type tuesday: learn how to paint signs in London

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The Better Letters Company offers hand-crafted lettering events and workshops around the world. They have a series of London-based workshops and seminars coming up. Head on over to their website for the details!

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an internship with Lisa Stickley-Levis

guest post by Meg Fussell

MEG FUSSELL

MEG FUSSELL

UPPERCASE readers will recognize the Fussell last name… I am pleased to welcome Tif Fussell (aka Dottie Angel)'s eldest daughter Meg Fussell as a guest on our blog today. Meg is studying in the UK and over the summer she had the opportunity to intern for Lisa Stickley-Levis.

Lisa is probably best known by her maiden and business name Lisa Stickley. Unfortunately, Lisa had to step away from the brand that she founded and has started fresh with numerous projects. Just launched is Betty & Walter, a vintage-inspired line of cosmetics available through Boots in the UK. 

Meg shares her internship experience with us, along with some images of Lisa's inspirations.

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During my internship I’ve hunted for luggage tags, lottery tickets, balloons and miso soup near London Bridge where her new studio lies. When I’m not running errands for lunch, I spend time tip-tapping away on the computer, helping with techy-stuff and blogs, in her beautifully decorated studio.

Some inspiring packages in Lisa's studio.

Some inspiring packages in Lisa's studio.

Lisa’s studio is full of old teapots, jars stuffed with plastic flowers leftover from her wedding day, and drawers full of odds and ends. Boxes full of treasures tower up to the ceiling, resting against the walls around her desk that are covered in recent designs. It’s rummaging paradise. 

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She starts work on an idea by painting, drawing and collecting to create mood boards. Once Lisa’s found a creative direction, she narrows down her vision and consolidates her collection into display books and sketch books. Full to the brim with magazine cut outs, these sketch books give insight into what Lisa finds inspirational, which is mainly her interpretations of the 1930’s to 1950’s. Throughout these books you find little quirky doodles and photographs that Lisa added. When you spot them, you can’t mistake her whimsical and playful style!

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As a creative person, I am always struggling with the dreaded ‘creative rut’. One thing that fascinated me about Lisa was her endless creative steam, so I asked her how she kept it up. She said that her foolproof way to get out of a creative rut was to sew lines repetitively onto a piece of fabric, essentially freeing up her mind.  I reminded myself to give this a go next time I’m stuck for ideas.

Illustrations by Lisa Stickley-Levis showing some of the pattern designs used on the new line of cosmetics packaging.

Illustrations by Lisa Stickley-Levis showing some of the pattern designs used on the new line of cosmetics packaging.

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Lisa has never-ending enthusiasm and an impeccable amount of courage. Not many people could pick themselves up and dust themselves off after deciding to resign from being the creative director of Lisa Stickley London. She is coming back with full force with a new toiletries brand, Betty & Walter, launching in Boots stores in the U.K. mid September. It’s a quirky collection of 1950s-inspired toiletries with alliterated names like ‘Handsomely Hydrating Handcream’. When the samples arrived I had to stop myself from testing all the lotions and potions right there in the studio!

Sadly, the summer went by far too quickly and it’s back to Cardiff to finish my illustration degree. However, I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to work under such an influential designer. Look for Lisa’s new brand at www.bettyandwalter.wordpress.com.

olympic correspondence: street art

ROB MABEE, AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART

ROB MABEE, AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART

So here we are at day 10 of the Olympics and I've been at 10 events, nearly every London olympic venue, and have been simultaneously energized and knackered. Going into the next week I won't be going to as many events so I'm looking forward to some more time to explore London.
In my neighborhood here in east London I'm always on photo safari for examples of Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Spitalfields street art. This neighborhood has become an international hub of legal and illegal street art over the past twenty years or so. Originally in the early 90s as an inexpensive area for artists to live and work, artists like Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin and Banksy made their mark on what was then a blank canvas of a neighborhood. Today, the trendy area is saturated and clearly established as the Mecca of London street art.

olympic correspondence: a secret garden

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ROB MABEE REPORTS FROM LONDON

In a previous post about Goodwin's Court, I mentioned a flowery little find—Neal's Yard. This is another funny little lane that is just minutes from Covent Garden but if you didn't know it was there you may never stumble upon it. Central London's own Secret Garden. It was quiet when I went there the other evening with my friend Rachel who says its a bustling spot during the day, great for a relaxing coffee, lunch or just a poke around. Rachel gets her hair cut at the Fairy here which has a rather unique approach and lets any hairstylists traveling or staying in London come in and cut a few heads of hair. You will probably always get a different stylist and some are the world's best.

olympic correspondence: action and suspense

Day 4 of the Olympics yesterday started out with a focus on famous British films, or at least films that had their origin in Great Britain. 
MABEE, ROB MABEE. SECRET AGENT FOR AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART AND OLYMPIC CORRESPONDENT FOR UPPERCASE

MABEE, ROB MABEE. SECRET AGENT FOR AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART AND OLYMPIC CORRESPONDENT FOR UPPERCASE

Before I went to Olympic park last night for the swimming events I had a couple of hours so I went to the Barbican to see Designing 007, 50 Years of Bond Style, a fun-filled look at the imagination and film wizardry of some of my favourite guilty-pleasure films. No photography allowed in there however I did get a few pictures in the areas outside the proper exhibition.
The truly great part of any great city is those little unexpected surprises it presents and London is no exception. The world's oldest underground system, the Tube, spiderwebs stories beneath the surface. Many of London's tube stations are known for some spectacular mosaics tile creations. Tottenham Court's mosaics in Central London are well known as thousands swarm past them on their daily commute but yesterday I found a wonderful surprise in east London at the tube station of Leytonstone. In 1899 Alfred Hitchcock was born a Leytonplace shopkeeper's son and to commemorate his centennial the Greenwich Mural Workshop were commissioned to produce a series of murals representing his films and career. Gorgeous vibrant pieces in the most unexpected of places.
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olympic correspondence from Rob Mabee

ROB MABEE, AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART

ROB MABEE, AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART

Rob's sojourn in London continues! In contrast to the modern Starck-designed hotel we featured yesterday, today we step back in time into a gaslit lane a few minutes from Rob's homebase.

Goodwin's Court is just steps from St Martins Lane and is like walking into the past. London is amazing in this respect—from glam hipster moderne to relatively unchanged Georgian streets in minutes. It looks quite like it did in olden times and a flowery funky lane nearby too!
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olympic correspondence from Rob Mabee

ROB MABEE, AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART

ROB MABEE, AXIS CONTEMPORARY ART

I am back finally from a long day of events. I started with beach volleyball in an amazing venue of the Horse Guards Parade grounds on the Pall Mall then went to Greenwich for the cross country equestrian events in Greenwich Park. Just home from Canada Olympic House where we celebrated with our first medal winners, two lovely synchro divers from Quebec. It is also the 20-year anniversary today of Mark's gold medal in Barcelona.  
London itself is so full of amazing art, architecture, culture, design and history. Today I'll share some images of the rather fabulous St. Martin's Lane Hotel.

Jean-Baptiste Mondino >>>
Luna and Curious >>>
St Martins Lane Hotel >>>