Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Good Hair!

Last night I went on a cinema date with my mum to see Good Hair. In brief it's a documentary film made by funny man Chris Rock about Black women and their hair.
I enjoyed it A LOT!
I read about it a while ago and hoped to go with my sister to see it, so we could sit there and say, uh-hmm, that's right i hear you sister.
I did this anyway, mainly when the women were talking about being addicted to relaxer (the dangerous chemical we put on our hair to make it straight) or 'creamy crack' as they called it and when Salt of Salt 'n' Pepa fame said the reason she rocked the asymmetrical do was because her hair fell out (this happened to me the night before a Gravy Train!!!! gig, I knew it would as bleached hair+Relaxer= BAD HAIR!).

The whole film was a look at how black women strive to get Good Hair, good hair meaning white or Asian hair.
A look into why black women spend so much time, money and effort into achieving this, this hair, as Chris rock puts it 'that might blow in the wind'!
I think a lot of it, aside form just wanting slightly more manageable hair, is that is more socially acceptable to have straight hair, or again as Chris Rock said, relaxed hair to have relaxed people.

I wrote an article about this in some awful zine I wrote in my late teens, about how in order to be taken more seriously as a black women I think you have to go Au Naturale.
I think about famous black women, black women who have natural hair and I immediately think of activists and writers.
Maya Angelou said in the film she didn't have a relaxer until the age of 70 (I read in a book of hers when it first became all the rage she got put off as a lot of the girls she knew had it done and their hair fell out!).

Tracie Thoms put it best when she said it's strange who it's seen a s a revolutionary act just keeping the hair that grows out of your head as is!! Funny but true.

There were some laughs to, like the myth of not being able to touch a black lady's weave, the pain of the hair treatment,not being able to get wet (a lot like Gremlins!!) the jokes about Prince!

I think about my hair a lot and think what I want to do with it next and how I would achieve it. recently being in touch with my two half sisters who have their hair natural made me think I want mine that way too (but I wasn't only blessed with Afro hair form my father but thick hair form my mother, something that is still a novelty at the Afro-Caribbean hairdressers!).

But just yesterday morning, relaxing my hair, then later watching the film, I realised it's true what they say I am addicted to Creamy Crack!!!

Here's a brief (pictorial history) of my hair:

I was born with hair pretty much like most babies, but quickly grew to this:
I wore it natural for quite a few years:
Until I got plaits which I had for most of my mid childhood:
Up until just before my brother was born (1992), when I had a perm probably because my sister did: Then I went to high school, hair a bit iffy in year 7, got MY FIRST RELAXER in year 8 (I wanted a bob like my idol Brian Molko and because my sister had her hair relaxed.) Haven't found a picture of this yet, but can remember my school photo from that year, hair quite thick and had to wear top bit up in a scrunchie as long bob was too triangular.
Then for some reason I didn't like that and went for perming second time around in 1998:
Then that mid teen part of your life where you're really awkward and ugly occurred, my hair was AWFUL mid perm mid natural with some plaits or something!OBVS year 9!:
Then I went back to the plaits! Used to have it out in two big bunches, my friend Zara bleached the ends, my first bleach job, (Zara also pierced my nose for me, twice). This is Leeds 2000 and Ladyfest London 2002, so that growing out took a while! Must have re bleached too!: This was shortly before my hair fell out, I got a dye that said no bleach required (obviously bleach in it) gave hair relaxing another try as natural wasn't sleek enough, tried to relax and colour my hair, it all snapped off the night I was going to see Gravy Train!!!!, mid noughties: As the noughties went on, so did my relaxing and the length of my hair got shorter, I quite enjoyed rocking the Kathleen Hanna style high pony, but between that and the bunches I cold only wear my hair down when I'd been to the hairdressers, so started with the long bob, to this what I thought was a short bob, it has doubled in width here due to humidity in a club (hence the face!):I eventually went for the chop, always fearing I would have to much of a mushroom head if I went short, but it worked well and I'll be rocking the crop for a while. This is what my hair looks like fresh form the salon, like an extra on Ricki Lake, weavetastic:I took advantage of having short hair to go for an all over colour, had this until very recently, miss it now: And that's more or less it. Before writing this I thought I hadn't had natural hair since I was like 8, but then remembered that whole period mid high school to late teen where it was natural! This means that in the 26 years of my life I've had two periods when I've been natural, two periods where I've had perms, two periods where I've had braids, two periods where I've had relaxers, so all that's left now is the weave!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Video Killed The Radio Star....

This is my all round awesome pal Nickie: In around ten minutes she will be on the radio! Have a listen here. She will most probably play a load of Kiss and talk about her love for Mike Delfino offa Despo Housewives fame.
She's Dead good!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

20 Things To Make And Do; The Workshop.

Yes, this weekend will see a few first fur Sugar Paper. We will be hosting our first workshop at Indietracks Festival.
This will be our first time there. This will also be my first time camping!
The workshop will be held on the Saturday (24th) at 4pm, where you will be able to make and do:
colouring in, knitted headband, origami, wordsearch, crochet coaster, felt owl brooch, friendship bracelet,pom poms, dot-to-dot cross stitch and more!

Wish me luck and we'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

More tea Vicar?*

So I spent part of this weekend selling Sugar Paper's wares in Sheffield (more on that later).
The stall holder next door but one to me looked familiar, when I realised it was this lady:
A member of Sheffield band Plouf!. I think I last saw them at Gojonnygogogogo all dayer which was on the night of the final of Pop Idol with Will Young and Gareth Gates!
Elodie of Plouf! fame was selling zines, and even though in a not so previous post I was banging on about Cath Kidston loving, tea drinking crafters, I will admit I LOVE a good cup of tea.
So I was totally impressed to see she had made a tea zine, complete with a free tea bag (I got cinnamon!, with a matching tag to the zine! DETAIL!!).
The zine came around when after moving to England from France, Elodie picked up our love of drinking tea! In the zine she asked friends how they like to take their tea.

Here's how I like to take my tea:
I put the milk in first (much to the disapproval of most other people), then the tea bag and then the boiled water. Swirl the tea bag around, leave to brew for a few minutes, give it a final squeeze then drink, sometimes with dunked biscuits.
My favourite mugs are:
My black Placebo mug, I drink my tea out of this every morning (and only in the morning).
OCD, a gift from Nickie, I use this at night but mostly in the day if I'm off work, used for specialty teas as I can see the colouring better as it's white.
Andrew mug was a gift for my sisters ex boyfriend like well over ten years ago, I just love the shape of this, usually my night time mug.
Hairspray mug, was a snap at only £5, haven't used it for a while but was my work mug when I had a shop.
Teas I like to drink:
Twinings everyday and English Breakfast.
Earl Grey.
Fruit teas.
Lady Grey.
Vanilla Green.

I used to take 6 sugars in my tea, but eventually weened myself off, now have non and cannot bear sugar in it!

*More Tea Vicar was a game on The Big Breakfast, I used to love this show (cuz I love anything associated with the 90s!) my sister and I are currently trying to track down Big Breakfast memorabilia!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Nude magazine!

Yes one of our favourite ever magazines, Nude is back in print format, yes!

If you haven't checked this magazine out before, then you definitely should, a great mix of art, illustration, music and more. Always featuring my favourites, from Dan Clowes to the late great Frank Sidebottom, Niagara to Sunny Buick.
Nude out here.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Crafts, buys and video tapes!

It's a busy week here at Sugar Paper , we're getting our craft on for the busy month of July.
But I've managed to find a few minutes (between eating toad in the hole and having a bath) to tell you a few exciting things:

Go check out our friend
Charlotte's blog, you may recognise her as the centrefold for Sugar Paper #5. She wrote a radular post about us.
When she said this:

"I sometimes have hard time stomaching girl craft as a means of female empowerment, that Cath Kidston-flowery-bunting-let-make-a-pot-of-tea-and-knit-eachother-mittens style tweeness always seems so bloody wet to me. I understand and like modern femme-ism and reclaiming of stereotypes of feminity and carrying on old craft traditions as a way of keeping a huge part of Womens History from being lost, its just the way a lot of it is presented to me fills me with dread."

Part of me said, YES! I totally agree, as much as I love a cup of tea and now and then I love nothing more than flouncing around my bedroom to an Amelia Fletcher sung song, I too sometimes get stuck in that craft rut of florals and owls. It's probably what pops up into most folks head (even mine) when thinking crafty.
Well anyway it got me thinking, why do I like to craft?

So far I came up with this:
-I like to make stuff; yes it's that simple, from a very young age I have loved using my over sized hands to make stuff, anything.

-I like the feeling I get from making stuff; after reading Handmade Nation book (Kandy got me Christmas!) I felt a little swell inside thinking about how I like to make things and how I like being part of this community where people spend time and effort making things, from sewing to cooking your tea (that's northern for dinner!). Just to sit back and think, yeah I made that with my own hands, is one of the proudest feelings ever.

-I'm good at making stuff; yep I can't deny it I'm good at making certain stuff, so I'm not going to hide a talent.

-I like the idea that in some ways I can be self sufficient; growing up I didn't have much money, so baking and making probably occurred more often because it was cheaper than buying (and my mum was brought up with those skills so taught me, more of that later), in short, it's nice to see something in a shop, and think I don't want to pay for it/can't afford to/would like it more if it looked like this, and so making it yourself.

-I want to carry on traditions passed down; my mum has taught me to bake and have basic sewing skills, she's taught me to decorate and put together furniture, her father, my Grandfather taught me a whole load of wonderful things to make, and I like the fact that these crafting skills have been passed from generation to generation.

-I want to reclaim crafts; yes I am a feminist and yes I like the idea of 50s housewives making everything form prawn cocktail to the soft furnishings, I also like to say I am crafting because I want to, not because I have to.

I'm having a mini craft clear out on a major auction site, go see

Check out this awesome of awesomeness that is our Kandy's debut video, knitatstic!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Quilts 1700-2010

This is typical of me! I have just realised I am writing a post about an exhibition the day after it has closed, that will teach me not to procrastinate so much and never plough through that 'to do list'.

Kandy and I thought we should soak up some culture on our last trip to The Big Smoke (for London zine symposium) so we headed to the V&A to check out the Quilts exhibition.

I have been meaning to get into Quilting for a couple of years now, more so that my love for and skills for hand sewing have grown. This exhibition just got my hands itching to stitch.

I particularly liked the really old quilts, the detail in those things is beyond belief, and the portrayal of stories in so many of them is exactly why I love hand sewing so much. We noticed it was quite easy to spot the ones stitched by females and the ones by males. The male ones being a lot more geometric and Uniform. Some so uniform they were stitched by soldiers using their uniform!!

Wasn't such a big fan of the modern quilts, but I'm not a fan of modern things in general!!! Saying that I was totally engrossed by a modern quilt that was stitched by the inmates of Wandsworth prison. Watching the documentary talking about quilting got me thinking I wanted to teach crafts to cons, I was having a John Waters moment.

Obviously we then went to peruse the gift shop which took a while, we finally settled on a pencil and brooch. I browsed through the books, but decided I'm still not ready to commit to learning how to quilt just yet.

And then we were off, stopping by at Hummingbird before hopping on a train back up norfffff, belly full of cake, mind full of stitching ideas!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Coolest couple in Ches.

Just got back from a weekend in Chesterfield, what's there aside from a crooked spire I hear you say, well only the coolest couple ever!!
We have
Kandy, who is not only one half of this here Sugar Paper but the mastermind behind Knit And Destroy. She has a super sweet new website up, that monsiuer Ben had a great hand in making. He is of course the other half of Chesterfield's coolest couple. Ben has also had a hand in the Sugar Paper pie, doing us a few illustrations and today helping us with some screen printing.
YES that's right we have been screen printing up a storm, all part of lots of exciting stuff going down at Sugar paper towers.....all to be revealed soon!