Thursday, 24 September 2015



We have all seen the iconic picture of little Aylan (3) on a beach in Turkey. Photographer Nilufer Demir made a statement by choosing to capture this sad sight...And it changed everything!!,
Suddenly the world realized the humanity of the desperate situation these Refugee's are in and the consequences of the war and it's subsequent crisis happening RIGHT NOW all over Europe!
Where are these people supposed to go?
Or in the words of Aylan's father:

I am not usually one to get involved with politics and I have never before posted about such matters here on Nostalgiecat....But I have been hinting at this for the last couple of weeks, as this is a project very close to my heart, and will probably be THE most important project I will ever do:

In the municipalities of Fjell and Sund in  Norway, where I am from, the response to the refugee crisis in Syria and the surrounding areas has been overwhelming. 
So head of culture in Fjell, Lennart Fjell set up an initiative to raise money to help the refugees through this most difficult time: Using our privileged cultural resources, like music and Art...
Or, like he put's it: 
" using the power of culture to make a difference"

WHAT WILL THE WORLD DO NOW is an initiative to help the victims of the current refugee crisis all over Europe. We are organizing concerts and Art exhibitions with auctions, to raise money for THE RED CROSS and the NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL to help with the practical aid they are providing in the affected areas...and we hope to encourage others to follow our example. We urge you to give a concert, organize an auction of art or set up a play at your local theater. 
Create the feeling of community, solidarity and join us in funding different refugee-organizations dealing with this catastrophe!

This is a way that YOU can make a difference - wherever you are! Culture knows no limits, and culture is powerful!

Caricature drawing especially made for WHAT WILL THE WORLD DO NOW 
   by the world renowned caricature artist Hani Abbas.
Regardless of your views on the matter of immigration, this is surely not a political issue, but a matter of compassion and solidarity .
We're all part of the greater community of planet earth, and surely, if we can, we should help those who have fallen on hard is a matter of morality!

These people are fleeing from war, conflict and poverty ,their lives are in danger and they have lost everything...their only hope for survival and a future for their children is to escape . On a daily basis more than 5000 people risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean to the safety of Europe.
The journey is treacherous, and , as we all sadly know, not everybody makes it, and the ones that do HAVE NOTHING!

Organisations, like The Red Cross is working hard to provide practical assistance in the places where the ones lucky enough to make it end up... They are working with the various governments in the nearest countries to set up shelters the refugees can stay in and to better the facilities and conditions in the temporary refugee camps. They provide much needed psychological help for the people as well as help them reconnect with lost family members etc.
They're present all over Europe, providing vital medical Aid, medicines and hygiene essentials , water and food, clothes and blankets, baby equipment and care for the pregnant, elderly and ill or injured.
Without this help, these people, that have already been through so much, would not survive.

So here's how I've been getting involved with WHAT WILL THE WORLD DO NOW:
I have been working hard these last few weeks contacting Designers and Artists, asking them to donate some work for the Auction...and the response has been fantastic:
So today I want to showcase some of the art and design, the makers themselves have so generously donated to the cause:



Large Chunky handknitted cushion by Aphelia Opus in Limited edition colors: Grey and mustard
100% UK grown Cheviot wool
Hand dyed
Aphelia Opus is a contemporary new designer based in Northumberland, UK, who uses locally sourced wool, that is custom hand dyed, then hand knitted using giant knitting needles. 
Their current collection is all about geometrics.


Ruby Lewis strives to capture the universal and emotional connections to landscape that are embedded within our memories. To create a feeling of nostalgia and escape. A seductive reminiscence and metamorphosis of imagined landscapes and forgotten memories.
She mostly paints using oil on gesso panel, a surface that has been used for hundreds of years. 
Ruby Lewis studied at Chelsea College of Art and went on to exhibit in London, Hertfordshire, Oxford, Sicily and Barcelona. Has a passion for landscape and it's changing forms. Often find inspiration by taking long walks and just breathing in the beauty, colour and rawness of nature.


"MARIE" art print
"Josephine" art print
"Gaston" art print
Philippe Debongnie is a Belgium Illustrator and artist. 
He love depicting the human shapes an humanity in a nostalgic way.
These prints are from his current project called THE FAMILY, where he's exploring the diversity of the human family, by blurring the lines of reality and fantasy: Making the viewer question: What's old, what's real and what's added? You have the old photographs, the prints and patterns, the colours and the animal heads...the artwork is meant to confuse in an endearing way.


Design: Warwick Red sky, digitally printed on 100% Organic cotton.
Lorna Syson is a pattern designer and printmaker that makes high quality home wares, from cushions to wall papers.She is inspired by Nostalgic memories of the UK nature and countryside..


Signed and numbered limited edition of 100, hand pulled screen print in pale blue , entitled "THE THIRD PHASE" by Two for Joy
"Taking inspiration from looking at the past, appreciating the present and looking towards the future."
Two for Joy is a paper cut artist and illustrator that dreams up charming stories, full of magic and adventure, for each of her creations.


 SPOT NECKLACE and bracelet set, acrylics and metal
A selection of acrylic spots in 2cm 
Inspired by Damian Hirsts spot paintings -share 'the joy of colour' - wear spots! 
This piece fits snugly round the neck sitting on ones clavicles.
Esa Evans is the designer and founder of Lady Muck of Whitstable, creating high-quality hand-made jewelry and accessories from her seaside studio on the North Kent coast. Esa studied Fine Art from Sheffield Hallam University.
Her fun an quirky designs, made from lazer cut, enameled metals or acrylics , add an exciting edge to day- as well as evening wear.


This is a one of a kind A/P artist proof print, in Olive green and copper.
Pulled screen print on 300gsm metallic art paper with 2 x varnishes, signed stamped and numbered.
Entitled "Beautiful world" it is an extension of Schoony's most iconic life cast sculpture “Boy Soldier” first unveiled outside the houses of parliament as an anti-war protest, is now a household name, featured in Hollywood blockbusters and collected internationally...
Schoony is a multi-talented urban artist whose unique aesthetic and technical brilliance has brought the art world by storm. His Hyperrealist sculptures question war, mortality and contemporary society.Schoony’s works has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and the US; he has permanent representation from the Guy Hepner Gallery in NY and from the Unit Gallery London. His work has won him critical acclaim from the Times, The Independent and ArtNet News, he is also featured on Artsy.


"Mr Jackdoor sits patiently on his base when not in use but can be tipped up in the flap of a wing to become a handy door wedge. The simple abstract bird shape is toy-like yet engaging, so people won’t want to hide him away even when not being used! Made on the Isle of Wight with ethically sourced beech and finished with beeswax polish from Mary Case - a renowned local beekeeper."
Espergaerde is a back catalog of projects by Philip Crewe, a London based designer/maker who spends his time peppering the world with curious things.

And lastly, my contributions to the Auction:


Medium handcast concrete bowl with copper leaf
Trio of Origami handcast concrete candlesticks with copper
I make rough and decorative, handcast, concrete home accessories.
 I use a variety of techniques, including origami, and love working with mixed materials. Each piece is individually made and unique.
My latest collection is juxtaposing the roughness of the concrete with the opulence of metallics.

This is just a fraction of what we've so far managed to get artist, designers and makers to donate to WHAT WILL THE WORLD DO NOW, and my colleagues in Norway has been working hard to set up 2 concerts and an exhibition featuring artwork from both Norway and the UK, with a simultaneous Live auction of all these donations , happening next week.
I am flying out to Norway on Tuesday morning with all the donations from here in the UK, so they can be featured in the exhibition and on big screens during the concerts, and all the proceeds from both ticket-sales for the concerts and what we manage to raise during the auction will go towards the cost of the RED CROSS's aid efforts around Europe.

We are painfully aware that this does not solve the problem about where these people should go, but whilst the European countries try to come up with a solution to this, the money we raise will help improve the living conditions in the temporary refugee camps and provide much needed practical help on the front line of this Crisis.

Without this help, these people, that have already been through so much, will have a very bleak future, and some may not survive.

If you can, do something to help....get creative: Let's start a movement...Lets show the world that humanity is still alive and that we are all in this together....
...Let's show everybody WHAT THE WORLD WILL DO NOW!

We are hoping to extend our efforts to help, by setting up a global online auction site for art and design, directly donated by the makers themselves....But this is still in very early planning stages, so I will keep you updated if we can make this the mean time, please support our efforts by following and sharing the
hashtag, and hopefully you, and many more will feel inspired to create your own cultural events to help raise money for people in crisis!

Or, you can donate money directly to the red cross to help fund their Aid resources here(the page is in Norwegian, but Google translate should fix you up, if needed)
and you will also find some great information about the work they do there.

Do it now - and make a difference!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

{ A u t u m n }

Displaying the colors of Autumn leaves

I love little seasonal projects that takes me out into nature.
And Autumn has its beauty in the changing colors of the leaves on the trees, the cosyness of the shorter evenings and the feeling of the cooler, wetter weather..


I thought I'd bring some of the beauty of this season indoors, and into my decor...
So I pulled on my wellies and went in search for some pretty autumnal colored leaves: The yellows and reds, the speckled and imperfect....

I brought home a handful of these beauties...

Laid them out to dry and dabbed them with an old tea-towel to remove the remnants of Autumn rain on them...

Then I made up a quick microwave flowerpress to help flatten and dry my little autumn jewels out completely:
I did this by simply cutting up a cheap spiral notepad, and using some drawing paper to create a few folds to hold my leaves...

As a rule pressing flowers and leaves will distort their colors:
white will become yellow or caramel brown,
purple will become navy,
pinks will go brown and
orange or red will become maroon.
But this technique using microwave will reduce the color distortion dramatically  compared to traditional flower pressing....

I placed my leaves in the paper folds, then placed these within the sheets of the cut up notebook:

You can do several folds of leaves in one parcel....just make sure they are all of a similar size and thickness....(because some will take longer than others)
....take care that the leaves inside your parcel doesn't slide around, but stay put where you folded them in.... don't want them to lay on top of each other, as they will stick together when pressed... 

Then used some rubber bands to hold it all together:

Before placing the parcel in the microwave for 30-45 seconds ....
Take the parcel out and leave to cool, then check that the leaves are fully dry...if not pop them back in the microwave for another 20 seconds or so...Take care not to overcook , as the leaves will burn...
You might have to experiment with the timing and settings on your microwave oven, as some are more powerful than others...

When I was satisfied that my leaves were fully dried, I carefully removed them from the folds in the parcel, and laid them flat on a tray:

Then I simply arranged the pressed leaves in these lovely  brass frames from ROSE&GREY:

....playing around with creating different patterns with the leaves....

I replaced the batik straps that came with the frames with some natural twine... 

Then hung them up in our spare room, above the little mat where we put our wet wellies to dry out....

A perfect way to style up this season, using natures own color palette in a very subtle way

Starting to feel a bit autumny now, isn't it?
More autumn home-changes coming up on the blog next month!