Art and design shop Castor and Pollux is situated in three airy arches on Brighton seafront, a location that was formerly public loos and then a yoga studio.
The view outside the shop. How gorgeous is this?
The arches now house a beautifully curated collection of well designed goodies: there’s a kids’ section, a book section, a gallery space and lots of cards, note books, homewares and hand made jewellery. It’s all highly desirable, so I’m super happy that my Roger La Borde cards now have a home in Castor and Pollux alongside Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. You really must visit the shop if you are in Brighton!
Unfortunately I arrived last night for my ACOFI Book Tour with very little time to spare. (Thankyou traffic, in the four years since my beloved Cinquecento departed for the great car graveyard in the sky London streets have started to resemble the chaos of cities like Delhi, what with all the large trucks a-honkin’ and a-hootin’ at each other). Luckily April was on hand to help me shift piles of books down onto the seafront – aided by Suki and Alice Pattullo, who studied illustration at Brighton.
Alice Pattullo and April of Castor and Pollux.
Suki and Alice with a guest.
I should have known that if I went to Brighton I was bound to bump into some people who studied on the same course as me at University of Brighton (Ba Hons Fashion Textiles with Business Studies since you ask). Turns out the fabulous illustrator Sarah Arnett, who I first discovered at Pick Me Up (and who has since started contributing to Amelia’s Magazine) was in fact a few years ahead of me.
Lovely Sarah Arnett.
Sarah has taken an interesting route to illustration – she specialised in weave at college (we had a choice of print, knit or weave) and then went into the textiles swatch trade, before setting up a small studio making clothes that ended up becoming a shop. She only discovered the joy of illustration when a friend bartered some Illustrator lessons in exchange for a dress. Now, not only does she produce gorgeous illustrations, but she has also recently launched the most BEAUTIFUL collection of clothes featuring her inimitable flower designs. The label is called Modern Love and you can find it in Liberty.
Lou Taylor, Jo of Vintage Brighton, Kate Jenkins and April.
When Kate Jenkins turned up I recognised her instantly, and not because we have run multiple blogs featuring her unique knitted artworks. She looked familiar because she too was the year above me at Brighton. How wonderful to discover that Brighton fashion textiles graduates are doing such diverse and interesting things that have fed into the world of Amelia’s Magazine.
ACOFI book tour Castor Pollux Art 2011 Angel Food Bakery.
Before my talk started guests had a chance to once again try out the lovely Juiceology juices, which I have decided are a bit like a juice equivalent of Refreshers sweeties – they have such a wonderful tang to them, quite unlike any other juice I’ve tasted. April had also managed to source some outstanding cupcakes from the Angel Food Bakery – who, quite without my knowledge, had baked the most beautiful buttery creations featuring a transfer design of the Amelia’s Magazine logo.
This time round I also had a moment to drink a few cups of Lahloo Tea, and can confirm that both the Peppermint and Darjeeling were absolutely delicious, served very prettily in tea cosy covered china teapots. There were also of course samples of Dr.Hauschka aplenty to take away, much appreciated by those in attendance.
There were plenty of other interesting people at Castor and Pollux, and here’s a selection of those that I managed to talk to:
Paul had come all the way from Chichester on behalf of his girlfriend… and he’d sneaked out a copy of her issue 2 for me to sign for her birthday (hope she’s not reading this) which I thought was incredibly sweet. Fortunately he didn’t seem at all daunted by the heavy female quotient: sadly one boy ran away before my talk began. Boys, please come and meet me, my talk is just as much for you! I’d also really like to encourage as many people as possible to come and talk to me at the remaining talks… I want to hear what you are up to so that I can give your creative projects as much exposure as possible.
Sarah Meredith of Rock Cakes could only stay for a little while because her little girl Matilda needed to get home for bed, but she too had brought along some back copies for me to sign. She was sporting some fantastic rings from her dainty jewellery collection – I particularly love the enamelled pumpkin and the cute birds which sit together as if talking. You can find more of her designs on the Rock Cakes website and on Etsy.
Me chomping on a cupcake from the Angel Food Bakery.
Also present was Lou Taylor, who has also recently started contributing to Amelia’s Magazine. She has been using paper art to create the most amazing props for many years, but illustration is a new thing. I think her paper cut techniques work marvellously well as illustration – see her CocknBullKid illustration for example – and am glad she has found a place to showcase this new work.
I also met illustrator Jessie Ford, whose website you can check out here.
Racheal Brooks, Racheal Stott, Verity Brown, Judith Wilding
Verity Brown shows me her portfolio.
A few recent graduates of my course turned up just as I was finishing my talk and one had been savvy enough to bring her portfolio of lovely fashion illustrations to show me. They missed most of the part where I talk about how you absolutely have to be online and engaged with social media to promote yourself as an up and coming creative, but I hope they will listen to my advice as, unbelievably, none of them had any web presence at all! I wish my old course would ask me back to teach the students a bit more about self promotion and marketing for creatives…
Illustrations by Verity Brown.
Jo of Vintage Brighton has very speedily blogged about my talk last night, so you can find out more about it by hopping over here. Thankyou Jo!
As I upload this blog I am sitting in the Pegasus Theatre cafe in Oxford and in a few minutes I have to get along to the next date on my #ACOFI Book Tour. Tonight I will be talking at Comma Shop at about 7.30pm tonight: please do join me from 6pm to network, eat Good Biscuits, taste a new G&D ice-cream flavour and learn how to make button rosettes with Custon Made UK. Then tomorrow I will be rolling on up to Bristol to speak at the Soma Gallery. It’s all very exciting because I love meeting so many different creative communities, so do come and join me at one of these venues soon and tell me what you’re up to. I am back at Tatty Devine in Brick Lane on Tuesday 7th June. Over and out.
ACOFI, Alice Pattullo, Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration, Angel Food Bakery, brighton, Castor and Pollux, Cinquecento, CocknBullKid, Comma Shop, cupcakes, Custon Made UK, Delicious Industries, Dr.Hauschka, G&D Cafe, G&D ice-cream, Good Biscuits, Ice Cream, Jessie Ford, Judith Wilding, Juiceology, Kate Jenkins, Lahloo Tea, liberty, Lou Taylor, Modern Love, Oxford, Pegasus Theatre, Racheal Brooks, Racheal Stott, Rock Cakes, Roger La Borde, Sarah Arnett, Sarah Meredith, Soma Gallery, Tatty Devine, University of Brighton, Verity Brown, Vintage Brighton
- Announcing: The ACOFI Book Tour. Please join me as I visit some of the UK’s best design shops!
- The ACOFI Book Tour: visiting The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh
- The ACOFI Book Tour: the first night at Tatty Devine, Covent Garden
- An interview with illustrator Emma Block, as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration
- Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration launch party illustrations: meet Joana Faria