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!