195o's inspired african print lover

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Chico and Rita

I feel like I am so late on this but better late than never they say???
After going to Cuba last Christmas I totally fell in love with the place. It was beautiful the people were kind and the food and architecture blew my mind. I would go back in a hart beat. Watching Chico and Rita took me right back to the center of Havana but to a different time a time where it was in the height of its popularity. The Havana you see now has a different kind of beauty you feel like you are discovering a forgotten land. The music is in the air, I feel like the film really captured this. I don't want to give to much away but I smiled I cried and I  was spellbound by its difficult love affair. There were times i forgot i was watching a cartoon as I was so entranced by the deeply human emotions. In short I would recommend this film to anyone. The directors Tono ErrandoJavier Mariscal should be so proud of this beautiful film.

PS I think I want to be Rita she is so beautiful!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

In Memory of Uncle Phil

I don't really want to say much today I just want to dedicate this post to my uncle. A man who truly stood up for what he believed in fought for the people who needed it and thought deeply about so many things.  Even when he passed away his wish was to give his body to medical sciences so people could learn form his passing. I just want to say thank you to him for all his kindness and that I miss him always.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


I watched a cracking documentary on BBC iplayer the other day called feasts. The programme centered around a festival in Kerala India. A beautiful festival that brings together different religions and casts centered round a meal of 10-13 dishes. The part of the festival that really stuck in my mind was when a gang of dancers shaved there bodies and painted themselves as tigers. The best tigers were the guys with big fat bellies who could really make them roar when they giggled about when they danced. I thought i would share some images with you so you can see the great tiger faces...... 

the man they do it all for King Mahabali. If you can watch the programme do its a pretty special insight into the culture of India and some of the flaws in a cast based society. Feasts

Monday, 27 June 2011

Make your own Felted Fascinator

Its a hot and sweaty here in London for most people that would be an opportunity to sit outside. For me it sounded like a perfect day for making fascinators. 
It is currently drying in my studio so I thought I would share with you the first part of the process. 
This is the getting mucky bit!

So a while back I bought a set of hat blocks form eBay. They were a very basic set to start with because i was not sure if i would be any good. They were still a pretty hefty price (£110 if i remember rightly) so I persevered. When I got the hang of it i found some beautiful vintage half head facinatiors on eBay. I loved them but they were way out of my price range so I commissioned a guy form the original hat making company to make one for me and he did. 
Its the beauty you can see above is a big one it takes up about a third of your head.

So when I choosing my felt I thought a better go with the black so its a little less in your face than my usual hats. 
SO first you put your felt onto the wooden hat block, making sure you have an extra inch or so to turn underneath the block.

Gather your essentials scissors, iron, kettle, washing up liquid and starch spray.

Put your kettle on heat up the water you want the water to be nearly boiling. Put washing up liquid all over your felt in a spiral. Then cover it until damp with hot water. DO NOT TOUCH the hot felt until it is comfortable to touch otherwise it will really really hurt!Rub the soap into the whole of the felt until you can see bubbles all over it like a light foam. Get it into all of the creases of your block making sure there are no wrinkles. If you do get wrinkles try to work them out from the top of your block to the bottom. As you do this the felt may start to dry don't be afraid to add more water!

Your hat should start to look like this. Put a piece of cloth over it to protect the felt and start to run your iron over the block. This will pull out the soap and excess water and start to form the shape in its dry form. Make sure you take the cloth off and look at your hat as it will occasionally slip and need to be adjusted. 
Then spray the starch all over the felt this will wet it again. Let it soak in a little then repeat the step above covering the felt with a cloth and ironing.

Turn under the felt and  iron it cut the excess leaving a centimeter. Then leave it to dry naturally this will ensure it it bone dry and stiff.

Well that's it for now Allot I know but i will follow this up later in the week how to finish it.

Friday, 24 June 2011

A Place Where Your Dreams Can come true!

I have found the website of my dreams! I am always so up for learning new things. In fact I am totally self taught with both clothes making and hat making.
As a young dyslexic growing up was pretty tough.... no need to bring out the violins but for a long time I thought I could not learn anything. It took me until the age of 12 the learn how to tell the time so you can only imagine how hard Pythagoras's theorem was!
Art was really my only hope and has been the only thing I have really excelled in in life and when things get tough the thing that keeps me going.
Now I'm much braver, less easily embarrassed and more willing to take on a challenge. So when I found out about the school of everything it was music to my ears! Private teachers that teach everything form Japanese to Folk Flute what more could you want?Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself school of everything


So I am off to learn how to drape. I will post my experiences on here I cant wait to learn how to do it! I get so exited about these things!!!!

Draping is in essence making a mannequin that is the same size as you and arranging the cloth in drapes and folds to become the pattern pieces that make your garment.
And just in case I am not being clear here is a dictionary definition.
"The art of creating a dress or garment simply by arranging fabric around a body using the natural fall of the fabric and techniques like pleating, gathering. The most famous drape would be the sari."
Until next time have a lovely weekend people and thank you for reading.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Blogs blogs blogs blogs!

Hello everyone thank you for bearing with me this week. I feel like its been a bit of a shaky one! I have been working crazy hours so I haven't really had the time to get myself together.

So today I thought I would share some blogs with you things I read/ look at every time they pop up. First up the beautifully named my secret goldfish with its intriguing  images and no nonsense design. I am still dreaming of sunshine here in rainy England so I thought I would share two pics form her blog with you that transport me to holidays.

Next up (flashing lights) rough disco just a plethora of absolute bangers that will have you jiving round the front room in no time.

There is one woman out there who has been rocking my sewing world for a long time now Gertie's new blog for better sewing its like having your very own online teacher. I have learnt so many old school techniques from her. Its sometimes strange when you interact with a blog everyday. You feel like you have a friend. If I was to ever see Gertie in the street (unlikely as we live in different continents) I would be compelled to give her a hug and a kiss and say thank you!

Hope you like them too!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

M.K Asante

Wow, I've just had a bit of a morning watching a CNN interview with M.K Asante. What a guy! sorry to be slightly inarticulate but I think I maybe lost for words (not something that happens very often) and inspired to go out and learn more and defiantly read some of his writing.
As I have become more and more involved in writing this blog. I find new inspiration everyday. As a creative, its hard to follow your hart. Its something so brave that only the few keep on going.
I don't want to romanticise the perusal of creativity because its a hard road to take but whenever I see someone like, M.K Asante, being so eloquent and sure of his vision its a boost and reason to keep on going.
I have been trying to upload the clips form you tube all morning and frustratingly it just wont let me so instead find out more by clicking these links.
Better get going got some new books to read and some new films to watch!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

National Portrait Gallery Talk

Beverley Bennett is giving a talk about the current staff exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery this Thursday and Friday. I am looking forward to seeing the show and hoping that I can make it along to the talk!

Retromania and the internet time machine

Well this post is a bit of an open ended question and one I'm not sure has an answer. I am a big retro fan but I cant help but wonder, is our constant look into the past, shutting down the opportunity to innovate or produce anything new? It seems I am not the only one who has gravitated towards this idea. In fact it has been something that has repeatedly popped up on the radio and in blogs over the last few days.

As a person who is partial to a bit of retro myself, it feels a little hypocritical to pick holes in it. I love Mad Men and the clothes of the 1950's and 60's. I like listening to Disco and Funk in fact I mainly listen to old music. Even the new music I listen to often samples music of a different time and place.

Writer Simon Reynolds discusses our cultures obsession with music of the past in his book Retromania, you can read about it in depth in this Guardian article.
I feel that this so called Retromania is effecting every part of our lives from the clothes we wear to the music we listen to, to the things we put in our homes. We get exited about things that were outdated before our time like vinyl and record players. Dancing round our front rooms to the same songs our parents listened to. Even holding in high esteem music our parents would have been ashamed to listen to. After walking into an 20 something artists studio for the 100th time and hearing Bob Dylan blasting out of the ipod docking station a voice in my head cry's, isn't it time we moved on? If we spent a little less time listening to the music of the past and invested a little more time supporting the music of the future, maybe the tween market would die down and we wouldn't be forced to listen to, yet another autotune rendition of some song that was too grim the first time round.
Like I said earlier its not like I'm a maverick myself. I'm not riding the cusp of a new wave of innovation because in my hart of harts, I'm not sure there is one. the more I think about it the more I wonder how can anyone do anything new? Even when you think you have and some sort of brain wave a quick google search turns up 100 people that are doing the same and that have done it before you! Would I be a more cutting edge if I turned off all my cutting edge technology shut my door and just got on with it?
I was talking with some friends about this earlier I asked what will define this generation if this generation is just a mish mash of things form the past? She said 'mybe that is what defines us?' 'we are the generation that takes the best its form the past and by putting them together turns them into something new' I hope she is right because if Lady GaGa is the most forward thinking and experimental person out there I might just lock myself away and be done with it!

P.S if you want to read a little more on this subject have  look at this very eloquent blog post by Ekow Eshun

Monday, 20 June 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends...

I am lucky enough to have some really talented friends and some very special people around me so I thought I would spend this week sharing them with you. First up an invite to a private view at the Josh Lilley Gallery. I haven't seen all the work yet so I wont give any opinion  but if you can go, do. You can get a feel for their works on their own websites Boakye-Yiadom  and  Hartley

Friday, 17 June 2011

Dancing Round The Front Room

So I'm taking things a little more personal today. Its Fathers day in the UK this weekend so without being soppy or banging on about how my dad is the best in the world. I thought I would share my favorite  memory of growing up.
So Sundays were chill out day the day you were able to stay in your pjs till really late without being told off. The day we had bacon and eggs for breakfast and the day the music would go on full blast in the front room.  We would all gather in the front room mum dad me and my two brothers and dance around in dressing gowns. My parents introduced me to all kinds of music from Motown to Ska and Blues.
So I thought I would share some of the family favorites with you.

not so much of a dancing tune but I used to be mesmerised by this song growing up with its mildly threatening nature! 

We used to go and see Nine below Zero live allot when we were kids up on my dads shoulders while he would jig around. These are all great memory's for me. In fact my dad still loves to hear new music and when I spoke to him the other day he recommended these guys so if you haven't heard of them before here are Vintage Trouble on the Jools Holland show. In fact they are playing all around the UK soon so if you like them you can check them out I'm told its only £7 a ticket for there solo shows! http://www.vintagetrouble.com/shows.html

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Naked Woman Naked Man where did you get that nice sun tan?

So to pick up after Tuesdays post......after the British Museum we had a little walk sown towards Somerset house to see the Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei and it was well worth it. I think they are the most sucsesful piece I have seen in that courtyard. They work well in the surroundings. Its also a great show to interact with, without any stuffyness.
We took some pictures to share with you.

And there I am year of the dog second to last, while that ugly rat goes and wins the race....isent that just the story of life ;)

When we finished it was time to head over to the studio for a meet and greet bbq with my fellow artists. So over the bridge we went only to be confronted by a sight that erm you dont see every day!!! Hundreds upon hundreds of naked cyclist......
now this was such a sight to behold! It is called the world naked bike ride and if your eyes can take you can read more here.....http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/uk/

But I thought I would leave you with a few visual treats because a day like that does not happen everyday!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

My love for BRIXTON never dies

It only gets stronger. I am always scared of saying to much because I have seen East London die a death and I would hate the same to happen in my area. However I think it would be wrong not to share this little Gem with you.

It was Thursday night and i was tired after a 7.30 start at work and a mission into Central London to get a blow up bed.  Oh honestly my life is so exiting you cant even imagine! On the bus on the way home I was having a snoop around facebook, as you do, and I spotted a post form TY about United 80. His facebook posts are always on point and as a musician he for me is one of the best around. So when he put up that there was a gig in my area, and a free one at that, there was no way I wasn't getting off the bus and going to check it out.
So out came the make up on went the face and off I trundled into Brixton Village Market.  The once home of my lovely but slightly smelly studio.

All I had to do was follow the music and the crowds and there it was! Have a look for yourself UNITED VIBRATIONS WERE AMAZING.

So although I would like to keep Brixton my little secret I also understand to keep all these wonderful things going I have to share it.......so I begrudgingly tell you all to GET YOURSELF DOWN THERE.
Late night openings on Thursdays and  Saturdays !!!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Easter Island heads Paa Joe and the Circle of Life

A quick visit to the  British Museum turned some beautiful treasures from the far flung corners of the world.  Seeing these things is always a mix of pleasure and pain........I would much prefer to see them where they belong, in their country of origin but that decision is unfortunately out of my hands.
So while I cant change the world I thought I would share some highlights with you.

Easter Island heads

I have always loved the imagery of  Day of the Dead. They had an amazing piece called the circle of life in the museum. I cant find an image of it anywhere which is a huge shame. So i thought i would show you some of there sculptures instead. The one at the top shows the elements of destruction in the world and is HUGE.

I also discovered they have some of Paa Joe's coffins on display. It was good to see them in the flesh. I look forward to seeing more of them when i go and visit Kumasi, Ghana next year.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Out of this World


Hello everyone hope you had a good weekend.
I have a little begging to do before I start...... Allot of you read this blog regularly in fact so many of you I have had over 800 hits since it started so a big thank you to everyone!
I don't know how many of you read it to be nosey or if you read it because you really enjoy it? but whatever your motivations I would really appreciate it if you would make yourself a profile and follow it so this blog can become a little bit more interactive.
Anyway that's enough begging for one day!

So my weekend was busy. After a long week at work, my little bro (actually not so little now!) came down to visit. It was a bit of a combo of seeing allot and stumbling across some more! So on Saturday morning we woke up nice and early and headed straight off to see the SI-FI exhibition, "Out of this World" at the British Library.

Now I would never really describe myself as being interested in SI-FI. The Jetsons was about as far as it went for me as a kid. I used to draw crazy inventions, but as a young dyslexic child the words of far of unrecognisable places did not appeal to me.
However this exhibition appealed to my inner child. You don't have to be a hardcore SI-FI geek to get into it. Its primary focus was on the inventiveness of the writers of SI-FI, and how many of the things that we use today have been imagined in there entirety within some of the most recognisable science fiction titles of the last century.
I would tell you some of the top facts but that might stop you for going down there.....the exhibition if free so if you live in London you don't really have an excuse!

I loved the novels covers and illustration fantasy's of the future.

OK so this post has ended up being a little bit to long so I will write bout the rest of the things I saw over the next few days......keep your eyes peeled for my naked post!
I also wanted to give you a little taste of things to come with this radiolab  podcast about talking to machines.