Iliana Taliotis

PR & project management | Art, design, craft & culture

Inventors

Cristina Schek
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  One of the Creative People and Places partners, The Cultural Spring has just launched an amazing project called Inventors, which has really captured people’s imagination. They invited artist and designer Dominic Wilcox back to his home town of Sunderland to ask over 450 children across the city and in nearby South Tyneside to draw their own invention ideas. He then asked local makers and manufacturers to make a selection of them into real things, which have now gone on sale in a pop up shop in the town. It’s not unlike the Toy’s Own Studio concept I wrote about a few weeks ago.

There's a brilliantly bonkers invention called The Paint Splatta Baby Sleeper, which I love. It's been invented by two 10 year-old boys called Morgan and Shaun and made by Dave Park of Fibre Style. According to Morgan and Shaun 'you insert the baby in the pouch and attach the paint splatter blanket onto the wall and your baby sleeps on the wall'.

Friendly Lion

Cristina Schek
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One of my favourite designers at the moment is Jane Foster. Her retro, Scandi-inspired prints are so bold and cheery. She has recently brought out a range of children’s books and they are beautiful objects in their own right with such care taken in terms of quality of paper and finish. I love her friendly lion picture, which features on the front of her ABC book - and in fact on so many of her other designs.

Hygge

Cristina Schek
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I went to my first supper club last night. It was organised by Nyborg North London, a collaboration between a cook called Sara Nyborg (who used to run a wonderful café in Muswell Hill that served the most amazing cinnamon buns) and Lucy Welsh of North London Vintage Market.

The evening was based on the Scandinavian concept of Hygge – which loosely means the feeling you get from a cosy evening with friends enjoying good food and wine. And it was exactly that! We all gathered in the Muswell Hill Bowling club – which is a surprisingly cosy hidden gem of a space - and merrily tucked in to a mouth-watering Scandinavian feast.This was the menu:

Aperitif: pink negroni and rosemary popcorn

Starter: beetroot carpaccio with soft goat's cheese, pink apple, rye bread croutons, blackcurrant vinaigrette and fresh herbs

Main: salmon en papilotte with harissa and courgette and carrot 'spaghetti'

Cheese: Wildes blue not blue cheese with last years’ date and apple chutney and caveman cracker

Dessert: white chocolate and liquorice pudding with cherry and port jelly

London Art Fair

Cristina Schek
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I visited London Art Fair yesterday morning. I love this fair – it’s really inviting and has a wonderful buzz. I came across a German artist called Isabelle Wenzel, who is represented by a young contemporary art gallery called Galerie bart. I was really struck by her images, they’re incredibly bold in terms of colour and form. The artist is a photographer and an acrobat and stars in her own work – they are very performative and, in my view, quite humorous. What a wonderful discovery.

 

Image:  'Legs Up in the Air', Isabelle Wenzel

January Design Treats

Cristina Schek
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I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks rediscovering designers I’d forgotten about such as Sukie.  They design brightly coloured, nostalgic printed stationery and accessories that have been inspired by nature, folk art and printed ephemera.  I have treated myself to a wonderful bag and, even more excitingly, to some writing paper.  I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to some old school letter writing!

Advent

Cristina Schek
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For the past few years I’ve been creating an Advent calendar on Facebook, which has simply involved posting a different festive image each day of Advent. My calendars have become a bit of a tradition and are very popular among my friends – one friend even suggested I should do a print version one year - food for thought! 

This year’s calendar has had a distinctly crafty feel with images of paper decorations, handmade textile creatures and various illustrations in the line-up. I love choosing the pictures and seeing how many ‘likes’ I get each day. 

I used to love having an Advent calendar when I was a child. The thrill of opening a new window to reveal the day’s image – and of course the inevitable argument with my brother about whose turn it was to do so! I have to say I have never understood the appeal of a chocolate version. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, but if I’m honest, I love pictures more! And the simplicity of a traditional Advent calendar is really appealing and far more festive.

The last image in my 2015 calendar was taken from the talented designer Sanna Annukka’s illustrations for a new edition of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, published recently by Random House.

Bauhaus

Cristina Schek
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I was looking round the Liberty exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum recently and noticed this wonderful fabric design used in a Liberty skirt from the 70s. It caught my eye because my mother used the very same fabric to make blinds in my bedroom when I was a child – she found it in a second hand shop and bought it for peanuts. Turns out it's designed by Collier Campbell and is called Bauhaus - quite an iconic design of theirs.

A Crafty Christmas

Cristina Schek
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My work with Selvedge on their Artisan Christmas fairs has made me feel inspired to do Christmas differently this year. I’ve always been a little bit crafty, but would be the first to admit that I do most of my Christmas shopping on the high street. This year, I’m going to practice what I preach and buy handmade presents direct from their makers – in fact, I might even make the odd gift or two myself.

Inspired by the creativity of the artisans I’m promoting for Selvedge, I’ve already made a Christmas cake, which is sitting in a tin waiting to be decorated with home made paper trees for Christmas day. I’m now thinking about Christmas cards and my growing collection of these wonderful stamps by Noolibird, which make the most fantastic card designs. I might just treat myself – and my card-receiving friends – to another.

Funfair Fantasy

Cristina Schek
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I was so excited to get an email about a book two of my musician friends have made and launched, Funfair Fantasy. It’s a book of piano music for children, but with a twist! It has a narrative – a night time funfair adventure – and the pieces can be performed individually or as a set to tell the complete story. My brilliant friends have written the music, written the story and illustrated it – oh and designed, type-set, published, promoted and set up an Amazon page for it…

This got me thinking about the publishing world and how things have changed. Back in the day, a publisher would have taken on something like this, but more and more people are now having to self-publish and manage every single element of the process themselves. But there’s also a wonderful freedom to this - and in the case of my friends, they’ve been able to create something that is truly their artistic vision.