Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Great Apron Swap 2010

The brainchild of New Zealand based crafter Sarah 'Red' Gingham, The Great Apron Swap 2010 was inspired by this book which shows you how to sew lovely aprons (I discovered it in the Borders closing down sale as so was pleased to see it getting some recognition.)
A few months ago she challenged bloggers from all over the world to make an apron and swap it with someone else. In total 81 ladies took part (she doesn't mention the men so I'm guessing there were no male entrants!)

The partner I was allocated was Jenny author of crafty blog Oh Joh and who lives in Australia. 

I was super excited when the parcel arrived, it's so fun knowing you've got a new item to own that's all yours: 

After ripping open the envelope I was greeted by a lovely note on a cute Russian Doll postcard and then came the apron.....

Wow, it's so pink, so me!! The motifs are based on an aboriginal design,  the ties are adjustable so it can be worn by anyone. All in all it's fantastic quality and absolutely gorgeous. I am going to wear it for years to come : )

I'm not sure what she thinks of mine yet, something went wrong in the making. It's a Bollywood Apron made of sari offcuts and trims but it shrunk in the sewing process and became child size - luckily she has girls who will hopefully appreciate it!!

Such a brilliant idea, I especially love how the response was international.
Thanks Sarah for a superb blogger project, loved being part of it! 

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Elmer would be proud!

For those of you who haven't been able to visit London to see the Elephant Parade I've posted some pictures of the finale exhibition to give you an idea of how awe inspiring it has been. 

Over the last few weeks, London was home to over 250 brightly coloured elephant sculptures. The reason? To raise money for the Asian Elephant. Organised by Elephant Family a  charity who  raise funds and awareness about the endangered animal, the herd has been brightening up street corners, shops and landmarks all over the city. 

Now in it's final weekend,  the elephants have been regrouped at Chelsea Hospital where public can come along and inspect just how amazing they are before they are finally auctioned off. 
This pearly elephant is one of my favourites, I love how it changes colour dependent on where the light shines on it.

Originally the elephants started off dotted around London landmarks. This one was painted by my illustrator friend Nilesh Mistry and I spotted it in Leiceister Square when I was on my way to a Bollywood premiere recently.

Seeing over 200 elephants lined up in a field was a remarkable sight.

Some of the elephants were painted by famous people (including HRH Princess of Kent and jewellery designer Andrew Logan) and others by artists. This one was designed by Indian fashion designer Manish Arora. 

Each elephant was totally unique and made and inspired by all sorts of materials...

 ... mosaiced with 1p coins

... covered in grass

 ...patterned in 'elephant dogtooth'

...in disguise as other animals 

 ...crafty themed, I've zoomed in on some patchwork details

 ... covered in words

...rows of psychadelic elephants

 ...and of course their bums were just as impressive
...this one was amazing...

Again it's an elephant is disguise but the likeness to a London taxi is so uncanny, on the way home whenever I saw a taxi I thought I was looking at an elephant!

There were also few elephants that couldn't be placed outside as they were so delicate, so were exhibited inside buildings. One was covered completely in Swarovski crystals and with such 'bling factor' it's hopefully going to be sold for lots of money : )

Having this colourful and charismatic herd of elephants dotted around the city has made going out and about so much more fun. It's shame some of them can't be permanent installations but then again I'm sure they will all go to lovely homes. 

The good news is that if you've seen an elephant you like and you can't afford to one (tickets to the auction cost £75 so bidding is going to be in the thousands!) you can buy miniature ornamental versions instead; they're about 15cm high. The bad news is that it says delivery takes 2 weeks to 4 months...so you never know when it will turn up -not a good present but a brilliant surprise for someone! 

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Highlights from Dundee

Faith, Alex and Me in middle!
Eek! Time has flown by this month and I have not had a chance to blog properly so I have a whole back log of posts to put up about all the craftastic stuff I've been up to! Three weeks ago I was in Dundee here is what happened:

Wow! Meeting one idol is one thing but to meet two at once is quite remarkable! On Thursday I was over the moon to hook up with Alex, one of the amazing women behind art/performance/girl band/fashion/creatives Chicks on Speed AND the inspiring Faith Levene, the genius behind indie craft documentary and book 'Handmade Nation' - both who were in the UK to attend the Prototype Symposium in Dundee, Scotland

Bringing together academics/artists/crafters/scientists/cultural critics/students/authors/architects the two day event explored new meaning of prototyping and the role that crafts plays in it. I was there as a blogger, reporting live on the action as it happened. My posts can be seen on the Craft Research blog.
Chicks on Speed Restropective
One of the reasons Alex who currently resides in Spain was down in Dundee was because there's a brilliant Chicks On Speed restrospective showing at Dundee Contemporary Art. Showing off their videos, fashion, posters, crafts, banners, zines...there's an inspiring selection of artefacts and it's a huge space too. A must visit if you are near there - it's free too!

The Guitar Stiletto
This is one of the girl's most recent projects, a stiletto show that doubles up as a guitar. Alex detailed the mega story of how this shoe became made - it was fascinating but sadly got turned down by Lady GaGa's stylist twice so won't be going as mainstream yet.

Only trouble is, how to I transport it home?
 Downstairs at the exhibition was all sorts of other interactive crafty activities. My favourite part was an interactive styling exhibit where there was a blank mannequin and lots of fabrics hung up. The idea was to dress the mannequin however you liked by draping materials to make an outfit, there was also the option to video yourself while doing it.

See I did weave again!

And finally I had a go on a huge loom and did my first bit of proper weaving (not the card bookmark I made a few weeks ago!) on a giant loom. The piece being worked on was huge so the shuttle had to travel really far each time and I didn't enjoy it, it was far more complicated than the loom I used. But also it was good to be doing something that I felt I understood the principles off.

I had a really fabulous and craft tastic time blogging from the symposium, meeting some fabulous inspiring people and getting to know Dundee. Soooo pleased I went : )

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Future Craft Prototype Sympsium

I'm in Dundee. After braving a 9 hour rickety train ride on an overnight train from London  I arrived here at 6am to report on an innovative event about 'Future Crafts' held at the University of Dundee. I'm blogging live from the event at www.craftresearch.blogspot.com and will be doing so for next two days so keep following my progress there and I'll do a personal write up after!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Future Craft

Photo of a smiling girl reflected in a lift mirror
This week I'm heading up to Dundee to report on the Prototype 2010 Symposium. Devoted to 'Future Craft', speakers and guests will be discussing the way creative people express their ideas - in particular how they use prototyping to help 'imagine the future'. Many crafters I know always start with prototypes, but me, I like to rush into things. I get bored of testing and just want to get in there and do it. But in industry, products would never come into fruition without being designed and trialled first.

Held at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, part of the University of Dundee, the symposium is supported by the V&A Musuem and Craft Scotland and is part of a wider Craft Festival being held in Scotland.

Topics up for discussion include architecture, fine art, music and studio crafts like jewellery, ceramics and textiles.

It's a packed schedule opening this Wednesday with a screening of craft documentary Handmade Nation followed by a packed Thursday and Friday with all sorts if experts in different fields. I haven't been to a conference/symposium type event in ages so I'm looking forward mingling with other crafty types and learning lots of new things!

I will be updating this blog with live postings from the event so don't forget to check back on Thursday and Friday to find out what's happening!