Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Rob Ryan joins the Sisterhood!

We had an amaaaaazing Shoreditch Sisters WI meeting with the very sweet and very beardy Rob Ryan yesterday. I've been in love with this man's beautiful papercut pictures for a while now, and almost blew my lid when I found out he was going to be a guest speaker at our April meeting!

Facing an audience of adoring sisters (he loved it that he could call us 'sisters', never having had any of his own), he spoke about his love of storytelling, and how papercutting became the perfect medium through which he could tell his stories. Text has always featured heavily in his work as an essential part of the emotions he is trying to convey. Moving from drawing and painting to working in monochrome paper 'liberated' him as an artist, enabling him to interweave his text and images into one visual message.

He's clearly an emotional and thoughtful guy, and hearing him speak really made his pictures fit him as a person. Awwwww what a loverly man.

Papercutting is what he is most known for, but he sees himself predominantly as someone who likes to draw.  His designs are everywhere now, from wedding cards to editorial spreads in Vogue. He is even (as he not so subtly name-dropped) currently working on a commissioned piece for Cath Kidson. She's a lucky lady!

We got the chance to do our own papercutting of templates that Rob and his assistant had brought along, which was what all the die-hard crafters had really been waiting for! A room full of scalpel-wielding sisters set to work, and an hour later this was the result - Lovely isn't it? Thanks Rob! Oh, and he also gave us a signed picture, and there's whisperings of him contributing a piece to our FGM campaign...exciting!

You can see Rob's work on his website, buy it on etsy or see it in the flesh at his Columbia Road shop Ryantown.

Friday, 13 April 2012

I heart Wood Street!

Today I found THE SECRET GEM of Walthamstow - Wood Street Indoor Market! Move over Orford Road, stand aside Walthamstow Village, you've got a slightly crappier, yet way cooler little sister in town!

It seems that the old boys and girls at the local council have finally decided that E17 was growing into a bit of a shit-hole, what with all the muggings and stabbings and that, and needed a serious make-over before the 'lympics, so they've given some wads of cash to some lovely arty types :-) nice folk eh?

It's full of super-cheap vintage shops, artists, designers, home-made cakes, craft shops, upholsterers, cafes &tc &tc. A general miss-mash of 'makers' (a term I have never heard that before, but hey, I think I'm going to call myself a 'maker' now too - it's got a nice god-like ring to it...)

Some lovely 'makers' that I met and bent the ears off in my haze of excitement were Animaux CircusAnja JaneCraft Guerilla (who also hold knit & natter meetings at the Rose & Crown in Walthamstow on the 2nd Thurs of each month). Super excited to have such creative people a stone's throw away from my yard!

AND the market even has a tiny weeny theatre! I went to their opening show tonight, a play by Write by Numbers about a guy with asperger's syndrome taking photos of what makes him happy and starting a Flickr sensation. *communal awwwww* It's on for the next month, and it's free, so give it a go.

Another lovely thing that's been added to the area to give it a sprucing is a beautiful and very funny and very east-end mural about the history of Wood St. It's called 'Tall Tales and Dubious Stories', and it's amazeballs - well worth a read, a stare and a piccie or two.

Im still feeling a bit dizzy at seeing my area get trendy before me very eyes. Need a to lie-down.

<3 x :-)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Going to Zambia! the end of April I'm jetting off AGAIN to embark on a 3 month volunteering project in Zambia with Restless Development, the leading global Youth-Led Development Agency! The project is funded by DFID, through the International Citizenship Service (ICS) which they started last year.

I will be working alongside Zambian volunteers to deliver Financial Literacy and Sexual & Reproductive Health workshops to student teachers in a college in Kabwe, Zambia (a town north of the capital city Lusaka).

Financial literacy is a really important way of enabling young people (especially young women, a particular interest of mine!) to have the freedom to make choices of their own. The aim of the SRH workshops is to reduce the rate of HIV related deaths (currently 2% amongst teachers) and build the capacity of student teachers to pass this information on to their classes once they start teaching.

I'm also a RD team leader, so I will also be supporting the other volunteers from the UK & Zambia! Meeting them at the pre-departure training, the other UK volunteers seem like a really diverse and interesting bunch, and I'm sure the Zambian volunteers will be equally fab, so I'm sure supporting them will be both fun and challenging!

It's going to be an amazing experience, as I've never been to Africa, and I know I am going to learn so much and hopefully have a positive impact on the community in Zambia and on the other volunteers. I can't wait to learn more about International Development, and the education system in Zambia, as well developing my skills of working with young people. YAY!

I'm really looking forward to it but I am a tad apprehensive too, as I will be away for so long (though I'm sure it will fly by!) and will really miss people. But...YOLO! ("you only live once" - apparently this a new phrase that all the cool kids are using...)

Also I'm fundraising for Restless, so if you want to donate some cash monies, please do it here (and GiftAid it!) and I will bring you back a Zambian animal...

<3 x :-)