Monday, August 20, 2007

Day 37 7/9/07

Depart Heathrow 4:00 pm

Today we leave for home and it is definitely a bittersweet day. I can’t wait to see my family and go home for Russell and Maryann’s wedding! Yet, this trip has been so unbelievable and I know I will never experience anything quite like it ever again. So many memories, I can’t wait to share with everyone back at home and between the VC class of ’08. It is all going to be over before I know it, but at least I know I have at least 15 close friends in this major who I can keep in tough with in the years to come. It is so great to have these connections and networks with in this major. I am anxious to see where we all end up in the years to come!

Day 36 7/8/07

A Day of Packing Up!

A few days ago we were all a little freaked out about the bombing attempts and 7/7/07, which made us all a little anxious to go home; however, I don’t think anyone is truly ready today. Our whole flat got so close this trip and we really lucked out getting to all live together. It is shocking how little drama or tension there was between us all seeing that we have spent 24/7 with each other for the past year, especially these past 5 weeks. I am really going to miss having these girls around all the time and having the guys there across the hall. It was funny though because there was definitely more tension and minor hostility between the guys then there was ever between us girls. It took me a whole day to pack but that’s cause I kept putting it off. Tomorrow we are leaving for the airport early because of all the heightened security.

Day 35 7/7/07

Today is the anniversary of the London tube bombings last year. Today is also the prologue of the tour de France London depart. I decided not to live in fear and take the tube this morning to Hyde Park to see the French market and a festival celebrating the tour. The French market was very cute and reminder of borough market. I ate burnt sugar then headed back to Trafalgar Square to watch the opening parade at 1:00 pm. At 3:00 pm I headed over to Portabello with Anthony to pick up some last minute gifts, then went back to Hyde Park to see the end of the individual time trials. It was pretty exciting, I really wish my dad was there with me to experience it because he would have really enjoyed it. So I bought him a shirt (that will have to do.)

Day 34 7/6/07

Friday-Court 1

We were woken up at 6:00 am by the Stewards to start cleaning up and moving in line to the stadium. At 11:00 am we finally had a mad rush into the stadium to buy our tickets. Since we were the first in line and the steward’s favorite "happy campers" we received the special treatment and were let in the gate first. Jill, Jilliam A, Jessie and I teamed up and got 4 tickets next to each other in row 4. The seats were amazing and I never thought I would ever sit so close to the players at any sporting event. I felt like I was almost sitting on the grass court. We watched the Bagdadis and Bodjovitch match, which was a great one to see because the two players were such a good match. It lasted 5 hours and went into overtime.

Day 33 7/5/07

Queuing up for Wimbledon

I never was really into tennis or really watched it for that matter but I decided to take a risk and experience the “Queuing up Adventure,” a long-lived VC tradition. Ten of us left at 12:00 noon today to start the 24-hour wait for 1st court tickets (center court was already sold out.) I figured it would be an experience, plus I really had nothing better to do…
So it turns out we arrived wayyy to early, were the first people in line and the only people in line till about 6 pm that night. OOPS! We didn’t realize it wasn’t the first day of Queuing up so doing so, so early, wasn’t nearly as vital. O’ well it was funny (for the first few hours at least). We were referred to by the stewards as the (now eight, two dropped out) happy campers.
So it was cold and rainy up until about 7 pm when we decided it would be a smart time to build a tent for the night. We use our one small tarp and our newly purchased trash bags to construct a rather pathetic (but at the same time impressive) make-shift-tent (the only people in line by the way with a hand-made tent.) But hey it stopped raining and a Norwegian camera crew, fascinated by our story and tent interviewed us for a short documentary on Wimbledon. That night it unfortunately got really cold and again we were forced to rely purely on body heat and our pathetic British Airway blankets. The extent to how unprepared we were to sleep overnight on the street was absurd, but a little wine and Strongborough helped us laugh off the night. I didn’t sleep that night but I wasn’t the only one. Anthony and I found some cardboard boxes on the street that gave us some cushioning to lie on, but it really just made us feel that much more like a homeless person. All and all, I would never do this again so unprepared, but the whole experience was worth it because we had an amazing time the next day.

Day 32 7/4/07

Goodbye Luncheon

Today we spent our last group visit together dining at an amazingly delicious Greek restaurant. I have never had such a meal consisting of three large courses and three hours of relaxing and eating. I was basically heaven, and a perfect way for us all to be together again for the last time until we return home. We toasted to a successful trip and thanked Bill and Ashley for all their hard work putting together the trip. Wine was on Ashley’s lovely wife Jen. After lunch, Bill took us on a walk up to strawberry hill where we could see the whole city of London. It was cold and windy but beautiful and a great chance for us to reflect on our whole trip. One last group photo and we were off!

Day 31 7/3/07

Free Day

Today I am laying low after two days of intense traveling. There has been two bombing attempts one at Glasgow Airport and another outside of a night club in Picadilly Circus. Because of all this I don’t really feel like traveling today, but I am sure I will calm down tomorrow. I also need to go to the Delaware center to retrieve a new tube pass.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Day 29 7/1/07

What a day…

So where even to start…well right now Alex and I are sitting in Girona, Spain airport. It’s 5:15 pm and were suppose to be home in London at 12:00 am this morning. Somehow however; (probably our own stupidity) OR (could have been a glitch in the system) our reservations got messed up. Bottom line, we were not on the list for the 10:05 pm flight last night. Instead, we were scheduled to fly home on the July 27th 2007. Only reason I think this may be a glitch is because several other girls apparently had the same problem earlier that day according to the customer service worker. Anyways, to make this situation even more convenient (total sarcasm) 40 minutes prior to finding out I wasn’t going home that night, and right before we were all in a frantic rush to get our tickets for the last bus to the airport from the metro station, I realized my wallet was missing from my bag. Due to noticing the hectic chaos of rush hour while traveling the metro, I noticed my wallet in my canvas bag. At that point I took it out and made sure to hide it under my other items in the bag so no one would be able to take it out. Apparently I would have been better off not even moving my wallet because someone must have saw me doing this and used their pick pocket skills to snatch it out of my bag as we were all scrambling out of the train. I knew the situation was sketchy from the moment we were about to step on the crowded car, because two man were arguing in Spanish and I believe, from what Jill and I could understand, one man claimed the other had stolen his wallet. According to Jill the “thief” then pushed the screaming man out of the car.
Regardless, this all happened so fast and we were all so flustered, tired, and in a rush to catch the bus to the airport. I thought I was being extra careful, but apparently not careful enough and next time I will put my wallet in a purse under my shirt like many travelers due. Anyways I lost 20 Euro, my bus ticket home from Heathro, 2 credit cards, my license, student ID and most painfully my $300 tube pass for the month. But hey it happens and I did my best to laugh it off with everyone and make the best of it on the way to the airport.
After all that, I was ready to leave London, but little did I know, 24 hours later I would be sitting in the same spot in the airport with Alex. Alex and I overall had to pay some odd $290 Euro together for a new ticket for 10:05 pm on July 2nd 2007. We wanted to be cheap and just sleep in the airport, but our parents convinced us not to and as it turns out the airport closes at 11:00 pm anyways. Sooo, we hiked across the street to the hotel Vilobi and booked the last room, which we thankfully got after being told by the attendant that there were no more rooms for the night and no other hotels in the area. We laughed it off, bought a “gourmet” dinner from the Airport cafĂ© and watched dubbed American movies in Spanish on our 8-inch hotel T.V.
I didn’t sleep much that night, but today we got up fairly early and made the best of our entire extra time in Spain by taking a bus to the city of Girona. What looked unpromising as we stepped off the bus at the station, turned out to be the most beautiful little city I have seen in Europe yet. We had a lovely day of exploring and eating lunch and to be honest at this point I don’t think we missed out on too much in London today. In Girona, the language is mainly Catalan and nothing was in English, which was pretty exciting. For the most part, people who speak Catalan speak Spanish as well so we were able to practice our Spanish. Now we have 5½ hours till our flight which is going to be a long wait but there is no doubt in my mind this duo wont make the best of it. Thank god Alex is with me to experience this crazy 24 hours.

Day 28 6/30/07

A Barcelona Reflection

Barcelona was an amazing city. I didn’t have much expectations or really much knowledge about the city at all seeing that I was planning on going to Greece until 2 weeks ago; however, the city did exceed any expectations I may of had. We stayed in a youth hostel in a happening part of the city next to Jaume metro stop and about a quarter mile from the famous Las Ramblas strip. We spent a little time everyday at the beach (about a 15 minute walk from the hostel), and spent our nights enjoying delicious late night sit down dinners on various beautiful outside terraces. The hostel served breakfast so we usually gathered some extra food from breakfast to hold us over for lunch so we could enjoy a nice dinner that night. The vacation was a perfect combination of relaxation by the water and time spent touring the city.
Las Ramblas is a street that runs off the beach with your classic street performers, artists and vendors. We walked down the Las Ramblas strip the first night to enjoy our first gelato, which I thought was just as tasty as the gelato in Italy. My favorite part about Barcelona; however, were the little side streets. I feel like I could live in the city for years and still continue to discover little shops, restaurants and gardens tucked away in little alleyways off the main streets. I loved going off on my own and exploring these little inlets.
The Picasso Museum was also located conveniently right behind our hostel so I was able to walk there the second day we were in Barcelona. The Architecture of the building was beautiful. The Museum was tucked away in one of these small alley ways and the entrance to the building looked and felt like a dark cave, which then opened up into a beautiful sunny courtyard. The permanent exhibit was huge and it was really cool to see a lot of Picasso’s early work, such as his figure drawings and nature studies, which I have not seen much of even in text books. The museum did a really good job showing us, through the exhibit layout, Picasso’s progression throughout the years and the different stages of his life.
Being in Barcelona I really got to experience siesta at its finest. I wish our culture did the same. Their “siesta” really makes the day so much more relaxing. It took a little getting used to this more relaxed lifestyle, and not to mention having to wait till at least 8:30 for dinner restaurants to even re-open, but I could really get used to eating dinner at 11:00 pm and having a few hours in the afternoon to relax. The first night we ate at “la crema canela,” an amazing restaurant recommended by the famous traveler Rick Stevens. A girl we met named Erin who we met the first night in the hostel took us there. The restaurant is famous for serving gourmet meals all for the most part under 10 Euro.
Barcelona certainly was short lived (although longer then planned for Alex and I,) I will explain THIS later, but definitely a city worth traveling again. I would also love to be able to use my Spanish more next time.

Day 27 6/29/07


Day 26 6/28/07


Day 25 6/27/07

5 Day break begins…
5:00 am Depart for Barcelona!

Day 24 6/26/07

12:00 Letterpress workshop at LCC

A professor named Alex held a letterpress workshop for us today at the LCC in their studio. There, we teamed up into groups of 3 or 4 and produced typographic posters based our interpretation of a headline we found in the newspaper. Christine, Jess Bogart, Jillian Abramson and I made a poster out of a poetic line we found in the newspaper, which read, “Girl meets girl. Girls drive off a cliff. The end.”

Day 23 6/25/07

12:00 London College of Communication

I really enjoyed our visit today to the London College of Communication. We got to see their undergraduate student show which I found very inspiring and definitely gained some ideas for projects I want to explore in the fall. I noticed many students in the show did a great amount of socially responsible projects to increase awareness in their community in the form of posters, books even instillation art. I particularly appreciated the project one student did on bottled verses tap water, the harmful consequences of water bottles to the environment, and the surprisingly sterile quality of tap water. The book and overall package design for a guide geared to new mother’s of a child with down syndrome was also really inspiring and I would love to do a similar project for woman in battered woman shelter’s. The LCC also has a great motion graphics department and this also inspired me to do more work in this medium. I thought it was really nice of them to hand out free DVD’s of all their work as well.

Day 22 6/24/07

Free Day

Today we have another free day so I am thinking of going back to Portabello and Borough market to buy some gifts for friends and family back home. I am thinking of checking out Camden tonight since I have not experienced that part of the city yet.

Day 21 6/23/07

Ian Mortimer

Rosie Alex and I were invited today by Bill and Ashley to visit Ian Mortimer in his impressive letterpress studio. Mr. Mortimer was a very cute and animated old man with a strong passion for letterpress and printmaking. I felt honored to be able to see his collection of old presses as well as his collection of printed decorative or ornamented type, which was only printed a few times in order to be placed in an archive. Ashley, his wife Jen, and Bill treated us to a glass of wine afterwards. It is so nice to be able to have this close relationship with my professors and I am glad they care enough to schedule these more intimate visits.

Day 20 6/22/07

10:00 Richard Kindersley

Today we went to see a man who specializes in the old craft of stone carving. His studio was small but peaceful and surrounded by beautiful gardens. It was so amazing to actually watch people in his workshop carve text into large slates of stone. You appreciate a carving so much more knowing somebody took the time to carefully chip away at the stone with a hammer and chisel. It is also a relief to know this old craft has not died out and that people generally still appreciate the value of the hand-made.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Day 19 6/2107

10:30 John Brown Publishing

Today Jeremy, the creative director of John Brown Publishing spoke to us about the work they produce how they cater to their diverse list of clientele. Their clients range from Disney and kids magazines to more classy clients such as food illustrated and Carlos, a magazine for the upper class customers aboard Virgin Atlantic. He described how the design of a magazine geared toward customers of a bank who earn over a certain amount a year will most likely appear more elegant, classy and less pushy in a marketing sense than a magazine geared toward the middle class such as food illustrated. I loved the firm’s idea for a children’s encyclopedia entitle “Pick me up.” It’s an interactive book that works similar to a website in that one sections leads the reader to another through directions similar to hyper-links. Jeremy gave us good advice on handling client’s briefs when he said, “It’s not whether a company client has a creative brief, it’s what you do with it that makes the piece creative. You can have a dull brief by a client but you can still pull highly creative but simple piece out of it.”

Day 18 6/20/07

10:00 writing workshop with Wendy

Wendy does writing for the Web and radio as well as some journalism work but her writing specializes in design and culture specifically fashion. She likes the challenge of radio because she has to paint the picture for people when telling a story strictly through words and no visuals. She believes the best radio features are on a simple topics or ideas; however contain a thread that connects the whole story. Writing for the radio according to Wendy includes investigation, research and then the freedom of creativity in producing the short and sharing your research. Wendy gave us great advice on writing for the radio; however, was also extremely inspiring for her diversity of occupations and life experiences. Not only is Wendy a writer, but she has done fashion show production work as well as PR work for a burlesque company working as their media liaison officer.

Day 17 6/19/07

10:00 Kerry William Parcel

This morning we visited Kerry William Parcel a writer and author for Baseline magazine specializing in biographies. His first article was written about Alexey Brodovich a Russian photographer, and designer who did much editorial work for publications such as Harper's Bazaar. Kerry admired Brodovich because he shook up fashion photography by getting models to look candid for the first time, as opposed to contrived. Brodovich also stressed the true importance of cropping an image and was one of the first to use new technologies in photography.

Day 16 6/18/07

Serpentine Galleries

This morning we went to the Serpentine Galleries in Hyde Park and saw an exhibition about the 7 days of creation. I didnt really understand much of it but there were some really cool looking projection art in this small show.

11:00 Cafe with Bill

12:00 Royal College of Art Masters show

The Royal College of Art show was really amazing today. It was by far the largets student art show I have ever attended and also exhibited the most variety in terms of concentrations. I saw everything from simple ceramics to automotive industrial design. I was particularly impressed with a lot of the furniture design such as some chairs designed by one graduate, which were designed to be stacked into shelves. These chairs/shelves were very practical yet at the same time took on very interesting and pleasing forms when stacked. The show was a bit overwhelming in size and caliber, but so inspiring. A lot of the artists seemed very set in their style and to really of found their niche in the art/design world. I look forward to the day where I have my own style and unique strengths, which others hopefully admire.

Day 15 6/17/07


Leeds Castle
Kent, England

The other morning, twelve of us bought tickets to Leeds Castle in the London Countryside. The castle was originally built in the 13th century. It was beautiful and really nice to have a chance to get out of the city for a whole day. Anthony, Alex and I somehow got separated from the group and missed the 1st train, but it worked out because a very generous couple overheard us on the bus and offered us a ride to the castle to speed up the journey. So, we took them up on their offer and were able to meet up with everyone else when we arrived at the castle.

Day 14 6/16/07

Free Weekend Begins

Saturday-Portabello Market

This outdoor flea market was amazing. It runs down the whole length of Portabello st. in Notting Hill and has anything from jewelry, fresh produce, to handmade clothes and antiques. I bought a handmade blouse for 10 pounds. We didn't even make it through the whole market because the street was so long but it's definitely worth going back to.

Day 13 6/15/07

12:30 Baseline Magazine

This morning we took the train out to the country of London to East Mulling UK to visit the owners of Baseline Magazine in a beautiful mid 16th century house. Baseline Magazine was created in 1997 and concentrated at the time on typeface design. This magazine tries to maintain individuality in typesetting design and layout for example in the grid structure of the typesetting. The magazine serves more as a keepsake compared to other design magazines with its unique large size, jacket which folds out into a poster, and a that binding allows the reader to keep page spreads open. There is a variety in page colors, textures, papers, and typesetting from page to page allowing the reader to gain inspiration and be exposed to numerous different layout styles in one issue making the magazine a valuable reference tool for designers.

Day 12 6/14/07

10:30 Abby Road

This morning we all met at Abby Road where we all hung out and had fun taking pictures crossing the road just like the Beatles once did for the Abby Road album cover.

7:00 Grahamn Fink

This evening Grahamn Fink gave us a great motivational talk on advertising and working as a designer in general. Grahamn used to work at Saatchi and Saatchi but as been at Grahamn Fink for 18 months now.
Some motivational words from Grahamn

“Stop worrying what the fuck people think of you and magical things will happen. ”

“Stop trying so hard trying to impress people, relax and good ideas will come.”

“Where do good ideas come from? The always come when you are not trying; in the shower, on the toilet etc. Its not your idea, it comes at you when your not trying almost like a creative spirit.”

Grahamn made a good point that nothing is truly original and quoted Coco Chanel when she said, “Only those with short memories claim originality.”

“Its easier to complicate then to simplify, there are over 750 words in the English dictionary but often at times you only need one.”
“Don’t lead yourself to saying, ‘I knew that was going to happen,’ prevent it by going with your instinct. BE YOURSELF. Don’t try to be like other people. Being yourself, it’s the hardest thing you can do, but go with your gut.”

Day 11 6/13/07

10:30 Punk Show
“Panic Attack! Art in the Punk Years”

This morning we all met up to see a Punk Show featuring art in the “punk years,” much of it was very graphic, but I got excited when I saw a large painting by Keith Harring, who has been a favorite artist of mine since I was a child. The piece was created in 1983 and was part of the east village scene and graffiti art. I mainly appreciate Harring for his graffiti work, but this is the first time I saw one of his original paintings in person.

6:00 Rob Shepard talk
Owner of Faulkners paper supplies

Faulkner’s has a direct link to William Morris, the founder of the Arts and Crafts movement and the art worker’s guild.

Day 10 6/12/07

10:00 Michael Johnson

This morning we visited Michael Johnson owner and creative director of Johnson Banks, a small graphic design firm specializing in branding for mainly local British companies, organizations and institutions. He showed us his most recent work, which included the re-design of the British Film Institute logo and re-inventing the attitude of an organization entitled “Save the Children” from a passive aggressive to a more optimistic “get involved” approach. In re-creating the branding for this organization Johnson took an innovative approach to design by having young school children re-draw over the existing gill sans logo. Johnson gave us good advice during this visit stating “you can learn a lot from watching other people, so work for many other people, then think about starting your own work. I had 8 jobs in 8 years."