The Recent Ones

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Charitable Christmas | Arlo's Snowflake by Jot Paper Co

As I've become older, Christmas has progressively become a time where food is the main priority and a visit from Father Christmas less so - I'm much more partial to a few surprises throughout the year! In other news, apologies for mentioning the C word a tad tad early but I was compelled to on this occasion and you'll soon see why. 

This year I've felt even more inclined to ditch the commercial Christmas spirit bollocks and embrace more of a 'giving' attitude to charities and causes that are in need of support. Conservation and homelessness charities such as ZSL and Centrepoint are normally top of my list but this year I've also had my eyes opened to design companies who are donating their own profits to causes close to their hearts. 

Charity auctions from Art on a Postcard who donate all of their proceeds to The Hepatitis C Trust and Who's Casper, where 15 creatives have customised a Modus stool for auction with all money raised going to support Movement on the Ground - both will still provide you with a treasured gift to maintain the Christmas spirit but will also generate income for worthy causes - win, win right?!

Although I rather wish that design pals Jot Paper Co didn't have to get in touch with me with a charitable concept, when they did drop me an email to let me know of their Christmas campaign it was a. Love at first sight and b. a story that made me just a little teary - I had to buy them immediately. Unfortunately Dan and Becks' nephew, Arlo passed away just a few days after birth and in commemoration the duo have designed the Arlo's Snowflake card in order to donate 100% of the profits to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital where little Arlo was born. 

Featuring a hand-printed snowflake in blue and white foil, the card design is simply divine and with two stylish colourways, it was a hard choice for me, ultimately deciding on the ice blue that I knew would look just right on any mantlepiece this Christmas. I may have to order the white a little closer to the time, don't ya think?

We all know someone affected by either miscarriage, premature or critically ill babies so it only seems right to make sure your Christmas cards this year are both beautifully designed and contributing to a worthy cause. I know it sounds cliche but honestly even a little donation makes a difference so whether it's one card or a hundred, you'll still be contributing to help other little Arlo's all around. And to pre-empt your lovely donation - just as little Buzz below says with another of Jot's creations below - TA!

For further information on Jot Paper Co visit:
For further information on the NICU unit:

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Peckham Patterns | A Morning with The Pattern Guild

It was love at first glance for myself and The Patten Guild - a platonic relationship of course. Years have now gone by since our first meeting and finally I feel like the time is right to share the geometric goodness of the independent brand that has stolen my heart and looked after my make-up for a good while now. Thankfully, they are a friendly bunch so I popped by their studio in Peckham to admire their prints and talk the pattern business.

The brainchild of creatives, Amber James and Fergus McDonnell, The Pattern Guild is more than just a decorative brand. The honest approach to design by Amber and Fergus is unbelievable and for once you're guaranteed not to hear of any shortcuts, tiptoeing around certain topics or the erasing of an 'ethos'. These two stay true to their word and I have no doubt they'll continue to stand their ground in the harsh world of design, where we all know sometimes profit margins can compromise certain values. 

Photo by Sarah Lloyd courtesy of The Pattern Guild
Having first met on the buzzing markets of Brick Lane, it actually took a year for the duo to get in touch with each other again, after various pleas from other friends that they should be working together. They were both creating similar designs so ultimately the work drew them together and the collaborative process began. Interestingly, they sent old designs to each other via email to rework. You know like those little concertina images that leave you with like a little wacky, disfigured person? I would kill to see The Pattern Guild versions as one can only imagine the creative juices flowing from their fingertips at the time.

Britishness remains at the core of the brand, namely for their ability to actually create the items themselves. 'It's trying to support the the skills and crafts here, and value them. There's nothing bad quality about what's made in China, it's the fact that it's made at a fraction of what it should be,’ states Amber. ‘It's trying to not be fake as well because we've always had that as, well, not the main ethos but a core part of what we do’. 

For Amber and Fergus, it’s about offering the opposite to the approach taken by a fair few other designers and making sure that they don’t end up frustrating their own customer-base. ‘The advantage of making our own stuff is that we can do whatever we want,’ explains Fergus. ‘We can create stuff we want to put our name to,’ and yes, this does translate to brands to if you’ve come across their range in collaboration with Islington lifestylestore Smug.

Coming from fairly different backgrounds, Amber always wanted to create from a young age and unfortunately when growing up she quickly learnt this wasn’t an easy feat and that making wasn’t in demand. Losing the initial dream of costume design, she studied Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts and became part of the digital era of website design that we now rely on today. Luckily the maker in her never lost hope and after years of freelance work in both graphics and textile design, she decided to go back to her roots but in her own way – culminating all of her skills of design, textiles and her ability to make. ‘Having the desire to use those skills and earn money from those skills, combined with there being a lack of opportunities gave me the idea for my business,’ she explains.

Photo by Sarah Lloyd courtesy of The Pattern Guild
Matched with Fergus’ own Northampton heritage (the home of incredibly made shoes such as Cheaney and Dr Martens), the twosome understand the importance of a well-made product and this translates into their own designs. When I first came across The Pattern Guild I remarked at the high-quality material (organic cotton if you’re wondering), the considered branding and of course the pattern itself – for me they are the whole package when it comes to accessory design and no doubt these have all initiated from the pairs shared values and the bespoke nature of how they work.

Moving on to where the brand will be going in the future, there are plenty of things on the go at the moment including a project I am VERY excited about. I won’t talk about it too much as I’ll probably want to feature it when it comes to light but – a few hints for you - it involves bringing a new pair of eyes to the team, a little bit of code and some embroidery to start of the process. They’re looking for a little more substance behind the designs. They’re not scared of an objective viewpoint and it’s this openness that will undoubtedly give them the edge in the future. It keeps it interesting for us to work with other people,’ mentions Fergus. ‘That’s what it’s about. Working with the right people.’

From the get-go of our conversation we hit it off talking about everything from collaborations, frustrations of a 9-5 studio job and a tiny bit of moaning about worker exploitation. It’s refreshing to come across people who are so conscious of their own future and how they can make a change. ‘We know there’s a value in what we do,’ they say, ‘and hopefully we can project that by getting other people on board with that by doing it.’ Well, I’m certainly down with that and hopefully now you are too.

Thanks so much to Amber and Fergus for having me be nosy. For further information and upcoming markets visit:

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Super Super Exhibition | Supermundane at Unlimited

Forgive me for forever mentioning Brighton's finest, Unlimited Shop, every two minutes but they have yet again created an amazing exhibition in the gallery space of their graphic design and creative lifestyle store. Owner Sara has such a knack for spotting talent and developing relationships so it comes as no surprise that their latest showcase presents the work of the incredible Supermundane (aka Rob Lowe).

Titled Super Super, the exhibition explores typography, colours, depth and movement with Lowe's signature slogans and shapes taking centre stage, turning Unlimited in 'a kaleidoscopic world of patterns'. From my favourite YES print to the crazy mad Tropical Hot Dog Night design, every corner of the shop has been Supermindane'd and from small to large pieces, you're guaranteed to find something to fill any gap in your wall (or the one you just mentally made).  

"In planning our 2016 exhibitions it was very much a wish list of who we felt were inspiring to us and who had not been showcased in Brighton.. We're huge fans of Robs work as it compliments the graphic aesthetic of Unlimited." explained Sara when I asked her how the exhibition came about. "We started chatting at the beginning of the year and we'd so chuffed he said yes to a solo shoe with us! He's gone full out and produced an entire body of new prints plus two murals on the shop!"

And indeed the murals make it a must-visit - free Instagram content with every purchase - yes bloody please! The outside mural ties in brilliantly with the pre-existing Gary Stranger piece while monochrome inside provides a wonderful contrasting setting for the mass of colourful work Lowe has created. All in all it's not to be missed on any trip to Brighton and if you're already starting with the Christmas shopping, it's the perfect place to snap up goodies for your friends and family while also supporting an independent business - guilt free purchasing if I do say so myself!

Super Super, Supermundane exhibition will take place at Unlimited, 10 Church Street, Brighton BN1 1US
Thur 6 October – Thur 3 November Mon-Sat, 10.30-5.30; Sun, 11-4; Tues, closed. 

All imagery courtesy of Sara at Unlimited Shop.
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