New Stockist: Thefty at the Wellcome Collection!

Hello! Exciting stockist update: Our Retroviral mugs are now stocked at the Wellcome Collection Shop.

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The Wellcome Collection is one of our favourite places in London: describing itself as ‘the free destination for the incurably curious‘, the collection displays an eclectic mix of medical artifacts and original artworks exploring ‘ideas about the connections between medicine, life and art‘.

In other words, the Wellcome Collection is the perfect place for our mugs to be.

The next time you drop by (perhaps to catch the States of Mind installation) make sure to pop into the gift shop – Retroviral mugs aside, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll leave empty handed.

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The Wellcome Collection

Galleries, Cafe & Shop

183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE

New Stockist: Thefty at Drink Shop & Do

Hello! Exciting news alert!  As you might have spotted on Facebook and Instagram, Thefty has a new stockist! You can now shop the Retroviral Collection at the super super cool Drink Shop & Do in King’s Cross.

Drink Shop & Do is part cafe, part bar, part shop and part event space (hence the ‘do’ in the name). I’m guessing that many of you Londoners have already been to DSD, but if you haven’t, you now have the perfect excuse! There are always plenty of creative and offbeat events going on, and the products in the shop are just as eclectic as the events list. We’re so excited to be involved.

Head to DSD and have a look…go for the Retroviral Mugs and stay for the cake!

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Drink, Shop & Do

9 Caledonian Road,
Kings Cross,
London,
N1 9DX

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

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.

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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Weekly Inspiration: Tea and Cake.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

Firstly, let me clarify that these photos were not taken in the space of one week. (Sadly, I am not able to make – or eat – that much cake!) Instead, this is a round up of a month of sweet, delicious photos taken in London and in York. If you’re into cake, then you must visit York – there were quaint tea shops tucked around every corner, with piles of cake beckoning from the window displays. Here were some of my favourite places to eat at and photograph:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour26-08Tarts & Tidbits is a delicatessen with retro window illustrations and loads of tasty things inside. It’s on the same street as The Cafe 68 Gillygate (See below!).

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Macarons and marzipan mice at Betty’s Cafe, an old-school York tea and cake establishment.

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The Cafe 68 Gillygate had a table at the window which was laden with tall, colourfully frosted cakes. I couldn’t get a proper photo for two reasons. Firstly, there was too much glare on the glass, and secondly, I was too hungry for cake.  I had an enormous slab of amazing caramel apple cake (above), and my boyfriend had a chocolate mint cake which was so rich that he couldn’t finish it. So I helped him.

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Meanwhile, back in London, I went for coffee at Mamacita in West Hampstead. It has a wall which is plastered in images of Frida Kahlo imagery, and cups in the perfect shade of green!

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I also did a bunch of baking this month. Below is Mary Berry’s classic Victoria Sandwich cake…which I made less classic by using rose jam instead of strawberry. It was totally delicious, and also quite photogenic.

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The birthday cake below is the most kitsch creation I have ever been involved with. It was a joint effort with my friend Simone, who baked and iced the whole thing – a 3-layered coconut custard cake. I was responsible for the ‘Meow’, the fluoro candles and the paper decorations. I just can’t do subtle however hard I try (although, frankly, I’m not trying).

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour26-02This next cake is another example of my non-subtlety. I took a plain vanilla sponge recipe and added sprinkles to the batter for a rainbow effect. The sprinkles dissolve while baking, so it didn’t end up all crunchy.

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The rainbow cake was for my boyfriend’s nephew who was turning 5. When making a birthday cake for a little boy, it seems totally legit to go overboard with the food colouring and sprinkles and…a whole packet of Haribo.Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour26-11 Continue reading

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)

Weekly Inspiration: Shapes and Colours at Kew Gardens.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I constantly take pictures of things that excite me. Prepare to see lots of colours and patterns through my lens.

This weekend I visited Kew Gardens and it was a complete visual assault, of the best kind. As far as I’m concerned, nature is the best source of inspiration. You already know that I’m crazy about beetles, but as an equal opportunities nature lover, I’m also a big fan of plants – the bigger and brighter (and weirder) the better. Here are some of my favourite photos from Kew:

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-01The next few photos were taken inside the Victorian palm house, which was the biggest glass house I’d ever seen. It was filled with warm, humid air as well as exotic plants from all over the world. I would quite happily live in there.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-08Sunlight passing through leaves never gets boring, I say. Luminous colours are the best colours.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-07This is the Chenille plant, Acalypha hispida. Can you even believe this thing exists? It looks like a pre-decorated Christmas tree, laden with long, fuzzy strands of hot pink tinsel. I couldn’t stop looking at it.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-05We climbed to the top of the palm house on this spiral, wrought iron staircase. Below: the view from the top.

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour225-13I loved these tiny, star-shaped flowers which had 5 stamens apiece. They were barely a half centimetre wide, yet so exquisitely detailed. This is where the phrase ‘small, yet perfectly formed’ comes in. Continue reading

Beetles! A new collection at the NHM.

Hello! Welcome to my Beetles! series. I take photos for the beetles department at the Natural History Museum (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). There are plenty of photos to share. Stay tuned!

Last week was extra-exciting, as the team unveiled thousands of new specimens acquired for the museum collection. I was invited to take a peek at the new material…and encouraged to take lots of pictures, as usual. Here are some of my favourites. (You’ll be entirely shocked to discover that my favourites were the most heavily coloured and patterned beetles of the bunch!)

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Helena-Maratheftis-NHM-new-collection-600-03Jade greens and dusty blues…spots and stripes and abstract prints…gloss and matte and metallic finishes… these little guys give me so much inspiration for my artwork. They are just too cool.

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Helena-Maratheftis-NHM-new-collection-600-09Row after row of little white boxes, filled with specimens from all around the globe. These will soon be integrated with the museum’s current collection.

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Memento Mori: Death, tarot cards, and a strange photo booth.

Hello! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll remember the funny/macabre tarot cards I designed for Moving Dust Productions. I finally got my hands on a set of cards, after the first set mysteriously vanished in the post (that’s what you get for messing with the occult). Anyway, Here they are! I’ve alsoposted some snaps of my very own brush with Death, for your enhanced viewing pleasure (please take extra note of my glamorous veil).

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The cards are for The Box, an installation where participants get to meet death…in his photo booth. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I was invited to take part in the latest incarnation of The Box and, let me tell you, Death was a hoot!

If you fancy your own (harmless) brush with death, follow Moving Dust on Facebook for updates.

Dear Snow, Kindly leave.

Hello! I rarely post on Saturdays, but I’m stuck at home with a disgusting cold, and it’s snowing outside. I woke up at 7am this morning to take my delicious flu medicines, and when I pulled back the curtains I got a shock of the cold/ white/ flaky kind. Urgh, thought I, this is awful, I must draw about it. And so I did.

Helena-Maratheftis-dear-snow-smallNow, let us not pretend that this is the finest artistic endeavour I’ve ever undertaken. It’s a messy sketch produced by bleary morning eyes and hands shaky with SNOW RAGE. However, I needed to share it with all of you, especially the ones who might be feeling the same about our snowy springtime friend. Share it with your friends, Londoners, and maybe Mister Snow will take the hint.

p.s. On a lighter note, I joined Instagram today – come and find me! I’m theftypix.

Weekly Inspiration: Markets and Museums.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

This is meant to be a weekly feature but I’ve been oh so busy over the last…er…month. To apologise, I’m giving you a mega-mashup of my favourite photos from February. They include a couple of market trips (to East London and Camden Passage) and some colourful ones taken at home. Also, because I’m feeling extra-generous, there’s a bonus video at the end. Oh yes. Enjoy!

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-05For the record, I don’t think the East End sucks. I love it. I spent a freeeezing Sunday walking around Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market, snapping at street art and old-school bric-a-brac.

Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-04A sneaky self portrait taken in a vintage mirror.
Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-06My flat is often full of rainbows. (I’ve got crystals on my windows, you see.)

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Helena-Maratheftis-weekincolour18-02More pictures after the jump. Continue reading

Beetles! Photographing Glow Worms at the NHM.

Hello! This post is part of my Natural History Museum series – I’ve been lending my photography skills to the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’ (which roughly translates as ‘beetles department’). I will be sharing my favourite images with you every week, so stay tuned!

This week I photographed glow worms. You might be surprised (and relieved?) to hear that they’re actually beetles, not worms! Some of the specimens at the museum are truly beautiful, with ridiculously long and elaborate antennae.

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The above specimen is special for two reasons. Firstly, because of those antennae. Secondly – and more importantly – because it is a type specimen. In other words, this particular individual is the ‘flagship’ specimen by which all others of its species are verified. The species’ name and description are officially attached to this one beetle, making it very precious indeed.

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Some of the specimens are very old, and I love the delicate, typewritten (or hand written) labels.
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Weekly Inspiration:A foodie rainbow.

Hello! This is a weekly feature where I share my photos with you. I carry my camera everywhere, and I’m always taking pictures of things that inspire me. Prepare to see lots of colours, patterns and good times through my lens!

So, this week I’ve been eating. A lot. Whenever my parents are in town, this is what happens. Today’s pictures are a foodie rainbow: home-cooked food, as well as treats from Portobello Road market, The Brass Rail in Selfridges, and high tea at The Orangery. Enjoy!

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