Sunday, 27 February 2011

Pier for Sale

Condition - Used,  in need of a loving Home
For Scraps and Parts
Further Details -

Designed by the great Eugenius Birch, the West Pier of Brighton has been standing strong since 1866, taking 3 years to complete at a cost of £27,000.00, and being officially opened by the then Mayor of Brighton, Henry Martin, on October 6th, 1866.

When it was first erected, the local residents at Regency Square took an instant dislike to it, as they didn't like the square shaped toll houses at its entrance, but over the years grew to love it. It originally also housed 6 octagonal kiosks on the main pier platform, 2 of which were in the centre, and the others on each corner.

It featured many attractions for its visitors, including a skull of a whale washed up on shore in January 1882, and a miniature cannon fired by the sun!

Alterations began to the pier in 1890, adding the main central windshield, and later on the pier-head was widened, and a large pavilion erected. It had a capacity to seat 1,400 visitors and put on a variety of shows to entertain. The Pavilion was then converted to a theatre in 1903, and many more alterations added, including a concert hall at the centre in 1916, and for easy access, a raised entrance at the shore end in 1932.

Fast forward 144 years, and this is all that is left of the once majestic Pier, conveniently located at the bottom of my road. Sadly, the pier closed on September 30, 1975. First signs of the ruin it would one day become, a kiosk fell into the sea in 1984. There were many attempts to reopen it, and grants were offered by English Heritage Trust and the National Heritage trust, and work was expected to start, after the National Herritage Lottery Fund accepted to grant the West Pier Trust a further £14.5million, in early 2004 and to finish by November 2005, despite legal action from Nobels, owners of the neighbouring Palace Pier. Sadly, all hope was lost after 2 horrendous storms, 2 suspicious fires, withdrawal of support, and crucially, withdrawal of funding.

Today, we stumbled across a final clear out of the remains of the once glamorous and beautiful West Pier. The base of the raised entrance hall was the location, it having been fenced up as long as I can remember, old lost and forgotten parts of the pier being stored within, slowly rusting away...

Not the most glamorous of locations I must admit, the pigeoens have well and truely made this their home, but look at all of it!

I got talking to some lovely older gent, who told me stories about when his mother used to come for tea dances in the great theatre hall, and how he remembered visiting it regularly when he was younger. That's what really brings all this alive, when you hear stories from those who remember it.

I'd love to have taken home my own bit of Brighton History, but sadly, anyting with a 'West Pier' tag seems to go for mucho dollar these days, so off we trotted, content in the thought we were lucky enough to have had a chance to play among that which will one day be no more.

Much Love from Brighton



(big thanks to the brilliant 'new encyclopedia of Brighton', best christmas gift! Brilliant read after a day exploring the city)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Make do...and Sew!

I'm guessing I'm not the only one out there, everyone's having to cut corners and make do, that's why I'm going to, for the first year ever, stick to my new years resolution! That being: This year, I am only allowed to buy the absolute essentials, but make everything else.

I have a HUGE pile of vintage patterns that have been given to me, as well as a mass of old curtains and bedding, so I have no excuse really. First off, I've decided to create something so I can finally wear one of my sisters old shirts. Its burgundy, and made of lace, so it's not something I have the confidence to wear without anything over the top (I just don't have the guts to walk out the house and let everyone see my bra!) so first task is to make a dress from this pattern:

I decided to use a very pale cream herringbone wool blend, really nice weight which will hopefully mean the skirt will hang really nicely over a big petticoat!

Progress after a week:

I'm not finished yet obviously! Still got the bolero jacket to finish, and I've been working on some decorative design on the hem which I'm also going to continue onto the bolero collar....quite fiddly but I'm praying it stands out and makes quite an impact when finished. Otherwise the dress could look quite bland!

Here's a little of the hem detail (still need to press the a bit impatient!)

I've also been experimenting with a sort of pin-striping embroidery idea....had a quick go, but need to buy some chalk for the real deal. Might make a pencil skirt from the left over fabric and do some on that....

Lots of ideas!

Does anyone else ever have the problem of starting a project, being overcome with ideas for future things, and then maybe losing track of what you'd started inititally? I'm trying to really concentrate and get this one done before starting anything else...another new years resolution! The amount of pieces I've left for 6 months waiting to be finished....bad me!

Anyhow, more on this to come this week I hope! The craft fair at Brighton Centre on Sunday has really got me twitching to make more, especially my two new patterns!

Much Love from Brighton



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Knitted Haven - ICHF - Brighton Craft Fair 2011 - part One

Met up with the parents today for our annual trip to the Brighton Craft Fair. We've been doing this since I was about 12 and I used to love getting all those hobbie packs for beaded jewellery and cross stitch...yes I was a geeky kid! Different every time, and sometimes not much to my taste, but I do always love to see peoples new ideas and techniques, and picking up titbits of information and some very useful tips from all the lovely store holders!

My favourite part of the trip has always been the exhibiton room with all sorts of textile art.

The absolute show stopper has got to be this beaut, named "Above and Below the Waves", thought of by Alison and Ann Murray, in order to raise money for the RNLI, made possible by knitted donations from around 2000 knitters and Art Council funding. All ages and abilities of knitters contributed, with contributions coming in from all over the world. To see more of this, visit their website HERE.

It took nearly 2 years to complete, but doesn't it look amazing?

There was even a tunnel through the middle, and the lighting really made it feel like you were under water! so many details, too many to list, and I could easily have been there all day taking pictures of all the cute little creatures!

I spoke to the lovely gent at the stall selling knitted fish keyrings, and he told me that one little girl came up and asked her mum to convert their roof space so she could take it come and live in it! I so want one of these now! If I ever win the lottery, I am so making one of these and having it permanently in the house.

I think one of my favourites was the giant great white shark, with two sets of knitted teeth! I wanted to take him home with me! I really hope this helps raise a lot of funds for this very worthy cause. Its currently touring and can next be experienced at:

SECC Glasgow, 3-6 March 2011
NEC, Birmingham, 24-27 March 2011
Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, 20-22 May 2011

Paris, La Grande Villette, Feb 2012

All part of ICHF Events.

There's lots more I want to write about but need to go through the pictures first, so more to come tomorrow! Including 2 great vintage patterns I managed to find, as well as a leaflet of vintage fashion from the 1800's to 1930, all for a snippet! Also, some more pieces from the exhibition room, where I stumbled across an area all about the history of vintage underwear, named "Undoing of the Corset".

Much love from Brighton for now, 



Friday, 4 February 2011

Brighton Tattoo Convention 2011

In Loving Memory of Shone

He was such a character, and one of the nicest people i have met, always
 happy to see us, and made the whole experience of going to Magnum Opus a joy. He will be sorely missed.

©2010 Ester Segarra.

Please give generously

Saturday, 28th January 2011, saw the return of the Brighton Tattoo Convention at Brighton Racecourse, and what a day it was!
I strongly recommend to anyone thinking of going next year to book your tickets in advance, because a) you get to go in an hour earlier, and b) you don't have to stand in the FREEZING queue being blasted from all directions by the horrid, face numbing wind! Trust me, it's worth it.

After having bumbled through the main floor (hangover from previous night's gig still lurking), and up both towers, we soon realised it would be a little wait before anyone started getting tattooed, so we retired to the bar for a rather civilised cuppa.

Cuppa finished, let the fun begin! One of the first places I wanted to stop by were the lovely guys at Magnum Opus, where I had the last 2 completed, the first by Inma, who came up with my ribcage design, based on a bird designed by my favourite arist Alfons Mucha, and I love how simple and elegant she's made it into. 7 hours later and voila! Lucy then did Heinz's paw prints in October, after my beloved dog passed away. The detail she put into them blew me away.

(here's one of the guys at Nine in action)

I've been eyeing up Nigel at Nine in Brighton for a while, and think i'll take the plunge again in the summer.

This guy was having his chest piece completed, he told us it took a whole day just to mark out the tattoo in the first place, and whenever we came back, they were still hard at it! It really did look amazing at the end!

(the most glamarous tattooist in town!)

I really love watching others getting tattooed, and seeing the designs the artists come up with. It gets me itching to start sketching again, but I can never come up with the ideas they do. I really wish I'd managed to take a photo of a guy who had an amazing sleeve, comprising of a old WW2 letter, with original seal, looking like he's put himself under an old school type writer, then planes in the background with soldiers parachuting from the sky into the distance, and warfare on the ground...I'd love to know who's that was...

Also came across some hand tattooing in the boxing ring:

Such a relaxed atmosphere, and if you're like me and enjoy people watching, this is the place to go. You can go and chill in the bar with a pint, watch the bands, tattoo judging and peruse the shops, take a stroll outside to the art gallery, with free art classes and material, even a sugar skull competition! \on the subject of sugar skulls, the Mister came up with a wicked way of creating a suger skull design in a Suckie notebook. Next time I get near a scanner I'll put some up!

Next door to the bar there was also a Sailor Jerry exhibition, with a mini cinema and free Jerry & Ginger Ale! Yum!
But best to go upstairs first, if you dare. They were showing skin scarification and branding. We got chatting to the guy at the stand, and the random fact of the day was; vegetarians don't mind the smell, but meat eaters can't stand it...we didn't hang around for long...

...Back in the main area, people watching...

Just love this girls cat sleve, don't you?

All in all, a great day out, and I've been very inspired since to get practicing on my pin striping skills, or lack of. Since I've starting a new project and making another dress, I've been messing about with pin stripe embroidery, blog to follow! Its taking some time but I reckon with a bit more practice, I can just about do it!

Much Love from Brighton