‘Havarie’ – a dark debut from the Lost Goose Theatre Company

29 Jun

This month I was lucky enough to be one of a select few Londoners attending the debut night of brand new stage play ‘Havarie’ at the Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden – a universal tale of loss, nostalgia and great seafaring voyages.

You’d be forgiven for assuming the opening scene of the play is set in slow motion, however (aided by aquatic sound effects) one swiftly realises our four storytellers are underwater – inspecting long-lost objects sacrificed to the sea.

The play’s narrative centres around two young European sisters (depicted by actresses Louise Ni H-Eidhin and Mona Becker) forced to flee their home and face the maddening effects of the sea.

Louise Ni H-Eidhin, Mona Becker, Havarie, Lost Goose Theatre Company, Tristan Bates Theatre,

The fifth member of the on-stage team is the inanimate companion ‘Dolly’, a modest rag-doll and vessel for the thoughts of the youngest sister played by Louise Ni H-Eidhin. Through Dolly we get to hear the inner-most fears and doubts of a terrified child, stranded at sea.

The play’s namesake ‘havarie’ German for ‘lost at sea’, defines the morbid tale – narrated by actresses Hannah Martin and Marie Keiser-Neilson.

Lost goose theatre company, havarie, play, production, tristan bates theatre, hannah, marie

An intelligent use of set design and on-stage props deliver endless uses. Lights projected behind turquoise umbrellas imitate the fluidity of crashing waves and graceful sea creatures. While the ship’s sail doubles as a puppeteers projection screen.

‘Havarie’ is the first production from the Lost Goose Company, a theatre collective of four women from across the globe. Their different artistic backgrounds spanning everything from musical theatre, to dance and stage acting combine

Searching for an Off-West End production bursting with creativity and darkness? Check out ‘Havarie’. View the tour schedule via the Lost Goose Theatre Company website.

You can also see real-time updates from the production staff via the Lost Goose Theatre Company Facebook page.

“Henna art in high demand” Jen of ‘Jen’s Henna’

16 Mar

The kind of crafts I love, are ones that are both inexpensive and bring people together – two things that epitomise the ancient art of henna tattooing.

hand henna, henna tattooing,

Once used in ancient Egypt and India to adorn brides with elaborate floral patterns and motifs, it’s now more widely used amongst men and women at times of celebration.

The sciencey bit: Henna leaves alone won’t stain the skin. It’s only once the leaves have been sifted in to a powder, treated with a mild acid and worked in to a paste that it can form an almost instant stain upon contact with skin – growing darker the longer it is left.

I spoke to a talented young lady who’s busy sharing her passion for henna tattoing in both London and Cambridge! Jen of ‘Jen’s Henna‘ told me about how she got started, and  increasing interest and demand for henna at kids parties, hen do’s and for brides to be.

1. Tell us about how you got in to the art of henna?

I’ve been interested in henna since I was young – I remember once occasion when I was on a beach on holiday and saw someone doing amazing designs, I thought, I’ve got to learn to do that! I’ve always loved drawing patterns and so henna feels like quite a natural interest. I got hold of a henna kit when I was 17 and started practicing on myself and on friends. I’m completely self-taught, and so it was only after graduating from University and wondering what to do next that I started doing henna for money.

interview picture me

2. What’s your proudest henna project to date?

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular project but some the work I’m most proud of has come from when customers have brought their own ideas and asked me to translate them into henna art. I feel most confident doing my own designs, but some of my best work comes from being challenged to create something completely new.

interview picture 2

3. What inspires your work?

My work is inspired by henna designs from all around the world. Different countries and areas of the world have their own styles and I try to learn from all of these.  I particularly like the floral and paisley designs of India and Pakistan, as well as the straight and symmetrical patterns of Morocco and North Africa. Continue reading

Jools & Jacks ‘Cupcakes & Co.’ cameo on 2013 Channel 4 ‘Grand National’ advert

21 Mar

Cupcakes are usually front of mind for me, so it’s no surprise that I spotted a cupcake stand within a channel 4 horse racing advert about The Grand National (of all things).

channel 4 racing advert, grand national advert 2013, The grand national

Only thing was, I recognised more that just the ’99p-style’ cupcakes, I also twigged that I’d seen the logo before. It was only ‘Cupcakes & Co.’ by Jools and Jacks!

>>> Previous blog: Rugby 7′s festival meets ‘Cupcakes & Co’ by Jools & Jacks<<<

My first chance encounter with these two lovely ladies was funnily enough was being mesmorised by their cupcake creations at a rugby 7′s festival in Manchester.

cupcakes and co Jools & Jacks

The advert itself features a scrum of horses charging through a rural town in England, residents cheer on as jockey’s are flung from saddles and whiplashed by tree branches. It climaxes in a scene of cheering and jostling (in amongst the all important Cupcakes & Co. food stand).

The full advert is below – check out the quick flash of the Jools & Jack’s banner at 1:18.

Cupcakes and baked treats for all occasions can be made to order by contacted Jools & Jacks via their Facebook page or website.

cupcakes and co jools and jacks

Craft: British beauty Perri Lewis on her amazing new book ‘Material World’

21 Dec

I’ve been following the glittery footsteps of one, miss Perri Lewis for a while now. Famed craft specialist for the Guardian, Lewis even headed up features for Psychologies magazine (great for some new year motivation!) – Lewis has finally released her highly anticipated ‘Modern Craft Bible‘ for the masses. 

Material World, Modern Craft Bible, Perri Lewis, crafting

Lewis’ ‘how-to’ debut is stocked pretty much everywhere, from Waterstones, to Foyles, to Amazon and even Anthropologie – Regent Street, London! This book does no fluffy skirting around; here you will find sterling craft techniques and expert advice from top designers on using age-old craft skills to decorate your modern world!

Let’s catch up with the main woman herself…

Perri Lewis Material World Craft

Your personal style in 3 words…

It rarely matches.

What influenced in your journey in to a life of arts & craft?

Like plenty of crafters, my Nana and Gran taught me how to make when I was about eight. I put my needles down for a bit until I was in my late teens and was desperate to make clothes that were more alternative than you’d find in Topshop. By that time, craft was starting to become big: I was pleasantly surprised, because knowing how to knit/sew/make already meant that I had a bit of headstart.

I like craft best when it’s mixed with a bit of fashion, politics, current affairs, or something else that makes it more than just a bit of stitching. Craft that aims to change the way people think, whether intentionally or not, is where it’s at for me.

SONY DSCWhen is crafting not just fun, but useful?

When you make something that you actually want to wear/use/display, rather than something that hangs around in the bottom drawer, unfinished, because really, it’s actually a bit rubbish. There are craft books/blogs/shows that are full of stuff that might be super-fun to make, but, actually, are you ever going to use a penguin-shaped pan holder, or a hat made from shells? My craft box is full of stuff like this – I spend two weeks making it, but then I never actually use it.

You’ve written a fabulous craft book: ‘Material World: The Modern Craft Bible’ how did it happen? What’s it about?

Thank you! I’m glad you like it. I’ve been so nervous about people seeing it – when I wrote it I didn’t actually think that anyone except my mum would get a copy. Which is a bit ridiculous really, but when you’re holed up on your own for six months (I wrote it in my evenings and weekends with a full time job), you lose touch with what you’re doing it all for.

It’s different to traditional craft books – it’s not full of 50+ projects designed by me to follow step-by-step. Instead, I introduce people to 15 different techniques: How to do the basics, then we see some of the world’s most awesome designers and makers offer their insider tricks for making it REALLY brilliant. There’s a project based on the technique, and lots of ideas for other stuff you can make now you know how to do it. I love the idea of not bring too prescriptive – so people put their own spin on things. Craft is about so much more than just making something on your own in your bedroom, I’ve written 15 features about the amazing world of craft – when is craft actually art.

Autumn/Winter are fab seasons for craft – any upcoming projects? Top tips?DIY jewellery, jewellery making techniques, Perri Lewis, crafting

Get knitting quick – you might see it all over the Spring/Summer catwalks but I don’t think it’s as easy to rustle up something that’s wearable when it’s boiling hot outside. This is your chance to stay in, watch boxsets and dive into your craft box – start making a double quilt now and that’ll keep you busy until spring.

3 essential things that you’ve needed to be successful, in craft and journalism?

Fearlessness - I’ve emailed super-high profile people, CEOs and grand editors asking for help/a meeting/an interview and some of them have actually said yes. Sure, plenty of them never replied, but if you don’t take it personally, then there’s no harm done and potentially a lot to gain.

Twitter - has been really useful – it’s a way of meeting people who already do what you wish you did, and I’ve found so many of them are really willing to engage with others on there.

Fuel - realising that I’m no good to anyone when I’m hungry. When I finally realised that, I got a hell of a lot more work done.

Proudest career moment?

Writing a small piece about a Barack Obama cross stitch for guardian.co.uk on day of his inauguration. It stayed at the top of the Guardian homepage for a couple of hours, which is BIG, because it meant people were clicking on it. I know I wasn’t exactly a massive part of that momentous day, but it felt pretty great to have been part of the news package of one of the world’s biggest liberal newspapers.

Perri Lewis Material World CraftAdvice for aspiring journalists and creatives?

Be nice and work hard. Everyone I know who has succeeded in craft, in journalism – hell, in life – does those two things. And, I’m sad to say, you WILL have to do things for free at the beginning – again, whether it’s craft or journalism – because it’s a great way to get your name out there. Just make sure you’re picky about the things you do for free – always think ‘how is this going to help me in the long term?’ Is it giving you experience in an area you didn’t have? Are you associating yourself with a smart brand/organisation/people that reflects really well on you? Are you getting a chance to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet? Yes, it’s cheesy, but if you think of all the unpaid stuff you do as an investment in your future, it makes it easier to swallow. That’s what I did, anyway, and it hasn’t gone too badly for me.

Do you think interest in crafting is still as strong as ever in the UK? Or has the fad passed?

I think it is. There’s proof in the fact that Mollie Makes is now one of Future Publishing’s best selling magazines – it was only launched last year. This autumn loads of amazing craft books are coming out, even though we’ve already had couple of years of really strong craft publishing – Katie Allen’s Just Sew Stories, The Merchant and Mills book of sewing, Momtaz’s 101+ Things To Do With Glitter, Cassandra Ellis’s Quilt Love… there are plenty more too.

Perri Lewis Material World CraftWhat’s next for craft?

God, no idea. Although what I hope happens is that more people recognise the incredible effect has on our wellbeing. So you don’t fancy taking up yoga – well, craft can be just as de-stressing.

Perri’s seriously smart book: ‘Material World: The Modern Craft Bible’ was released for purchase November 1, Virgin Books. Londoners, pop into Anthropologie, Regent Street to find ‘Material World’ nestled amongst crafty loveliness. For everyone else, head to British book retailers: Waterstones or Foyles.

You can find Perri blazing the craft trail in the following places:

Make & do with Perri (blog)

@PerriLewis

Guardian.co.uk

Psychologies.co.uk

Perri Lewis Material World CraftPerri Lewis Material World CraftPerri Lewis Material World Craft

From Blitz to Shoreditch Vintage Festival 2012

13 Aug

It’s no secret that I am one of the most unashamed consumers going, but abreast of that – I do love a good bargain! Hence, thrift shopping is the ideal pass time.

Held at Shoreditch town hall there were tea & cakes to be had, shortly after you’d been primed and preened at the grooming parlour where you could have dated do’s and make-up. The entire hall was absolutely bursting with all types of Brit nostalgia and fashion from high-end to bargain bucket to apparel and up-cycle.

My favourite rummaging spot was the photograph stall. Stacked with pouting models and in everything from Moschino to Mary Quant. I could’ve spent the whole day there, but musky vintage waits for no woman alone.

All-in-all my purchases largely consisted of brooches & jewellery, although there was the odd nautical bowling shirt, 50 mechanical heart-shaped alarm clock, virginal white sun dress, and of course a silk tie for the papa.

Here are some snaps from my day there:


ImageImageImageImageImage Continue reading

NYT Newspaper Archives: Digital Versus the Physical

21 May

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing” this short  but captivating insight in to The New York Times‘ clippings library leaves you feeling a little melancholy and extremely nostalgic.

The Lively Morgue – The NYT Paper Archives

The mini-documentary depicts the Goliath-sized problem baring down on The NYT and its extensive archiving system, cost. As stated in the video – ‘chasms of space in the heart of Manhattan are expensive to hold and easy to fill.’

Nicknamed The Morgue by staff – who say it is the physical place ‘where stories go to die’ – has ironically found a home for itself on Tumblr.

The blog feed of Lively Morgue invites us to look at an endless feed of past triumphs & failures, histories and faces both famous and unknown.

Morgue Attendant – The NYT Newspaper Archives

A silver lining to this sad situation is that the archives are ultimately still used by staff at The NYT to refer back to pictures, facts and previous features. Although, as expected, the vaults are disturbed less and less by young members of staff.

Take a look for yourself:

Events: Walthamstow Wire Workshops & Jewellery Making

15 Apr

Last month I chanced upon a special kind of craft fair, showcasing the work of crafty men and women who make beautiful one-off jewellery and accessory pieces. The interesting thing about these folks is their fusion of traditional celtic-style stones and modern methods of handicraft.

Birgit Barret - Walthamstow Jewellery Group

They’re all member’s of Walthamstow Jewellery Group, headed up by the charming German expat Birgit Barret. For those unfamiliar with Stow, it’s a borough in north east London, a cosmopolis of all interests, generations and cultures, and home to famous English textile designer and writer William Morris.

Student of Craft

Ouzha, from Walthamstow has been with the group for 6 months, and says her passion is all down to her teacher; “you name it and she teaches it Birgit has taught me so many things like wire crochet, ring making and wire wrap.


She adds: “My real passion now is crochet jewellery, I’m really going to get in to it. It looks great, if you have little gemstones, you just put it in to the wire threads in the necklace and it looks stunning, plus you can adjust it to suit your size, or make a range of sizes if you’re selling your pieces.”

I ask Ouzha what this shift back to the handmade way of life is all about; “You go to to shops nowadays and everything’s mass produced, I think it’s a case of, you know what you like.” The office worker also finds it a calming experience, “when I’m at work and I’m stressed, I just take my crochet on my lunch break and I’m on my way. Also it’s a nice social gathering, because you’ll go to a class and you’ll meet like-minded people.”

The Teacher

The creative guru shares her home with frame making entrepreneurial husband and dog, Rusty. She’s no begginer in the crafting world, and started back in her teens; “I sort of forgot about it, then picked it up again seven years ago – I got interested in beds & crystals and wanted to wear them.”

Like many successful creative professionals she told me her crafting business grew by mistake; “two yrs ago, people ask me if I teach, I thought, what is there to teach? So I looked in to it and started a little class in my front room. I converted that and now I’m running classes in the evening every week.

” I also host two daytime workshops and classes on Saturdays, plus fayres and whatever I can fit in.”


Crafty Tuck Shop Continue reading

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