Friday, 27 November 2015

150 years of Alice in Wonderland Exhibition | The British Library

I have loved Alice in Wonderland and everything tea party related for so many years. With countless birthdays being tea parties, dressing up as Alice and even encouraging my now husband to dress up as the Mad Hatter to match for a friends birthday :D. I first saw through facebook that the British Library were holding an exhibition to celebrate the 150yrs since the original book by Lewis Carroll and I knew that I had to go. So many of the events pages stated that tickets were sold out and others said that it was free. Turns out that there was an opening event with speakers and debates that was ticketed with the actual exhibition spanning from December - April which is free and open to the general public. 

Simply walking into the library we were greeted by an extravagant gift shop. I initially decided to go to the library with Leanne to show her their normal gift shop which is amazing. A cross between Waterstones and slightly Urban Outfitters homeware section. But we couldn't resist visiting the Alice in Wonderland Exhibition. I couldn't believe that they created an entirely separate gift shop for the exhibition and couldn't contain my excitement!  

Up the stairs into the central area of the library was the actual exhibition full of original copies of the books, the print blocks used by John Tenniel for his illustrations. A commentary of how the story and visual depth has changed throughout time. Reflecting on the darker interpretations post war and the happy childish innocence of the Disney version. I loved how the original story has stayed also the same since publication but the arts vision and personal interpretation can make it change it so much! We are invited to see people or stereotyped groups from our own lives and put them into the characters in the story.

 Sadly no photography was allowed in the actual exhibit (can you see the people standing looking at glass cases?) but I was able to photograph a lot of the 'pre-exhibition' showcase of graphic design work and interactive installations that summarised the story as you followed the numbered quotes and took soooo many photos of the gift shop. 

This was by far my favourite part of the exhibition. The gift shop was insane! (suitably so.) The whole experience of it was immersive with installation pieces suspended from the ceiling, a trippy floor, so many things everywhere. But so beautifully arranged and the range of products was incredible. Most of them were directly Alice in Wonderland related but then there were ties with flamingos and umbrellas and candles by that flamingo brand and just all the things! It was so wonderful. Seriously. I would come to the British Library again simply to go to this pop up shop. 

While I enjoyed the exhibition itself, it was fairly crowded with a lot of plaques to read and a lot of information to digest. It wasn't as well lit (for obvious reasons) and it was a very quite, stuffy place. The graphic design team did a brilliant job with dressing the exhibition, from posters to wraps with gorgeous typography and 3D hedgehogs, flamingos and an upside down pair of Alice's legs. It was really enjoyable as a whole and I would have loved to have been apart of the creative team working on the exhibition.

And if the photos aren't enough for you, I made a video!

I have started creating short vlog/montage style videos over on my youtube channel, if you would like to follow the along please subscribe. I'll be showing snippets of life as a newly wed, London adventures and figuring out life as a university graduate.  

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Balloons Over Covent Garden

Heartbeat by Charles Pétillon

Living in London means I can FINALLY make the most of all the beautiful art that the capital has to offer. Never have I had such ease and such access to so much inspiration. Not only am I surrounded by some of the most famous art galleries in the world but I'm also spoilt for choice by pop up installations and events. When I started to see blog posts and articles spring up about this piece I was so excited that I would be able to go see it in person. I have always found installations to be such an immersive and moving experience. While I love traditional oil painting, contemporary art has such a beauty to it. This piece is entitled Heartbeat by Charles Pétillon, a French artist. Representing that Covent Garden is a central heart to London's West End. Hundreds of balloons in various sizes ebbing with light. Of course followed by the countless people snapping selfies with them.  

By accident I found a pop up gallery that accompanied the installation piece. Practically empty it was a clear contrast to the view in the green house style market place. Filled with strong photography depicting similar artwork across various venues holding a simple elegance. Work that I would happily hang in my future home. I just wish that more people would not have missed out on this additional exhibition. I personally had heard nothing about it and only saw the unit because I was investigating the Magnum ice cream pop up store one shop down. (For which the queue was massive!) What do you think of Pétillon's work? Would you feel disappointed if you had missed out on the gallery show? 

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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Eating at Camden Markets

This has been one of my best London days so far. I hadn't visited Camden in over two years and while we live really close by I wanted to reserve it for a Saturday with Bernard or friends. We actually got invited to hang out with an old school friend of mine and her boyfriend to do just that and it was my best Camden experience so far. We spent a few hours exploring all the maze of market boutiques, book stores and eating food. These churros are honestly the most delicious I've eaten in my life! 

They were freshly made on site. The girl working on the stall churned the dough out of an old fashioned machine that resembled a sausage making machine. She churned out the raw dough churro shape, cooked and filled them. Stuffed with caramel and chocolate and covered in sugar. While it was the most expensive churro we've ever ordered. It. Was. Insane. While I didn't look at the name of the company it can be found to the right of Oliver's Fish & Chips next to the Chocolate Banana stall in an outer food court.

As we ventured further into the markets we came across so many trinkets and oddities. From crazy rave stores, more food, vintage jewellery and glass lanterns. Bernard actually laid down on the floor in the middle of the store to take that photo! It would be so easy to get lost and distracted for days. It was filled with such an array of people, tourists, locals, even a little girls birthday party complete with pink crowns! There's a second Cereal Killer Cafe here (the original in Shoreditch), indoor and outdoor markets and a hipster/galaxy/pink unicorn store that my 16yr old self would absolutely die over! 

We entered into a labyrinth of bookshelves piled high to the ceiling and I could hardly contain my excitement. Having spent most of the day in the markets it was vital that we tried much of the delicious food on offer. From that incredible churro to Chicken Katsu Curry (one of our favourite dishes) and Chin Chin's famous nitrogen ice cream sandwiches. Certainly a first for me! A wonderful place to visit for an 'alternative' grunge side of London contrasting with the posh and traditional.

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