I was sorting through some old work and came across my final project at Kingston, for my foundation.
Completely unfamilar with proper techniques (like usual paint and a brush!) I used a parker pen and
dark blue ink. I remember it was raining on and off all day while I was trying to take pictures of them
but somehow they're still in tact. The ingenuity and inexperience of youth!


I've been posting some real treats on Pinterest

This is one of my favourites

See my other pins here


I've got Instagram!

follow me @aneekamakwana



I bought some nice ink, nibs and pen holders, timing it just right so a parcel would arrive present-like for me in the wake of having my wisdom teeth out. Even then it took me 2 weeks to finally use them and they worked beautifully. I felt a real difference between these and the scratchy small nibs i bought for drawing when I was on my foundation, though these ones did start to bleed on the paper in the book (most noticeable on the big numbers at the bottom of the page).

I started off using my drawing nibs on sheets of paper, but thought it would be better to use a small A5 sketch book instead, doing a double page spread (at least) every time - some warm up exercises and then alphabets in various typefaces. I bought copperplate nibs and a holder too so that'll be fun to do. Here they are, looking a bit wonky, but it's a start.

I've been quite slack with it, but i'm finding it a lot less practical to find the space and the time to practice a little every day. Although I do have to say, it's a lot more practical than sign writing (the paint, and the brushes, the paper, an easel...)

I always find it's much easier to sit with my weaving frame and that's just such a nice thing to do, especially since I feel I'm getting better. with practice. so i need to practice calligraphy. Maybe alternating each day would be worth a try.

I've started gardening

My parents brought home packets of tomato and sweetcorn seeds and, along with two packets of wahaca chilli's, I planted them in little pots in early April and all started sprouting a week later. 

Tomatoes - I repotted them again a month later once they started outgrowing their tiny pots - i made a mistake and planted the whole packet, a pinch of tomato seeds in each which turned into as many as 10 per pot. oops. 

Outgrowing their pots again, some of them had their roots peeking out of the soil - I repotted them, three weeks later in mid June into big pots when they'd started growing flowers and I didn't want to damage them by leaving it too long. They've grown huge, almost 4 foot and have beautiful green tomatoes the size of walnuts. 

Raspberry and redcurrent bushes are stating to grown fruit (after not growing last year) and the strawberries, though happy enough in bags, look beautiful and taste disgusting. 

Courgettes - I planted out 4 courgette seeds straight into the soil - 2 of which have started growing. I also planted 2 inside in pots, one has grown huge in the 2 weeks since planting; it already has tiny courgettes peeking out, about 5mm with tiny little flowers at the end. The other one rotted, I replaced it a week later and slowly but surely it's catching up. 

Sweetcorn - I planted corn the same time as the tomatoes in mid april, transferring the stems into big pots in groups and then finally planted them out in mid june. They're growing really well in the ground - they're all in! All 20 of them! 

I was given a little pot of bell pepper seeds and planted them on monday so hopefully they'll sprout soon. 

I did everything wrong, planting all the seeds (who knew you weren't supposed to) multiple plants to a pot, but they've grown really well. They all love the (gross) greenhouse-like heat of the conservatory and the warm weather this spring has really been a help. I think I ended up with around 50 tomato plants, at least, and we've given away a good amount to friends, neighbours and still there's so many.

Still, I'm not complaining. There's something so satisfying about growing something,  particularly food, from tiny seeds to beautiful summer scented plants. 


Weaving: Updated

I've updated my website with some recent weavings, documenting those I have created from April 2014 to present. 
They can be seen here.

I've been experimenting with textures, pattern and colour to create small scale textiles and am currently working on 
a new one (the two textured samplers I've been making in my class are still unfinished! But they will be added in due time).


Grayson Perry: The rise and fall of Default Man

A beautiful read and so eloquently written, I cannot recommend it enough; I copied and pasted my favourite bits 
and it ended up being almost the whole thing. But these bit in particular are wonderful:

"Lone Default Man will never admit to, or be fully aware of, the tribal advantages of his identity. They are, naturally, full subscribers to that glorious capitalist project, they are individuals

This adherence to being individuals is the nub of the matter. Being “individual” means that if they achieve something good, it is down to their own efforts. They got the job because they are brilliant, not because they are a Default Man, and they are also presumed more competent by other Default Men. If they do something bad it is also down to the individual and not to do with their gender, race or class. If a Default Man commits a crime it is not because fraud or sexual harassment, say, are endemic in his tribe (coughs), it is because he is a wrong ’un. If a Default Man gets emotional it is because he is a “passionate” individual, whereas if he were a woman it would often be blamed on her sex."


"Men, especially Default Men, have put forward their biased, highly emotional views as somehow “rational”, more considered, more “calm down, dear”. Women and “exotic” minorities are framed as “passionate” or “emotional” as if they, the Default Men, had this unique ability to somehow look round the side of that most interior lens, the lens that is always distorted by our feelings. Default Man somehow had a dispassionate, empirical, objective vision of the world as a birthright, and everyone else was at the mercy of turbulent, uncontrolled feelings. That, of course, explained why the “others” often held views that were at such odds with their supposedly cool, analytic vision of the world."

Also, don't read the comments, it'll never surprise me how quickly those in positions of power (the 'Default man') will be to cry out their injustice at - for once- being called out for their position of privilege.


Talking While Female

"I don't think that I should have to change my voice. 
I would like to think that people are capable of listening to the content of what I am saying."


The Evolution of Peggy Olsen

Peggy's my fave. 

Also depressing to see the equal pay act still not being enforced after, oh, 50 odd years. 


I Am Diviiiiine

I. Can't. Wait.



Weaving III

Week 8 - Focusing on eccentric weaving, now knowing I needed to continue all the way along and not tie off, I began to build up a more fluid section in pink. I was going to use orange for hatching into this from the right, but it looked too similar to the pink and I wanted something with more of a contrast so switched to a purple/grey instead.

I kept the orange in though as I like how this sample is a work in progress and I can see my development each week, as well as mistakes and working things out like whether certain colours work well together. It feels more authentic! Rather than me erasing these hiccups, I can see i tried it and it may not have worked so I then tried something else.

I then introduced the orange back in, a nice echo from the segment before which contrasts nicely with the purple-y 
grey and, being the lighter colour, lifts it and stops the top section from looking too dull.

Week 9 - Yesterday I continued up the eccentric weaving, initially building up the orange on the left side to level the section up to a straight line again. It didn't look very fluid and cut off the curved, eccentric lines which i wanted to play around with more so I ended up taking this out and adding pink in a block section to emphasise the curve rather than 
close it up (below is the sample before I removed the orange block).

I then added some more eccentric hatching, a bit more consistently leaking into the turquoise yarn - a freeform version on the green & blue circle I had done in the section below - this time using the same grey I used in the large circle. The contrast with the turquoise makes it look much darker than it does against the lighter pink below which I really like; I had to undo this after I'd done a few passes as I had messed up somewhere and doubled up doing the same direction which meant the warp was showing (I still don't know the technical terms so no doubt this sounds a bit confused! But instead of going front-back-front-back and then the opposite on the row above, I'd done both passes the same so there was a stretch of white warp showing). I'd avoided this throughout and didn't want to end with it looking rushed and badly done, so although it lost me about 40 minutes, it was worth it to achieve a level of consistency that I am happy with.

I then finished off with some straight passes to even it out again towards the end and began tying off the sample with a series of double knots on each warp. Almost finished! Even though I've been doing this for a good few weeks now I still underestimate how long everything will take - the knots so far took a good 15 minutes before the end of the lesson.

I bought some frames and wanted to set these up in the session but of course had no time; I glued and hammered one together earlier and will take this in next week to set up a sampler that I can continue at home. I want to learn how to do some textures, and since this is a much smaller frame - 35cmx35cm - I can generate some samples a bit quicker. 


Signpainting Workshop with Mike Meyer - June 2014

Last week, I took part in a signpainting workshop with the amazing Mike Meyer. A complete learning experience for me, considering I'd never so much as used a quill and before but I'm glad I did it this way, learning it the *proper* way rather than on my own. I've wanted to do a self initiated signpainting project for the past couple of years but a general inexperience and having no idea where to begin has always stopped me.

These pictures are from the second day of the workshop, which ran for two days on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th, and where I began from scratch after a bit of a shit show the day before. I spent a good few hours doing basic exercises; straight lines, horizontal lines, practicing straight finishes and flicked finishes (it was only last week and now I can't even remember the proper terminology...)  I then began using some of the reference materials to just start painting words and get more comfortable using the brush to write letters. I discovered that find it much easier to do script or freehand rather than geometric/bold typefaces, using a rough pencil sketch as a guideline (as i did for 'Hubbs' below) or just beginning to paint straight (as i did on 'Luckies pay higher prices' and 'french'). I was really happy with a 'young' i did in grey at the end of the session on Thursday, but it dried stuck to a sheet of newsprint so it's more of a ghost! 

It was a real joy to get more *hands on* with typography, like I found with letterpress. It really gives you an understanding of the letterforms and how treatment (how you position and angle the brush, know when to push down and lift off) can make such a difference. It also taught me that, while it's necessary pay close attention to detail and focus, it's really important to be relaxed and to trust your instincts (also, to try to get a good line with one stroke - a shaking hand and increasingly thickening paint the first day working on bold letterforms meant that really didn't work the first day.) 

Now to get some paint and quills and start practicing again! 

Weaving II

Week 5 - a bit of a frustrating session; the grey circle from last week was uneven on one side - it needed a mix of counting passes and getting the shape right by eye whereas I was just doing it by eye and trying to hit the marks on the warp. This week I was supposed to start hatching, but instead I spent the time filling the top half of the circle with a bright orange, switching midway in a pass from one strand to a double strand to thicken it up and make it a bit quicker which made it go wonky, and then trying to straighten it all up. Got there in the end! But I felt like I was just filling in rather than learning anything new...

Week 6 - a fresh start after half term! Finally started hatching, which is using two different coloured yarns to make a shape. I wasn't very happy with the circle I did previously so I wanted to do a circle again and make it better! A much smaller one this time, but I'm really pleased with how it came out - using double strands of both the blue and the turquoise to get an even finish. Again it's not completely round, but I thought it was a good start; learning lessons from last time and remembered to count as well as using the guides I drew on the warp. I weaved the green from the left and stopped at the mark, the began a pass in the blue from the right to "hit the green on the nose". 

I then started on spotting, again in two contrasting colours, doing a full pass in the background colour and half a pass in the foreground, spot colour. I used a light yellow as the background and a purple-y grey (similar to the big circle) for the spots. I took the image above at the end of the lesson; the hatching is on the right and the spotting is on the left. 

Week 7 - I continued with spotting to bring it up to level with the hatching, before starting on eccentric weaving. It's hard to break out from the geometric way of working that I've learnt for the past 6 weeks so my attempts at curved *eccentric* weaving didn't really work very well! 

I later found out that was mainly because I kept tying off the thread rather than continuing along; so for the pink I started on at the end of the lesson, I was tying it off when it came to the edge (so would have tied it off where I'd stopped) rather than continuing down all the way to the right. Will try again next week and make it go all swerved and curvy. Only 3 weeks left! Time for me to get my own frame and weaving materials now I think. Close up of the last two weeks work below; spotting, hatching and (not very) eccentric weaving. 

Next Best Thing at the Brighton Fringe Festival 2014

Here's a picture of my friend Jethro with one of the A3 posters at the Brighton Fringe last month!


Next Best Thing Visual Material

The idea of an inferior alternative and being second best also lent itself well to the visual material that is to be distributed at both festivals. These are the A6 double sided flyers for Brighton and the A3 posters that will be advertising the shows. 
The imagery of a 2nd place rosette is used to reflect the almost but not quite good enough quality of the duo's show.

They are currently being risograph printed by Hato Press. 
Pictures of them will go up as soon as I can get my hands on some of them!


Next Best Thing Logo

I recently designed a logo for comedy duo, Next Best Thing.

With upcoming shows this year at both the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, they asked me to design a simple, bold, text based logo that also referenced their offkilter and often absurdist act. This would be used across their social media and on promotional material and branding. 

The idea of an inferior alternative and of being almost good enough developed into the logo below; the unbalanced nature of the NEXT edging into the BEST THING gives a clear indication of this idea of being almost there, but not quite.


Small: Thoughts and Projects

I'm going gif mad, but here's a flick through some spreads from Small: Thoughts and Projects 
by Carl Turner Architects, published by Artifice Books (available to buy here)

I interned as a graphic designer for the studio last summer, and one of my jobs was to aid in the design of a practice monograph that would later develop into the final book; organising images, photographs and text, designing initial spreads and ordering the projects so the designers at Artifice could get an idea of what Carl had envisioned for the book. 

A wonderful experience, and a lovely book!


Stephen Willats: Concerning Our Present Way of Living Publication

Here's a gif of some select spreads from the booklet I designed a few months ago for the Stephen Willats exhibition 
at the Whitechapel Gallery, Stephen Willats: Concerning Our Present Way of Living (for more information, click here)


I started a hand weaving course last month and after years, finally figured out how to get photos out of my ancient phone! 

Week 1 focused on the basic techniques, how to set up a hand loom (with clips and clamps) and getting to grips with the warp and weft - I think I only got about 4 tiny rows of weft done (in green at the bottom). Week 2 was continuing with building up the weft and learning how to tie off  once the yarn has come to the end or if you wanted to add a new colour  - 
I continued with the green and then switched to the pink. We then learned how to do triangles!

Here's a photo I took last week of my weaving sample, at the end of the session on Week 3. Learning how to do circles this time! I focused mainly on filling up the pink background and started to build around the base of the circle, so everything from the around the base of the triangle and up was done then. 

(this one's from my phone so it's a bit grainy)

And these ones are better quality that I took yesterday, after my class on Week 4; Filling in the circle and the adding the shaping around it. I stopped with the pink half way up and am thinking of starting with a bright orange to continue up. Circles are HARD, but this could mainly be because I wasn't paying attention to the number of passes I was doing as I was so content with the process and the technique and having such a nice time that I was just filling up the outline. I also think I started pulling too tightly as the width is starting to narrow and there's gaps around the circle edge - probably a mix of pulling the yarn too tightly and from the uneven number of passes. The pink on the right hand side also started sloping upwards. Weird. I think I just need to focus on technique more and take my time to do it properly than trying too hard 
to fill up a certain amount. It's so so nice to do!