Emma Jane Palin


The Big Ones

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Friday, 27 May 2016

The Shape Lady | Rose Thomas of Flagge Haus


Okay, here we go again. It's squiggle time. This time courtesy of the amazing independent designer maker, Flagge Haus. Around a month ago I came across a world of wiggles and squiggles over on Instagram and it was love at first sight, a festival of shapes and even better, in jewellery form. Now, I'm normally draped in silver but something about the Flagge Haus necklaces had me at hello and I knew I had to have one - one of those graphic statement necklaces to match my all black attire and provide that wow factor that is sometimes needed. Hey, I also like to surprise people every now and then by wearing something totally different. 

There was actually a competition running at the time so I entered and hey presto, I won! I was going to ask for an interview in any case but now I can say that I have tried and tested the product and as you can see taken some shots. Wonderful, isn't it? 

Flagge Haus is the brain child of Rose Thomas, a designer maker based in London bringing the essence of the 80s and early 90s back to jewellery design. Each piece is handmade from laser cut acrylic and most of the designs come in an array of vibrant colours. The WIGGLE design that I'm lucky enough to own started life as a hand drawn shape, taking inspiration from 90's surface design, Charles and Ray Eames, Matisse, Josef Frank, Estrid Ericson and natural shapes found in exotic leaves, coral and seaweed. Read on to find out a little more background about Rose and what is next in the world of wiggles.

What is your design background? 
I have a degree in Graphic Design which is where my official Design education began, but really it started years before in the ‘making things’ cupboard in my childhood home. I’ve always enjoyed making things with my hands, and after I graduated I knew I didn’t want to work as a traditional Graphic designer in a studio. At that time there was a big revival in traditional print techniques, which really engaged my love of design and making. After doing a few internships and short courses I was asked to return to my University to help set-up a new print studio and from there I started working as a Print Tutor, teaching various printmaking techniques in Art Schools. A few years ago I did an MA in Design Critical Practice at Goldsmiths which opened my practice up to a broader idea of design and led me towards being a Designer Maker.

How do you collate inspiration for your pieces / collections? 

I am a big fan of Pinterest, I do love a bit of organisation and systems of collation, so a website where I can store all my visual inspiration into different categories is right up my street. I take notes of names of artists I come across through exhibitions and books and find images of their work on the internet to pin to specific boards. I also take my own photos to upload and I tend to keep most of my boards set to private whilst I’m still pinning, I like that there is a public and a personal realm on Pinterest.


You obviously have a love of shapes, especially squiggly ones, where does this come from? 

I really don’t know, I just find a great enjoyment from drawing random patterns, I always have. Being born in the 80s some of my earliest memories are my Mum and her friends wearing amazing patterned leggings and I remember really being drawn to all things pattern all through my childhood. The squiggly shapes are a fairly recent development, I find myself going into a bit of a trance when I’m drawing them, my hand seems to take over and my brain doesn’t really get involved- it’s a bit hypnotic and relaxing. I’ve filled whole books with those patterns over the last few months, I get so carried away and can’t stop! 

How do you find being a designer maker living in London? 
I think London is an amazing place to be a designer, with amazing collections of design objects in museums like the V&A and the Welcome Collection and major exhibitions of artists at galleries like the Tate and the Barbican a bus ride away there is always somewhere to find inspiration. I also love living in South London with it’s big and beautiful parks, I spend as much time in the park as I do in the city when I looking for inspiration. It is also tough though, studio space is expensive and the rapid rate of development means that artists and designers are continuously being moved on from their studios so they can be turned into apartments. I know so many people who have up and left London in search of more space in the past few years and I can really see the appeal. 

What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I’m slowly building up my jewellery designs, turning my squiggle patterns into new pieces one by one. I’m starting to think about what next and have some ideas for creating textiles from the squiggle patterns so that’ll probably be my next squiggly adventure.

Follow Rose on Instagram and Twitter to keep updated and look out for more necklaces to be added to my collection very soon.

All pink images my own (obviously), monochrome images provided by Rose Thomas. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The Design Geek | Clerkenwell Design Week


As some of you may be aware from my Instagram, it's Clerkenwell Design Week / Clerkernwell Three Days this week - one of my favourite times of the year when the streets around Farrindon and Barbican are absolutely buzzing with the design industry. As part of We Blog Design we were approached to organise a blogging tour and not one to miss out on a chance to see some of my very favourite ladies I set right to it, trying to round up the best that Clerkenwell had to offer. Of course with only a few hours of everyone together it was easier said than done, as there is so much on offer during this time of year and everyone is vying for attention and offering various talks, events and plenty of alcohol to entice you in. I thought I would share with you the bloggers' tour route we took yesterday for now but I will be returning tomorrow so watch this space (and social media) for more from Additions and Icon House of Culture.
Stop One | Arper


We started off the tour at Arper with some much needed coffee and a few introductions amongst bloggers. It was great to see a good turnout and Arper are the digital hub of the event meaning this is the main space dedicated to bloggers and digital press attending CDW2016. The Digital Hub is offering free WiFi and refreshments, all in a gorgeous setting complete with orange and grey hues and some graphic acoustic panels which might just pump out some tunes if you ask to see how they work.  

Stop Two | Tom Dixon


Of course it is quite clear that I'm a mass Dixon fan so when I heard he was installing his lighting in The Church and was going to talk to us all about it, I was suitably pleased. Having collaborated with Andrew Baughen, the enlightened Vicar of St James’, a unique workspace for the residential community of Clerkenwell has been created as well as a large central chandelier hung in the main space, a co-working environment and a kitchen which have all been donated as permanent fixtures. The church itself is wonderfully breathtaking but with the addition of Dixon this is probably where I'd like to get married! If you do visit, make sure to head there around lunch time when you can by some soup from The Soup Kitchen, where proceeds will go to an actual soup kitchen later on this September. 

Stop Three | HakFolly


The arch of St John's Gate always makes for an interesting installation and this year is no exception. FleaFollyArchitects and Hakwood have designed and created ‘HakFolly’, a 4.5m high temple of timber which hopes to bring a moment of calm to Clerkenwell. The architectural lines of the structure against the arch are simply wonderful and you may even catch a glimpse of the pink HakFolly bike which you can potentially win!

Stop Four | Vitra


As one of the first initial Clerkenwell showrooms, Vitra holds a lot of history in the Clerkenwell design scene, so it was imperative we paid a visit. The showroom has had a colour makeover this year and all of the spaces have been arranged to reflect a different zone: MEET | READ | RELAX | REFRESH | CONNECT. I fell in love with the textures and colours of the red area as well as the brand new Hack workstation which is making me really crave a much bigger home to move it in. For now I'll have to stick with the eye washi tape!

Stop Five | Sensorium Installation by HÅG and Hassell


Although a little on the outskirts we were told that the Sensorium was not to be missed and indeed, it was worth the extra calories burned. The presentation plays with smells, textures and sounds to present a unique experience that questions how we view the world. Having tried on a pair of virtual reality goggles and experienced some rather weird sensations, I was ready to move on to the steamy smells and a reward of candy floss at the end. This was probably one of my favourite experiences of the day and the most photographable due to the gorgeous triangle mirrors and coloured translucent film, make sure you get down there!

Stop Six | Billboards


With the layout of Clerkenwell having changed just a little and some new venues on the map, Giles Miller has created some rather inventive wayfinding structures in collaboration with British Ceramic Tile. The handmade glass scales looks sublime in the sunlight, creating a ripple effect that simply can't be captured and with over 8,000 tiles used across the four billboards, you can only image how much time has gone into creating each one. The pieces illuminate at night, hopefully guaranteeing a few less lost, drunk people in the maze of Clerkenwell.

Stop Seven | Platform


An essential stop for any female in the design industry is the We are the Women area in Platform, curated by Laura Lea and Sarah Evans. More of a 'girl power' statement than a feminist movement, this is all about female empowerment and progressing women in the design industry and with nine very talented ladies all taking part it's hard to see why they're not at the top already. The epitome for me has to be Augusta Akerman who shone with her surface pattern design and elegant yet graphic sample fabric collection. I want to wrap myself in her patterns so here's hoping she gets some good offers from potential collaborators. Arlette Ess was also right up my street with her detailed patterns and mysterious drawings. I loved the pop of colour in the collection and I'm told you can pick up scarves at Laura Lea Design in Leytonstone - you're welcome! 


Want some more tips of places to go? Just drop me a tweet or comment below. You can also follow the official tour hashtag on Instagram: #WBDxCDW2016


Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Creative Mini Guide | Berlin

The city of street art, falafel, uber-cool cafes and flea markets. The one that holds my heart firmly in it's hands. It's no secret that Berlin is where my soul comes to life and one day I hope to pack up my bags and make the big move to the land of pretty parks and abandoned buildings galore. Having visited pretty frequently over the last five years, I have quite the list of recommendations over on the East side (Kreuzberg, Neukolln & Mitte are the places for me) and it would surely be a shame to not share them with you? The full list would probably take about three weeks to write so for now I'll give you some of my favourites but if you're visiting soon please just get in touch with me and I'll send you my full list of places to go! Personally, my favourite time to visit is for the fun of May Day where you can drink and dance the night away but I'm also rather prone to putting myself through the harsh winter conditions, there isn't a bad time to go and I wholeheartedly recommend buying a plane ticket now if you haven't made the trip yet.

To Stay.


Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Str. 39, 10243
I tend to stay with friends while in the city now but Michelberger is always my first port of call if I have a little bit of extra dough. With the most chilled vibes and brilliant interior design, the Michelberger is the ultimate reasonably priced hotel and you'll find Instagram opportunities on every corner. Working and drawing in the bar is a favourite pastime of mine and even the toilets spark inspiration with a new soundscape on every visit. The cosy room is small but does what it says on the box and provides you with a comfortable space to rest and a steamy shower, complete with window that looks out on to the bed (maybe just one for lovers). If you don't stay, be sure to pop by for drinks in the evening and a game of table football, it's the place of cocktail and dreams and here you do feel like all of your fantasies could come true. 

To Chill.

Boxhagener Platz, Grünberger Str., 10245
Boxhagener is a charming little park, perfect to relax in and just a short walk away from the Michelberger. On Sundays you'll find a sweet little flea market with vinyls, clothes, furniture and various other little trinkets, much more bearable than some of the other larger markets around and surrounded by great food and drink! Santa Maria is a trendy Mexican restaurant just on the corner with great mojitos and BURGERAMT does top notch burgers to eat-in or takeaway.


Monkey Bar, 25hrs Hotel, Budapester Str. 40, 10787
You might have to wait a good while to get into this bar on a busy evening but trust me the wait is worth it. With panoramic views of Berlin and windows directly overlooking Berlin zoo, the interior of the place is vibrant yet cool and relaxing. The extensive drinks menu is hard to choose from but one thing that you'll regret not trying is the sweet potato fries - a perfect snack for overlooking the hoards of monkeys. I've heard accompanying restaurant NENI Berlin also does lovely food but I'd advise booking ahead to ensure you get a table.

Cafe Cinema, Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178
Cafe Cinema resides in one of my favourite areas in Mitte. The entrance to a secret passage, this is the perfect little cafe to enjoy a hot chocolate avec Baileys and people watch from the antique-filled interior. On a sunny day sit outside and take in the graffiti and flags in the passage, all leading to a secret cinema, bookstore and art installation - perfect!

To Scare Yourself.



Ruine Kinderkrankenhaus, Hansastraße 178-180, 13088
We always have to visit somewhere abandoned on any trip to Berlin, even though I'm an absolute wuss and spend most of the time crying behind my camera. Although I've been to a few places, the best thing to do if you're looking for somewhere abandoned to visit is just to check out the #abandonedberlin tag on Instagram - new places appear all the time and old places have a habit of being burned to the ground. One place that does seem to have lasted some time is Ruine Kinderkrankenhaus which recently had a facelift by a graffiti artist with a penchant for repetitive doodles. There's a lot of abandoned building to go through on the site but look for the actual doors to property (as opposed to trying to scale the building) and you'll find it's pretty easy to walk around without injuring yourself in the process. The whole abandoned thing is rather beautiful when you see nature take over, but do be careful too as there are a lot of open manholes and the structures aren't technically safe so always stay vigilant and don't go at night, unless there is a party because yes, that happens too and I wouldn't want you to miss out.

To Shop.


Paper Tigre, Mulackstraße 32, 10119 Berlin 
Paper Tigre is a gorgeous little stationery store complete with coffee shop offering artisan flat whites and pretty chocolate. There are lots of alternative pieces in the shop that I haven't seen elsewhere and the minimal aesthetic works well to showcase the products. I could stare for hours at the patterned papers and selection of Macon&Lesquoy patches, just a shame the nearest store is Paris, although probably best for my bank account. 

Motto, Skalitzer Str. 68, 10997
Tucked away in a courtyard on Skalitzer Strasse, Motto is a hidden gem of a bookshop and one that I tend to spend a good hour browsing in. In here you'll find rare books, zines and tiny illustrated books from a variety of artists, it's fully of typographic inspiration and wonderful book layout designs. Make the time to look around as the books tend to be stacked and your one true publication love could be hidden.


Schee, Rosenthaler Str. 15,

A delightful little creative lifestyle store selling a wide range of prints, interior pieces and stationery. From the golden walls through to the little tags you take to the counter to purchase your print, everything has been thought out in this store and I was rather thrilled to find it on my latest trip. Everything is super affordable and eclectic, making it the perfect stop for gifts, or just for yourself of course!


Do You Read Me, Auguststraße 28, 10117 Berlin
Do You Read Me is a fairly well-known destination these days but it will still remain on my list of places to go every visit. I rarely buy anything due to luggage restrictions but it is so lovely to see so many publications all housed under the same roof and occasionally I'll come across a zine or smaller magazine that I just can't say no to.


R.S.V.P Papier, Mulackstraße 14, 10119 Berlin 
The ultimate store for any paper lovers out there. There are actually two store just opposite each other on the same street and you might think you don't need any more stationery, but R.S.V.P will show you otherwise. From their board of bulldog clips to their sweet selection of cards and wall of paper, there is something to entice you in every crevice and you're sure to find something you didn't even know you needed.



Bikini Berlin, Budapester Str. 38-50, 10787

Bikini Berlin is probably my favourite shopping centre ever. It doesn't put a foot wrong with any of the shops inside and although I can still pick out a few favourites such as Schwesterherz Berlin, LNFA store and the Super concept space, this ever-changing landscape is likely to surprise you with it's creativity and imagination. I've never seen a similar concept and if you're a lifestyle store addict this is the absolute shopping destination for you. The garden space allows you to look across the zoo and the rooftop is also the gateway to Monkey Bar as mentioned before.

Do you have any secret gems in Berlin? Be sure to comment below if you do!
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