Merry Chrsitmas!

Rye Potteries ceramic Robin
Rye Potteries backstamp
The common image of the Robin as the festive gardener's friend — perched on the handle of a snowy shovel — sometimes rings pretty true; even our local plot has its own red-breasted resident. Last time I saw him he came especially close, blinking his eyes and opening his beak, not to chirp out some message of universal understanding but to chuck-up the best part of a slimy black slug.


Melt Chocolates

Polar Bear mug with Hot Chocolate
I shouldn't really urge you to try anything from west London's award winning Melt, it'll ruin the pleasure of regular chocolate forever. I love the antiqued blue they've achieved on this, our second seasonally themed collaborative mug. And we're in good company too, there's Dinky and Beau, gorgeous chocolate lollipops from the wonderful Celia Birtwell.

Barbara Fürstenhöfer

6 inch Poole ceramic plate Barbara Fürstenhöfer winter scene
After featuring a 6" Barbara Fürstenhöfer plate for Poole back in 2009 a good friend found me a festive one, snappily titled 438 Scene VIII. Thanks Kate!



Marty McFly red body-warmer gillet
I laughed out loud when Edward brought home this old red gillet. When he said it reminded him of Marty McFly's 'life preserver', I laughed even harder. Celebrating its 25th birthday this year, I had no idea Back to the Future began shooting with Eric Stoltz as the lead; it's as though the film has one its own alternative futures already written through it. Our studio takes an age to heat up each morning, so he'll have the last laugh come Monday.


Seasonal Sales

Graphic of truck delivering Norwegian Spruce trees
With the advent of December, so comes seasonal sales; we've got a few pencilled in these next few weeks. First up it's...

Great Western Studios
12-6pm, Sat 4th & Sun 5th December
65 Alfred Road, London W2 5EU

followed by...

Our Christmas Pop-up Market
1-9pm, Thurs 9th & Fri 10th December
Railway Arch 897, Holyrood St
London Bridge, London SE1 2EL

which dovetails neatly with Poundshop's contribution to the...

Super Christmas Market
6-9pm, Fri 10 Dec
11am-7pm, Sat 11 & Sun 12 Dec
The Studio, South Wing, Somerset House
The Strand
, London WC2R 1LA

I'll be manning the first and second, and visiting the latter. Hope to see you there... somewhere!

penguin in the snow with bobble hat



Sharon Elphick Sketch

It's sort of a shame that Sharon runs Elphick's, one of the best shops in London, otherwise she could focus more on the prints, collages and sketches that first made her name. There's a host of interesting outlets along Columbia Road and now even more occasion to check them out; late-night shopping began this evening and will continue every Wednesday until Christmas... that's 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd of December, 5 until 9pm.

• Sketch, 2008, Sharon Elphick


Lots of Pots

Laura Carlin

Venturing westward last weekend we visited the sale preview of ceramics by the gorgeous and gifted, Laura Carlin. The application of her illustrative aesthetic to a beautifully hand-worked collection of objects was seamless. This weekend the ceramics are a little closer to home; Church Street Workshop's Open Studio will feature pieces from the exceptionally talented, Moriaki Yamauchi, and Queen of the Kiln, Lesley McShea.

Moriaki Yamauchi

Moriaki Yamauchi

Open Studio: Sat 27/Sun 28 Nov, 10-6pm and Sat 04/Sun 05 Dec, 10-6pm

Unit 8, Church Street Workshops, Gutteridges Yard
172 S. Newignton Church St., London N16 0JL

• Images: 1x Laura Carlin; 2x Moriaki Yamauchi


There's an allure in the alliterated naming of anti-heroes like Nabakov's Humbert Humbert. This being said; happy birthday Becky Beasley... sorry I couldn't make it after all. You can see more of her ruminative work online or corporally at the touring British Art Show 7

• Trap, 2006, matt gelatin silver print
• As I Lay Dying, 2006, matt gelatin silver print


First and Last

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Peanut's creator's death, Radio 4's documentary on Schulz had me scouring the shelves for some remembered illustrations. The first is a school project (kept by a teacher and forwarded years later), the second a late preliminary sketch. Ironically, the weak line of the latter doesn't betray infirmity, Schulz (Sparky to friends and family) liked to keep sketches vague, ensuring spontaneity in the final inking.

• from Peanuts Jubilee (Allen Lane, 1976)
• from McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 (Hamish Hamilton, 2004).


Bonfire Night

These last few days of autumn's spectacular unblossoming have been perfect for pedalling to and from the studio. Muddy patches of redevelopment here and there have forced me onto an even more remote route.

In the evening, pairs of startled eyes beam back my bicycle light from the path ahead and I wonder how wild animals fare at Guy Fawkes. I'm hoping to catch the display at Victoria Park on Sunday, when pampered and petrified pets should stay indoors, paws pressed firmly over their ears.

Before that, on Saturday, I'll be tending my stall of framed prints, tea towels, mugs and other goodies alongside the likes of James Brown and Alice Tait at HWC Holiday Marketplace. If you're in that neck of the woods come down for a bumper bargain bonanza!

HWC Holiday Market Place
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel
3 Pilgrim's Place
(off Hampstead High St)
London NW3 1NG
Saturday Nov 6
12 noon—5pm



• Foldout poster from Nilsson's Son of Schmilsson, 1972, featuring the inimitable I'd Rather Be Dead.


Animal Collective

Fox, Owl, Beaver, Monkey
Even though our bone china mugs arrived a few weeks ago now, we've just got around to taking snaps. Made by a reputable Staffordshire pottery, I'm so pleased with them that, for the time being, they've even usurped Arabia as my morning mug of choice!


Atypical Girls

The Slits

One journalistic theory suggests that music's most exciting when performed slightly out of time. While that's true of The Slits' shambolic approach to reggae, the excitement of their angular assault can certainly ebb after a couple of tracks. Longer lasting for me were the effects of their iconic shoot for the LP, Cut, which eschewed the Feminist agenda of the day for a form of feral sorority. It also looked like a heap of fun.

• The Slits' Arianna Forster (Ari Up), 1962-2010


Printed Packaging

Most weeks we're busy scheming about how to do less work, then some quotes arrive (plus carriage, plus VAT) and it's straight back to the in-house aesthetic. Most recently we've been printing our own ceramics packaging. Maybe a bit crude but not entirely without charm... I hope.


Cat Ramp

I've checked the giant to-do list on the on the rear of 1976's Self Sufficiency bible and there's definitely no mention of theft prevention. Then again, after all your time, toil, care and cost, why would you rationally expect anyone to steal your veg? This week, organic leeks, onions, beans, squash, cauliflower, sweetcorn, courgettes and a decorative pumpkin for Edward to carve (an experience he skipped in boyhood), join the list of produce purloined from the allotment.

Steadfastly refusing to believe that people need starve in countries with welfare, I'm left pondering the delusional narratives that perpetrators must cook-up in order to make their actions morally palatable. Perhaps that's why I've been a little harsh on this Bosch-like borough lately, although (given the number of 'I Heart Hackney' totes I see daily) there must be some pros bobbing on the sea of cons.

Here's one… my local cat ramp; an ugly, makeshift structure but, spanning three flights, it's also come to symbolise neighbourly acquiescence and, more importantly, it's so cute when the cat comes down it.


Twee Tradition

Not long finished a trade fair which went pretty well, all told. It's great finding new stockists, catching up with old ones and realising the competition are real humans and not evil super-villains. Thought we'd get out of town for the shortest time before tackling all those orders, taking in Fanny's Farm Shop on route. Our post-fair tradition may be a teeny bit twee but, boy, it beats Hackney hands-down.


Cake Lady

Not sure how long it'll be before there's any more picture-posts here, my camera bust over the weekend. One way or another I was feeling pretty glum when, somewhere near the centre of the Central Line, a commuter noticed me eyeing her crammed Ottolenghi bags. Turns out she was distributing surplus cake to the homeless on her own way home. As if that wasn't cool enough, she gave us two boxed-up passion fruit tarts for a treat in front of Wallander repeats. A pair of German tourists, with eager eyes like saucers, had blueberry cupcakes too. Danke schön, cake lady!


London Design Festival has never seemed so frugal as The Poundshop apply their 'Everything for a Quid' ethos to another project. With goodies from (deep breath)...

100s and 1000s, Alexandra Tinning, Alice Tait, Amy Borrell, Anna Lincoln, Annabel Innes, APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life), BabaAkcja, Cat Davison Jewellery, Charlie Ranscombe, Charlotte Crumbleholme, Claire McManus, Clinuc, Disa Braunerhielm, Emily Chicken, FORAGER, Gosh Darnit, Hannah Waldron, Hannah Whitfield, Happily Ever After, HOTCAKES, Household, Howe Ikonen Seki, Iain Hector, Isabel Greenberg, Jade Folawiyo, Jamie Winder, Jasmine Raznahan, Kaye Blegvad, Kristian Andrews, Linus Kraemer, Lisa Jones Studio, Lottie Crumbleholme, Marc Cowan, Maria Joudina, Marmaduke Marmalade, Meng-chia Lai, Miguel Melgarejo, Molly Khyl, Nadia taylor, Peter Nencini, Philip Dennis, Priscilla Vanilla, Puffin and Pies, Rahel Zoller, Sandra Barth, Sara Ferrari Design, Sara Nunes Fernandes, Sara Melin, Susan Golton, Teresa Mum, Use Development Organisation, We Draw Lines, and William Smith.

Join them 3-9pm this Saturday for live acts (and sponsored drinks) in the Asif Khan designed interior of...

49 Roman Road
Bethnal Green
London E2 0HU

For more info on regular hours, late nights, participants and events, visit Household.


V&A Print

No hesitation here when the V&A asked us to join their Cherry on the Cake III project. Not only do they provide ceaseless inspiration to great swathes of the world's population through a programme of events, exhibitions and a peerless permanent collection, but the gift shop's pretty good too.

This year Paper forms the broad thematic backdrop on which 12 artists further pursue some museological object or aspect of interest. Our contribution focuses—perhaps predictably—on the newly housed and utterly exhaustive array of Ceramics.

As subtly overlaid halftones can't really be achieved with our current silkscreen set-up, printing was outsourced to Manymono, where Hugh remains confident of the Risograph's creative potential.

Pompom, the Potter's Pet is available in a Risographic edition of 200 via the V&A and can be viewed alongside works from Aardvark, James Brown, Fred Butler, Nina Chakrabarti, D-BROS, Ed Kluz, Angie Lewin, Charlotte Mann, Tom Martin, Rob Ryan and Chisato Tamabayashi at the V&A Shop or, better still, visit the museum!


More... and then some

Been trying the hatchling in a handful of glazes (Salamander, LR White and another I can't remember). Some are supposedly brush-on, but come out nicely when dipped. Meanwhile my studio's sill looks ever more like Gormley's Field for the British Isles.


The night after casually dropping 100 or so of this year's Top Drawer Autumn invites into the post box was spent restlessly imagining them wrinkling and ruined in the torrential rain that followed. No complaints to date though!


Super Stockists

It's windy on that scaffolding

We stock a host of interesting outlets (I should probably spotlight one a week) but it's still nice to be included in Jaeger's current pop-up shop. The space, dedicated to their youthful Boutique by Jaeger collection, can be found on London's Fouberts Place for the next 6 months.



I'm not sure if we're going to run to the umpteenth reprint of the recycled range so it's great that a couple of the designs work so well as cushions. I'm putting feelers out for some quotes, but something tells me we'll be printing them in-house like this, the first sample of Olaf.


New Directions

Google Maps, schmaps. From now on I'm following all the excellent arrows on my el cheapo dress.


If you're in the area, eager for bargains, come and visit our studio at Wallis Studios for Hackney Wicked this weekend.

Mare Street E8, 1986, from Chris Dorley-Brown's amazing Flickr photostream



The New River flowing past Sadler's Wells
Apparently, the New River was diverted from Herefordshire to supply London with clean water in 1613. Passing clear through to Islington, it filled tanks for Sadler's Wells' patriotic battle re-enactments and populist plays of the 1800s.
Parmex carrots on a paper bag
My allotment plot follows the riverbed of one section long since routed underground. I could make gargantuan mosaics with the variety and volume of broken pottery I find, but carrots just won't root straight in such craggy soil. Enter the Parmex; a cultivar that strives to regain in girth (and flavour) what it laughably lacks in length. And this is my first 'bumper' crop.


Shoreditch Festival

gerard hoffnung illustration of tuba player with beer

I'm hoping to catch the Royal Philharmonic and fireworks at the Shoreditch Festival this Friday, but there's plenty happening across the weekend too. Save your shrapnel for Lisa Jones Studio wares from the excellent Poundshop who'll be hawking everything cheap in the park on Saturday.

• Unrelated illustration: Gerard Hoffnung


Ups and Downs

Jelly Babies impaled on barbed wire on South Downs

We spent the best part of the week in Sussex and the best part of a day walking through the smallest fraction of the South Downs around Ditchling. Plenty of fauna and astonishing flora; through lichen covered woods, across open fields and over scarily steep banks rammed with wild flowers and teeming with bugs. I know it's wrong, but I was still tempted to take cuttings. Thankfully, when I got home the first of my Sweet Peas had bloomed.

Sweet Peas and small bust of Toscanini


Mr. Potts

David Gentleman is wonderful but whenever I come across his work I have to tell myself no; do I really need a copy of Richard III or an outdated Highway Code? A handful First Day Covers for his stamps recently broke my resolve and, while I was at it, I couldn't resist these either. Hope the irony wasn't lost on original recipient, Mr. Potts.

Philately got an extra stamp of approval in London's east end last night with a new exhibition project for a decommissioned post office. While Posted offers a mix of curios in an equally curious setting, you can't help but wonder if the locals wouldn't simply prefer their old post office back.