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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Creatively Speaking – Louise and John Wakefield – Beware the Moon

dishoom www.jamesbedford.com

When I posted on the father and daughter duo that make up the UK based funky wallpaper company Beware The Moon last year, I should have realised that their interview would be anything other than as colourful and fun as their work ….  So grab a cuppa and sit back and enjoy…….

How would you describe your work and style?

John – Anarchic, perfectionist.

Louise – Erm… incongruous, lunatic, absorbing, mischievous

What, where and/or who inspires you?

John – Imagination and Nature

Louise – Ooh where to begin – experiences inspire me mostly, things we go through and feel, I’m seeking inspiration in the metaphysical all the time, in the way that there’s something going on back there and it’s gloriously chaotic and irrational.  For instance, I’m loving the undercurrents of excitement, anticipation and anxiety that precipitate Spring here in Europe – people are bursting out of hibernation and declaring love left, right and centre!  It’s been a long winter and we are soon to be blessed with vitality, it’s a palpable tension right now and inspires all sorts of crazy behaviour and ideas. I don’t know if it’s because of computer screens and all the endless advertising (and probably years of looking at the world through a lens as a photographer) but i find I’m not so visual anymore, I crave inspiration in things ‘further out of sight’.  I walk a lot around the city and in the parks and I’m actively working on my ‘long–view’ (for the sake of my eyesight) and looking up: it’s amazing what you can see when you walk around a city looking up!   And I’m especially into water and watery things lately – I’m taking my mum to Budapest this weekend (our first holiday together), and we’re going to spend all our time basking in the mineral thermal springs.  I’m absolutely obsessed with feminine cleansing rituals.

Which is your favourite personal project and why?

John – Whatever’s on the drawing board – it might have something to do with a ‘Cross’ right now.

Louise – We did a bespoke colourway of the Ostrich design for a lovely lady – it came out beautifully in a subtle matte grey and I was really impressed with the whole process – and her conviction!  It’s always inspiring when someone knows what they want and they follow through on a big statement – she put it all the way through the hallways in a Georgian house

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Your mission statement says you are “taking over one downstairs loo at at time”.  Who’s downstairs loo would you most like to take over and which wallpaper would you use?

John – The Queen’s

Louise – The Queen – the downstairs loo somehow epitomizes British culture (sort of closeted, private, occasionally cold but with a humorous disposition ) and I reckon the Queen would be grateful for a velvet skulls loo…although I doubt she has ever seen the inside of a downstairs loo to be fair

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What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

Louise – Well I’ve done so many obscure jobs I wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of my whole career (John hasn’t even attempted to answer this one!) but the highlight of Beware the Moon has to be the photoshoots we do – they are always a treat, pulling themes and friends together with no budget, shooting guerilla-style with massive time and location pressures (not something one would associate with wallpaper photography!) I tend not to think about it all too much until about a week beforehand, then I ring round ask if everyone’s free, find a date that works and make a nice lunch, see what happens.  I particularly loved shooting the lovely Jude in the early shots of the Skulls, She and Ostrich design – he was a fantastic model, and the themes seemed to just unfold effortlessly – Denial (Ostrich), Desire (She) and Death/Rebirth (Skulls) and actually went on to shape the brand really.

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And falling in love with a client, that’s a highlight – one who put Skulls all over his tiny flat – who knew wallpaper could present such stories !?

Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us?

John – An animals wallpaper

Louise – We’re about to launch the wallpaper version of the Animals border . It’s pretty epic, it took John a year to design: 52 Animals in total, each one took about a week to draw by hand.  It was a real challenge because he wasn’t sure he could even draw like that anymore, but it’s absolutely stunning, he’s a legend really.  We’re using a new method to print it for Beware the Moon – gravure – which is exciting, we’ve just had the plates cut.  It’s an old technique and as close to photographic as you can get with traditional rollers, which will help to keep the detail of the drawings.  It’s been a long time coming this one !

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If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed.

John – The Pentagon, because of those walls

Louise – Well it’s going to sound a bit cute, but to be honest I actually love to see our work in people’s homes, there’s just no greater satisfaction than that – I often ask people to send us pictures for the scrapbook and it’s my favourite gallery of BtM images by far  It’s quite a privilege at this stage of the business – we’re still so tiny – that we get to have such direct contact with clients and their projects, and that we don’t have heards of PR to go through to see the end results of what we do.  Residential projects (as oppose to commercial/designer projects for instance) are incredibly heartening.

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I can honestly say I don’t really have any ambitions outside of that – being on the walls of peoples homes is where it’s at.  BUT actually, come to think of it I do agree with John – The Pentagon would be a dream job – pretty cool done entirely in 3D Jam Jars or Quantum Foam

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What would be your dream commission?

John – An expensive one!

Louise – Ha, I love John’s answer to this one [he and I work at opposite ends of the country by the way so we don’t get to confer on much!]….my dream commission would be a Lincrusta version of the Skulls for an enormous lobby in a grand hotel somewhere by the seaside.  It’s an elegant traditional technique that works a lot like plaster, is incredibly expensive but incredibly beautiful.  And unbelievably to me, it actually originated – and is still manufactured – in a village, Heysham, where I grew up (and near to where John now lives) which I only found out recently when looking into Lincrusta after seeing it in a fancy restaurant in a New York magazine shoot !

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If someone were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places to visit?

John – Morecambe promenade – on a fine day the view across the bay is the best in the world.

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Louise – Walk everywhere in London – it’s actually fairly small in the centre and giving yourself an hour to get somewhere by foot instead of 20 minutes on the underground can be a real treat.  Walk into Soho, have a nosy around, scan the guitar shops on Denmark Street, drop down through the West End and walk West along the river past Parliament and get on the water taxi at Vauxhall (much cheaper than a tour boat), go East to Tower Bridge and have a walk around the East End.  If it’s a nice day and you’ve got kids go down to Brockwell Park in Brixton.  Pass by the skate park on Stockwell Road whilst you’re down that way, and have a coffee and some toast at Rosie’s Deli Café  – I worked there whilst I was setting BtM up and it kept me sane, I loved that job).

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Brockwell is a wonderful real-life urban park with a great adventure playground, BMX tracks, tennis courts, green bowling, rolling hillsides and large lido (outdoor pool).  For the ladies: something a bit more grown–up on a hot day head to Hampstead Ponds for a swim – words cannot describe the beauty and sanctity of the Women’s Pond there.

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A walk with the oaks, deer and parakeets in Richmond Park in the South-West is breathtaking.

Describe your perfect day

John – One without worry

Louise – I’d sort of have a double life so…wake up to the sound of monkeys in the jungle at about 5am, make a coffee and walk round the garden watching things wake up and listening out for hummingbirds.  Do a bit of work and get things wrapped up by lunchtime (close of business UK) and hitch to the beach for a swim, maybe a surf if the waves are small and forgiving.

If you were to board Noah’s Ark and were told that you could take three things with you.  What would they be?

 

Louise – A guitar (some spare strings); a selection of delicious essential oils; a parsley plant.

Now as much as I love your work, I love to cook so what is your favourite recipe?

John – Chilli Con Carne (recipe is top secret!)

Louise – Lettuce Soup!

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It’s my staple and really good for eating light in the evening, or for bulking out with ‘toppings’ at lunchtime.  People pretty much expect it now when they come to my house.  I don’t have a recipe as such, but you just sweat some chopped celery and a bit of something oniony (spring onions/red onion/white onions – whatever’s in the fridge), handfuls of fresh parsley (or coriander if you like) and then top it off with veg stock to suit the amount of people you’re cooking for (I usually use Bouillon powder) – so you’ve basically got a tasty watery broth.  Spice it up with some chilli and slices of ginger if you like.  Then finely shred some lettuce, add and simmer for 10 minutes – make it as thick/lettuce-heavy, or as watery/brothy as you like.  Add finely sliced mushrooms too or anything else you want to see floating around in there.  Meanwhile, prepare some individual bowls of toppings: I usually have yoghurt; fresh parsley/coriander/herbs; chopped walnuts or almonds; shredded carrot (in a bit of lemon juice); sliced red peppers; spring onions; sliced avocado; sometimes boiled black beans, whatever you like really.  Serve the soup, and stack the toppings – finish with the yoghurt, nuts and fresh herbs.  Bloody delicious

I hope you enjoyed… have a great weekend, meanwhile on with the colourful adventure…..

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Happy Easter from The Birdcage!

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8 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Cookery

 

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Brittany Watson Jepsen – “Creative mess is better than tidy idleness”

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When asked what she always bought home from her travels, the answer was an illustrated children’s book.  And where would she most like to travel… Vienna to dress up in full costume and take part in “The Sound of Music Singalong Tour”.  With answers like that it is easy to see where the whimsical comes in to Californian designer and blogger, Brittany Watson Jepson’s, creations. I also love her mums favourite quote…”a creative mess is better than tidy idleness”….. I must try that one when the dining room table looks like an explosion in a fabric factory.

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Taking these words of wisdom literally, Brittany has spent childhood through to adulthood creating artwork and music, designing for Tiffany and Co, writing for Design Sponge and indeed her own blog “The house that Lars Built” to name but a few.

In amongst all of this Brittany has a way with paper which I just love, and I have fallen in love with the oversized paper flowers which are the perfect way to add a little whimsy and colour to a room.

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…Loving her display at a Danish Embassy function……. how good would this look for a wedding.

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These flower creations first came about after Brittany had one as her bouquet at her own wedding (See header photo).

And for those of you who love to make a “creative mess and leave behind your tidy idleness” (I can see I am going to get a lot of use out of this quote), then you should look no further that Brittany’s fun little DIY projects such as making a snow dome cake topper, or a Bouquet with a little difference… who says baubles are just for christmas!!!!

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Let me know what you think…. meanwhile on with the colourful journey…………

 

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Cup Cake Tastic

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It was one of those moments where the landline, mobile phone and doorbell go at the same time.  In an effort to try and get to everyone you speak before your brain engages….. and well… one of the calls was from my sister in law asking if I would mind baking a few cupcakes for my Nieces 21st… Famous last words….”of course not… I would love to….” …..” so how many? …… “Oh about 100” was the response… Oh C**p…. oh well what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….. and believe me I have a new found a new appreciation of little cupcakeries! But if I am tiny bit honest… I loved doing it and the look on my sister in laws and Nieces faces when I delivered them was worth 4000 cupcakes….

My only brief was that they needed to have a “K” for the birthday girls initial and the colour theme of cream and gold!!!  So here is two days of creativity in the kitchen condensed into a few shots…. of my first, and likely last, attempt at breaking into the Cup Cake empire :-).

Step 1 – Making the cupcakes (and thank god for my KitchenAid)

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….2 dozen at a time……

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Step 2 – Recalling my primary school skills of cutting out play doh….

Using highly sophisticated (blunt) play doh cookie cutters…. which mixed with fondant and a 27 degree day nearly caused a few swear words to be emitted…..

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Step 3 – All hail edible gold paint…. and a steady hand

I promise this was not nail varnish…. although given I cannot remove from the tupperware or the paint brush I am wondering!

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Step 4 – Cue the Butterfly Stamp

Courtesy of a butterfly stamp….possibly the best $5 I have ever spent……… 130 perfectly formed butterflies……

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Step 5 – Presentation ( thanks to my hubby for constructing the boxes!)

Boxed and bowed……

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Step 6 – And Breath…..

Meanwhile on with the colourful adventure…………… x

 
14 Comments

Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Cookery

 

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Creatively Speaking – Moya Delany

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A few weeks ago I posted on Melbourne designer, Creator and Artist Moya Delany.  In between a busy work load and a stifling heat wave in Melbourne, Moya has kindly agreed to be interviewed and divulge a little bit about herself, work and style… as well as a quick an easy prawn dish.  So sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

How would you describe your work and style? 

My work is varied as I studied sculpture and I crossover mediums a lot. I had a fashion accessory business for ten years now I’m working with lighting. My style is a fresh and colourful mix of old and new.

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What, where and/or who inspires you?

I am completely inspired by Christo Gillard. He is a super talented Interior designer and DJ who I often work with. His sense of style is unparalleled and he has the most incredible resource library in his head.

Which is your favourite personal project and why?

At the moment I am loving working with these flags, some of them from wrecked warships and some from the 1800’s, they have so much history about them. I loved working with rare feathers in my accessory days too.

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What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

There are so many but a client was wearing one of my feather pieces at a Hollywood party and had Whoopi Goldberg and Goldie Hawn fighting over it trying to rip it off her !!

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Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us?

I am working on a sculpture exhibition which is pretty major and I expect will take a year to achieve.

If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?

The Louvre The Guggenheim

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What would be your dream commission?

I’d love to make some giant sculpture for one of the new freeways being built.

If someone were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places to visit?

My brothers club, “Survivor” is pretty crazy and Ichinee restaurant on st Kilda beach for great Japanese food

Describe your perfect day

Feeling healthy, a swim in the morning, getting good work done, catching up with a friend, cooking and eating a good meal

If you were to board Noah’s Ark and were told that you could take three things with you.  What would they be? 

Moisturizer, the bible and a guitar

Now as much as I love your work, I love cooking and am always eager to find out a new recipe… what is your favourite dish to cook??….Would I be able to ask for the recipe?

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I love to cook prawns with fetta, tomato and dill sauce. Bit of garlic, bottle of passata throw in feta, dill and season – easy !!

I hope you enjoyed, have a great weekend… meantime on with the colourful adventure…..

 

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Lighting up the night is kid’s play!

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source larkstore.com.au

As a kid I have to say that I was just a teensy bit afraid of the dark, my door had to be left ajar and I had a little ceramic toadstool night light, which come to think of it never seemed to work, the bulb always seemed to blow!  And that is probably why now I cannot sleep with the tiniest bit of light coming through… but that is not to say that the array of very cute night lights on the market for children, big and small, have not caught my eye. I thought I would share a few.

Probably suited to all age groups these award winning “memory” wall lights from Boris Klimik are designed to evoke your childhood memories, however unlike most balloons these ones will not deflate.

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If you are looking for something a little more fairy tale then these magical lamps by Heico of Germany are possibly for you…sorry your child…. These lamps are hand made so no two lamps are identical…

Heico Bunny Lamp

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And for those of you who need to count a few sheep before the zzzzzz’s kick in then this “lamby lamb lamp” will be perfect for you.

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Or for a little toadstool magic, I love these little battery powered mushroom string lights from Angel Fish and Dragonfly, (these are perfect for an outdoor party where there little elves have not managed to get a power point fitted!!

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Or for the night light that will grow up with you there is a wise owl from “Have You Met Miss Jones“, who is sure to keep guard over the monsters and ghouls that lie beneath the bed…..

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Which is your favourite?  Sleep tight…..meanwhile on with the colourful adventure………

 

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Confessions of a Paperholic – Sydney Stroll

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If there is such a thing as a paperholic, I would have to say I am one, but  I am not looking to be cured any time soon.  I have all sorts of journals and note pads, wrapping paper, ribbons, stamps, cardboard… the list is endless…. stashed away.  Partly because I love to write journals of my travels and collect things that I see that may one day eventually help when I am lacking a little inspiration….and as much as the trusty iPhone can do most of this for you, I still need to get my paper fix every now and again!… Well the battery never dies on a journal!

One of my favourite little places to stop off after a weekend breakfast is Paper2 in Sydney’s Surry Hills. Owner Margaret Rockliff originally trained as an interior designer, but after ten years of looking at colour and fabric samples, decided to bite the bullet and retrain in her long desired area of graphic design.

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Source (Urban Walkabout)

Magaret sources paper and stationary from around the world, but also adds her own little spice with papers, invitations and products which are all designed and printed in house… And if you cannot quite make the stroll you can also purchase online, but that would only give you half of the experience.

“I compare the resurgence of paper products to vinyl
records and record players. Both can now be by-passed when using technology but there is nothing like owning something real and tangible.”MR (interview with Habitus Magazine)

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Source Habitus Living

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Source Habitus Living

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Source Habitus Living

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Hope you enjoyed….meanwhile on with the colourful adventure……….

 
 

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