On Tuesday I hit the second date of my ACOFI Book Tour, this time at the rather wonderful Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. I chat with super friendly bookshop guru Matthew via the wonders of twitter, so it was a delight to meet him in the flesh.
Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama.
After settling in for a nice piece of fruit tart and a glance at a selection of the newest titles in the incredibly well stocked bookshop I had a brief chance to wander around the current exhibition Narcissus Reflected, which features a painting by Salvador Dali on loan from the Tate and for the very first time shown as it was meant to be, with the poem that accompanies it. Upstairs a mass of light silver balls floods the airy space – Narcissus Garden is an update of a piece by Yayoi Kusama first shown back in the 1960s. A small darkened room strewn with comfy floor cushions has been cordoned off to showcase a beautifully soporific film by Pipilotti Rist.
The Fruitmarket Gallery cafe was sadly closed for our evening event so I went a bit crazy in the local supermarket: plates of colourful Jammy Dodgers, Iced Party Rings, Jaffa Cakes, Iced Gems and Pink Wafers were soon adorning the cafe tables. Yup! It was a veritable E number fest. If it’s not going to be beautifully homemade why not head off to the other end of the spectrum I say?! These biscuits remind me of many a childhood party…
At the front I arranged a tray of yummy Dr.Hauschka goodies for guests to take away and try later.
Matthew’s expert merchandising skills came to the forefront as he arranged a (fashionable) colour block display of Juiceology juices and appealing piles of ACOFI and AAOI atop a round table next to which I sat to give my talk.
Abi Lewis of We Are Caravan.
I had been a bit nervous about travelling all the way to Edinburgh because it’s so far away from my normal stomping ground and I don’t really know many people up there… but I needn’t have worried because the cafe packed out very quickly with about 50 people, who gathered in friendly groups, chatting and taking the opportunity to sample the colourful Juiceology offerings before I settled down to do my talk, a very good write up of which you can read on the We Are Caravan blog.
Lesley Barnes and her friend Libby.
Luckily my only Scottish-based ACOFI illustrator Lesley Barnes was also in able to make it along to The Fruitmarket Gallery – she brought along some wonderful work to share with us, and talked a little bit about the process of working with me so it was really wonderful to have her there, especially now we’ve been working together for nearly two years since she answered the brief for my first book. I only realised this week that this was in fact pretty much the start of her involvement with briefed illustration, although she was doing lots of her own work beforehand.
I do like to remind people that hers is an exceptional talent – Lesley Barnes has never been formally trained, instead choosing to do a degree in English Literature, and yet she has managed to develop an utterly unique and identifiable style that is finally garnering some acclaim: she featured in a recent issue of the Sunday Times Style magazine and her work is stocked in the Soma Gallery, to which I will be trundling along on Thursday 26th May.
After the talk there was more time to speak to everyone and I managed to take snaps of just a few of the delightful creative people that I met: some of whom I persuaded to pose against the excellent neon sculpture in The Fruitmarket Gallery cafe area.
Ian, Julz and Abi run We Are Caravan, with whom I’ve been chatting on twitter in the run up to my Edinburgh visit. You can also find Abi Lewis, who was dressed in the most wonderful patterned vintage dress, at Hateful Snippets. We Are Caravan run a mobile gallery that travels around in yes, you guessed it, a caravan.
Kirsty Jay Anderson and Emily Hall had come along to get inspired. Kirsty studied textiles and now runs A Wooden Tree which sells gorgeous upcycled vintage textiles and ephemera, whilst Emily has recently decided that she is going to turn her hand to illustration after doing many other things for years, including stone carving in castles, which sounds fantastic! I look forward to seeing what she produces.
Mabel Forsyth, aka Pink Pig came along with her work colleague Siobhan Murchie of Shiv Illustration – who just happens to be the cousin of Amelia’s Magazine contributor Sam Parr. What a small and wondrous world.
The Fruitmarket Gallery stocks my new range of Roger la Borde cards alongside my books (above), and so it was great to meet Lucy, who distributes my card designs all over Scotland. What a lovely lady she is! Here with her friend Sara.
A very enjoyable part of the evening was giving a few portfolio crits. Yay! I hope I get to do more of these at the next few places I am visiting.
First up I met American lass Casey Otremba, who was formerly a packaging designer in New York before becoming inspired to come to Edinburgh to study illustration a few years ago. The reason? Someone showed her a copy of issue 4 of Amelia’s Magazine. Double yay!
Her fashion illustration portfolio features some really wonderful fine line pencil work with some stylish injections of pure vibrant colour. I particularly loved the meticulous fluidity of the poses she draws and I hope she’s going to start contributing to Amelia’s Magazine soon so you’ll get to see more of her work…
Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson.
A doodle by Lizzie Hudson.
Elizabeth Hudson had travelled all the way from Glasgow, where she studies fine art, along with her friend Culloden Robertson of Iko Art. It was wonderful to see how a trained fine artist adapts to illustration briefs and I was particularly enamoured of the sweeping fantasies of her impulsive narrative work which make imaginative use of colour, line and text.
Myself with Culloden Robertson and Elizabeth Hudson. I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea to stick my finger in my ear. It was late.
As a special thankyou to everyone who turned up for this event we are extending the special offer that was available on the night at The Fruitmarket Gallery. Just quote Amelia’s Blog offer when you go in, and you’ll be able to purchase both Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration and Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration for £40 together, or for £22 apiece. The offer is valid for one more week, so if you didn’t decide to purchase on the night you can still take advantage of some very reasonable prices indeed. Thankyou Fruitmarket Gallery!
Next week I will be embarking on a triple whammy: Brighton on Tuesday 24th May at Castor & Pollux, where we’ll be fed by cupcakes from the Angel Food Bakery, then on to Comma Shop on Wednesday 25th May, where there will be the chance to sample a specially blended new flavour of ice cream from G & D’s Cafe: raspberry with white and dark chocolate chips. Nom nom nom. Plus rosette button making lessons from Anna Butler at Custom Made UK. Really, what’s not to like?!
Then on Thursday 26th May I’ll be turning up at the Soma Gallery in Bristol: where Hart’s Bakery will be providing home made iced biscuits, custard creams and gingerbread hearts, whilst local girl and Lahloo Tea founder Kate Gover will be on hand to answer all your tea-related questions.
Finally, I will be back at Tatty Devine on Tuesday 7th June the week after, where I will round up the ACOFI Book Tour with a little help from Biscuiteers. Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible en route! Don’t forget to join the facebook events by clicking on the various shop links above.
A Wooden Tree, AAOI, Abi Lewis, ACOFI, Amelia's Anthology of Illustration, Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration, Angel Food Bakery, Anna Butler, Biscuiteers, Biscuits, brighton, bristol, Casey Otremba, Castor and Pollux, Comma Shop, Culloden Robertson, cupcakes, Custom Made UK, Dr.Hauschka, edinburgh, Elizabeth Hudson, Emily Hall, G & D's Cafe, Hart's Bakery, Hateful Snippets, Ice Cream, Iced Gems, Iced Party Rings, Iko Art, Jaffa Cakes, Jammy Dodgers, Juiceology, Kate Gover, Kirsty Jay Anderson, Lahloo Tea, Lesley Barnes, Mabel Forsyth, Narcissus Garden, Narcissus Reflected, Oxford, Pink Pig Illustration, Pink Wafers, Pipilotti Rist, Roger La Borde, Salvador Dali, Sam Parr, scotland, Shiv Illustration, Siobhan Murchie, Soma Gallery, Sunday Times Style, Tatty Devine, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Yayoi Kusama
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