Meet the makers: Kaylene Alder

Makerhoodie Kaylene describes herself as a “displaced/misplaced Canadian who has found a home in good ole Londontown”.  She lives in Brixton with her husband and two cats, Fury and Kafka, who were very keen to be part of this interview, as you can see from the photo!

kaylene-alder2Every month Kaylene provides an illustration for Brixton Bugle, based on an idea suggested by a reader, and her first solo exhibition “for some time” is about to open at Studio 73 in Brixton Village. Kaylene also illustrated the newly published Recipes from Brixton Village, written by Miss South, another Bugle contributor.

How did you get involved with the recipe book?

I got called by the publisher, who saw my stuff in the Bugle. Although Miss South also writes for the Bugle, I didn’t know her before this. We sat in the market and had a chat, took photos of the traders and chatted to everyone. They gave me a list of what they wanted, I did about 50 illustrations and just handed them over. So I didn’t see what the book looked like till it was published!

Have you tried any of the recipes yet?

I’m not yet convinced by African land snails! But I really like Asian food, so I’ll probably try the recipes from KaoSarn and Okan first.

Tell us about your exhibition.

The theme is “Ships in Small Water”. A friend suggested the idea, and it appealed to me because it’s a bit funny. I’ve done seven screen prints and it’s been a challenge! I’m still learning about screen printing, and I decided to do them on brown paper, which is thin, and it rolls up, it’s slippery, it moves around – it’s very fiddly! And they’re all three colours, so with seven prints that’s 21 layers! But I’m very happy with how they’ve come out.

So it’s been a very busy time for you.

Yes – because I work as an art teacher four days a week so I do the printing after work and at weekends. Recently, I’ve been illustrating educational materials for the South London Botanical Institute but have otherwise had a bit of time to think about new work and this exhibition which has been great.

Recipes from Brixton Village is available at Brixton Village, good local booksellers and direct from Kitchen Press, price £15.99.

“Ships in Small Water” is at Studio 73, Brixton Village, from 19 to 28 May.

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Online shopping can help revitalise the high street

Mary Portas’s review of the future of our high streets highlights that online shopping has contributed to the demise of town centres.

But the work we have done with Makerhood shows that online sites can also help revitalise interest in buying locally.

Makerhood market stall
Photo by Andy Broomfield

Launched in July 2011, brixton.makerhood.com helps shoppers in Brixton and nearby areas of south London find local makers and producers.

Our website currently lists more than 540 items from local makers, ranging from biscuits and greetings cards to T-shirts, prints and bedside cabinets. Prices start at 80p for a Brixton postcard and go up to £1,400 for a piece of wall art.

But Makerhood is about more than selling online. We worked with the Brixton Market Traders Federation (BMTF) to help set up the monthly Brixton Makers’ Market on the second Saturday of every month. The success of this has encouraged the BMTF to launch themed markets on other Saturdays.

And Makerhood has collaborated with other venues in Brixton too, including:

  • an exhibition of Makerhood artists at the Lounge
  • a sell-out local makers’ forum at the Living Bar, offering business advice from experts in markets and small design businesses to help their makers establish sustainable business practices
  • pop-up stalls in Brixton Village in the run-up to Christmas.
Makerhood makers forum
Photo by Andy Broomfield

These events all contribute to the revitalisation of Brixton town centre and its reputation as a creative hub of south London.

Kristina Glushkova of Makerhood says: “Small creative businesses often can’t afford a high-street shop, especially when they’re just starting up. As well as offering them an opportunity to sell online, we’ve helped set up the monthly Makers’ Market and pop-up stalls in Brixton Village.

Photo by Andy Broomfield

“There’s a real creative buzz around Brixton at the moment and we’re proud that we’ve done our bit to help put it on the map.”

Final call for contributions to our online survey

Update. Wonderful news: Nadia Gilani of South London Press is doing a piece on Makerhood for Tuesday’s edition! We’ve extended the survey so that SLP readers could contribute their views.

Thanks to everyone who has entered our online survey which Karen wrote about previously. We’ll be closing the survey on Thursday, 26th May. So, if you’ve not entered yet, then please do!

A reminder that one entrant, chosen at random, will get a lovely hamper from the Brixton deli CornerCopia.

Of course this won’t be the only chance to feed into the development of Makerhood, but we won’t always be able to offer you such a lovely prize as our way of saying thank you!

Remember, it’s just ten questions, and will take about five minutes of your time to complete. If that.

Go on, you know you want to….

Our beautiful banner image by Alice Angus


The Makerhood blog banner comes from this drawing of Brixton Village by Alice

You might have noticed the banner on the Makerhood blog. The illustration that always sits at the top of the page whether you’re reading about improvised pantomime or pork pies. Beautiful isn’t it? The use of that illustration was a gift to us by its maker, Alice Angus. Alice isn’t a south London girl so perhaps it’s a bit cheeky to use it on the Makerhood blog, but as it’s a drawing of Brixton market I figured you wouldn’t mind..


The set of 6 drawings Alice made in Brixton Market

Alice is one of the directors of Proboscis and an illustrator. Last year, Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network invited her to spend a week in Brixton Village making sketches and drawings of what she saw there. For the Makerhood blog we’ve used a part of the drawing at the top of this post. It’s a little hard to tell from the section we’ve used but Alice builds up her drawings layering scraps of different papers, black and white ink sketches and colour. I think they’re beautiful.


Detail from one of the Brixton Village / Granville Arcade drawings

I used to work with Proboscis and I’ve known Alice a long time now. When Kristina and I were talking about setting up the blog we couldn’t think of a better image to represent Makerhood than one of Alice’s drawings of Brixton market (this was before we met any Brixton-based illustrators). I was quite shy to approach Alice about using one of the drawings as we couldn’t afford to buy it or pay for it so I was thrilled when she said we could use one anyway. This spirit of generosity and willingness to share with others is something we’ve met again and again as we’ve worked to set up Makerhood. I hope one day Makerhood will have a chance to pass on some of the good will we’ve received to others.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Alice’s drawings (and you really should!) you can take a look at her Flickr account or email her on alice(at)proboscis.org.uk to find out about exhibitions, sales and so on.

Alice also has a blog for her ‘As it Comes’ project exploring the role of independent shops and Lancaster in Lancaster, see it at http://lancasterasitcomes.wordpress.com/