<divYou’ve been really busy lately, but what do you do in your spare time?
<divYou’ve been really busy lately, but what do you do in your spare time?
Aztec triangles, Labrador lockets, Scottish thistles, Stags and Octopus earrings…. sound amazing?! They are just a few items that Eilidh Strang hand makes under her business ‘Silk Purse, Sow’s Ear’. Her jewellery has popped up recently in almost every boutique shop in Edinburgh and is the essential, unique item for every girls jewellery box.
With no formal jewellery training, I’m amazed at the craftmanship behind Eilidh’s designs and production. Using mainly vintage materials – found and reworked – many of her items are limited runs or ‘one of a kind’. My favourites are the ‘Scottish Thistle Locket’ a perfect keepsake of Scotland, the Seafoam Triangle Earrings and the Swallow brooch (see images). She has something to suit all tastes from floral studs, Moroccon influenced rings to personalised lockets.
I asked Eilidh some questions about her work, her inspiration and her success…
What is your inspiration for your jewellery?
My inspiration tends to be picturing the different ways that my jewellery can be worn. I especially love the idea of my jewellery being ‘bunged on’ with an old jumper and jeans, without having to be dressed-up or styled particularly. When I imagine my jewellery being worn by women, it’s always in a really casual, day to day way. The idea of a lion brooch or frog locket making an everyday outfit just a little bit different is inspiring to me.
Was it easy to get your business started?
Fairly easy. I’ve had quite a strong sense of where I’m going with my designs, and ethos more generally, from the beginning which I think helps enormously. For instance, while I can see the beauty and simplicity in very delicate, silver jewellery, I still recognise that it’s not where I want to go with Silk Purse, Sow’s Ear. Things have also grown fairly slowly and steadily since I started out, which has given me the chance to keep up!
How do you see your business progressing?
For the moment, I am happy carrying on as I am. From the beginning I have operated by making the most of every opportunity I can, and just see where it takes me – I will definitely continue to do this and see where I end up! For me, the most important thing is having the freedom to design and introduce new designs on an ongoing, weekly basis, rather than being restricted to a couple of ‘collections’ a year. From the very beginning this has been a really important thing for me because it keeps things fresh and interesting – for me and my customers. Selling online and in small, independent boutiques is ideal for this way of working, and I’m really happy with it!
What is your favourite piece?
At the moment, my favourite design is my Bee Hive Necklace (below). It just incorporates the two areas of design that I love best – clean, classic and wearable geometric shapes, with little element of fun to make it worth talking about.
What would you say your biggest success so far is?
One of my proudest moments to date was being asked to sell in the Fashion and Textile Museum, London. I’ll freely admit I did a lap of honour round my living room that day!
Malika Favre is an incredible French illustrator, who lives in London.
Her work demonstrates strong, clean line and minimalism. With geometric shapes and constant use of bold colour, it is a modern take on Art Deco.
Whilst her work is far from busy in design, it most certainly isn’t simple or unsophisticated. Favre’s work demands attention.
“I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours as it needs to convey the core of the idea” says Malika, who continues to refine her technique.
Favre’s design work, which is mostly editorial, has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including ‘Creative Review’ and ‘Wallpaper’. She has also produced art work for album and EP covers, exhibitions and iPad documents.
Her highly adaptable designs have even been made into brooches, scarves and animations.
You can see more of Malika’s work, which you can also buy, on her website =
She also has a twitter account @malikafavre
(I absolutely love this girl’s work)
Geometric / bold / striking: those are the three things that immediately hit you when you see any piece from Hannah Davis’ handcrafted Wolf & Moon jewellery collection.
Graduating from Goldsmith’s with a degree in Fine Art only in 2011 Hannah soon moved to Brighton, and from there the label has already moved into being a really popular brand with independent jewellery shops across the country.
Talking to an assistant in Hannah Zakari in Edinburgh (one of the 7 British branchs that sell Wolf and Moon in store), she said that despite their current stock only being shipped in around a week previously almost all of it had gone already; and I must say whenever I have popped in (mostly just to gaze at beautiful jewellery my sad student bank account can’t afford) the Wolf & Moon section is constantly getting filled up with new items as the old fly off the shelves.
And that’s another rather lovely thing about Davis’ work: despite all being of certain Bauhaus-esque style each piece has it’s own unique appearance and charm. Very slightly variations of wood, Perspex and brass give each necklace or pair of earrings a feel of a ‘one off’ piece, but the continuous theme of strong shapes and simple patterns also mean you could combine different pieces without any sense of clashing.
From the range of broches, earrings, necklaces and pendants I must say the newest Garden collection is my favourite: it’s very Art Deco in style and with more complex statement pieces than the other Original and Inti collections.
And if you want to find some of her jewellery to see for yourself it should hopefully not be too hard to: the 7 shops which stock it are scattered from Glasgow to Oxford, and you only have to take a glance at her twitter feed to see that stalls selling her work are consistantly set up at an impressive amount of Vintage and art fairs across the country.
Another site I feel you should check out is Davis’ own fine art work; she’s done some absolutely gorgeous photography and some really lovely installation work, all with a strong theme of nature and mystery.
Fate is a funny old thing.
If you’ve never heard of a candid camera party, let me fill you in: you’re split into teams, given a list of challenges that you need to complete – the more risky the challenge, the higher the point score attached to it – and you need to get picture evidence. The team with the highest point score at the end wins. And the pictures make for hilarious viewing the next day (although they might not always be Facebook appropriate. You have been warned.)
For example, one challenge could be to pour a pint behind a bar. Another could be to create a human pyramid. Or even asking a stranger to crawl down the street with you – it’s at this point that I met The Natterjacks.
I woke up the next morning with a sore head, a lot of bruises and a business card in my handbag. I type in ‘The Natterjacks’ into Google, and was instantly filled with excitement: these guys are good. Really good.
Freddie, 19, and Mark, 20, sound like the indie folk lovechild of Mumford and Sons, and Ben Howard.
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This video of them performing for BBC Introducing’s ‘The Beat’ on Radio Derby has had almost 150,000 views on Youtube. Not bad for a couple of lads from Chesterfield who started out doing a few pop punk covers. I had to know more:
– So you have a really ‘big’ sound, it’s hard to believe there are only two of you! What instruments do you play?
Freddie: I play guitar, some banjo, the tambourine and vocals.
Mark: And I play the guitar, banjo, mandolin, kick drum and a bit of vocals.
– Is music something you’ve always wanted to do? What did you want to do when you were a kid?
Freddie: This is going to sound really corny, but I wanted to be a rockstar! I study dentistry and University of Sheffield so I’m having to split my time between that and gigging, writing and recording at the minute.
Mark: And I wanted to be a chef. We’re good friends and we started to do some open mic nights playing pop punk covers, then I introduced Fred to more folky bands like Mumford and Sons, and now here we are.
– Your sound is very ‘Mumford’; do you have any other influences?
A few of them are Ben Howard, Vaccines, Bombay Bicycle Club. But we’re finding lots of influences working their way into our music as we listen to new stuff.
– What was the first album you ever bought? (No judgement; mine was Britney Spears and I’m still not ashamed to say that, but I probably should be.)
Freddie: A Present for Everyone – Busted, not ashamed to say some of their songs are incredible!
Mark: S Club 7…
– What would be your perfect gig line-up?
Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard, Fleet Foxes, Haim and The Natterjacks (We can’t leave ourselves out of the chance to play a great gig!)
– And when can we hear more of you? Do you have any gigs or releases coming up?
We’re currently in the process of recording an album which we are hoping to have released in the summer. The first few tracks are up online so that’s quite exciting. We’ve got plenty of gigs around Chesterfield and Sheffield, we’re looking to get quite a busy summer sorted too which should be fun. What we really want is to get onto the festival scene – we feel we’d be really well-suited there.
Check out their <a href=”www.thenatterjacksofficial.co.uk>website</a> for the latest on their gigs and releases – expect big things from this band.
Laurel is 19-years-old and she has been writing music since she was 12 (yes I did just say 12). Inspired by Laura Marling she learnt the guitar and began gigging in Southampton and Portsmouth winning the Portsmouth News’ ‘Best Solo Act’ in 2011.
After which, Laurel began working with ex Radio 1 house DJ, Dave Spoon, and later on, Nick Halkes, who co-founded the label XL. Since then, she has developed her sound and subsequently she has been attracting a lot of attention with some people dubbing her as the next Lana Del Rey.
To date, Laurel has played along side Lianne La Havas, Ed Sheeran, White Lies and Katy B.
I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more from her in the future and if her latest demo, Blue Blood, is anything to go by, her debut album will be something pretty special.
Georgina Bolton graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 with BA Fine Art specializing in Sculpture. She was awarded the John Kinross Travel Scolarship to Florence and received the Barns-Graham Trust Dissertation Research Grant.
Her inspiration lies in the geometries of the urban surroundings. She transforms two-dimensional geometry into spacial forms, creating a sense of energy and motion in still imagery. Color contrasts and effective use of black against bright neon colors make her works look very vibrant and fresh.
Her drawings and prints remind me of an abstract map. I see this as an endeavor to translate the everyday experiences into abstract forms. Surface visuals of surrounding objects are simplified and transformed into indefinite shapes, where their value is replaced by the motion and dynamics of the urban experiences. An illusion that confuses the viewer and reveals a new aspect of successful geometrical manipulation.
Working in photography, print and sculptural installation, she also experiments in variety of mediums including jewellery designs and bookbinding.
Georgina’s portfolio is a journey between mediums and dimensions. She combines different techniques, blurs boundaries between art disciplines and transforms traditional mediums into highly contemporary artworks.
To see more of her work check out this website http://www.georginabolton.com/ and visit the RSA: New Contemporaries 2013 exhibition in Edinburgh.
Jon Schey doesn’t dwell on his ideas. He puts them to work. Having just graduated film school last month in London, at age 20, screenwriter, filmmaker, and director Jon Schey happens to have an impressive amount of accomplishments under his belt. Seasoned theatre and film lovers always can tell talent apart at an early age – and Jon has melded his passion for theatre, film, and comedy writing and used it to his advantage.
After being hand-picked by the Royal Court Theatre studio group’s Young Writers Program, Jon began writing his own tales of creative comedy and watching them be acted out by professional actors right in front of him. Jon has worked in the fast-paced film and theatre environments, bouncing ideas back and forth, and trying to make people laugh for a short while, but according to his accomplishments which seem nearly effortless, he is as seasoned as one who has been doing it all his life.
Jon’s first full-length film was a film about a young boy losing his virginity, and follows through what went on prior and after the night. The filmmaker is inspired by adolescence and the humour involved in growing up. After winning the title of Best Foreign Film and the Audience Choice Award at the LA Comedy Film Festival, (and not to boast, but also Best Director and Best Screenplay nominations) Jon has used a hint of subtle and awkward comedy in his next big-feature short film, entitled I Want to Be Happy, Cha Cha Cha.
“I find inspiration in loads of different, strange places. One huge inspiration for me is music – a big band called Enoch Light and the Light Brigade inspired a bit of my upcoming film. I’m inspired by weird quirky things, coming of age, and music from the 1940s” Jon speaks whilst looking up at the suddenly-sunny sky while smiling, the signs of being a true Londoner enjoying the recent minutes of sunshine.
I Want to Be Happy, Cha Cha Cha is a title that is named after an Enoch Light song, which also appears in the film. While working at the Royal Court, Jon met a writer called Luke Barnes, who is a fantastic Northern playwright from Liverpool. One may recognise him as an actor from the popular series Game of Thrones. “We got on really well, and I proposed to him that I would love to work on an idea of a film with him, I showed him some of my writing, and I loved the idea of working with someone else’s script,” Jon recounts.
“All I knew was I wanted it to be filmed in a diner, an old eighties diner, and mix it with quintessentially English elements, you know, cold, dreary, but wanted to make it like an American diner film involving chips, and all that food,” Jon says, eyes opening up as he explains that its all the little ideas he works with, and he moves up from those elements.
Luke took it all in, and next thing Jon knows he is reading a great screenplay that consists of zero dialogue, about a not very attractive girl who develops a crush on a truck driver who comes into her Little Chef every Wednesday on his delivery route. The challenge for Jon was not only the rareness and quirkiness of the script, but working around his ground rules; “a film should be 80% understandable in any language, one should always understand what is going on, we wanted to tell a story with no words, just images and signs and the viewer still knowing what the characters are going through,”
Those are the types of film Schey enjoys, an element of comedy or relief in tragic events. In this particular film, its interesting how he finds comedy in a sad situation, a girl living in the middle of nowhere, but has to work in a dowdy travel complex, and the viewer still laughs while watching the film – its the reality of it that makes his particular film making process so imaginative and admirable.
“I do not like serious films, I like relating my films and themes to real life in which you don’t just have one set, strict emotion, there are several going on at the same time,” Jon says as he cheerfully finishes his cappuccino. Wow. Did I mention he was only twenty?
I WANT TO BE HAPPY, CHA CHA CHA is out at the end of May.
Follow Jon Schey on film updates and his great sense of humour with Twitter, @JonSchey
“Clicking play on a screen does the job but there’s nothing like the anticipation of owning, opening and listening to music…” Who can argue with that? Milton Keynes’ Frances Szweda has conveyed her advocacy for the ‘survival of vinyl’ by creating this series of creative sleeves. Focusing on the Mercury Prize 2012 Nominess as a case study for the project, the London College of Communication Illustration student highlights the shift towards digital purchasing of audio, that relentlessly steers away from the traditional forms of tangible music packaging that arguably helped define the musics intentions in a visual format.
The beauty of album art can be lost in the blurry rush of increased download speeds and the general digitised lust for more music in ever-expanding quantities. Szweda strikes a more serious tone in an otherwise fruitful and humorous portfolio by challenging the vinyl format. Misconceived as archaic or lacking contemporary, her project, entitled ‘A Case For Vinyl’ aimed to utilize the Mercury prize’s popularity as an anchor to convey the “lost appeal of owning a physical object.”
In-keeping with the uplifting attitudes of institutions such as Rough Trade Records, Frances’ work reaffirms our shared attitudes towards keeping the colourful world of music spinning, and highlighting the desire for vinyl to continue with spinning with it.
Last weekend, I spent my time not in the usual way glued to it-girl instragram feeds and Catwalk Queen stalking my idols but instead BREATHING THE SAME AIR (That’s right, Cara Delevingne, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders, our air was SHARED) as them at The Vogue Festival on Southbank. Perhaps by my tone already you may have gauged how enjoyable my experience was but in case you didn’t, here’s a little more about the fun I had..
As I approached sunny Southbank it was clear to see that the Vogue Festival followed a similar set up as London Fashion Week and clearly I hadn’t got the memo that the uniform this year was Burberry S/S13 brightly coloured metallic trenches. Entering the building, I had never seen so much Vogue branding in such a small space, a Vogue cover shoot took centre stage as dotted around the edges were the ‘Vogue Cafe’ and ‘Vogue Shop’. I immediately felt at home as this Vogue village seemed to cover all of life’s necessities which made me feel as if I could just make a little nest in the corner and be happy for evermore. As I took my seat in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, I spotted a stereotypical, front row photographer complete with designer beard, beret and old school flash bulb camera. Along from him sat three young guys, all complimenting each other with bright pastel locks head-to-toe in this season’s Balenciaga finished with heavy gold chains and flatforms. To the left of me sat Susie Bubble, brightly coloured and ready to inspire.
My talk of the Saturday was Natalie Massenet, fashion mother of the iconic Net-A-Porter. Massenet was kindly introduced by Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman and then stepped to the platform herself looking slight and delicate in a figure-hugging Victoria Beckham dress. Immedietly she pointed out how she liked to do things differently, proven with the success of Net-A-Porter as she presented herself in a instragram-format, introducing us to her journey to the top via Nat-A-Porter. If you were unlucky enough to miss out, you can catch up on her whole journey here. Natalie made herself an open book as she told us tales about teenage trips to Tokyo, sharing carpools with Lenny Kravitz and signing Tyra Banks and Angelina Jolie for their first modelling jobs. All these eclectic anecdotes came together to the birth of Net-A-Porter, beginning in a little office in Chelsea and expanding to a beautiful empire in Shepherd’s Bush’s Westfield.
Sunday brought the enchanting Victoria Beckham. This time, unlike Natalie Massenet, Victoria was grilled under a interview format by Alexandra Shulman asking questions on fashion, family and travel. It was clear there were many Victoria worshippers in the crowd and to make it all that bit more juicy, young Brooklyn wiggled his way in front row for even more Beckham excitement. Victoria taught such life long lessons that can be applied, not only in fashion but in life as well as ‘women should really support other women’ and in order to achieve what we want we must visualise it first. She backed this particular concept up with A-List conversations she’d shared with Mr Beckham himself and Gordon Ramsay, over how they succeed in visualisation from footballs to food, whatever it may be. Although Victoria seemed to be quite careful and controlled with what she said, it was clear she had a cheeky edge when describing those who weren’t quite convinced about her starting out in fashion; “There were a lot of raised eyebrows, from those that could raise their eyebrows.” As for the Victoria Beckham business, the company have just launched their first e-commerce site and Victoria admitted to wanting to open a store in London soon.
Other stylish speakers on the weekend included the likes of: Mario Testino, Alexa Chung, Cara Delevingne, Anna Dello Russo, Susie Bubble, J.W. Anderson, Christopher Kane, Mary Katranzou, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Donatella Versace and many more.
The best part of all? I got to be amongst the greats and the legends of this industry at a really accessible price. Tickets for the Vogue Festival retail at around £30-£40 and as much as you fancy that Topshop sweater or those cute point toe pumps from Zara, actually, last time I checked £40 wasn’t so bad for a invaluable advice that will stay with you for a long time. With such a successful second year, there is no doubt that The Vogue Festival will be here to stay and fly around with full gusto come 2014 and I can simply not suggest any experience more rewarding for a budding fashionista.
For more details from street style to those all important quotes, have a peep at the Vogue Festival in all it’s glory here or perhaps wander those pretty eyes over the highlights above..
See you in April 2014 ladies and gents.
[All Images taken from Vogue’s Official Facebook Page.]
I first saw the magical illustrative work of You Byun at Pick me up Graphics Art Festival, London 2013.
Byun grew up in America, Korea and Japan and currently lives in New York. She received her Master’s degree of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2009.
Her experiences living in different countries are clearly reflected in her designs, which demonstrate appreciation of both Western and Eastern cultures.
Byun draws beautiful landscapes with the most extraordinary detail. Her work is ornate and decorative with intense bursts of pattern. She also uses a rich colour palette, heavy with pastels. The peach tones, which appear in several of her pieces, are especially warm and pretty.
“The works invite you into her imaginative realm that is playful yet sometimes tinged with a somber autumnal hint of transformation.” Byun.
You Byun’s ability to inspire people, has helped her gain recognition from various magazines and win competitions. She is currently working on her first contribution to Nobrow and her second children’s book with international publishers, Penguin Group. Her first book ‘Dream Friends’, was published in February 2013, with the same publisher.
Byun has also produced drawings on an enormous scale, designing murals for Singapore’s ‘Bar Sauce’.
To see more of You Byun’s imaginative work, you can visit www.youbyun.com
She is also on twitter @YouByun and has a Facebook page dedicated to her creativity You Byun (artist page).
This week’s blog is going to celebrate the animation of Darcy Prendergast and his production company ‘Oh Yeah Wow’. There is quite an impressive backlog of work to be mentioned here; Darcy’s films include music videos for the likes of Gotye and Bombay Bicycle Club, and a short Nickelodeon series called ‘Critter Litter’ featuring a llama for a hero. These animated delights are usually stop-motion clay productions but Darcy has also produced some experimental ‘light-painting’ films such as Rippled in 2012 (see video).
Darcy Prendergast was also involved in the animation of critically acclaimed feature film Mary and Max back in 2009, but has since chosen to work independently with his own production company. ‘Oh Yeah Wow’, which he runs with a group of close friends. The team’s most recent film is for Wax Taylor and Aloe Blacc and follows ‘a crochet quadropus’ as he floats about turning the world blue.
Darcy’s animation, whilst varying in technique, is recognisable for its darkly humorous, sometimes gothic, style. Darcy’s animal models, perhaps influenced by his father’s career as a zoo-keeper, are some of his most frequently occurring and most imaginative creations. There is a saturation of the colour blue in many of Darcy’s films which adds to the surreal atmosphere of both his animated and live-action films. ‘Oh Yeah Wow’ has also produced slick films for advertisements and music videos which are stylistically more formal. Whatever your animation preferences, Darcy Prendergast is one to watch.