genevieve – print and pattern

print and pattern


so long, stokey: part I


Yes, indeed. The reason for the blog silence these past few weeks is because I’ve moved house. I have finally poked my head above the piles of cardboard boxes and mountains of admin, to blog some pics of the place I’ve called my haven for the last (nearly) 7 years – Stoke Newington or Stokey if you’re, y’know, in the cool gang.

When I arrived in London, overwhelmed by the swarms of commuters and petrified of the certain peril of the big city, Stokey was my sanctuary. I ended up there as my sister told me “it’s for people who hate London”. Getting off the 73 on Church Street for the first time, I knew within about 30 seconds it was the place for me.

stoke newington reservoir - genevieve blog

stoke newington reservoir

autumn in abney park cemetery - genevieve blog

abney park cemetery in autumn

stoke newington high street - genevieve blog

snowy stokey - genevieve blog

abney park cemetery in winter

springfield park - genevieve blog

springfield park – clissold’s prettier, quieter and better-kept cousin

Stokey has got a lot busier than when I first moved there. It’s become slightly less villagey, slightly more clubby (I call it the Dalston creep – possibly a good thing, the jury’s out. Either way, it should definitely be a new dance move). Gone are any residues of non-gentrified shops along Church Street (RIP Haringey Electrics – what they didn’t know about Hoover bags wasn’t worth knowing) and increasingly the same is the case on the high street. But we still love it.

It was because of its stratospheric rise to house price silliness that we have sadly had to leave the area. Having sworn never to live in another area of London, melodramatically, we thought we’d never love again. But we have, and this time it’s Forest Gate, where we’ve bought our first place.

Ever since I knew I was moving, the nostalgia kicked in and I felt the need to document some classic shop fronts.

eagles cabs - genevieve blog

stoke newington green - genevieve blog

laundrette - genevieve blog

video xchange - genevieve blog

itto restaurant - genevieve blog

kac hardware shop - genevieve blog

And here are my highly subjective top 10 Stokey establishments, in no particular order:

  1. Jan’s Bar: on Northwold Road off the main drag, Belgian ales with unusual glasses, and infamous lock-ins. Stokey’s greatest hidden gem
  2. Knit With Attitude: the best knitting shop in London. Fact.
  3. Yum Yum: quality cocktails (go at happy hour)
  4. Borough Wines: bring your bottle back for a refill for a fiver, best sherry selection in Stokey
  5. Hub: where nearly all my accessories and shoes are from. Expensive but well-edited selection of scarves, shoes, clothes and jewellery
  6. Thai Café: low-key Thai restaurant for cosy, cheap dinners
  7. Stoke Newington Green: there’s so many good things about this greengrocers, it’s hard to know where to start – great quality, cheap, they’ve got everything, takes cards…
  8. Rio Cinema: bloody brilliant indie cinema with proper snacks
  9. Beaucatcher: get a great haircut and catch up on Church Street gossip at the same time
  10. Stokey Fish Bar (top of the high street): chip cob, please, and a pickled egg to go


stokey sunrise - genevieve blog

my first stokey sunrise, september 2006


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ephemera take two (or three or four)

Parker's Burning Lens print - genevieve blog

Ever since I first discovered the Ephemera Society‘s fairs, I’ve been dying to return. And return I did, the Sunday before last.

It’s hard to describe the sheer excitement and overwhelm that makes me want to hide in a corner at first. It’s an endless treasure trove of gorgeous typography and vintage graphics, and the fear of wanting everything briefly paralyses me before I take a deep breath and dig in.

Ephemera Fair - genevieve blog

burma, kelloggs and silk stockings

Ephemera Fair - genevieve blog

To keep me company in my excitement-slash-angst, I went with a friend of mine who shares the same crush on old bits of paper. I thought we might just egg each other on but actually he played a key part in my not bringing home a hundred sheets of vintage ads, and helped me to choose a small haul, which I’m very pleased with. Ephemera high-five!

First up, a page advertising Cadbury’s Cocoa Essence and Mexican Chocolate. This was one that pained me to leave behind last time and since it was still there, I took it as a sign. There’s something lovely and neat about how they’ve squeezed all the words on vertically and horizontally, and of course the bright colours.

cadbury's cocoa essence and mexican chocolate print - genevieve blog

cadbury's cocoa essence print - genevieve blog

Cadbury's Mexican Chocolate - genevieve blog

The next is perhaps my favourite, a label for Wm. P. Hartley’s Table Jellies. I’ve been wanting to make some jellies for a while, since Bompass and Carr became all the rage, and while this hasn’t happened (yet!), this will satisfy my craving for Victorian-style moulds in the meantime.

Wm. P. Hartley's Jellies label - genevieve blog

This ‘Welcome to Europe’ print is published by the Post Office. I do love the Post Office’s old ads, and I’ve long been coveting several of their old prints, which you can buy here. The font is striking, particularly the ‘M’. I’m reading Just My Type by Simon Garfield at the moment, which is giving me a fascinating insight into typefaces, and means I’m noticing fonts way more than before.

welcome to europe - genevieve blog

Post Office Welcome to Europe print - genevieve blog

The last print I found in a tempting pile of pages detached from The English Encyclopaedia: being a collection of treatises, and a dictionary of terms, illustrative of the arts and sciences, published in 1802. Both of us loved the intricate and precise drawings, which were of everything from shells to husbandry to chemistry equipment, often all on the same page. From a ‘short’-list of around 25, I managed to pick this one of burning lenses.

Parker's Burning Lens print - genevieve blog

Parker's Burning Lens print - genevieve blog

Parker's Burning Lens print - genevieve blog

Aside from the lovely drawings, there’s something I like about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. I think it has to do with the way the ‘Burning Mirror of M. Buffon’ and the old-fashioned science equipment seem to belong in one of my childhood fantasy adventure books.

You can find out when the next London fairs are here.

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my first sewing machine

This lovely-looking little sewing machine is always on the shelf when I come home to my bedroom in Cornwall.

It’s not actually my first sewing machine but my auntie’s. My mum thinks it’ s probably around 50 years old. The handle still turns and the needle goes up and down, but I confess I’ve never tried to sew something with it. I just like to look at it – I love how chic it looks with the dark wood, shades of grey and that great logo and font. I doubt they make children’s sewing machines that cool these days.


the ephemera fair

the society describes ephemera as “minor transient documents of everyday life”

Despite being a big fan of ephemera, I didn’t actually know it had a name, let alone specialist fairs – until I came across the Ephemera Society. This is one of the reasons I love this city – if it exists, you can get it London.

Last Sunday I paid my first visit to one of the fairs, incongruously held in the swanky Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Holborn. We paid the £2 entrance fee and were greeted with an overwhelming array of bus tickets, theatre programmes, maps, magazine ads, postcards, posters, greetings cards, magazines – if it’s made of paper, they had it. Some were frighteningly expensive (£250 for a tiny ticket, clearly rare and for serious collectors only) and others pleasingly budget (50p for a bus ticket) – but all were from times gone by.

My first find was this gorgeous Carter’s Lemon Syrup ad (love its bold claim to prevent cholera) and was pleased to discover a fantastic bonus print on the back of the Great Wheel at Earl’s Court, the world’s tallest ferris wheel at the time.

Unsurprisingly, I cleared one seller out of sewing and knitting-themed items (resistance was useless), which I plan to make into a framed display for my as yet non-existent craft room.

I’m going to do a similar thing with these lovely bus tickets. There are some beauties in there, my personal fave is the Last Tram Week one.

I longingly left some other items that would have blown my budget. But there’s always next time – fairs are held approximately every two months.


printspiration #2

early morning at the camino real hotel in mexico city

Mexico is a photographer’s feast when it comes to colour and prints – I often wonder if people in Mexico decide on what colour to paint a building or sign based on what colour isn’t already on the street. If they do, I love that attitude. It’s a sight for sore eyes for a colour-hungry Brit used to the mono-grey of the buildings in London and other cities.

Most of the pictures below were taken on a recent trip to Tehuacán, my adopted Mexican home-city.

volkswagon beetle