Africa craft Los Angeles pattern Textile

Jolly Fabric Bunting Tutorial

It’s a bit of an English tradition to break out the bunting for a happy occasion, so why not make your own in fabric as a keepsake? Here’s how to make jolly fabric bunting with lettering that you can use for a nursery or display on the mantelpiece to celebrate a holiday or changing seasons!

Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles

You will need:

Scissors, pinking shears or a rotary fabric cutting wheel and mat
Card or stiff paper to make a template
Cotton fabric – pick a few different patterns and colours that you are drawn to!
Thin iron-on batting for padding
Double width bias binding tape (I used quilting bias but a thinner one will also do) I used 2x 3ft packages.
Iron-on lettering (if desired)
Sewing machine and thread


Cut a template based on the size you would like for your bunting. I used 6 x 7 inch triangles.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
Cut the cotton into triangles with your scissors pinking shears or rotary cutter, add a quarter of an inch all around larger than the template for a margin.
Cut batting into triangles half an inch smaller than your template all the way around.
Choose two triangles of fabric, you can use the same fabric or mix it up. Pin two triangles back to back wrong side out. Sew the two sides together on the quarter inch margin, leave the short side open.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty AnglesAdd a triangle of batting and iron it on.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
Push the triangle the right way round, use something to poke the pointy end to a point, I found a chopstick was good for this. Iron the pennants so they are nice and flat.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
Arrange your triangle pennants in the order you would like them to appear on the bunting and tuck the top part inside the bias tape. Pin them in position, placing them 1 inch apart. Make sure you leave equal amounts of tape at each end of the banner for hanging.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
Take the bias tape and sew the the tape together all along its length close to the edges until you get to the pennants, then carefully removing the pins as you go, continue to sew along the edge of the tape, to secure the pennants in place.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
Voilà! your bunting is complete!
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
It looks really fun to add lettering, perhaps a baby’s name or a phrase, (congratulations?, happy birthday?) or something to welcome a season or a holiday. You can buy letters from Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Jo-Ann craft shops in the US, or online – I ordered 2 inch letters from Laughing Lizards, I like them because they have a masculine letterman feel but still shiny and fun, and were easy to iron in place.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles
You could also consider hand embroidering lettering or perhaps your sewing machine has an embroidery feature? Another way to add lettering is to hand or machine appliqué some fabric or add iron-on fusible web to cotton or felt. T-shirt transfer paper is also worth a try, cutting the letters out from a template you can create on your computer from any typeface that you like.

For my nursery bunting, I chose not to go with pastel shades and instead selected some African fabric from Ashanti Fabrics in the LA Fashion District and threw in some chevron patterned cotton from Michael Levine. I love how these Dutch wax cottons look so fun clashing together, and the rest of the room has a brightly coloured African-influenced theme.
Jolly bunting with clashing African Fabrics - Jaunty Angles

Drawing exhibition gallery Los Angeles museum

Getty Sketchbook

During down time at the Getty I like sketching in the galleries. As well as pursuing  a long tradition of sketching from master works,  it helps to quietly focus on an individual piece and allow you notice nuances otherwise overlooked, which is good practice when developing tours.

At Getty Center there is also a designated ‘Sketching Gallery’ where artwork and replicas are displayed with materials provided for anyone to come and draw.  The volunteers in there are so lovely and encouraging, it’s a veritable oasis of calm as visitors concentrate on their drawings.

After Jacopo Bassano, 'Portrait of a Bearded Man'
After Jacopo Bassano, ‘Portrait of a Bearded Man’
photo 2
After Jusepe de Ribera, ‘Euclid’
After Pietro Cipriani, 'Dancing Faun'
After Pietro Cipriani, ‘Dancing Faun’
California community event Los Angeles makeup portraits

Dia de los Muertos

I returned to one of my favorite events here in LA, the Day of the Dead festival held in the impressive surroundings of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This year I was more focused on photography (if you excuse the pun), shooting the spectacle on behalf of the organisers, rather than getting dressed up myself, which was great fun last year.

As the event was held early this year , (I suspect to avoid coinciding with Halloween parties) it was incredibly busy, a sensory experience – so many people with their own twist on the calaca costume, fun sparkly confections to buy, tasty morsels to sample, parades, and entertainers on a flamboyantly dressed stage. As the only cemetery in the US to hold a Day of the Dead festival, art exhibits inside the cathedral, rituals and dance performances on the lake,and altars nestled amongst the tombs and gravestones celebrate the unique location with both reverence and the spirit of fun. The community altars ranged from really moving dedications to ancestors or the military to cleverly humorous subjects including the dear departed dinosaurs, and demoted planet Pluto…
A selection of images are up over on my photography site

dance event Los Angeles

Samba Night!

Print work for a monthly Samba night in Venice Beach, California.

Brazil dance event Los Angeles music photography

Brazilian Day in LA

So much fun being back amongst the glitter and feathers, preparing for a samba parade! This time I was on the other side of the camera, instead of playing percussion with the bateria as I used to back in the UK,  as I was the official photographer covering Brazilian Day LA for organizers Samba Lá and the Brazilian Consulate in LA.  The event in Hancock Park was bigger than ever with two parades, a raft of performances and busy stalls selling authentic regional street food, and everything from Havaianas to  Contemporanea drums and ‘fio dental’ bikinis.

Renni Flores and Katia Moraes were such fun hosts with boundless energy and humour, singing numbers in Portuguese including the specially-created enredo (parade song) and presenting a really impressive array of performers. On stage were Capoeira masters to samba kids, cheeky Carmen Miranda dancers, and more with the bateria of Samba Lá sounding really tight, and samba and forró bands leading the partying all day with impromptu dance instruction.

Photography-wise there was so much to capture my eye – everyone’s costumes were exquisite for the big parade,  with popular sartorial choices for the crowd being confections in the patriotic yellow, green and blue flag.

The beautiful musa, madrinha, reinha, princesas and their consorts were such fun with the crowd and the elegant porta bandeira, the mestre-sala with the million dollar smile, and sunny tia baianas and passistas made the parade such a joy to photograph. The atmosphere took me right back to Rio’s Sambodromo during carnaval!

All the photos are up on the official site at Thanks to  David de Hilster and all involved, Can’t wait for next year! Images have also been used by the Page Museum, Los Angeles for their offical website, and their blog.

cinema film history Los Angeles

Reanimating Movie Theatres

Recognise The Palace Theatre? Picture it with Michael Jackson at the the top of his game skipping down the road taunting his date after a scary movie… Perhaps you didn’t watch ‘The Making of Thriller’ a million times on betamax when you were little but, er, I did. Before moving to LA, I had no idea the cinema in the seminal music video even existed, so I was excited to see that this one and many others were taking their cue from the breakdancing zombies and coming back from the dead to entertain us.

The Last Remaining Seats programme in Downtown LA is amongst a number of initiatives to reopen the doors of long closed and woefully neglected theatres on Broadway. In their heyday places like the 100 year old Palace or 1918 Million Dollar Theatre were celebrated landmarks but the decline of downtown led to their demise and closure. The efforts of the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Bring Back Broadway initiative and new buildings such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall have contributed to the regeneration of the area as more banks and historic buildings are gentrified into apartments, bars and shops. Many of the theatres are being renovated, opening for special events and available for hire.

The lure of historical uniqueness and some clever programming means more film-saturated Angelenos, used to high tech THX or IMAX 3D cinemas, are leaving their flat screens at home to rediscover the thrill of a night at the flicks, in some of the most amazing original environments.

So far I have been to events hosted at The Orpheum, The Los Angeles and The Million Dollar Theatre to see some classic films with Q and A sessions, and presentations by actors and producers – such a great way to make going to the cinema even more special in Tinseltown. It’s also good for the odd bit of celeb spotting, including Hugh Hefner who is in fact a big sponsor of the events. The theatre interiors themselves have starred in countless TV shows and films, doubling as European opera houses and the vaudeville stages some of them originally were built as.

The interiors are really something to behold, some a little more shabby chic than others, with lavish detailing such as rococo pink bathrooms, heavy velvet and brocade curtains,  monstrous chandeliers, and mirrored ballrooms.

Every Saturday there is a walking tour of the downtown area run by the LA Conservancy , I’m looking forward to booking one of those to learn more about the history of the area.

Los Angeles makeup

Los Angeles Day of the Dead

Viva el Dia de los Muertos! In LA, the Mexican Day of the Dead festival is celebrated with a large cultural event each year in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The tombs and graves of the rich and famous are interspersed with altars draped with colour-drenched floral garlands, evocative framed portraits and creative flourishes with little battery operated candles and fairy lights twinkling into the night.
I was first introduced to the tradition when I saw an exhibit in London’s Museum of Mankind, displaying altars with ofrendas (offerings) and explaining the significance of elements as as memento mori – but to be part of the event really brought the tradition to life, if you excuse the pun. The festival which originated in Mexico has such a unique aesthetic and exciting atmosphere – one of the worldwide traditions recognising the cycle of life, honouring and celebrating ancestors and the lives of those who have passed away, with music, dancing and specially created altars. Replete with skull and skeleton motifs the spirit is anything but morbid, rather, flamboyant – with a sense of humour and reverence at the same time. Some common elements of the altar construction are explained by this excerpt from the Hollywood Forever website:

* Earth is represented by the crop: The soul is fed by the various earthly aromas. Placing fruit or favorite family dishes on the altar provides nourishment for the beloved souls.
* Wind is represented by a moving object: Paper- Mache is commonly utilized to represent the echoes of the wind.
* Water is placed in a container for the soul to quench its thirst after the long awaited journey to the altar. Water is also used for the means of purification.
* Fire is represented by a wax candle: Each lit candle represents a loving soul, and an extra one is placed for the forgotten soul.
* Copal – Incense burned to commemorate Pre-Columbian history.
* The Cempasuchitl-Marigold known as “The flower of the dead” blossoms in the valleys of Mexico during the months of October and November with a bright yellow color and is central to altar decorating. This flower aids the spirits to wander back.
* Pictures are widely used in honor of the individual you are paying homage to.
* The Skull – The common symbol of the holiday is the skull which is celebrated and represented by decorative masks called calacas. In addition sugar skulls are also tastefully created and inscribed with the names of both the honored and living recipients on the forehead as a means to remind us of our own mortality.

In Hollywood Forever, community altars are constructed and awarded prizes, aside from family altars, this year some displays were constructed to honour famous figures such as Bela Lugosi or artists like Frida Kahlo. Everyone participating, and many visitors dress in Mexican, often vintage-inspired attire and paints their faces in intricate patterns with darkened skull-like eye sockets.

We got into the spirit of the occasion as I brought my family over to join in, With a pineapple cocktail in one hand, I painted our faces, and our costumes also served the Halloween party we were attending that night. I carried some dead flowers in a bouquet, and donned a veil to become the familiar Calaca Bride character, with glitter, face paint and a vivid coloured wig.

The event included a parade, dance and music performances on a decorated stage, and stalls selling traditional crafts such as sugar skulls, glittery ceramic skeleton figures and painted skulls, and variations on the theme from hair slides, to handbags and paintings. Delicious food stalls were dotted around, the scents mingling with the wafting incense.

On this night the belief is that the ‘veil’ is lifted between the realms of the living and the dead – it is easy to imagine the entombed stars of yesteryear revelling again, celebrating into the night under the palm trees, in view of the Hollywood sign.

Photos featuring me (in the orange wig!) were taken by Chris Cunningham

California Los Angeles photography

Production Stills

Selected production stills from an independent film short produced on location in the Hollywood Hills.

I documented the filming on set at a private residence often rented out for location shooting as a ‘castle’ with amazing views to the Hollywood sign and downtown Los Angeles.

The storyline, set in modern day, involved a murder mystery at a twenties-style themed dinner party. Directed by Rob Wood, with Dessil Basmadjian as Director of Photography.