RIBA exhibtion..

We caught the end of an excellent exhibition at the RIBA institute on Designing the House for Tomorrow. They asked different architects to look at traditional housing models and reconsider how these ideas could work today. It was an informative study of how housing has been envisioned in the past and how we can look forward. What is very apparent is how unaffordable most housing is for people beginning to look at their adult lives alongside the destruction of long term, stable council housing.

We have just spent a few weeks in New York where property prices are huge however there still remains individual shops and cafes unlike every time we visit London where I am staggered by the number of huge empty glass boxes being built for overseas investors- in turn encouraging a faceless homogenization far greater than other cities I’ve visited. When I lived in London as a child I would spend weekends with my nan in her council flat off the Kings Road in Chelsea where she had resided as a long term resident. It is sad to imagine this becoming rarer as the cities workers are forced further out of towns. It is difficult to see a way back now as our government has embraced this cold commodity of spectral inhabitants in million pound apartments and neglected the people who need to work in the city to keep it running efficiently. My nan cleaned rich peoples houses in Chelsea but it seems incredibly shortsighted to forget that they will still need these people to empty their bins and change their beds.

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Stationary range for TeNeues Publishing..

I am pleased to announce my first stationary range for TeNeues publishing.. They include my Cat and Dog designs and will be part of their Fall collection..

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My talk- information updated.

Please note the venue change for my talk. It will now be at the Cartoon Museum, Russell Street. London.

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Hastings and St Leonards..

I went to Hastings and St Leonards with some friends last week.. We found a shop that sold frozen dinners out of chest freezers as well as jewellery and a coffee shop that was also an opticians.
We purchased some nice nicknacks and saw some good signs..

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Bob and Roberta Smith..

We visited Ditchling Museum last weekend where they had some work by Bob and Roberta Smith on show. I have liked his work for some time.. He is passionate about encouraging creativity in people- specifically children as well as avoiding the elitism of the art world. The lettering is imperfect but distinctive and is it encouraging to see this in a world dominated by perfect computer graphics and illustration. It is also exciting to see someone who is passionate in a current climate of blandness.

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Fabric Finds..

There is a street market in our town every Saturday and recently I have been going there most weekends. The stalls are a variety of second hand books, bric a brac and fabric. This weekend I found these fabrics on rolls.. They are fairly narrow so could have been used to edge things or as samples so are a bit tricky to use but they are have a lovely hand made quality to them. The stall holder found them in a town where Sonia Delauney worked and they are similar in style to her work. I have pinned them up on our studio wall so I can look at them lots..

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My Graphic Novel..

I have finally finished my graphic novel Just Getting Old.

The comic is about my mum who was mentally ill for a number of years which we later discovered was a brain tumour. During her illness her life changed considerably. She has since made a full recovery and is slowly putting her life back together.
I have written it for her as she remembers very little of the five or so years she was ill and also to help my family clarify what happened.
It is about a medical condition as well as families and breakdowns of families. I hope it will touch people who have been affected by long term illness as well anyone who has been embroiled in an emotional issue with loved ones.

It was a long slog to do but it’s done and I have lots more ideas for comics in the future.

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Photo shoot with 1 9 3 4..

We were very fortunate to work with Abel Sloane and Ruby Woodhouse from 1 9 3 4. . They source 20th century furniture and design related items, for private buyers, props buyers, set designers, interior designers, stylists and fashion photographers. More recently they have been combining their skills to photograph and style sets for other people.
All these images here are photographed on 35mm film and we like them very much.

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Photo shoot with 1 9 3 4..

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Photo shoot with 1 9 3 4..

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New Year and New Work..

My new collages and screen prints are now available from our website.
We have new products launching this year as well as being busy with lots of interesting interior projects.
Please join our mailing list on our website to receive updates on all our work.
Thank you.

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If in doubt read a book.. Why we do what we do..

When I met Steve he was planning to leave a job in the city that he had been in since he left school. I was doing part-time cash in hand jobs. Steve had commuted for 19 years, leaving the house at dawn and coming home after dinner. We both knew what our interests were and eventually this led to us starting up our business together.
We did this so that we could work doing something we loved. We always said if we could do what we wanted to do and make enough money to live off we would be happy.
As I have said in the past we have made considered decisions- we live in a small flat in central Brighton with one child and several pets. We are not attracted to having a large mortgage or fancy car. If we have any extra money we like to go see cities in other countries. We buy lots of books but mainly from charity shops.

The madness of Black Friday has made me want to write this as I want to clear up and clarify the difference between what we do and what the retailer does.
As a designer we do not make much money. Retailers/stylists and other people associated with designers make money out of designers but we know that and we are doing this for other reasons.

-We wanted to make things that reflect our ideas not to create a ‘lifestyle.’

-We do not advocate lifestyle blogs- these can make people feel inadequate about their lives and encourage a sterile and unrealistic expectation of what a home and living should be. Its okay to leave phone chargers out and have cat hair and crumbs because that shows you are alive and have other priorities.

-Our prices are what they are because all our work is made to order by our hands in our workshop.

-Most of what we earn goes back in business but we don’t mind because we like our job.

-We make things that we hope you will keep forever.

-We think buying things should be considered.

-A lot of retail is detached from what we do as their aim is to sell as many things as they can and this often means encouraging you to buy what you don’t need.

-We do have own some worthless nonsense but we tend to buy these are from charity shops. (such as souvenirs of places we haven’t been. My daughter and I play a game called Saving Things- the sad rubbish ornament no one wants anymore)

-Spending money is a modern justification of why we are living. It has become the main leisure activity.

-Reading books or seeing things is enriching.

-We don’t like trends or fashion as this gives a lifespan to objects.

-We don’t like ‘themes’ for your home- just buy what you like it doesn’t have to match the colour of your cat.

-Our work is about longevity and craftsmanship- trends devalue this ethos.

So work less, spend less; spend time with good people who get what you do. Cook nice food and listen to records and get drunk. Because we are only here for 5 minutes and you don’t want to spend it worrying about what the neighbours think of you.

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People of Print Xmas Print Fayre at KK Outlet..

I am pleased to be taking part in the People of Print Xmas Print Fayre at KK Outlet- Hoxton Square for the whole of December. As well as a selection of prints available to purchase there will also be talks and workshops to get involved in.
More details here.. http://www.peopleofprint.com/workshop/christmas-print-fayre-at-kk-outlet/

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Stationary Collaboration by StanleyFricker..

Stanley & Fricker is a collaborative project between Emily of Stanley James Press and Eliza of Baines&Fricker
After years of working together on various projects these are the first products we have designed together. These notebooks were inspired by a love of stationary, drawing and travelling and cover 5 of our favourite cities.

The illustrations cover the following buildings found in each city..
Berlin – Interbau
Iceland – Medalfellsvegur
London – National Theatre
New York – Standard Hotel
Vancouver – Museum of Anthropology
Each book also contains a tear out postcard hidden at the back of the book.
Please visit our website and click the link Stanley Fricker for more details..

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Margate..

We had a nights stay in Ramsgate last week and went to Margate to see the Risk Exhibition at the Turner Contemporary.
The exhibition contained lots of long drawn out video art that left left me feeling a bit cold. Most of the work in the show seemed to reflect an era of creating pieces that are aesthetically unrewarding and conceptual leaving the viewer feeling isolated and flat. An array of self indulgent art that seems very outdated.
We did a mini pub crawl round the town after which was really good and visited Dreamland. Everything was empty and quiet in Margate on a Wednesday evening in October.

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Customised Cat Cushion..

Our cushions were recently stocked by Urban Outfitters and we were really chuffed to see textile artist Julie Robert customise our Cat cushion. Using threads and pompoms she gave the cats crowns, shirt collars and bows. Read more about the lovely project on Julie Roberts blog.. http://www.julie-robert.fr/blog/

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Local People.. Andy Pandy

Our home sat on a busy A road where the pavements outside the semi detached houses were wide and smooth. Gardens had been replaced by concrete driveways which caused the pavements to dip where cars were repeatedly drove over the tarmac to their garages and off street parking. Most of the remaining garden walls were low and used as temporary rests for the people who waited at the bus stop opposite. The road was extremely long and most of the houses were in keeping with one another- built in the 1930s as the suburbs crept further and further out of the city expanse, they had originally had a semi rural feel. Now the flight path to a major London airport, the area had become a place you passed on your way to somewhere else.
Most of the inhabitants were aware of the noise and air pollution from the continual overhead traffic and had removed the wood framed windows and replaced them with plastic ones. When driving along the houses almost seemed to wink at the driver as the uPVC glazing reflected the chrome of the vehicles. Cars were a necessity for most of the residents as out of town supermarkets had turned most of the local shops into taxi ranks and kebab shops.
My parents had bought the house after seeing a classified advert in a London newspaper. They had never been this far West, but seeing a house that may be affordable and still on the tube line seemed too good to be true. The first time they viewed the property they had peered through the letterbox and knew they would buy it. It was one half of a large Victorian house, it still had a front garden with trees and shrubs and original sash windows. The move to the suburbs was decided.
We still walked a lot and here are some of the other local walkers we would see..

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Local People.. Hat Dog Man

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Local People.. La De Da

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Local People.. Mayor

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