Buttercup China & Thefty at Spring Fair

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My lovely mug manufacturers Buttercup China attended Spring Fair, the enormous annual gifts and homewares trade show in Birmingham. I was thrilled that Buttercup selected my Retroviral mugs to display on their stand. I dropped by Spring Fair yesterday to say hello to the team, and to ogle the display: Buttercup’s stand is always stunning, what with their giant wall of bone China dinner plates catching your eye from a mile away!

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(If my mugs seem a bit different here, you’re right – the display items are samples and the items in my shop look much better!)

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Retroviral Christmas Giveaway

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We’re giving away a FREE Retroviral mug as a little Christmas thank you to all of you! To enter, just LIKE Thefty on Facebook, and COMMENT on this photo to say which of the three mugs you’d like to win (Herpes, HIV or Rabies).

Deadline for entry is midnight of December 15th, UK time. The winner will be selected at random (by traditional ‘names in a hat’ method) and will be announced on the 16th. The competition is open to UK residents only. Good luck! Read more about Retroviral here.

West Hampstead Christmas Market 2014

Hello! On Saturday we attended the 2014 West Hampstead Christmas Market. We woke up to perfect weather – brilliant blue skies and a dusting of glittering frost – and headed to West End Green to set up our stall. We had great day chatting to customers about our items (our Retroviral mugs elicited more than a few double takes), getting to know our fellow stall holders, and enjoying live music, carols…and plenty of hot mulled wine. And chicken soup. And falafel. O! What fun!

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Our Retroviral mugs made their market debut on Saturday! It was lovely to see customers’ reactions face-to-face, and to see how many design-nerd-science-lovers there are out there. Viruses on a mug might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they sure make for an excellent conversation starter! You can read more about them here.

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We were also selling art prints, postcards and Christmas cards at our stall. Our Christmas cards are still available online, so go and get ’em while stocks last.

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Above: South London Samba kept us entertained with their drumming, although I probably put off multiple potential customers with my aggressive dance moves.

Below: The super-lovely ladies from The Village Haberdashery. If you find yourself in NW6, make sure to visit their colourful store on Mill Lane.

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Below: Eyecatching luxe clutch bags by ClutterClutch. So many metallics, so much fluoro, so much sparkle! If I knew how to use emojis on WordPress I’d insert a heart here.

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West Hampstead Christmas Market 2014 – We’ll be there!

Hello! If you fancy doing some Christmas shopping this Saturday, come and find us at the West Hampstead Christmas Market!

 Thefty is part of a great line-up of 30+ stall holders, including Monsters of Art, ClutterClutch, Bake-A-Boo, Hiro+Wolf and Lombary Gourmet. We’ll be selling our Retroviral mugs as well as Christmas cards and art prints (although, having looked at the other sellers, we’ll probably be taking frequent shopping breaks).

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Many of the local stores will be participating in the festivities – you can see all the events and happenings here. This is the market’s fifth year, and if it’s anything like the last four, it’s bound to be an A+ day out.

West Hampstead’s 5th Annual Christmas Market 
West End Green, West End Lane
Saturday, 6 December 2014
10:00am to 4:00pm

World AIDS Day

Hello everyone! #CyberMonday might be trending on Twitter, but today is also World AIDS Day. Given that we have an HIV mug in our Retroviral collection, we feel it’s appropriate – and important – to draw your attention to this cause. What is World AIDS day, you may ask? From the website:

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

I actually took the ‘Are you HIV aware’ quiz and was surprised at how many questions I answered incorrectly. It’s an eye-opener, for sure.

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As you may already know, 5p from the sale of every Retroviral mug is donated towards research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (read more here). The school’s research on AIDS and HIV is at the forefront of the field, with projects around the world for developing vaccines, treatments and cures.

While you’re obviously welcome to buy an HIV mug today, you can also donate directly to LSHTM and make a personal contribution towards their brilliant work.

In addition, Londoners can drop by LSHTM to catch the exhibition about HIV/AIDS which explores the development of prevention and treatment responses to HIV/AIDS.

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Black Friday Sale!

Hello! It’s Black Friday! Get 15% off in my shop until midnight tomorrow* with the code 15WOOHOO.

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*Yes, midnight (in London) of the 29th of November…so it’s a two day sale. Lucky you!

 

Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wishlist: My Top Picks.

Hello! The epic annual Blog And Buy Sale Christmas Wish List is now live…and we’re so pleased to announce that our Retroviral mugs have been featured. Hooray! The wish list is ‘a curated list of the very best creative products available online’, so it’s incredibly exciting to be included.

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You can shop directly from the page – each item links to individual designers’ stores and social media pages. With several hundred hand-picked items to choose from, Christmas shopping should be sorted! I’ve already bought a handful of items from the Wish List because I couldn’t resist. Here are a few of my favourites. (And yes, of course I included our mugs!)

Thefty-blogandbuysale-favesItem list (I want them all!):

1. Dinosaur Print, by Cha Com Letras

2. Ohh-Ahh Wall Hook, by Ohh Ahh

3. Quartz Candy Print, by Paul Farrell

4. Fabric Letters, by Kitty McCall

5. Handmade Geometric Ceramic Necklace, by Isla Clay

6. Love Card, by Karolin Schnoor

7. Retroviral mugs: Herpes, HIV, or Rabies, by Thefty

8. Star Christmas Baubles, by Stories for Autumn

9. Colourful Deep Sea Pouch, by Gabote

10. Sunny Forest Tray, by Anna Lindsten

11. Angel of the North Tree Topper, by Susan Bradley

There are so many great products, so make sure to check out the full list! Blog and Buy Sale Christmas Wish List will run until December 28th.

Christmas 2014 Last Order Dates!

Hello! I know, I know, it’s only mid-November…but in terms of postal deliveries Christmas is closer than you think! If you’re planning to order Retroviral‬ mugs in time for Christmas gift-giving, we recommend placing your order before the dates listed below. Please keep in mind that mail can be delayed at busy times such as Christmas, so get your shopping done as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Happy shopping!

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Art + Neuroscience = Art Neuro

This weekend I attended Art Neuro, a four day extravaganza exploring the overlap between art and neuroscience. As you’ve already seen, the crossover between art and science is one of my favourite topics, and I was looking forward to spending an afternoon immersed in it. The Saturday session began with a brief – and incredibly colourful – introduction to the evolution of the brain in both animals and humans. We learnt about the structure of brains and neurons, and got fired up for the screen printing session we’d take part in later on.

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Before dipping into the screen printing, we grabbed a drink and explored the Exhibition. Pairs of artists and scientists explored a variety of topics, from aging and dementia, to brain tumours, what it’s like to be a scientist, and the beauty of brain cells under the microscope.

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Finally, we all got to try our hand at screen printing, under the guidance of textile designer Zeena Shah. Zeena showed us how to print (sort of) like pros, and we all came away with crisply printed brainy tote bags and cushion covers…as well as a sense of accomplishment.

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All in all, it was a thought-provoking afternoon of creativity and discovery. I’m looking forward to the next Art Neuro event.

Beetles at TEDxAlbertopolis

Hello! Welcome to my Beetles! series. I am the behind-the-scenes photographer in the beetles department at the Natural History Museum (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). The collection is an enormous jewel box of six-legged beauty, and I’ve got plenty of photos to share!

This is a deviation from my usual Beetles! posts, because none of these photos were taken inside the Natural History Museum. Instead, they were taken at the Royal Albert Hall, during TEDxAlbertopolis: ‘an afternoon of inspiring, thought-provoking and entertaining talks exploring how art and science fit together in the modern world.’ I was excited to hear all the speakers, but was particularly looking forward to Max Barclay‘s talk. Max is the collections manager for the NHM beetle and bug collection (you might recognise him from my photos) and he had plenty of interesting things to say.

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AboveMax in mid-talk, with his shirt accidentally adhering to the colour scheme!

The venue was the perfect setting for TEDx. the Royal Albert Hall is part of Albertopolis, London’s complex of buildings dedicated to the pursuit of science and the arts.  It’s a spectacular building, with its soaring Victorian ceiling and mesmerising colour-changing lights. An inspiring backdrop for inspiring ideas. The event was a sell out – the hall was packed with 5000 people – and I’m guessing most of those people left with a new appreciation for beetles and the work that goes on in museums!

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Below:  Beulah, Lucia, Lydia, and Hitoshi – curators and research assistants at the NHM Coleoptera department. The team manned the super-popular beetle exhibit, where the TEDx crowds flocked during the interval. They presented all sorts of fantastic 6-legged beasts from the Museum’s collection.

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An Evening at Dr. Sketchy’s: Burlesque Life Drawing Class.

Last night I attended Dr. Sketchy‘s burlesque life drawing class at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. I rocked up with a sketchbook, coloured pens, a few friends and high expectations. We did not leave disappointed!

In case you’re wondering what burlesque life drawing involves, think of it as an upgraded life drawing class: Instead of traditional nude models, you get to draw ‘beautiful burlesque performers, bizarre circus acts, and rippling hunks of man-flesh‘! Dusty Limits, our glamdrogynous MC, prowled around the room barking orders and handing out lollipops and cheeky compliments. The approach to drawing was the same as with karaoke: Skill doesn’t matter, but enthusiasm does. It was a really fun way to get back into life drawing.

Helena-Maratheftis-dr-sketchy--16Out first model was Violet Strangelove, who appeared on stage in full Minnie Mouse regalia.

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Helena-Maratheftis-dr-sketchy--14Above: My drawing is on the right (I can’t resist adding colour, as usual). The sketch on the left belongs to my friend Tom, who I’m more used to seeing with a paintbrush in his hand.

Below: A drawing by my friend Andrew Croskery, who brought some super awesome brush-nibbed pens with him.  Andrew has published a graphic novel, and he’s so very good at drawing comic-style figures.

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Helena-Maratheftis-dr-sketchy--03After a while, Minnie took her clothes off. Although she covered up her chest with her huge mousey hands, we did catch a glimpse of her Mickey Mouse shaped nipple tassles. OOH-ER.

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Helena-Maratheftis-dr-sketchy--02Drawing above by Tom, drawing below by Andrew.

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Helena-Maratheftis-dr-sketchy--17Next up: The gorgeous Frankie von Flirter. With her striking features and tumbling locks, Frankie was a dream to draw.

Helena-Maratheftis-dr-sketchy--10Below: A cubist interpretation of Frankie.

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Cake & Canvas: Thefty at Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Sweet news! A handful of my paintings have been installed at Bea’s of Bloomsbury, the cult London cake shop. If you haven’t visited Bea’s before, you now have a double excuse to go!

My paintings will be up for the next month, so head over and take a peek while nibbling on some cheesecake, a huge meringue, or a duffin (doughnut + muffin!). I’m doubly excited to be a part of Bea’s because, apart from a reputation for making super-delicious treats (which you know I love), Bea’s has been commended for it’s gorgeous interior design.

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Helena-Maratheftis-Beas-of-bloomsbury-06I popped in to Bea’s to photograph the exhibition yesterday. The paintings add a nice burst of colour to the space, with the soft lighting making the rhinestones extra twinkly!  Of course, I didn’t leave before having lunch (a massive portion of quiche and salad) and dessert (a rich chocolate cupcake with fluffy raspberry buttercream – pictured).

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Good cake + good design = the ultimate sweet spot in the universe.

Thanks for having me, Bea’s!

Bea’s of Bloomsbury
44 Theobald’s Road
London
WC1X 8NW
(Near Holborn Station)

Housekeeping! Parties, Pinterest etc.

Hello! Happy Monday! I hope your weekends were better than mine – I have a cold and haven’t left my house since Thursday. Since Thursday!  Anyway, germs aside, there are a few bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to tell you about:

1. Are you coming to the Stitch 2nd Birthday party?

If you love arts + the environment, you should join us! I blogged about it last month – details here.

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2. I finally joined Instagram! I’m @theftypix!

Come and join the lonely new kid at the party.

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3. Are you following Thefty on Pinterest?

Killer Design / Cake Styling / Paintings / Accessories

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4. Follow Thefty on Bloglovin’

If you follow Thefty on Google Reader,  fear not! You can transfer over to Bloglovin’ and keep following!

That’s all from me. Have a good week, guys!

Thefty and the Blog & Buy Sale Spring Wishlist!

Hello! I’m very excited to announce that two of my prints have been selected for the Blog & Buy Sale Spring Wishlist! You can see my items here and here.

The wishlist is a showcase of ‘the very best creative products from independent artists & designers’, and runs until the 5th of May. I’m thrilled to have my posters selling alongside the work of so many other brilliant designers – If you want to see some of my favourites, scroll to the end of this post.

Helena-Maratheftis-blog-buy-sale-1 Helena-Maratheftis-blog-buy-sale-2It was very difficult to choose favourites from the wishlist, as there are too many great items to choose from. However, here’s a small list of items which really caught my eye.

Thefty’s Top Picks:

Beardy Man Malcolm Cushion, by Laura Gee Illustration

Sign Language ‘Well Done’ Card, by JollyGoodStudio

Miss Floral Hand Illustrated Shoes, by Sam Pierpoint

Badger Stud Earrings, by A Girl Called Boz

Woodland Critters Temporary Tattoos, by DB Illustrations

Knit & Loop Mug and Plate Set, by Room 39

Cheetah Says Fuck Off A4 Giclee Print, by Laura Gee Illustration

Solitude Screen Print, by Enclosed Spaces

And, of course, don’t forget to check out my posters!

Be Happy A3 Poster, by Thefty

Chin Up! A3 Poster, by Thefty

Stitch Birthday Party @ The Red Gallery

Hello! I’ve been working with Stitch for a while now, and I’m excited to announce our birthday party plans!

‘On Friday 29th March Stitch is hosting a very special event to celebrate their 2nd birthday: bringing together five of the best nights that London has to offer under one roof, to create one hell of a party and planting a target minimum 10,000 trees with the proceeds. This is partying with a purpose.’

Click here for tickets & more details. 

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Date: 29th March 2013

Venue: Red Gallery, 1 – 3 Rivington Street, Shoreditch.

‘A percentage of every pound spent at the bar and from ticket sales goes towards planting trees with partner WeForest. WeForest is an international organisation dedicated to sustainable reforestation. Money raised from this event will go towards their tree planting project in Ethiopia which is geared towards stopping soil erosion and empowering single mothers and widows to be self-sufficient and pay for medical care.’

p.s. I should point out that I did not design this poster, which is a shame because it’s very good-looking.