Talk

Reflections on Venice

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Words and photographs by David Warren Grunner. Venice

A city of shadows and secrets, home to the never ending play of light on water and edifice.

A city that reminds us of the passage of time, steady as she goes, with the sound of water slapping against stone.

A city that warns us of the impossibility of permanence, sinking day by day, and yet that stands defiant in the face of such an impossibility, resolute and sentinel as the almost ancient cypress trees that line its cemetery isle.

A city that offers itself up to the senses, shamelessly: the scenes that beg to be captured in photographs; the feel of brittle brick on curious finger tips; the melody of church bells echoing through arcades and beneath bridges; the smells, not always pleasant, to be honest; the bit of a summer’s drink that lingers on the tongue long after one has retired home, far away.

A city that has inspired minds, for better or for worse, what with its narrow canals that implore us to follow their tedious arguments, as T.S. Eliot may have put it.

A city in which losing one’s way is a right of passage, a shibboleth.

A city, a floating paradox, that always remains, fixed in memory, in black and white.

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Pyrus Flowers

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Photo by Craig & Eva Sanders Photography There are always flowers for those who want to see them. Henri Matisse

With our Scotland issue due back from the printers any day now we thought now would be a rather grand time to introduce you to Fiona Inglis and Natalya Ayers, the floral-minded duo behind Pyrus, a flower studio dedicated to foraging and promoting Scottish blooms. You can catch the printed Pyrus feature from mid-March - until then we hope this interview gets your green thumbs twitching.

Can you tell us a little about your training and background and how Pyrus Flowers came to be?

We both have creative backgrounds (in fine and applied arts) and discovered the world of flowers by accident, taking positions in the same Edinburgh flower shop. Quickly bitten by the botanical bug we were captivated by the incredible garden roses grown by a local market gardener, which smelt so intoxicating and were so different from their imported counterparts. Mr. Smith’s glorious blooms inspired us to join forces in 2011 to establish our own flower garden and studio. We had become disillusioned by the Dutch flower industry and the lack of variety, scent and seasonality; from the beginning we sought out unusual, Scottish native and heritage varieties and foraging has become an important part of our practice.

Where does the name Pyrus come from?

The Latin word Pyrus refers to a genus of fruit trees which include pears; we chose it because we wanted a strong, timeless name for our studio that encompasses all things botanical and not just flowers.

Photo by Caro Weiss Photography

What inspires your work?

If you have a creative sensibility and sensitivity to your surroundings, what doesn’t inspire you? We are endlessly inspired by the Scottish landscape, other cultures and the patterns and rhythms of nature. A swathe of cloud in the sky can be enough to evoke endless conversation and form the seed of a new idea. Lately we have found collaboration with other creatives has produced exciting and challenging ideas which is taking our work in new directions.

What do you love most about your job?

It often depends on the changeable Scottish weather! Time spent in the studio working with botanicals is always the most rewarding and constructing an installation on site is the exciting part of our work. However the heart of Pyrus is the flowers so, working in the garden among the blooms or taking a long foraging walk to gather materials feels like the soul of what we do.

What is the most challenging part of the work you do - and for that matter, what is the most rewarding?

Our day to day work is physically demanding and we are both quite impatient; we want nothing less than a flower revolution to flood the UK flower industry with local flowers and it cannot happen quickly enough! The most rewarding part is definitely being plant mothers to our flowers; watching something bloom for the first time that we have nurtured from seed never loses its shine. All those months waiting, protecting and caring for it is always worth it.

Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you particularly enjoyed?

We love travelling as part of our work so our trip to Saudi Arabia in 2014 for an installation at KAUST University was a highlight. We created a Kokedama installation (Japanese string garden) at the heart of the campus to celebrate the UN year of farming; it was a great experience to share our ideas and methods with such a varied group of nationalities in a unique environment. We are lucky enough to work alongside some fantastic creatives in the worlds of art, poetry and immersive events and have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline for 2015; watch this space!

Photo by Caro Weiss Photography

Does Edinburgh, or Scotland for that matter, influence your work in any way?

Yes. Pyrus is half Scottish, half English so our heritage and the way we view Scotland is different: homeland and chosen land. It has great beauty and elegance while being tough and inhospitable at times but even on a windswept day in February there is always something which takes your breath away. Living in Edinburgh is special in itself; its geography is quite singular. We are flanked by sea, hills, farm and woodland with an extinct volcano in the heart of the city. You can’t escape nature here and that proximity to the elements influences everything in daily life, we try to bring a little bit of that to Pyrus; there is beauty in everything and nature surrounds us.

Do you feel that there is a real florist community working in Scotland (and beyond)? There are just a small number of florist/famers in Scotland and we would love to see other growers establish here to make local, seasonal flowers more accessible. It is much more common in Southern England where the weather is kinder and the season slightly longer. We are however part of the British Flower Collective which is a great support network for florists championing British grown flowers across the UK. The global flower family is a continuous wealth of friendship and inspiration for us and we have links as far afield as the US and Australia; talking, travelling and being part of this community of talented florists is a pleasure and a privilege.

Given the chance, who would you like to collaborate with?

We love collaboration; it continually informs and enriches our creative practice. Dream collaborations? Photographer Tim Walker and set designers Rhea Thierstein and Shona Heath. The inimitable Kate Bush. And we would love to work for Scottish designers like Christopher Kane or Holly Fulton to create incredible botanical installations.

What advice do you have for aspiring florists?

If you choose floristry as a career, stay true to who you are and what you love about flowers. There is room in our industry for a myriad of styles and, we say, embrace those differences. We have never striven to be like any of our contemporaries and that allows a freedom in our work. It is more of a way of life so be prepared to work hard, it can be quite tough but, at the end of a long day, we still wouldn’t do anything else.

Photo by Craig & Eva Sanders Photography

Photo by Craig & Eva Sanders Photography

Photo by Nic Rue

Photograph by Nic Rue

Photograph by Orange Photograpie

Photograph by Orange Photograpie

Photograph by Orange Photograpie

Emily MacKenzie

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We had a chat with Edinburgh-based artist Emily MacKenzie about Scotland, illustrations and growing up just a little bit wild. Check out issue 2, out in March, to learn more about this lovely creative and the joys of Scotland. Emily MacKenzie

Can you tell me a little about your training and artistic background?

I come from quite creative family of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, animators and artists so for as long as I can remember my need to create and my interest in children's books has always been there and encouraged. I have very fond memories of taking over my parents studio and making use of their paper samples and materials to make all manner of weird paper creations! Drawing and making has always been in my blood, I don't ever remember thinking I would be interested in anything other than a creative career.

I grew up in rural Northumberland so when I left school I completed an Art Foundation year in Newcastle where I tried lots of different disciplines on rotation, which was brilliant though illustration wasn't something we could specialise in at that time. I joined the course thinking I wanted to be a fashion or shoe designer or perhaps a fine artist, but it was graphic design that captured my interest in the end and I moved up to Scotland in 2001 to study Graphic Design at Edinburgh College of Art.

After graduating I designed book covers in house at one of Scotland's largest publishing houses, Mainstream Publishing, but I continued developing my illustration and started printmaking in my own time. I designed non-fiction book covers for seven years before realising that I was happiest when I was drawing and so I decided to take the plunge to go full-time freelance in order to pursue my dream of becoming a children's illustrator, working on my own personal projects and selling prints of my work through local shops and galleries and online. My first children's picture book Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar has just been published by Bloomsbury and I've just had great fun completing artwork for my second book, to be published in 2016.

Emily MacKenzie

How would you define your style?

I'd say my work is mostly character based, quite spontaneous, colourful, inky and humorous. I enjoy getting jokes into my work or expressions that make people smile. I also love screen-printing and get a kick out of bringing my characters to life in the form of screen-printed, embroidered 3D plushes and soft sculptures which I sell online.

What inspires your work?

The house I grew up in in Northumberland borders a pine forest so I've always been drawn to foresty creatures! I have quite an active imagination which I think in part is down to all that drawing, reading and forest exploring when I was young so I am influenced by my childhood but also odd things I observe every day here walking around Edinburgh too.

Emily MacKenzie

What do you love about your job?

I love the diversity! Each day a new illustration project brings new challenges and surprises and the flexibility means if I'm having difficulty getting stuck into a project I can go for a thinking-swim, walk around the Botanics, draw in The Museum of Scotland or do some printing to get my cogs working again.

I also love seeing how people react to my work, it's a great feeling watching kids respond positively to my characters and I'll never get tired of watching people laugh or smile at something I've drawn.

There is a certain innocence to your work - is this intentional and where does this come from?

It's not intentional but I suppose I'm aware that the majority of my work is created with children in mind so I tend to be drawn to creating work that I know I would have enjoyed looking at when I was little. That being said, I find it an exciting challenge to get humour into my illustrations that will appeal to children and adults on different levels, so I try and make my picture book work enjoyable and interesting with funny jokes and scenarios for 'grown-ups' too.

Does Scotland influence your work in any way?

Absolutely! I've lived here for 13 years now and am really inspired by the landscape and wildlife here as well as scottish words and phrases I come across. Last year I designed a colour chart poster titled '50 Shades of Scotland' celebrating the hues of some of my favourite scottish things (Nessie, Haggis, Thistle, Smoked Salmon, Loch etc...) and a series of postcard prints based around Edinburgh's beloved Greyfriar's Bobby statue, so I definitely feel that my work is connected to Scotland and my life here.

Emily MacKenzie

Do you feel that there is a creative community in Edinburgh?

Definitely, there are lots of creative studio buildings around the city. I share a studio space at Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts and also print work at Edinburgh Printmakers where I've got to know other illustrators, craftspeople and printmakers. There's also a great craft market scene here which is fun to be part of when I have time.

Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

Although they haven't been without their challenges, I've loved the experience of writing stories and bringing my characters to life in both my books, particularly the second which will be published next year. The character who features in my second book has been alive in my head for years now so it's been a dream come true to bring him into the world and I can't wait to see him in print, but I know I'll always have a soft spot for Ralfy too!

What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?

It's a very competitive industry so persistence and believing in yourself and your work is really important. It's quite easy to get a confidence knock if you're turned down for a job or a commission you really want to do and I've lost hours comparing myself to other illustrators online afterwards which can be really self destructive! Think about what it is you like about your own work and what you think makes your work unique and write it down, that way you can refer back to it if you lose your way a little. I find this technique can help me to refocus and start working on a job again with a fresh perspective. I also find working in a shared studio really inspiring as I enjoy having other creatives around me I can bounce new ideas ideas off.

Emily MacKenzie

Emily MacKenzie

Emily MacKenzie

Interview: Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia We had a lovely chat with Italian-raised, London-based photographer Claudia Guariglia about her love of the lens, her subjects and the general power of photography. You can see more of Claudia's stunning shots in issue 2 of Lodestars Anthology, due out in March next year.

What do you love about photography?

I like capturing instants. I love how photography makes it possible to freeze something as a picture and keep it forever. It’s just an image, but still whenever I look at it, it will tell me something about that particular moment of my life, what I was feeling, maybe bring to my mind something I forgot. Time scares me a little, somehow, and with photography I feel like I can stop it every now and then, and get to keep memories, both of important steps in my life or just those everyday little things that maybe made me smile, or simply stop and think.

Digital or film - which do you prefer and why?

Definitely film. I do like digital of course, it’s convenient and quick, and allows you to do all sorts of things that I cannot do with film (considering I don’t develop it by myself).

Still, the feeling with film is completely different. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. I've tried many times but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m just so much happier and satisfied with my film pictures as opposed to when I shoot digital, I feel like they convey better my own vision of things. There’s something romantic to it, like film could actually really capture the atmosphere of every different moment, and this is actually particularly obvious with polaroids, as the colors tend to change depending on the temperature in which the pics develop. So, if for example you’re shooting outside and it’s winter, you’ll get colder colours, and that’s such a nice touch to it. It just adds some more value to the picture.

Claudia Guariglia

Can you remember the first photograph you took?

Not really, but I remember that when I finally got my own first camera, I was about 12. I used to take a lot of pictures of clouds. And the sea. Not very original, for sure, but I was born and grew up by the sea so I always felt some sort of connection with it.

Before that, I used to steal my dad’s camera whenever we went out just to look through the lens and play a bit with it, but it was so heavy and I was so little. I don’t think I ever did more than just that.

What inspires your work?

It depend. What I like most is taking simple, natural pictures, true depictions of what surrounds me, so I’d say I’m inspired by everyday life. I love capturing light, and I like interiors, so I’m inspired by new places - other people’s houses and the different way natural light acts in different environments or times of the year.

I also like fashion, so sometimes I’m inspired by that. New clothes, shops windows, something catches my eye and I either just want to capture it or feel the urge to create something out of it. I don’t always follow the same pattern.

Claudia Guariglia

How would you define your style?

True, I guess. I like taking care of composition, I like looking for the perfect framing and the perfect light, but at the same time I want my pictures to look real, true. The pictures I usually like the most (which are not necessarily the ones other people prefer, it goes without saying) are the ones I didn’t even plan to take, and they’re usually film, so there’s no post production.

I like taking self portraits, so those are important to me as well, but I have a different approach when it comes to taking pictures of myself. I still try to convey what’s going on through my mind and in my life, but they’re, obviously, less spontaneous, there’s more work behind them. Still, what I always try to have in my images is simplicity.

What do you love to photograph most?

I like taking pictures of whatever catches my eye. What I love are details, tiny little things that would maybe normally go unnoticed. So whether it be a portrait, still life, or whatever, I try to focus on those little things: hand gestures, maybe the particular way someone sits, details in the window of a shop or house, that tiny crack on a mug. Photography makes me focus more on what surrounds me, and I always had the weird habit of noticing apparently useless things. Capturing them in an image makes the picture alive, it helps telling a story.

Claudia Guariglia

How does travelling influence your work?

I’d ask “how does my work influences travelling”, actually. I probably give too much importance to taking pictures while visiting a new place, some people might think I don’t really enjoy myself, that I’m too focused on photographing everything rather than living an experience, and maybe they’re right, who knows. But I think photography helps me take in everything I see when I’m travelling, especially if I’m alone. I love taking my time to observe everything, slowing down when I want to, shoot some maybe useless, maybe not, pics, and so on.

Travelling is so inspiring, you get to see places that look nothing like the ones you’re used to, meet different people, generally take in something that’s new and exciting, and that somehow changes and enriches you. If I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world non stop, and possibly I’ll be doing so sometime in the future.

Have you taken a particularly memorable photograph while travelling?

All the photos I take while travelling are memorable for me as they obviously remind me of a beautiful and exciting experience. The most memorable ones though usually have little or nothing to do with the place I was visiting, rather they focus on what I was doing or who I was with.

This photo (click here) for example, is a pic I shot in Seville, and even if it was a couple of years ago I still like it and find it an important and memorable picture as it reminds me of a certain, not necessarily amazing but still important moment in my life. Yet, I could have shot the same picture anywhere. Same goes for other pictures I took in England, Scotland, or other places I’ve been traveling to. It’s totally subjective, completely personal.

Claudia Guariglia

What is your dream subject?

When I say 'if I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world' I mean it, so I guess my dream subject would be the whole world? I know it sounds silly and very generic, but as I like taking pictures of real life. I’d love to be able to travel the world, meet people, visit their houses, maybe taking portraits of them in their personal spaces. Seeing something new everyday, stop every now and then in a cafè or a small restaurant, capturing and making mine everything around me, carrying around just a film camera. That would be simply amazing.

Where can we see more of your work?

I have tonnes of pics on my Flickr page, even very old ones no one would probably want to see. You can find them here. I also have a tumblr, that I try to update as regularly as possible and a small portfolio on cargocollective.

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Claudia Guariglia

Mary Lennox

mary-lennox-©-camille-blake-12 We had a lovely chat to florist extraordinaire Ruby Barber, the create soul behind Berlin-based Mary Lennox. This Australian-raised creative has art in her blood and a head for bespoke blooms. You can fall for her Instagram here and learn more on her website. For now, prepare to ponder her floral words (and perhaps pencil in your next trip to the German capital).

Why Mary Lennox - just a die hard Secret Garden fan or did the story mean something more to you?

I’ve always really loved The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett. In my first year of primary school I dressed as Mary Lennox for book week. Coincidentally my family also owned a building on the corner of Mary and Lennox street in Sydney. It was a pretty special address - it housed my father's first photography studio, my mother's first art gallery and then my first flower studio, so the name has personal significance that goes beyond liking the story.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the flowers the most, obviously! But I also love the significance of flowers as an exchange; people send flowers to express the most beautiful sentiments and every special occasion in life is celebrated with flowers. I love being involved in these passionate moments of human emotion.

Is there a florist community - in Berlin and beyond?

I’m still discovering the florist community here in Berlin but I am connected with florists all over the world. Every time a florist is passing through Berlin we make a point of meeting up, and the first thing I do when visiting a new city is get in touch with local florists and farmers. It is a really welcoming and supportive community and a love of flowers is a powerful bond.

What has been the most exciting project to work on to date?

I’ve had lots of exciting ‘firsts’ since moving to Berlin. Last June I worked in collaboration with Kentholz, a carpenter, to build a greenhouse for the Mercedes Benz Lobby. This was a really exciting project because it was plant based and the exhibition ran for two months. It was fun to create something that had a life span longer than cut flowers and to see it grow and evolve over the duration of the exhibition.

What would be your dream collaboration?

At the moment I am dreaming of having a cutting garden. I love Julie Newmar’s garden. Perhaps it’s a little far fetched to get the original Catwoman to design a garden for me, but one can dream.

I’ve also always loved the idea being involved with set design. I always pay careful attention to the flowers in TV shows. Shows like The Nanny and Gossip Girl always had the most extravagant florals and I would love to design flowers in this context one day.

Do you have any winning tips you have for aspiring florists?

Approach and work with as many florists as you can. In my experience the most inspiring have always been willing to teach and share their love of flowers. When I started out — against all advice — I started a floristry course. I don’t think this was very beneficial in the end. The only class I would really recommend would be something at The Little Flower School run by Sarah of Saipua and Nicolette of Nicollette Camille.

What were the biggest differences you’ve noticed between working in Australia and Germany?

The biggest difference is the seasonal changes. The natural landscape of Berlin changes so drastically from winter, spring, summer to autumn and it’s really fun to mirror the beautiful flowers and foliage each season has to offer in my arrangements.

The flower market in Australia is really special. The produce is particularly interesting and most of it comes from local farms. I really miss it. Here in Berlin local produce is very hard to come by. For me, imported flowers don’t have as much charm. I’m not interested in ‘perfection,’ I like flowers with irregularities and delicate blooms that grow wild. These things are not available here in Berlin as a matter of course, everything is shipped in from the flower auction. I hope this is something that will change in the future. I’m doing my best to work with Berlin-based farms and grow things myself.

If someone only had 24 hours in Berlin what should they do?

I recently had a friend visiting from Australia who asked me the same question. I sent him to Teufelsberg, an abandoned listening tower in the forest. I think it was actually a really crazy thing to recommend to someone who had never been here before, there is no signage, no real entrance and no direct trains. I neglected to warn him about any of this but luckily he enjoyed the adventure. For something less ambitious, I’d recommend visiting a handful of parks (Tiergarten, Templehof, Treptow Park).

Mary Lennox currently has a new showroom at The Store x Soho House Berlin, and boy does it look beautiful.

“The earth laughs in flowers.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mary Lennox

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Mary Lennox

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

English photographer Hannah Sheffield has a way of seeing the world - a knack for capturing the beauty in the everyday and making all things natural seem rather magical. Some of Hannah’s shots will appear in a story on the English seasons that will make an appearance is issue 1 of Lodestars Anthology, out later this month. We had a chat to Hannah about photography, England and the joys of the lens.

What drew you to photography as an art form?

I just love taking photos and looking at other photographers' work, seeing the world through other people's eyes. It always feels a bit magical and never boring. Also photography is simple and flexible, it can lead you or be led.

Can you remember the first time you picked up a camera - what was it like?

Yes I can! It was great. I took some photos of the sky for a school project about the weather, I think I was about seven.

Is there something you can capture with photography that you can’t with other mediums?

Yes, the stillness of the moment.

How would you define your style?

Opportunistic, peaceful.

What inspires your work?

Small things, a spider web glistening in the rain, a slight shift in the light, falling leaves, new leaves, soaring birds. Nature.

Has there been a particular project that you’ve really enjoyed?

I've got an ongoing project that I love and I am currently ten years into it - photographing my (excellent) dog Levi.

What is your dream subject?

Big wave surfing, hands down.

Does England influence your work in any way?

Yes - England is constantly changing, the seasons, the light, the weather. There is always something wondrous to see if you look closely enough. Also I am free to wander with my camera here, it feels safe. I appreciate that.

Where can we see more of your work?

On my website: hannahsheffield.com and good old Flickr: flickr.com/photos/hanssolo

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Hannah Sheffield

Rachel Gale

London illustrator Rachel Gale captures nature, woodland wonders and food with heart. Her endearing drawings, ever-evolving passion projects, are feminine, uplifting and utterly bewitching. We had a chat to Rachel about her art, background and unwavering desire to get creating. Prepare to feel the doodled love.

Can you tell me a little about your training and artistic background?

Ever since I can remember I have always loved drawing and making. My pencil case and art box has always been one of my treasured possessions. Doodling on my exercise books often got me into trouble. Throughout my school years Art was always my favourite subject so taking a creative path seemed only natural to me. After my A Levels I studied 'Design & Art Direction' at Manchester School of Art for three years, which I loved. I always leaned towards a more illustrative way of working, integrating my preferred hand drawn style into the design briefs I was given. After University, I wasn't ready to move back home so London was my next destination. I imagined living in London to be buzzing with energy, fast paced and super busy, inhabited by people thirsty for opportunity & fun. It really did meet and exceed all my expectations. I hoped that this city would offer the creative opportunities I longed for, although not sure of what exactly they would be. Almost five years on, I adore this city more than ever.

How would you define your style?

I would describe my style as simplistic, fun and playful with a strong sense of 'hand drawness' and craft. I like working in various mediums, from pen and coloured pencils to collage, but drawing using a 0.4 black fine pen is my favourite. Creating repetitive patterns using intricate lines and dots is my bliss. I guess that the things I draw and the 'feel' of my work is a true representation of Myself. My journey as an Illustrator has been slow and organic, and as I grow, my work is ever evolving.

What inspires your work?

Everything around me. I especially like to draw animals, food and nature. I find the colours and patterns in nature absolutely fascinating. Through image making I express and document my feelings and daily life. Taking photographs and keeping a journal is really important to me, especially when travelling to new places. I recently went to Sri Lanka for a month… Wow, what a beautiful place. I kept a sketchbook throughout my trip, back on home turf as I flick through the pages, my memories and experiences radiate and transport me back to this magical island. Near or far, everyday life and experiences fuel my inspiration. Living in London is a constant source of inspiration for me, this place is just bursting with energy. From the people I meet and the walks I take, to the things I eat, this city inspires me. On a deeper and more personal level, practising Yoga has given me the nourishment and self awareness I need to drive my creativity.

Why does wildlife feature so heavily in your creations?

Growing up in a coastal town called Formby has a lot to answer for. Living by the beach we'd go for family walks and spend hours in the sand dunes. The pinewoods was like our second home. Being one of four kids meant we were never bored, we could turn any outdoor activity into an adventure. Hide and seek in the woods and spotting red squirrels was so much fun. I guess thats why now, I love being outdoors surrounded by nature and wildlife. I find animals and birds so interesting to draw, you can bring them to life on the page, with funny expressions and personality. The textures and colours amongst wildlife are so beautiful and endless.

My childhood pets are also ingrained deep in my heart. We always had guinea pigs and rabbits hopping about our garden. My Guinea pig drawing is based on our beloved pet 'Bean', and yes, with his roundness and orange fur he looked just like a baked bean. We'd spend hours in our garden, up in the tree house or helping our Dad in the greenhouse. It feels like only yesterday that I was knee deep in the pond, net in hand, fishing for orange spotted newts & baby frogs. Not to mention, our annual camping holidays to France, these are amongst the most fondest memories of mine. All six of us squished into our people carrier, tents and sleeping bags packed in around us and with our bikes on the roof. Happy days. All these things have shaped me into who I am today, and this is conveyed through my work.

Does living in England influence your work in any way?

Definitely. After all, I am English and I have lived here my whole life so it's had certainly influenced my work. I love this island. England is so diverse; its culture, landscape, architecture and history. England is my Home. A place becomes Home when I'm feeling happy, settled and safe. I have two homes, Formby, North West England and Bow, East London. I do miss living by the sea, but London fulfils me in other ways, I love walking along the canals of East London and I spend a lot of time in Victoria park. The contrast of the green rolling countrysides and the bustling cities makes England so interesting. The people we meet and connect with are hugely influential on ourselves as individuals. For me, especially living in London, I have met so many beautiful people, from all walks of life and ethnicities.

What advice do you have for aspiring designers?

Keep your integrity... I've always followed my heart and gone with what has felt right. Often random encounters have led to little jobs, often when totally unexpected. Working in this creative world, I believe your best tool is to be open and connect with others. Like, chatting with a stranger in a coffee shop or on a bus could lead you to your next job, or could simply inspire you. Being open leads to opportunity and allows chance to step in. Sometimes taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone is needed to bring on a change of direction, if you get that gut feeling, just go for it.

To learn more about Rachel’s stunning works, and invest in a few pieces yourself, please click here.

i like to draw

rachel.gale

Love The Rain

Claire Coles

The lovely London-based Claire Coles designs and produces embroidered wall panels and couture wallpaper murals for interior designers, architects and a wide range of private clients (Liberty of London and Penguin Publishing spring to mind). Using leather, silk and vintage papers, which are collaged and intricately embroidered, Claire creates a diverse array of decorative surface patterns inspired by flora and fauna. Her creations, which combine a range of textures, are unique, luxurious and utterly stunning; capable of transforming a simple wall into a work of art. We had a chat to Claire about her craft, her creations and her city. The lovely London-based Claire Coles designs and produces embroidered wall panels and couture wallpaper murals for interior designers, architects and a wide range of private clients (Liberty of London and Penguin Publishing spring to mind). Using leather, silk and vintage papers, which are collaged and intricately embroidered, Claire creates a diverse array of decorative surface patterns inspired by flora and fauna. Her creations, which combine a range of textures, are unique, luxurious and utterly stunning; capable of transforming a simple wall into a work of art. We had a chat to Claire about her craft, her creations and her city.

Can you tell us a little about your training and artistic background?

I studied applied art at Middlesex University, and graduated in 2003 with a first class honors. During my time at university I experimented with different materials and techniques from wood, to metal and ceramics. I have always been interested in combining textures and materials together in an innovative but sensitive way.

I started out predominantly working in ceramics and in my last year I moved into collage and embroidery.

How would you define your style?

Ethereal, textured and feminine

What inspires your work?

I often look into how we have decorated our homes historically as a source of reference for my designs. Traditional chinoiserie murals and vintage wallpapers inspire my patterns. Colour combination is very important in my work so I am always taking in objects of environments with interesting colour combinations.

Florals feature rather heavily in your work, why do you enjoy using them?

I guess it’s the romanticism of them that I love, I sometimes feel like I’m a florist pulling together different flowers to create a beautiful bouquet. I also use birds in my work quite a lot; I like the idea of bringing nature inside the home.

Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you particularly enjoyed?

I have worked with some lovely private clients making bespoke work for there homes. I love doing these projects because I work with the client closely to make something unique for them. I get to see the environment the piece will be placed in and make it work with the existing elements in the their home.

Does London, or England for that matter, influence your work in any way?

Yes, I live in London so I can’t help but be inspired by the environment that’s around me. From the wealth of museums and galleries on my doorstep to the great art and design practitioners in the capital that inspire me. I spend quite a bit of time in the English countryside so this always influences new work too.

Given the chance, who would you like to collaborate with?

I would love to see some of my patterns translated into rugs so my dream collaboration would be The Rug Company

What advice do you have for aspiring designers?

I can only share my own experiences of designing that have worked for me. At university I spent a lot of time experimenting and making samples, I found the best way to work out my ‘style’ was to not worry about the end result but just enjoy the process of making. I think it’s important to have some core values, or a signature style that runs through your work.

I also have found that being adaptable with your work and applying it to different mediums and processes has really helped with the development of my career. I love collaborating and have found this to be a very inspiring way of developing new work that I might not have thought of on my own.

To see more of Claire’s beautiful work check out her website. She shall also be exhibiting at Decorex International, London 21-24 Sept. Full details here.

Claire Coles, Studio Portrait, January 2014

Claire Coles 2013

Claire Coles 2013

Claire Coles 2013

Claire Coles 2013

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Photographer Hannah Parvaz has taken to the charming streets of London countless times to capture the intricacies of big city life. We had a quick chat to her about why she picked up this camera and loves this city.

Can you tell me a little about yourself - where did you learn to take photographs?

I started taking pictures when I was 11, and taught myself everything I can do. Taking photos was always more of an obsession than a hobby, capturing everything, improving my imagery with every shutter snap, reading about things online, discovering how exposure or ISO or the slightest change in anything can affect a photograph.

Why do you love photography?

I love photography because I can capture moments. Tiny vignettes of life within an image. I love my memories, and my photographs are just that, my visual memories. They are all personal, even commissioned things I pour my personality into.

Why do you enjoy photographing London?

London is its own character, ever developing and changing and never having the same people in the same place at any time. London is something that can look so different on different days. This is why I love London. It accepts everyone and displays everyone, and my camera helps me capture that.

Where can we see more of your work?

My photos can be seen on Flickr and Facebook.

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Hannah’s London

Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

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Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

England, a nation that is pretty downright fanatical about their tea and known for it across the globe. And yet, it is not so easy to find an establishment that offers much else other than your usual Afternoon, Breakfast or Early Grey, with a few herbals thrown in too (we hope). Locate a teahouse and you have stumbled upon a rare treasure. Find one that opens until 1am, swarming with over 60 varieties of tea and offering free movies and art on display? Well, you’ll never leave. That’s precisely what the Quilliam brothers – Tom, Patrick and Sam – brought to the North-Eastern town of Newcastle just one year ago.

Tell us about your business; what is the Quilliam Brothers Teahouse?

Patrick: We are a teahouse that serves a wide range of loose-leaf tea. We think that we’re a bit different in that we brew the tea for the customers, so that the tea that’s left in the pot doesn’t over-brew, get bitter, so that our customers can enjoy a whole pot without it going bad. We serve all these teas in a beautiful building near the centre of Newcastle, and unlike a lot of places serving drinks in Newcastle, we open late but don’t serve alcohol, giving an opportunity for people to sit back, relax and chat into the wee hours if they want to. We’ve also got a little cinema, and a little gallery space, too, to augment your tea drinking experience.

Tom: In a nutshell, we are a café with a difference; an alternative nightlife experience, where you can hear what people are saying, you can talk to your friends, without fear of being in obnoxious company - hopefully! - and making sure everything is quality.

Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

Can you explain the tea-making process? How do you brew it?

Patrick: Normally in a panic. Using a glass jug so we can see the colour change, and to keep an eye on how much tea we’re putting in, we brew them for the recommended brewing time. That’s either recommended by our tea grower themselves, or from our own discovery. We give them the relevant mixings and stirrings, and when the timer’s gone off we pour the liquid through a sieve into the teapot.

Tom: It’s important to know the different times, temperatures and quantities of tea, which makes a huge difference. A lot of people when they buy their green tea from the supermarket will brew it at far too high a temperature thus leading to a horrible taste. We’re not brought up on green tea in England so we treat it as though we would treat our normal black tea teabag, when really it should be treated a lot more delicately.

We give many options of tea here, some for people who don’t like to be adventurous, but some to be able to kind of educate I suppose, without sounding too preachy, to teach people the right way to be drinking these really fine teas.

Sam: But on that point though, by no means do we see ourselves as experts with tea, we’re more like enthusiasts. We like to show our experiences and what teas we know with other people.

Tom: And we’re always open to any information they have for us. We hate this kind of snobbery on the independent café scene, and a lot of independent café owners have this idea that they are there to thrust their views. For example, coffee shops who don’t like you having sugars, syrups or even milk in your coffee. We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to preach to people on how to take their tea but we like rather to instruct if they don’t know how to, and equally to take instruction from people who know more than us.

Patrick: A brew is a personal thing and we like to cater to that.

Tom: And if anyone wants their tea stronger, weaker, with more or less milk, they just need to say.

Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

So how and where did you learn about tea, when did this all begin?

Tom: For each of us it was at different points. The foundation is that we were always brought up, as so many British families are, with our day being punctuated with tea. Not only is it a way of quenching thirst; it’s a way of bringing your household together at different points of the day, where you all share a pot.

Sam: A nice excuse to stop work!

Tom: Yes, nice procrastination. But it’s a social thing, it really is. Whenever you go round to see a friend, just like in a lot of countries for example in Italy, they’ll throw food at you: here, we’ll throw a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit at you.

So we obviously loved tea and the next step with that was our experience with teahouse culture, not tearooms, but teahouses. So this cool, underground feel in the likes of Eastern Europe and other places where there’s no advertisement or anything: you go in there and you have a huge variety of tea and you drink with quiet music on and you talk to people. That was the next thing where we fell in love with tea as a sort of social lubricant I suppose, different from the likes of beer, since tea invokes a feeling of quiet calm and reflection.

It’s something about the steeping process, it’s very different. For me, the steeping process for tea is so different to the likes of coffee. Because with coffee you need high-tech machinery, really high pressures, it’s really noisy.

Patrick: Bish, bash, EUHH!

Tom: Yeah! But with tea you can actually watch the colour and the flavour come from the leaf, and then at the end of it it’s like a quiet, calming process and for some reason, I know it sounds wanky but, that gets reflected in the kind of people who gather over tea drinking. It makes a feeling of calm, reflection and trust.

So that was the next thing. After that the idea was floated that we should start something in Newcastle like these teahouses that we’d seen elsewhere. That was five years ago when it was first suggested, then it was four years ago that we started getting serious when we started the Quilliam Brothers. We did a trip to India, where we stayed in a few plantations, and then to Germany where we get all our fruit teas from. We spent a few days there drinking copious amounts of liquids. Since then we’ve had a trip to China and other educational experiences, including meeting with a couple of tea sellers in England as well.

So yes, the education in tea is never ending, we’re learning everyday. The biggest thing we learn everyday about tea is that nothing is quite as it seems: there are no set rules for anything. People have different opinions on production, brewing, serving methods, everything. And you can never say that you know everything about tea. That’s why we won’t ever consider ourselves masters.

Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

What does the teahouse bring to Newcastle compared to other cafes?

Tom: What I do think that we bring to Newcastle, which I didn’t realise was so unique until this place evolved into what it is, is that we give this feeling of community. The kind of service the staff give everyone here is very human. Yes, ‘The customer is always right’ and all that, but we like to take the approach which is more, ‘We’re all humans, let’s kind of talk about it’. If there’s a problem, if everything’s good, let’s talk about it – we don’t like the traditional separation. So as soon as you come there’s a feeling that you’re welcome and we want you to be yourself.

Patrick: Yes, there’s no front: we are what we are. It’s inclusive not exclusive.

You mentioned earlier you also have a cinema and gallery space downstairs. Could you tell us more about that?

Patrick: One of the initial ideas behind the teahouse was that we wanted it to be a hub for the arts. Having all of us gone to visit various capital cities, coming back to Newcastle there seemed to be not as much grassroots support for that side of things. So the idea behind the gallery is to help local artists have a bit of an opportunity to show their work and to hence show local residents what is happening in their city.

Sam: We’ve tried not to make a big deal of it really, so that more people can get involved with it. The gallery is also a space where we sit lots of covers, we have people going to eat lunch down there and in turn will be able to look at the art rather than be scared to go down and check it out. It’s the same with the cinema, we don’t charge so it’s free entry. We screen films a couple of nights a week, it’s just there.

Tom: It all adds to the idea that the place is for the customers: everyone comes, everyone’s contributing, people who exhibit here are generally either staff or customers who’ve been here and realised that they can put work on – we’ve gone along those routes. Same with the cinema, people can suggest movies they want and then we’ll talk to the staff, the ones who are choosing the movies at the moment.

The place is always going to be about the customers who come here. It’s the mood they bring, the conversation they have, the board games they play, the art they put on and the movies they suggest. Hopefully without it being disorganised, it’s like a community project – you can contribute and we understand the importance of their input.

Have you enjoyed working together? Do you work well as a team, being brothers? Sam: A formidable team! It’s great because we all understand each other, we’re on the same wavelength, it’s not often that happens and it’s harder than it seems to find people with the same ideas. We’ve got the same kind of mindset and focus.

Tom: We’ve had every argument under the sun so any further arguments are nothing.

Patrick: There’s always the pressure to have made up by Sunday Dinner so mum isn’t in the middle of any arguments!

Tom: Had any one of us opened this as a solo project, would we have been able to cope?

Sam: Not a chance in hell. I don’t even think two of us! Three of us had to do it. For man hours, for strength and mental sanity…

Tom: To have someone to vent to, someone who understands no matter how niggly the point is. It’s so beneficial to have three of you, three people initially that you can trust to manage a place.

Images and interview by Emma Douty.

tea house

By Loch Broom

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Loch Broom

We are completely and utterly in love with the evocative place poems of Raphael Kabo.

There is space enough
And time to be here
In this world where
The ceaceless wild game
Of wind and rain is
A science of its own
Triumphant unmaking,

Where the wind heaves against
The eyes and dales
Of these lowing tors
Finding fractures among the moorferns,
Where storm is a synonym
For silence, and air is weather:

Where each windtorn grass
Knows its own old root, each
Cow is motionless swallowing rain,
Where the taut long tendons
Of a North Sea low toss
And throw the shipping sky,
And only deer skitter among
The heather, now copper, now gone.

Patagonia

Sagrada Familia

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Barcelona

Against the molten rise
and flight and winged
weight of the church walls

The apartments buckle back
slapping FC Barcelona vests
and lingiere against turmeric brick.

The church is like something
gone extinct and then unforgotten,
a churn of stone, victim

Of accidental apocalypse. Under
a mad gaze it was trumpeted to life,
our last stand against heaven.

Inside, organs and drills unharmonise
a music in the light stone vastness
while tourists flap and pose

For photographic proof of their very
small existences: as if they will become real
in this petrified wood of belief.

Words by Raphael Kabo. Images by Angela Terrell.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Bali

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The talented Marina Pliatsikas and Kevin McAuley have put together a wonderful video looking at the time they spent in Bali, Portugal and Ireland last year (they’d bravely packed up their Sydney life in search of adventure, sun, waves, joy and a final home in the Emerald Isle). We guarantee this uplifting creation will leave you with an unshakable love of go pros and an alarmingly strong desire to pack it all in and get travelling. http://vimeo.com/82628539

(A few wise words from Marina - no one ever reads you CV at your funeral)

Welcome to Lodestars Anthology

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Welcome to Lodestars Anthology, a magazine for curious travellers who long to see, eat around, chat about and experience this big ol’ world of ours. Basically, we’re a magazine-meets-journal all about place, travel and exploration - one you’ll ideally like to keep atop a coffee table. Or filled with scribblings and safely stored in your suitcase.

We are independently published, distributed internationally and all set to explore the globe one country (or should that be one issue) at a time. With the first magazine due out in summer 2014 things are getting a little exciting around here.

So go on. Pack a bag, hit the road and get your discovery on.

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Photo by Tommy Harrison.