Introducing Studio Nilli

Studio Nilli is the brainchild of industrial designer Huw Williams. Based in North London he produces 3D printed plant pots from bioplastic, an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastics.

Huw Williams creator of Studio Nilli

These little pots are stylishly designed and celebrate the ribbed texture created by 3D printing. With a nod to Scandinavian design, they are minimal, light and elegant. We stock three colours of the Studio Nilli pots, White, Dark Grey and Teal.  With five different sizes to choose from, there is sure to be one to fit any corner of your home.

The Medium Geometric Planter and the Tag Legged Planter

We have asked him a few questions about his process and inspiration as well as looking at the pots in closer detail.

Huw William’s 3D printer in action, producing a Studio Nilli pot

How did you get into 3D printing?
I’ve always been interested in 3D printing a tool for designers to prototype and test their concepts, but I didnt get the chance to experiment much with one whilst I studied Industrial Design and Technology at Brunel Uni. I bought a cheap kit printer from China to learn more about it back in 2016, and through testing the boundaries of my machine and experimenting with different printing techniques I started printing pots for my plant collection (which was fairly out of control back then).

How does your design process start? Through drawing or digital?
The design process is pretty fluid for me, but I do like to start with sketching as the main medium. I have several sketch books, but mostly I draw with whatever is available when something triggers an idea. Once I have an idea sketched out, I’ll make a card model or jump onto the computer and start drawing on Illustrator, or onto a 3D design package.

What inspires the shape of your designs?
The original origami pot shape I started Nilli with was a natural progression from some origami textures I modelled for a project at Uni. After graduating I experimented with casting cement into single use card moulds, even did some slip-casting moulds for ceramic pots, before deciding it would be a great form for the pots I 3D print now. The leggy pots come from a love of mid-century modern design and Scandinavian influences. I think the main thing that excites and influences me is how to use the materials and process of 3D printing in a unique and novel way, contrasting with other materials and textures, using the process to produce forms that would not be possible with other forms of manufacture.

Tell us about the bioplastic you use?
So the plastic I use is a common 3D printing material – PLA or Polylactic Acid. It is a bioplastic, which means that it is produced from organic materials like sugarcane or cornstarch. This is fermented to produce lactic acid (the same stuff that gives us cramp after too much rigorous exercise), which is then polymerised – lots of lactic acids chained together – to make polylactic acid. The main benefits of using this plastic is that it is a renewable source of material, does not use petrochemical fuels as a base so is non-toxic, so when printing it doesn’t release any harmful gases – it actually smells like sugar when printing. It will also biodegrade faster than normal plastics, over around 500 years it will break down naturally, or it can be industrially composted and it will return back to its base organic compounds in a few days. I also recycle waste that I produce into jewellery, coasters and hopefully larger items soon. It’s a minimal amount, because 3D printing is an additive process and there is not much waste involved, but I think its important to use as much as possible!

Lets take a closer look at the pots:

The Large Geometric Planter

The Small, Medium and Large Geometric Planter’s have a strong graphic shape, almost origami like. These pots sit flat on a surface, with a cork base to stop scratches. They are not only plant pots, perfect for those succulents and cacti! Use them for anything from storing pens and pencils on your desk, to a tidy for make up brushes or accessories.

The Short White Legged Planter and the Tall Dark Grey Legged Planter

The Tall and Short Legged Panters are the curvaceous cousins of the Geometric Pots. Clean and modern shaping, with a distinctly mid-century modern feel.  These pots sit proudly on two sizes of beeswax finished wooden legs. The plump curves, satisfyingly hugging the legs, create a pleasing synergy between the two materials. The White Planters have beech legs and the Dark Grey have walnut, giving a complimentary natural feel.

Find more Studio Nilli planters at ofcabbagesandkings.co.uk

Shop for more Studio Nilli Planters online at ofcabbagesandkings.co.uk

 

 

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An Interview with Underway Studio

Ahead of their upcoming show: Printed Spaces: East London Edition at Of Cabbages and Kings (12 April – 5 June 2019 and kicking off with a Private View – 7pm – 9pm, 11 April 2019) we have asked them a few questions.

Underway Studio is a collective of four artists based in Brixton, London. They work collaboratively on screen printed works, with a strong graphic feel that often has an architectural theme. With ‘Printed Spaces: East London Edition’ they explore the architecture of London’s cultural spaces, featuring new prints with an East London focus.

Underway’s, Melissa North, Caitlin Parks, Anna Schmidt and Aiden Barefoot.
There are currently four members of Underway Studio, how did you meet?
We all studied on the same Illustration and Visual Communication degree, but across several years. After graduation, we set up our own studio space to continue working in screen print and it has evolved from there. Initially the studio was a space to pursue our individual practices, but we started to collaborate on a few prints and soon developed a strong collective voice. After having a few different homes across London, we are now based in Brixton where we produce our own work and teach workshops.

 

How do you work on an idea collectively?
For the past 6 months our work has predominately been focused on the architecture of London’s cultural spaces. We wanted to start this portfolio as both a celebration of the rich culture we have in this city and to showcase the architecture of these spaces, much of which has been re-purposed and developed over the years. When we start developing prints we take a lot of photos and collage these together to see which subjects have the most interesting aesthetic, passing designs between one another until they are ready to be taken into screen print.
What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital, print?
Screen printing and collage. We love the way that you can play with scale and overlaying different colours and textures to create a completely unique result.

 

Tell us about the production side of things and how you produce work as a collective.
We physically share the files and material of what we are working on together. Print designs are passed between the collective until they are finalised and ready to screen printed. As a result, the artworks have an impression from each member creating a unique aesthetic. 
National Theatre by Underway Studio
Where do your influences come from for your subject matter?
Much of our work is influenced by architecture, form, texture and colour. Using a physical print process means that our visual language is both playful and distinctive, embracing any happy accidents along the way.
You have a very distinctive, bold use of colour. Is the colour influenced by the subject matter or come from somewhere else?
Colour lends itself extremely well to screen print.  Overlaying layers and textures creates interesting results that inspire and drive our work. We experiment in the studio doing test prints and playing with different colour combinations and this often leads us to our final palette.

 

What are your favourite takeaways?
We are all massive foodies and will eat anything from pizza to ramen. Honest Burger in Brixton is a particular favourite of ours, but you can’t beat South London staple Morleys to get us through the long printing hours!

 

To see more work by Underway Studio take a look at our website here. If you do get a chance come by the shop and check out the show.

Of Cabbages & Kings Turns 10!

Founded in 2008, Of Cabbages & Kings is delighted to be celebrating its 10th anniversary this May.

Owner Jessica Widdows fills us in on the story so far …

Blopost
Photograph by Leah Band

Perhaps I always wanted to run a shop? As children, one of our favourite games was ‘villages’, whereby various make-shift camps were erected around the garden selling sticks, leaves and mud-pies under the banners of ‘Post Office’, ‘bakery’ and ‘café’. Later, I remember my mother returning from a trip to Bali with an antique puppet and thinking; what an amazing job – to travel the world collecting weird and wonderful objects and to sell those in a shop. I went on my travels. I didn’t set up a shop. Not for a while at least!

Art college took me to Bristol for 6 years. We made friends, we put on some shows, we talked a lot, we drank a lot, we worked hard and we had a good time. In 2006, after a year in Suffolk caring for my mother, I moved to London. Life had been on hold. It was all change. No plan. I took a job in a book shop and then tried banging on the doors of the publishing industry, but those doors remained firmly closed. It was at this moment I decided to go solo.

My principal strategy was ‘the more people I tell about this project, the less able I’m going to be to back down’. I scoured North and East London for a suitable premises. I had no money, but this didn’t seem to matter. Eventually I came across the little space on Kersley Road in Stoke Newington (just off Church Street). I rang the number in the window, persuaded my godmother to give me a cash advance and the bank manager that I had a viable business idea. To this day, I’m not sure anyone truly believed it was, but I was determined, and still am, to prove us all wrong!

The aim of the shop was to provide a ‘bricks and mortar’ selling space for emerging designers and makers. I knew a lot of creative people making interesting and beautiful things, but their outlets seemed limited. I picked a name – probably the hardest decision. After re-reading both the Alice books I settled on a quote from The Walrus and The Carpenter:

“The time has come,” the Walrus said

“To talk of many things:

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax—

Of cabbages and kings

I filled the space with some brightly painted 1950s kitchen cabinets on loan from a friend and set about gathering stock from all the local designers and makers I could find. We stayed at Kersley Road for over 4 years, at the same time hosting regular Market Days at Abney Hall. The markets were the perfect way to meet makers and source products, and this sense of community carries through to the shop today. We still have brands that have been with us since day dot: Mister Peebles for example, or Tom Pigeon (formerly Lovely Pigeon) who I’ve carried for years and who seem to evolve and reinvent themselves just as the shop does.

While the little space on Kersley road was perfect for finding my feet, I soon ran out of room. My toilet doubled as a store cupboard and over-stock was wedged in every available cranny. Not only did we need more space, but also a better and more attractive location. Things had to change.

In October 2012, Of Cabbages and Kings took up residence at 127 Stoke Newington High Street with new housemate Knit with attitude. Following a fruitful evening down the pub with owner Maya Bang, we came up with the inspired idea of ‘moving in together’. Art and yarn? Why not? Like me she was in a tiny spot off the main drag and looking to expand.

The challenge was to make these two shops sit seamlessly side-by-side. We adopted an aesthetic that suited us both. On one side of the room a wall of wool; boxes filled with brightly coloured balls of yarn stacked one upon the other. Mirroring this my wall of products, pictures and prints. Of Cabbages and Kings has always been colourful, but we got bolder and brighter.

One of the biggest advantages of moving into 127 was the new big white wall with a gloriously high ceiling: the perfect gallery wall! Over the past 5 years we’ve held numerous exhibitions with a whole bunch of talented artists from Hackney and beyond. Those years at art school did come in handy after all!

Whole

The community aspect of running this business is still the bit that matters to me and that I enjoy the most; feeling part of something much bigger than myself: the local community, the creative community, the shop team, etc. And it’s through working with local charities, hosting workshops, exhibitions and knit nights that we feel connected. The last 10 years have certainly been a challenge. There have been some incredible highs and terrible lows in this process, but the sense of achievement when it finally comes together makes it all worthwhile.

Yet again it’s all change! Well perhaps not all change. Our little shop has taken quite a beating from all this activity, and so to celebrate Of Cabbages and Kings’ 10th anniversary we’ve decided to have a bit of a spruce up. Then, on Friday 25th May we will be hosting an official 10th Anniversary Party, to which you are all officially invited. Please come and join us for drinks and nibbles and a goose at the new refurb from 4pm – 8pm at 127 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0PH.

Thank you so much for all your support – we couldn’t have done it without you!

 

 

 

Here Comes A City

An Interview with Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes seemingly overnight, local artist Marc Gooderham has made it his mission to capture these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur, that are beginning to vanish before our eyes. In the run up to his exhibition Here Comes A City, opening February 8th 2018, we took the opportunity to ask Marc about his paintings and his project.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

There are two. Naturally the paintbrush, but also the highly underrated yet extremely versatile piece of chalk!

studio

How long have you been painting and drawing? When did you start out?

As far back as I can remember. As a child I would sit and draw for hours. Still lifes, portraits, intricate buildings using pen and ink. The first piece of art I sold was to my art teacher at school. He kindly parted with £150 for a still life piece. As a kid, this was all very exciting. I tried not to let that first sale go to my head…honestly.

All your pieces come from real locations, mostly in London. What is it about the urban landscape that appeals to you?

I’ve always lived in London, so it’s a place I know and love. A place of intrigue and new experiences. It’s the contrast of old and new and glimmers of a forgotten time that really appeal to me.

Buildings with a fallen, crumbling exterior always hold an evocative beauty. Cities are a physical thing, they’re made up of lines and interesting forms, and the complexities of architecture and perspective can be challenging at times. But it’s all these things that make it the perfect subject to paint. Buildings command our attention. They’re our homes, places of work, places we admire and fall in love with. They help us navigate our way through life.

What is your process for working on a new piece? 

The only real way of getting to know a city is by walking it. Familiarising myself with the street level views. Making preparatory sketches and photographs. Revisiting a potential location at different times of day – sketch as much as possible! It has to have all the right components, which help make the final composition. Light and shade, suggestions of human life, a glow or reflection in a window, lights shimmering in the distance. These all give harmony and unity to a picture. Once these are in place, I begin work in the studio.

You are now working more with chalk pastels instead of painting, was there anything in particular that drew you to a new medium?

Working with charcoal and chalk pastels has been quite a liberating experience. I am still painting, producing large canvas pieces each month, again of the urban landscape.  I will always paint, however the pastel/charcoal lends itself to working quickly and more instinctively, 50% of the picture is created using my fingers.  There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes which adds to the excitement of this medium, speed is of the essence! It’s about capturing a certain feel or atmosphere and ultimately exercising the art of freehand drawing. It gives the artist a sketch – like fluidity.

Do find yourself returning to locations?

All of time. The locations are very familiar to me. Old haunts or places I have lived naturally become the subject of my work. The city is changing at such a rapid pace, there will always be a new discovery.

What is your favourite takeaway?

 Quite simply ‘Babur To Go.

Studio 2