the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 20 – Urban Foraging Cocktail workshop…

Ever wondered what edible things you walk past each day in Brighton and Hove? Not sure how to spot them or what to do with them? Well, for another of post free gift options in our Eco Gift Guide, we are shamelessly plugging one of our own events, but it will be a cracker! Join us for an introduction to foraging and a few top tips of where to find useful things, culminating in a HUGELY popular foraged cocktail making session using flavours gathered from the city of Brighton itself…

This special event led by Claire Potter (claire potter design) is part of the immersive experience at Patterns Bar, Brighton. Step through a transformed mystical entrance, and discover an enchanted forest filled with nostalgic treats and immersive visual feasts inspired by Britain’s woodlands and the wild outdoors in Winter.

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The ground floor bar will be transformed into a winter wonderland reminiscent of scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia, brought to life by a multi-level digitally projected and interlinked forest, complete with softly falling snowflakes, inquisitive wild animals and scents of the forest air. Inside, you’ll find festive treats such a boozy hot chocolate menu and Hot Buttered Rum to enjoy as you watch a flock of birds fly around the room or a snow fox dart in front of you. Imagine watching the sunset from a discarded Chesterfield in Narnia with a warming cocktail in hand, dancing amongst the swirling snow in the glow of a Victorian lamppost and you will be half way to Woodlandia.

 

Claire will be leading a talk and discussion around urban foraging, but the best bit is that there will be a foraged cocktail workshop in the second half of the workshop – hands on making and sampling too!

Plus, as it is in February, the post Christmas and New Year detox will be over. The lovely cocktails we will be making use the very best of the new sprouts and shoots of the season, and as local as you can probably ever get…

Tickets on sale now – £15 per person on our Eventbrite page

(images via claire potter and woodlandia)

the Ecospot Eco Gift guide 2016 – day 19 – Magazine Brighton voucher…

Most postal dates for gifts in the UK are looming today or tomorrow, but do not panic. You can still give a gift that is thoughtful and supports good people. For instance, the joy of a new piece of print is something that should not be underestimated, but magazines can be very personal. We love discovering titles from small independent publishers – something different. Off the wall. Intriguing, or even challenging. Fortunately, we have the rather fabulous Magazine Brighton in the city, which has a fantastic selection of well known and little known publications. It is a lovely place to visit, but if you can’t make it to the store, you can still find them online…

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So if you know someone you loves discovering new print, then this could be the perfect gift. Stocking around 95% of the titles they have in the store, this is as good as you can get if you are not South Coast based. Search by name if you know what you are looking for, or search by category and find something new. Discovery is a wonderful thing.

Recently we discovered the Ocean issue of Wilderness, which blew us away. We also picked up a copy of the Stress Report from Do Books and also regular copies of our favourites – from Ernest Journal to Another Escape and more. We cannot fail to find something remarkable.

But as we have said, magazines are infinitely personal purchases. Grab one of the Magazine Brighton Gift Vouchers and give the gift of exploration for another.

(images via Magazine Brighton)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 18 – ticket to Pecha Kucha Brighton…

It has been said that we should be gifting experiences instead of stuff to be truly sustainable. Of course, it really does depend on what type of experience you gift, but sharing something special with a loved one will give the gift of precious memories, shared experiences and perhaps even a new skill. It could be something outdoors, something indoors, something to make you think or something to make you smile. So, for day 18 on our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen an experience close to us – tickets to volume 26 of Pecha Kucha Brighton…

Literally meaning ‘chit chat’ in Japanese, the Pecha Kucha format was dreamt up in 2003 by Tokyo based architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham who had had enough of watching long, tedious presentations by other architects. With just 20 slides and each slide being present for just 20 seconds, the 6 minute 40 seconds format was short, sweet and swallowable, and Pecha Kucha was born. There are now PK licence holders all over the world, replicating the format in cities across the globe.

The Brighton license is now held by Alex Leith (Viva magazine) and Zara Wood (aka Woody the illustrator and graphic designer), who present the Pecha Kucha nights every two or three months, each with a different theme. They are nights of great inspiration.

Claire has presented twice at Pecha Kucha nights in Brighton, under the themes of ‘studio’, ‘good grub’ (talking about urban foraging) and will also be presenting at the next volume of PK – under the theme of ‘RE’ on January 25th 2017. Expect people talking about REvolution, REcycling, REuse, REbellion, REsponsibilities and many other things starting with RE. It’ll be REally good. (sorry)

So why not think about popping along? Tickets are available from here and early bird options are just a fiver a piece, so will not break the bank and would be a great stocking filler. Give the gift of an experience, with a difference.

(images via Pecha Kucha Brighton)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 17 – Small Batch Coffee club subscription…

Whether you like it or not, many of us have become avid coffee lovers in the UK. Where we are based, in Brighton, you can barely walk 100m without stumbling upon another coffee shop that has only just opened. Of course, many of these are the faceless, homogeneous chains that dominate many a high street, but many of them are independent – coffee lovers turned coffee experts and baristas extraordinaire. We are lucky in Brighton too, as we have a really really nice little chain of the Small Batch Coffee Company, who do very nice coffee indeed, sourcing it directly, roasting it in Hove and preparing it with love. But what if you live outside of Brighton? Why should we get all the nice coffee? It’s day 17 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have the coffee subscription club from Small Batch Coffee…

small batch coffee club

The premise is simple. Choose how you would like the coffee to be delivered, from whole bean to espresso grind, then choose how long you would like the subscription to run – 3 or 6 months. Small Batch Coffee will then choose a different blend every fortnight for the period you have selected, grind and package it with care and send it off to an address of your choice with a little message from you.

Plus, the coffee itself is really special. Working directly with farmers to ensure coffee cherries of the highest quality, Small Batch Coffee comes in a variety of single origin and blended varieties – each with the guarantee that fair prices have been paid and there is no exploitation.

So – if you have someone further afield that you need a gift for, send them a little bit of coffee love from Brighton – they will thank you with every cup for the next three or six months…

(images via Small Batch Coffee)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 10 – honeycomb necklace by Beetle Cherry…

This weekend, we have the very last two days of opening for our Artists Open Houses at Studio Loo – and the fantastic Beetle Cherry is one of our special guest designers. With a ‘illustrated wildlife park’ and percentages of profits going to wildlife conservation charities, the prints, activity kits and jewellery of Beetle Cherry not only looks good, it does good too. It’s day 10 of our Eco Gift Guide and today, we have a lovely jewellery set as our selection…

geometric wood necklace

Finding clear inspiration from the bees themselves, we totally fell in love with this necklace – a trio of hexagons arranged like a honeycomb in a stripped back, sustainably sourced birch timber. Hand finished, the honeycomb hangs from an antique style chain and comes complete in an organic cotton bag for just £10.

Slightly abstract and infinitely sophisticated, this necklace would look excellent with a plain black top… plus, if you want to go completely bee, you can also get a pair of matching hexagon earrings for £6.

wooden earrings handmade

With 10% of all profits of the sales of these items going to the Sussex Wildlife Trust, this is a fantastic gift for both wildlife and jewellery lovers alike.

AND until 19th December, all products have free UK Shipping! Fantastic!

Find more of the Beetle Cherry range here

(images via Beetle Cherry)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 9 – mini cacti from Hi Cacti…

There is something rather wonderful about having living things around you. It is simply not natural for us to only inhabit spaces that are synthetic – man-made buildings, interiors and structures where the only thing that is alive is us. Fortunately, many designers are realising the uplifting and positive benefits of having life in our buildings and biophilia, the integration of natural light, natural materials and plants is gaining more practitioners. Unfortunately, many people think that they are just not blessed with green fingers, so steer away from green companions in their spaces. This does not have to be the case. There are plenty of plants that require very little care and attention – it’s day 9 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have the rather fantastic little cacti of Hi Cacti…

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Turquoise, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

With a very TexMex feel, the hand cast concrete pots of Hi Cacti feature contrasting bands of colours and metallics, perfectly complimenting the different living inhabitants – each one chosen specially to match the pot itself by cactus queen and owner, Sabina Palermo.

With pale blues to deep blacks and warm coppers, there is definitely a cactus for anyone. Plus, by their very nature, they thrive on almost no care and attention at all. A light mist of water now and then, and barely anything in winter, cactus are the most forgiving of all the plants you could choose.

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Cream White, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

And they LAST. At this time of year, the shops are stuffed with all manner of plants that are bold and brash, covered with glitter or apologetically seasonal. Whilst these fellows will brighten your life for a short spell, cactus will be a chum for life, with just a little love.

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Copper Bronze, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

So, if you want to give someone the gift of life this Christmas, why not consider the lovely little fellows at Hi Cacti?

*** PS – we have a little selection of the Hi Cacti range at our Artists Open House – last weekend 10/11th December, 11-5! ***

(images via Hi Cacti)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide – day 6 – M-24 bags…

Designing something with a ‘waste’ material makes perfect sense – especially if that material is already into it’s second life. Keeping materials at their highest possible quality is key to the success of the circular economy – and also recognising what the material strengths are. So, bags and accessories made from truck tarpaulins? Perfect sense. It’s day 6 of our Eco Gift Guide and today we are choosing the lovely stuff of M-24 bags…

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With a great range of backpacks, messenger bags, wallets and accessories, M-24 create one off pieces from recovered UK truck tarpaulins that harness the very qualities a truck tarp has – strong, bright, waterproof.

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This means that each product is an individual thing – a term that M-24 have dubbed ‘anti-lemmingism’. We all want to be seen as individuals, but unless we have the ability to make our own stuff, this is a better option than the mass produced, cheaply made, high mark-up alternatives on the market.

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Plus, by not supplying retailers, but making their products available only through their website, pop-ups and their brand spanking new flagship store in Brighton, they are able to keep their prices very reasonable indeed as the retailer mark-up is eliminated. This also means that the cost of the high level finish and manufacturing techniques undertaken in the UK is feasible and products are available from just £5 for a keychain.

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M-24 Brighton, 15 Gardner Street, Brighton

A great business model – and great products. Perfect for someone who needs their luggage to be robust and trustworthy, waterproof and individual. And what could be better than telling someone their Christmas pressie has been made in the UK and it is the ONLY one in the world?

Anti-lemmingism is the way forward.

(images via M-24)

our Brighton Architectural Notebooks are now in Homage!

Yes – that is right! You can now find our Brighton Architectural notebooks in the beautiful home store, Homage, in the Seven Dials area of Brighton.

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Packed up in mixed threes, you can get a set of A6 notebooks made from 100% recycled paper, printed in Sussex with images of iconic pieces of Brighton Architecture – the Pavilion, the Palace Pier and our beloved West Pier.

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And check out the beautiful pieces they have in the store – from hand thrown utilitarian ceramic mugs to wide toothed combs, scented candles and hanging glass planters. We are delighted to be in such a lovely store. Go and say hi to Mark and Liza at Homage and check them out in their online store – www.homageonline.co.uk 

(images by claire potter and homage)

friday photo – hope…

Friday photo no21 – hope.

There always has to be hope. This photo was taken on our recent beach clean for Surfers Against Sewage – a lovely shot looking out to sea over freshly cleaned beaches and the new offshore wind farm that is being developed in the channel off Brighton. We need to work together to make this world better. We need to have hope to make that happen…

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(image by claire potter)

It’s the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series 2016!

It’s finally here! From 24th – 30th October, at beaches all across the UK, the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series will be mobilising thousands of volunteers at over 250 venues to clean up the scourge that is marine litter – and particularly plastic, which remains in the environment indefinitely…

Here in Brighton and Hove, we have a fantastic 5 cleans taking place, starting on Saturday 22nd October and running till Sunday 30th October, with a huge bumper beach clean and party courtesy of the English Disco Lovers at Hove Lawns.

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As Claire is one of three new volunteer Regional Reps for SAS in Brighton and Hove, we will be running the beach clean on Monday 24th October from 12-3pm, starting at the beach behind the King Alfred in Hove.

So – come along! Pop in for 10 minutes or three hours – whatever you can manage, and help on a beach clean to spread the word about marine litter. And if you’re not in the Brighton and Hove area do not despair – check the main Surfers Against Sewage Events page to find a clean near you…

(images by claire potter, SAS and Creative Bloom)

***EVENT*** our last foraging walk of the year this Sunday!

Well, the summer has rocketed by, and we can’t believe that our last guided foraging walk of the year will be this Sunday. Starting at a location just outside the centre of Brighton, you can join us for a 2 hour or so foraging walk, where we will point out the 20 or so different things that you can eat (or really should not be touching!). Things that you will recognise and lots that you will not, this walk will equip you with the basics of urban foraging, including the rules you need to adhere by.

cherry plum foraging

Finished off with a little drink at the end, the walk starts and ends in two Brighton parks, with some street foraging in the middle… Kids are welcome (and go free with an adult too).

There are only a few tickets left for this walk, so if you fancy it – here is the link to our Eventbrite page… We hope to see you there!

(image by claire potter)

New Surfers Against Sewage Regional Rep for Brighton!

A very quick post for the weekend – we are delighted to announce that Claire is to be one of new Regional Reps appointed by Surfers Against Sewage and will be covering the Brighton and Hove area! With the studio specialism and obsession with marine litter, the link up with Surfers Against Sewage is great – and will allow us to do even more with beach cleans and research to protect our beloved oceans.

west pier SAS regional rep

As they say – watch this space for more!

(photo by claire potter)

Our ParleyAIR x Adidas marine plastic video…

There is nothing like a deadline. And yesterday evening, the end of July was the deadline for entries into the Parley x Adidas contest to win one of the concept pairs of new trainers made from recovered ocean plastic. As you can all imagine, with our studio obsession and work in marine litter (using the Parley AIR principles), these trainers are rather something special. We would LOVE to see a pair, let alone have the chance of having a set in the studio… So, we created a little video about why we think this is important and what we are doing about it and uploaded it to our Instagram account – something we have actually been meaning to do for a while. This contest was the nudge we needed. Our little vid is also a call to action if you will. Just think what we could achieve if we all work together…

Let us know your thoughts.

PS – we’ll certainly let you know if we get selected to receive a pair of the new ocean plastic trainers by Adidas and Parley – and be their ambassadors!

(video by claire potter design – shot using the MAVIS app)

***EVENT REVIEW*** – March of The Mermaids with World Cetacean Alliance…

Last Saturday, we were out and about again – this time with the World Cetacean Alliance at the March of the Mermaids in Hove, helping them spread the word about ghost gear netting and specifically, what you can do with it. Armed with a raft of experimental pieces of jewellery we created for our exhibit at Clerkenwell Design Week 2016, we were there for the day running making workshops with recovered netting from the beaches of Brighton. With attendees from age 3 upwards, we were busy!

March of the Mermaids 2016 WCA workshop

It was great to show everyone the issue up close and actually encourage them to feel the rope and see it as a material resource for new products, rather than something that should be consigned to landfill.

March of the Mermaids 2016 WCA workshop ghost gear jewellery

We knotted, weaved, plaited, threaded and combined the synthetic netting with simple jewellery findings and each attendee went away with a few new skills, loads of information and a new bracelet or two to help them tell the story to others. It was an encouraging sight.

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one of the ghost gear bracelets made at the workshops – complete with a nickel and zinc free little whale!

We also had time to catch up with the great guys and gals that make up the Brighton Etsy team, who have also teamed up with the World Cetacean Alliance to create new pieces inspired by their Untangled project brief. Launched at March of the Mermaids, the pieces range from patches to jewellery again – with a percentages of all the product sales from now until Christmas being donated directly to the World Cetacean Alliance.

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And one of them is Lulu – of which I am extremely proud have the very first prototype for. She always gets stacks of attention when I wear her and I’m delighted that I can now direct people to Designosaur’s shop to get their own!

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One of the purchases we made was this awesome print as a tote bag by Hello Dodo… just made us smile!

March of the Mermaids 2016 Hello Dodo

Take a look at their blog here to see all the pieces created by their members for WCA.

So, overall, a great fundraising and awareness raising day at March of the Mermaids for the World Cetacean Alliance – and watch this space for some more very exciting news about our work with WCA soon…!

(images by claire potter and the Brighton Etsy Team)

the new Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium opens…

We are really lucky to live and work in Brighton. We have the sea on one side, the South Downs on the other and the city filling is a mass of creativity and inspiration with some fantastic individuals and organisations doing some brilliant work. One such example, and long standing friend of the studio is Emmaus Brighton and Hove.

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 4

Based in the former convent in the Portslade Old Village area of the city, Emmaus Brighton and Hove is the largest Emmaus community in the UK, functioning as a secondhand superstore, cafe, garden shop and so much more – with each former homeless companion living and working on the site in some capacity. It is helping hand – a family – and a wonderful place to visit.

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 5

We are always at Emmaus – finding pieces for our projects and clients in the vast rambling areas of the stores, having a cuppa or chatting with the staff and companions. So, it was with delight that we were invited to the special preview of the new Emmaus Emporium…

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 3

Situated in a newly refurbished part of the old convent laundry building, the Emporium is the destination for all the donated pieces which are a bit special – vintage, retro and antique. And the space is just fantastic.

The two main display pieces have been created by Simon Bottrell of 7 Creative, who has arranged the donated pieces of furniture in an incredible tower and wall piece of stacked tables, chests and shelves. With multiple display opportunities, the pale grey painted main ‘frames’ are able to accommodate the continually fluctuating donations whilst still remaining interesting and exciting – essential for any space. And the detailing is lovely – legs that appear to punch through tops of tables set below, items that float and even melt into the back wall…

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 2

Other display pieces use old ladders, repurposed counters and even a selection of upside down standard lamps – hanging from the centre of the space to give real impact to the room.

It is so fantastic to see the energy behind each of the projects that Emmaus Brighton and Hove creates – constantly staying one step ahead of what you would dream a ‘charity shop’ could be. The Emporium is the latest addition to the collection of shops at Emmaus Brighton and Hove – and a real feather in their secondhand caps.

Emmaus Brighton and Hove Emporium 1

Visit Emmaus Brighton and Hove’s website to find out more and how to get there… You will not be disappointed – we can guarantee that.

(image by claire potter design)