knitted squid on telly + audrey niffenegger + a greenwich treasure + kidnapping philip reeve…

Phew, a lot’s happened in the past few days. Today I am going to do some real work.

To start off, my lovely studio mate, Lauren O’Farrell went on from her Stitch London book launch to appear on the Alan Titchmarsh Show with Perri Lewis (my Guardian editor for Vern and Lettuce) and Plarchie the squid. Look, that’s the phone box they graffiti knitted! You can see more pics over on the Fleece Station blog and, if you’re in the UK, watch it again on ITV Player (they’re the very first guests).

Last night I met up for dinner in Soho with two lovely writers: Hayley Campbell (whom you may recognise if you ever shop in Gosh! London) and Audrey Niffenegger. (You can read my fangirl goings on in an earlier post here.)

I first came to Audrey’s work through her novels, but she started her career as a visual artist, and I’ve come to admire her graphic novels, drawings, paintings and prints (mostly etchings), which you can see on her website. It’s such fun having a good gab with people who love the smell of ink.

I’m going to be doing a piratey event at the Cheltenham lit fest on Saturday (which was where i first met Audrey), which is great, but it means I’m absolutely gutted to be missing her event that evening at the French Institute in London. I don’t know if there are any tickets left, but if you can get one, GO! She’ll be showing work by the magnificent Aubrey Beardsley and a lot of her own work that’s been influenced by his. If you go and do a blog write-up, please send me a link, I’d love to read about it and link your post. (Details here.)

Another good thing that happened yesterday! I was doing my sketch in Greenwich Park, but I sort of lost concentration after about ten minutes and went for what I thought was going to be a quick wander through the antiques market. But I discovered the most wonderful new shop, full of original screen printed gig posters, movie posters and art prints. It’s called The Flood Gallery and I’m so glad it’s moved here! There’s some great stuff in there.

Here’s the owner, Chris Marksberry and employee Michael Cowell, who turns out not only to be a printmaker and illustrator himself, but a big comics fan. Hurrah!

The first print that stopped me in my tracks was by Chicago-based printmaker Jay Ryan, and I’m a big fan of his. (I love his book 100 Posters, 134 Squirrels and, as it would happen, he’s a friend of Audrey’s, something I found out that evening.) I took this photo, intending to blog to you, ‘look at the amazing Jay Ryan print you can buy, the colours and textures are so wonderfully lush’, but no, you can’t buy it now because, um, I have it. (Eek!)

Here’s Michael with one of his prints:

The shop’s lovely, being just on the edge of the market. And Greenwich Market is fabulous, so do have a peek in if you’re in the area.

There’s another Jay Ryan print on the bottom left:

And here’s a tester print of the same picture – where Jay was trying out the colours and overlapping different prints – which is a beautiful art object in its own right.

I’m glad I got there when I did, as this Arctic Monkeys print by Jay had already just been bought.

Right, so another thing I did since my last blog post was to pop along to the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award Ceremony. Partly so I could meet the Librarian of the Year, the most excellent Carol Webb

… but mostly so I could kidnap the speaker, Phliip Reeve. I have a recording of the fabulous talk he gave about the importance of libraries and a reading from his amazing upcoming book, Goblins, but he won’t let me post it, so you’ll have to go over to his Facebook page and harass him about it. Here we are with our Scholastic UK managing director, Alan Hurcombe.

Philip and Kevin Crossley-Holland had a mutual fanboy moment and swapped books, and Philip nabbed me a copy of Kevin’s Bracelet of Bones and said I must read it. Cool.

Kidnapping accomplished! Here are Philip and me on the Hungerford Bridge with my fab friend from university days, Laura Waldrop, who’d just flown in from Tokyo. The three of us had an amazing long cobblestoned ramble down the river, in the golden sunlight, all the way from the West End to the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe. Stuart met us for dinner at a restaurant next to the museum, called Simplicity, where, besides the food being very tasty, the waitress had the most amazing long earrings and fingernails.

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