91 is reading... Capture Your Style

We make no secret of the fact that we at 91 Magazine are hooked on Instagram. It's one of our key sources of inspiration, a way in which we make connections and even discover potential content for the magazine. Each issue we showcase five of our favourite accounts in our Instagram Edit and, if you follow us on Instagram, you'll know that we're posting fresh content daily, from styled flatlays to behind the scenes snippets. We also host regular hashtag projects over on IG- remember that you can still tag your tea/coffee themed shots to #91magazine_myquietcuppa for a chance to have your image featured in the next print issue of the magazine.

So naturally, given our insta-obsession, we were fascinated to read Capture Your Style, the tell-all Instagram guide from Aimee Song (aka @songofstyle), a superstar US Instagrammer with 4.4 million followers and counting.

Capture Your Style promises to help you to'transform your Instagram images, Showcase your Life and Build the Ultimate Platform'. The book is divided into five sections that cover:

- The Ins & Outs of Instagram

- Capture your Style

-Become a Storyteller

-Find & Grow Your Audience

- Instagold

If you are an Instagram beginner, or are unsure about the details of how the platform works, in 'The Ins & Outs of Instagram', Aimee explains in clear, easy-to-understand steps how to get started, from choosing a username to using the camera on your smartphone. She walks the reader through the entire process, throwing in top tips along the way.

The section on 'Capturing your Style' is essential reading for anyone who posts outfit shots, selfies or even portraits. There are plenty of ideas on how to put together an outfit shot, with interesting insights into how to use backgrounds, juxtapositions and angles to best effect. 

'Become a Storyteller' covers Aimee's thoughts on how best to shoot food, travel, interiors and flatlays, with tips on how to balance your grid (for example, Aimee suggests thinking about your images in groups of twelve) and ideas for lighting and ways to ensure that your images are perfectly straight.

'Find & Grow Your Audience' covers practicalities such as commenting, hash tagging, mentions, and timing your images to best effect, whilst "Insta Gold' touches on the ways in which Instagram can be used to support and grow your business and career.

More experienced Instagrammers may find that some of the content is already familiar to them and that some advice is rather subjective. For example, Aimee states categorically that you should use a maximum of five hashtags per post, whereas we know that 91 contributor and Instagram Coach Sara Tasker advises that using anything up to the full quota of 30 can work well.

Nevertheless, if you're new to Instagram, or if you are a fashion blogger (or a fan of outfit shots!), then this book could prove invaluable. Indeed, anyone with an interest in Instagram will find plenty of inspiration within its pages.

Capture Your Style by Aimee Song is published by Abrams Image (£11.99)

All images in this post by Laura Pashby.

Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Lilac Cream

Spring blooms are sprouting up all around us, and it is glorious! As well as our gardens and pathways, we are filling vases indoors with daffodils, tulips and anemones, so why not transfer our floral passion to the kitchen?! Today we are delving into the 91 archives and sharing this recipe from issue 8 (March 2014) for a delicious chocolate cake with lilac cream, contributed by Emilie Ekborg

For this cake you will need three layers. The ingredients list below makes one layer.

  • 100g butter
  • 210g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 150g all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g dark chocolate (70% or more)

To make the cake: 

First melt the butter then in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. In a separate bowl combine the vanilla sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add the melted butter to the egg and sugar batter followed by the dry ingredients and mix well until smooth. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Make sure no steam gets to the chocolate, otherwise it will become grainy. Once completely melted, add the chocolate to the batter and mix.

Transfer the mixture to a loose base tin and bake in the middle of the oven at 175°C for 20 minutes. The cake should be quite sticky but not runny, so test it with a skewer to see if it’s ready. When baked, leave the cake in its tin and place on a rack to cool.

To make the lilac cream:

  • 1 litre cream
  • 255g lilac sugar
  • lilac petals (approx 5-6 stems) for decoration

Whip the cream and then sieve in the lilac sugar (making your own lilac sugar is easy - just put sugar and lilac petals together in a jar and leave for at least a week before then removing the petals). Then simply fold the lilac sugar into the cream without stirring too much.

Assembling the cake:

Make sure the three layers have completely cooled, otherwise the cream will melt. Put the first layer on a cake stand or plate and, using a spatula, spread over with a fairly thick layer of lilac cream. Place a second cake on top of this and spread with cream also. Then repeat the process with the third so that you end up with a layer of cream on top of the assembled cake. Finally, sprinkle lilac petals on top and put it the cake in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes before serving.

For more of Emilie's floral recipes, pop over to our previous digital editions which are free to read, these appeared in Issue 8

And if you haven't bagged yourself a print copy of our current issue, then do be quick, we are down to under 10 copies left! Order yours here. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight: 32 The Guild

This month we chat to footwear designer, turned shopkeeper Zoie Walker, about her lifestyle store 32 The Guild...

How would you describe the essence of 32 The Guild?

Laid back, pared back, simple.

Can you tell us some more about how 32 The Guild came about? 

Before opening the shop, I was a footwear designer working in London. 32 The Guild came about when I moved to Northampton from London, as I was struggling to find a store which sold the kind of brands which interested me... So, I decided to do it myself!

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How did you go about designing the shop? Did you have a particular aesthetic in mind when pulling it all together? 

We take pride in uncovering beautifully made products and felt the shop should be reflective of this, so honest and minimal materials feature throughout the space. Natural woods, a reclaimed parquet counter and antique solid brass clothes rails showcase not only our own personal taste, but create an inviting, friendly atmosphere.

It was important to me that the store felt contemporary and relaxed. I was bringing something to Northampton which had not been done before so it was crucial to make my clients feel welcome. I love a store which feels exciting, showcasing a brand and product mix which I may not expect... I try to do exactly this at 32, and aim to bring together a blend of stunning products.

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You’ve been open since 2013 – what have been the highlights of the last 3 years?

A definite highlight was being featured in The Times as their boutique of the week just recently. It’s such an amazing achievement for us, being a tiny store in a relatively 'unknown' town like Northampton. I’m also proud of seeing our reputation spread, and that 32 is talked about as a store to watch.

You stock a wide range of products – from womenswear to home accessories, how do you balance the offering? Or do you find yourself naturally more drawn to stock particular ranges?

It is very instinctive: if I love the product, we stock it. This has really helped create a strong, distinctive brand identity for us. It doesn’t make sense to try and be everything to everyone. I believe that when you do this, your identity becomes watered down and you lose what it is that makes what you have special. I only buy an item for the shop if it fits comfortably within my aesthetic.

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Can you talk us through your buying process and decisions? 

Again, the process is simple and instinct-led. I make a plan as to what I would like to see from a store, and then go from there. I know that I enjoy a smaller, more curated offering and endeavour to create just that for 32. The golden rule is that I will only stock something in the shop if I would buy it myself. As a result I’m a walking advertisement for my store - I am head to toe 32 and live and breathe it!

What are your current best sellers, and do you have any personal favourites?

My personal favourites are the new season blue suede Grenson loafers - I just cannot get enough of their footwear. My all time favourite product has to be Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. There really is no other fragrance like it - it is my must-have. Among our current best sellers are our Denham jeans - we’ve just had a new drop and our clients know the fit is amazing!

To what extent are you influenced by trends?

Though I am of course aware of what is current, I try however to avoid being a slave to the trends. I think if you immerse yourself in media, film, culture and travel you cannot help being influenced, and this is reflected in your style decisions. I’m not keen on buying pieces just because they follow the latest trend. This doesn’t sit well with me and often results in wastefulness. I much prefer to buy both for myself and the store with an eye to longevity and quality.

What are the challenges, and best part of running an independent store?

The absolute best part is the relationship I have with my customers. It is honestly a pleasure to come to work. I also love the creative freedom I have and being able to share it. The challenge is trying to juggle this with two small children and a husband who travels extensively with work!

How do you balance running an online store and bricks and mortar shop? Do you have a preference? 

I have someone who looks after the online store for me so that I can focus on the bricks and mortar store, which is where my passion lies. I love each step of the process, finding, selecting, curating and then finally, selling the product. Thankfully Anna, who runs our site, understands our vision and has done a great job of translating the mood of 32 onto our online presence.

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What’s your approach to marketing? How easy is it to get the 32 The Guild name out there?

I am still learning, but Instagram is an amazing tool for connecting and finding what our customers love. We all love its visual and community-led mood. We also send our customers a weekly email newsletter which has received a fantastic response. We try to include the pieces that we love, and every month we share our lifestyle edit of films, podcasts and music we’re jamming to in the shop too.

What are the key elements to running a successful independent store? 

Staff are everything! Everyone who works with me is an extension of myself and a great representation of what I believe in.

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What’s next on the horizon for 32 The Guild?

I have a tiny store which I love but I could definitely do with more room to grow. We’re always dreaming of what the shop could be, perhaps combining a larger shop floor with a creative space and a 32 yoga studio somewhere too. Creating a communal feeling is what we are all about, so it would be great to explore what else we can bring into the mix.

Finally, any advice for aspiring indie shop owners?

Don’t give up; believe in your product and your customers will too!

Photography: Anna Considine - This Last Moment

 

32 The Guild, 32 Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1EW

www.32theguild.com

Seek / Inspire / Create with Team 91 - March

Things are getting busy round here at 91 HQ - it's all hands on deck as we bring together our S/S 17 issue - pre-ordering will open soon, so make sure you are on our mailing list to be the first to hear about that! Our team has still managed to fit in some leisure time, and today we are sharing what we've all been up to of late. Don't forget, you can also share the things you've been discovering, making, eating, reading, visiting etc, using our hashtag #seekinspirecreate on Instagram. (find us on IG here

Learning pottery - Lucy Davidson (designer)

I have recently been really enjoying learning how to throw pots at Finola Maynard’s pottery studio. I find learning a craft that is just for me a real treat, it makes such a difference not having the pressure of making to sell. I am addicted and can't wait to make more! I have even taken on the task of making all the table arrangements for my wedding! Find out more about Finola’s ceramics and her workshops here: www.finolamaynard.com

Listening to creative podcasts - Olivia Williams (brand and advertising manager) 

Who knew just a few years back, that our lives could become so enriched by the wonderful world of podcasting? Tuning into thoughtful, inspiring content and tuning out of daily life - such a magical combination! For me, that fix starts with the relief of silencing my chattering mind and instantly being in the company of aspirational people.  

I’m rationing Sara Tasker’s (aka @me_and_orla) new podcast series, Hashtag Authentic which struck such a cord with me whilst I was whirling round the house busting the dust. Plus, thanks to tip-offs from Instagram buddies, I’m now tuned into ‘Magic Lessons’ with Elizabeth Gilbert, and ‘Being Boss’ with Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. These, along with some Radio 4 favourites, make me seek out time to run errands to plug into my podcasts. I wish I could listen whilst I work, but for those times it’s the soothing and melancholic melodies of my Icelandic hero Olafur Arnalds that accompany me instead.

Essex Book Festival - Kath Webber (sub editor) 

The annual month-long Essex Book Festival makes its triumphant return this March with more than 90 events in 45 venues across the county. This year is set to be a bumper year for women writers, with the author of best-selling historical novel The Essex Serpent as the festival's writer in residence. Budding authors can attend one of Sarah Perry's workshops or listen to author Will Ashon talk about the sometimes chequered history of Epping Forest. World-renowned bookshop Foyles in Chelmsford hosts a night of Women in Fiction with Beth Underdown and Syd Moore, exploring the themes of witchcraft and women's writing on March 15th, 6.30pm. If you can't make it then read the authors' respective books The Witchfinder's Sister and Strange Magic for taste of what an Essex girl's reputation ought to be... More details here: www.essexbookfestival.org.uk

A break in the Cotswolds - Laura Pashby (deputy editor) 

I recently escaped with my husband for a child-free break to The Kings Head, a boutique hotel in the heart of the Cotswolds. The Kings Head is a beautiful former coaching inn that dates right back to the fourteenth century, located in the centre of pretty market town Cirencester. Our room had a set of the most elegant sash windows with a view of the town. The en-suite bathroom was pretty much my dream: all metro tiles, walk-in shower, and a huge shuttered window that bathed it in cool winter light.

On our way home, we stopped off at Newark Park, a 16th Century Manor House perched on the edge of the Cotswold Escarpment. Newark Park’s grounds are a favourite haunt of ours, particularly at this time of year when they are carpeted with bobbing white snowdrops, intermingled with cheerful yellow aconite. We rounded off a wander through the gardens and a visit to the resident peacock with a cup of tea and a generous slice of cake.

Shopping in Hastings - Caroline Rowland (editor) 

On what felt like the first day of spring a few weeks back, my family and I took a drive to the south coast for fish and chips, fresh air and a spot of shopping. If you haven't been, put Hastings on your list of day trips to make this summer - it really is charming and highly underrated.

Pictured above is one of my favourite stores to explore - Butler's Emporium on George Street. It is filled with vintage finds, and handmade objects from around the world. Beautifully displayed, it is hard to come away without a little brown paper bag of goodies! Further along George Street, I fed my plant obsession with a browse around Simply Garden, finally bagging that cheese plant I'd been searching for. Last stop was AG Hendy and Co Homestore - where I was lucky to squeeze through the door - it was packed! If possible, a mid week (quieter!) visit might be advisable to really absorb the unique shopping experience of this shop, but it is well worth the visit either way! 

Autumn by Ali Smith - Catherine (marketing and distribution manager) 

I've just finished reading this and I'm tempted to read it all over again. Ali Smith is a genius. Autumn is, 'wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories... a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.' It's totally wonderful, plus it has cover design by David Hockney, which is always pleasing. I also caught up with Ali Smith's interview on Desert Island Discs - turns out she's not just a genius, but a fascinating, funny one to boot. Buy the book.

How to style... your cuppa

As our A/W 16 issue may have suggested, we love a good cuppa here at 91! So much so, that a mug of the hot stuff often creeps into our Instagram feed, and inspired our current hashtag project #91magazine_aquietcuppa. We've loved seeing all your cuppa moments over on IG, and we are looking forward to selecting our faves to feature in the next issue of the magazine. If you haven't joined in yet, or need some inspiration then read on - we are sharing a few tips and ideas for styling your hot drinks, and in particular flat lays in their various forms....

Image by Caroline Rowland

1.  Keep it natural - What normally accompanies your cup of tea or coffee? A good book or magazine? A snuggly blanket? a biscuit? Style your drink alongside the items that naturally go hand in hand. Yes, it may be meticulously styled and set up to get the right light, but you'll likely still enjoyed your tea under that snuggly blanket afterwards! 

Image via 5ftinf

Image via 5ftinf

2. Get Creative - This isn't your 'i just snapped this over breakfast' shot. It's fun, creative and eye-catching. It is almost the opposite theory to our first tip; it is unexpected and not generally an every day scene. Found, foraged or thrifted items work quite well for this type of shot - food, flowers, leaves, shells or vintage curio. Think about colour, pattern and positioning, and just get carried away with creating a mini work of art! Philippa Stanton's Instagram feed @5ftinf is a great example of this. (pic above) 

Image via A Joyful Journey 

Image via A Joyful Journey 

3. Style a meal time - using food in your shots always works well, so incorporate it into your cuppa pics and create a breakfast, coffee break or afternoon tea scene. The easiest and most enjoyable way of doing this is to actually make your meal or break time this beautiful! Perhaps opt for a weekend morning when you have the time to clear the table of daily life admin, pop some blooms in a vase, and select some pretty food and crockery to include. Use a photo worthy surface or lay a tablecloth, then shoot your pics before your breakfast date tucks in! 

4. Make your props relevant - a photo styling tip that has stuck in my head for a long time is about making your props relevant. Whether it's a cup of tea or a product you are selling, selecting props that are actually used in it's production make the scene more authentic. Scatter tea leaves or coffee beans, incorporate (attractive) packaging and include other tea making paraphenalia such as the teapot, strainer, teaspoon and sugar cubes. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage, design-led or handmade versions of these objects which you can keep in your prop box.

Image via Decor Dots

Image via Decor Dots

5. Embrace simplicity and negative space - You don't necessarily need to fill every inch of your frame; opting for a serene scene which takes advantage of negative space can be just as eye-catching. Play around with the composition to find the most pleasing arrangement, consider the object spacing and don't be afraid to allow your crop to cut through some of the props.

Image via @helloemilie

Image via @helloemilie

6. Use foliage and flowers - I wonder what percentage of Instagram images ever posted include flowers or plants?! Well they just look so blinking great don't they?! Tea and flowers are definitely a combo that not many of us would turn down, so they inevitably pair well in pics too. There are so many ways to incorporate your greenery or blooms - lay a posy or single stem flat, or in a vase, scatter petals or allow foliage to creep into frame - simply play around to see what works best. Plants and flowers help to bring life to your images and soften hard surfaces, and generally help to prettify everything! 

Image via @newdarlings

Image via @newdarlings

7. Include yourself - Another way to bring life to your images is to feature yourself! Don't worry if you are camera shy - I'm talking hands and (nicely pedicured!) feet - although of course seeing the faces behind IG accounts is always welcome! A hand stirring in the milk, or cradling your warm drink adds a human element to your images, plus you get to show off that lovely new nail colour you've discovered! 

Here is a little list of suggested props - you'll probably have most things around the home anyway, or you can keep a little box of items specifically for styling purposes: 

  • nice cups / teapots
  • books and magazines 
  • spectacles
  • lovely crockery and cutlery
  • scissors
  • blankets
  • tea leaves / coffee beans
  • tea and coffee accessories - tea strainers, spoons etc
  • trays
  • candles
  • pretty food - cake, pastries, fruit, etc.
  • foraged items - foliage, pinecones, shells
  • plants / flowers 
  • thrifted items - vintage linen, old photos and postcards, crockery

We hope you might feel inspired to get involved in our hashtag project, and you may well see your image in our S/S 17 issue due out in May! If you'd like more cuppa eye candy, then pop over to our dedicated Pinterest board... 

#91magazine_myquietcuppa

91 is pinning... Spring time

March is here! The month when it officially starts to feel like winter is behind us for another year, and we feel optimism and excitement for leisurely evenings enjoying the extra light and warmth. It's at this time of year I feel a real sense of 'fresh start' - much more than I do at the beginning of the year. 

Spring flowers are definitely some of my favourites - delicate narcissus, simple tulips and papery ranunculuses are perfect for indoor displays, while camelias, magnolias and blossom are starting to bloom outdoors.

It feels so refreshing and invigorating to be able to fling open the windows and doors to the house and not feel an icy blast, but instead a soft breeze, dappled with the sound of bird song and children playing. 

Take your coffee into the garden, and sit quietly or have a potter and simply breath in the tranquility that a Spring afternoon can bring. The comfort that hearty winter food brings is replaced with the need for fresher, lighter meals - if you're lucky you may have some edible flowers in your garden, which make for a seriously pretty salad! 

And what could be better than an early evening bike ride, perhaps catching the sun setting on your return? Only improved by coming across a scene like this! 

What's your favourite thing about spring readers? We'd love to hear! Plus, pop over to our Pinterest page for more Spring inspiration

Perfume blending with Experimental Perfume Club

With so many perfumes on the market it is often hard to find your perfect scent, so we were super excited to hear about the Experimental Perfume Club, who offer workshops in making your very own blend, bespoke to you. We sent 91 contributor Catherine Frawley along to one of their taster workshops to give it a go....

Founder of Experimental Perfume Club (EPC), Emmanuelle, is welcoming and French, which, when you envisage a Perfumer you have an expectation that they should be French, so luckily Em doesn’t disappoint. After graduating 12 years ago in Paris from ISIPCA, the best perfume school in the world, she worked with perfume factories all over the world creating bespoke scents. For the last year she has been living in London, running the Experimental Perfume Club workshops from her bright, white, and intimate space a short walk from Dalston Junction.

Are you the type of person who has a signature scent? One that you always wear, a scent that you adore, that perhaps evokes strong memories, and that you know suits you? Or perhaps, like me, you are not quite sure what you like or why you like it, then the 1 hour taster course at EPC which I took, is a great starting point.

Under Em’s guidance you are encouraged to use your instincts when smelling nine blends - talk about what you can detect, how does it make you feel, what words would you use to describe what you are experiencing. Is it fresh, fruity, woody, sweet or herbaceous? Does it transport you to a gentleman’s club or an earthy potting shed? Does it remind you of Christmas time, a classic old car, your childhood, your grandma? Is it soapy, spicy, citrusy or sharp?

We rated each scent from 1 (dislike) to 9 (love) before talking about the structure of creating a perfume. Top notes like citrus, are the gateway, i.e. your nose’s pathway into the scent, this makes up 30% of your perfume recipe and last ten minutes or so on the skin. The heart, makes up 40% - these are your floral, spicy and fruity notes - and last 2-3 hours on the skin. Finally, you are left with 30% of base notes - those woody and oriental scents - these, in a good quality perfume can last post shower.

Working instinctively the alchemy begins making your unique scent, discussing with Em and tweaking the 30/40/30 recipe to your own preferences.

The class was very fun, giggly and collaborative with everyone checking each other's creations, using our new perfume vocabulary and offering advice when someone in particular (that would be me) had gone too fruity. Once the blends were perfect and had the nod from Em, we had the particularly tricky task of naming and labelling our scents. They ranged from Black Tomato, Woodland Arches and Orchard - but then we all translated them to French because, let’s face it, EVERYTHING sounds better in French!

The time passes quickly as we pack up our signature scents, along with a mini meringue or two and say a very reluctant ‘au revoir’ to our incredible teacher.

The taster course costs £125 and includes your 50ml perfume creation. Emmanuelle also offers longer, more in depth courses. If you are looking for an extra special Mothers Day gift, they have a workshop on the 26th March you can take your mum along to together! Find all the details on the website: www.experimentalperfumeclub.com


Words & Images by Catherine Frawley

WIN £150 to spend with We Are Knitters

As well as a shared love for interiors and creative living, it turns out that nearly all of the 91 Magazine team have a passion for all things yarn. Our sub editor Kath is a whizz with both knitting needles and a crochet hook, designing patterns as part of her work, while Lucy, our designer, is a general craft genius, but in particular hosts weaving workshops around the country. Myself and deputy editor Laura both enjoy a knitting project to unwind away from the computer screen. 

It's true that knitting is a skill that you need to acquire, but it's not a difficult one, and with the abundance of online tutorials these days it's even easier to learn the basics in an evening. If you are unsure of what to make, or what type of wool and needles you'd need, then We Are Knitters are the perfect place to discover some gorgeous projects both to wear and to accessorise your home with. Their kits range from beginner level to advanced and come with everything you need to get knitting straight away. 

As design lovers here at 91, we are naturally drawn to their super stylish branding (very Instagram-able!), the lovely wooden needles and the beautiful yarn colours available. I am currently making the Dudo scarf which uses The Meri Wool in salmon pink - the perfect accessory for a nippy spring day I think. 

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Whether you're a seasoned knitter or a complete novice, we think you'll be excited to hear that we have teamed up with We Are Knitters to offer one 91 Magazine blog reader the chance to win £150 to spend on their website! That should get you 2-3 of their kits to try out, or if you are an advanced knitter you could stock up your yarn supplies very well indeed! We are loving the 'sprinkle' version of the Meri Wool above. They also offer crochet and macramé kits too, so you could try out a few different crafts if 2017 really is your year of learning new things!

The giveaway is open to UK based readers only, and the closing date is 10th March 2017. A winner will be selected at random and We Are Knitters will contact you directly if you are the lucky one. Do pop over to the We Are Knitters website to have a browse at what you might be able to bag yourself!

Simply CLICK HERE to enter.  

Right, I'm off to snuggle up and carry on with that scarf! Good Luck readers! x

This post has been sponsored by We are Knitters. All images and opinions are those of Caroline Rowland, editor of 91 Magazine. 

From the cutting room floor - A/W 16 issue

We really did have some stunning photoshoots for our A/W 16 issue, so today I wanted to share a few of the fabulous images that we wish we could have fitted in the magazine, but we literally just didn't have the space for. If you haven't got your hands on a copy of this issue yet, then do pop over and order yours, we are down to the last couple of boxes now, so they won't be around for long! 

Photo: Jemma Watts

Photo: Jemma Watts

Photo: Jemma Watts 

Photo: Jemma Watts 

Kelly Love's home was our cover star, and the space is a true beauty. Our photographer Jemma captured it beautifully, I find myself constantly going back to pore over this one! 

Photo: Kasia Fiszer

Photo: Kasia Fiszer

We love a good shelfie here at 91, especially if it is as beautiful as this one! Our Studio Tour feature visited the ceramics workshop of Katie Robbins, full of her stunning work and the natural elements that inspire it. 

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Photo: Emma Harrel / Styling: Charlotte Page

Our Cook & Craft feature was inspired by one of our favourite tipples - tea. Seriously delicious cocktails and cakes, that also happen to be very pretty! 

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Photo: Holly Marder

Another swoon-worthy home was that of Ruth van de Louw. Shot by Holly Marder, it is full of pattern, colour and fun - a great family space. 

Photo: Richard Clatworthy / Styling: Laura Sawyer 

Photo: Richard Clatworthy / Styling: Laura Sawyer 

Our inspiration feature focussed on the trend for childlike design and interiors. I just love this little collection of cuteness and colour, with lots of our fave indie makers and sellers popping up in there too.

Photo: Emma Harris

Photo: Emma Harris

Photo: Heather Young

Photo: Heather Young

Photo: Teri Muncey

Photo: Teri Muncey

Last but definitely not least, are the images captured by Emma Harris, Heather Young and Teri Muncey. These were part of the collaborative feature we did with West Elm, and again, with only one spread per stylist we were limited with how many images we could use. Aren't they dreamy?! 

I hope you've enjoyed this little extension of the A/W issue, and as I said, if you haven't got your copy yet, you best get your skates on! Order yours here. 

Meet the Maker: Flora Jamieson

This month we talk lead lines, flashbacks and catching the light with stained glass designer-maker, Flora Jamieson 

A couple of weeks into an adult education evening course in stained glass design, Flora Jamieson had a flashback... ‘I suddenly had this clear memory of a school trip I’d been on many years before to Salisbury Cathedral. I’d snuck off mid-tour of the church, and found myself in the cloisters, where they were running a huge stained glass restoration project. I was totally captivated by these delicate, stunning pieces of glass and remember thinking how amazing you could have a job working with such beautiful materials.’

Back at school, the trip was soon forgotten, ‘but a seed must have been planted deep in my brain,’ Flora recalls, ‘because, in the middle of the evening class, the memory of that trip, and my excitement at seeing the stained glass work came flooding back. It was something of a turning point for me, a long dormant idea came back to life, and I thought maybe this is something I can do – maybe I can learn to do a traditional skill and never have to do a boring office job again.’

She wasn’t a huge fan of office life then? ‘Not really,’ she laughs, ‘I knew I had to do something with my hands, to create something or I was going to go a bit crazy. But until that point, I hadn’t been sure what that ‘thing’ would be.’

Collaboration with artist Vicki Turner

Collaboration with artist Vicki Turner

The evening class gave way to a more advanced course at Kensington and Chelsea College, which she balanced alongside her work as a studio administrator –  first at Madame Tussaud’s and then in a photography studio. ‘They were both great environments to work in,’ she says, ‘I was surrounded by brilliant, creative people, but had been feeling frustrated that I wasn’t creating anything for myself. I’d studied art at school, but didn’t feel I was good enough so didn’t pursue it once I’d left school. Instead, I opted to do a degree in Media Studies, but it soon became clear that although it was a good course, it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in.’

The Kensington course completed, Flora approached thirty stained glass workshops looking for a work placement. One, in Wandsworth, replied, ‘they came back to me and said they’d take me on as their ‘Saturday person’ – and that’s how it started. Over time I increased my days in the workshop, and dropped down days in the office until I was working in the stained glass workshop full time. I stayed there for three years, and learnt so much during that time from a group of really talented craftspeople.’

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Pregnant with her first child, Flora and her husband left London for Bridport, in Dorset. The move influenced her work on both a creative and practical level. ‘Living in Dorset has cemented my love of the natural world. I love trying to capture the beauty of nature in my work. More practically, I had to change how I worked. The sheer volume of domestic stained glass in London meant that there was always work to be found. There just isn’t that level of domestic glass in Dorset,’ she explains, ‘so I had to start creating my own work.’ 

Flora began focusing on making smaller pieces and building up an online presence. ‘I was pregnant with my second child just as things like Instagram and Etsy were really starting to gain ground. I realised there was a market for smaller, more contemporary pieces and so I started an IG account, blog and Etsy shop. Apart from keeping my skills going, it was also a great way to learn about the social media side of things – and how to market my work.’

Flora’s own contemporary designs use bold, jewel colours and have an almost graphic feel. Where does she get her inspiration from? ‘I think smaller pieces of stained glass work, lend themselves well to the sort of strong, 60s and 70s aesthetic. I’m influenced by the work of Marimekko, Paul Rand, Dick Bruna – I love the confidence and simplicity of their designs. I’m also influenced by the medium itself. The nature of working with glass is there are limitations to what you can do, and I enjoy trying to find a way of creating my vision within those limitations – the problem solving is quite an inspiration!’

With both daughters in school, and more time to work, Flora has found her business growing quickly over the last couple of years. ‘I hesitate to call it a business, as I never set out to be a business person, but I’m definitely getting busier, and I’m really enjoying how the business is growing organically, and around my children, really. It’s gently expanding to fill my time – which is good.'

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Flora works during school hours, from her home workshop. ‘I’m very lucky – I have two outbuildings. One I use as a designing and making room, then a second smaller space is my painting and firing room. It’s useful to keep them separate, so I can keep the paint as dust free as possible.’

The final part of the process – cementing – gets done in the bike shed. ‘It’s really messy, so I’m afraid the bikes suffer at times!’

Flora’s workload is a pretty even split of her own design work and client commissions, and she takes a collaborative approach to the commissioning process. ‘After an initial discussion about the sort of design the client is looking for, I’ll create a Pinterest board which we can both add to and edit – a sort of online mood board, and I’ll use that to work up a design concept. Once the client is happy with the design, I create a full size plan and send it, along with glass samples, to the client. Stained glass can dominate a room, so it’s really important that the client can see the design and glass in situ, so we can be sure it will work in the space and won’t clash or overwhelm other features in the room.’

The approved design is initially created in pencil and then overlaid with a cut line – a 1.5m thick black ink line, this indicates where the central line of the lead will lie.  Next, Flora will cut the glass and then add any decorative painting required for the design, firing each piece in the kiln to fuse the paint to the glass. It can take several firings to get the right levels of shading and detail.

The pattern is then created by alternating glass and lead until all the pieces are laid. ‘Basically it’s like creating a giant, complex jigsaw puzzle,’ Flora says, ‘once the pieces are all laid, I’ll solder the lead and then the final part of the process is cementing, using a runny putty which is brushed into all the gaps to strengthen and waterproof the piece.’

As you might expect from a traditional craft, Flora is also kept busy with restoration work, mainly of Victorian and Edwardian domestic and church stained glass.  Is there an interplay between her restoration work and design work, between new and old? ‘I really enjoy the balance between restoration and contemporary work.’ Flora says, ‘Seeing the craftsmanship of Victorian stained glass makers close up, is wonderful. It really inspires me to apply the same discipline to my own, modern work.

‘I’ll often be working on contemporary and restoration pieces at the same time and I love the look of my kiln shelf when it’s a mix of my work, and work which was created over a hundred years ago. Last week I had a shelf full of my contemporary bird designs, and a set of Victorian birds – an aviary from across the ages, it was wonderful.’

Commissions aside, Flora is currently working on some pieces for sale as part of the Makers 4 Refugees project and is hoping to create some more pieces as part of a collaboration with  artist and designer Vicki Turner. ‘We created some pieces together last year, and I loved working with Vicki, so I’m keen to do more when we both have time.’

With multiple pieces and projects on the go at one time, does Flora find it difficult to focus on one thing? ‘I have been known to procrastinate at the design stage, definitely,’ Flora laughs, ‘but once I’m in the workshop I’m totally in the flow. Getting my hands on the work in the studio is what it’s all about for me. I just can’t wait to hold the finished piece, and see how it catches the light. It’s always a magical moment.’

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe your work in three words: 

Playful, narrative, idiosyncratic 

What are your making rituals? 

After I've got my daughters off to school, I'll often go for a run (and sometimes a swim in the sea if I have time).  Then I'll get in to the workshop, tidy up a bit, find a good podcast to listen to and then get down to it.  But if I'm really busy as it has been lately, then it's just: music on loud and get to work.

Tea or coffee?

I just got an Aeropress for Christmas and it makes the nicest coffee.

Mountains or sea? 

I think probably sea, but if the mountain in question had a waterfall tumbling into a crystal clear pool then it'd be a hard call.

Night owl or early bird?  

Definitely night owl.  I'm terrible at putting myself to bed.

I wish someone had told me...

To take up running sooner.  I started when I was 39 and it seems such a waste when I think of all those years I could have been enjoying it.

www.florajamieson.co.uk

 

91 is reading.... Studio

If you are a creative person, then the chances are you have a creative space in some shape or form. Whether it's a corner of your spare room, a garden retreat, or a huge loft room studio, it's your space; a space to make, write, paint, design and it's likely you have expressed your creativity in the decor of the area you work in. A brand new book by Sally Coulthard delves in to the creative spaces of a wide range of makers, designers and crafters. Studio gives us a peek into their working lives and how they have chosen to build their surroundings in order to offer practicality as well as daily inspiration.

Photo: Caroline Rowland

Photo: Caroline Rowland

I was lucky enough to be part of the team that helped put this book together. I worked alongside Sally to source the imagery for the book, and it was a joy to research and collate a beautiful collection of studio spaces from creative people whose work I admire or have discovered through the project. We, of course, love a studio tour here at 91, so it was a bit of a dream freelance job to work on alongside my work on the magazine! 

Nathalie Lete's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Nathalie Lete's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Catherine Derksema's studio - Photo: Rachel Kara

Catherine Derksema's studio - Photo: Rachel Kara

The first part of the book categorises different looks - bright, mono, natural, industrial and collected. Each section features case studies which have perfected these styles, such as Claire Basler's stunning painting studio in a French chateau, where she has brought the outdoors in to inspire her nature focussed work. Designer Natahalie Lete's studio (above top), featured in the 'collected' section, is a treasure trove of quirkiness, and is completely idiosyncratic of her fairytale inspired work. I loved exploring Australian textile designer Cath Derksema's industrial space (above) - her colourful work brings a happy, playful vibe to the warehouse's raw materials and large expanse. Each section also includes a 'Get the Look' spread, with some ideas for creating a similar space yourself. 

Lise Meunier's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Lise Meunier's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

The book goes on to look at the various types of work that takes place in these creative studios - from ceramics and woodwork to fine art and illustration to blogging and photography. Sally talks a little bit about the considerations of each type of working environment before highlighting a collection of real studios spaces. She has gathered together some really notable creative people, from artist Lisa Congdon, to woodworker Ariele Alasko to ceramist Lise Meunier (above).

Lisa Congdon's studio - Photo: Janis Nicolay

Lisa Congdon's studio - Photo: Janis Nicolay

Sally Taylor's studio - Photo: Victoria Harley

Sally Taylor's studio - Photo: Victoria Harley

What is particuarly lovely about this book is the vast variation on types of studios featured. While I seem to have selected images which are all quite feminine and colourful here (!), the book does not ignore darker colour palettes, masculine spaces, and those that are less about style and more about the creative process. While you will find it in the Interiors section of your book shop, and it is indeed filled with images of interiors, I find it is much more than just an interiors book. It is about the people that inhabit these spaces, their creativity and the work that is produced within their walls. 

STUDIO: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard is published by Jacqui Small LLP and is available for pre-order. Release date: 16th March 2017. 

Make: Valentine's Wreath

Whatever your thoughts on Valentines Day, here at 91 we've got something for everyone. Last week we shared a tutorial to make these earthy homemade candles, a heartfelt gift made by your own fair hands. Today it is time for a little bit of kitsch, a burst of colour and a chance to let the world know you're in love! 91 stylist Laura Sawyer shows us how to make a fun Valentines wreath...

Photo: Richard Clatworthy Props:  French Love Poems: £9.99 / True Love Valentine’s Card (in Gold Glitter): £4.50 / Ville Fleur Cup & Saucer: £14 Stockist: www.anthropologie.com

Photo: Richard Clatworthy

Props:  French Love Poems: £9.99 / True Love Valentine’s Card (in Gold Glitter): £4.50 / Ville Fleur Cup & Saucer: £14 Stockist: www.anthropologie.com

With Christmas now a distant memory, it's been a while since our doors have been adorned. They're probably feeling in need of some new season accessories just as much as we are. 

A Valentine's Day wreath hanging on the door will let Cupid know you're looking for love or thank Eros for bringing you your Valentine. 

I personally have rather fallen for this super kitsch decoration and have chosen to hang it inside my house with some Valentine's Day accessories. 

What you'll need: 

  • Artificial flowers
  • Scissors
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Wire 
  • Tape
  • Optional additions: Pink paint / Paint brush /Paper flowers / Anthropologie Valentine's Kit / Cherub decorations / Birds / Rosette / Ribbon / Valentine's messages

How to make: 

1. Prepare all the materials you wish to add. I found some little cherubs on eBay so painted them pink. The rosette was a jumble sale find - I replaced the centre with a Valentines message. I cut the flower stems shorter also. 

2. Bend your coat hanger into a heart shape by pulling the bottom down from the middle to create the point and pushing the hanger part down towards the point. Then alter to make a neat shape. 

3. With your first flower, wrap the wire stem around the coat hanger. Do the same with the next flower, keeping it close to the first.  

4. Continue this around the hanger keeping the flowers tight to each other and varying the direction the flowers are pointing. 

5. Once you have a full wreath of roses it's time to start adding your accessories. This is the fun bit - the more the better I say! I made the arrow with a cute kit from Anthropologie, then I added birds, cherubs, paper flowers, stickers, ribbon, a rosette and a LOVE note. Use wire and/or tape to secure these to your wreath. 

Photo: Richard Clatworthy

Photo: Richard Clatworthy

6. Once you've added all of your adornments your wreath is ready to hang by it's own built in hanger!

Happy Valentines Day readers! We love you all! xxx

Images by Richard Clatworthy and Laura Sawyer