Pocketful of dreams … Part 1

IMG_0464I’ve had a super fabulous mind bending, surreal time in New York this week. Had little time to prepare for it and was in there before I knew it.

Thought I’d take the opportunity to visit Andy out there as he was working at Madison Square Gardens. Got there late, dropped my suitcase off and ( and really late if you count the time difference ) – popped into the gig, met the band he’s working with and crew who were all lovely and then caught an hour of Muse. They were excellent – I forgot my camera though so I took a few instagram pictures instead.

It’s not the first time that I have been to the Big Apple, but it always feels like a film set when you step out onto the street. The energy is just what I needed at the moment ( more about that in part 2 ) and I find New Yorkers so engaging. NY1

As we only had a few days, we squeezed loads in – the first day we wandered down to the fashion district and went to Rosen and Chadick – a store of my fabric dreams ! Literally every type and colour that you can think of  – some I’ve never seen before. Great service too. I got a few – the leopard print is actually silk and feels sooo soft. I looked down at the pavement as we were walking away and spotted the Betsey Johnson plaque right there by my feet. I chose to study her work when I did a design course at London College of Fashion so it was quite apt, really. NY2

Then a cab ride to SoHo for some excellent Boutiques and a very sweet cafe called Smile for a little bit of lunch. American Apparel is everywhere in New York but I do love that shop so it was a treat ! I love their hoodies and finally got their shiny leopard print leggings that I’ve had my eye on for ages. How cool is the massive television below and the caravan ? They were in the Orla Kiely store. I can’t recall the name of the one with the eye balls for heads but couldn’t resist this pic ! IMG_0460

After a few hours we headed over to Brooklyn as I had tracked down a really good Barbers called TomCats on India Street who specialise in Vintage haircuts. Andy was in need of a cut and it was well worth the journey ! He has had a really good late 30s re style. The place was buzzing and the staff – really lovely. I just sat and people watched. IMG_0481IMG_0479IMG_0477

It was only a short walk to a boat ride from Brooklyn ( on the way I snapped some awesome graffiti – too many to add all ) to East 34th Street and then we walked back, freshened up and went out for some Japanese food at Monster Sushi. Great Bento box – very tasty ! IMG_0518
A few people had recommended 230 5th – a rooftop bar – and WOW the view was incredible. We sat and sipped cocktails and listened to some Ambient House music. They give robes to people if they get a bit chilly – it is heated up there but it was nice and cosy to wear one. We looked a bit like something from a Star Wars movie though… but, then again – so did everyone else.

Pretty much passed out in a jet lagged and Bellini induced world of sleep once we got back to the Hotel…. Zzzzzzz.

Part 2 coming tomorrow….

Have you been to New York or do you live there ? Which are your favourite places and stores ? …

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Make Roman Blinds – a Tutorial

As promised recently, having shown you my new sewing room roman blinds – here is a tutorial on how to make one for yourself. I’ve had some emails and tweets asking where my fabric is from – Kingdom Interiors and it’s Perroquet by Nina Campbell.

Before we get started, you will need:

Main fabric ( we will work out how much shortly.. )

Interlining ( Optional )

Blind lining fabric

Thread and sewing needle, scissors, pins, fabric chalk, tape measure, scissors, sewing machine, staple gun

Wooden baton cut to size inside or outside recess

Dowel rod and base bar – both of which you will need to cut to size.

Eye rings, blind cord, blind acorn, screw eyes and 1 cleat with screws.

All of these things should be obtainable from your local fabric shop, if not, try eBay.

Measuring up

Main fabric

You will either want the blind to sit inside or outside the recess. As you can see the one I made sits outside. You can do either as I have instructions here for both. Either way this tutorial is based on you using a 20 mm deep wooden baton. There are other methods but this is how I like to make them. If you are going outside the recess, the width of the window sill is your guide on how wide to make the blind and cut the baton.

Whether making for inside or outside the recess – measure vertically and horizontally , the top of the blinds will be stapled to the very top of the baton so remember to add allowances in the fabric length for this –  plus 5cm for a return at the top and 12 cm hem for the bottom. Each side of the blind will need 5cm return = 10cm total.

Work out all of these measurements below before buying your fabric to ensure you have enough – make sure too that your fabric width is wide enough for your window. Unless you have a plain fabric or a non obvious pattern you won’t be able to use the fabric sideways.

Horizontal: Desired width of finished blind + 2 x 5 cm ( 10 cm ) = Total width to cut.

Vertical:  length from very top of baton down to window ledge or desired finished drop + 17cm ( return and hem ) = Total length to cut.

NB. Before you cut, if the fabric has an obvious pattern – make sure you have decided on which parts of this you want to use and that you have it the right way up. In other words, frame in your mind the finished blind and how you want the it to look. I made sure on mine that the birds were as central as possible.

Interlining ( optional )

Same measurements as main fabric. I like to use this as it makes the blind more sturdy and it blocks out some light. You could use black out lining instead if you are making a bedroom blind – this will make your room much darker when they are down.

Lining fabric

Horizontal: Finished width + 4.5 cm either side ( 9cm ).

Vertical: Finished drop + 5cm return for top edge.

You will also be adding rod pockets to the lining – so will need to also add on 2.5 cm per pocket ( dependent on size – the larger the blind the more rod pockets will be required )

Putting your baton up

I recommend cutting to size and stapling the rough side of your velcro on to the top before doing this. You can always do it afterwards but if you have little space between baton and ceiling it will be trickier once it’s up.

Making the blind

Cut out your fabrics. Double check you have the right measurements ( above ) and go for it. Do the same with your lining fabric.

Starting with your main fabric – lay out flat with wrong side facing up. Place the interlining on top of the main fabric so that all corners match up and press both sides towards you by 5 cm. The interlining should be sitting inside the main fabric. Snip the corners ( see pic below ) off the interlining at the bottom of the blind to avoid too much bulk later when you mitre them ( you will see what I mean .. ). Then fold the lining fabric in by 5cm each side too and press.

Now, you need to work out where the rod pockets are to be sewn in on the lining fabric.

To give you an example – my blind has 3 rods and so is divided into 7 sections ( the number of sections is always the number of rod pockets multiplied by 2 then add 1 ) from the base of the screw eyes to the bottom of the finished blind is 121.5 cm so divide this by 7 and each section measures 17.4 cm – therefore the spacing between each rod pocket is 2 x 17.4 cm which = 34.8 cm.

Making sure the wrong side ( the side you have pressed the seams into ) of the lining is facing up Stick a pin where each rod pocket is going to be and then mark 125mm either side of each pin. One by one, fold and press each pocket so that the marks are facing each other ( each ” loop ” should total 2.5 cm ), press them and then machine sew all along the widths of the blind. You now have your rod pockets.

As above, lay out you main fabric ( if you have added interlining this should still be sitting inside ) with right side facing up. Lay the lining on top, wrong side up – checking that the top and bottoms of the main and lining fabric are adjacent and that the lining is placed centrally, you’ll find that the lining is just short in size of the main fabric – about 2.5 cm each side. Ease out any wrinkles, then mitre ( fold corners ) the bottoms of the main fabric inwards ( this is why you cut the the corners off the interlining ) so that they are the same width as the lining and pin to the main fabric. Machine sew a 1 cm line along the width off all of these layers to hold them together.

Turn the main fabric and lining out the other way so that the right side of of each is on the outsides. The interlining is now in the inside, still folded inside the main fabric. Pull the top of the lining up so that it matches the top of the main fabric and ease out any creases in all layers and then pin all along the top and sides. The recess bottom of the blind should look like this:

Give the blind a pressing all over. Double check for any creases because you are next going to machine sew a 1 cm line all along the top width of layers. Once you’ve done this, either machine or hand sew the soft side of the velcro all along the top of the wrong side of the blind ( above ).

Place the base bar inside the bottom of the blind. They generally come in metre lengths so you may need to cut to size.Now, from the very bottom of each side, herringbone stitch the reverse of the main blind to the lining. Don’t yet stitch up the rod pocket as you haven’t inserted them yet :)

Hand sew eye rings 5 cm in on each rod pocket and then space others in between, depending on how many cords you are using vertically, to pull the blinds up ( I used 3 on my blind ) and then stab stitch just under each of the rod pockets. I tend to do two stitches as find it holds all layers together better, especially if you have interlining.

Insert your cut to size dowel rods and then sew up the ends of the rod pockets. 

Screw the screw eyes into the base of the baton. They need to be directly above the threads and one above the cleat – time to decide here if you want this to be on the left or right of the window. Screw the cleat in half way down the window ready.

On each bottom eye ring attach a cord by tying a knot and then thread up through each eye ring above then to the left or right, dependent on which side the cleat will be.

Putting the blind up

Velcro the blind together at the top. Now cut and thread the blind cords up through the relevant screw eyes above and then if going left thread all cords through each screw eye including the one above the cleat or vice versa if you are going right. Gently pull all cords down at the side so that the they are all taught at the back and threaded without any loose cords and then braid all cords together down the side ( this is for safety too ). Cut the braid where the cleat is and attach a weight on the end by threading the plait through and then knotting it underneath.

When you pull the braided cord the blind should pull up evenly ! It might take a few days to sit “right” so I recommend leaving it up for a few days for the folds to settle.

My new Design Room – Ta-da !

You may have noticed a lack of posts showing my makes recently, it’s been a transitional phase plus I have been doing alterations. Also, you might have heard me banging on and on about wanting a sewing room and then about it being on the way  – with the crescendo tweets of “I have a new space to sew.. finally !” – So I thought I would share my new love with you.

It is so much easier now to do dressmaking, the kitchen table just wasn’t cutting it anymore. A family friend who’s a carpenter made the craft block to my specifications which is amazeballs – now I don’t have to keep bending right over to draw patterns and pin clothes.

To have a permanent place for my machines feels like such a luxury, I’ve put pictures up and things around that inspire me – like this Magical Bunny lamp from MiaFleur. It was my Birthday present from Andy.

My Sister painted this old dresser top for me. She used two colours, one as the main and a green just peeping through where she distressed it. I really love it. If you are looking to have something up cycled look no further than Clare ! Email me if you want more details.

I made these blinds with Nina Campbell fabric from Kingdom Interiors. Look out very soon for a Roman blind tutorial, here on my blog if you fancy making one.

Hope you like my room ! Do you have space where you can work ? Or is it in the pipeline, like this was for AGES !

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Feel free to use my images – just please ping a link back to me here at LucyLovesYa.

INSPIRE ME – with Horace Panter

Today, ‘Inspire Me’ is with Artist Horace Panter – whom you may well also know as Sir Horace Gentleman, bass player with Iconic Ska band The Specials.

Horace already had a Fine Art degree under his belt when he joined The band in 1977 and so it was just a matter of music, tours and an interesting teaching role, before he would produce his own icon inspired artwork. The first public exhibition of many took place in November 2011 with great response and there are plenty more to come.

News of a 2013 tour with The Specials is out, so all in all, next year is sounding good too.

I could’ve asked many questions to someone with such an interesting and varied life to date – but I managed to narrow them down and hope you enjoy …

You studied art before even joining the Specials – you had your first exhibition at the Strand in London only last year – what has the reaction to your work been so far ?

I think it has surprised people. There have been a lot of positive responses and Iʼve been taken a lot more seriously than I was expecting, you know, the ʻsemi – retired rock star with too much time on his handsʼ reaction, but itʼs been more like ʻwow, this guy can actually paint !ʼ

Do you think it’s important to study your craft at college or university, be it fine art or whatever you choose in life ?
If youʼre going to be a doctor or an architect, then yes ! I suppose it depends on what sort of artist/musician you would like to be. Francis Bacon, for example, never went to art school. It has helped me, I know that, by giving me a credibility I would not otherwise have had. Also, a grounding in Modern Art History has helped but you donʼt need to go to university to study that.

Has working as a musician developed you as an artist – and vice versa ?

Only in as much as it has enabled me to travel and visit art galleries and find inspiration from around the world. No, thatʼs not all, if I wasnʼt a professional musician with lots of ʻdown timeʼ I wouldnʼt have the excess of free time to paint. When Iʼm rehearsing in the studio or doing a gig, I have to fit into a team and concentrate on what works best for the group; when Iʼm painting, Iʼm solo, making all the decisions.

When you are painting do you like to surround yourself with solitude or paintings and music ?

Preparing boards and preliminary stuff I can listen to music, but I canʼt multitask very well; I could never do my homework in front of the TV so, when Iʼm painting, I like solitude.

Did you design The Specials logo ?

Not entirely. Jerry did the two-tone man and I did the 2 -Tone Records bit.

You were Head of Art at a school for autistic children for ten years – how did this come about and did any of the students work inspire you ?

I went into the special needs school as support for one specific pupil. As he settled back into the school, I was ʻabsorbedʼ into the staff and once it was discovered that I had an art degree  (the art teacher was really a PE teacher who took the job because no-one else wanted it … yes, school is like that! ), I was offered the job so a bit ʻunder the radarʼ really. It was a fantastic experience, especially dealing with children on the autistic spectrum. It made me change the way I viewed art – to make it more immediate.

Who and what are your biggest influences ? Is this ever evolving ?

Musically, most stuff on Tamla/Motown and Stax/Atlantic, Chicago Blues and Dub Reggae. Artwise, the list is longer – Henri Rousseau, (Sir) Peter Blake, Wayne Thiebaud, Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Robyn Denny, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, James Rosenquist – mainly American 1960s artists, but they, the 60sʼ, were my formative years. Lately, I think Iʼm like the Borg out of Star Trek inasmuch as I accumulate everything and it becomes a source for work. I like the phrase ʻappropriation and subversionʼ!!

As a bass player and teacher you are in a supporting role – how does it feel to be the front man ?

The art career is my ʻsolo albumʼ. It is a different kind of creativity.

Are there certain galleries that you look forward to visiting when you’re on tour ?

Oh yes ! There is a probability we will be in New York towards the end of summer. I have never been to the new MOMART. The year before last, we were in Europe and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne was fantastic, as was The Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Is you work influenced by pop art ?  What do you love about it ?
To my way of thinking, Pop Art was to Art History what Punk Rock was to Rock and Roll. You had Abstract Expressionism, which was very elitist and metaphysical ( I love Rothko by the way ) and then along comes a guy with a soup can ! My work is heavily influences by traditional iconography and the word ʻmundaneʼ is used a lot in iconography as it is in Pop Art. ʻElevating the Mundaneʼ is one of the tropes of Pop Art and a lot of my work looks like Pop Art. Peter Blakeʼs technique and his use of colour are also big influences.

I love your cassette paintings, they really remind me of my treasured mix tapes  – if you were making up your ultimate mix tape of 30 minutes / 10 songs.. what would they be and why ?

1. Road Runner, Junior Walker and the All Stars

2. All Down the Line, Rolling Stones ( off Exile on Main Street ) !

3. Too Much Alcohol, J.B. Hutto and the Hawks

4. A Little Bit of Love, Free

5. Outta Space, Billy Preston

6. Dub Tree, Joe Gibbs ( from African Dub Chapter 3 )

7. Trampolene, The Spencer Davies Group ( worldʼs greatest B-Side )

8. PCH, ZZ Top ( great driving music )

9. China Girl, David Bowie ( with Stevie Ray Vaughan channelling Albert King )

10. Pour Me One More Drink, Robert Ward ( the Blues – for real )

What inspired you to write your book  – Ska’d for life ?

I had these two diaries from our US and Japanese tours and my parents had collected 11 scrap books full of Specials and Two-Tone related press. I was always the one that people were being directed to: ʻAsk Horace, he remembers stuff like thatʼ. There had been a couple of ʻfan-relatedʼ attempts at writing about the band but I thought they were far from accurate and no-one in the band had done it … so I did. Also, I twisted my ankle during the summer holidays and had fuck all else to do !!

Could you offer some words of advice for any aspiring artists and musicians reading this on how to fulfill their dreams ?

Self belief and persistence. Oh, and a good manager. Thatʼs A GOOD MANAGER!!

Do you have any exhibitions coming up ? .. and will The Specials be touring next year ? I will look forward to both..

By the time you publish this, The Specials May 2013 UK Tour Dates will have been announced. In 2012 I had 14 exhibitions – great fun but too much! In 2013 I am discussing exhibition dates in Liverpool and Glasgow in the early months and have one pencilled in for Number 9 Gallery in Birmingham for the summer. As soon as I have confirmation of any exhibitions the dates are published on Twitter and Facebook and also in the ʻHoracePanterArtʼ quarterly newsletter … all the logistics are handled by Clare, the woman I love !

A massive thanks to Horace ( and Clare ! ) …it is an honour to interview someone whom I have grown up listening to and loving their music, and now am very inspired by Horace’s artwork too.

You can see more of Horace’s work on his website – www.horacepanterart.com Follow him on Twitter @horacepanterart and you can become a fan facebook for info on upcoming exhibitions and shows.

All images copyright Horace Panter 2012.

Leave me a comment here to say hi or tweet me – @lucylovesyablog I’d love to hear from you :)

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INSPIRE ME – with Tatty Devine

Rosie_Harriet_TattyDevieToday is a good day. A really good day and I’m a little bit excited… because I am sharing my recent interview with the creators of a brand that I LOVE more than all the tea in China…

Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine have made a big name for themselves over the last thirteen years as Co Founders and designers of cult jewellery brand Tatty Devine, creating the most unique, fun and clever pieces made from often from perspex, but also wood, veneer, leather and enamel.

Their designs are featured around the clock in magazines such as Vogue, Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan… and stand firm as one of United Kingdoms most original and exciting brands.

As it’s coming up to Christmas, I thought I might also mention their fab  “How to make jewellery with Tatty Devine” book – a really good idea for any crafty, jewellery loving people in your life. It’s 125 pages of creative inspiration and shows you how to transform any object into a new accessory and, what you will need to get started. At £12.99 I think it’s a very good price ! It’s on my list ! You will also find on their website that they sell stitching patterns and run jewellery making workshops too.

When you met at College, did you hit it off straight away ?

At Chelsea the year was split into 4 groups over 2 floors, Harriet and I were in different groups on different floors, so it look a while for us to become friends. In the second year the roof fell in on where I was living, I’d heard that Harriet had a spare room so I rang her up. Once I’d moved in we hit it of straight away.

 

 

 

 

 

You opened your first boutique on Brick Lane, thirteen years ago – did you know even then how loved and popular your brand would become ?

We had no idea ! We were just having so much fun and our criteria was to have a good time, make original things ( we just didn’t want to look like everyone else ) and not get ‘proper jobs’. We’ve stuck to all these things, although it could be argued that we now have proper jobs !

I can spot a ‘Tatty Devine’ piece a mile off.. what would you say makes your jewellery so unique and distinctive ?

I think its a few things, the first being that our techniques are unique to us as we have created and developed them, that we never want to go for the obvious – so I think there is always an unusualness to our jewellery and we like to think our jewellery is of the highest quality – which makes it stand out.

Do you have a current best seller ?

Other than the perennial name necklace we have been selling out of fox brooches and the Arrgh Necklace has been doing very well.


You have collaborated with lots of creative people so far, who would you love to work with next ? 

We’d love to work with Grayson Perry.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for new designs and how far ahead do you work on new seasonal pieces ?

We’re currently finishing off AW13, so for the non seasonal collections we tend to work3-6 months ahead.

Are you music fans ? If so, what do you like to listen to when designing ?

We love music, it’s always been central to what we do. When we’re designing we listen to whatever we are currently into, although there are always old favourites like Belle and Sebastian, Electrelane or ESG.

As well as making your products, you also run jewellery making workshops and sell a “How to make jewellery” book – what inspired this ?

We’ve always done events to celebrate Tatty Devine and get involved with the customer. Our customers just love anything experiential and at heart we are all about DIY so we thought it would be fantastic to do a book with making ideas and to support this with workshops to give people the chance to make some of the pieces with the Tatty team.

With your jewellery stocking in over 300 stores worldwide as well as your own, how do you make it all happen ?

We’ve got a team of 30 people that make it all happen. Harriet and I design and oversee everything, but then we have people making, packing, doing the admin, working in the shop and workshops, doing the press and marketing, the accounts, the customer care and someone to look after our wholesale customers and attend trade shows.

What do you love most about  being designers and having your own business ?

The freedom to do what we want to do and the joy of making people happy with our jewellery.

 

What are your career highlights to date ?

Opening our shop in Covent Garden, the pop up in Selfridges and working with people like Rob Ryan, Gilbert and George and Tate.

 

Can you offer advice to anyone reading this who has a unique brand idea but doesn’t know where to start ?

Start small, let it develop organically and put all your energy and enthusiasm into it. Most importantly have faith in your idea and in yourself.

What can we expect next from Tatty Devine? Personally, I can’t wait…. :)

So much, 2013 is going to be a very exciting year.

Highly inspirational stuff and thanks so much to them both for taking the time out for a little chat. Here’s hoping for a Grayson Perry collaboration soon !

Do you have a favourite Tatty Devine design ? Please do leave me a comment below and spill the beans… ? :)

Follow Tatty Devine on Twitter, Become a fan on Facebook and you can see an abundance of cool jewellery, learn more about their workshops.. oh, and check out the brill book on their website.

All images copyright Tatty Devine 2012.

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