It’s French, he said. From M’aidez.

IMG_20160501_112721I had a damn fine couple of days over the May Day weekend.  After an entire season of enforced hibernation, it was just what I needed to kick start the rest of my 2016.

I had Friday afternoon off so sped down the A3 to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth.  I wasn’t really intending to buy a lot, but the Cosmetics Company Store was closed so I overreacted by splurging in Lulu Guinness.  It’s my second fancy bag purchase in two months and I need to calm the heck down, but the magenta Small Edie was calling my name (and with 20% off, who was I to turn her down).  Good god, I love her.

Saturday was spent fending off knuckle chilblains (no really) in the Tatty Devine sample sale already documented.  And once I was home, sitting in a pile of plastic jewellery on my bed trying to figure out where the hell to put it all.

Fortunately, Sunday weather was blissfully warm and allowed me to wander from Somerset House to the Tate Modern with my BFF.  We haven’t seen each other for months, so I feel really bad for all the art we ignored as we caught up.

We had tickets for the Pick Me Up Festival which we went to last year, but nothing grabbed me as much this time around.  That might have been because of our constant chatting or because it was towards the end of the festival, but there didn’t seem to be as many ‘collectives’ in residence for us to explore.  I did really like the Clay Collective‘s pottery though and the big typographical glittery prints from Best Brighton.

IMG_20160501_115801I really want that Adequate print!

After Somerset House, I forced Tim into the funicular railway over by the Millennium Bridge, mainly because Husband is far too responsible and will never let me in it.  Across the bridge and into the Tate which was rammed with children where we conversed our way around the Media Networks exhibition.

Lunch was at the Refinery where we confused the hostess, elbowed a waitress in the legs (mainly me), and ate breakfast food.  I think I nearly broke Tim’s brain with his birthday present as for a moment, he couldn’t quite comprehend what he was looking at.  I hope he loves it!

It was a pretty perfect Sunday, despite the 3 hour round trip (I may have whinged about this on a couple of occasions) but I think next time, we’ll just forego the art and have a solid 5.5 hours of talking.  And breakfast food.  And funicular rides.  IMG_20160501_123744

What’s the point of even sleeping, if I can’t show if you can’t see me

Somerset House

I haven’t been able to resurrect the Qwerty row of my laptop so I’m currently typing with a tiny Bluetooth keyboard perched on my lap.  It’s not the most fun I’ve had with my laptop and is a bit of a pain in the ass, so I’m going to have to think about buying a new one.  My bank account is already crying.

Anyway, the day of the cherry coke disaster had been pretty damn amazing up until that point.  Tim had free tickets for the Other Art Fair in Bloomsbury so we made plans to pretend to be rich enough to buy some art.  I then read a tweet about the Pick Me Up Arts Festival at Somerset House, so tickets were snapped up for that as well.

We met at Waterloo and after a very confusing coffee ordering in Starbucks, chatted our way across the river to Pick Me Up.  This was my first time visiting Somerset House – I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to visit.  Pick Me Up showcases “new illustration, graphic design and related disciplines… different working processes and techniques ranging from traditional screen-printing to animation, risograph printing to paper craft”.

I soon realised it exhibition was much bigger than I first though, and once again I’m sure I missed stuff because of our non-stop conversation, but my favourites were by Laura Callaghan, Thomas Lamadieu, and Peter Judson.  Peter’s work in particular was extraordinary, and I loved that you could buy his prints in rational and irrational sizes.  I really wish I’d bought some of his work.

The upstairs was bustling and only got busier as the morning went on.  There were lots of artists, studios, and shops selling their wares, including Not Another Bill.  I had a chat with Ned from NAB who didn’t need to convince me to subscribe, and I told him I loved his collaborations with the Danes.  It was lovely to meet him!  After this, we visited the Sope Studio stand where I got a print done – you chose a tile, a plate, and then it was made into a print.

I got my initial done on a dotty background, so now I have another frame to buy!  Whilst it was drying, we wandered around the other stalls and the gift shop (amazing books in the gift shop), we mocked a map until we realised that it was helpfully showing us a whole other part of the exhibition that we’d missed, and we (OK, mainly me) were mesmerised by a beautiful man selling notebooks.

After the exhibition, we started making our way up to Bloomsbury before remembered that I wanted to look at the Secret 7″ exhibition as well, so we turned back.  700 7″ single sleeves designed by a huge variety of people, all to be sold for charity but you don’t know who designed what when you buy them.  There were some really amazing sleeves – wood, plastic, concrete, and even Lego.  Just as fun was the hanging symbol in the back room which you could roll money onto.  It’s hard to explain but incredibly loud.

Secret 7"

Then we were off to Bloomsbury for real and onto the Other Art Fair.  It was quite busy so hard to see some of the exhibitions, but highlights for me included: Olly Fathers and his paper cuts; Jack Richards and his miniature sculptures; Gina Soden‘s stunning photos of abandoned buildings; Clare Johnson’s prints of London; and Gerry Buxton‘s prints, also of London.

Sadly, I did not make any purchases, but I took a few business cards for future reference – just in case I move into an insanely big house that needs some statement pieces.  I received my third and final compliment on my Tatty Devine lobster necklace in the exhibition, and I know now that if I’m ever feeling needy, I just need to slap on my lobster and wander round arty places.  It’s a smash!

We stopped for burgers at the Holborn Whippet and made plans for the rest of the afternoon.  The art crawl hadn’t finished yet – the neon in the below photo provides a bit of a clue, but I think it deserves a separate post.