Sunday, 24 August 2014

An 'Indian Summer' at the Dandy

Getting back in gear for the next Dandy took some doing. After a break of a month, with sooo much going on, it could have stayed on the back burner for a while longer. But, the show must go on, and on it will go! Please go here for more info. Here's my new poster design.

I was going to give my lion a crown of feathers, but, I did a little research, and found out some people get offended by the extensive use of American headwear as fashion accessories, but did want to include that connection. So, feathers are added, but hopefully, in a sensitive way. What do you think?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

I really wish I was a DJ
Simple as that. I love music. Have a long history with it. And always love hearing new stuff. I also love to dance, so, natural alchemy, yes?
This is my latest love.

I hope you enjoy it!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

My Passion Is...

My current passion is my Dandy Lion Market. One of the reasons I like it so much is because I can utilise a number of different skills running it. One aspect in particular is designing. I completed a design degree back in 2001, but never embarked on that new career, having become a second-time-around mum, unexpectedly, in my early 40's, as soon as I completed my degree. I already had an 18 year old.

Erik was 18 when I had Matthew. Here they are 21 and 3!

I went with the flow, as I am inclined to do with major turning points in life, and took to raising my second-born with relish. Being a very 'attached parent', benefitting from being supported financially, and a bit more maturity, I devoted my time to my child. This innately intuitive and relaxed time gave me the chance to gradually re-acquaint myself with the artist within me. I had done an art degree when younger, but then I came to England, and eventually turned my hand to sewing for designers for the next 18 years. One such designer was English Eccentrics, who are still going, I'm happy to add, and with whom I learned my trade and worked for 6 years. The 80's were a fun and vibrant time to be involved with fashion. I even got to appear briefly in their Arctic collection catwalk back in 1985. 
(You can see me at 7:05 coming on with my 2 year old and his 3 year old friend. I must also add that the music on this video is not the original, and I think was probably Dead or Alive, 'You Spin Me Round" and the like, so turn down the sound to the original and play this one instead. It will make so much more sense.)

Continuing with a bit of background, during an annual visit back to Calif with my little boy back in 2004, I was inspired by the recent projects my mother was into. She and I have always shared a love for arty craft, and each visit home was an opportunity to share new ideas, and have a crafting session together. This time she was making altered books, objects and tableau.

My mum's studio and some examples of her art.

So, on my return to London, I embarked on making artist's books. Coupled with a deeply inspiring visit to the London Artist Book Fair, in 2005, then at the ICA, I made the determination to be exhibiting at it myself in one year's time, which I carried out, with much pride, I might add. It cost £300 for a pitch at that!! It's actually gone right down in price this last year. I'm tempted!

My first LAB, Nov 2006, at the ICA, London

It was a few years since doing my degree, but, all that justifying of content, materials, construction, design, etc. was still pretty fresh in my mind. Turning my hand to making little handmade book art and objects, with quirky content and artistic flair, was a very suitable alternative to the interior design of spaces, I figured. I made very little money doing it, but, it was my passion!

After a few years, I continued to make book art and other objects, but also returned to sewing as well, making textile-based home wares and decorative pieces. I also started to collect vintage wares and combined these with my crafts at a few markets and fairs. 

Bentley Priory Fair March, 2010. A mix of hand mades (cushions and framed reproduction vintage pin-up prints, with cherry-picked vintage). I had another stall at this edition, which my partner manned for me, with purely craft items.
It was from one of these the offer to run a craft market emerged. I was a regular trader at Can't Buy Me Love, a vintage and jumble market run by Jet Payne, at the Boogaloo.

Can't Buy Me Love, March 2011, just a few months before launching the Dandy.
The manager needed to fill a gap for a craft market left by a previous organiser. (They have gone on elsewhere and are the Wonderhill Market) I was really chuffed to be asked, and I accepted the offer to start another one with great excitement. I was just so ready for it! The Dandy Lion Market was born, first edition June 11, 2011. You can see photos from that here. Only set-up pictures unfortunately, as my camera ran out of power- can you believe it!

The first edition of the Dandy: It was immensely nerve-wracking but exciting. 
The Boogaloo was a big space to fill with 3 different sections. This was the stables block.

Back to my primary purpose for this post, once I committed myself to running the Dandy, I got busy creating the name and logo. I found the perfect lion vector on Shutterstock, and it has proven an enduring mascot for all the different designs I have done.

This was my first poster. Very simple! They became increasingly elaborate and
have taken on many incarnations and designs over the nearly 3 years of running the market.

The Dandy will be 3 years old this June, and along with anniversary editions, and all the various holiday ones, I also ventured to create themes that related to: the seasons, the month, other occasions, like the Jubilee, charity events, alternative and pagan celebrations, and sometimes just gut instinct. These are some of my personal favourites.

As an artist and maker, my designs evolve intuitively, but with a level of precision, too. Final versions can happen in one take, or 10. I'm something of a perfectionist, so I like to get it just right. 

Now, I hope you don't mind that this has turned into a bit of a yarn! I do everything for the market myself, and, along with all the admin, communication, marketing, promoting and hands-on setting up, I take a lot of pride in designing a new poster/flyer every month. This is a place I can put my design and artistic flair to good use, on a regular basis, and display it, too! There is quite a collection of posters now, the entire collection of which can be seen in the events section of the Facebook page.

Running a market is hard work. There is a fair bit of competition out there, so one needs to think of new ideas and keep people interested and curious, so they want to come along each month. Creating different themes and posters can also be a spur and inspiration for new products by traders, and help create a buzz for the market day, itself. Hope to see you there soon!
The March 2014 edition, 'I Heart Mum. Our best market yet, helped by the
Mother Appeal for Oxfam element and a wicked recommendation in Time Out.
The Dandy Lion Market is a monthly fixture at the Oxford pub, 256 Kentish Town Rd, London, NW5 2AA. 12-5pm. Free Entry Check out the Facebook page for next event.