giant teacup for Rachel Snider's latest production. Petra is contributing a brilliant piece of lighting to the collection- think lightbulbs and fairgrounds!


See the Stepney Green Design Collection for yourself, and from mid-September (I'll keep you updated when the exact date is confirmed)- come by the Genesis Cinema on the Mile End road, a true gem of the east end that has hosted entertainment for over 150 years. The whole collection will also be exhibited online, so I'll share a link with you as soon as it's live- in the meantime you can check out our inspirations on the Stepney Green Design Collection pinterest board. And the best bit is- residents of the VIVO development will be in with the chance of winning one of the pieces to own in their new home! Curating has been the most fun ever- I only wish they were all going in MY home...

I'm now off on holiday until early September- enjoy the rest of the summer! You can read a final pre-holiday post for me over on the Freya site- where I've just become one of their official bloggers. See you on the other side!









Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Gifford's Circus: my first Lomokino film

video

I'd like to thank you all for being patient with me since I was given a Diana F camera at Christmas, and hope you've enjoyed my first attempts at mastering my lomography camera. I was, however, also given a lomokino which I've been dying to try out but waiting for the right opportunity. This presented itself when my little sister Phi signed up to intern at Gifford's Circus, a wonderful, vintage style troupe who travel around the Cotswolds every summer with what Vogue has called 'possibly the greatest show on earth.' My family have lived in a local village since the very first year Nell and Toti Gifford started the circus, and we've been every year without fail, it really is the highlight of our summer. So we were thrilled when one of our family got to work with the Giffords- whose family now also includes Nell and Toti's gorgeous twins, Red and Cecil- you can see adorable photos of them on Nell's backstage blog here (and sometimes they appear in the shows, when they're in the right mood!)


Anyway, I hope you like my first attempt at a lomokino film- I need to find some crackly, silent movie style sound effects to set it to, but I leave to go on holiday on Wednesday for a month so was worried about getting this post up in time for you to read it before the circus season ends- you can still get tickets for shows til mid September here. Huge apologies for cutting the tight-rope walker's head off in my little film- it's quite hard to keep still!

My sister Phi being an usherette

The Victorians- the only animals you'll see at Giffords are horses, dogs, doves and a couple of geese- no exotic animals or scary clowns, only Tweedy, an adorable Charlie Chaplin-esque clown.



My youngest sister Florrie wearing a Gifford's  rosette and my brother Jack, right.
Phi again, selling Gifford's merchandise

Red and Cecil's tiny pony Tom!

Nancy performing with her doves.



Phi in action!





Nell comes from a family of super talented ladies, including her sister Emma Bridgewater, whose beautiful painted ceramics i'm sure you'll recognise- they line the tables of the tent you can have dinner in after the show- this is what I did for my 21st birthday party. (quite a few years ago.....!)


Last year, one of my all time favourite photographers Ellen von Unwerth did an incredible shoot with Giffords for my all time favourite magazine, Lula- I was one happy bunny.
I hope you get a chance to visit the circus, though I do warn you, you might fancy running away with them!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Wendy Bevan and Temper Temper




I recently had the chance to meet one of my favourite photographers, Wendy Bevan; I've blogged about some of her work before here. My friend and fellow blogger Akeela introduced me to Wendy, who it turns out is also an incredibly talented singer. She's taken her band Temper Temper to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with an act that showcases both her vocal talents, her passion for vintage aesthetics and her skill with images.



Temper Temper's epic sound fuses muscular, glittering blues with old, dusty jazz, inspired by the works of artists such as Antony and the Johnsons, Scott Walker, Marlene Dietrich, Nick Cave, Mercury Rev and Laurie Anderson. Bevan’s otherworldly vocal performance was recently credited as: “Tragic, and hauntingly beautiful” by Vogue.com.
Pursuing a multidisciplinary approach, Wendy Bevan and her band create a world of ambiguity that sends a shiver to the core. Temper Temper's soundscape explores the emotion of the Pain of Desire companioned with a mixture of original and archive visuals created and art directed by Bevan, vacillating from serenity to calm and brutal to beautiful.


As an internationally renowned photographer, visual artist and performer, Temper Temper represents the coming together of Bevan's talents- yes, she really is that ridiculously talented. And pretty easy on the eye. And a genuinely lovely person. If it weren't for the latter it'd be easy to hate her. These self portraits are by Wendy in her beautifully chracteristic style- an antidote to a generation of digital photography and photoshopping.


Wendy co-writes with actor, playwright and composer Seiriol Davies the pianist in the band, and one of the founding members of Temper Temper. She has an on going sound project in development with Jack Shirt (Christos Faranas) who is also in the band, playing drums, synths and loop pedal effects and the quartet is complete with experimental bassist Jonny Martin.

'Temper Temper’s original epic sound fuses muscular jazz and glittering blues with a richly textured visual landscape, led by Wendy Bevan’s hauntingly beautiful voice. Her otherworldly performance as a statuesque, ghostly femme fatale echoes the Pain of Desire.Pursuing a multidisciplinary approach, Bevan and her band create a world of ambiguity that sends a shiver to the core. Harking back to the golden age of silent film, Temper Temper’s soundscape explores this emotion, with companion visuals created by Bevan, vacillating from serenity to calm, brutal to beautiful, reflecting the cutting dark side of human desire.'

Catch Wendy and Temper Temper at Summerhall until 18th August
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