De Beauvoir Christmas FairI

If you are in Islington this weekend, please pop by and see me, there will be lots of lovely things to buy and lots of Christmas presents.

I will be selling my handmade books, cards and prints.

Hope to see you there.

De Beauvoir Fair


Spitalfields Market

I’ll be at Spitalfields Market this Saturday (19th October) as part of the Designers Makers stalls. There will be prints, illustrations, greeting cards and hand made books for sale, so if you are in the area please pop by and say hello, browse and maybe even buy an early Christmast present!

FLYER joint low res

Fixie Cake!

Constructing a fixie cake

Hello again and a Happy New Year to all!

New Year’s resolution #1: blog more. To that extent, I thought I’d post about a different kind of creative experiment I tackled recently.

My dear brother recently turned 40 (something I’m sure he’s only to happy for me to publicise!) and I decided to make him a cake to mark the occasion. He’s a serious cycling enthusiast – at the latest count he owned 8 different bikes of various types – and given that he’s a fellow resident of trendy East London he’s rather partial to the single speed and fixed wheel side of things.

With that in mind I thought I’d make him a fixie cake! Once I’d sketched the outline of the bike the cake was then constructed using a basic Madeira cake and ready rolled icing for the wheels, more icing wrapped around Matchmakers for the frame, seat and handle bars, a cupcake for the chainset, an unrolled liquorice Catherine Wheel for the chain and then edible silver, black and brown food colouring for the spokes, seat cover and bullhorn handlebars. From start to finish it took around 6 hours in total to design, bake and assemble it.

I was chuffed with the result and so too was my brother who was more than a little surprised when it was unveiled to the birthday boy! He and his assembled guests were a little reluctant to tuck into it and spoil the construction.

You can see the various stages of construction in the GIF above – refresh the page to watch it through again! Loved making it and now have an appetite for more creative cake construction and, well, more cake.

Handmade books – Walks through great cities

Having just finished the last of a set of three handmade books based on cities (available to buy now from the shop) I thought it would be good to give more of an insight into how they came about.

They are a collaboration between my husband, Jon, and me. Jon pens the words and I produce the illustrations and construct and bind the books by hand. The books are constructed from a single sheet of 200gsm A4 paper with a card cover.

London, Paris, New York

London, Paris and New York

Each book takes the tone of a couple walking through a city reflecting on aspects of a relationship. The trilogy started with London – this first book hints at the serendipity of meeting that one special person amongst a city of millions. The second book, based in Paris, reflects on how time spent discovering a special city with a loved one is to be cherished and not rushed. Finally, the New York book is about remembering to nurture a relationship, to value how a relationship develops and ensuring it is not taken for granted.

There is just a touch of melancholy about them. Hopefully they convey something of the fragile vitality of a relationship.

Each book works equally well independently or as a lovely little trio. I have also made a box for the set of three which I’m really pleased with. The box also reflects the three cities in its construction.

London, Paris, New York

Set of three handmade books. ‘Walks through great cities’

Hopefully people will enjoy owning them as much as we’ve enjoyed making them!

Inspired: London – A Guide to Handmade in London

I am very excited to be included in the Inspired: London – A Guide to Handmade in London book, which is being launched on the 10th and 11th November. It will be available to buy from We Make London and also from selected bookshops.

Constructing with Constructivists

Back in 2010, Tate Modern’s Constructing a New World exhibition gave me the inspiration for a quilt based on Theo Van Doesburg’s Counter-Composition VI, pictured below:

Theo Van Doesburg

Counter-Composition VI 1925

Seems to me Van Doesburg may have been a frustrated quilter, as quite a few of his pieces lend themselves beautifully to quilts. My take on it took a little longer in the making than planned, but I am pretty happy with the results, shown below:

Quilt detail

Quilt Detail

Overall it was an interesting experiment in quilt design, that I thoroughly enjoyed and I am tempted to try some other variations, including the same piece with a more uniform background.

I Love Handmade!

So, after making lots of quilts as presents for friends expecting new babies over the years, I am delighted to have had the excuse to make one for my very own soon-to-be first born.

Nancy & Homemade Quilt

Made over one weekend, I was really pleased with the results, especially the way the colours gradually change through the design and the stitching detail.

Handmade Quilt Detail