What's in a name?

Over the past couple of years I've been taking photos for various events in Brixton on volunteer basis and I love it. Not only does it give me the opportunity to take photos of things I would normally photography but I also meet people I would not otherwise have met. I'm the official photographer for Brixton Splash and last year was the 50th Anniversary of Jamaican independence so they commissioned these graphics to help celebrate.
I absolutely loved them and Brixton High Street has never looked so good. The designer, Jon Daniel,  emailed me to asking if he could use some of my images of his work for various press things such as Design Week. I was of course delighted! But it also turns out that we share the surname! And neither of us have  met another Daniel (that's Daniel, not Daniels - there is only one of us at a time you know!) that we are not related to. We've been in touch on and off since last year but last week, to our delight, we finally met up! And phew, we got on like a house on fire! And we both have stamp collections (check out my Etsy shop and  you'll see why this made me smile). 

Jon had 2 exhibitions on the go when we met. The first was called Iconographic at the Clapham Picture House where I met him for a coffee. It was a celebration of Afro Pop Culture from the African Diaspora. And the collection was stunning. I love his graphic style. 
They are so fun, simple, colourful and you immediately know who they represent
Annoyingly the light wasn't great so apologies they're not amazing shots. 
But they looked impressive throughout the cafe area 
It was so hard to choose a favourite but I do love the image of Usain Bolt, Man of the Olympics last year. And I was also drawn to the image of Muhammad Ali. Unfortunately this exhibition is now over but prints are available from his website
His other exhibition is 'Afro Supa Hero' over at the V&A Museum of Childhood is of his collection of action figures, comics and games collected from when he was a child through to the present. The collection offers an insight into the experience of a boy of African Caribbean heritage growing up in the 60s and 70s. And I found it absolutely fascinating. 
I'm a couple of years younger than Jon (only a few mind!) and although we have completely different backgrounds there were some markers from my youth too. One of my earliest memories is watching the Jackson 5 on the TV whilst waiting for my dad to finish work. 
And I LOVED Mr T when I was growing up. As a teenager I even had a collection of faux bling which I would where every Friday night (when I went to Youth Orchestra - yep living the high life in Cumbria!) 
My friend Ben got me in to Lee Scratch Perry in the 90s, and OH is also a fan
And OH has recently got me into funk - here is George Clinton from Parliament. 
And I hope to see more of the Afro Supa Hero trade mark. 

It was such a great collection - this is just a small selection. I can highly recommend it regardless of your background. It will make you smile, but I also found it thought provoking. And if I hadn't volunteered to take photos for Brixton Splash last year I would never had  met Jon, nor seen more of his work, or these exhibitions. So my advise is take a risk, put yourself out there, do something for others and you never know where it will lead. It's certainly making my life more interesting, though I must admit it's also busy, busy, busy (though that is in now way a bad thing!).... And hopefully I'll be seeing more of my name sake in the future! 

The Lakeland home coming

Although I'm a proud Brixtonite having lived here for over 18 years I'm proud of my Cumbria routes too. I now go up to visit the folks and family in November rather than Christmas which is so less stressful all round. And I'm often really lucky with the weather. This year the storm clouds were out and for the most part the weather was awful.
Here's the view of the house from Dad's veg patch. As you can see grey and wet....
But dad's veg patch was looking good! He loves growing his veg and just look at those brussell sproats (which to me are the food of the gods!)
And look how red these sprouts are.....
Yes you read that right Dad is growing red Brussells Sprouts. Annoyingly they weren't read to eat so I didn't get a chance to sample them. But incredible!
But even in the rain the Autumn colours were so vibrant. Here are some leaves in the garden against the cold, wet stones of the barn with the fell in the background.   
Anyway on the Monday I jumped out of bed, put some clothes on and ran outside to try and capture the stunning light as the sun rose.
This is why I put the clothes on instead of just putting a coat on over my PJs, first frost of the year!  

We jumped in the car to try and take advantage of the perfect weather for a drive around the lakes. Here is Yew Tree Tarn just outside of Coniston (where I went to school).
 We then went to Derwent Water which is in Keswick. I love Derwent Water as I always get my waterbird fix. Love these geese feeding on  the grass next to the lake with the fells in the background.
 They really didn't care that there were people around as they're so used to them....
And of course the birds expected to be fed. Here's dad being quite brave kneeling down in front of a swan. I must admit I was petrified that they would peck me so I wasn't that fearless...
But this the view of the lake.
And the other way....  
I'd then requested to visit Castlerigg Stone Circle which I haven't visited since I was a kid. The colours were just perfect!

 I also jumped over this traditional lakeland style (love the dry stone work)
 To find another favourite of mine - sheep!
You've got to smile as this semi curious sheep
And these two looked as if they were behind bars!
Final lake stop was Ulleswater which in the right has amazing reflections
And views! Stunning
We then stopped near Lake Windermere and although the light was fading for landscape shots was able to take this shot of a leaf which looked as if it had 2 hearts cut into it!
Back home there were no sheep in the fields around the house but instead some heffers. They were reluctant models and a little jumpy.

And a little frisky to say the least!
Finally I went for a walk in the woods and found lots of mushrooms but on the way I stopped to take this photo of a traditional lakeland gate post. I thought I was going for a quite walk in the country (as mum and dad live in a very remote part of Cumbria) but within 10 mins saw 1 car, 2 walkers and the farmer on a quad bike  in the same field. It was like Picadilly Circus! Anyway it's always lovely to recharge the batteries but I'm always pleased to come back to London! Mum and I did some crafty goodness while I was up there too which I will blog about soon, promise.


Back once again, the Renegade Masters

Renegade Craft Fair was back in town this month and it's fast becoming a highlight of the crafty calender. I dragged OH to the first fair back in 2011 and I missed it last year as I was in operation count down mode so I made sure I made room in my calendar to visit this year.

I'd made sure I was able to go on the Saturday, without OH who hates this sort of thing if we're perfectly honest. He is happy to come along occasionally but you can tell that he would rather be elsewhere which diminishes my enjoyment so it's easier to go without him. He later told his brother in law that craft was my crack is so true. So armed with a camera, and also plans to meet up with Mardle Made, who was also making the pilgrimage up for the fair, for a chin wag and cake and made way over to East London.

And wow was I blown away at how busy it was! When I first went in 2011 there were people, don't get me wrong, but this year it was positively heaving!
 The first maker I wanted to hunt out was Bex of Stuffed Nonsense and By the Yard. Stuffed Nonsense are regulars at the Crafty Fox Market and I love their work as you may recall from previous posts but Bex was here with her new range of Knitted&Knotted jewellery which I wanted to check out. I've been following Bex on Instagram for ages so it was great to see the new line in the flesh (as well as say hello). 
 There were so many Crafty Fox regulars. It was great to see their work, and to say hi to those who recognised me out of context (though I still had a camera). Above is Mister Peebles
And Pygmy Cloud were those I have decent pics of. But there was also Cecil Vessey, Birds in Hats, Andsmile, and HeartZeena to name just a few.
And just in case you think I've forgotten the wonderful Jill here she is. It was great to see her here too and I even covered her stall so she could have a bit of a wander and drink in some of the atmosphere. I even took 7 sales for her! Was strange being behind a stall but I really enjoyed it, even if it was only briefly!
I spent over two hours there wandering around and drinking in the amazing buzz of the event. Now I love the Crafty Fox market (next Market is on 7th and 8th December), but this event was on a massive scale.  I've been a keen crafter for at least 25 years, and even just a few years ago my friends took the mickey out of me with my handmade ways. Cross stitch, crochet and card making were seen as just plain geeky and a little bit dull. And now look! Look at all of these people celebrating everything handmade. Both makers and shoppers alike there because it's something  they believe in. Handmade is no longer a dirty word. It's out there and for those of us who make things by hand now can stand up tall and no longer be afraid to say that it's their passion. Long live hand made!

Where to begin..... with two artist genii

Now you're not suppose to start a blog post with 'I'm so sorry I haven't blogged but blah, blah, blah' but  I've not had a chance to write up post from the last few weeks so this is just a quick blanket apologies for the forthcoming posts over the next week or so while I hopefully catch up. Enjoy the ride, I'm hoping it won't be too bumpy.....
If you're a regular reader you know that I'm fond of paper cutting. And here is the god for all paper cutter's, Rob Ryan. He had an exhibition of his incredible work at the Reed Sims Gallery near Piccadilly and I was lucky enough to be visiting while he was doing a book signing. I must admit, however, I didn't queue up to meet him. OH used to know him many years ago apparently... he also knows Kim Deal from the Pixies, he seems to know all of my heroes....
But I digress. Rob's work is incredible. I first saw it on a greeting card whilst up on the Isle of Skye and instantly fell in love. His work combines magical words as well as intricate paper cutting. As I was in a commercial gallery I didn't feel comfortable taking photos of the work in the gallery so here is one from the outside looking in. You can just about see the huge queue of people lining up to meet him. When I came out a passing tourist asked what on earth was going on.
They're not the best photos I know but they give you an idea of what Rob's work is all about. There was some outrage by some face book followers that Rob has assistants who help him cut out his artwork. But he's never made a secret about them, and the volume and size of his work, plus the numerous collaborations he worked on it would simply be impossible for him  to do it all by himself. And he's not the first artist to have help. Chihuly, the glass artist and Mr Brainwash (urban art) certainly employ assistants, and I'm sure Michelangelo didn't paint the whole of the Sistine Chapel himself (though don't quote me on that as I'm not 100% certain of that fact!)

The exhibition was mind blowing. And so inspirational. Have an idea for Christmas cards so watch this space.... 
 The following day OH and I went to the Courtauld Gallery to see the drawings for the Young Durer and wow! Were they incredible. These were produced in late 1490s, early 1500.

 Here you can see that he has used the same piece of paper for several test sketches. The detail was so delicate. And they were so clear.
 The last time I went to the Courtauld I was at College, nearly 20 years ago! And oh how I'd forgotten the Impressionists treasures there were. Above one of my favourite artists - Degas (I know a little chocolate box but I can't help myself).
And this room was one of my favourites, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Monet. There was also Gaugin, Van Gogh and Seurat to name a few. The Courtauld is a little treasure trove of art work and a bargain for £6, including the Durer exhibition.
So there we have it. 2 genii in a weekend who lived over 500 years apart. And this weekend of culture so nurtured the soul. If you have a chance do go and check both of these exhibitions out.