wisdom can come from all kinds of random places

Hello all,
I'm back from London, the pop up shop is over and surely 
I can say that it has been a learning curve for me 
(and for my daughter too...).
It was great to finally meet some of my readers and bloggers, 
to hear your feedback and words of support and most of
 all it was great to see all these beautiful objects, I selected for
 the occasion, under one concrete roof! 
Surely a good kick for me to organise another pop up next year.
I'd like to thanks all the people who support me and this project
 but most of all my daughter Anita (age 7) which was a real 
darling and made us (parents) really proud surprising us with 
her ability to run the cafeteria!
Also a big hug and thank you to Jo for being such a wonderful 
helper and for making me the happy owner of one of her pileas
A big thank you for all of you who made it despite the beautiful 
sunny day on Saturday and the heavy rain on Sunday! and to 
all of you that couldn't make it but sent me messages, emails, 
linked, talked, posted about it and so on : THANKS!!!

Many of you asked me if I have the intention to do a pop up on line,
I will.
Watch this space.

Head to my Flickr to see pics of the pop up, I'll add even more soon. 
I also put loads on Instagram find me as AT_KNOTS.

*the title of this post was taken from the latest issue of 
Frankie magazine I've got from Elisabeth, thanks Elisabeth! 
*the fuzzy pic below is on Instagram.



last interview

I've been asked by some of the contributors of this first knots collective whether I had the intention to interview myself...I said: " no, you do it if you like". And so they sent me a couple of questions each.... 
I've  decided not to put pictures of myself but of the latest things I've been working on ( like a mini collection), the model is my friend Aya, (who kindly accepted to pose for me although she doesn't like to do so!). Thank you Aya.

What motivated you to do the pop up shop or where did the idea come from?
I always wanted to do something like that, when I was a kid I used to get a cardboard box, set up my little stall and sell the potholders I crocheted to the old ladies in the neighbourhood.
However, the idea grew stronger on me after a short but intense visit to Antwerp and the Atelier Solar Shop last year. That place was exactly my idea of perfect shop and shopping experience: so relaxed and friendly, full of beautiful handmade things, a well minded vintage selection and a cafeteria. The motivation behind it was to organise something different than what you usually see in London; there are many makers and designers there but there is little deviation from what I perceive as “British taste”. The main idea was to put together a bunch of European Designers and Makers that handmade what they sell, as well as adding some vintage findings: part of what I have been doing almost everyday (finding and collecting old stuff) since I was a teenager.
Is there any artist or designer or work of art you've been particularly inspired by lately?
I will be forever inspired by Louise Bourgeois; not only for her art but for her way of life and determination.
In the blog world I find very inspiring Maria Alexandra Vettese, aka MAV. I like her sense of aesthetics, the fresh approach she has on things, her ethics. I admire the fact that she has remained humble despite her success. 
I tend to get inspired by the impression that colours leave on me.

What is your favourite moment of the day?
When I can finally sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and do nothing else but taste my coffee. I also love nights in my studio room working and listening to the radio when everybody else is fast asleep.
What do you like most about living in England?
It’s dynamic, there’s little bureaucracy, it is quite tolerant.
I also love the British sense of humour, is very similar to mine (I was often misunderstood in Italy but here people actually laugh when I say something funny).
What's your favourite season?
How will your life look like in 10 years’ time?
I have no idea. I get pretty paranoid when I think about the future, so I tend not to think about it.
What's your favourite spot in your house / city / world?
The garden/ Fitzbillies Café in Cambridge/ near my family.What is your favourite smell?
The memory of the smell of my daughter when she was a baby: when she was asleep she smelt of freshly baked bread and we used to call her “panetto” (small bread).
I like the smell of fresh air.
You are an excellent crafter Alessandra, where do your skills come from?
My skills come from different experiences: I started to knit and crochet when I was 6 years old, then had my first sewing machine at the age of 9; my mother excelled in these skills and was very patient while teaching me. All her friends where either knitters or crafters in some way and I used to nag them a lot to teach me what they knew in terms of crafts. My father was an amateur painter and I spent a lot of time watching him painting and going with him to local painting competitions. He also was very good with DIY and he taught me how to use lots of tools. When I was 14 years old I went to a girls’ only school where there were many courses related to women’s crafts; however, I found it so boring that I quit and started skateboarding instead!
I eventually studied Fine Arts and took a degree in Painting. I worked with my brother for a little while in the field of Antique Building Restoration, then as an antique furniture restorer and decorator and finally as a prop designer in theatres.
I think this also comes down to genes: both my grandmothers were seamstresses and my paternal grandfather was an iron smith whose work had an artistic streak.
What era/decade are you most inspired by, in terms of design and lifestyle?
1920’s for the impeccable style, 1940’s for the ingenious ways of survival, 1950’s when the best design was created.
Is there a talent you don't possess that you wish you did?
Playing an instrument.
Which book was the last that made a deep impression on you and why?
An art book on Christian Boltanski works. Because his images say more than million words.
Describe your style.
Granny meet tomboy.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What spare time? ;D ...sometimes I give myself a day off and I go to see exhibitions or museums. In the evening I usually knit and watch a film at the same time.
What are your favourite food, music, and film?
I like simple food, I have many favourites but if I have to choose one then it will be “pappa al pomodoro”. Again with music I have a broad taste and interests in different styles; lately I’m listening to a lot of pop: Stephen Malkmus and the JicksRadiohead, Bill Callahan, Yo la tengoDirty Projectors, Panda Bear, but a lot of classical music and blues too. All time favourite film is Manhattan.
What part of your creative process do you enjoy the most?
When I’m actually realise the idea…hence making.
What would be your dream home?
A cottage near the seaside with a big garden.
Which places would you like to visit the most?
The Scottish Highlands and Islands, The Balcans, Japan, travelling around USA and Canada.



Andrea Paulicelli of mamadesignlab | fontable

The first time I met Andrea he was doing an aerial with his skateboard on one of the first Italian half-pipes near Milan, we were young teenager then and we shared the same passion: skateboarding. More than 20 years later we found out that we share the same passion for design and crafts and so now we are collaborating on a project (will show you about soon).
Also Andrea, keeps skateboarding (and surfing and snowboarding with the same energy of a 14 years old) I don't any more...but I wasn't a poser! ;^)

Who are you?
My name is Andrea Paulicelli I'm a designer and a creative director my studio is mamadesignlab based in Milano Italy.
Describe yourself in three words
friendly, passionate, tenacious.
As a child you were?
cute…. as you can see in the image….
I didn't play much, but I loved to build useful and useless objects using recycled materials.

When you wake up in the morning...? 
Caffe', shower, music, bicycle. Always trying to think something positive
When you go to sleep...? 
Usually around 1am ,5am... no routine. I try to live the moment so it's always in a different way…
What inspire you?  
Everyday life experience spontaneously and unexpectedly.
Your home is?
Small, empty, sunny, cosy, warm.
Your working space is?
big, crowded, dark, sometimes unfriendly, cold.

How do you relax?
skateboarding, surfing when is possible, listening jazz, playing saxophone.
You admire?
people that are able to follow a dream without loosing the link with the reality
Favourite things?
Best place you have ever been?
Sri Lanka.
Best food you have ever tasted? 
Fried tofu in Kyoto.
What's your dream? 
Stop dreaming and wake up…. :)
The oddest or funny thing you ever did?

Thank you Andrea.

At the pop up shop not only you'll find the product of our collaboration,and Fontable designs, you will also find Andrea in person!


Louise Evans of super duper things interview

I like Louise's quirky style and designs. As I recently found it's a pleasure to work with. She has designed my new logo and the knots collective flier...and it only took us less than thirty emails exchange! :)

Who are you?

By day I'm a graphic designer, mostly specialising in book design. When the feeling takes me I like to sit at my desk and make little bits of jewellery, accessories, the odd bit of sewing.
Describe yourself in three words.
This is difficult.
As a child you were?
Shy, scrawny, wearing custard yellow polka-dot shorts. I loved those shorts, I have no idea where they came from.

When you wake up in the morning...?
I put my alarm clock on the other side of the room so that I have to get out of bed to switch it off. Then I get straight in the bathroom to remove any temptation of getting back into bed.

When you go to sleep...?
I'm so pleased. I love sleeping! I read until I fall asleep, then drag myself back awake to turn off my lamp. It's not a very good system but it happens pretty much every night.
What inspires you?
Everything, hard to pin it down: people around me, things I see, the materials themselves.
Your home is?
In transition, as I write. Onto the next one next week!

Your working space is?
Usually an awful mess. I find this helpful though, it brings together materials or components in a way that sparks a new idea.
You admire?
Anyone that is original. The women before me whose efforts mean that I live in a less unequal world.
Best food you have ever tasted?
Daddy's roast potatoes.

Thank you Louise.

Louise's will contribute to the pop up shop with her bijoux jewellery.

Super Duper Things 

*All images by Louise Evans



a last minute addition

Jo has been growing Pileas for two years now. When she contacted me to propose me to sell her plants in the pop up shop I was surprised and happy. Pilea peperomioides are quite a rare find in UK and Europe. 
Another reason to come to visit our pop up shop in London!


More pileas here and here.

*All images by Jo 


Cinzia Ruggieri of Tictoctac interview

I like the stories Cinzia tells in her prints, I can somehow sense the Sicilian roots we have in common.

Who are you?
I’m Cinzia, Italian. I live under a volcano in a seaside town, with my husband, son and daughter. 
I draw and write stories. I travel a lot especially with my imagination.
Tictoctac is one of my trips from which to send postcards to tell about some of the stories I come across every day. 
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Dreamer, curious, quiet.
As a child you were? 
I was very quiet, often reading. Sometimes acting, singing and dancing with my brother. Creating dramatic and adventurous stories, wearing some of my mother’s old clothes.
I loved to listen to adults telling stories about themselves and their lives.
When you wake up in the morning?
I start my day very early with one hour of home gym or running, then a shower and a good breakfast: a pleasure recently conquered since the children are grown.
When you go to sleep?
Normally I’m very tired and often I fall asleep on the couch.
What inspire you? 
My dreams, details of everyday life and work.
Your home is? 
A place shared with my family, often busy. A place to be with others, where we eat together and chat. 
Your working space is? 
A quiet space hidden in a garden, in my grandparents old home,with big windows, so full of light and silence. I worked for many years at home, so now is really fantastic to have this place where I feel totally in my own world.
How do you relax?
By taking long walks, listening to music and…ironing!
You admire?
Good people.
Favourite things?
Art, travelling, good food with friends and dancing.
Best place you have ever been?
Faro, part of the Island of Gotland, Sweden and London.
Best food you have ever tasted? 
Hard question for an Italian…but, a part of my food, I loved a vegetarian thai food eaten in Amsterdam.
What is your dream?
Long trips, months and months, aimlessly, just for the pleasure of living in different places.
The oddest or funny thing you ever did?
I participated to a dancing marathon in a hotel, in Tarnov, Poland. My husband and I lasted very little but it was really fun and everything seemed so surreal.
Thank you Cinzia.

Cinzia will contribute with Tictoctac prints and postcards at the Knots Collective pop up shop.

Tictoctac Limited Editions

*All photos by Cinzia Ruggieri



Sarah Andersen of fen and ned interview

I start the week with Sarah's (aka fen) interview. This Monday reminds me of her, the pale greyish blue sky, the fresh air and the breeze of this September Monday. Sarah not only is the mind behind one of my favourite on-line shop, she's also a silver-smith. I haven't met her in person yet but sometimes we spend hours on the phone and we always have a good laugh.
Ned is her daughter and she's the muse behind fen and ned.

Who are you?
My name is Sarah, I'm 38, and I live with my daughter 'ned' who is 18 years old. We have a dog called Sam.
I'm originally from South London, but moved to the Isle of Wight five years ago.  
I started fen and ned in 2009.
As a child you were?
Always drawing.
How does your day start?
Dazed and confused mostly! I like to wake up early, but I can't usually string a sentence together for at least an hour.
The day will start rain or shine with me on my bike taking Sam out for his run. Back home for breakfast, some quick chores, then work begins around 9am.
When you go to sleep?
Before I can settle, I have to make a list of things to do the next day. The list always includes things from previous nights lists that were not done, so it ends up looking more like a scroll really!
The nights that ned is at home, she'll usually come in to my room and we'll chat and have a good laugh until about 2, 3 in the morning. Other nights, I'll listen to music to switch off from the day.
Your home is?
Always my favourite place, wherever it is, I have moved a lot, 23 times. The house that I've been renting for the past 2 years is the longest that we've lived in one place since ned was 3. We used to enjoy moving, we moved to France twice over the years, but nowadays we're too tired!
Me and ned have lived on our own for the past 15 years, and we both like our own space. We are very similar in a lot of our ways, except for I'm much tidier than ned.
We also like a lot of the same things, so our home has a lot of books, camera gear, records, and possibly too many plants.
How do you relax?
Anything to do with gardening, reading about it, a trip to the garden centre, listening to gardeners question time on radio 4 even though I don't understand the half of what is being said, it always relaxes me! Also in my local town is a shop that only sells vinyl records, it's packed from  floor to ceiling with them, the shop has a really relaxed atmosphere, and hours pass by looking through the records on a Saturday afternoon.
Favourite things?
The camera that used to belong to my dad, the bottle of perfume that used to belong to my mum, good memories, and ned's company.
Best place you have ever been?
For beauty, Cape Town. For fun, Disney Paris with ned.
What is your dream?
To visit all the places in Europe that I would love to see.
Thank you Sarah.
Sarah will contribute to the knots collective pop up with Fog Linens products and her jewellery.

*All photos by Sarah Andersen.