Private Art exhibition review

Society in the mirror (with a lens)

You know, this is going to sound pretty hilarious, but did you realize that photography is ancient? In the literary sense of the word. Primitive cameras (camera obscura) have been around since V century BC, components of traditional printing (silver chloride and silver nitrate) were discovered in the middle ages (XII-XIV century), and the term photography was coined in 1834 by Hercules Florence. Since Victorian times, whole generations were raised carrying smaller or larger gears, and scarring passers – by in the streets.

One of the vintage prints from National Archives.

One of the vintage prints from National Archives.

Opening shot

Opening shot

Yes, you are reading it right. Going places with a camera and getting shots of strangers has a long and established history. It is actually having its own art form within the photographic universe: street photography.

Street photography is closely related to her two younger sisters: documentary photography and photojournalism. But since documentary is dead serious and hysterical at times and photojournalism is wild and follows news exclusively, street photography had to find middle ground. She carved herself a niche by being observant, candid and true to historical aspect, but also by being ironic and focusing on less important issues of our daily lives.

The credits

The credits

Street photography is extremely user friendly and gets along with both professionals and amateurs. She doesn’t really care if you use a high tech mobile, digital SLR, an outdated Leica or a Holga that has holes in its body to make a picture. If you want to get outdoors and immerse yourself in the fabric of life, she will take you on a journey, even if you walk around the block. All she requires is an open mind and a patient eye.

If street photography was a real person and she would enter St James Cavalier Center for Creativity in Valletta last weekend (26 – 27 January 2013), she would have been proud. And flattered. Because, for the first time (in a really long while), we had a proper event dedicated to this form of photographic art. There was two – day  `live in` exercise that included a photographic walk (Saturday morning) and printing session (Sunday morning), a discussion (Saturday evening) and a month long display of images, both vintage and modern (running until February 25, 2013). Something for everyone.

This print is originally in colour. By Armand Sciberras

This print is originally in colour. By Armand Sciberras

Kevin Casha channeling the spirit of Steve McCurry

Kevin Casha channeling the spirit of Steve McCurry

Despite stormy weather, morning activities gathered a group of fifteen enthusiasts who delivered a powerful panel of works from the day. Images from the walk were incorporated into the exhibition and adorn one of the walls at Lower Galleries of St James. If you had missed the exercise itself (like me), you can still see the outcome of it.

Photos taken during `live in` exercice

Photos taken during `live in` exercice

The print of Sergio Muscat - my favourite

The print of Sergio Muscat – my favourite

Evening discussion (dubbed “The Round Table”) gathered photographers, lawyers, journalists and government officials to debate privacy concerns, the rights of the photographers and pros and cons of digital era where everybody is snapping away like there is no tomorrow. Below, you can find a small clip of the talk posted on YouTube (the video was taken by Alan Falzon). Again, the weather scared away many people but still, discussion was heated. I mean it’s really hard to find a common ground between the right to privacy of people in the open space and the right of photographers to practice their hobby. Photographers were standing by their “shoot first, deal with the rest later” rule while lawyers and government officers were doing their best to counter – attack with paragraphs and clauses. At some point the discussion got a bit on the negative side when one person from the audience stated that in the digital era everybody was under surveillance.  I argued back that heavy use of social media and phones doesn’t mean impending doom – rather it offers a chance to build a collective conscience and a common understanding. I must have channeled James Nachtwey in that moment, but really, I can’t stomach conspiracy theories.

On Sunday evening, the official opening of the exhibition took place. Entitled “Private Art – Exploring the relationship between art and privacy”, it features ten photographers. Each of them takes on a separate topic with a series of 5 prints. There is also a small section of eight vintage prints from National Archives – showing Malta from the turn of the XX century to the wild 60s. The exposition is curated by Vince Briffa, Joe Zammit Lucia, Sergio Muscat and Kevin Casha. All except for Vince have also contributed to the exhibit.

Therese Debono and her friends posing at the opening of the exhibition

Therese Debono and her friends posing at the opening of the exhibition

The Green window - a project executed by Alan Falzon

The Green Window – a project executed by Alan Falzon

Kevin Casha concentrated on the outskirts of the society and people who have been outside of the mainstream of life (“The Emarginated”), Joe Zammit – Lucia embarked on a search for the identity of the inhabitants of the EU (“The Europeans”) while Sergio Muscat took a rather personal approach to the theme of loneliness in “7 000 000 000 : 1”. Other participants include: David “dp” Attard (with his take on “Clash of Civilisation” by Samuel P Huntington), Martin Agius (“Religious Processions” – quite a photojournalistic record), Alan Falzon (documenting life in one spot in his series “The Green Window”) and Armand Sciberras (dynamic study of living fast in “Rush 24”).

The Clash of Civilisation according to David `dp` Attard

The Clash of Civilisation according to David `dp` Attard

European indentity by Joe Zammit Lucia

European identity by Joe Zammit Lucia

Ladies make a strong presence to the exhibition with Therese Debono exploring her “City Life” after a trip to New York, Kerstin Arnemann portraying “Street performers” busking around and Tomoko Goto documenting “Café Servers in Valletta”.

All together, the exhibition, often toned down to monochrome, is a wonderful collection of human emotions, short –lived moments frozen on print and a general soul searching for what really means to be a human being in today’s society.

Street performer by Kerstin Arnemann

Street performer by Kerstin Arnemann

Religious procession by Martin Agius

Religious procession by Martin Agius

I have forgotten who said that camera was nothing more than a mirror with a lens in which human beings could see their true faces. It may seem like a tool designed to steal people’s privacy but for those who look at the world through a viewfinder it is much more than that. Camera gives a photographer a rare chance to enter people’s lives; it offers a chance to see them at their weakest, most intimate, sometimes in their darkest hour. It puts a duty on a photographer to be at the service of the people, to portray them with dignity and compassion. You record and bear witness, observe and save moments from being lost. It may be just a small thing, a gesture, an occurrence that lasts for a second only. But once captured, it becomes a part of our collective consciousness, of what we are.

City Walk with Therese Debono

City Walk with Therese Debono

Newcomer Tomoko Goto brave take on a topic that has been photographed so many times.

Newcomer Tomoko Goto brave take on a topic that has been photographed so many times.

If you are curious how society is seen by a group of talented local photographers some of whom are my colleagues and friends, you will be most welcomed to visit St James Cavalier in Valletta.

I can vouch you wont be disappointed.

More information at:

http://www.mipp-malta.com/
http://www.kevincasha.com

xxx

Malicia

Ps. However, you may be disappointed to hear that the food at the opening was delicious, so if you don’t want to miss out next time around at least in this department, keep future MIPP events in your diary 😉

[Edit 04/02/3013]

Our review has been published in the MIPP (Malta Institute of Professional Photography) Newsletter for February 2013! Malicia is a junior MIPP member and she is very proud!

Article published in MIPP newsletter for February 2013

Article published in MIPP newsletter for February 2013

You may also see it online here:
http://mipp-malta.com/images/stories/PDFs/2013_02_February.pdf

Its a second time my review is published in the MIPP newsletter. Good day!

mal x

Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival Part 2 – Cathedral Close Food Pavillions

Welcome back everybody!

We can honestly say, it’s good to be home! After a tiring week in Poland and a very bumpy flight back to Birmingham, Rita is safe and sound and happy to be back on the ground. Flying is for droids, as Obi-Wan Kenobi used to say, and we prefer to write our blog than to travel in a big tin can!

As promised, we continue with our review of the All Pay Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival 2012. Previous entry was dedicated to the Farmers Market organized in High Town. If you’d like to read it, please click on the link below:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/flavours-of-herefordshire-food-festival-part-1-farmers-market-in-high-town/

Eat, drink and be merry - a motto of the food Festival

Eat, drink and be merry – a motto of the food Festival

We are really excited to present you with the second part of the review. Farmer’s Market was a great place to start our culinary journey, but Cathedral Close was the main stage of the festival. Organizers erected 4 huge white pavilions that housed nearly 60 exhibitors, hostesses’ stands, information booths and presentation halls. With literally thousands of people going in and out, Cathedral yard has been turned into a truly magical place. It is important to mention that we were lucky to meet one of the special guests of the festival, famous cook and BBC’s “Steady, ready, cook” presenter, Tony Tobin. Mr Tobin was very impressed with the festival and vowed to return next year if invited again. Other guests included the cookbooks queen – Mary Berry (CBE), popular TV presenter Katy Ashworth and culinary writer Xanthe Clay.

A beautifully designed  festival brochure

A beautifully designed festival brochure

Now, time for a bit of complaining. There was only one thing we didn’t like at the festival and we had to admit, it made our visit a little tiresome. We had nowhere to sit! Imagine yourself with a big tasty vegetarian burger, a bottle of mango juice and a bag full of sweets and handmade fudge. You’d need a table to put the food on and a chair to rest with a minimum of comfort. Sadly, the organizers forgot about a place where tired visitors could sit down. Cathedral Close has only 6 benches and all of them were occupied. One of the smaller tents was indeed turned into some kind of “cafeteria” but sadly the visitors with food were not allowed to sit there. We have been asked by the security guard to leave as we could not bring any food in. We have spoken to several other customers that were surprised and quite bitter about such rules, especially since it was a food festival and everybody were eating/trying out samples or carrying food with them. In 2011, a whole tent has been prepared for patrons. We understand about limited space – but let’s hope, next time the organizers will offer visitors a place to rest and enjoy their meal!

Food pavilions in Cathedral Close - picture taken by Rita Dabrowicz

Food pavilions in Cathedral Close – picture taken by Rita Dabrowicz

The Cathedral Close was divided into two small sections: main exhibition tents were located in the front of the cathedral and on the lawn around the entrance. Second stage was placed  in the back of the building, near the Cloisters and Bishop’s Gardens and around Cathedral School buildings leading into the Castle Green.

Closer look at the main  food pavilions

Closer look at the main food pavilions

Inside the exhibition tent

Inside the exhibition tent

We have spent most of our time in the main exhibition tent as the majority of companies had their stalls there, but we also met some very interesting people in the back yard of the Cathedral. Please, let us introduce you to our favourite food producers!

Denise Phillips Limited – fudge making genius
Address:
12 St Michael Close, Penkridge, Stafford ST19 5AD
Website
: sadly none but you can contact her at 01785716390 or by fax 01785714636

It is hard to believe that you cannot find much information about Denise Phillips Limited on the internet! Denise Ann Phillips, the owner of company that bears her name, is an old fashioned businesswoman. She might not have a website and email, but local people quickly recognize her name. It’s nothing surprising, as she is a true legend among fudge lovers. You can meet Denise at almost every food festival in West Midlands and this is where she acquires her die-hard customers. We had to queue for 45 minutes to be able to buy something from her. No other exhibitor at the food market had such crowd surrounding their stall. Was it worth the wait? Of course! We have bought a whole bag of handmade fudge, toffee and chocolate truffles and they were the best we have ever eaten. Denise is a genius and you haven’t truly lived if you haven’t tasted her award winning sweets.

Denise Phillips at her stand presenting toffee, fudge and truffles to the customers

Denise Phillips at her stand presenting toffee, fudge and truffles to the customers

Closer look at the sweets that won our hearts.

Closer look at the sweets that won our hearts

This is an unigue picture. Denise was very kind and invited us behind her stall. You can see the exhibition stand from the seller's perspective!

This is an unique picture. Denise was very kind and invited us behind her stall. You can see the exhibition stand from the seller’s perspective!

The Pudding Shop – traditional desserts for tea time
Address:
Upton upon Severn, Worcester
Website
: http://www.thepuddingshop.co.uk/shop/
More information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Pudding-Shop/192484010785329

The Pudding Shop was established in Worcester in 2005 as a small family business offering traditional English desserts and puddings. In just 8 years, they became a thriving enterprise and a respected brand. Their steamed Christmas pudding received several awards all over the UK and in a consumer blind-taste test, it out-performed some of the British’ leading supermarket brands. The Bridges family still works in the heart of West Midlands and visits local food festivals or town markets. Rita bought a small Christmas pudding from them and it was literally devoured during the holidays 😀

The Pudding Shop stall in the exhibition tent

The Pudding Shop stall in the exhibition tent

Licky Lips Bakery – the land of wonder
Address:
Hereford, contact number: 07802 523664
Website
: http://www.indesignonline.co.uk/licky-lips/
More information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Licky-Lips-Bakery/161011130709209

We are inclined to believe that the idea for wizarding shops and vendors located along the Diagon Alley in Harry Potter series, popped into JK Rowling’s head while she was visiting one of the local food markets. Licky Lips Bakery stall at the festival could belong to the family of pure blood wizards and witches. Colourful cakes and endless rows of delightfully decorated cupcakes drew the attention of everybody who passed them by. The company is owned by two ladies, Sally and Kate, best friends who wanted to start doing business together. They both cook and bake and let us tell you, they know how to do it! We have met Sally at the stand and she had her hands full selling Hello Kitty lollipops, Christmas cookies and cupcakes. We are truly saddened that we cannot present you with any pictures of the lovely ladies but they turned out too blurry to use. The Bakery’s motto is “baking your dreams come true”. If you’d like a little magic in your life, contact Sally or Kate and they will gladly help you out! Rita and Mal would also thank Jess, Kate’s daughter for her assistance with this article. Jess is running the company’s official Facebook page so go and say hello 🙂

Licky Lips Bakery cupcakes were a real hit among kids (and adults too)

Licky Lips Bakery cupcakes were a real hit among kids (and adults too)

Horse shaped cake  fresh from the oven  from Licky Lips Bakery

Horse shaped cake fresh from the oven from Licky Lips Bakery

Jack Straws Countrystore – maker and supplier of wicker goods
Address: 6 Santa Maria Way, Stourport on Seven, Worcestershire
Website
https://www.jackstrawscountrystore.co.uk/

Founded in 1976, Jack Straws Countrystore continues the ancient tradition of basketry and wickerwork practiced in Coldswold/ Vale of Evesham for centuries. Sadly, they are the only one remaining supplier of traditional wicker, willow baskets, basketware and hampers left in the area. Rita fell in love with their hand made willow shopping bags (great alternative to plastic bags and very fashionable now) and their very original hanging piggy garden buckets. Jack Straws Countrystore’s workers not only attend local craft/food markets but also offer online shopping. Lovers of vintage or Scandinavian home designs will be delighted looking at their catalogue.

Jack Straws Countrystore offering hand made wicker bascets and more

Jack Straws Countrystore offering hand made wicker bascets and more

Double trouble - hanging piggies garden baskets

Double trouble – hanging piggies garden baskets

Closer looks at the willow and wicker crafts

Closer looks at the willow and wicker crafts

The Victorian Farm Food Co  – Victorian food in XXI century
Address: The Rowe Farm, Condover, Shrewsbury, Shropshire,
Website
: none
More information: http://www.localtoludlow.org.uk/detail.cfm?companyid=361&typegroupid=3&page=Markets

In the last year and a half, we have been to many events and festivals organized in Hereford and in the neighbouring towns. When you think you have seen it all, The Victorian Farm Food Co proved us wrong. First thing we noticed after entering the back yard of the cathedral was a big wooden advertising board saying “Victorian Farm Butter”. A group of people surrounded a small scene with strange, barrel-like equipment on it. When we made our way through the crowd to the front, we saw a lady dressed in Victorian maid uniform showing the public a proper way of making butter. The lady’s name was Mary and she was co-owner of the company and a real star. She has spent her entire life on a farm producing food using only traditional methods. Her hands were moving so fast that we barely noticed when she made the butter, measured it with a special wooden pallet and packed it in company’s paper. She also entertained her customers with funny stories from the farm daily life. A teenage boy (probably her grandson) assisted her. In short – it was the best performance we have seen on the festival.

Victorian Farm wooden advertising board inviting guests for the show

Victorian Farm wooden advertising board inviting guests for the show

Mary demonstrates her skills in traditional butter making

Mary demonstrates her skills in traditional butter making

Victorian equipment used at the farm

Victorian equipment used at the farm

All right kids, we are nearly done. Before we announce that the end of our review has been reached, Mal and Rita would like to thank several people.  The biggest thanks goes out to the organizers who did a splendid job and showed the world that Hereford is able to hold a food festival in the heart of the town and the city life will not be disrupted. We cannot wait to see another edition in 2013. Also, a big thank you goes to the wandering actors and entertainers who dedicated a lot of their time and strength to bring joy to those, who could not visit all sites of the festival. We would like to distinguish the Orchestra man and The Lady Cook (we wish, we knew your real names!) for their work with kids and disabled members of the public. You are simply awesome!

A gentleman nicknamed "The Orchestra man" plays during a street performance for kids

A gentleman nicknamed “The Orchestra man” plays during a street performance for kids

A lady dressed in cook uniform has been named "The Lady cook" by kids

A lady dressed in cook uniform has been named “The Lady cook” by kids

Lastly, we would like to thank The Country Flavours team for their kindness and superb customer service.  They would not turn a late customer and even postponed their packing to help us find what we needed. You can see the owner with her daughter Grace posing for a farewell picture. Grace is probably the only girl in the United Kingdom who has velvet eyes. Yes, the same colour that made Elizabeth Taylor a star. We are sure, Grace has a great future in front of her 🙂

The owner of The Country Flavours with her daughter Grace.

The owner of The Country Flavours with her daughter Grace.

Oh by the way, the date for the Flavours of Herefordshire 2013 has already been announced. It will take place on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd November for the second year in Hereford city. If you’d like to participate, please fill out the interest form available here:
http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/2013-form/

See ya soon,

XOXO
Rita and Mal

Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival Part 1 – Farmers Market in High Town

Hola amigos!

As it happens each year, Christmas comes and goes away quite quickly, leaving us with lots of food in our fridges, chocolates stuffed in every cupboard and with few kilograms more. After several days of being lazy, Mal and Rita are back, working hard, so you can expect several new posts before the first month of 2013 is over. The beginning of January is a great time for summing up the previous year and tying up any loose ends. And since we are talking about food, The Hereford Food Festival is definitely one of the loose ends that need to be tied in an elegant bow :). Rita visited the festival at the end of October but didn’t have the time to finish the review until now. Sponsored by local business, the Allpay Flavours of Hereford Festival took place on the weekend of 27th and 28th of October. The previous edition of the Festival (The flavours of 2011) has been organized at the Racecourse, outside the city centre.  Despite the lovely weather and culinary star-loaded cast, it sadly managed to attract only 6 000 visitors. Moving the event to the city proved to be an excellent decision. In 2012, Flavours of Hereford have been visited by 32.000 people – nearly a half of Hereford’s population. Calling it a huge success could not be enough – the food festival has been mentioned by national media like BBC and Radio 1, while most food-related websites and magazines gave it outstanding reviews. We’d personally prefer to call it the “triumph of the local cuisine”.

Black and white logo of the Hereford Food Festival with the name of the sponsor - The ALL Pay Limited

Black and white logo of the Hereford Food Festival with the name of the sponsor – The ALL Pay Limited

Organizing a big event in the middle of the town is always a challenge. The key to victory is usually the logistics. Luckily, Hereford has several perfect spots wide enough to accommodate exhibition tents and large number of guests. The festival was divided into three main stages: The Farmers Market in the High Town, Foodie Section in Cathedral Close and the Party Grounds at the Castle Green. The Party Grounds were created especially to entertain the kids and teenagers with live music, exercises and outdoors baking. Being a grown-up (and a huge fan of baking), Rita decided to skip the carousels and pony riding and concentrated on speaking to the local companies and pigging out on free samples : D

Festival’s official page can be seen here: http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/
Detailed report and numbers: http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Evaluation-of-The-allpay-Flavours-of-Herefordshire-Festival-211112.pdf
The offcial Facebook profile for the festival: http://www.facebook.com/FlavoursOfHerefordshireFestival2012

Official leaflet  advertising the event

Official leaflet advertising the event

This entry will be dedicated to the Farmers Market section of the festival. Please take a look at all the interesting people/companies we have met that day!

KK Ventures – Indian Heaven in the UK
Address:
The Old Pound, Whitchurch, Ross-On-Wye,
Website:
in preparation
More information: http://www.wales-tourist-information.co.uk/shops/item/3852/KK_Ventures.html

KK Ventures are home based enterprise founded by Tiffy and Salim Kabir. This wonderfully talented duo brings the best  Indian dishes, sweets and snacks to the United Kingdom. Their stand during the the Flavours of Hereford offered samosas, bhajis, kebabs, Indian sweets, fruit juices, lassis, pakoras, and several different kinds of chutneys, pickles, preserves, marmalades and jams. Rita wanted to take a picture of Tiffy (she was dressed in a very elegant uniform) but both owners were frantically trying to serve a true mob of customers (at least 50 of them!) and poor photographer could get no clear shot. Some customers travelled to Hereford from Bristol and Birmingham just to buy several jars of their mango chutney!

Tiffy and Salim Indian goodies

Tiffy and Salim Indian goodies

A bigger look at the Mango Chutney and marmolade section on KK Ventures stand

A bigger look at the Mango Chutney and marmolade section on KK Ventures stand

Country Flavours – food from the land
Address: Lower Bellamore Farm, Preston on Wye,
Website: 
http://www.country-flavours.co.uk/

Country Flavours may be a small, family run business, but they are multi award winning enterprise with fantastic history and reputation to match. The company is run by David and Alice Hancorn, owners of the Lower Bellamore Farm. The Hancorn family has been in the business for more than 100 years and four generations have been raised on the farm. Country Flavours produces free range eggs and organic food: juices, cakes and preserves made from fruits gathered in Herefordshire. For their eggs, they have been given Freedom food award (the farm is a RSPCA Freedom Food registered egg packing station) and British Lion Quality Code of Practice accreditations. Their preserves won Flavours of Hereford main award for the best local product in 2011.

You can learn more about the Lion Code here: http://www.lioneggfarms.co.uk/information/british-lion-quality-code-of-practice/

Country Flavours - award winning family run business

Country Flavours – award winning family run business

VQ Country Wines – drinks of the gods 
Address: Hill View Farm, Nupend Lane, Longhope Gloucestershire
Website: http://www.vqcountrywines.co.uk/

Small batch, splendid quality – this is the motto of Debbie Attrill, the owner of VQ Country Wines and a true wine magician. If you haven’t met a wine magician yet, you need to meet Debbie in person, or even better, try one of her wines. We are absolutely convinced that if The Olympian Gods existed today, they would order a few hundred bottles of her wines for their famous feasts. Debbie started her career over 25 years ago, when her uncle gave her fermentation bin and an old guide for wine makers. Today, she produces over 20 different kinds of wine for every occasion. We tried her parsnip wine and it was delicious! Debbie is also a great hostess – as you can see on the attached picture, she had a great time posing for us.

Debbie Attrill among her excellent wines

Debbie Attrill among her excellent wines

May Hill Brewery – traditional ales for a modern customers
Address: Holly Bush Farm, Ross Road (A40),  Longhope Gloucestershire
Website: http://www.mayhillbrewery.com/

Longhope in Gloucestershire is literally, a land flowing with ales and wine. May Hill Brewery are close neighbours of VQ Country Wines and even had their stall very close to Debbie’s. The Brewery belongs to Tony and Liz Davies and specializes in making traditional dark ales using the newest techniques and equipment. The business started only two years ago, but the makers are already respected and very well known throughout Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Forest of Dean. The local favourite seems to be the “Legless Cow” – amber ale with distinctive fruit finish brewed using Maris Otter and Crystal malt with Fuggles and Challenger hops. Tony and Liz use only their own mineral rich spring well water that comes from 200 feet below the farm. Rita bought a bottle of the Legless Cow with intention of giving it as a present for our dad, but she ended up drinking it herself!

May Hill Brewery owners, Tony and Liz pouring  ales for the thirsty travellers

May Hill Brewery owners, Tony and Liz pouring ales for the thirsty travellers

May Hill Brewery is open to the public and offers guided tours for individual customers or organized groups.  The tour lasts an hour and a half and each participant receives a bottle of ale and an engraved glass as a souvenir. You can also go for a full day tour with hands-on experience of brewing ales. The owners promise the guests will be hard at work mashing, boiling and pitching their beer before being rewarded with a delicious tasting session. Sounds like a lot of fun!

One Jolly Girl – Girlpower!
Address: Hereford and Leominster
Website: http://www.onejollygirl.com

One Jolly Girl is not just a fancy name for a business. The girl really exists and her name is Sarah Taylor. She is the owner, designer, master cook and a great talent behind the OJG brand. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Sarah personally, but we had a great time talking to Angus, Sarah’s friend and a seller at One Jolly Girl’s stand in the High Town. It was very easy to find Sarah’s store at the market. All you had to do, was to follow the delicious smell. When we arrived, Angus was working like a devil, trying to serve all customers gathered around the stand. However, not everyone in the crowd was impressed with the beautifully decorated cakes and pies. One elderly gentleman was sceptical if the delicate flowers and elaborate designs were truly hand made. To learn more, we had done a bit of research online. Despite her young age, Sarah has been baking and designing cakes for many years and previously ran a successful baking business in Manchester. She also has a degree in graphic design and studied cake decoration at Trafford College. We understand that before she enters the kitchen, Sarah designs the cakes in a traditional way – on a piece of paper, where each decorative element  is drawn by hand. The moral of this is simple – never doubt the skills of the maker. You might not be able to do it, but for others, it is just a piece of  – you know- cake!

You can follow One Jolly Girl on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/onejollygirl
Or you can contact them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/OneJollyGirl

Angus at the One Jolly Girl stand in the High Town

Angus at the One Jolly Girl stand in the High Town

One Jolly Girl's cakes and other sweets on display

One Jolly Girl’s cakes and other sweets on display

Alumhurst’s Pork & Two Veg – ecological meat and vegetables
Address:  Alumhurst, New Road, Woolhope, Herefordshire
Website: http://porkandtwoveg.co.uk/vegshed.htm

Alumhurst’s Pork & Two Veg Company has been created in 2010 when Joe Brandt realized that the commercial meat available in supermarkets is not of the best quality and the animals raised for it, are treated unfairly and sometimes plainly cruel. He wanted to create  a farm where animals would be fed healthy diet, live in groups in a free range environment, matured longer and the meat would be produced in accordance with the highest European standards and with respect to the animals. Joe and his family breed Berkshire pigs and the excellent quality of pork they produce, proves that the mass meat production is not the way to go.  Our vegetarian friends might be surprised that we decided to write about company that produces meat, but we think Joe’s farm should be advertised. Humans will always eat meat, and Joe’s attitude and business should be given as an example.  The farm offers not only the meat but also free range hen and duck eggs and fresh seasonal vegetables. Veggies are raised in clay and loamy soil at Woolhope in Herefordshire, without any use of chemical fertilizers or pesticide sprays.

Joe Brandt's at the Alumhurst's Pork & Two Veg stall

Joe Brandt’s at the Alumhurst’s Pork & Two Veg stall

Closer look at the ecological veggies

Closer look at the ecological veggies

Orchard Grove Preserves – Preserves you deserve!
Address: Orchard House, The Grove Farm, Yarkhill, Ledbury,
Website:  http://orchardgrovepreserves.weebly.com/contact-us.html

Yarkhill based family company called Orchard Grove Preserves is run by Vivien Brandt and her relatives. Vivian is very well known to the citizens of Hereford as she is a permanent member of the Farmers Market that takes place on the first Saturday each month. For us, however, it was a first meeting and we have to say, we are truly impressed by the quality of Vivien’s preserves.  They are not only delicious, but also brilliantly packed and can be given as a luxurious gift. Vivien uses only the fruits she collects herself and what’s growing in her own garden. She said she carefully picks the fruits before she uses them – the clients can be sure of the highest quality of her products. It takes several hours and many kilograms of fresh fruits for Vivian to make a single jar, so enjoy each bite!  The selection of products is hanging with each season, so you will always find something new in her offer. We highly recommend hot tea, Blackberry and Apple jam and heated scones – it is what we call a Heaven on Earth!

Vivien Brandt proudly displaying her products to the customers

Vivien Brandt proudly displaying her products to the customers

Orchard grove stand from a closer perspective.

Orchard grove stand from a closer perspective.

We would love to write about each stall that we have seen, but it is simply impossible. Once again, we are forced to limit this review to our favourite producers, but believe us, it is only the tip of the iceberg. The Farmer market was huge – you could barely make your way through the High Town as it was absolutely packed with people!

We will take a week off from writing the blog (flying t0 Poland on Saturday), but please return as soon as you can. We still have lots of pictures from the Cathedral Close and some funny stories to tell. Have you ever seen a hanging pig? Do you know how to make a Victorian butter? Are girls with violet eyes real? Come back to find out!

See you next week!
Mal and Rita

**************************************************************

EDIT – 2013.01.11

Wow! Thank you so much! We don’t really know what to say. Since the first part of our review was posted online, our blog has been visited by so many people; we could hardly believe the numbers. Please take a look at our monthly stats and then at the last two days. The difference is huge! This proves that people like to read about what’s happening in Herefordshire. We will try to attend many events this year and write detailed reports for your entertainment.

Vanadian Avenue stats for January 2013. Take a look at the last 3 days!

Vanadian Avenue stats for January 2013. Take a look at the last 3 days!

We  would like to especially thanks the organizers of the festival for their support and compliments. Our review has been posted on their official Facebook page and on their official blog.

You can see it yourself here: http://www.facebook.com/FlavoursOfHerefordshireFestival2012

Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival mentioned us on their official Facebook page

Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival mentioned us on their official Facebook page

The official blog can be accessed here: http://flavoursofherefordshire.co.uk/blog/

We are also featured on the official blog

We are also featured on the official blog

Mal has also noticed something cool on Twitter – her messages are being shared among other fans. If you’d like to re-tweet our messages, please feel free to do so. The more, the merrier as they say. Great work Clare, much appreciated!

How cool is that! We got re-twitted!

How cool is that! We got re-twitted!

Have a great weekend folks,
xxxxx
R+M

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 9

Hello cats lovers!

The New Year is definitely the year of the cat! Second post in January and another update to the ever-growing Olympia’s project known as the Kat-a-log. This issue is strictly dedicated to felines that were given to our mom as a present: one was re-homed, second arrived from London and the two last ones joined the big cat family thanks to the English custom known as the Secret Santa. Please remember that giving a real kitten as a present is a bad idea, but a cat figurine can be a perfect gift!

If you have missed any of the previous issues, you can access them easily by just clicking on the links below:

Kat-a-log Part 1:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1
Kat-a-log Part 2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/
Kat-a-log Part 7:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-7/
Kat-a-log Part 8:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-8/

The new additions this time are as follows:

Kat-a-log Feline no. 31
Three sides of a cat: Dreaming of  Spring, Looking back at the world, Playground pretty
Country of origin: Thailand, received as gift in December 2012

This is the most mysterious cat in Olympia’s collection. We know it was hand made in Thailand (the figurine still has the original label at the bottom) but anything else is just a guess. The porcelain cat decorated with Siamese fighting fish pattern (Betta splendens) was purchased as a present for the mother of Rita’s work colleague and spent 30 years on her mantel piece in Surrey. Gill doesn’t know who bought it or when. Advanced age and illness made the lady unable to take care of her collection of porcelain and china, and majority of them were sold or given away. Gill decided to give the cat to Olympia, in hopes of securing a loving home to the vintage feline. It is an elegant addition to Kat-a-log.

Dreaming of Spring

Dreaming of Spring

Looking back at the world

Looking back at the world

Playground pretty

Playground pretty

Kat-a-log Feline no. 32 and 32′ (prime)
Three sides of a cat: Purr, purr…bad kitty,  Kitchen sprite and Caution! Hot cat!
Three sides of the prime: Flowers all around me, Entagled and Like a boss

Country of origin:  Manufactured in Switzerland, ordered from London and brought to Hereford, October 2012

We first saw this mechanical Black cat kitchen timer in Cookmate Kitchen shop in Hereford. Rita paid a short visit to her friend who works there and noticed that she was leafing through a thick book writing strange numbers on a piece of paper. Curious, Rita asked what her friend was doing. The book turned out to be a commercial offer for kitchen stores and the girl was tasked with choosing new items for the store. Seeing our enthusiastic reaction to the mechanical cat times, Rita’s friend decided to add the cat to the order. What can we say? It was a huge success! Hereford citizens love the cats and we needed to wait in line to get ours!

You can visit Hereford Cookmate Kitchen here: http://www.cookmate.co.uk/

Purr, purr...bad kittty

Purr, purr…bad kittty

Kitchen sprite

Kitchen sprite

Caution! Hot cat!

Caution! Hot cat!

The cat timer is made from a hardened plastic. It has been designed by Bengt Ek Design, a Swedish company with international headquarters in Switzerland. Beng Ek design is a well known brand with their products being available around the globe. Some of their designs were also displayed as works of art in the MOMA gallery in New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.
Please visit the official site  at: http://bengtekdesign.com

Official picture of the Black Cat timer

Official picture of the Black Cat timer

The cat timers are also available in white.

The cat timers are also available in white.

On 29th of October Rita has found the white version of the cat timer on Amazon and ordered it for Mal as a birthday present. It was delivered on 1st of November and it is a Kat-a-log kitten in residence on Malta. Olympia has given it number 32′ (prime). The timer is being proudly displayed in Mal’s kitchen and goes very well with (nearly) deaf white cat named Athabasca. Mal is using it quite often when making pizzas. The photo session has been taken on Malicia’s rooftop garden on 14th of April 2013.

Flowers all around me

Flowers all around me

Entagled

Entagled

Like a Boss

Like a Boss

 

Kat-a-log Feline no. 33 & 34
Three sides of a cat: Screaming in the background, Wild cats and At the movies
Country of origin:  Unknown, given as a gift on 21st of December 2012

Something very unusual now. Each cat we photograph for the Kat-a-log project receives a separate mention, but this time we are going to dedicate one entry for a pair of cats. They were given to Rita as a present for Secret Santa and are part of a set.  Both cats are mad of wood and are painted in tribal patterns. Rita tried to investigate and interrogated all co-workers but nobody wanted to admit to the crime. Rita’s guess is that both cats were made in Africa and shipped to Europe. Unfortunately, she is unable to verify this claim. Olympia decided to have both cats in the UK for now (she has several very similar cats already) so they will become the first Kat-a-log kittens in residence abroad. The photo session has been taken at Courtyard Centre for the Arts in Hereford just after “Hobbit” premiere.

Courtyard official page can be seen here:  http://courtyard.org.uk/

Screaming in the background

Screaming in the background

Wild cats

Wild cats

At the movies

At the movies

On January the 12th, Rita is travelling to Poland to deliver all cats from the UK and Malta to the Headquarters. She was also given the task to take the pictures of the cats that have been added to the collection over the years. Please excuse us for having two weeks off, but when Rita returns, she will have many cats to show you!

For now, have fun and stay warm.
Take an example of your cats and stay in bed!

xxxx
Rita, Malicia + Olympia Dabrowicz

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 8

Happy New Year!

Something very unusual had happened to us recently. We have been working on a new Kat-a-log issue and we went to a local beach to photograph one of the items. A woman saw us working and she approached us asking if we had anything to do with Olympia’s blog. We must have been very surprised, because she followed up with an explanation. She had seen our mom’s cats collection over the Internet and she loved the idea behind it. She told us that it was a very nice way of showing one’s hobby and that our mom had built herself a name as a collector. We will admit it left us speechless and kind of flattered. We are being recognized!

We called mom and she said it was our fault that she is getting famous 🙂

Anyway, mom wanted to wish you a happy 2013. This year will be associated with the water element, so to go along with the theme, the wishes are written in the sand.

New Years greetings from the cat collector herself.

New Years greetings from the cat collector herself.

As usual, please click on the links below to find previous entries for the Kat-a-log:

Kat-a-log Part 1:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1
Kat-a-log Part 2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/
Kat-a-log Part 7:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-7/

Now onto the new additions to the (ever growing) collection:

Kat-a-log Feline no. 28
Three sides of a cat: Healthy lifestyle, Newsroom fridge, Personal assistant
Country of origin: hand made in El Salvador, November 2012

This cat has been made by a local artisan in a really far away place: El Salvador. It is a hand painted wood with a magnet on a back, shaped as a playful kitten. It was bought by our good friend Martin Galea de Giovanni while he attended a conference for Friends of The Earth. As you can see, the cat had a busy life with us serving as a fridge magnet in the newsroom and reminding us about healthy diet and appointments. Now it will join a big collection of cat – magnets in Olympia’s kitchen

You can follow Friends of the Earth Malta here:
http://www.foemalta.org/home/

Be ecological and perhaps you will be given a cat magnet as well 😉

Personal assistant

Personal assistant

Newsroom fridge

Newsroom fridge

Healthy lifestyle

Healthy lifestyle

Kat-a-log Feline no. 29
Two sides of a cat: Pebbles on the beach, Hidden Treasure
Country of origin: Turkey/Malta, December 2012

What you see here is a stone painting created by Turkish artist – Berivan Serin. This lady resides in St Julians in Malta (where Malicia is based) and we just couldn’t pass the opportunity to grab one of her excellent items, especially if they have been on exhibition in a local beautician shop. Mom truly loved this little item and ordered it to be shipped pronto to Poland so she can exhibit it in her living room. Photo session was taken in St George`s Bay in St Julians, Olympia’s favourite spot to sunbathe when she is in Malta.

Please follow Berivan here:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Berivan-Serin-Art-Galler/269851559715713

Pebbles on the beach

Pebbles on the beach

Hidden treasure

Hidden treasure

Kat-a-log Feline no. 30
Three sides of a cat: New Years’ party couple, I can explain… and Festive season
Country of origin: hand made in Thailand, December 2012

The last kitten from this edition of Kat-a-log is a very unique cat carved from one single piece of wood. It has been hand made in Thailand and arrived to Hereford with a fair trade organization helping poorer communities to earn their living by selling various arts and crafts. 90% of the money earned goes straight to the makers, so if you ever come across any volunteer NGO’s connected to The Fair Trade, please support them. Rita was told the rest 10% is covering fuel, shipping costs and food for the volunteers selling the goods on behalf of the Thai people. The Fair Trade movement is covering not only Thailand and Africa but also Asia, Latin America and Europe.

You can visit the Fair trade Foundation here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/

New Years party couple

New Years party couple

I can explain...

I can explain…

Festive season

Festive season

We hope that you have enjoyed the first Kat-a-log issue in the New Year. 2013 will be very busy for the cat collector. Rita is travelling to Poland in 2 week time and while there, she is going to take pictures of several cats that Olympia already has in her collection.

We are also preparing a few surprises for the cat lovers – be on the lookout and soon special edition of The Kat-a-log will be delivered straight to your computer screen!

Meow to you all,

Rita, Mal and Olympia