London indie events this weekend

As Christmas is now on the horizon lots of fabulous events are starting to pop up to fill our weekends with finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones. My aim this Christmas is to buy most, if not all, my gifts from independent brands, and luckily this is made easier by lots of the indie markets being held in coming weeks. There will be lots going on all over the country, so do check out what is happening local to you, but I just wanted to highlight five events that I am hoping to attend this weekend in London, or over the next few weeks - if I can make it to them all!

And Agency London pop up event November 2018

And Agency Pop up store

The first event is actually one 91 is taking part in. It is a pop up store run by And Agency which will feature a carefully curated selection of independent brands, including Blasta Henriet, Barton Croft and Undercover Living plus a selection of lovely ethical fashion and jewellery brands. It is happening in the heart of Shoreditch and will run from the 16th - 30th November. You can pick up copies of both our AW18 issue as well as the SS18 issue at the event. See more of what you can expect via their Instagram feed.

32 Charlotte Road, London, EC2A 3PB

16th - 30th November 2018

Mon-Sat: 11-6pm, Sunday: 10-5pm.

www.andagencyldn.com

The Assembly Market, Stoke Newington

The Assembly Market

The Assembly Market is happening in Stoke Newington and is an ‘assembly’ of independent designers in the fashion, accessories, homeware & art sectors. Brands include P.I.C. Style (pictured above), Under the Cloth and Paper Covers Rock. The two day event has focussed on bringing together designers who have a commitment to sustainability as well as beautiful aesthetics - you can view the full list of those taking part here or follow along on their Instagram.

Abney Hall, 73A Stoke Newington Church St, Stoke Newington, London N16 0AS

Saturday 17th November - 11-6pm

Sunday 18th November - 11-5pm

www.theassemblymarket.com

Occasional Home store Christmas event 2018

Occasional Home Store Winter Weekend

The Occasional Home Store is back with their popular event mixing vintage and contemporary brands in one shopping extravaganza. Not only this, they will have a programme of events happening over the two days to keep you busy, so do check out their listings. You will find Pea Style there (whose home is in our AW18 issue!), as well as designers such as Ondine Ash and Meylor Paper Goods.

West Reservoir Centre, Green Lanes, London, N4 2HA

17th & 18th November 2018 - 10am - 4pm

www.occasionalhomestore.com

The Mamahood Winter pop up

THE MAMAHOOD WINTER POP UP

The Mamahood supports independent businesses run by mothers, the 16th November sees the opening of another one of their popular shopping events in East Dulwich. There will be 80 brands on sale, so it’ll be pretty tricky not to find something you love! Sellers include Little Carousel, Button and Blue (pictured), and Julia Staite. You may just get your Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop!

7 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London, SE22 8EW

16th November - until mid-February (when the Spring pop up will immediately follow!)

Mon - Sat: 9.30am - 5.30pm, Sundays: 12-5pm (closed between Christmas and new year)

www.themamahood.co.uk

Creoate pop up, Covent Garden

Last but not least, is a pop up store I stumbled across while wandering the streets of Covent Garden last week. Creoate are an organisation who bring together retail products and experiences for independent brands. I was excited to see a platform for female independent brands right in the heart of Central London which is often dominated by the big corporate names. They’ve also got a plethora of workshops happening too. There’s a wide range of items from homeware and beauty to fashion and art, so do pop in - they are there until the 23rd December. Discover some of the brands they stock on their Instagram.

37 Neal Street, London, WC2H 9PR

now until 23rd December

www.creoate.com

91 is reading... books about glasshouses

There is a hashtag on Instagram called #ihavethisthingwithglasshouses which has over 4000 images highlighting the beauty of glasshouses, and rightly so. I personally find much serenity and peace when wandering around the paths of these botanical spaces in the shadow of towering tropical specimens or quietly examining an unusual cacti collection. There is something undeniably appealing about their opaque walls and ceilings and the atmosphere created by so much living and breathing beauty.

Glasshouse Greenhouse - Haarkon book & Botanical by Samuel Zeller
Botanical by Samuel Zeller

For those times you strive a calming influence but can’t quite justify a glasshouse visit, then turn to these beautiful new books, both exploring the uniqueness of greenhouses around the world.

Botanical by Samuel Zeller is essentially a photography book, featuring a foreword by journalist Rachel Segal Hamilton followed by a few words from the photographer, before showcasing the body of work Zeller has created on his journey visiting glasshouses across Europe. His focus is on capturing how the plants enclosed within are seen through the panes of glass, resulting in a beautiful collection of images, many which almost look like paintings.

Botanical by Samuel Zeller - Hoxton Mini Press - review by 91 Magazine
Botanical by Samuel Zeller - Hoxton Mini Press - review by 91 Magazine

Samuel has documented moments within these spaces, like when the light is perfectly dappled, when structural plants have cast striking shadows or the moody, misty effect caused by condensation. This book has made me look at glasshouses from a different perspective - observing the beautiful shapes and patterns created by the combination of plants and their environment.

Glasshouse Greenhouse by Haarkon - review by 91 Magazine

Being a fan of the much loved, plant-filled Instagram feed of Haarkon, I was excited to see the launch of their first book - Glasshouse Greenhouse. With over 200 pages of greenery goodness, you will find architectural glasshouses through to cobbled together tiny greenhouses, from Oxford, UK to Adelaide, Australia.

Glasshouse Greenhouse by Haarkon
Glasshouse Greenhouse by Haarkon
Glasshouse Greenhouse by Haarkon

The variety throughout the book keeps you turning; I love the juxtaposition between the monumental spaces found in botanical gardens around the world with the small private collections owned by individuals. In the words of India and Magnus themselves: ‘You may find the odd factual snippet here, but it’s much more about capturing the sentiment of the places that we visited, the essence of the greenhouses and the passion with which they have been created.’ There is a real sense of going on this journey with the couple - almost like a travel book which just happens to discover some of the most beautiful glasshouses around the world.

Buy Botanical on Amazon

Buy Glasshouse Greenhouse on Amazon

DIY: reusable waxed cloth food wraps

We are all trying to do our bit to reduce plastic waste, and the kitchen is one area where you can make plenty of changes. Cling film can easily be eradicated from regular use by replacing it with waxed food wraps. You can buy these now from various retailers, but Juliet Bawden is here to show us how to make our own, allowing you to choose any fabric design you like - and I think you’ll agree, it looks much prettier than cling film ever did!

DIY wax cloth food wrap project

You will need:

  • Closely woven cotton fabric, similar to a bed sheet in feel. We got ours from Cloth and Candy

  • Wax - either grated from a large block or you can buy wax pellets on line.

  • Baking parchment

  • A flat baking tray

  • Pinking shears

  • Flat decorators paint brush

  • Tape measure

  • Paper scissors

make your own reusable wax food wrap
  1. Use the bowl or vessel you wish to cover as a template and draw around leaving an extra two centimetres on each side. Cut out the fabric with pinking shears so you won’t have to hem the fabric.

make your own reusable food wrap

2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, then place the fabric on top and sprinkle the wax evenly on the fabric.

DIY wax food wrap

3. Place in a low temperature oven, approx. 100°C, and watch the fabric through the oven door until the wax melts into the cloth, this should take between five and ten minutes. Remove carefully and use a paintbrush to spread the wax, covering any parts of the fabric where the wax may not have penetrated.

how to make a waxed cloth food wrap

4. Hang the fabric up to dry. Once the cloth is dry it will still feel slightly sticky and waxy but that is the nature of the beast. You can make cloths for specific containers or larger pieces which can be multi-purpose and could wrap items such as loaves of bread or pieces of fruit.

waxed cloth food wrap - make your own

Wash your wraps after use in cool water with some gentle soap and leave to dry.

Photography: Antonia Attwood

Seek Inspire Create with Team 91 - October

Our ‘Seek Inspire Create’ theme started out as an Instagram hashtag which amazingly now has over 184K posts tagged with it! Do check it out - #seekinspirecreate - you might find some new accounts to follow. Our e-zine is also inspired by these words and - I’ll let you in on a secret - I’m hoping to launch some events next year also taking inspiration from it!

These occasional posts are to share what our team have been up to recently - what we have been seeking, being inspired by and creating… we hope you enjoy this little peek into our lives beyond 91….

Also, I’d like to intro you to our newest member of the 91 team; Sine Fleet has taken over from Kath as our sub editor. Sine has written a number of features for the magazine in the past and has previous experience editing and writing for other interiors magazines. Welcome Sine! :)

Little Natural Co, Lewes

The Little Natural Co. - Olivia Williams, brand manager

A friend and I took time out this month to walk and talk our way around Lewes. It’s such a hub for independent stores, perfect for seeking home inspiration and to purchase goodies. Imagine our joy stepping into the The Little Natural Concept store where design-led, ethical, natural and organic treasures collide. Their instagram grid is dreamy and the online boutique makes shopping super easy from any corner of the country.

Sezincote, house and gardens, North Cotswolds

Sezincote house and gardens, North Cotswolds – Sine Fleet, sub-editor

You perhaps don’t anticipate stumbling upon a 200-year old Mogul-style palace in the Cotswold countryside, but amazingly, this is where you’ll find one. At a loose end one autumn afternoon, I took a trip to Sezincote house, and its magical gardens brimming with exotic plants, grottoes and temples, pools and waterfalls.

The house - an onion-domed architectural folly in the ‘Indian Style’ - was the whim of Colonel John Cockerell, grandson of diarist Samuel Pepys. The building is rumoured to have inspired the design of the Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, after the Prince Regent visited in 1807.

Sezincote house and gardens are a visual feast, it’s certainly an atmospheric place to explore, and one that’s full of surprises.

Wildwoman

WILDWOMAN subscription box - Shelley Welti, Marketing Manager

Ah, self-care. It's a word that's popping up here, there and everywhere at the moment. And while I've always loved the idea of taking time out for myself, the practicality of it, alongside juggling work, family and a social life, has just never been something I've been able to actually get to grips with. Sound familiar?! So, when a friend told me about her plans to launch WILDWOMAN - a monthly self-care subscription box, containing a self-development book and me-time goodies from indie businesses, so that women, just like me, can take dedicated time out for themselves each month, I knew I had to sign up! I'm now on box three and while the struggle for self-care is still very much real, I've been enjoying stealing stress-free moments here and there to read my self-development book, journal (using the helpful prompts) and just take time for me - without constantly thinking about the next thing on my seemingly never-ending to-do list! See more about WILDWOMAN here.

Frome Independent Market

Frome Independent Market - Caroline Rowland, editor

At the start of the month, my husband and I took ourselves down to Somerset to celebrate my birthday. We stayed the night in the charming town of Frome, well-known for it’s wealth of independent stores, including Resident, Bramble and Wild and Kobi and Teal. Unsurprisingly, it was right up my (shopping) street! The added bonus was that the weekend we visited coincided with the monthly Frome Independent Market which takes over most of the town. I really was in heaven as we explored the numerous stalls of indie makers and brands, followed by a browse in the flea market section, rounded off with some delicious street food. Birthday treats were acquired, including (another) plant from the lovely Botanica Studio, whose plants weren’t overpriced and came with a handwritten care card, specific to each plant. Next market is 4th November.

Royal Academy

October has always been my favourite month of the year. I love everything about it; from the pumpkin spice decaf lattes, to the falling red leaves and the anticipation of Halloween approaching. There seems to be a whole plethora of events going on around London. I decided to go to the Royal Academy of Arts to see the Psychobarn installation by Cornelia Parker. The piece was incredible and so intricately done. Afterwards, I decided to go to Fortnum and Masons for some of their amazing vanilla and nougat tea. I was amazed by their carefully curated Halloween displays. I couldn’t believe I had never come in October and this will definitely become a new tradition of mine.

Meet the Maker: Wallflower Weavings

A creative year spent abroad as a teenager sparked a love affair with woven art forms for Sophie Cotterill of Wallflower Weavings, igniting a passion for making her own whimsical works using beautiful, sustainable materials, as she tells 91 Magazine’s Sine Fleet.

20180731_174038.jpg

‘I suppose when I first saw a piece of woven art, my immediate reaction was “Wow, that's so different!”’ says Sophie Cotterill of Wallflower Weavings. ‘Woven wall art is such a unique and creative way to decorate a room, it brings warmth and movement to the space it hangs in, and can't often be found on the high street,’ she says.

20180914_191744.jpg

Sophie’s business is now situated in her home town of Warrington in Cheshire, but her love of weaving first began in a small corner of the Netherlands, the city of Delft, which she visited in 2014. ‘I was only nineteen at the time, and had moved abroad for a year. I found weaving through Instagram initially, and the moment I tried it, I was hooked!’ she says.

20180731_110429.jpg

Sophie initially set up an Instagram account, soon followed by her online Etsy shop during her year abroad, which helped to fund her trip. ‘I set up Wallflower Weavings following my sudden hit of inspiration in what I was learning. It developed as it grew in popularity online, which encouraged me to keep going, and it has been a steady and lovely practice in my life alongside my other work, running an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea shop.’

College studies included textiles and photography, but Sophie’s interests and skillset have been honed through independent self-development and the pursuit of her own personal passions. ‘I've loved art since I was very young, and at high school I found it was the textile world that called to me, especially when it came to anything free-form and unusual.’

20180802_164701.jpg

Over time, Sophie’s unique style evolved – her textural pieces have a playful, whimsical feel. ‘Where many of the weaving world's pieces are classic, neutral and minimal, my work organically took a different direction over time into deeply tactile and colourful work. They're very feminine pieces, quite delicate with intricate details – a real feast for the eyes, like a bouquet of yarn! That's part of the reason for calling them “Wallflowers”,’ she says.

20180725_221734.jpg

From there, Sophie continued to build her skills, venturing into spinning yarns, experimenting with natural dyes, and processing farm-fresh sheep's wool to use in her work, and sell on to fellow makers. ‘It's always a pleasure to sit at the loom or wheel and make something that is entirely one of a kind,’ she says. ‘As I spin and dye yarn, it’s my responsibility to ensure I'm choosing the best sourced fibre that I can. Instead of aiming for mass-produced materials, at fibre fairs and markets, I discover new businesses and suppliers of unique fibres and yarns. Even though I make my own, I love to buy and support other spinners and dyers - everyone has a different style. On my travels I buy local yarn as a memento, whether from a modern city like Oslo, the bustling streets of a town in Thailand, or the Welsh countryside. A little part of the culture and charm makes its way into my weavings,’ says Sophie.

17.JPG

Discovering weaving answered a cry for inspiration at the perfect time for Sophie, having tried sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, and many other crafts. ‘Weaving was the one - it gave me so much confidence in myself, and I could finally identify with the side of me that always felt like a ‘maker’. It was everything I had been looking for as a creative who hadn't found their outlet yet,’ she explains.

Creating in a free and instinctive way is central to Sophie’s work, and inspiration can come from the natural world, design trends, fellow artists, and travel. ‘My weaving method is free-form, so rather than drawing up a design or following a pattern, I let my hands get to work, using my understanding of the fibres involved to build on texture and create a strong, but beautiful piece. My materials are my ultimate inspiration, which is why I taught myself to spin and dye, to get closer to the fibres and understand every part of the weaving process,’ Sophie explains.

 Lovebirds Cheshire Photography

Lovebirds Cheshire Photography

Commitment to sustainability, resourcefulness and eco-friendly materials also shapes Sophie’s work, and ‘getting back to the roots’ is intrinsic to her working ethos, stemming from traditional weaving practices through the ages. ‘I love to visit smallholders of sheep and alpacas in the countryside, where I can meet the animals and learn from their owners. This way I'll know exactly how the animals live - simply for the love of them and their wool. I choose 100 per cent personally sourced, organic wool – usually straight from the sheep, goat or alpaca – and also experiment with plant fibres like hemp, organic cotton, bamboo etc. for their wonderful strength and range of textures. I like to work in as eco-friendly a way as possible, limiting any chemical and water use, using mainly wooden equipment such as looms and spinning wheels, and follow the tradition of working with natural dyes.’

Sophie’s wonderfully natural dyes come from the simplest and most resourceful of means, ‘I source ours from our family allotment - some of our favourites have been the roots of rhubarb, which create a glorious golden yellow hue, and beetroot, which of course can lead to a lovely hot pink! Berries, onion and avocado skins, nuts, coffee, flowers, tree bark – there are so many sources for natural dyes, so there is always more to learn. These colours blend together very harmoniously, and my work over the years has taken on a more natural palette,’ she describes.

20180124_183848.jpg

Like most makers, Sophie works best when her workspace around her is ‘just-so’. ‘I'm quite particular about my workspace, with lots of warm and cosy colours and textures around - a nice tidy desk and a series or album to keep me going! I can sit down at 6pm to work and look at the clock to find it's suddenly midnight, and I barely notice - so being comfortable is a must. I have all of my equipment to hand, which ranges from spinning wheels to looms, bobbins to a drum carder (a tool for combing the wool before spinning), as big and unusual as they are.’ The work of other makers also constantly inspires Sophie, ‘I surround myself with these - the results of art swaps within the online community, and purchases from local artisan fairs. These works are important as they are all inspiring in different ways - I find them really encouraging to work around.’

20180416_224232.jpg

From day one, the online world has been a linchpin for Wallflower Weavings, providing a community of like-minded makers, and a vital launch-pad to potential customers and commissions. ‘My business wouldn't exist if not for Instagram and online shopping platforms, and both of these aspects have made my life as a maker so much more interesting. There's a big community out there filled with the nicest people I've ever met, and they're all online, happy to share and encourage. Many of my customers and fellow artists I meet are from overseas. We share knowledge, inspiration, advice, and even share materials with each other,’ says Sophie.

20180502_201252.jpg

With a deep love of nature inherent in her work, when time allows, Sophie loves to retreat to the Scottish highlands to feed her creativity. ‘If I could turn my work into a place, it would be there - up in the depths of Skye. These retreats take me on fleece-hunting escapades, natural dye foraging and a chance to soak up the magic of the mountains! I also love interior design and to thrift, especially furniture - I even thrifted and renovated one of my spinning wheels, from the ‘80s.’

Sophie’s future plans for Wallflower Weavings include a move to a more rural setting, ‘With a big move to my first house on the horizon, I'm excited to see how my new space helps my business come into its own, with a beautiful countryside setting to inspire new pieces and a studio to devote to my work.’ Collaborations lie ahead too, which Sophie hopes might inspire others to try their hand at weaving, ‘A new addition to the shop comes from my project with an independent woodworker in the highlands – we have created our first prototype for one of a kind, all natural lap looms. For those who enjoy the out-of-the-ordinary, these luxury looms have been designed to accentuate the natural wood, and to feel like an organically grown piece of equipment. We will be producing them simply for the love of it. I'm obsessed with mine already,’ she says.

 Lovebirds Cheshire Photography

Lovebirds Cheshire Photography

Quick-fire questions: 

Describe your work in three words?
Whimsical, organic, tactile

What are your making rituals?
House to myself, comfy clothes on, a pot of coffee brewing, my two cats, and a tidy workspace to enjoy. 

Tea or coffee?
Coffee!

Mountains or sea?
Mountains

Night owl or early bird?
Night owl

I wish someone had told me...

Not everything has to be perfect – as it turns out, imperfections are even more beautiful

Find out more about Wallflower Weavings via Instagram, Etsy and Facebook.

Taking the leap to freelance life

Writer and blogger Jessica Rose Williams recently made the long-dreamt-about decision to leave her job and go full-time with her blog. But how easy is it to make that choice, and how do you know the time is right? Jessica shares her journey with us and then chats to three other creative women to hear their tales of taking the freelance leap…

When is the right time to go freelance? Jessica Rose Williams explains.

It’s what most of us dream of when the boss is dishing out those jobs we hate doing, breathing down our necks and telling us we can’t have that morning off we’d asked for. Being my own boss has been a dream of mine for years, but I never thought it was for people like me. I thought you had to be one of those stereotypical creative types, an Insta-ready 6ft blonde in a bikini or have a bullet-proof business plan in your pocket with a ton of money in the bank in case it doesn’t work out.

Mostly, I always thought you had to have a lot more brains, confidence and courage than I thought I had. Fast forward a few years and here I am writing this; being my own boss, and I took that morning off I wanted just yesterday. 

I have a theory that given the choice, most people would jump at the chance of being self-employed over working a traditional 9-5. Making my own leap took a lot of psyching myself up for, like one of those birds you see flapping around in the tree before they actually fly the nest. But I did it. And I’ve no regrets. Knowing when to do it was the toughest part. Is there ever a right time? 

I knew the time was right to start blogging full time 18 months ago, but I chose to ignore it. My husband was the one who said it out loud first and I insisted he was wrong until it got to the point where I couldn’t ignore what had been staring me in the face any longer. So I jumped. I felt lucky to have had the freedom to write my blog alongside my work for our financial advice business but the workload scales eventually tipped and I couldn’t manage both. I had to choose and I chose what fed my soul and gave me the most joy, even though it wasn’t a sure thing financially.  

My biggest struggle was stepping into what felt like an almighty spotlight and saying out loud that I was doing this. I’d already been doing it anyway, but I’d stayed in the safety zone and kept my strings attached - just in case I failed. Reframing failure as a learning opportunity was invaluable in lifting the pressure I’d been suffocating under and giving myself the reassurance I needed. 

It would be unrealistic to glamourise freelance life as a perfect one but with so many of us dreaming of a career on our own terms or even just a creative side hustle that provides some pocket money, I think it can be comforting to hear from those that have gone before us. 

I interviewed three other self-employed creatives to find out more about their stories and the struggles they had to overcome before they flew the nest too. 

Kayte Ferris on going freelance

Kayte’s story 

Kayte Ferris was a marketing manager for a nursery furniture company before she upped sticks to the Welsh mountains to start her creative coaching business. She told me how even though her job was creative on paper, the reality of staff meetings and sales targets weren’t what she wanted to do. Something was missing. 

It took her boyfriend accepting a job offer in rural Wales for Kayte to run out of excuses and take the leap. Knowing her living expenses would be halved felt like the opportunity she’d been aching for. With the decision to quit her job and move to the countryside taken out of her hands, Kayte’s real struggle came with deciding what she was going to do. To overcome this, she signed up for coaching with Jen Carrington, binged on creative podcasts such as Being Boss, Hashtag Authentic and Blogtacular and gave the decision making process the necessary time it deserved.

www.simpleandseason.com

Siobhan Watts on becoming a freelance photographer

Siobhan’s story

Siobhan Watts was a tour manager for a theatre company before she decided not to return from her maternity leave and develop her photography business instead. She’d been building her creative venture for two years prior to her leap, but it wasn’t until she got pregnant that she knew she wanted to take it full time for freedom. 

Sometimes it’s a case of asking yourself which is worse and this is how it was for Siobhan. It became scarier to see herself at 40 with 2 kids in a job she didn’t like than to go after what she truly wanted. After years of fearing the vision she was terrified of and not knowing who she really was, it felt like it was now or never. Siobhan found believing in herself the hardest thing to do but with the task of raising a little girl on her hands, she felt she wouldn’t be able to tell her to follow her dreams when she’d clearly given up on her own. 

www.blesstheweather.com

Kara Leigh Ford on being a freelance ceramicist

Kara’s story

After finishing her art degree, Kara worked in marketing for 10 years before she decided to take her ceramics business full time. She describes herself during that time as a compass with no north. Kara had learned pottery at evening classes as a creative outlet, but it wasn’t until she was in a room full of potters at auditions for BBC’s The Great Pottery Throwdown that she realised it was possible to make a living from her hobby. Less than six months earlier she’d lost a close friend to a brain tumour and felt this was the kick from the universe telling her to make it when he tragically hadn’t. 

When it comes to choosing the right time, Kara believes in signposts from the universe and ‘if you ignore them, it’ll give you bigger signs’ she told me. She couldn’t ignore the signs any longer when her new home came equipped with a shed perfect for a pottery studio at the bottom of the garden. Less than six months after losing her friend Kara had handed in her notice and was ready to face her greatest fear of not being a success. Leaning into a little vulnerability and telling her family and friends what she was thinking of doing gave her the final push she needed.

www.karaleighfordceramics.com


Some tips if you’re thinking ‘this is me!’ and you’d love to start your own creative business

‘Start before you’re ready. I wish I hadn’t kept my cards so close to my chest and shared my business developing openly. It’s more important to be talking to those you’re thinking of selling to’ - Kayte Ferris

‘Tell people about what you’re thinking about doing. The self-critic is loudest when you don’t get support’ - Kara Leigh Ford

‘Do it. Do it. Do it. You don’t have to go all in right away, but make a plan and get yourself in a secure position - maybe cut down on some days in your job. If possible save up some money and get a few clients so you can explore what it is you do and don’t want to do. Hire someone like a coach or get some like-minded people together to support one another. Ultimately - just do it’ - Siobhan Watts

And me? I would encourage you to let to your gut guide you. Too often we look for external permission when we’re the ones that know what’s best for us. Forget what your head and heart are telling you and focus on that pull that comes from deep down in your stomach. You’ll know when the time is right. Trust it. 

I came away from each interview feeling more and more inspired to continue my new but exciting freelance journey and chase my own creative dreams. I’m hoping you feel the same way. 

Thank you Jessica (and ladies!) for this inspiring and insightful look at how it’s possible to make the move from full-time employment to living the working life you really want. Follow Jessica’s journey over on her blog and Instagram.

Three 91 creatives to follow - October

One of my favourite things about publishing a magazine is working with so many talented people. Our contributors really are the lifeblood behind our pages, with their fabulous photography, styling, words and illustration. This month we meet three ladies who have all contributed to our AW18 issue which has just published….

Kasia Fiszer - photographer

Kasia shoots regularly for 91 as well as other interior and lifestyle magazines. In the latest issue she photographed Lord Whitney’s studio (first pic below). She shares her work on her feed at @kfiszerfoto

Kasia Fiszer - 91 Magazine photographer - shoot of Lord Whitney studios
Kasia Fiszer - 91 Magazine photographer - home tour shoot
Kasia Fiszer - 91 Magazine photographer - studio tour shoot

If you weren't a photographer what would you be? 

I would be working with horses. My first degree was in Equine Business Management so I think I would go back to that. 

Name 3 of your favourite instagrammers & why? 

  • @clareepiper - her styling work is second to none and I would love to work with her one day

  • @wisniovsky - for photography with a dose of nostalgia and beautiful warm tones

  • @lisacohenphoto - for her stunning photography; especially her interiors photography, it's something I aspire to myself

 Top tip for aspiring interior photographers? 

  • Learn to use daylight to your advantage, it really is the best available light

  • Keep it simple - no funky angles! 

  • Might seem obvious but connect with people! At the start nobody will know who you are so change that and foremost BE NICE AND PROFESSIONAL, you never know who you might meet on the way that might become influential to your career as a photographer!

Favourite shop? 

After my latest visit there, I would have to say CARO Somerset for a dose of beautifully designed products for your home and Magalleria in Bath for the independent magazine lovers! 

Favourite flower? 

Tulips in large quantities! Understated and so beautiful and there are so many varieties and colours to chose from; and they always make me think of Spring.

Favourite plant? 

ZZ plant and mine has finally grown a new shoot! 

Favourite city?

I would say Bristol. For me, it's a perfect city for short day trips. I always come back home full of ideas for new projects. I love all the quirky shops and creativity that flows throughout the city.


Holly Maguire - illustrator

Holly’s illustrations are playful and intricate with a beautiful sense of colour. She illustrated our Creative Enrichment feature in the new issue. You can see more of her work at @hollymaguireuk

Holly Maguire - illustration
Holly Maguire - illustration
Holly Maguire - illustration

If you weren't a illustrator what would you be? 

I would probably be doing something similar! Maybe a prop maker or a cake decorator!

Name 3 of your favourite instagrammers & why? 

  •  @me_and_orla for her business advice, honesty and beautiful photography

  • @phoebewahl for her beautiful and heartfelt illustrations.

  • @wolfgang2242 who are a big family of adorable senior rescue dogs (plus chickens, a rabbit and Bikini the pig!)

Top tip for aspiring illustrators? 

Create the kind of work you want to be hired for.

Favourite shop? 

I love shopping small & handmade so Etsy is my favourite place for that!

Favourite flower? 

Any kind of wildflower.

Favourite plant? 

My Monstera that sits next to my desk!

Favourite city?

New York 


Kay Prestney - stylist / writer

Kay is a stylist who also hosts creative workshops as well as writing regularly for 91. Her most recent piece was our Studio Tour with La-Eva, which you can find in the new issue. See Kay’s home, inspiration & adventures on her feed @kinship_creativedc

Kay Prestney - stylist and writer for 91 Magazine
Kay Prestney - stylist and writer for 91 Magazine
Kay Prestney - stylist and writer for 91 Magazine

If you weren't a stylist/writer what would you be?

When I was younger I always wanted to be a marine biologist and with the worrying plight of our oceans I would love to revisit that dream and try to do something to help.

Name 3 of your favourite instagrammers & why?

Oh goodness, there are so many feeds I love, but three I am finding inspiring at the moment are:

  • @aureliemazurek for her beautiful natural interiors and simple living

  • @hildemork78‘s stunning photography and inspiring Scandi recipe /craft ideas

  • @kathryn_davey who produces beautiful hand-dyed Irish linens using natural dyes. I am hoping to do one of her workshops next year to learn how to do this properly having experimented with blackberries this summer.

Top tip for aspiring stylists?

Find your style then look for like-minded creatives to collaborate with. Offer to help assist on shoots to learn what goes on behind the scenes and to make contacts. Look to the natural world for foraged props to keep your costs down. Always be on the lookout for inspiration- I  find that echoing the changing seasons helps me to produce differing work throughout the year. This time of year I am drawn to textures, dried flowers and grasses and pops of mustard against a natural backdrop.

Favourite shop?

Ooh another really tricky one. I have lots of faves which are all small indie shops, but I particularly love And Hobbs (@_andhobbs) in Shere which is sited in an old forge. Owner Libby is so talented and has curated an absolutely beautiful space full of gorgeous homewares, she also collaborates with local creatives to host workshops.

Favourite flower?

I have always loved the understated chamelaucium (wax flower) for its pretty tiny flowers and it’s longevity. It also dries really well. That said, I confess to being a bit swept up in the tide of dahlia love at the moment thanks to @tamsynmorgans beautiful feed. I planted some white ones this year that pop beautifully at dusk as I look out into the garden through the kitchen window. 

Favourite plant?

Technically a tree, but I will never tire of eucalyptus for its beautiful silvery green hue and incredible scent. I have planted some in my garden and it brings me great pleasure to cut branches to bring indoors or use for styling work. It also grows brilliantly speedily. Top tip: hang a bunch in your shower for an uplifting start to the day.

Favourite city?

Vancouver will always have a special place in my heart. I lived in Canada for a year in my early twenties and adored the laid back healthy lifestyle, the foodie scene, the creative vibe and the fact you could be on the beach one day and in the mountains the next. It was amazing to have the benefit of city life, but to feel so closely connected to breathtaking nature. I also adore Copenhagen, where my husband proposed!


I hope you enjoy a little peek into the creative lives of our contributors, we certainly do! Make sure you go and follow them for more on Instagram. x

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Long Barn

Located in picturesque Alresford close to the historic town of Winchester in Hampshire, Long Barn is far more than just a carefully curated store filled with the wares of craftspeople and the farm’s renowned lavender - it’s a destination waiting to be explored, with a cafe and garden too.

We chatted to owners Richard Norris and Jane Marsden to talk about their love of lavender, growing from a market stall to having a lifestyle store and providing experiences…

IMG_0890.JPG

Hi Richard and Jane, first thing’s first: when and why did you decide to open Long Barn?

Long Barn started with Richard’s love of lavender and desire to create a range of products that do justice to this wonderful plant. I (Jane), was a former marketing director, and joined Richard in the early days and together we created Long Barn as it is today. Our home, garden store and cafe has been a favoured destination in Alresford since 2009. We wanted to create a shop which put the joy back into shopping and we like to think of our Barn as a beautiful place to come and enjoy a couple of hours relaxing with friends and family - somewhere we’d like to go ourselves in our free time!

7516846336_IMG_6732.JPG

What had you both done before? Did any of these skills help?

Richard’s background is in accountancy and teaching but from the age of ten his heart has always been devoted to plants. The knowledge of accountancy is of obvious help; the teaching was part-time and helped greatly in setting up the business and gradually moving to full-time as Long Barn could sustain a salary. My background is in marketing, originally with a drinks brands – both alcoholic and tea, later with olives and baby food. Large corporate employers taught the need for rigour in reporting and margin; smaller employers required a really grounded approach. Both have been useful in the growth stages of Long Barn.

IMG_1635.JPG

Long Barn is a destination - with a shop, cafe and gardens - did you always want it to be somewhere people could enjoy spending a couple of hours?

Long Barn has grown so much, from a much loved stall at London farmers markets to our first beautiful little store on the high street to now, a 3000+ square foot standalone oak barn surrounded by over 5000 lavender plants. When we first moved to the barn, we wanted to create a convivial atmosphere where people could spend quality time – in a way, the kind of place you take visiting friends after Sunday lunch.

Our vision has always been to grow with our audience and last summer has seen the original barn extended. We gathered a raft of craftspeople – designers, artists, furniture makers, sign writers, builders and carvers, to create a convivial space to tell the Long Barn story. You will find gardening, homewares, gifts, vintage and food all now under one, slightly longer roof!

IMG_1809.JPG
IMG_4276.JPG

How would you describe Long Barn’s style?

Our style reflects seasonal trends to some degree, but we tend to take our cues from the splendour of the English countryside in the main. We believe in a simple, honest approach to design, where quality and beauty are intrinsic. For us home is a place to express your tastes and really enjoy your time - be it through dressing a table for an impromptu lunch with family to creating a garden that looks stunning in every season - our barn is the place to discover a carefully curated collection of beautiful home and garden goods. We like to think of Long Barn as a one stop shop for the considered home.

IMG_2435.JPG

You're passionate about involving local craftspeople - can you tell us a little about the wares of a few you stock?

We love to champion craftsmanship both at home and away and have always been passionate about products with purpose. By sharing handpicked handmade goods with our customers we are linking to our values, which are rooted in provenance and heritage. We are proud to have a assembled a collective of makers to delight our customers with. Highlights this season include Rosie Brewer, who trained at Camberwell and makes exceptional hand turned, sustainable kitchenware.

IMG_2506.JPG

How do you source your gorgeous stock?

Instagram is a fantastic tool for finding interesting and up and coming brands as well as sustainable makers and talented craftspeople. In addition we go to all the shows and have a few trusted suppliers we always turn to for our core range. We also get approached quite a bit! A lot of our customers are the creative sort and love to share with us their latest finds.

This August, we invited designers, makers and food producers to showcase their wares at our Barn for a chance to be stocked for the Christmas season which proved a wonderful way to find new creative talent.

IMG_2889.JPG
IMG_3604.JPG
7583854720_IMG_6918.JPG

As well as stocking artisan makers, you also create your own lavender products too. Why do you love lavender so much?

At the root of Long Barn is a true love of lavender. All of this came from Richard’s love of gardening and history. An article in a magazine about the history of English commercial lavender-growing in the 18th and 19th centuries sparked the classic ‘light bulb’ moment in Richard. From that moment he knew that he wanted to farm lavender. Selling lavender products at London farmers’ markets had a curious link to the past which really interested him.

At Long Barn we sell the range of lavender products that Richard created with the help of aromatherapists, soap-makers and perfumers. On the plant sales terrace, alongside old fashioned rose varieties and other classically English garden plants we sell one of the most extensive ranges of lavender plants in the country. Richard loves introducing customers to lesser known varieties such as Folgate, Grosso and Sussex.

7583854720_IMG_6946.JPG

What do you enjoy most about running the Barn?

Greeting our lovely customers everyday! It sounds trite but really, they create the warm ambiance at the heart of the barn as much as we do. Even when we’re busy there’s always an opportunity to take a moment to have a nice chat and pass the time with a friendly face.

IMG_2825.JPG

What has been your Long Barn career highlights (so far!)?

Too many to mention! However, this year we were finalists for Best Store Design at the Drapers Independent Retailers awards. Always a highlight in the industry calendar, this award recognises inspiring and thriving independent retailers from across the country and we’re thrilled to be included in such good company.

How have you balanced running Long Barn - given that it's a cafe, store and gardens? Usually people can only manage just one!

As anyone who has run their own business will say, you wear all sorts of hats during any given day! We have each worked in almost every part of the business at various times, and can both make great coffee, whip up a spreadsheet and tend to the plants with aplomb.

However, at this scale it would be impossible to cover everything just ourselves and we are joined by a fantastic team of shop and café staff; cooks, baristas, merchandisers, designers, gardeners, site and maintenance staff, bookkeepers and stock controllers. We are a sum of our parts, and it’s down to a lot of very dedicated and talented individuals to make Long Barn what it is: a really fantastic place to be.

IMG_5484.JPG
6174611296_IMG_0905.JPG

Do you have any top tips / advice for those thinking of starting their own lifestyle store?

You have to love retail! And the principles of good shopkeeping. We feel that despite an increasingly clicks driven market, physical shops continue to thrive as hubs of enterprise, experience and community, but only if they are really good. What makes a really good shop? It’s a place that people feel something for. It’s a place that serves as a beacon, the go-to destination for a unique and interesting experience.

Shopping is an experience first and foremost, and for most people, a leisure pursuit. So consider what makes somewhere a place people choose to spend precious time, as well as money and come back again. It tends to be shops that offer a distinct point of difference - a sense of discovery through creative display, beautifully edited buying, exceptional service, a convivial atmosphere - make a destination standout from the rest. Oh, and you have to love people, that’s a given!

IMG_2369.JPG
7651008864_IMG_5142.JPG

Autumn's now here and we bet it's especially beautiful at Long Barn - what’s happening over the coming months?

Autumn is a short but sweet season here at Long Barn - we invite our customers to join us in welcoming the most mellow months of the year. Traditionally a celebration of abundance, harvest is the time to share in the spoils of the summer with loved ones. Stop by our relaxing cafe for a good catch up with friends over coffee and homemade cake or stay longer and enjoy a hearty lunch with family - it’s always a joy to be able to come together and delight in the tastes of the season.

Long Barn, The Old Sheep Fair, Bishops Sutton Rd, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9EJ

www.longbarn.co.uk

Photography: Laura Brown

Our A/W 2018 issue is here!

Yesterday I had a message from one lovely reader to say how excited she was about the new issue arriving and that it is the highlight of her autumn season. Wow, that honestly makes me beam with pride that 91 can bring so much joy to those who read it. I can’t tell you how much hard work and pure love goes into creating it, but what truly makes it all worth it, is hearing the words of anticipation, enjoyment and encouragement from our readers. I often hear people say that they don’t buy magazines anymore, and that was exactly the reason I started the magazine - as I couldn’t find any I enjoyed anymore - but I hope that 91 has restored your love of magazines too, and will continue to do so for anyone who had previously lost faith in magazines. We only publish twice a year, but our ethos is most definitely quality over quantity.

The AW18 issue of 91 Magazine

So, here it is. Our A/W 2018 issue - our sixth print issue. In this edition, we shine a light on ethical living, visiting venues and talking to brands for which sustainability is at their heart. Our columnists talk about how living ethically can boost creativity, how to have strong ethics when running a small business as well as how to build a brand from scratch.

La-Eva feature in 91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue
Living consciously feature in 91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue

We connect with the makers community via our Instagram Edit, and as always visit beautiful homes of creative people. We always find so much inspiration in shops, studios and restaurants, so we share some truly beautiful spaces with you, as well as recipes, styling ideas, shopping tips and more.

Instagram Edit feature in 91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue
Wunderblumen home tour in 91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue
Lord Whitney studio tour in 91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue
Silo Brighton in 91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue
91 Magazine A/W 2018 issue

If you haven’t yet ordered your copy, then I hope this little peek at what’s inside has convinced you to treat yourself (or a friend!) - get it delivered direct to your door by ordering here, or check out our stockists list for where to find it near you. And don’t forget, we absolutely love to hear your feedback and see your pics, so do share online with our hashtag #my91magazine - we may even share your pics on our Instagram feed or in the next print issue!

BUY THE A/W 2018 ISSUE

Facing adversity with creativity

At 91 we love delving in and hearing the stories of why and how people have launched a creative business. There’s often many different reasons why people have decided to go it alone or try something they’ve always dreamt of. All are inspiring of course, but there are some stories that just stick with you. Grace Harvey chats to two women who found their calling after extremely dark and different times in their lives. Their stories a reminder that life isn’t a dress rehearsal and we should take every experience - good or bad - as a way to move forward with positivity and creativity, making the most of life however it leads us.

 Photo by Scott Murray

Photo by Scott Murray

Positive Luxury. Choose Light. Four words born out of darkness and circumstances in which many of us hope to never find ourselves. Siân Esther, a luxury nightwear brand founded by Siân Adkins following the death of her parents, sets out to ensure that women can have a safe night’s sleep, and puts positive luxury at the heart of its mission. ‘Choose Light’ is the foundation of Moments of Sense and Style, or MOSS for short, a lifestyle store founded by Syreeta Challinger and her partner Rob, after Rob suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2014.

Siân Esther

Siân built her brand around the notion that in the nights we can’t sleep or days we can’t get out of bed, that we should still have beauty around us. Siân’s willingness to share her experiences so candidly has established a system of support for women who otherwise would not have this. Grief, as Siân herself notes, is not a topic of conversation that we have on a day-to-day basis. Her work with charity partners and the ethics behind the brand set her apart from other luxe brands, whilst ensuring that luxury remains at the heart of Siân Esther’s philosophy. Here, Sian tells me more….

What in particular inspired you to create something positive out of difficult personal circumstances, and to share your experiences so frankly as well as positively?

Creativity has always provided a great sense of joy for me and when I struggled to find the perfect pair of sophisticated pyjamas that I could give as a gift to my Mum, we challenged ourselves to make samples and look into patterns. During this time my Mum died suddenly and I really felt this was something that I wanted to carry on in her legacy. Mum’s ethos was always about buying fewer, better quality pieces and so this would form part of the brand values.

For me I found the grief of losing both my parents young (my Dad died 5 years before) really affected my sleep hugely and I would often wake in the night with anxiety, or worry about things that I would never have done before. When something tragic happens to you, it also challenges us to look at things differently, I couldn’t change the situation but I did realise I wanted to do something that was purpose-driven. Although grief impacted my sleep, I was so grateful for my fantastic support network of friends and family, as well as a lovely home and I realised that not all women who go through tough situations have this support system. Through the partnerships with our charities, I want to be able to help vulnerable and disadvantaged women to have a safe night’s sleep too. To be able to give them that feeling of comfort and security, like when you put on a pair of pjs.

What work do you do with your charity partners and how do you help vulnerable women through these partnerships?

We support women through three different routes; through our profits, our supply chain and personal support. 20% of our profits go to supporting our three partner charities. Firstly, The Marylebone Project, which is the largest women’s homeless shelter in the UK. They help women who find themselves homeless and in need for many reasons; from domestic violence and mental health issues to financial difficulties. The Luminary Bakery is a social enterprise in East London and provides training, community and employment opportunities in their bakery for disadvantaged women who may have experienced poverty, homelessness, violence or criminal activity. Mercy UK run a 6-month residential programme for women aged between 18 and 30 and who may be struggling with low self-esteem, depression, self-harming, eating and anxiety disorders. The home provides a safe place to equip and empower women in a healing journey.

Our second route is through our supply chain – we work with a social enterprise - Juta Shoes in East London - who employ women who would otherwise find it difficult to get into work to make our espadrille leather slippers and we also partner with Freeset in Kolkata, India who employ women who were previously stuck in the sex-trade industry to make our makeup bags. This is part of their journey to freedom. Lastly, we have also been practically involved with supporting the set-up of a women’s day shelter in a church in London.

 Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

 Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

What has been the biggest challenge about developing and communicating the philosophy that underpins Siân Esther?

Brand visibility in general has been hard outside of the regional area, as probably lots of start-ups find. For me personally; the challenge has been around being able to share my story openly and honestly, as I don’t think we talk about grief enough but then also balancing this with the beauty of our products and not just creating a heart-felt story. I want people to fall in love with our products and then also love our mission to support a social cause.

And the best? Which moments or opportunities have especially stood out to you?

I held a launch party at the Coppa Club in Henley where I live and that was a really special moment for me – to be able to celebrate the achievement of creating beautiful nightwear pieces with friends and family and to celebrate the start of a new journey after a difficult and dark time was amazing. We need to remember to celebrate the good things in life! After this, I had such positive feedback and received a letter from our MP, which was just amazing. Siân Esther was then featured on Sheerluxe as the brand to know for ethical pyjamas and that was very exciting.

Alongside this, I have also loved meeting so many new people, who I would otherwise not have met; other start-up founders, the charities which we support and people who have reached out through social media as they love what I am doing and want to help. I have realised not to be shy when asking for help and people are often flattered to be involved.

 Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

 Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

Photo by Feia van Dusseldorp

How would you encourage others to harness difficult circumstances or situations in their lives to create something positive?

I have realised that sadly we do sometimes face difficult situations that we cannot change but that we shouldn’t let our circumstance shape our future. We can build resilience through these tough times and use this to propel ourselves forward and grow. I think it is also important to mention that resilience isn’t just about being strong, we also have to be willing to be vulnerable and to allow others in to build relationships and to ask for help when needed.

When a traumatic experience happens to us, it often changes the way we see things or the perspective that we approach life. I listened to a talk by a chap called Stephen Foster, who talked about no risk = no reward, which really resonated with me. I found that after losing my parents, I became even more aware of other’s reactions around me but if we focus on these reactions, we can miss out on the opportunity in front of us.

What message do you hope people take away from Siân Esther?

I hope to encourage others to be bold and do something they really enjoy but also to build businesses that are purpose-driven from the core and not just as a bolt on, as a nice-to-have element. Finding something you really enjoy doing - which for me is creating nightwear, arranging flowers and baking - can provide a great sense of relief and joy through the mist of a difficult time.

Hopefully the women buying my pieces will feel empowered wearing them but also that they are playing their part in helping to empower other women.

www.sianesther.co.uk


Moments of Sense and Style

Based in Lincoln, MOSS encapsulates an elegant and thoughtful calm. Their range of candles and room mists, notebooks, luxury matches, and Rob’s art is based on their story and journey- each evokes a place and a feeling, and is a reminder to slow down and cherish small moments. It was clear from Rob’s exhibition at the University of Lincoln earlier this year, and the TEDx talk they did together in June, that both Rob and Syreeta talk and create candidly about their experiences. Rob’s art encourages us to see how love can truly heal, and that he continues to do brilliantly as his tries his utmost to get through. Syreeta filled me in further about the history of the business and how it has helped the couple to embrace what life has thrown at them…

 Photo by Natasha Boyes

Photo by Natasha Boyes

Tell me a little more about MOSS.

Moments Of Sense & Style or MOSS for short, is a lifestyle studio and brand. Each product, art print or project we work on is considered and developed with a sensory experience of beauty in mind. The ethos is simplicity, to encourage people to slow down; embrace their senses and do it in style.

The brand was born out of life changing events, it has been a creative saviour. A loving, healing and cathartic project, but also a way to try and get back into the world again. To establish ourselves and earn a living around our life as it is now.

We are socially and ecologically aware, that yes, we wish to create products, but not creations for the sake of it. Each product is deeply considered and aligns with a need or desire from our life as it is now, with respect for the provenance and raw materials. By embracing the path of a studio alongside our wares, we are able to work on projects that compliment our ethos and help spread awareness of not only brain injury, but the importance of wellbeing to our health and inner world too. It’s more of a movement, a fluid label, one that leaves room for us to grow and change; as change is the only constant we have. Life is always changing and shifting and we have created a space in which to evolve.

 Photo by Natasha Boyes

Photo by Natasha Boyes

What in particular inspired you to create something positive out of difficult personal circumstances, and to share your experiences so frankly as well as positively?

It’s quite a tale. My boyfriend at the time Rob and I were living and working in Hong Kong, when on the 27th September 2014, Rob suffered a near fatal brain haemorrhage and stroke. To make things more complicated, we were on the second day of a holiday in Sydney. Rob was in a coma and I was told he wouldn’t make it, but here I am almost 4 years later balancing life as full time carer, Rob’s slow rehabilitation, starting life over again and able to share this with you.

After being stuck in Sydney for 3 months, we realised life in HK was over and moved back to the UK to be with family. I had to move countries, start life in a city and home that was not my own, whilst dealing with Rob’s needs and care. Trauma on all levels. I lost my identity and sense of self, my home, my job, all in one go, whilst having to radiate love and support to Rob. I realised that’s all I had. Love. And that’s what has carried me through.

In all this, caring and rehab and grief, I needed an outlet. I could’t find work, was feeling low and needed to do something. It started out initially as a blog - a Tumblr page - inadvertently creating an aesthetic for the brand. It’s slowly evolved and become a creative space for both of us. Sharing the story through the Tumblr was a visceral journey. I pulled words, music, visuals, many of the photos our own and it was essentially a form of therapy for me. It had to get out of me.

The Maya Angelou quote rings true “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. And as I shared, with friends at first, the response was overwhelmingly encouraging. It spurred me on and I continued to take step by step. And not only was I sharing to get it out of me, I was sharing to feel connected. I was isolated geographically, mentally, physically. In a city without any contacts, I had to start again on every level, yet how does one connect in a new city without work and in our horrendous situation?

Social media was a window to the world and made me feel part of something when so far removed from reality. Not only that, I was incredibly proud of what I was doing and of Rob - his determination and strength, our courage as young couple; staring tragedy fearlessly in the face. I wanted to tell the world how brilliant he was and how my efforts, by investing patience, love and care, had spurred on such wonderful changes.

I had taught Rob to draw again and this was how we communicated for a really long time, and we still do on bad days. He now draws for pleasure and is pursuing a new path as an artist, selling his prints as part of MOSS. Rob suffers with Aphasia which affects his reading and writing as well as speech. He is learning, but essentially it was like having a six-foot baby; he’s had to relearn everything.

And we will continue to share and talk about it. As when something happens to you, society tends to decide your fate. Writes you off. But we feel that everyone has something to offer if only given half the chance. Especially when offered a creative space. We feel passionately that creativity heals.

Don’t get me wrong, it has been horrific at times and still is on occasion. But with time, gentleness and positivity and a whole lot of love, we have got through.

 Photo by Natasha Boyes

Photo by Natasha Boyes

 Photo by Natasha Boyes

Photo by Natasha Boyes

What has been the biggest challenge about developing and communicating the philosophy that underpins MOSS?

It’s a challenge that’s for sure, but I always describe us as more than just a brand. Its more than just a candle, notebook or art print. For many people, they feel with their heads, not their hearts and don’t quite understand. They wonder why I do what I do. I wonder why they wouldn’t. The challenge is seeking the like minded souls, who feel deeply and perhaps have been through something. Where life has tested them, whether through something big or small, but something has awakened within them. They’ve let their guard down, not fearful. Something has moved them deeply and allowed them to understand the fragility of life and be open to others, with the understanding it comes with both dark and light; the good in the bad and bad in the good.

And as a fast evolving tech first world, I feel we are losing that connection to understanding ourselves, our connection to others. But those that do get it; it’s pure joy to feel connected to them. That they too, hold a place for our recovery and path as much as we encourage positivity and love for those of theirs. Fundamentally, it’s about being; the complex bundle of emotions and feelings, respecting one another for who we truly are, lifting each other up, supporting each other when chips are down.

And the best? Which moments or opportunities have especially stood out to you?

We held an exhibition for Rob in January this year at University Of Lincoln. It was an incredible achievement, at just 3 years after the brain haemorrhage, for Rob to be able to do this and for the uni to welcome us graciously. For me, it was incredibly tough to write and curate it, yet under Rob’s strict instructions, we shared the full story. Images from life before, his coma, the rehab recovery; all out in public. Yet the message was strong; one of hope and positivity. How creativity and love can heal.

And we elevated that message with a Tedx talk in June, sharing our hearts and story, on the world stage! What a moment, to be on stage together. But fundamentally, that we are here. Together. Doing this! I write this as we near the four year anniversary and to be able to share this with you, all that we have done and are doing, is incredible. They told me Rob would never make it, and if he did he would never be the same again and none of this was a possibility. Look at how far we have come. That is the most incredible thing.

 Photo by Natasha Boyes

Photo by Natasha Boyes

How would you encourage others to harness difficult circumstances or situations in their lives to create something positive?

By letting everything go, every inch of my life as I knew it came nothing. It was not easy, nor was it comfortable. But from nothing, comes something. The quiet, the slow pace. The emptiness is a place of possibility. And from possibility, comes curiosity. And the space to dream and wonder. As what have you got to lose at this point? Nothing! So take a step. Even if it’s just an inch. Inch by inch, as with Rob’s recovery, it’s the only way to build, to grow, to develop.

Find the energy to do so, as sadly no one else can do it for you. There is no hero or knight on a white stead, other than the one inside of you. It won’t be pretty. But surrendering to the situation, letting it get all messy and mad is one of the most liberating things. Letting go of what once was and opening your heart and mind. Allowing yourself to feel every bit and understand your emotions around the changes and when you try new things.

It’s not always easy, and I still have to remind myself of this notion. But it’s where you really delve deep, finding strength you never knew you had.

What message do you hope people take away from MOSS?

Hopefully, more than one. First and foremost, the message to slow down. To breathe. To carve out time, just for soothing the soul and taking stock of the good in the world. And in that way, I mean carve out time and create a ritual, perhaps lighting a candle to mark the change of pace, or noting or doodling in a notebook, to soothe your soul. To be grateful. To cherish the beauty in the mundane, the precious every day things we all take for granted. They are the true gifts. And most importantly, one of light, of hope. That no matter what is thrown at you, there is always a way through.

www.momentsofsenseandstyle.com

Instagrammer's Guide to: Oslo, Norway

So far, our Instagrammer’s guides have featured Scandi cities Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen & Malmo and now it’s the turn of Oslo. It’s safe to say those Nordic destinations are an Instagrammer’s dream! Writer and blogger Claire Holland recently travelled to the Norwegian city with her family and here she shares her top spots for shopping, eating and entertaining both kids and adults…

I've never been very good at early morning starts. But I was up with the lark (or rather the seagulls) in excited anticipation of our morning arrival into Oslo. We'd taken the overnight ferry from Copenhagen as part of a four week road trip to visit my brother, who moved to the Norwegian capital a couple of years ago.  As the early morning sun began to fill our cabin, I peered out of the window and caught sight of some of Norway's traditional brightly-painted houses, nestled like tiny dolls’ houses along the fjord archipelago. Before long, we were showered and dressed and up on deck, cameras in hand, ready to capture our first glimpse of the city rising up into the mountains through the morning mist. 

KollektedBy, design store in Oslo, Norway - Instagrammer's Guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
KollektedBy, design store in Oslo, Norway - Instagrammer's Guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Kollekted By

Minimalist design store, Kollekted By offer Scandinavian-designed lighting, furniture, skincare and more, all curated by design and interior stylist duo Kråkvik&D’Orazio. The highlight for me was how beautifully, and seemingly effortlessly, the objects are presented within the space in little vignettes that could be found in someone’s home. Among the many things I found to covet were a solid brass incense holder and a leaded glass mounted wall vase. But I’m afraid to say that it was all a little beyond my budget!

IG: @kollektedby

Fransk Bazar, vintage store in Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Fransk Bazar

For people who prefer to own things with a past (and a lot of Oslo dwellers do!), Fransk Bazar is where secondhand industrial chic meets charming bric-a-brac. Run by Norwegian and French couple, Nina and Didier, this diminutive space is a cornucopia of unique furniture, costume jewellery and vintage prints. I spied a lovely rattan-seated bentwood bistro chair for 1000 NK (around £90) that would have been coming home with me had there been room in the car.

IG: @franskbazar

Fuglen cafe, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
Fuglen cafe, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Fuglen

The Norwegian’s take their coffee very seriously (as do I). The black coffee served at Fuglen is from a choice of four different roasteries in the Oslo area, is selected seasonally and offered brewed in a variety of methods. Located in downtown Oslo, set slightly apart from the main streets, Fuglen have served coffee since 1963. But although the interior of the original shop has been kept intact, in its most recent incarnation, Fuglen’s highly stylised design pays homage to the 1950s and 60s - the golden age of Nordic design. And everything at Fuglen is for sale: from the chair you're sitting on, the lamps and original prints on the walls, to the table you put your cup down on. Students from the nearby university and young businesspeople keep it busy during the day, while in the evening it comes alive as a cocktail bar dominated by a younger crowd.

IG: @fuglenoslo

Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Vigeland Sculpture Park

Eating out in Oslo is phenomenally expensive, so most days we packed sandwiches. But there are plenty of public spaces to sit and eat while taking in the view, and none is more inspiring than Vigeland Sculpture Park. Set in the grounds of Frogner Park, it’s the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist. It is one of Oslo’s most visited tourist sites, but is really is a sight to behold and therefore a must-see. Over two hundred of Gustav Vigeland’s bronze and granite sculptures exploring the human form - and human relationships (some are quite comical, others profound and touching) line the park’s boulevard. But make sure to arrive early to avoid the inevitable crowds – they’ll ruin what could be some of your best photographs.

Vippa, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
Vippa, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Vippa

When we did choose dine out, we were picky about where we went.  Vippa is a laid-back street food court in an old sugar warehouse on the edge of the harbour, and does the city’s best street food. Newly opened, it serves dishes from all corners of the world, with a focus on organic food - and most of the food stalls also have vegetarian or vegan options. It’s a great place to grab a snack or a light lunch and a beer. We ate some delicious Thai prawn dumplings and noodle-filled veggie spring rolls. During summer, it was the perfect place for outdoor dining in the sun – but expect it to be packed on the outdoor terrace, where there’s a great view of the fjord. The giant outdoor mural makes it super easy to spot from the water, and the tall orange towers of the waterfront promenade help guide you there.

IG: @vippaoslo

Skaperverket, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
Skaperverket, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Skaperverket

If it’s a bohemian vibe you’re looking for, head for vibrant and arty neighbourhood Grünerløkka in the east end. It’s edgy and unique, and known for its street art, cool bars, relaxed cafes and independent boutiques selling design objects and secondhand furniture and jewellery. This is where we came upon Skaperverket, on Markveien, Grünerløkka’s main street; a charming shop showcasing the work of local independent designers, makers and artists who make up the Oslo-based design collective of the same name. I came here twice to fully take in the array of handmade children’s clothes, art prints, ceramics, jewellery and more. The wooden cutwork necklaces made by Tjasa Mavric and Oyoy Living Design’s neat little ceramics particularly caught my eye.

IG: @skaperverket_oslo

Territoriet wine bar, Olso - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
Territoriet wine bar, Olso - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Territoriet  

You can’t buy wine in the supermarkets in Oslo, you have to go to specialist wine shops, so at the end of an afternoon mooching around the streets of Grünerløkka one day, we stopped for a cheeky glass of Riesling at ultra-cool wine bar, Territoriet next door to Skaperverket. There was certainly no shortage of wine on offer here. Territoriet pride themselves on offering over 400 different varieties – and most are available by the glass.  But this is Oslo, so it doesn’t come cheap. We sat at the window and sipped slowly, while idly watching the locals peruse the secondhand market over the road. We then took some photographs of the oh-so cool interior and then fled to save our bank balances!

IG: @territoriet

Teknisk Museum, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Teknisk Museum

With kids in tow, we were mindful of keeping them contented and occupied, and with a rainy afternoon on our hands, we headed to the National museum of science and technology. Otherwise known as the Teknisk Museum, it is a paradise not only for curious kids. With over a hundred interactive installations, musical machines and instruments, and a vast transport exhibition, we were all kept happy and busy until teatime.

IG: @tekniskmuseum

 

Street art, Oslo - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Street Art

When the weather is less soggy, one of the pleasures of strolling around the streets of Oslo is chancing upon one of the enormous murals that decorate parts of the city, often filling entire walls with colour. The surrounding area by alternative music venue Blå is one of the highlights of Oslo’s street art offering. Every wall is covered, many by some top artists including M-City. Nip through Ingens gate and onto Brenneriveien for a full street of some amazing, Insta-worthy work.

Oslo Raw, Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
Oslo Raw, Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Oslo Raw

One lazy, late morning, we popped into Oslo Raw on Adamstuen Torg for a coffee, but on spying the delicious-looking, pretty cakes, we decided to indulge in a few treats. As the name would suggest, Oslo Raw specialise in raw, organic and vegan food. It all sounds very worthy and healthy (and it is!) but it’s also extremely yummy. The space is small and intimate, with a relaxed vibe. The decor is airy, bright and modern, with beautiful pressed flower artworks on the walls.  I was more than happy to stay a while, and I was feeling peckish, so ordered the brunch plate of kale and avocado layered on top of a crunchy pumpkin seed cracker, with chia pudding, and two little squares of cake on the side: one zingy passion fruit, the other, raw choco nut brownie. The children shared a choco-peanut cake with creamy hot chocolate on the side. Rest assured, whatever you order it will be served up looking as pretty as a picture and well worthy of your Instagram grid.

IG: @osloraw

Oslo Opera House - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine
Oslo Opera House - Instagrammer's guide to Oslo - 91 Magazine

Oslo Opera House

The Oslo Opera House is the centrepiece of the fast developing waterfront. Walk on the roof – a sleek patchwork carpet of marble - and you’ll get wonderful views of the city and the mountains beyond. The building’s architect, Snøhetta apparently drew inspiration from icy glaciers and when I stood at the top and looked down over a sea of shiny white marble, I got a definite feeling that it’s somehow part of the surrounding nature. Inside, the perforated luminous wall panel that hides the supports for the ceiling - designed by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson - is equally dazzling.  It’s almost as photogenic inside as out.

Instagrammer's guide to Oslo, Norway by 91 Magazine

Words: Claire Holland / Photography: Charlie Bibby - www.paperthinmoon.com

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Dowse

Located in the heart of Brighton’s vibrant North Laine (brimming with independent stores and cafes), Dowse proudly flies the flag for indie design.Creating jewellery and prints in-house and sourcing wares, with care and consideration, from designers across the world (especially from the super-stylish Scandi countries), this beautifully curated shop offers thoughtful design which is accessible to everyone.We spoke to owner Susannah Dowse to hear more…

dowse_design_shop_high-7046.jpg

Hi Susannah! First things first, why did you decide to call your store Dowse?

Dowse is my family name and the name I designed under before opening the shop. The name comes from dowsing - a technique for searching for water, minerals, or anything invisible. The name was too perfect not to use for a shop where we search out and showcase emerging designers and makers.

dowse_design_shop_high-6926.jpg

Why did you start the store? 

I’d been working from a home studio for many years and had decided that I wanted to get out and interact with the world again! I was originally going to get a space in a shared studio, but then I begun to think about having a studio that was open to the public and I could showcase the work of other designers alongside my own.

I live in nearby Hove, and one day a shop in my neighbourhood, that had been boarded up for years had a note in the window saying it had recently been renovated and was now available. The timing was too perfect. So I decided to take the space and opened a month later. So it was less about a big plan and more about taking an opportunity that arose and running with it. I ran the shop in the Hove space for five years and have now recently moved to the North Laine area of Brighton. 

dowse_design_shop_high-6931.jpg
dowse_design_shop_high-6841.jpg

What did you do before starting Dowse?

I have quite a varied career history. I did a very conceptual and theoretical Fine Art degree, but that hadn’t really been a good fit for me. So when I graduated I drifted a bit, djing, designing & making clothes, basically indulging all my other interests. Eventually I pulled those experiences together and began working freelance in fashion, working for many different kinds of clients creating garment samples, surface print design and illustration. I also worked with a textile recycling charity as the head designer of a clothing range made from recycled textiles, with this my interest in sustainability and ethics in design developed.

This lead to a period lecturing in art colleges on sustainability in design. Alongside this, I had a friend who is a jeweller and I began working with her on a range of jewellery. And it was from here that Dowse, as it now exists, developed.

dowse_design_shop_high-6990.jpg

How would you describe your style? 

I’ve always had a love of abstract and pop art, mid-century interiors and the clean fluid lines of the Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics. Geometry, simple lines and forms feed my aesthetic and influence what I design and also what I’m attracted to in the work of the other designers that I showcase in the shop. 

dowse_design_shop_high-6991.jpg

As well as making Dowse’s jewellery and art prints, you also stock wares from others. How do you source your products?

Many of the things I find are from keeping an eye on the usual suspects like Pinterest and Instagram. Getting out there and not just visiting the big trade shows is important to find new exciting people, they’re normally found at smaller art and design markets.

I also go to Copenhagen every year and discover wonderful things every time I go. I don’t stock things that have been mass manufactured in the Far East. I just can’t trust that someone hasn’t been exploited in a factory and that doesn't sit well with me. So everything we sell is made with care and consideration on a smaller scale by the designers and makers.

dowse_design_shop_high-6983.jpg

What are your favourite finds so far?

One of my most significant Copenhagen discoveries was Studio Arhoj. A ceramic studio I started stocking about four years ago and I believe I was the first shop in the UK to carry their range. They're now much more established and have a real cult following. I send their pieces all over the world, as people hunt down their special and unique designs and glazes. The recent revitalisation of ceramics by the new wave of young makers has been wonderful to see. And it seems there are quite a few ceramic addicts out there!

One of our current lines that’s a big favourite are the hand made ceramics by Quartier Ceramics, made in Lisbon by one man, Romain, at his potters wheel. I can't wait till our latest delivery from him arrives next month! I also love the well designed, simple and British made wares of Studio Wald. They make great paper goods and a lovely flower press. 

dowse_design_shop_high-6962.jpg
dowse_design_shop_high-6921.jpg

You're clearly passionate about what you do. What do you love most about your chosen vocation?

As a designer, being able to interact directly with my customers and see their response (good or bad!) to new designs is great.

As a shopkeeper I really enjoy being able to tell the story of the person behind the objects we sell. Highlighting the process that goes in to the making of these beautiful things by an individual rather than a big company. Supporting emerging designers and sustainable practice is a big part of why I do what I do. Finding good design that's actually affordable and not out of reach is also something that's a challenge that I love. I'm on a bit of a mission to make good and thoughtful design accessible to everyone. 

dowse_design_shop_high-6894.jpg

If you could choose just one product from the store right now, what would it be?

I love the sculptural forms of the Hana vase series by Arhoj. One will be making it home before too long. 

Oh, they are gorgeous! Do you have any advice for other people thinking of setting up a shop?

Make what you sell matter, be passionate about it. This will carry you through the tricky times.

dowse_design_shop_high-6950.jpg

You have such a lovely Instagram feed - how does social media help your business?

I love Instagram. It's inspiring and impressive what amazing feeds people create. I wish I had more time to concentrate on it, it can be an art form in itself. It is really important to reach the right audience for what you do, so for any small business or designer it's as a really great tool to do that. 

Your new location in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine is renowned for its many independent stores. How does it feel to be part of the community?

I love Brighton. It's got a vibrancy to it that you don't often get in cities this size. New people are always arriving and so it's constantly evolving. I don't think there's many places with this many indies in such numbers. It's great to be a part that community. 

dowse_design_shop_high-6917.jpg

What has been your Dowse career highlights so far?

There have been many great moments, mixed with challenging ones! Moving to a new shop space after five years of running a shop, that in itself felt quite a big achievement to do on my own with no investors - remaining truly independent. 

As a designer, it was a real highlight being commissioned by The Design Museum to create a collection of jewellery exclusively for them to accompany an exhibition on architect Louis Kahn. 

Photography: Emma Croman

Dowse, 27 Gloucester Rd, Brighton

dowsedesign.co.uk / Follow on Instagram