Monday, 14 May 2018

Put cats in the coffee and mice in the tea

My local record fair is this coming weekend, but as I leave for Rome on Saturday I knew I'd be missing it. As it would of been my final record fair in Devon that made me slightly sad, until I realised I could just travel to the next town over as it's held there a week earlier! I actually ended up preferring it and am disappointed I've never made the trip before. It has a lot of the same sellers as my local, but many more so it's much larger. I also found it more friendly overall, with a much nicer atmosphere. My local one is a bit male-centric, there are very few women who go and I've experienced a lot of sexism from the sellers completely ignoring me, buyers physically pushing me out of the way when I'm trying to flick through boxes, and generally getting talked over. I'm clueless as to why so many men feel that women can't take music as seriously as they do, but apparently that's the case. There were a lot of women at this fair though, so all of that unpleasantness was avoided and I found some great things too!

I was most excited at finding Wet Dream by Richard Wright. It's a promo copy in really nice condition, and not something I ever expected to find in the flesh. I've actually had this record in my eBay watch list for a while, but it always goes a bit higher than I'd want to pay so I was practically shaking when I saw this was not only a promo, but also half the cost of the ones I'd been looking at!

I also got a first mono pressing of Cat Stevens second album New Masters, King Crimson's Lizard, and Genesis' Foxtrot. I'm only interested in Genesis with Peter Gabriel and have been after this album on vinyl for a while, but I wasn't willing to spend more than £10 so it took a while (and I got it for £6!)

The fair runs entirely on cash, which I like as it means I can't get carried away and only spend a set amount. I usually browse all of the boxes and then go back from what I want, but this fair was so huge I knew I wouldn't be able to, and typically I actually found the Richard Wright record last when I was £5 short so had to pop out to a cash point and break my own rule!

After the fair I naturally had a little look around the charity shops, one of which was an Oxfam bookshop which are often my favourite. I found Donovan's autobiography, which I've read before but it wasn't my copy so I'm happy to finally own it, and a 1974 copy of The Annotated Alice. Isn't that cover just gorgeous? Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is my most favourite book in the entire world (I even have a tattoo of the White Rabbit on my arm!) and this is a really great book to understand the themes of the novel. What most people think of as "nonsense" is largely symbolism and social commentary, which is why it's so laughable when people swear blind Lewis Carroll was on opium when he wrote it.

t-shirt - Their Mortal Remains exhibition // skirt - Stradivarius via Asos (old) // shoes - Vivienne Westwood x Melissa // headband - Topshop (old)

And this is what I wore. I got this t-shirt at Their Mortal Remains, and I love it. It's the cover art to A Saucerful of Secrets and I like that it's not an obvious band shirt so it's a little different. And my sandals are new! I've been lusting after a pair of Vivienne Westwood x Melissa Hermes sandals since I first saw them in 2010, but unfortunately that was 2 years after they were released and they were selling for an absolute fortune secondhand, even snide Chinese pairs were selling for over £100, so they remained a pipe dream. I was looking at the Melissa website about a year ago and noticed they'd remade them with a smaller platform. I wasn't keen at first, but when I saw them recently for 70% off I warmed to them a lot more! I'm actually really happy with them now, the lower platform makes them wearable for everyday and they're ridiculously comfortable. The sole is basically all cushion, it like walking on clouds.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

I Am Free

I haven't been around these parts much lately, I've had my final uni project to focus on and as usual I procrastinated up until the last minute and so had to fit about 6 weeks worth of work into 3 weeks! To be honest it hasn't settled in yet that uni will all be over very soon. I've really hated university for the most part, it's been a very dark period of my life where I've felt completely isolated and my mental illnesses got very unstable which led to suicide attempts. But on the flip side, and I'm trying my best to think of the positives, it's been three years where I got to focus on my artwork and there's not many who can say that. I may not have had the mental capacity to make the most of that, but I've still created work I'm proud of and feel I've finally found my groove with it all and know where to go from here. I'm also proud of myself for not giving up, as I was all prepared to drop out along the way as I'm sure you can imagine. I may have had a hellish time, but as cliché as it sounds I'm definitely leaving stronger for it.

Some of the pieces from my final project, I designed a series of music posters and drew a multi page editorial piece

And now it's preparing for the next stage! I've really tried to make the most of having free time this year, as I know that's a luxury I won't have soon. I'm also trying to do all I can to ensure I don't get stuck in a dead-end job, and that I keep drawing and feeling creative. Hopefully that part should be easy enough as I plan on doing a 365 drawing challenge where I draw every single day for a year. Which sounds a bit intimidating, but not every drawing has to be a masterpiece, as long as I'm sketching it counts (and trying to loose my perfectionism in my art is another goal I'd like to achieve so hopefully it'll fit with that too!). Drawing everyday is so important as an artist as it's so easy to loose that creative mindset and find yourself in a never ending art block, and also skills and style will stagnate and never develop. My perfectionism is what's always stopped me from doing this before which is why it's a mindset I'm so desperate to break out of, I really want to learn to draw just for the fun of it purely for myself again.

I'd also like to complete a 365 photo a day challenge, so you might start seeing that on here. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, and something I've tried just about every year for the past 8 years but given up after a few days, but I think it will really help my creativity and also help my mental health by keeping me grounded and taking stock of things I'm doing each day, even if that's not much.

As for job stuff, that's under wraps at the moment as I don't want to flap my mouth too much and then have it not pan out, but fingers crossed!

This is what I wore yesterday to hand in my project and sign everything off. My dress I made during my first year of uni out of some vintage crimplene, and my shoes are vintage 1960s. My necklace I bought when I went to Boscastle last year, it's smokey quartz and citrine. I love crystals and these two stones are very special to me so I feel like this is my 'lucky' necklace and I rarely remove it. It was last official day of uni, although I still have to go in for some meetings and there's the degree art showing where our work is displayed to the public and prospective clients. So I suddenly find myself with all of the free time in the world!

Title: The Kinks - I Am Free

Friday, 13 April 2018

Thrifty Finds

My time back at home is drawing to a close, which makes me sad but I'm focusing on all of the good things about going back. I have so many things to do I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought but it's all fun and things I want to do, such as travelling to local places that will soon no longer be local, sewing projects, and I'm going to Italy next month which I still have a lot of planning to do for. And as usual, I'm leaving home with plenty of vintage treasures!

The striped dress is much more vibrant in real life, and I've been admiring it every time I've visited the antiques shop for years now. I'm not sure why I hesitated for so long as it's £12 price tag is hardly breaking the bank. I decided this was the day it had to come home with me! I'm slowly building my kitchen and I'm really excited with this little pan. I love the idea of one day having a set of vintage pans in all different colours and designs, I've never understood why people have to have their kitchens so matchy-matchy. It's in perfect condition, and was only £2.50.

I really love this cassette holder. It doesn't hold a huge amount of cassettes, just 20 in their cases, but I thought it would make a great way to display all of my Pink Floyd cassettes. I've been inspired to move all my collectible merchandise to one place to display it, and it's very pleasing finding little knick knacks to fit in with this. Now I feel like I want to build up my tape collection though to fill it up!

I loved these curtains as soon as I saw them, but initially decided to leave them behind as I have no use for them just yet and thought I'd go back in summer to see if they were still there. But when I got to my car I had to turn around and go back! They're so perfect, in just the right colour scheme and I'd kick myself if they sold. I missed out on a great pair of curtains once before, and wasn't prepared to do it again! The lady at the till asked if I was going to keep them as curtains or make something else, and I was slightly horrified at the prospect of cutting them up. I think curtains can really set the decor of a room. I'll love looking at this pattern everyday, not just occasionally when I wear a dress!

The green is a vintage dust cover, a slightly unusual purchase but I use dust covers for more delicate clothing and this will look so much more cheerful in my wardrobe than my current beige one.

If you saw my Day In The Life post you may have seen me mention a sewing box I'd fallen in love with, and I went back for it yesterday! It's got so many things in it, and I admit I don't know what all of them are. I thought it would look great in my home alongside my new curtains! Although I'm not at a time in my life where I can actually use these things yet and they're going into storage, I like to buy them anyway as then as soon as I do have a home of my own I'm not in any hurry to fill it and make it mine, as I'll already have quality things bought in dribs and drabs put aside.

This little haul was all from the same charity shop, over Easter weekend my local Oxfam changed their stock to entirely vintage or vintage inspired. I've long admired this range by Lord Nelson Ware Pottery, but they're usually a bit expensive for me in antiques shops so I had to grab this one as soon as I saw it. It's in perfect condition, the rubber seal was stretched out and no longer fit and just loose in the jar, but a few minutes in boiling water shrunk it back to size.

I've always really loved the look of '60s rain macs, and I found an original '60s rain hat. Now I just need to find a matching black coat! And the yellow belt isn't vintage, it's originally from Topshop, but I thought it looked the part so well I couldn't leave it.

And lastly, here's my fabric score! I got this in an antiques mall, it's mostly various lengths of crimplene. I saw the large coral peice on the bottom first, and knowing it was crimplene expected it to be £20 or more as it often is. I flipped in my shoes when I saw it was £1.50! I pulled out more and more lengths grabbing for anything that caught my eye, and all of the other lengths were priced between 10-40 pence! This entire pile cost £4.50, and there's enough to make several dresses out of.

Quite a few things, but I like to go a bit mad when I'm home and visit all of the places as there's so little to be had where I live.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

All Of Them Witches

I've mentioned lots on this blog that Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby has always been my biggest fashion inspiration, and inspired me to begin wearing '60s clothing in the first place. I'm fully aware that I look nothing like Rosemary, but it's never stopped me from wishing I could own versions of her dresses! It's something I've always been on the lookout for, particularly my two most favourite: the yellow Hawaiian print tent dress, and the floral dress she wears when attending dinner at Minnie and Roman's house. It's a darling little tent shaped dress with a round bib collar.

I saw a similarly patterned fabric in the charity shop a year ago and immediately thought of Rosemary's dress and knew I had to make it! I had the project on hold until recently as I was looking for the right pattern, but then I realised I had something similar and I just had to draft the collar. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!

In hindsight, I wish I'd used a different fabric. It's a nylon and slippery like a swimsuit, which is no doubt why it was in the charity shop in the first place! But it draped nicely and I thought would just look like a thin crimplene or polyester. It's generally OK, but it hangs a bit funny at some of the seams and its not something that I'd use again. If I was going to make it again, I'd use a cotton. But I gave it my best shot!

Monday, 9 April 2018

A Day In The Life

It's been a while since I last documented an ordinary day with a photo an hour, and as the previous one was when I was last home for Easter, I thought it would be a great time to do it once again.

10am - As I'm currently on break I like to wake up a little later (I've never been a morning person!). I can't bare to hang around in my pajamas, so I always select an outfit and put on my face before anything else so that I'm ready for the day ahead.

11am - Mum and I were spending the day together and as it was sunny for once, we decided to head for the nearby seaside. There aren't many illuminations by the seafront but I've always been quite attached to this one. It's by the train station, so whenever I see it I associate it with being nearly home.

Noon - Despite being sunny, it was still cold out but I can never resist an ice cream! I remember first having this raspberry and blueberry ice cream when I was in Germany when I was 12. I didn't understand German well enough to know what flavour it was supposed to be, I only knew it was the nicest ice cream I'd ever had. It's only the past couple of years I've started seeing it in the UK and it always reminds me of visiting Cologne!

1pm - I imagine this might seem quite a funny thing to record to any Americans reading, but in the UK Taco Bell is brand new and there's only a handful of stores around the entire country. One of them happens to be near me and only opened last year, so it's still a novelty as Mexican food here is extremely limited. When I visited California a few years ago Taco Bell and Del Taco were my favourites for fast food so I'm really glad we have it here at last!

2pm - We had some more time to spare, so decided to check out an antiques shop that's opened fairly recently in that end of town. I have a soft spot for Winnie The Pooh as I loved A A Milne growing up, and thought these mugs were darling. They're shaped like honey pots and have little gold bees all over. I also saw a 1960s foot stool which is also a sewing box filled with all of it's original sewing supplies. It's been haunting me, so I'm hoping it's still there when I pop back for it!

3pm - We finally arrived home and I'd received a few exciting items in the post, including my ticket to see Roger Waters in July! It's unusual to receive it 3 months early, but I bought it presale for attending BST last year so perhaps that's why. I'm also seeing him in Birmingham and that ticket hasn't arrived yet. It's the two nights preceding my birthday, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate!

4pm - It was such lovely weather I couldn't bare to stay in the house and so plugged myself into my iPod and went on a long countryside walk to get lost in my thoughts.

5pm - I ended up walking for over 5 miles around the reservoir. It's one of my favourite past times as it's so beautiful and peaceful up there, I just focus on the music and get completely lost in it and imagine I'm watching it at a concert.

6pm - On my way home to be back for dinner. The sun was beginning to set and I loved how it shone behind the daffodils lighting them up.

7pm - I then spent most of the evening on my laptop, writing a post for my Pink Floyd blog and editing a video for my YouTube channel. I may have also booked a couple of things for my holiday next month!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Paper Caper - 1960s paper fashions

When I made my last post of my Etsy wish list I was quite surprised by the reaction of paper clothing so thought it would make a good post all of it's own!

It can be difficult to understand paper clothes from today's perspective as the biggest question seems to be "but why??", so it's important to remember that consumerism was brand new in the 1960s. In the UK rationing from WWII had only ended in the mid-50s, and the youth of the '60s were the first working class generation to ever have disposable income - previously their wages had to help support the household. This is why earlier generations were more of the "make do and mend" mind set, where absolutely nothing went to waste because there simply wasn't enough to go around - money, food, anything.

So when you look at the 1960s through this lens, you can understand the excitement that consumerism caused. Today we're used to popping to Primark every week and filling up landfills, but the 1960s were the very beginning of fast fashion. The concept of wearing something new every week for discotheques and parties was exciting and new, and designers were coming up with new ways to make fashion even faster. So it's unsurprising then that the idea of making clothes literally disposable felt revolutionary.

Paper clothes were first introduced in 1966 by The Scott Paper Company, who intended it as a publicity tool. For $1.25 and a coupon women could buy a sleeveless shift paper dress which came in two designs: a black and white Op Art motif, and a red bandanna pattern. Paper clothing most popularly came in the form of dresses as it's structure lent itself well to A-line shift dress shape, but later there were also other items available such as men's vests, evening gowns, jumpsuits, children's pinafores and even underwear.

A paper coat, from VintageClothingDream on Etsy.

It created a bit of a fad with designers jumping on the bandwagon, and paper dresses could soon be found in boutiques and department stores in both the US and the UK. In 1967 a paper shift dress in the US was commonly sold for around $8, which is the equivalent of around $68 in 2018 so although disposable they were by no means cheap.

Paper clothing wasn't like what we use to write or draw on - it was more in line with disposable hospital clothing which you may be familiar with if you've ever had to wear it for surgery, it feels like a stiff paper towel. Due to being paper it came in a wide array of colourful mod and psychedelic patterns, but these colours would disintegrate and transfer onto the wearer as the fibres began to break down from wear, and although it was moisture-proof you couldn't wear it in the rain. Just think about what happens with you get a magazine wet and imagine that happening to your dress! They were however highly customisable as they were easy to shorten with nothing but a pair of scissors, they could be sellotaped back together if they tore, and some even came blank so the wearer could draw on their own design.

Possibly the most famous paper dress. Although the inspiration for the design was taken from Andy Warhol’s use of the Campbell’s Soup label, Warhol did not design this dress or have any involvement in its creation.

Paper clothing was expensive for what it was, and often cost as much as regular clothing. Fast fashion may have been taking hold, but clothing made during the '60s was still most often produced in the country it was sold in. If you collect vintage clothing from this time period, you'll know how much better quality it is compared to today's clothing - even more expensive stores like Topshop are shoddy compared to the quality of vintage. So to the average working class girl of the 1960s, why would she buy a throwaway gimmick when she could buy something comfortable that would last? So it's unsurprising that paper clothes died out rather suddenly, helped in part by Mod styles being replaced by the hippie lifestyle which was more concerned with pollution and waste and preferred wearing more laid back and exotic styles. As a result paper clothing had mostly died out by 1969.

Although paper clothing was only around for a couple of years it's an important part of the history of 1960s fashion. If you're in the UK and would like to see a paper dress in person they have a couple on permanent display at the V&A Museum in the fashion exhibit. And I'm sure there are many more in fashion museums around the world!

A photo I took of the V&A display a few years ago. The paper dresses are hanging on the wall, and yes that is an original Scott Paper Co dress on the bottom!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Living Reflection of a Dream

I just couldn't wait to wear my new-to-me blouse I bought at the vintage fair last weekend. Just a simple little outfit for a full day of classes.

I've been having a little dilemma with shoes for a while now. My favourite pair that I wore everyday kept tearing in the same place until I had to accept defeat, and I've struggled to know what to wear on my feet since. I've tried a couple of modern pairs, but they just haven't been working for me and being a real shoe loving girl it's all left me a little bit lost with my style. Until now! I've been selling some things on eBay these past few months, and so decided to treat myself to a pair of comfy vintage shoes from Etsy. Only I couldn't pick just one!

The yellow and red pairs came from the same seller in the US, and so it was easy to justify buying both telling myself I was saving on shipping! They're both incredibly comfortable. I adore the red pair, they're oh so mod and will look fab with so many of my outfits. The heel is low enough to be able to wear all day (I'm a bit pathetic with heels I'm afraid, but in my defense I walk absolutely everywhere!) and as they're patent I'm hoping they'll be OK in the rain. The yellow pair were too sunny to pass up, and when I was looking at images of the '60s for inspiration I was drawn to so many outfits with yellow footwear. And the orange pair were too groovy to pass up, and reminded me of a pair Syd Barrett wore so of course I had to get them. I love how the cut outs look paired with coloured tights, and they've become my new go to pair.

I'm definitely all set in the footwear department now!

I feel like it's been a while since I shared any artwork as I've mostly been working in my sketchbook. I'm determined to fill it, and am a third of the way through. I'm trying to use it as much as a visual journal as well as a sketchbook, and not be too precious about what I put into it. Sketchbooks are supposed to be messy after all. I've also been trying to draw more on location. Above is a loose painting of a beach, and below are sketches from whilst I was at the National Gallery. I'm trying to be less precise with my style.

A bit different from the portraits I usually share, but here's Walt Disney for you. I'm currently illustrating an editorial piece on Disney for a project. My next project is designing music posters of bands from the '60s and '70s, so I'm sure I'll have plenty more to share soon!

Title: Led Zeppelin - Tangerine
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