16 February 2015

I have a new blog!

Please head over to my new blog GRLBRAIN to read my latest posts.


3 September 2012

Long Fox at Weapon of Choice Gallery

Photo : Liam Butcher
On Friday I headed down to the Long Fox exhibition at the Weapon of Choice Gallery in Bristol's city centre. 

Long Fox are a collection of Bristol based artists namely Iain Sellar, Zoe Veness and Barbie Lownberg.  For this exhibition, they've come together with guest artist Ems Long and the outcome is definitely a success, producing a diverse range of art from framed illustrations to embroidery. They've also created some wicked t shirts!

Photo : Liam Butcher
Photo : Liam Butcher
Photo : Liam Butcher

Photo : Liam Butcher

The opening night was a massive success filled with friends and new faces who'd come to appreciate this talented bunch. Go check it out!

8b Park Street
Open Tuesday - Saturday 9am - 6pm

30 August 2012

What to do with a blank canvas

I studied art at School and did my Art Foundation as I was intending to go and study it at Uni too. I changed my plans to go and study French and Journalism at last minute and had every intention of doing my art work in my spare time and keeping it as a hobby. 

Four years later and I haven't picked up a pencil or a paint brush the whole time, mainly because I'm so busy picking up other things (washing and cat poo). So, seeing as I had the time at home I decided to dig out some of my unused canvases and acrylic paints.

I had no clue as to what to draw so I asked my Mum and she said "A horse at sea.". Bit random, but I had no other ideas.

So I got a photo of a horse from the internet and started sketching some out and realised that I can still draw! I did the same with an image of the sea, then painted them on to the canvas.

And there we are. A horse at sea. I've never seen a horse in the sea, but there we are.

Doing the painting reminded me of when I was younger and I really enjoyed it. Given, I got a little bored and couldn't be bothered with the shading and detail and had to get back to replying to e-mails and what not but still, it definitely fed my creativity.

28 August 2012

If I can bicycle, I bicycle.

I've got the week off work this week so came back to sunny Swansea to visit my dear Mother and my canine and feline sisters. 

As well as totally relaxing and taking a break from work, I wanted to keep myself busy with things to do so I got out my poor old Raleigh from the garage which has developed a nice rusty glaze ( :( ) and went on a little bike ride. 

Ok, so my tyre went flat by the time I got back and I almost ran myself in to a bush and a rogue sheep and realised I'm awful at riding a bike, since I quit riding when I fell off aged 10 (repressed memories of a cemetery hill and bad breaks), but all in all it was rather exhilarating.  

Also, if more people rode their bikes there would be far less cars on the road and bla bla bla, you know how it goes. So get yourself a bike, it's fun and environment friendly : ) !

14 August 2012

See No Evil

Bristol wouldn't be Bristol without it's art culture and graffiti scene and See No Evil is the UK's biggest permanent street art project which celebrates this. 

Walking home from work this evening I was happy to see Nelson Street, located in the centre of Bristol, buzzing with people watching the artists decorate the buildings with their work.

This is one of the things that I love about our city and I think we should all do our best to support this project. Plus there are a number of events put for the occasion so check out the website!

26 July 2012

Styling it up

So recently I've been going in to Urban Outfitters to help out with the Visual Merchandising. I tried my hand at styling the mannequins for the windows and it was really fun! Given I did spend about an hour deciding which shoes to put with what outfit, but I think I did a pretty good job all in all. It was fun and it definitely felt good to be creative.

10 July 2012

The Selby

The Selby is one of my all time favourite books. Whenever I'm looking for a bit of creative inspiration I pick up The Selby and am fascinated by the people featured within and their inspirational home environments. If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about (and you should be ashamed of yourself if you don't) then watch this video on the man behind the book, Todd Selby and pick yourself up a copy!

2 July 2012

New Jennifer Hope

So the new Jennifer Hope collection of t-shirts are out with the new designs and I think they look amazing. 

Guess who's back, back again

So now that my blogs been marked and finalised (2:1 in Journalism bitches, hell yeah) I can start posting again.
And seeing as I'm now writing for myself, the tone's going to change a little bit but it's for the better. Time to be creative.

23 April 2012

Keen for Kino

Stokes Crofts Cafe Kino

Bristol's Stokes Croft area plays host to the great Cafe Kino, a non-profit cafe which creates inspiring food from local and ethically sourced ingredients. We spoke to chef Ben Thomas about the innovative food and what the cafe is trying to do for the local community.

Could you tell us a little bit about Cafe Kino and what it's all about?

Cafe Kino is a not-for-profit co-operative owned and operated by its workers, and run in part by volunteers. We strive to create a viable business which is open, fair and mutually supportive of all those with whom we are associated. We have been open for 6 years and started in a small and humble space on Ninetree Hill stokes croft. We recently outgrew that small space and moved over the road onto the main road of Stokes Croft and have been there for just over a year now.

How did you start working at Cafe Kino?

I had been a customer of Cafe Kino and had spotted an advertisement for a chef when buying some food. Fed up with my current job I jumped at the opportunity.

The interior

What is your favourite thing about your job?

There a number of things I enjoy when working at Kino but the level of mutual respect between staff and customers is something I won’t take for granted. We have no hierarchy and choose how to organise ourselves. I also love having (within reason) the freedom to cook what I want. We have regular things on our menu which are our staples. However being able to freestyle and not follow recipes when making some items such as mains, soups and cakes is very rewarding.

Where do you get the ideas for the recipes you create?

I’m always buying cookbooks, reading other places menus and taking in all that I can. I've also been lucky enough in my life to have travelled well. I’m a huge fan of South East Asian food and visiting my family in Singapore had the biggest impact on learning how to cook. What everyone near you is cooking can influence you greatly as well. Staying one step ahead of the competition whilst listening to customer feedback is so important.

Do you feel you have more freedom to be creative in your job compared to other jobs?

I have unquestionably more freedom in a working role sense. There are no sections in our kitchen and we share the workload. You will be cooking to order, baking cakes, doing prep, running food and making coffee all in the one shift. Like I said before its brilliant being able to not follow recipes when cooking some things.

We also have a design team which all workers are welcome to come to meetings when we need to make decisions about interior design and aesthetics of the cafe. There is a good amount of creative freedom in my job for sure. We the workers decide our own policies and working conditions which I have found to be a much better way to create a safe and respectful working environment. It places empowerment in those who really feel the effects of those decisions made.

We tried some of the peanut butter and raspberry cake!

Do you feel you get a lot of support from the local community?

Even though our customer base is so very broad, I feel we are very valued in the local community. People are always commenting on how glad they are we're around. I think our values reflect a lot of those who live locally and also those not so locally.

Why do you feel it is important to support local businesses like your own?

Even in Stokes Croft we're not free from chain businesses. Generally speaking locally owned businesses provide better working conditions that chains do. Any decisions we make are made my people who live locally and will feel the impact of those decisions made. We help and use other local business which benefits the community.

What's the next step for Cafe Kino?

We want to carry on providing a safe place for everyone to be in, enjoy high quality food and drink. We have plans over the summer to try new things which will be exciting. We're currently exploring and using our basement space for gigs and workshops which we have received a lot of great feedback. We're continuing to keep and improve high standards of service, food, drink, working conditions and sustainability of our cafe in an ever competitive and diluted market.

Check out Cafe Kino online
Cafe Kino
108 Stokes Croft

21 April 2012

The Swansea Tattoo Company

The Swansea Tattoo Company

Being from South Wales and all, we were more than excited when we heard about the opening of the new Swansea Tattoo Company which is located in the Picton Arcade in the towns city centre.

We headed down to the launch night to check out what these guys have created. We were met with an overwhelming atmosphere of a room filled with friends, food and all the Sailor Jerrys and ginger beer you could dream of. You could literally feel the support that everyone is giving these guys and their company.
Photo from the opening night
The shops interior is decorated with framed prints from various artists and has old western swinging saloon doors which separate the counter and the waiting area giving the shop a really vintage feel.

A couple of weeks on and we went back to get our very first tattoo! The guys were amazing; friendly and able to fit us in the same day and we were given great instructions for the aftercare. We left feeling proud, if not a little sore  : ) .
One of the prints on display
This company is definitely worth supporting. With five amazing artists in total, and other artists guesting from time to time, the shop offers an unbeatable service, friendly atmosphere and beautiful, original designs that you can be assured are being done by experienced professionals. Definitely go and support these guys. Get inked!

Swansea Tattoo Company
6 & 8 Picton Arcade
 SA1 3BE  

20 April 2012

Bake Designs

Bake Designs is an independent mens streetwear brand based in Bristol run by local designer and recent Graphic Design graduate Ben Hasking. 

Can you tell us a bit about how Bake Designs started?

Starting my own clothing company had always been something I wanted to do from a fairly early age. I'd seen the work of a lot of artists and designers I liked on t-shirts and hoodies and I liked the idea of doing something similar
As time went on, I saw a lot of small start ups doing fairly well so I figured I should give it a go. When I was in my second year of University in Bristol, I had a bit more money in the bank, and a couple more years of education under my belt so I decided it was the right time to do it.

Where do you get the ideas for your designs?

Inspiration for designs is a funny one. Some inspiration is very direct and obvious. The Bakers tee was an obvious reference and play on the classic LA Lakers branding and it was hugely successful. However some references are far more subtle. Some of my more recent design work has taken very direct influence from pretty obscure sources and sometimes it is more of a subconscious thing.
Sometimes I'll get a design together, be really pleased with it and not know where the idea or inspiration came from. A couple of days or weeks later I might see something again and realise what gave me the idea in the first place.

St. Andrews Bakers Design

What is the aim of Bake and what does it stand for?

The aim of the company has always been quite open, I just wanted to release product that maintained a consistent look and feel. I never set out to change the World, I started the company because I wanted to do it.

I have a lot of respect for brands with really solid moral stand points and beliefs but for me it has always been a little bit more simple in that I just wanted to make nice things. The one thing I would say though is that I've always wanted my brand to have integrity, I don't want to compromise how I feel things should be done or jump on bandwagons purely for sales. I would rather sell 100 tees with clean simple typography on them than 1000 t-shirts with a picture of Charlie Sheen saying 'Winning'. I couldn't be proud of that.

How important is Bristol to the company?

Bristol was and still is very important to the company. It's where the company started and there's a lot of people there who really helped me out when I was getting started. That goes for the people who pointed me in the right direction of good printers, then the printers who helped me out, the shops who supported the brand. Even the shops who didn't stock the brand but were keeping an eye, and supporting it their own way.

Bristol has a number of successful local brands. Do you feel in competition with them?

I've got a lot of respect for a lot of brands around, and if I'm honest there are very few I feel like I’m in competition with. The reason behind that varies though, some brands target themselves more at the skateboarding market than I have, some go for a more Urban look than I do and some of them are just brands run by friends that I would much rather support than put down.

I don't want to see anyone I know and get on with fail and within Bristol I think I'd like to see them succeed. Outside of Bristol there is of course, a whole wealth of other brands. Again I have varied feelings towards these brands, but in general I want to support them because generally they're good people and I respect what they do. That's not to say there aren't brands I dislike, or feel in competition with. There definitely are, but that's another story.

How important do you feel it is to explore your creativity?

I think for any creative it's extremely important to explore your creativity. And that's because it is yours. There are very few people lucky enough to make a living off of their own creativity, even as a practicing designer, you are always working for someone else, on something they want. Of course you get to put your own spin on things but it's still not yours, and for that reason I do really think it's important to have your own thing.

What advice would you give others who are looking to start something similar?

If you're going to start something like this is has to be born out of real passion and a desire to do something.
If you're going to do it you have to really want it, because it's not easy and you do have to make sacrifices. You don't make money straight away, and you're unlikely to just blow up over night. If you do it properly you might, but it still takes work.

Bake is available through their online store.

18 April 2012

Lady Mucks

Lady Muck's Logo

There isn't a single person who can deny liking cupcakes and the prettier they are, the better they seem to taste. We caught up with 21 year old Jessica Drew from Frome, owner of cupcake company Lady Muck's, whose ambition it is to make the prettiest cupcakes that taste just as good as they look.

Has baking always been a hobby of yours?

I used to bake a lot as a child with my Grandma and parents, so I decided to study catering so now I'm a qualified chef. It's more a passion then a hobby haha!

Can you tell us a bit about how you started Lady Muck's? What makes it different from other cupcake companies?

As I used to bake so much I thought it would be a good idea to start selling them so I did my research. My boyfriend is a graphic designer so he created the logo and the blog along with a Facebook page and I then had business cards and stickers made! I started by just word of mouth and soon I had a stall at the Market at Green Park Station in Bath. I think Lady Muck's is different because I try to use local British ingredients. I think Lady Muck's is different within itself... the logo is based on myself, even showing my tattoos!

What made you decide to turn your hobby in to more of a career?

I would like it to be more of a career in the future. At the moment it's about building a reputation and working out what I'm capable of achieving. I can say I do make a good profit which is a good start.

How do you come up with the ideas for your cakes?

I come up with the ideas through flavours and adapting recipes. Also, the internet is ideal for inspiration! I like finding cool images of cupcakes and seeing if I can better them!

Do you think it's important for people to take up hobbies and explore their creativity?

Yeah I definitely do! It’s a tough climate out there, job-wise, at the moment so if people can earn a living doing what they love doing then it’s even better!

If baking ever became more of a chore for you do you think you'd give it up?

I don't think so, I'd like to think that I could continue baking till I'm an OAP. I want to pass on what I know. Also, if Lady Muck's does expand then I’ll employ some helpers so that wouldn't be the case!

What do you hope for the future of Lady Muck's?

I would like to eventually have a little vintage cupcake van that I can take to festivals and markets. Years on I would love to have a cupcake shop in the country with my parents.

Lady Muck's is available for order through their website.


Check out my whip
The final result. Winning.

We made pancakes! Not any old pancakes; proper American pancakes! Yes, it made our wrists ache from trying to whisk the egg white with a fork due to lack of utensils but in the end they were bloody brilliant! Domestic goddesses.
Try it out! They make great breakfasts (and lunch and dinner...).

17 April 2012

Cutie Cools

photo : www.shopdutty.com

Cutie Cools is a nail design company based in Bristol run by Alice Power. Alice took some time away from appointments to chat to TCC about her work!

How did you become interested in nail art and what made you decide to do it as a career?

I started by painting my mates nails at school and then when I moved to Bristol I saw someone doing it as their job in a shop down the road. I ordered the pens that I needed and started practising loads! Also looking at people like Wah Nails makes you realise how popular nail art has become and that you can have a career in it.

What are the main things you enjoy about your job?

It’s always different and its fun interacting with the customers, as they are usually like minded people! I like to be creative and it never gets boring coming up with new and different designs.

'Tropical Madness'

Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?

If I’m doing themed nails - for instance egyptian nails, I’ll google original egyptian images then take colours/patterns etc from the originals and create my own version. Sometimes I will draw 3 or 4 different versions before I get a decent one! I always try and make sure the colours go well together and that they look pretty!

Have you ever had any strange nail design requests? What are the best designs you've done?

I worked at a club night in Bristol club Motion for Halloween and had quite a few guys ask for one nail painted... that in itself was strange! The best designs I think I've done are probably the most recent ones like the Egyptian nails, as I've been getting better with time!

Egyptian Inspired Designs

Tell us a little bit about your collaboration with local Bristol shop, Shop Dutty.

I work in Shop Dutty every Saturday taking appointments for people who want nail art on their natural nails. I also sell my hand painted false nail sets in store.

Would you recommend turning a hobby into a career to others?

I would suggest it! You are doing what you love to do without the pressure. Everything is up to you and it’s good to be your own boss!

Sugar Skull Design

What's the next move for Cutie Cools and where do you hope to go with it?

I have recently had a meeting with another store in Bristol, and they have agreed to sell my false nail packs in store. They are also keen on getting me in store to do appointments one day in the week as they think it’s something their customers would like. Hopefully from here Cutie Cools will continue to grow and I will be selling my product in more stores in the future!

Alice is available for appointments and walk-ins every Saturday at Shop Dutty
0117 9249990

15 April 2012

Let's go bake a cake

Our masterpiece
Hooray! We tried our hand at baking and it wasn't a total disaster! Usually, baking is something we avoid here at The CC as we make the cakes but end up eating them all to ourselves. However this time we baked for our friends and it seemed to go down a treat!
It was really fun and an afternoon well spent! Top marks for us woohoo!

Laura Pieniazek Illustrations

Laura Pieniazek Self Portrait

We first encountered Laura Pieniazek's illustrations at the University of the West of Engand's Graduate Exhibition in 2011 where she graduated with a degree in Fashion. Laura's speciality is taking photos of models in her own clothes which she has dug up from many a thrift store and then illustrating the model whilst keeping the photo of the clothes within the illustration. This great use of mixed media is not only aesthetically pleasing but her drawing has a child like element that captivates us and tells a story of the person, and the clothes which we see.
We caught up with the quirky red head over coffee and croissants in her home town of Llanelli, South Wales for a chat about life through her eyes.

Can you tell us a little about your work?

My work is a collaboration of photographic and illustrated images. The garments in my work are all photographed, and then I illustrate the model with the my trusty fine liner. I try to create a different character with every garment I photograph. This is achieved by the colours I add to the image, to the expression I make on their quirky little faces.  

What inspires you?

I follow a lot of blogs and magazines that inspire me. Things that tend to catch my eye in these are colours, shapes, props, clothing, models. I am also a massive fan of charity shops; the rails of different textures, patterns and colours, as well as the cluttered shelves of bits and bobs are also an inspiration.  

Laura Pieniazek Illustrations

What made you decide to become an illustrator?

I kind of fell in to it; as uninspiring as that sounds, it's true! I was about to give up on my hopes of finishing my 3rd year of university and decided to start from square one, so I  just photographed some things that I own and printed them out for my sketchbook as research. Once I printed the image, I could see a character in it, so I doodled and I was pretty bloody pleased with it! So I carried on, doodling many'a doodle and eventually made a book as my final major project. I haven't stopped illustrating since. 

You like to mix illustration with real fabric. Why is it that you do this?

I think the contrast of a detailed piece of clothing and a simple illustrated body is effective, as it adds texture to the image, which gives it a 3d effect. The fine liner gives a sort of child like feel to the overall image, where the garment adds a fashion factor to it. It's fun to combine the two as it gives me a chance to put myself into the images. They are my garments and my illustrations, so it shows what sort of clothes I wear ever day and how I illustrate. 

Laura Pieniazek Illustrations

Where do you see your work in ten years time?

I hope to see my work in magazines, illustrating different individuals or even new collection of garments from new designers or shop. I would also love to work with a specific designer so I can illustrate models for their collections, or help promote it. 

Do you encourage others to explore their creativity?

Yes, even if it's a sewing lesson or a drawing class I think it's important to have a creative outlet. Go bake a cake or knit a scarf! Be creative!

Take a peak at Laura's work on her personal blog.

12 April 2012

Bradley Jay

Bradley Jay B Typography

Bradley Jay is a illustrator from Bristol and a good friend of ours! He gave up a few precious moments of drawing time to tell us why he loves what he does.

Hey Brad! So, can you talk to us a little about your work?

I like to work with detailed ink illustrations which are usually inspired by Alchemy, Religion and Folklore.

What made you decide to become an illustrator?

I have always loved art and drawing. I started using photoshop when I was really young and I thought after school maybe I wanted to be a graphic designer before I knew what it really meant. I didn't have much guidance course-wise but as soon as I knew of illustration courses and illustration careers I thought it was unreal and too perfect. Since then I have tried my hardest to make illustration my job.
Since I have graduated it seems to have paid off. I love freelancing from home, drawing pictures all day.

Bradley Jay Nocturnal

What's been your favourite project to date?

I think it’s probably my personal university projects as they were so full on. I only wish I had more time on them as I feel they were a bit rushed.  I plan on doing ambitious personal projects slowly on the side while I freelance to continue my personal exploration in illustration.

Do you enjoy your work?

I love doing my work. It sometimes becomes tedious when illustrating large detailed areas but I know that it will pay off when it’s done. I have learnt to be very patient.

Bradley Jay Struggle

What are your hobbies? What else do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy keeping fit by running and riding my bicycle. Freelance life is cool but it’s sometimes hard to know when to take breaks and stop working for the day, but when I do I like to see friends and be social.

What are you currently working on?

My recent clients have been Guinness, Mash, Zizzi, WGSN, Witchcraft, Das Monk and more so I have been very busy creating illustrations for wine bottles, skateboards, clothing, branding, websites, interior design and even sculpture.
Bradley Jay for Topman

Do you think it's important to have a creative outlet?

Yes I do. If I worked a normal 9-5 job I’m certain that I would still draw in my spare time.
I also think for people who are creative all day it is very important to have a not so creative outlet and be a normal person for a few hours.

View Bradley's work on his website.

5 April 2012

Get your knit on

Here's how we did

So here at The Creative Collective we decided to try our hand at every Grandma's favourite hobby; knitting. Except nowadays it's not just for the elderly. It's something which is not only a useful skill to have, but also quite a cool hobby!
So we paid a visit to Grandma Betty who gave us some knitting needles and taught us the skill that every woman, or man, should have. Ok, yes, we chose the needles for their cute size and pretty blue colour instead of their durability and capability which didn't do us any favours as they were made of plastic which made it quite difficult, but we picked it up pretty easily and by the end of it all were rather enjoying sitting in our arm chairs and drinking tea to the sound of clinking needles.
This is definitely a good hobby to have and therapeutic to say the least!