weekend words – make work into play…

Today for weekend words we have one of our favourite motto’s here in the studio – because playing is far more fun than working…

work into play

(image and photography by claire potter design)

LAST WEEKEND TO VISIT STUDIO LOO FOR ARTISTS OPEN HOUSES!

Can you believe it is the LAST of our open weekends this Saturday and Sunday for the Artists Open Houses in Brighton? We have curated a great selection of design, illustrations, graphics and homewares in our little pop up shop for the festival – come and say hello!

We also have the most marvellous organic tea, coffee and really special cake too…

More details, map and stuff here…

AOH 2015

Studio Loo is open for the Artists’ Open Houses in Brighton!

Yes – you may have heard us banging on about how we are open for the Artists’ Open Houses this May in Brighton, with our very special selection of design, graphics, illustration and homewares, but if you haven’t, we are open… why not pop along?

More details, map and stuff here…

AOH 2015

 

First weekend of Artists’ Open Houses at Studio Loo a success!

As you have probably seen here on The Ecospot, we have been rushing around somewhat over the past week or so getting our little Studio Loo ready for the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses in May. With over 200 or so locations and the work of over 1000 artists, designers and makers, the Artists’ Open Houses event in Brighton is huge – and a real highlight of the cities festival season.

Sophie Shohani cushions

For this year, we have opened our doors too for the first time and have a fantastic range of work on show, both by us and a selection of special guests. We even have an illustration by the very talented Kate Forrester on our central window – directly on the glass!

Kate Forrester illustration live

With a little bit of everything, from illustration and typography to lighting, jewellery and homewares, Studio Loo has got a real design led focus of stuff – and we were inundated by visitors over the first weekend.

designosaur 2

At some points, our little studio was overrun with people – which was great and really changed the dynamic of the space. It was fantastic to showcase brilliant designers whose work we adore – many of which were here invigilating over the weekend with us.

Designosaur 1

This is the real joy of the Artists’ Open Houses – being able to get up close and personal with a huge variety of work and being able to speak directly to the artists and designers – one piece came in after framing with the designer and left minutes later with a very happy customer!

A to Z Kate Forrester

We had a last minute addition to the studio with the ‘Piano Guardians’ – individual creatures created from old piano pieces made in collaboration with local craftsman Mark Reeve – two winged their way out the door over the weekend, but more are on their way, including two new designs…

Piano guardians

As of the second weekend we will also be joined by the Intrepid Camera Company plus two other designers yet to be announced…

Kate Forrester 2

Visited Studio Loo over the weekend? You can vote for us in the Best Open House category here!

(all photos by claire potter)

in praise of the refurbished…

We are very lucky at the studio to be located along a very long road in Hove that can only be described as ‘eclectic’. With Portslade Station at one end, and well into the reaches of Hove in another, Portland Road is about a mile or so of houses, schools, a park and a variety of retail spaces (plus our little studio, based in the old public toilet). But theses are not any old retail spaces – they are all mostly small, independent shops and cafes – all very different. But what struck us recently whilst walking to the Post Office (6 minutes from studio) was how many great examples of repair, refurbished, service based industry and reclaimed goods shops there were on Portland Road.

dyson city

There are two launderettes. A sewing and alteration workshop, two computer repair shops, a cobbler, an refurbished oven place. A scattering of secondhand stores, a hardware store and the Bargain Vacuum Centre, to name but a few. And it was in the last store – the Bargain Vacuum Centre that we found the latest addition to our studio – an almost new, refurbished Dyson City vacuum cleaner.

Complete with all the bits and bobs – and a 9 month guarantee, this little vacuum only set us back £50. ‘Any problems and whizz it back’, we were told. ‘Sure, we replied – we are just along the road’. And this is what is great about this type of ‘High Street’ – the mix of people, skills and services – all independent and backlit acrylic sign free – offering the personable experience that is not found elsewhere. This is what we love and this is why we are very proud to be part of Portland Road.

We need to save these types of road, because there is very little that we are not able to access within a 7 minute walk of the studio – and we are very aware that this is a precious rarity. Chains have their places, but these are the roads that can offer us repair, reuse or leasing – on our doorsteps…

Here’s to the refurbished.

Growing food on waste coffee – the Espresso Mushroom company…

We are big supporters of creating new things from waste, especially as most waste – with a bit of thought – can be redirected into creating new products. This can come in many forms, from buildings that  can be created from waste materials (like the Waste House in Brighton) through to new consumer products (such as truck tarpaulin bags from Freitag). And we predict that this pattern will escalate over the coming years as we start to realise that raw materials are either too scarce or expensive to use. It is a huge opportunity for designers to think in the circular rather than linear. But it is not just products that can be created – what about our food? This is exactly what the Espresso Mushroom Company are doing…

Hot Pink Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Espresso Mushroom Company

Founded in Brighton, the Espresso Mushroom Company grow, and create kits allowing you to grow mushrooms from a substrate based on reclaimed coffee grounds which are gathered by bike from local cafes.

But one of the staggering elements of this project is the sheer scale of the waste coffee grounds that are produced daily – and usually get directed straight into landfill. For instance, the Espresso Mushroom Company puts it into perpective:

‘Less than 1% of the coffee cherry harvested from the coffee tree is in an espresso coffee and over 70 million cups of coffee are drunk every day in the UK.’  That’s a lot of coffee – the grounds of which are currently wasted.

And the kits are simple – open, water, grow, harvest. (and we are planning on getting one for our new studio…)

So – fresh food created from waste. What’s not to love? Check out the main Espresso Mushroom Company website for full details of the kits available…

(images via the Espresso Mushroom Company website)

what we are up to: FIELD Brighton…

We are delighted that we have been up to loads of interesting and exciting things already this year, and we can now announce the first… Back in January we were part of the first call for Brighton based makers for the forthcoming redevelopment of a long term derelict site in the city…FIELD brighton main page

So what exactly is FIELD? Well in the words of the developing team themselves (Cathedral Group – who are marvellous, and also working on the Circus Street redevelopment in Brighton)

‘We want to work with you; Brighton’s makers, creatives and innovators, to transform a corner of Brighton into something more than just a field. The possibilities are endless. A field of inquiry, of knowledge, of expertise, of endeavour. A playing field. A field of innovation.

Over the coming months we will be inviting you to hold events, exhibitions and providing opportunities for you to shape what FIELD should be.

You all have something in common: you make. We are inviting you to make FIELD your home for now and the future. Your activities will define what will in time become an exciting new community. The ideas generated by FIELD will inform, shape and deliver the future of the maker community at the gateway of the city of Brighton.’

This is exciting stuff. Many moons ago I gazed upon this long abandoned piece of land whilst doing my Interior Architecture degree on the top floor of the University of Brighton building opposite. It is huge – and has incredible scope…FIELD brighton profile page

And so we are delighted to be part of the start of this really exciting project with a load of other great makers – we will keep you posted of the developments and we are full of ideas… (NB – I don’t usually look this stern – we went for a ‘power gaze…’)

Check out the main FIELD Brighton website to see what the project is all about and get on the mailing list to be the first to hear about what is going on…

(thank you also to the great Dean Chalkley for my great photo and also to Studio Makgill for their art direction on the shoot!)

2014 recap – October – first Eco Open House weekend…

2014 was a big year for us in many ways – including completing the building of our new studio in Brighton, which we have converted from an old public toilet into an industrially styled, eclectic space. And in October, we opened our studio to the first visitors on the Eco Open Houses tour weekend, whilst we were still finishing it up…

first published 21st October 2014…

We have been a little bit quiet over here on the ecospot over the last week or so. There are many reasons for this – for one, we were having a bit of a major design overhaul (and we hope you like the new look!) and as well as having a digital redesign we were working in the physical too – trying to complete our new studio in time for the first Brighton and Hove Eco Open Houses tour weekend on 18th / 19th October. Long days, long nights and lots of goings on. But, we are nearly there on both respects, and it was with delight that we opened our doors to the public for the very first time on Sunday morning…

studio loo front

We are not completely there, but very nearly and there was loads of stuff that we could say about the project to explain to people where we had started from, where we were and where we will be when we open again on Saturday 25th.

studio spider chandelier small

It was fantastic. We had put notes on a lot of the key areas of the rebuild and conversion from old public toilet to design studio and it was not long before our pen had nearly run out. From our Celotex insulation to locally sourced plants, recycled paint from REBORN paints to upcycled cabinets from local charity Emmaus, we spoke about a different side to the eco buildings in the city.

studio plants small

We do not have our solar panels on our roof yet, but our electricity is supplied by Ecotricity and we have used A+ appliances throughout and energy saving bulbs. Plants also feature heavily in the studio to not only create a nice environment but to act as air cleaners – removing the toxins which will be given out by our printer, computers and even as we breathe.

labels on the wall

And despite not being completely finished, we were delighted at the comments that people gave us when they visited. Some people had travelled specifically to see our studio, others were doing as many of the Eco Open Houses as possible and others were just walking along the road and happened upon us. All in all, we had just over 60 visitors, which we were most chuffed about.

reborn paints small

But, as soon as the last visitors had gone, the building materials were back in and we were back at the works, with the flooring, front door and tiling set to be finished off this week. I have the job of putting in the hanging planters that I was speaking to people about as well…

neon green flex. grey and copper

So – if you are about, pop by and say hello this weekend – we are at 201 Portland Road in Hove and will be open on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th between 10-1 and 2-5. And we can highly recommend the cafe along the road, Pelican on Portland for all things tasty, lovely and delicious.

(all photos by claire potter)

2014 recap – July – the Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts…

We were delighted to visit the beautiful Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts in July – both for the type and the architecture…

first published 1st July 2014…

Last week we trotted up to the rather beautiful village of Ditchling, which sits on the northern side of the South Downs just above Brighton to attend a lecture by Simon Garfield about type. As well as looking forward to the lecture, we were also itching to see the buildings of the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft.

ditchling museum of art and craft We were certainly not disappointed. The architecture was absolutely beautiful with the Grade II listed cart house and original building being stunningly connected with a new addition by Adam Richards Architects. A really sensitive adaptation of the existing in an honest way, using traditional materials has resulted in a space that is not only contemporary in feel but one which also feels very much in respect of both its location and heritage.

ditchling museum of art and craft

Exposed rafters in the cart house, which acts as the entrance, shop and cafe show the original structure of the building beautifully, plus the numbered tour of the elements are a clear and minimal way to engage visitors with the architecture.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The exhibits and collections at the museum are rooted with the artists who are connected with Ditchling, plus there is a substantial type influence, as Eric Gill, the designer of the Gill Sans typeface was a resident of the village. All signage throughout the museum is in the typeface, with both lettering and symbols used to great effect.

ditchling museum of art and craft

There is also a significant amount of both lettering and print based exhibits from all ages, all displayed with sensitivity in a variety of interesting ways.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The Ditchling Museum of Art and Crafts is not a huge affair, but it is bursting with clever architecture, character and heritage, not to mention wonderfully enthusiastic staff and fantastically stocked shop.

Plus, the museum is currently a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014

A must visit for print and architecture junkies alike. Which we are both.

(photos by claire potter)

december wish list day 16 – Montezuma’s Chocolate…

If there is one time of year when you can legitimately eat mince pies and chocolate for breakfast – and nobody can say anything at all, it is Christmas. But, the fussy ones that we are, we do not want any old chocolate – we want chocolate that is organic and has strange flavours. We would like Montezuma’s Chocolate please…

Dark with Orange & Geranium

Based in West Sussex, Montezuma’s Chocolate started with one shop in Brighton in 2000 (and I actually happened to be in town that very day – and got to sample one of the best truffles I have ever tasted). Since then, Montezuma’s Chocolate has grown – and their bars can now be found in multiple locations as well as in Waitrose and other selected stores (like hiSbe) – which is an excellent thing indeed.

Treacle Tart

With flavours ranging from the standard milk, white and dark to orange and geranium, chilli and lime and treacle tart, these are certainly chocolate bars to be savoured. But, at around £2.49 or so a bar, they will not break the bank and are the absolute perfect treat for a Christmas stocking.

Sea Dog

Which one will we be hoping for? The Sea Dog – a mix of dark chocolate, lime and sea salt. Pretty much perfect…

So, if you can’t make it to one of their shops to sample the full range of buttons, truffles and other delicacies, head to one of their other stockists and grab the bars…

(images via Montezuma’s Chocolate)