Authors Posts by Magic

Magic

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Steffie Timanti looks back over a year of growth
Steffie Timanti looks back over a year of growth

Steffie Timanti embodies the notion of independence, stepping away from the music industry and its norms to create her own small, but perfectly formed movement of her own. Her music is deep, tribal in places and emotive, inspired by artists like Damian Lazarus and his ilk, incorporating a myriad sounds from around the globe to nurture a sound that inspires and uplifts in equal measure. It’s been a year of growth and experimentation for Timanti, so we thought she’d be a great subject for our 2017 Issue – below you’ll find an exclusive mix and a brief chat about 2017…

2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?

A lot has happened this year! It’s really hard to pick one highlight as I’ve been blessed with some amazing projects! I took a risk and decided that the music industry was too oversaturated. That led to me launching my own project to take my musical career down a completely different angle in a whole other industry, focusing on community, adventure, experience, wellness and mind expansion in the form of ‘Tribelife’ & ‘TIMANTI and The Tribe’. This in turn has opened me up to several out of this world opportunities including collaborations with other likeminded tribes, including a festival called Colors of Love, in Italy, with my sisters Wild Sirenda and Beyond Archipelago; which was a self-guided festival experience held on a bunch of uninhabited islands in Sweden.  I’m now a part of the Beyond Adventures team, curating the next adventure festival experience in March 2018 – Beyond Sahara – where I will be celebrating 30 years on planet Earth.

My radio shows have been a lot of fun this year too! Huge thanks to all the guests that have joined me on Pyro Radio and all the listeners, too! I was also recently invited to join the Radar Radio family too, so now I have two monthly shows, giving me the privilege to share even more exciting music from around the globe and beyond!

Which news stories (positive or negative) have really impacted on your life this year?

There seems to be a constant stream of negative news, which has really in effect made me even more grateful to wake up each morning. If you’re reading this you are a fortunate person, you are alive.  I try to remember this every time I am presented with sorrow.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.

Earlier this year I journeyed deep into the jungles of Mexico after I spent some time at BPM Festival. Whilst I was there and managed to persuade one of my best mates, Freddie Fiers (she’s also a DJ/Producer – check her out), to fly over from San Francisco and come on this fantasy quest with me to discover Las Pozas, a surrealist castle in the beautiful Magic Town of Xilitla. The whole experience felt like a dream! We saw elves, a clown, climbed staircases to nowhere and more. I have the imagination of a child and find places like this most inspiring. It’s now my favourite place in the whole world; in fact the opening track of the mix is called ‘Xilitla’ which I made after my trip there!

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?

I try to keep my goals as flexible as possible to allow room for adjustments and flow. This way I’m free to adapt with the ever-changing landscape of the path I’ve chosen. I have been very lucky through doing this, it has honestly led to the opening of doors that I hadn’t even imaged could be possible.

TIMANTI in action
TIMANTI in action

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world/life in general?

I’m really sensitive and used to see this as a bad thing, however I’m now learning to embrace it and channel it into my creativity. This enables me to connect on a deeper emotion level with people through everything I do, especially through my art, music and events! It also means I’m quite tuned into energies so need to spend quite a lot of time recharging and taking care of myself. Love, health and happiness are the most important things in life, if you find beauty in the simplest things, keep focusing on the present the rest will follow!

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?

I’ve learnt a huge amount this year! It has had it’s fall backs but I’ve chosen to use all these moments as time for growth and adaptation. Especially on a personal level having been reminded multiple times of my own morality and how precious life really is. I’ve really honed in on the fact that health and happiness are the key to a fulfilled life. I’ve spent more time with my loved ones and been blessed with some amazing opportunities which I’m very excited about. Truly, I am grateful. ‘When we turn our faces to the sun the shadows fall behind you.‘ (Slightly adapted Maori proverb).

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?

I have a lot of new projects coming up which I’m really looking forward to sharing with DLTM first!

I’ll be throwing my last dance of 2017 at my favourite London venue, Grow in Hackney Wick on Friday 8th December. I’m really looking forward to playing all night long with some big surprises in store. The TIMANTI and The Tribe/Tribelife parties I’ve held at Grow this year have been some of my best nights of 2017 (THANK YOU to everyone who’s been involved – these parties are so epic because of each of you coming together to create this beautiful community which has expanded way beyond the dance floor). If you’re reading this, you’re invited! Come down and celebrate life with your tribe. It’s a free party and will be my last show in the UK before heading off to play my debut gig in Kenya, Africa at the Kilifi New Year, which I’m super excited about!

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?

There are so many so I’m going to pick one of each! Album: Dhafer Youssef – Divine Shadows [2006] a spiritual infusion of Arabic, Jazz and Electronica, huge thanks to Rob Simpson for introducing me to this album when I was in Sweden!

Musician: I already knew about him prior to this year but Laolu has once again blown my mind with his remix of XOA – Diaspora! Watch out for this future star! Also O’Flynn! I’ve been supporting his records on my shows on Pyro & Radar Radio, another one to keep your eyes on.

Visual artist: Again not a new discovery but he’s part of the Tribelife family and continues to impress me with his expanding talents and skills – Bless Elska. Such a blessing to have him on the team… He’ll be joining me at Grow on 8th December for the final dance of 2017.

 

 

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Bryan Chapman
Bryan Chapman

We first came across Bryan Chapman earlier this year through his Ekanta Vasa EP released on his own label Monotony. The music and the titles he used resonated with us, it had meaning, substance and felt as though it was linked to a higher purpose. Through the wonder of social media we got in touch with Bryan and found out he also channels his creative energy into creating abstract photographs, some of which are displayed within this article. We spoke with Bryan about the past year, asking him the same set of questions we’ve asked everyone this issue and he’s also taken time to record a very special mix for us, full of songs that inspired him as a youngster. So click play on the embed below, immerse yourself in Bryan’s amazing photographs and read all about his 2017 experiences…

Firstly, tell us about the concept behind your art please.
The appeal of nature to me is simply: “Nature is the truest form of creation and its beautifully sobering that mankind isn’t natures architect”. Edward Witten conjectured about the existence a unified version of superstring theory which he called ‘M Theory’. M Theory would require 11 dimensions be needed to fully comprehend the entirety of our universe from beginning to middle and its end.

What the universe would look like and how it would be viewed in 7 dimensions more than we currently have is something that no one can fully comprehend or ever start to and is an impossibly massive idea to ponder. But to think on an question knowing full well there is no answer is massively appealing to me. In that thought there are no boundaries or limitations and this is where creative freedom can be like setting a wild horse free to run endlessly forever and the results can be hugely intriguing to explore. This is where I came up with the concept of trying to create art that would show what nature would look like when viewed from a higher dimension. My vision for these pieces (all original nature photos in origin) are not what nature would look like from 11 dimensions but merely 1 dimension up from where we currently exist, how would nature as we currently view it look like if viewed by a four dimensional being living in five dimensions?…

2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?
As an artist it’s been a year of growth for sure, launching my own label and writing music only for the purpose of self-release has given me a level of creative freedom that I’ve never had before. All boundaries and restrictions evaporated when I removed the pressure of ever needing to get those tracks signed.

Another highlight was Vice wrote an article about my art which was pretty special. I’m on the Vice website most days and have been following them for years, so to have a publication as massive and respected as them want to write about my art was crazy.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Which news stories (positive or negative) have really impacted on your life this year?
There are very few places I check for news: Vice, The Verge and phys.org being the main ones, so it’s mostly tech and science orientated. Vice always throws in some mad stuff too, they have a good balance. What Elon Musk is doing is intriguing. Using his skills and wealth to try and encourage humanity to live fully sustainably and think about living beyond this planet stands out. Plus anything that highlights inequality across the board is much needed.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.
North Wales, driving with a view from maybe 20 miles away with the sun breaking through the clouds and hitting Snowdonia was like something out of Lord of the Rings. A truly beautiful part of the world with a huge amount of it still relatively untouched by mankind. The nature there is something else, it’s the perfect place for some downtime.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?
My only goal for 2017 was to launch my label, Monotony. That happened in April and the only plan for the label at its launch was a concept that bound the first four releases together. The first three are out and the fourth is due early 2018. The support and feedback has been phenomenal so far, from having Luke Slater and Blawan playing tracks to Mixmag reviewing the releases, running the label has been a joy.

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world/life in general?
Space and moments of nothingness. As a person and an artist I’ve learnt the importance of silence, living a mindful existence has become key to an inner calmness. Finding a way to take this knowledge and put this into my music and art has had a big effect. Musically it has helped my sound become (for the lack of a better word) fuller. In using silence and letting frequencies enter that space even momentarily, new possibilities arise.

As for the world, there have been so many negative events happen this year, the positive aspect has been how resilient we are as a species and the compassion, unity and genuine desire to help each other in the aftermath of such bad times. It gives hope.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?
Good, for sure. As I said earlier 2017 has been a massive year of growth. Being creative without boundaries and restrictions has had such a liberating effect on me as an artist, it’s filtered into real life as well. Living with true freedom and waking up to that reality, not much beats that.

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?
I’ve just finished the fourth EP for Monotony which will be out early next year. I started writing my debut album a while ago so the rest of the year will be filled with me writing and finishing the album. It has started to consume everything, so I’ve just gone with it and let it consume.

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?
Sarah Davachi – All My Circles Run. The first time I heard that album I was lost for words, ‘for voice’ had an effect on me  that I’ve never experienced before (and still does), not just from music but from anything. Spellbinding.

Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography
Bryan's photography
Bryan’s photography

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Emily Dust
Emily Dust

When it comes to international electronic music Emily Dust has come forth as one of the UK’s key underground advocates. Her dedication to promoting new music from Africa, South America and beyond has been uwavering, using her slot on Radar Radio to showcase a wide range of artists as well as bass-heavy UK music. The DLTM team have a huge amount of respect for her work and we were over the moon when she agreed to record a mix for us. We also spoke to Emily about the past year, so put her excellent mix on while you read all about her 2017…


2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?
So many! Presenting a documentary on Radio 4 was pretty amazing, it was a very personal story so the whole thing was a very surreal process. Also I had some brilliant gigs in Jamaica and Serbia, got to play closing night of the last ever Secret Garden and played B2B with Roska at Boomtown which was pretty special.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.
I’ve been able to travel a lot this year which I love… I absolutely loved my first visit to Lisbon. I also I played a gig at Drugstore (an old slaughterhouse) in Belgrade which was amazing. It’s a fascinating city with a unique mix of influences and our hosts were so kind and welcoming. I’m a big fan of Balkan music so it was exciting to actually play there.

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?
Yeah I wanted to try and be balanced (still working on that one) and to try and really enjoy and make the most of every opportunity, which I was more successful at. Although I still need to make a list of everything so I don’t forget it all.

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world/life in general?

  1. That I do, sometimes, get tired and need to take stock.
  2. Hard to say! I’d like to think I was doing this anyway, but being kind and sincere about your motivations for doing things is massively underrated.

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?
I’d call it an intense year, which can be both.

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?
I’m putting together a collaborative EP (part 2 of this) which is going to be amazing and might involve a little trip somewhere… That’s all I can say at the moment!

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?
I’m absolutely loving Jowaa from Ghana. Production duo made up of Gafacci, who features in the mix, and Bbrave of Akwaaba music, they’re a wicked mix of ravey and Ghanaian influences – can’t wait to hear what they make next year!

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Hiem AKA Nicco (left) and Bozzwell
Hiem AKA Nicco (left) and Bozzwell

We’ve been in touch with Bozzwell (AKA David Boswell) ever since we interviewed him a few years ago for another publication. After hearing his track ‘In My Cocoon’ back in 2011 we were instant fans. He’s always been a personable character, always willing to help and, of course, putting out great music from his base in Sheffield. Bozzy’s latest project is an album recorded under the alias Hiem, a project he works on with Nick “Nicco” Eastwood. ‘Hotspace‘ is the title and it’s a wonderfully playful, funky little LP with great songs, top notch composition and excellent songwriting.

The duo kindly took time to chat to us about their year, and also recorded us a superb mix which you can listen to below, so hit the play button and listen to the mixtape while you read all about Hiem’s 2017…

2017 has been another crazy year on planet Earth, what have been some of your own personal highlights?
Bozzwell: For me I think releasing the first David J. Boswell 7” called ‘Heavy Load’ on the Black Beacon Sound label and Jarvis (Cocker) playing it on the BBC was a pretty cool moment. I’ve got a load of weird acoustic, electronic recordings that are waiting to get released, stuff I’ve had lying around the studio for years and also finishing the Hotspace album with Nicco, getting the masters back from Nang and then actually holding the vinyl version in my hands. It’s amazing watching a record almost take on a life of its own.

Which news stories (positive or negative) have really impacted on your life this year?
Nicco: For me there have been so many negative news stories but the most positive thing for me is that we are now asking more questions and not believing what we are told as a human race. We are constantly bombarded with what we should think and believe by the powers that be and the media. Nowadays I feel that I can look for alternative news and views and make my own decision on matters. Jeremy Corbyn has been a great hope – the amount of stick he got from numerous media outlets would have finished him 10 years ago. I feel as though people power is really happening and that has got to be positive.

Have you discovered any new countries, town or cities? If so, tell us about where you went please.
Bozzwell: The last time I was away was in Berlin last year. I feel quite at home in that place, it’s great to hang out with my friends and play records and stuff. I know so many people now that have moved over there. I guess if you want to bolster a musical career (especially electronic), it’s the place to be. I have a lot of fond memories of that place.

Artwork from the Hotspace LP
Artwork from the Hotspace LP

Did you start the year with any clear goals? If so, what were they and have you managed to achieve them?
Nicco: I always have goals but this year has been different I have always wanted to make music to make dem girls dance. This album though has been a journey where it went in several directions and made me look inwards and appreciate it’s not all about dem girls dancing!!!! Well it is really.

What have you learned this year: a) About yourself? B) About the world in general?
Bozzwell: I’ve learned I’m not great at dealing with stress. I can go under quite easily so I’ve got to keep a check on myself. I’m trying to eat as healthy as I can though I fall off the wagon sometimes. I’ve also learned this industry that we’re in can be a tricky place to be. I’m hoping one day well find a booking agent that will come up with the goods. We’ve had seven booking agents in 13 years! I’m hoping that will sort itself out sometime soon… As for the world, it’s even more fucked up. I just try and get on with what I’m doing and just hope it gets better. Thankfully music is a great sanctuary from what’s going on out there.

Would you call 2017 a good or a bad year, and why?
Nicco: It’s been a good year because I look around at my peers and see good people. I need reminding of that sometimes – apart from the odd baddy and nobhead people are people and we look after each other. It’s been great getting the new album out into the ether too, big time.

Now that 2017 is almost over, what are your plans up until the end of the year?
Bozzwell: Well I guess I’m gonna relax a bit and just watch what happens with Hotspace. Then, at some point, try and work out how the hell we follow that up with the next album. In our opinion we’ve reached a bit of a milestone with this one. There are also a few Hiem and Bozzwell remixes coming out this year so it’ll be nice to see those get out there, as well as the LP. Both as Bozzwell and Hiem I realise I’ve released a hell of a lot of records over the years .

Finally, can you recommend an album or a musician or a visual artist you’ve discovered this year?
Bozzwell: Yeah I think the most interesting artist I’ve stumbled across this last year is Michal Turtle, who put out an album on the Music From Memory label. It’s an album he recorded in his front room in 1982. Oh man it’s brilliant! There’s this track that got reissued called ‘Are You Psychic?’ – it’s complete genius.

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Peter Cowdy
Artist at work: Peter Cowdy in action

For most children of a certain generation model making was part of life, whether it was a fleeting pastime or something a little more long-term. Some of us grew up in a time when the simplicity of crafting your own model from a kit was all we needed. Yep, DLTM are in old fart mode as we reminisce about those ‘good old days before t’internet’. Model making will still inspire lots of children around the world today and just as many adults we’re sure. One person who has reintroduced model making into his life and made it a vocation is Peter Cowdy, a talented chap from the Swindon area whose creativity extends into many different spheres, from painting through to 3D model design (which he does by hand). His work really impressed us so we thought it was only right that we showcase it to our faithful following and get some insight into what makes Mr. Cowdy tick, so here it is… enjoy!

Where does your passion for model making come from? Any early inspirations? What model sets did you collect as a child (if any)?
My Dad and Granddad both tinkered in the garage a lot so being around them was the subconscious foundation. I remember being really impressed with scale boats my Dad made and how he would just find old bits of wood and whittle them into ornaments. Playing with my Granddad’s hand carved chess set, on a table he had made complete with veneered chess board.

Another early memory was being taken to see my neighbour’s Dad’s loft railway, it ran around the edges of their loft and immediately sucked me in to the miniature world he was lovingly recreating.

When it comes to toys my 10th birthday was the key to it all, I received the board game Space Crusade. For those that don’t know it was a game that pitted space marines armed to the teeth against a range of chaotic aliens all cast in coloured plastic, with snap fit parts and a cardboard spaceship where the action took place. I was totally invested in the narrative that went along with the game and soon branched out into other similar games which involved spending all my paper round earnings on pewter and plastic 36mm fantasy models. This is when I first started to independently spend my time painting, kit bashing (swapping bits from different kits to create unique models) and building scenery for the models to inhabit.

Did you have any other key inspirations, creatively speaking, around this time? Even if it was cartoons on TV, or anything outside of the family unit?
Star Wars has always captured my imagination, me and my best friend at primary school even declared our names to be Han and Luke at one point (it lasted about a day). I enjoyed a lot of cartoons, some of my favourites were Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, Ulysses 31, Cities of Gold to name a few. Looking back at some of the children’s cartoons they seem so thoughtfully crafted and some of the plot lines in the longer running shows were deep and full of emotion, perfect for inspiring young minds. It’s interesting to think back to childhood and what was influential to me, I certainly sucked up a lot more than I consciously remember and I guess everything we go through serves as a base for where we are at any given moment.

Pete working on the finer details of one of his models
Pete working on the finer details of one of his models
Ugalu The Miserable Monster
Ugalu The Miserable Monster

Where do you think your creative streak comes from? 
As I said, it started with my family but I have always been surrounded by creative people and feel lucky to have met a lot of talented and inventive people whose resourcefulness continues to inspire me. I feel like creativity needs nurturing and lately have been seeing a positive correlation between discipline in my daily habits/choices and my creative energy.

How did to get yourself started with learning the craft itself? 
I suppose a lot of the foundation skills and interest for model making where unconsciously presented to me from a young age. Watching family and friends making things, DT class at school and my aforementioned love of fantasy miniatures. Having moved from painting and playing with models, to spray painting, which in turn developed to canvasses, murals and other bits and pieces, I was in a good groove creatively, constantly working on something. That was until I moved house and left a spacious place, where I had a studio space set up, to a bedsit with no room for canvasses or a large amount of supplies. The creative funk it induced meant I decided to dig out the fantasy models, set to work learning how to paint to scale and started trying some sculpting and diorama pieces. I had a lot of fun and decided to pursue model making further. Another change of location and I decided to enrol as a mature student at Bedford College to study 3D Design.

At college my tutor and technician where both hugely talented and I felt blessed to be learning from them. Although the course was primarily focused on product design I was supportively challenged and motivated by the staff to fit my own agenda into briefs written for products.

More of Pete's handiwork
More of Pete’s handiwork

Brilliant. Creativity can be stunted as we get older, particularly by the societal pressures we endure (get a full-time job, earn money, get a house etc…). On top of this creative industries are suffering in our extremely capitalist world – how do you deal with these pressures and maintain your creative focus?
Discipline… I’m still learning, and every moment is a choice to create habits that serve you and your dreams or ones that don’t. I definitely catch myself getting stressed out by responsibilities and all the stuff that we get by choosing to live in an economically-controlled societal system. I find acknowledging my stressful thoughts and accepting that it is my mind that is creating the stress helps me to ask the question, “What other options do I have?”. A lot of what happens in the world seems like it is out of reach for the individual to effect, so I like to keep positive and focus on the things I can do to progress or change my circumstances.

When it comes to creative focus I enjoy the progression that daily involvement in the process brings. I’ve learned to be patient with myself and when I have creatively slow days I try to make sure that I continue practicing even if it means creating dodgy prototypes or sketches bound for the bin, it’s all part of the journey. I like to remind myself at the end of every day that as long as I have done something to progress towards a goal, no matter how big or small, then I’m winning.

A selection of Pete's stunning mandalas
A selection of Pete’s stunning mandalas

You also have a progressive approach to life, would you mind speaking a bit about how some of your spiritual practices influence your creative output?
To me spiritual practice is a way of refining how good my life can be, emotional, physical and mental health. I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years and I suppose to begin with I would follow written or spoken instruction on how to improve things, TCM, yoga, meditation to name a few, now though I find my life practice is about trusting my heart/intuition for direction and most importantly for me, trusting the universe’s grand plan no matter how it may appear. I find the way it relates to my creative output has to do with discipline, by doing some form of exercise, meditation and becoming more conscious about what I eat and do every moment I help cultivate a healthier internal environment for my creativity to grow from. The most basic things any person can change in their lives are breath, movement and sustenance, I feel the more discipline I exercise in these areas the more simple other areas of my life become.

It must have been a steep learning curve getting to grips with the model making process. Are there any funny mishaps you’ve experienced along the way?
It still is a steep learning curve, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every project seems to present a new challenge or two and usually highlights the importance of thorough planning and testing. I don’t think there will ever be a time I won’t have something new to learn, which excites me and also reminds me to be patient particularly when it comes to mishaps.

Mishaps are usually not funny at the time but thankfully the mind moves on and what made you swear and stress one day soon turns in to a lesson learned and sometimes a funny one.

One thing that comes to mind was at the end of my studies we had a college end of year exhibition and New Designers Graduate exhibition within a week of each other. I was displaying character sculpts in bell jars, one of which was made with a lit set that was far too big to be in the bell jar or to transport to London easily. I was considering making a new scenic base the week before the first show when it was suggested to me to find some old wood to display it on. This was a great idea, all I needed to do was find the wood and cut it to size, easy peasy. I found a tree near my house that had been blown down in a storm and selected the perfect piece of branch to fit the bell jar. The first exhibition opened and all was well… until it came to taking the pieces down. It turned out that after the opening night the log (which I hadn’t dried thoroughly enough) let out a lot of moisture which trapped under the bell jar and turned to condensation. By the time I came back to it was completely covered in a fine layer of mould! Thankfully the sculpt itself was saved easily as it had been sealed to minimise surface damage, the quick fix log however had to be replaced and I learned first-hand the importance of properly drying fresh wood.

The Bear And The Piano
The Bear And The Piano

The Bear And The Piano is one of your most recognised works so far, can you tell us a bit about that and the working process behind it?
My final project at college allowed complete creative freedom and I was given a tip that one of the graphic design tutors, David Litchfield, had just written and illustrated his first children’s book. I tracked him down and suggested that if he “acted” as my client I would build him a display model of ‘The Bear and Piano’ for promotional use and he could give feedback throughout the process.

The first thing to do was study the book and find as many reference pictures of the bear, the piano and backgrounds as I could to help me translate a 2D character into 3D. Once I had visualised how I wanted it to look I made a prototype from styrofoam and card board, which helped me to get an idea of scale and how the different elements would fit together. Deciding on what materials to use was next and meant researching possibilities for each element and trying them out. Then it came to the step of actually building what I had set out to build, with this project I really pushed myself and made multiple prototypes. I even remade some of the final elements a few times until I was satisfied. I think it’s really important not only to challenge yourself to push for higher quality but to also know when to say you are done, some mistakes and errors are best left as lessons for future projects and may not be noticed by viewers anyway

Throughout the whole process I was really seeing the benefit of feedback from other people even if they may not specialise in the area you are working, it allows you to step back from something you have been totally immersed in and challenges you to look at things from a new perspective. I find the final build of any project carries a mix of emotion as you have invested a lot of effort to realise your ideas. It can be nerve wracking to maintain working standards you set yourself, sad to see the end of projects you love working on coming to sight, but ultimately very satisfying to see what starts as a doodle, conversation or a few notes become an actual thing in front of you.

Yeah it’s a lovely piece, definitely one of your benchmarks. Can you tell us a bit about the reaction of the public to your work, as you exhibited in London a while back?
The model was well received by visitors and got lots of nice comments, I even had some people interested in buying it – however, I had already promised it to the author! I think the best chat I had was with a secondary school student who asked me if she could do work experience with me. I was honoured but had to explain that working from home and not having any work lined up at the time would make that impossible, it was being exhibited at a graduate show after all and I was there hoping to get work not get someone to work for me!

Great Train Robbery
Great Train Robbery

What do you get, personally speaking, out of model making? 
Joy, it’s something I resonate with. I believe learning is the point of life and the journey of emotions my creative endeavours gift me enrich my experience.

What are up to at the moment? Any exciting projects?
I’ve been working on a lot of different projects lately and definitely enjoying the variety. I’m batch producing smaller scenes for sale as well as taking on new commissions. I’ve just finished work on a large diorama depicting the great train robbery for Buckinghamshire Railway Centre in Quainton, it has been fun to work on but I’m glad to have my desk back (it’s 1.5m long). It was unveiled on the anniversary this August.

This sounds brilliant, how did it come about?
I took someone I know to the railway centre for a day out hoping to see some scale models to get inspiration, they only had full scale though. We spent some time talking with the guys who run the Post Service exhibition and they were incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the details and story around the robbery, so I dropped into the conversation what I did and showed them a few pictures, it all fell into place from there.

What are your hopes for the future? 
In terms of model making I have goals for how I want to work, but my hope is that I can continue to grow and support myself while I practise what I love doing.

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Naomi Burnett, owner of House of Polly
Naomi Burnett, owner of House of Polly

DLTM met Naomi Burnett, owner of House of Polly, out and about in London’s hedonistic club world… or maybe it was at a festival, the memories are hazy. What we will say is that 1) she is a great person, a bundle of fun who we always have a good chinwag with when we see her and 2) her House of Polly designs are brilliant and always bring a bit of pizzazz to a situation (usually a fuzzy festival morning). It’s always interesting to speak to people about their endeavours and Don’t Lose The Magic is based on getting the inside track on the stories behind the creativity, so read on to find out more about House of Polly… 

Tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up starting House of Polly?
I feel like I’ve spent the last 32 years, basically my whole life, building up to the launch of my brand House of Polly. I didn’t know it back when I was a footwear buyer for a UK high street chain but everything I learnt along the way brought me to this point. A point where I can develop, love and grow into something that is me.

What inspired you to start work on your own thing?
I wanted to be able to express my own creativity without any restrictions and do something for myself .

Where does the name come from?
I was at Love Saves The Day (a festival in Bristol) one year when a friend of mine labelled me ‘gobby polly pocket’… too true and the name stuck.

A model wears some of Naomi's designs
A model wears some of Naomi’s designs

What’s the ethos behind the items you make and produce?
I make what feels right at the time, the further I delve the more creative I get. I’m only just beginning! This is my first full year and I know I’ve got so much more to bring. Watch this space…

What lessons have you learned during your first full year?
I have learnt lots of lessons! Even after working in the fashion industry for my whole career it’s a totally different ball game setting something up on your own. I am very fortunate that the knowledge I took away with me from working for other companies has hugely benefitted me and my advice to others setting up is make sure you speak to other people who have experience, it’s essential.

How do you come up with ideas? Do people come to you with commissions and concepts, or are you responsible for the creative process from start to finish?
The majority of the time I just get creative and hope it sells. But if someone wants something custom-made and approaches me with an idea then I am also happy to work like this. They come to me with a concept and I build from that.

What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Finding the time in between all the festivals to get s**t done!

Naomi's designs go down a treat with festival lovers
Naomi’s designs go down a treat with festival lovers
All her designs are made 'with love by Polly'
All her designs are made ‘with love by Polly’

Who or what inspires the clothes and accessories you make? 
I’m inspired by everything around me but Jeremy Scott, Moschino yes please.

What is it about the names you’ve mentioned there that gets you excited?
What he does is just so different from anyone else, he is bold and I love that.

Do you make all your designs by hand? Or, where are they produced?
Everything is made with love by Polly.

 

The stylish garments are also great for jazzing yourself for a night out
The stylish garments are also great for jazzing yourself for a night out

How did you go about learning how to hand craft the items you make?
I picked up a lot throughout my education, I studied fashion/textiles and art at school and college then went on to study fashion and clothing at Leeds. With House of Polly it has just been a case of teaching myself what I need in order to build my skills and get my products looking as good as they can. I’m always learning and really enjoy it.

You’re quite involved in London’s club scene, can you tell us about your connection with music and how that influences your designs?
Music is the answer…. Then add a little bit of Polly and your night is complete.

How does music inspire you? Any particular nights or musicians who help to get your creative juices flowing?
Grace Jones is a true inspiration to me, not just in her fashion but her individuality and performances on stage. One of a kind.

Join Naomi in the House of Polly
Join Naomi in the House of Polly

Festival fashion is becoming big business and is also influencing the high street, what are your thoughts on the way things are progressing?
The high street is part of the fashion cycle…. It’s about challenging and creating new ideas. If they follow then I guess you need to up your game.

What are your plans for the future? Any goals you want to achieve?
My plans are simply to continue being happy building something I love with the people I love always around me.

Where can our readers get in touch with you and find your amazing creations?
Come and find me on instagram.com/houseofpolly.

 

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Portugal countryside
Portugal countryside

The creative gravitational pull seems to be dragging a lot of people to Portugal at the moment. It has many selling points; a liberal Government, a good standard of living for less money than most European nations, sun, sea… the usual. We’ve noticed a lot of creative types and spiritually-inclined folk heading there to tap into these offerings and so it was only a matter of time before DLTM went to investigate, spending just over two weeks whizzing up and down the west coast of Portugal to check out some of the sights and see what all the fuss is about.

Needless to say the country stole our heart and we had an absolute blast for the whole two weeks, whether it was driving along a highway covered in graffiti or slinking our way down a cliff to a secret beach. There is something quite magical about that country, beyond the people and the places (and those utterly addictive custard tarts), the land itself seems to resonate at a higher frequency. Don’t take our word for it, jump on a plane and get over there yourself. If you’re still not sure here are a few photos from our adventures…

The beach at Sagres
The beach at Sagres
An abandoned farmhouse way out in Alentejo's countryside
An abandoned farmhouse way out in the Alentejo countryside
Carvalhal Beach in Alentejo
Carvalhal Beach in Alentejo
Pretty architecture in Lisbon
Pretty architecture in Lisbon
Sunset and the moon in Sines
Sunset and the moon in Sines
Praia da Ursa, the 'secret beach'
Praia da Ursa, the ‘secret beach’
Lisbon in the heat of the afternoon sun
Lisbon in the heat of the afternoon sun
Praia da Ursa was a particularly special place
Praia da Ursa was a particularly special place
An unusually grey facade in Lisbon
An unusually grey facade in Lisbon
Woodland in one of Lisbon's national parks
Woodland in one of Lisbon’s national parks
A traditional windmill in the south of the country
A traditional windmill in the south of the country
Lisbon is full of colour
Lisbon is full of colour
A train passing by the beach at Meia Praia
A train passing by the beach at Meia Praia
The cliff faces at Ponta da Piedade
The cliff faces at Ponta da Piedade

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Burning heart at SGP
Burning heart at SGP

It had to finish eventually, as we all know – nothing lasts forever and this year Secret Garden Party held its last ever festival. This is a place that holds some special, life-changing memories for so many of its patrons, DLTM included, so the final chapter was bound to be an emotional affair. The hallowed ground at Abbots Ripton was full of festival lovers dolled up to the nines, ready to give their beloved SGP an unforgettable send off and DLTM was there too, making sure we gave it one last hurrah.

Of course, the Great British weather did its best to dampen spirits with intermittent downpours, however not even a tsunami could have killed the vibe during this riotous weekend. It was one of 2017’s highlights and here are a few snaps from the final Secret Garden Party…

Sign says it all...
Sign says it all…
Get into the groove
Get into the groove
Fun times in the woods
Fun times in the woods
You had to be there...
You had to be there…
The famous sunflower field, where the magic happens
The famous sunflower field, where the magic happens
Top of the Plops, DJ booth in a converted portaloo
Top of the Plops, DJ booth in a converted portaloo
Making The Band SGP style
Making The Band SGP style
A bunch of beauties
A bunch of beauties
...

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Bilbao, a sweet little city
Bilbao, a sweet little city

We didn’t know much about Bilbao before we went there, but we found it to be a quaint little place with a lot to offer, especially its huge festival Bilbao BBK which takes place every July way up in the hills above the city. DLTM were also really impressed with the Guggenheim Museum with its awe-inspiring architecture and artwork, including some absolutely stunning outdoor pieces.

Spending a weekend there was definitely one of our 2017 highlights, (mostly) great weather, good company and a real all-round experience of the city from an all-day-long bike tour, to the art and raving into the early hours at Bilbao BBK. Here are a few postcards from the time we spent there…

The stunning Guggenheim Museum
The stunning Guggenheim Museum
Jessy Lanza on stage at Bilbao BBK
Jessy Lanza on stage at Bilbao BBK
Street art in San Francisco, a part of town that's currently being gentrified
Street art in San Francisco, a part of town that’s currently being gentrified
The streets of San Francisco
The streets of San Francisco
The city's football stadium is juxtaposed with residential buildings in this shot
The city’s football stadium is juxtaposed with residential buildings in this shot
One of the many amazing exhibits at the Guggenheim
One of the many amazing exhibits at the Guggenheim
A troupe of odd figures at the museum shop
A troupe of odd figures at the museum shop
Art on the streets as one of the city's neighbourhoods is gentrified
Art on the streets as one of the city’s neighbourhoods is gentrified
The Killers had a huge audience during their show
The Killers had a huge audience during their show
An imposing set of immersive sculptures inside the Guggenheim
An imposing set of immersive sculptures inside the Guggenheim
A cloudy view across part of Bilbao
A cloudy view across part of Bilbao
Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream keeps spirits high during a downpour
Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream keeps spirits high during a downpour
More art, this one by world-famous artist Aryz
More art, this one by world-famous artist Aryz
Deep in the forest rave area at Bilbao BBK
Deep in the forest rave area at Bilbao BBK
'Puppy' by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Museum
‘Puppy’ by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Museum

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A beautiful sunset over Haad Rin's Merkaba Beach Club
A beautiful sunset over Haad Rin's Merkaba Beach Club

Festivals have become part and parcel of many peoples’ lives in the 21st Century. Many people from all over the world make annual pilgrimages to their favourites, whether they’re local or international. It’s an adventure, an opportunity to meet new people and a gateway to letting go of one’s inhibitions. Some festivals seem to have the power to change lives, offering a safe, non-judgmental space where people feel liberated and are able step into whatever their ‘true self’ is… or whatever they want their true self to be. 

Back in March DLTM flew to Thailand to attend Colours Of Love, a gathering of friends, new and old, in the stunning setting of Koh Phangan – an island off the east coast of Thailand. During its week-long run, the festival (run by two inspiring souls, Wild Sirenda, who we featured on the site last year) seemed to instigate a constant flow of transformative energy. It was a special event full of colour (of course), great music, performances, art and a warm, friendly group of people out to enjoy life and create a harmonious environment for everyone to express themselves. Here are a few choice photos from our time there…

Guinivere and Lizz host a sharing ceremony at Colours Of Love
Guinivere and Lizz host a sharing ceremony at Colours Of Love
Colours Of Love queens Guinivere and Lizz
Colours Of Love queens Guinivere and Lizz

 

Colourful people at the festival
Colourful people at the festival
More beauties at Colours Of Love
More beauties at Colours Of Love
One of the many performers at the intimate festival
One of the many performers at the intimate festival
Full moon over Haad Thien
Full moon over Haad Thien
One of the festival's stunning locations
One of the festival’s stunning locations
Party time at Colours Of Love
Party time at Colours Of Love
Fire performers dazzle in the pool at one of the Colours Of Love parties
Fire performers dazzle in the pool at one of the Colours Of Love parties
Crossing from Haad Thien to Haad Yuan beach
Crossing from Haad Thien to Haad Yuan beach
Sunrise on Haad Thien
Sunrise on Haad Thien

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