News for March 2012

How do they do it?

I feel like I’ve been slowly weaned onto real work, having gone from graduation to internships to freelancing to full-time employment. But even with that advantage I seem unable to wrap my head round one little thing: how does everyone fit everything in?

I’ve been trying to get to the gym lots this week as I have passes to use up but I can’t seem to make time for more than twice a week. In between working, cooking, cleaning, catching up with parents and friends, reading books, staying up to date with the news, reading all my magazine subscriptions, being a good Tweeter, keeping up with social media, attending events.., etc I just don’t know how other people actually manage it all, never mind building a business on the side – blogging, styling and so on, having a relationship and heaven forbid, one day having children.

I think it’s the 8 hours sleep that’s holding me back..

Answers on a postcard, people, please.

Posted: March 28th, 2012
Categories: Thought
Tags: , , , ,
Comments: No Comments.

The Barbican

As with many great ideas, this one started in a pub. Chatting to Ivor, Kit and Oscar about architecture, we decided, along with Louisa and Joe via Twitter, that we would go on a tour of the Barbican. Having been to the Barbican arts centre many times for exhibits and films, the 90 minute tour gave an exceptional insight into the site’s history that as a visitor you cannot immediately grasp. I cannot recommend it enough – the tour guide was not only knowledgable, but passionate. He explained why the architecture style shouldn’t strictly be labelled brutalist, how the estate fosters a feeling of community – and thus exclusion for outsiders – without so much as a gate and the political tensions and context surrounding the 40 year project. I came away feeling both enriched and hungry to know more.

Here’s a sample of fun facts I learnt today:

The Barbican gets it name from the Latin barbecana, meaning fortified outpost, castle. This reflects its history as a site of great conflict and violence from Roman times onwards.

The site is now Grade II listed due to the coherence of the design which is dominated by semi circles and castle motifs, such as turrets and arrow slits.

While it’s well respected nowadays, the arts centre was in fact an afterthought in the design process. It opened in 1982.

The architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon took planning officials on a tour of Europe to showcase their influences and stopped off at such cities as Berlin and Stockholm, but also, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Venice. Something of the Italian Renaissance piazza culture can be felt in Ben Jonson Place and the front of the arts centre.

Originally the architects wanted to build a moat around the whole estate.

The conservatory is only open on Sundays and bank holidays, while the water fountains are turned off at 7pm every day so as to give residents a bit of peace and quiet.

You too can book an architecture tour of the Barbican here – I do recommend going when the sun is shining. It was a glorious day out.


I’ve recently been AWOL. I know. Back ASAP. In the mean time, listen to Madonna, she explains where I’ve been. Kind of:

Posted: March 24th, 2012
Categories: Music, Thought
Tags: , , ,
Comments: No Comments.

Jewellery: Niza Huang

There’s something dark and beautiful about Niza Huang’s jewellery. Huang encases petroleum within textured gold or silver to add a layer of depth. The result is oddly reminiscent of antique lockets and yet wholeheartedly modern.

What and where did you study?
I did my Master degree in Metalwork & Jewellery design at Sheffield Hallam University. My first degree is in Industrial design, and I guess my jewellery works must get some influence from that too.

How did you come to design jewellery?
I adore the physical feel of jewellery. It tells a person’s personality, history, emotion and memories, and these elements make jewellery come alive. The process of making jewellery come to life by adding character and realizing an idea into a 3-D wearable sculpture attracts me deeply.

You are also an illustrator, how do you divide your time between jewellery and illustration?
Doing illustration is a kind of recollection of memory that allows me to discover something deep inside myself. It’s like a hobby and for my own memories. At the moment I am very focused on jewellery, so haven’t done illustration for a while. But in the future, I hope to find the balance and keep expressing in both ways, combining multi-media to create more interesting projects.

Tell me about your fascination with petroleum?
Petroleum is a very important resource for humanity and the Earth. Preserving petroleum inside jewellery allows this precious substance to pass from generation to generation. Also it makes jewellery more meaningful, powerful and treasured.

What’s the one piece of jewellery you never take off?
The body ring from my “ hello Puppet “ collection. This piece is meaningful to me. It’s connected to my past.

Where do you see the jewellery industry going?
People wear jewellery either for a fashion reason so that it matches their outfit, or for a sentimental reason that represents a memory or presents their character. In order to grow in the competitive jewellery industry, I think the piece must contain both elements.

Niza Huang jewellery starts at £200 and goes up to £395, available online here.