When I was in Rio de Janeiro three years ago, I came across a man working from a little shack by the side of the road. His shack was full of treasures – all wood and plastic junk ready to be recycled and transformed into magical people and animals (check out the first three photos.) I fell in love with the little sculptures, crudely nailed together, and knew at that moment I would one day teach kids how to make them somewhere else in Latin America. The other day we had our first robot workshop and here is what we made.



Hubi’s art…from my hospital bed

This post is dedicated to the very special and lovely Hubi, who flew back to Austria today after a month in Guatemala. For the last few days he’s been looking after me in Antigua whilst I’ve been struck down with Dengue Fever (thankfully recovering in hospital now and jelly for breakfast + cable TV = luxury!).

Hubi made a whole new range of products for our tienda and inspired us and the kids and the whole community loads with his passion and creativity and humour. And who made me a bed in four hours from old pieces of wood! Here are some of the amazing products he made – all from things he found…and lots of superglue! The seed and sand rings and pumice stone turtles we are definitely going to make more of.

These are light drawings that Hubi made with a long exposure

And a shark illustration…

He is convinced my surfing will improve leaps and bounds if I use a long board instead of a ‘surfer chic’ short board, so I have promised I will do (for at least a week). Safe journey Hubi and hope to see you again soon….

Now…back to getting better…(and trying not to look too hard at the volcano paintings on the wall when my fever starts up again…..)

Leg photo shoot and further news


I’ve been back in London for over a week and lots has happened.

1. I took a trip to Whitstable and had fun hanging with the Oxberrys. David is a professional photographer who has a great blog and I asked him to take photos of my scars from my bike accident last year for my claim against the nasty driver who drove into me.

I also helped David break his detox diet with the consumption of many fried fish and some local ale, followed by cake at the very cute Windy Stores. We watched Archipelago and I triumphed in being the only man standing (well, not asleep). I only fall asleep in exciting, action films like Pulp Fiction not painfully slow and boring ones like that. It was also fun to take a ride to Turkey on Edie’s flying carpet.


2. I met Carla for a Colombian lunch in Brixton market. We worked at Futureversity together and have always dreamed of doing something together, in South America. She has a background as a product designer and made this cool foldable seating. We met when we made a  sculpture of London out of food, during Eat London by LIFT. We are thinking of starting out in Chile and seeing what we can make happen. We are looking to use workaway or wwoof to find our first base, where we can help an existing eco-business and learn some practical outdoorsy skills while we conceive our own ideas. Exciting!

3. I cleared out my attic and took clothes to Traid in Wood Green. I left some old shelves outside my flat, for the taking, and within minutes a man drove up in a Thames Water van and asked if he could use them in his garage.He is a big collector of vintage objects, has a classic convertible and 3 domes used in 1960s petrol stations. It was a great chat – a daytime chat that is just not possible when you’re doing the 9-5.

4. I avoided a gas explosion in my flat.

5. I went to the Grayson Perry exhibition with Claire. It was beautiful, innocent, clever and inspiring. 

I loved his pot about contemporary trash culture – a sacred physical relic of our crazy culture to be cherished one day by our descendants.

6. I met the lovely Felipe at Hub Kings Cross, who has conceived of the website Pangea Sostenible which maps best practice in the fields of social technology – agriculture, fair trade, finance and eco-tourism.  He has spent the last 10 months touring South America interviewing the creators of interesting projects. He gave me loads of contacts in South America and confirmed my first place to go – Chiloe – an island off Chile – which has a very strong sense of community and a burgeoning eco-tourism industry.

7. I made the decision to rent my flat for a year. Eek! I can come back earlier, of course, and stay somewhere else for a while. But I’m going to give my new life a real shot.

8. I spent a lovely day in Dorking with 3 of the Portugal crew, hosted by Tom Smith. He took us on a walk up a hill and to meet his eccentric friend Jeremy who shared his passion for Number Stations – crazy spy talking over short radio waves.


Art from tupperware: Choi Jeong-Hwa

Just discovered the installation artist Choi Jeong-Hwa thanks to Colossal and love how he uses junk and old and found materials to make art.

I love absolutely love the aesthetic of this: Doors

This is what he says about his practice: ‘I couldn’t really draw so I didn’t think I could become a painter, but I really liked walking. So I used to walk between streets and narrow alleys and discover garbage piles and construction sites. I realized that “normal” people built and created things better than artists or professionals. Plus, what they were making was more natural. I decided against becoming an artist and decided instead to be an ordinary person who thinks like an artist.’

‘I like working with worthless materials. I like doing things outside of art museums. I dislike the whole pay system of museums and prefer working and interacting with people outside.’

His other projects include Happy Happy – sculptural installations in bright colours made from tupperware

and Gather Together – art installations made from the junk consumed by spectators at the Seoul Olympics

First placement: art show in a wine factory

During the third week of our stay here, Janki and I offered to help out the local gallery to hang a big show of Algarvian artists in Lagoa.

This was a brilliant experience as we met loads of great people, had the best bifanas so far and were given the chance to curate lots of different types of artwork in an unusual space.

The building is used to store (and make) wine and the project is an inventive collaboration between Rolf (the gallery owner) and the wine factory. He saw the potential for the audience who go and buy wine to be those who buy art so he proposed that it becomes a big gallery too. They agreed. The Algarve seems to lack movers and shakers so it was great to see this kind of thing happening. The exhibition changes quarterly and costs around 30 Euros for artists to take part. They are growing the database of contributing artists so the quality is still quite diverse.

The people we met:

Rolf is a German ex travel writer, superb networker and charisma. Once Janki and I had proved ourselves with nails, hammers and a creative flair, he trusted us to hang the ‘eclectic’ range of work however we wanted.

Janki and I with Rolf

Johanna is his coordinator – a lovely German lady married to a Portuguese guy who she now has two gorgeous kids with – Riccardo and Marta.I have now formed an independent friendship with her – she cooked me semolina meat soup a few nights ago and I did puzzles with the kids in Portuguese. I am going to hang out more with her to practice Portuguese while her kids are swimming.

Pablo is a charming and bright Portuguese/ German actor who sells the artwork to tourists and who looked after us brilliantly. He also leads Prostigo – an association of young creatives who live in Monchique and whose first event was a pool jazz party at Frank’s last year. We would like to work with them but they are in the middle of a battle it seems.

These are great contacts for my time here. Such lovely people. We went to the opening and had a great time, feeling like we contributed to the success.Rolf has asked me to hang the next exhibition tomorrow but I already have committed to running a group session at the Quinta. Shame.

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