4 ways to cacti up your christmas

:: by Lizzie
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Plants have been a very big thing this year haven’t they? My flat is full of them, my pattern collection has been inspired by them, our Pinterest boards are over flowing with them and I’m pleased to say that my Christmas decoration buying and festive styling has been infiltrated by them too. Hoorah!

 

House plants and particularly cacti are still very much enjoying the limelight and long may it continue. My plant babies at home and at SMUG have been collected over several years – some even from our wedding in 2013 where we used cacti and succulents to dress the tables. As you know cacti are very low maintenance and even more so during the colder months. So, now we’re not even needing to tend to them with water on a weekly or fortnightly basis, maybe it’s time we switch our focus over to making our cactus friends a little more festive! Don’t you think?

 

This blog post is jam packed with inspiration on how to style your home this festive season with cacti, both alive and ornamental. Keep scrolling and reading for my top tips and suggestions.

 

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D I S C O  –  Cacti respond very well to glitter and metallics! Whether you style your living cacti by hanging glittery baubles nearby, whack these glass cacti ornaments on your tree, or go for HAY’s phallic metallic ceramic Cacti Dos – go disco or go home.

 

Cacti Dos  |  Disco Star Bauble  |  Cacti Ornament Set  |  Disco Glitter Bauble

 

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M O N O C H R O M E  –  Not quite game for all that glitter? Then go monochrome for a more low-key and fashion forward Cacti Christmas. If I can tempt you to throw in some gold in the form of a tasteful bottle opener, time turner or even mini tree, then all the better.

 

Ruby Taylor Pot  |  Bottle Openers  |  Time Turners  |  Flowerpot  |  Candle Holder  |  Glitter Trees

 

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T R O P I C A L  –  Loving the flamingo, palm tree and toucan trends? Then who’s to say we can’t have a tropical Christmas here in old Blighty!? Cacti work so well with tropical themed items like pineapples, watermelon, florals and birds of paradise.

 

Cacti Dos  |  Tropical Ornament Set  |  2017 Midnight Hard Cover Planner  |  Fruit Ornament Set

 

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C E R A M I C  –  If you really can’t muster any green-fingeredness what-so-ever, then maybe you’d be safer to go with these ceramic cacti vases which make great sculptural decorations but also double as vases. If cut flowers are more your thing, you’ll be safe with these guys.

 

Cactus Vases  |  Mini Glitter Tree Ornaments  |  Rose Hexagon Vase  |  Gold Splash Ornament

 

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Tempted to get your house plants and cacti in on the Christmas decorating action? I hope this post will have helped get your festive juices flowing. I’ll certainly be cranking up the Cacti Christmas loving this week. It’s nearly December don’t you know?! Eek! If you do get cacti glittery, monochrome, golden, tropical or ceramic in your Christmas decorating then please do let me know. I’d love to see! You can tag me on insta @ifeelsmug and/or use the hashtag #cactichristmas

 

Mini Cacti Vases  |  Glitter Tree  |  Gold Hooks  |  Time Turner  |  Large Gold Hexagon Vase

 

SMUG X One We Made Earlier Colab

:: by Lizzie
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May, Elspeth, Edie and Molly Wren. These are the names of the necklaces from the collaboration between myself and One We Made Earlier launching this weekend at SMUG. It’s been wonderful to work with Emma and Rob on this lovely collaboration and I’m so pleased to be able to share it with you at last. If you don’t know long standing friends of SMUG, One We Made Earlier, then keep reading for a mini interview with Emma below.

 

The configurations of strung shapes on these necklaces are completely exclusive to SMUG and the grey resin set with peach and white fragments, featured on three of the necklaces in the collection, has been made especially for this project.

 

The names for the necklaces have been inspired by some of the little girl babies we know and love born this year. I’m so happy with all four necklaces and can’t decide which one to wear first! If you’d like to purchase one of these limited edition necklaces you can pop in store to SMUG on Camden Passage in Islington or shop the collection online here.

 

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Tell us a bit about each of your backgrounds and how you came to be doing what you’re doing now.

We met at art college in Scotland where I studied textiles and Rob studied fine art. We both moved to London to study more at Goldsmiths college. Rob pursued his practice as a contemporary artist and I worked in various teaching roles alongside selling stitched stationery at Spitalfields market.

 

A number of years later with 2 children along the way, we wanted to collaborate on a creative project, and somehow the necklaces emerged! Initial designs took the form of colourful collections of wooden shapes on rope, and One we made earlier has grown from there. Our studio is based in South East London. Rob cuts, drills and casts shapes and I do hand finishing, construction and admin. Rob continues his practice as a contemporary artist alongside our jewellery.

 

What are you most inspired by and which key elements of the One We Made Earlier studio most resonate with you personally?

We are inspired by a wide range of things, from modernist buildings to exhibitions we visit, like a recent Ulm Design show we enjoyed. If you look at our Instagram page, you can see that inspiration comes in many shapes and forms – nice shoes to unusual children’s climbing frames, Bauhaus furniture to constructivist stage set design.

 

In terms of what aspects of the studio reflect our personalities, this year we combined our two studios into one space, which has worked well, particularly as it is very close to home. The tools you use inevitably end up feeling like an extension of who you are, and over time we have become quite attached to the various tools and pieces of machinery we use! The studio also houses lots of other odds and ends that we have accumulated over time though, from artworks to fun, colourful objects, which reflect another aspect of who we are. Maybe the One we made earlier studio is a bit of a mixture of these more functional, utilitarian items as a backdrop for playful pops of colour!

 

If you each had to choose one SMUG product to have what would it be?

We would choose something from the beautiful Scholten & Baijings Ceramics range. The gridded porcelain container and the amazing milk and sugar set are beautiful!

 

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Emma and Rob also took part in my  P L A N T  P O T  exhibition upstairs at SMUG during London Design Festival both this year and last. The beady-eyed of you will have already noticed it in the images above but for a better look, see below for some snaps of their one-off plant pot offering from this September. Featuring again the grey resin set with white and peach fragments that was designed and made by them especially for SMUG and this collaboration. So now, in drawing this post to a close, all that remains is for me to say a big thank you to One We Made Earlier for working with me on this project and for producing such beautiful collection. And to say to you, perfect Christmas present no?

 

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a HAY inspired autumn dining table

:: by Lizzie
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Paper Porcelain Mug  |  Yellow Gradient Glass  |  Yellow Gradient Carafe  |  Kutter Candlestick

 

As you know, I’m a big lover of Danish design brand, HAY. Lots, maybe most, of you will know of them too, but just in case you don’t, or you’d like to know a little bit more…

 

HAY was founded in 2002, by Mette and Rolf HAY with businessman Troels Holch Povlsen. Within a year the company launched its first furniture collection at the international furniture fair IMM in Cologne. In 2005, HAY launched an accessory line with selected products found around the world. These products had original stories, perfect for both the modern workplace and in private homes. Now, focusing on maintaining these standards for the development of their own products, they produce accessories ranging from paper products, storage solutions, tableware and textiles, small furniture pieces and blankets. All created in cooperation with international designers and their own in-house design team, and lots of which is available at SMUG. At the heart of everything that HAY does is the notion that contemporary design should spring from a good idea, innovative technology and quality materials in combination with joyful, straightforward and uncomplicated aesthetics.

 

Personally, what I value most is their simplistic style and use of colour. Their products are generally light, fresh and pleasing in the hand, as well as to the eye. Featured here are some of my favourite pieces from a recent shoot at SMUG. Having purchased a pale pink waffle tablecloth in Paris earlier in the year, I’m really enjoying playing with tableware and making much more of an effort to style my dinner table. The Paper Porcelain collection provides the perfect elegant yet edgy table vases. The Gradient Glass and simple Water Glass ranges have you covered for chic drinking vessels and the LUP and Kutter candlesticks take you so gracefully into Autumn that the shorter days become a pleasure, Time for a dining table refresh?

 

 

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Paper Porcelain Vase  |  Water Glass  |  Lup Candleholder  |  Paper Porcelain Espresso Cup

 

 

P L A N T P O T 2 0 1 6

:: by Lizzie
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What a week! London Design Festival has been a blast. The Islington Design District has grown and flourished and I’ve launched my own pattern collection – Lizzie for SMUG. But the star of the show (if Instagram likes are anything to go by), has to be  P L A N T  P O T .

 

It’s been my absolute pleasure, after the great success of the exhibition last year, to bring back  P L A N T  P O T  for London Design Festival 2016. This time with the theme ‘Pattern’. As you may remember from last year,  P L A N T  P O T  is a collection of 12 one-off plant pots designed and made by friends of SMUG. I commission each designer to produce a plant pot using any material of their choice. The only guidelines being that it must fit on a 12cm deep shelf, hold a plant and, this year, that their design should include pattern in some way. After selecting the designers and waiting patiently for the pots to start arriving at SMUG (always such a treat), it’s my job to curate and style the show by selecting a different plant for each pot to compliment its design and pull the show together as a whole. As you may well know, curating is one of my very favourite things, so I spend a fair amount of time getting the right balance for the show by making sure each pot is placed in just the right spot on the right shelf with the right combination of pots either side of it. It’s like a big old jigsaw puzzle.

 

It’s particularly nice to have the opportunity here to thank all of the designers for being involved.  P L A N T  P O T  has become such a joyous and well anticipated part of LDF and many visitors have been excitedly looking forward to seeing which designers were involved this year and most importantly, what their pots were going to be like. So thank you to all 12 designers who made up this year’s collection. Thank you to those of you who visited the show, to those of you who photographed and shared it and to those of you who made Islington Design District the success it has been this year.

 

From top left (going left to right, top to bottom), this year’s pots are designed by – Laura Slater // Geo-Fleur // Manolya Isik // Origami Est // Tilly Hemmingway // Ruby Taylor // Donna Wilson // Holly Kemp // One Design Space // Kangan Arora // One We Made Earlier // Laura Gee.

 

It’s been an absolute pleasure to work on this show for 2016. I think it will have to become a SMUG LDF yearly tradition. I wonder what the theme should be next year? Any suggestions?

 

 

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#smugplantpot

@ifeelsmug

 

Lizzie for SMUG – The Pattern Collection

:: by Lizzie

Well, firstly, I’m so sorry to have been completely abscent on The Smuggler for such a long time. It’s been well over 3 months now since I posted my ‘5 Summer Staples for a City Girl’s Wardrobe’ post! (Take a look here if you’re interested). But oh how the summer has flown by.

 

I’ve had some lovely trips to Lisbon, Paris and Lodeve, as well as some wonderful times in London. Babies have been born (not mine, but ones that are very important to me) and I’m off to Rhodes next week. For the most part though, I’ve been beavering away on something very special to me, which I am both nervous and excited to get to share with you at last – my very own pattern collection!

 

 

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It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve had SMUG for over 7 years now and it was always the plan to produce some of my own work to complement the products that I curate at SMUG by other designers from all over the world. It’s been such a pleasure collaborating with many of those designers on ‘exclusively for SMUG’ products, that my creative muscles were able to have a proper flex now and then. I’ve also been able to put lots of energy into the creative outlets I have when it comes to styling the shop and the brand as a whole. And of course, all of the developments, changes and growth at SMUG over the years have kept me very busy. But now, with my perfect team of Vienna, Manolya and Shannon, it seemed like the right time to knuckle under and get designing my own work.

 

So, here it is. There are currently 5 patterns in the collection and there are 3 more in the works which will launch very soon. The plan is to have upstairs at SMUG overflowing with Lizzie for SMUG product for your Christmas shopping needs so keep your eyes open for all the bits winging their way into the shop over the next few months.

 

 

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For London Design Festival I wanted to focus more on the patterns themselves so although the show does feature some product samples as examples of how the patterns will be used, the stars of the show are the patterns themselves. Do come and pop in if you’re in the area. You can even get creative yourself and make name suggestions for some of my patterns and potentially win a Lizzie for SMUG cushion if your suggestion is chosen.

 

It’s the beginning of something really new and exciting for me as a designer. Having gained several years of experience through buying, styling and curating at SMUG and getting to know our customers, I hope I’ve managed to come up with an illustrative voice for this collection that is something fresh and different, that shows you more of who I am, but that clearly comes out of what SMUG is and continues to be. I’d love to know what you think. Thanks for reading.

 

Lizzie x

 

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current stationery faves

:: by Lizzie
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UU Desk Tidy  |  Outline Clips  |  White Brass Pencil  |  Rulers  |  Clip Clip  |  Bits and Bobs

 

I’m still on the stationery band wagon – big time – and ever will be I suspect. I’m currently reorganising the spare room as a bit of a studio/office/design space so am dreaming about the beautiful stationery and storage bits I might keep on the desk to help and inspire me to design. Spoiler alert – my first pattern collection is coming this September – eek! Lots to do, but you know what they say, a happy desk makes a happy heart. (I may have just made that up but it sounds true no?) I’m hoping these beautiful bits and pieces will fill me with the design powers I need to get this collection moving, samples made and the whole thing wrapped up in time for September. Fingers crossed you’ll like it :)

 

Do you love a bit of stationery inspiration too? What on your desk is making your heart sing right now? Anything I need to add to my pencil case?

 

5 things to update your dressing table

:: by Lizzie
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Blue Star Vase  |  Brass Hexagon Vase  |  Wooden Owl  |  Time Turner  |  Golden Tray

 

My dressing table is often a complete mess. It’s that special place in our flat where everything I leave around the place gets dumped each time we do a bit of a tidy up. Part of the problem is that I leave a trail of paperwork wherever I go (which inevitably gets piled up there untill I deal with it properly), but it’s also simply the case that I have a lot of stuff! I’m trying to be more organised about how I store my makeup, jewellery, sunglasses, toiletries and everything else that lives in my dressing table. There have been several visits to Muji for the correct sized compartments for each drawer depending on need and it’s made a huge difference to how I access, use and enjoy my things. There’s certainly more to do – my sunglasses drawer is the most in need of clearing and reorganising. I have an epic number of pairs. They’re my go-to item to update an outfit. I keep mine cheap and cheerful which feeds my addiction, so they’re mostly from Topshop and Urban Outfitters. I’m thinking once I’m done I might do a bit of a ‘How I Organise My dressing Table’ video. But as a bit of encouragement to myself at this interim stage, I thought I’d throw together some lovely and in some cases even practical bits that would look rather fetching on top of my soon to be cleared and organised dressing table. Hopefully you’ll find some of them pleasing/inspiring/useful/covetable.

 

Star Vase by Lenneke Wispelwey  //  It’s always nice to have a little sprig of something living on the dressing table and this petite vase fits a small piece of foliage perfectly. You can even go for something long lasting such as eucalyptus to make life extra easy.

Brass Hexagon Vase by Ferm Living  //  I’m thinking this brass number could be great for my makeup brushes, lip and eye pencils. Or even for a tall pile of those circular cotton pads I use to take my eye makeup off with.

Wooden Owl by Matt Pugh  //  A reminder to try to be patient and endeavour to be wise.

Time Turner by HAY  //  This timer measures 15 minutes and that’s how long I’m going to try to start meditating in the morning a couple of times a week. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Small Gold Tray by HAY  //  This would be perfect for my rings, other jewellery bits or even bobby pins and hairbands. Can you tell I’m still into brass?

 

What do you think? Any of these float your boat? I’d love to know your tips for organising your dressing table/vanity/bed-side-table. What do you keep in yours?

 

5 things to brighten up your dining table

:: by Lizzie
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Vase  |  Yellow Tumbler  |  Quartz Bowls  |  Blue and Gold Dot Glasses  |  Coral Candlestick

 

Spring is finally here and I’m very much in the mood for freshening up the flat. The bigger jobs on the list include blinds for the bedroom, a tiled hearth for the living room and a complete overhaul of the spare room. I’ll keep you posted on all of those as I’m sure they’ll be lovely once they’re done but they’re all pretty time consuming and aren’t satisfying my need for quick-fix spring updates and refreshes for the flat. So, I thought I’d put together a little inspiration/wish-list of gorgeous products that would lift your dining room and will get you in the mood for spring. Whether you’re entertaining friends, spoiling your roomie/significant other with a yummy dinner, or pulling together leftovers from yesterday’s meal, these are the dining room pieces that will lift your spirits and bring a bit of snaz to your table.

 

Long John Vase by Lenneke Wispelwey  //  As you know, Lenneke Wispelwey is a huge favourite of mine, and this tall vase design actually works just as well as a water carafe for two. It’s a great dinner table multi-tasker. The perfect home for a single flower as well as a lovely vessel to store and pour your water or wine from.

Yellow Tumbler by Scholten & Baijings  //  This tumbler is utter perfection. Part of me feels like the Scholten & Baijings 1616 collection is almost too lovely to use and should be kept on display nice and safe on the shelf. But the other part thinks that beautiful things should be enjoyed. Any single piece from this collection will lift your dining table to design heaven. I’m a sucker for yellow so this piece is my fave right now.

Quartz Drinking Bowls by Jars Ceramicist  //  Planning on serving tea or coffee after din-dins? These little drinking bowls are terribly sophisticated (don’t you know?) and will chic your table right up. They also double as great dipping bowls for soy sauce or whatever else you’re dipping your dinner into.

Blue Gradient and Gold Dot Low Water Glasses by HAY  //  As usual HAY is just smashing it and their gradient and gold dot glassware is high up on my must-have list. They’re just dreamy! The perfect water glass in my opinion.

Kutter Candlestick by HAY  //  The Kutter Candlestick is now available in coral and is a must-buy for me this season. It’s so bright and so right. I’ve been meaning to start using candle-light in the evenings more. We have a nice collection of scented candles which I really enjoy, but none of those simple white tall candlesticks or tea lights to create that lovely glow of an evening. This bad boy takes both. Maybe it’s time to invest.

 

What do you brighten up your dining table with? Or are you more of a TV dinners kinda person? Is there a particular glass, mug or cup that you particularly love to drink out of? My brother always uses soup spoons, never dessert spoons. Each to his own! :)

 

P L A N T P O T

:: by Lizzie
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After the huge success of the  P L A N T  P O T  exhibition upstairs at SMUG during London Design Festival 2015,  P L A N T  P O T  is back for 2016! And this year your own design could be featured. 8 established designers and friends of SMUG will each produce a one-off pot for this year’s show, leaving 4 spots available for new up-and-coming designers to be showcased.

 

Below I’ll talk you through all of the brilliant pots and wonderful designers I included last year. Keep reading to the bottom for info on how to enter the competition and submit your pot for this year’s exhibition. Winners will not only be featured in the exhibition, which will be seen by tonnes of visitors to SMUG during London Design Festival (the exhibition will also be shared across the social media platforms and websites of SMUG, the Islington Design District and the Festival itself among others) winners will also be invited to the IDD launch party at SMUG to kick off this year’s Festival. More on that later.

 

P L A N T  P O T  2 0 1 5  was such a pleasure to curate from start to finish. Once I’d decided on the plant pot theme I essentially cherry picked my favourite designers to work with and asked each of them to come up with a special one-off plant pot design for the show. Most of them had never produced a plant pot before so it was a really open, creative and fun project. The brief I shared was for each person to come up with a water tight design using the materials, colours and general style that was reflected in their work. I planted up each pot with a cactus or succulent, styled according to the look and feel of the pot, and even included my own humble addition to pull the whole thing together and make up the number of 12 pots. The results were great and wonderfully, the show was really well received by the public and press. I want to take this opportunity to say again a big and special thanks to all of the designers who worked on this with me. Such beautiful one-off pots were made for the show and group shots of the exhibition itself have ended up being the most photographed, shared and regrammed images in SMUG’s social media history. So thanks again to all who were involved.

 

byshop  //  Metal Square Tube Pot with cork bottom in byshop’s signature turquoise

Eleanor Bolton  //  Woven Chord Plant Pot in Cream and Red

Lizzie Evans  //  Paint Splattered effect on traditional terracotta pot with saucer

Esme Winter  //  Origami Pot commissioned by Esme Winter and made by Origami Est

Ruby Taylor  //  Bananas Clay Pot made and illustrated by Ruby Taylor

Hilary Grant  //  Mini Lambswool Scarf by Hilary Grant fashioned around earthenware pot

Donna Wilson  //  Stripy Pot with Face by Donna Wilson

Rosie Moss  //  Hand Screened Fabric Pot made by Rosie using her classic Hands design

The Pattern Guild  //  Fabric Pot made by The Pattern Guild using their classic Cubes design

One We Made Earlier  //  Triangular Pot made by OneWeMadeEarlier using resin

Lenneke Wispelwey  //  The SMUG Bowl by Lenneke Wispelwey, launched for LDF

Lydia Shirreff  //  Paper Cut Collage Pot made as a sleeve to existing ceramic square pot

 

 

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H O W  T O  S U B M I T T  Y O U R  P O T  D E S I G N  F O R  P L A N T  P O T  2 0 1 6  :

To update the brief a little this year and keep things fresh, I’ve decided on a pattern theme. To enter your patterned and water tight plant pot design please submit an image of your one-off original pot on Instagram, twitter or Facebook tagging @ifeelsmug (on Insta and twitter) or linking to the SMUG page via Facebook before July 31th using the hashtag #SMUGPLANTPOT. Please include materials and dimensions in the description of your post.

I’ll consider all submissions and announce the chosen 4 at the beginning of August. The 4 winners pots will be exhibited in the  P L A N T  P O T  2 0 1 6  show upstairs at SMUG during London Design Festival in September and will be available for sale from SMUG during that time.

I am looking for beautiful designs both simple and elaborate in style. I’ll be wanting to curate a group of diverse pots so it might be worth thinking about using unusual materials, colours, shapes and finishes but do stay true to your own style. The shelf that the pots sit on is 12cm deep so please take that into account too. I’m so looking forward to seeing your designs. Good luck and speak soon!

 

my top 5 stands at pick me up 2016

:: by Lizzie
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Pick Me Up, London’s Graphic Arts Festival, based every year in Somerset House, starts today. I was at the private view last night so thought I’d bring you a little sneak peak of what to expect and look forward to if you’re planning a visit. Pick Me Up runs from 21st April – 2nd May and is well worth checking out if, like me, you love a bit of illustration, typography and colour!

 

We were there with friends from Studio Moross and bumped into Urban Outfitters people Danny knew as well as friends of SMUG like Lydia Shirreff and Polly and Chris from Wrap which was a lovely treat. It’s at the Pick Me Up private view that you really understand how small the London design world is. It’s a nice thing. We spent the evening perusing the graphic art, catching up with the above and munching on every flavour of Proper Corn pop corn we could get our hands on! Here are my top 5 favourite stands/exhibits from the show.

 

 

1.  C H A R L O T T E  M E I

 

The work of illustrator and ceramic artist Charlotte Mei was a real highlight for me. I particularly enjoyed her piece ‘Reclining Worm’. Genius.

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2.  P E S O  P R E S S

 

A letterpress and printmakers studio based in East London and brother company to Sope Studio, Peso Press are in residence at Pick Me Up, creating customisable artworks for the general public. I got involved and did one of course.

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3.  W E  A R E  F A C I L I T Y

 

I’m always looking for new places to get works framed so thought I’d flag these guys up as I plan to give them a try some time in the near future. Blog post all about framing prints coming soon.

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4.  B E A C H  L O N D O N

 

“Beach London is a creative laboratory. It’s a space for London’s most exciting illustrators, designers and more to test the creative boundaries – and transform their results into unforgettable experiences for global brands.”

 

Beach also have a shop and it was the Stay Home Club ‘I Will Get Out of This Alive’ Patch that I particularly liked. Possibly my favourite thing at Pick Me Up.

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5.  A L A N  K I T C H I N G
A Life in Letterpress is a major retrospective exhibition of Alan Kitching’s life and work at the forefront of typographical design and a very nice way to finish off your visit to Pick Me Up.

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Were you there too last night? Are you planning a visit? If so do say hello by letting me know your favourites and best bits from Pick Me Up this year in the comments below.

 

 

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