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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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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Thefty HQ gets the Retroviral Treatment

Hello! The Ohh Deer Pillow Fight competition has been extended, so you can now get your Retroviral Cushions until December 1st! I ordered one of each design for myself – Herpes, HIV, Rabies, and a collage – and can confirm that the colours are lovely and bright, and the cushions are nice and fluffy. Of course, in addition to cushions, Retroviral mugs are still in stock in our online shop.

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Shop Retroviral cushions here

  Shop Retroviral mugs here

 

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!)

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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.

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.

Retroviral cushions available now!

Exciting news! Thefty is part of the Ohh Deer Pillow Fight, meaning that you can now order Retroviral Cushions in four designs: HIV, Herpes, Rabies, and a multi-virus mix. The cushions will only be available until November 15th, so get your Christmas shopping in early!

Buy your cushions here!

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Pillow Fight is an annual competition run by Ohh Deer to find new contributors. Hilariously, the winning designs are those that go the ‘most viral’. HA! If you’d like to support Thefty, then please help Retroviral go viral on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (tagging Thefty and Ohh Deer where possible). Of course, you can also buy a cushion (or four!)  – there are great multi-buy discounts available on Ohh Deer.

DETAILS: The cushion covers are made from super soft faux suede with a fully-illustrated front and a stone-coloured reverse side, as well as a zip fastening. They measure 43x43cm, and contain a 50x50cm insert to keep them plump. (You can opt to receive the cushion without the insert.)  They’re machine washable at 30c and are hand made in the UK.

 Matching mugs are available from the Thefty online shop.

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To learn more about the Retroviral collection, click here.

Blogstagram: The week in Instagram pictures.

Hello! What a week it’s been! As you may have noticed* I finally launched my first ever collection of illustrated mugs. Woohoo!

The collection is called Retroviral, and is as retro and as sciencey as it sounds. So many lovely people have already ordered mugs online, and I’ve been up to my eyeballs in bubblewrap and boxes. I love it! Parcels have already been dispatched to Hawaii and Las Vegas and other far flung locations. (My mugs are clearly leading a more exotic life than I am.) Here are a few of my Instagram photos, documenting a week of the best kind of chaos:

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In case you’re wondering: Of course I made time for technicolour tea parties and bouquets of lilies despite the madness. Those are the things that keep me sane. Here’s to another good week (and yes, I know it’s Wednesday!).

 

* Ahem – If you’ve managed to miss my constant posting, I salute you.


Thefty Gets Real: Here we go…!

Hello! Hey guys! I’m back! Thank you for sticking with this blog despite months of silence. I disappeared to work on a mysterious personal project which I told you nothing about…until now (cue the Drama Button). You might have noticed the redesign of this website, and there are plenty more new things to come.

Thefty started out as a nickname, and it has become my art alter ego, but I’ve always envisioned Thefty as something else. See, I love stuff. Patterned, OTT, boldly-illustrated, over-saturated stuff. Slightly off-beat, put-it-on-your-shelf-and-grin-at-it, buy-it-gleefully-as-a-gift stuff. Beyond creating illustrations and paintings, stuff – specifically, homewares – is what I’ve dreamed of making. To me, Thefty has always been the name of my design label that never was.

Which brings us to today: I am currently staring at a huge pile of boxes filled with the very first batch of true-blue, real-deal, for-serious Thefty homewares. Yes! They’re fresh from the manufacturers and I’m so excited!

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It has taken literally years to get here, and I can’t wait to show you what I’ve been making. HINT: Science geeks will not be disappointed.

Are you ready for this? Because I really, really am. Stay tuned!

Pro tip: For extra sneak peeks, check out Thefty on Facebook 

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p.s. Don’t you worry – this blog will still feature lots of art and illustration and photography.

Christmas Cards Thefty Style: Robots, Cupcakes & Dinosaurs!

Guys! My Christmas cards are back in stock!

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Helena-Maratheftis-thefty-xmas-15The cards are bright and festive , but they’re also totally non-denominational (i.e. there is not an angel or a nativity scene in sight).  They can be purchased individually (with hand-embellished rhinestones) or in packs of 6 (2 designs per pack).

There are 4 designs to choose from: Dinosaur Santa, Festive FroggyGingerbread Robots, and Christmas Cupcakes.

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Christmas Cards by Thefty (aka Helena Maratheftis)

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Bhuna’s Beetles: A New Painting.

Hello! I’ve got a new painting to show you, and it features plenty of six-legged beasts!

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So far you’ve seen a lot of beetle photography from me, but it had never occurred to me to put my beetles onto canvas! Luckily, someone else (codenamed Bhuna, a long story in itself) had the idea, and asked me to paint something based on all the photos I’d been taking. We settled on something green, lush and leafy with plenty of details for the eye to explore…and I got cracking. Here are some of the work-in-progress shots I posted on Instagram:

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I had a lot of fun researching imagery for this painting! I often create Pinterest boards for my projects, but they’re usually set to private so that the project remains Top Secret. In this instance I created a public board called Bhuna’s Beetles, so that Bhuna (who is not a member of Pinterest) could keep track of the beetles I was inspired by. Funnily enough, the board got quite a few followers, all of whom must be all confused by the board’s title!

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My aim was to draw beetles that remained true(ish) to nature, and which were stylised as little as possible. However, I did use a generous dollop of artistic license, but as an artist that’s literally in my job description! I’m allowed to borrow patterns and shapes from different species to create insect hybrids not necessarily seen in nature!

I also gave the beetles human eyes with irises because, towards the end of the piece, something felt missing. I realised that the lack of irises on the insects’ faces made them expressionless. Obviously, beetles don’t have human eyes or human expressions, but the addition of little eyeballs gave the painting character and humour…which is what I’m always trying to create in my work.

Bhuna, I hope you enjoy looking at your leafy canopy of beetles! I really enjoyed painting it.

Thefty Cushions: Last Chance to Buy!

Hello! As you might already know, two of my cushion designs are for sale on Ohh Deer, as part of their Pillow Fight competition shop! I wanted to give you a heads up that the shop closes in one week (November 11th)! In other words, if you’d like a cushion or two, you’d better move very quickly!

You can buy my cushions here and here.

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I bought a set of the cushions to check the quality, and I was really pleased -They’re soft, sturdy, and the colours are nice and rich!

Cushion details: The cushions are made from super-soft faux suede  and measure 43x43cm. They come complete with a fibre cushion insert (but to make postage cheaper you can opt to receive the cushion without the insert). The cushions all have a stone coloured back cover and zip fastening. They’re machine washable at 30°c and hand made In UK. They cost £24.95 each. (I already own two, and they’re great quality.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-ohh-deer-blog-cushions2-02Here are a couple of close-ups:

Cushion design by Thefty (Helena Maratheftis)

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About the competition:  The winners will become official contributors to the Ohh Deer collective, which is an amazing opportunity! The winners will be chosen based on how popular their cushions are, in terms of sales, but also in terms of how many shares they get on social media. So, even if you can’t buy a cushion, please help me out by sharing them on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

I want to give a massive thumbs up to all of you who have supported my competition entries over the last month. Thank you so much!

Instagramming: Patterns, petals and pixels.

Lately, I’ve been posting plenty of distorted images on Instagram: I’ve been taking photos through foggy windows, through my teleidoscope,  as well as posting ‘work in progress’ shots of my computer screen rather than my sketchbook. All of this results in (intentionally!) blurred and pixellated images with really lovely textures. I love playing with Instagram because the filters allow me to add even more layers of distortion, which is pretty much my definition of Good Fun. Yes, I’m so rock’n’roll.

Here are some recent favourites:

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It’s a struggle to not be that annoying person who Instagrams the  bejeezus out of everything, but I reckon I’m doing a decent job of reigning it in. I mean, I’ve only got 13 photos of food on there! (Yes, I went and counted.)

Find me on Instagram here.


Pillow Fight! Thefty Cushions in Stock!

Exciting news alert! Two of my cushion designs are currently for sale on Ohh Deer, as part of their Pillow Fight competition shop! The cushions will be available for one month only. The shop closes (for good) on November 11th.

About the competition:  The winners will become official contributors to the Ohh Deer collective, which is an amazing opportunity! The winners will be chosen based on how popular their cushions are, in terms of sales, but also in terms of how many shares they get on social media. So, even if you can’t buy a cushion, please help me out by sharing them on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

You can see and buy my designs here and here.

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Cushion details: The cushions are made from super-soft faux suede  and measure 43x43cm. They come complete with a fibre cushion insert (but to make postage cheaper you can opt to receive the cushion without the insert). The cushions all have a stone coloured back cover and zip fastening. They’re machine washable at 30°c and hand made In UK. They cost £24.95 each. (I already own two, and they’re great quality.)

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Click HERE to buy my ‘OK’ pillow!Helena-Maratheftis-pillow-fight-screenshot1

Click HERE to buy my ‘YES’ pillow!

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It is so exciting to see my designs in the Ohh Deer shop!

It would be incredible to win, so if you like my designs then please share the links (this one and this one) all over social media…

…and of course feel free to actually buy the cushions ;-)


Oh, oh Frida: Seven faces of the colourful Ms Kahlo.

Last weekend, I was having a chat with my boyfriend when I happened to mention Frida Kahlo. He had no idea who she was. Somehow, he had managed to go almost 30 years without seeing any picture of the iconic woman or her artwork, and I felt the need to rectify that. I dragged him to my computer and Google Image searched her name, talking all the while about her life and her struggles, her colours and flowers, and of course those magnificent, defiant eyebrows.

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Consequently, I’ve been thinking about Frida all week, and when I picked up my sketchbook last night it was to draw her face. Or, rather, to draw a face…Fridafied. I started with a pen drawing but I ultimately ended up on Photoshop, where I completely let loose. I layered colours over colours and textures over textures. Pattern, blur, filter, smudge. Spots, dots, swipes and stripes.  I ended up with a whole series of Fridas, which is what I’m showing you today.

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