Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sat 16th Jan: Create The Eight @ IYC

"IYC" launched its 4th annual exhibition this week with a que round the block of fellow creatives chomping at the bit to get a ganders at the 33 works.   This year the theme was collaboration and each invited artist was asked to choose a team mate to create their contribution.  I was recruited for the roster and in turn tapped my mates Teo and Patrick of "No Days Off" to be my partners in crime.  
We found it increasingly impossible to get the project off the ground as we were stuck to our desks by the obscene stack of commissions we were committed to.  So after much to-ing and fro-ing with no definite direction we finally decided to devote our statement piece as an actual statement.........a campaign for more time.  It sits perfectly with the name of "No Days Off" and rings true of our ridiculous lifestyles and is hopefully a humorous addition to the whole exhibition.  Pat & Teo drew up a manifesto, had posters hand-drawn, badges printed and we waited on tenderhooks for the response.  As you can see, it attracted a lot of the above snippets to see why...............everyone relates!
The other photos here are me checking out the stitching by Hvass & Hannibal w/Anne Werner and the living straw sculpture by Riitta Ikonen & Ian Wright.
Head down to the Rochelle School to check it out or get the program here.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Friday 15th Jan: Fifi & Lola

To keep bankrolling the marvels of the marble............I wasn't content with exploring the realms of a rainbow cake so I handed over the baton of bakery to the best cupcake wizards I know.  Fifi & Lola (a.k.a Lucy Aebischer and Holly Giselle Hilden) have a hobby of getting creative in the kitchen and love nothing better than whisking up wild styles of sponge.  I got in touch with them to ask if they could interpret the technique in to a condensed mini version to see that would happen.  It looks like they had a whole load of fun conjuring up these cosmic cupcakes and decorating them accordingly with sprinkles of glitter.  If you would like to have a go yourself, the girls have kindly offered up thier recipe for the masses:  

6 eggs
300g white caster sugar
300g self raising flour
250g unsalted butter
50ml veg oil
few drops clear vanilla essence 
food colouring: red, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, orange

Mix together butter + sugar + oil. Mix in the eggs. Add the vanilla. Mix in flour. Separate mix into 7 bowls. add one colour to each bowl. Layer into muffin cases using a different spoon for each colour. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 10-15 mins, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into centre of the cake.

  • 200 g white sugar (icing sugar)
  • 80 ml water
  • 0.8 g cream of tartar (1/2 tsp)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 5 ml vanilla extract

  • In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Using a piping bag, ice the cakes in a circular swirly motion, then add sprinkles and glitter and anything else edible and colourful!
Photos by Jason Clark

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Thurs 14th Jan: Eight Days A Week

I haven't got time to write about this.................Ive got too much to do.............and not enough days in the week to do it all............that's why Ive teamed up with "No Days Off" to campaign for an eighth day............

IYC Private View this tomorrow..........if I have time..........

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Weds 13th Jan: My Favourite Dress

I went down to The Fashion & Textile Museum for the launch and book signing of "My Favourite Dress".  So there I was with a camera amongst the establishment ready to pap the legends........Zandra Rhodes, Duggie Fields, Anthony Price, Suzy Menkes etc.........but of course I got my regular wave of shyness and left empty handed.  Here is a cheeky snap of the Casley Hayford's which I snuck in when they were posing for an official photographer!
So i will be getting in touch with the authors to find out more to follow this up with a PROPER feature!  But for now see the cover which was shot for Vogue by Corinne Day  along with my studio partners Hillman Studio responsible for the set design.
To read an account that is actually factual, head over to Grazia where my guest blogger Naomi Attwood covered the event.

2009 In Picture Postcards - Anna Burns


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tues 12th Jan: Lily Vanilli Part 2

Tara's studio mate tasters Damien Poulain and Regis Tosetti

So here we are onto the interview with VERY serious questions to pick apart the cakeccentricities of Lilly's vanilliri tastebuds.
To accompany the text are images of courtesy of Tara Darby who was the birthday girl that I made the cake I couldn't attend her Rainbow Rave party at the weekend.   I loved making this cosmic cake and I'm so pleased that it turned out!  I was nervous as to how it would look when sliced, so it was a nice surprise that it worked!  I followed Lily's instructions of compiling the 7 colours in concentric circles but I confess that I did open the oven door when advised not to...................sorry Lily, I'm naughty.

1) You have spent time in NYC, can you tell us your favourite cake place in the city? (Im partial to a Conneticut Muffin on Prince Streeet!)

I never really go to other bakeries..I know that's weird but I get enough cake at home..I'm all about the pizza in NY - Carmine's or Roberta's in Bushwick. And absynthe cocktails and mutton chops at Keene's Steak House!

2) You have made cakes for fashion week ...................What would be your dream designer (living or dead) to bake for and what would you devise?

I'm going to be working with Duffy - an amazing jewellery designer this year - casting replicas of some of the pieces from his collection in chocolate. Chocolate skulls! fun. 

3) What is the most stand out memory of cakes when you were a child............did you ever have birthday cake envy at a party? (I remember a girl who had a cake decorated as an exam sheet because she loved tests- WEIRDO!)

that exam cake sounds amazing! 

4) I love the Armadillo wedding cake from "Steel Magnolia's" with Dolly Parton- that is hilarious! What is the funniest cake you have made?

I made a cake of Nick Griffin's head for a party my friend threw the other week called the British International Party. It got smashed up and crowd surfed during the gig, people were biting chunks out of it and there were ears flying around the room. 

5) If an airline asked you to create a cupcake for the inflight meal, what would you come up with?

um. something plain

6) If you received a surprise party guest / kissagram, jumping out of a giant cake..........who would you most love to appear?

Out of a cake? Ummm... errr. bruce springsteen!

7) In the film "Young Sherlock Holmes" Watson has a trip that he is attacked by cream cakes that come alive.........I remember that scene was terrifying when I was a kid! What is your favourite cake moment from celluloid? 

the scene from Hook the movie when they have the imaginary cake fight!!

8) Doing this research I have come across a blog called "Pimp My Snack" where people make massive versions of sweets. There is a great cake on there at the moment that is a giant Jammy Dodger. What would you like to make ginormous if you were making a cake for Alice In Wonderland?

I've actually done Alice in Wonderland cakes a few times.. I recently made a chess board with the pieces as characters from the story (like the Queen of Hearts etc). I want to do a life size human body lying in state cake - that's probably the biggest...

9) Why do people buy packet mix cakes, they taste grosse!? What is the most disgusting cake you have ever had to eat to be polite?

Ive eaten some pretty bad brownies from packets just because they were hash brownies

10) When I was at school I dropped my white fur earmuffs in my jam sponge and custard, they never recovered. What has been your worst baking damage to a garment and what kind of apron do you wear to it a novelty one?

I'm always covered in flour & icing sugar, I kind of like it. I have a few cute vintage aprons - no novelty ones but I do have an oven mitt that says 'who wants the big sausage?' and has a picture of a sausage on it. I bought it on ebay.  

Party invite design by Maya

Tues 12th Jan: Lily Vanilli Part 1

I first cam across Lily Vanilli's confectionery last season when she catered for House of Holland's New Gen stand with rose and violet cupcakes (potentially intended for passing trade .............but we nobly offered our services of poison tasting the batch!.......more the once, just to be sure).  At the same time she also created chess board inspired tasty pieces for the Cooperative Designs presentation.  So who is the baker/artisan behind the best named cake company ever?
Originating from a background in graphic design, Lily switched mediums for her creativity as an opportune twist of fortune due to the recession.  Its a hands on approach, turning out up to 1000 cupcakes in a week, primarily preparing everything herself with a handful of interns.  Perhaps this means that the mixtures are melted together with love and you receive a bite of karma akin to the ideology of the story "Like Water for Chocolate".  Emphasis is on developing unusual ingredient combinations as well as the dynamic decorative element.  
I got in touch with Lily to interview her for the blog and thought of a way to illustrate the piece.................I asked her to devise me a rainbow recipe which I would try out and document.   Here is what happened!  Check back later for her answers to my questions and the outcome of my cosmic cake!

Tues 12th Jan: New Neo NHS Dandy

NOKI sporting original Christoper Nemeth print as donated by Blame, teamed with reclaimed rag Aquascutum knit.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Mon 11th Jan: Rellik

A couple of months ago, Rellik were asked to contribute their idea of a vintage range in the context of the 90's throw back pop up shop in Selfridges.  At the launch I had a glance at goodies, and latterly wrapped up warm to venture across blizzard weather to Golborne Road to find out more.  Fiona welcomed me in to her Aladdin's cave of foraged finds and took great care in explaining the whole Rellik ethos.  It is this time and consideration put into the business that has established its name and kept it on the map for a decade.  Funnily enough Rellik itself, was a product to be born of the 1990's!  3 Portabello market stall holders gravitated towards each other and struck up a kindred spirit amongst the scene.  The entrenpeneurs joined forces and took a chance on an abandoned ground floor space of a tower block up the road.   They uprooted their weekend wares and transformed bare bricks 'n' mortar into their own slice of sartorial heaven.  The space is divided into their own 3 distinct signature  selected rails and shelves.  Despite the segregated buying, the store sits as a one-stop statement retail experience for keen customers who return time and time again.
I was shown the basement brainstorm compartment which is the sorting office and epicentre of the establishment.  It is here that the new found gems are grouped and gathered into "stories" before their debut on the regularly replenished shop floor.  Boxes are stacked high containing slips and shoes............a swamp of covetable chaos to a strangers eye but a meticulous organised mess to the inhabitants.  Here you can see Steve's "World's End" archive which is a living and breathing active accumulation of Westwod's finest.  I learn that designer's come to Rellik specifically to procure pieces to reinterpret and pilfer the patterns.  Apparently this is of no grievance to Vivienne herself as she knows that no-one can replicate her jenesequois ......... no threat is felt in these sneaky  investments.

One thing on my mind is to ask is how Rellik can part with precious pieces to misguided or unworthy trade...............surely the process is akin to the RSPCA rehousing pups to sanctified homes.  I have visions of rare "Quoram" classics falling into the hands of celebrities with an enforced wishlist rather than a genuine passion of a bonefide frock fanatic.  But I am assured that there is a distinct karma attached to garments connecting with rightful recipients.  There is an almost unwritten rule in fate that archive apparel appropriates itself to a deserving investor as they are drawn to the piece for a special reason..............a connection occurs.

Another query I have is to what timeline quantifies something falling into the bracket "Vintage"?  I know my dress historian tutor would have difficulty condoning anything less than 40's years old being deemed "vintage" but merely "retro".  But Fiona's feeling is that anything from a past season can be vintage.  It is automatically in the history of a label but equally still of relevance.  Everything is cycicle, so whatever circle it falls in, the whole thing is constantly of significance.  The interesting factor is how and when styles hit a resurgence.  For example when Rellik first set up shop, Chanel was of little interest to foot fall and considered irrelevant...............but it is now currently a best seller?!   There seems to be no rhyme or reason why particular genres have there 15mins of fame falling back into the limelight.  Whether or not the fact we are exactly a decade on from the 90's means that it is naturally back in favour is open to speculation.  I know that my tail feather has been ruffled at clubnight "Work IT" when kids in the que were actually born in the 90's as apposed to having enjoyed the tunes first time round.............but heck let's not get shirty with the new generation of Moschino appreciative shirt wearing youths.
So what's up for grabs on Rellik's rail in Selfridges?  There's of course Moshchino as mentioned, Escada, Prada, Chanel, Alaia, Paco Robanne and a stunning Comme Jacket that is just sublime.  The other piece that stands out to me is a Pam Hogg purple velour body con, floor length dress with cut away panels down the length.  I half suspect that this may have come direct from the source and my hunch transpires to be intuitively insync as it has indeed homed into view from Hogg Heaven as the two camps are connected.  Brilliant! 

All photos from the Rellik boutique by me, except the Hogg Heaven number at Selfridges snapped by Rosy Nicholas, thankyou!

2009 In Picture Postcards - ROWDY SUPERST*R

ROWDY SUPERST*R, Musician & Creative