work blog about search

The Story 2013

Last Friday we were lucky enough to go along to The Story 2013 - a rather wonderful little one-day conference about stories and storytelling organised by Matt Locke. The Ministry of Stories were doing a short presentation about their work, and a portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales went to the Ministry too.

Matt asked us to create a small gift to give away to all the delegates on behalf of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, so we put together these pouches of Witches' Brews:

"Featuring some of the very rarest ingredients, our Witches’ Brews deliver perfect potions every time. This classic blend includes Scale of Dragon, Wool of Bat, and Scraping of Lipstick; wonderfully enhanced with Roasted Toenails, Plucked Fairy Wings, and of course, Blackberry Leaves. For each brew, simply steep one bag in a cup of boiling water for about 5 minutes, while chanting the appropriate spell or incantation."

The back of the packs featured the running order of the event:

(We'll be producing the Witches' Brews as a product for Hoxton Street Monster Supplies in the near future, so stay tuned.)

The conference itself was really fascinating, with many highlights.

It opened with the wonderful Edwyn Collins discussing his life after suffering a devastating stroke in 2005. He was chatting with director Ed Lovelace, who is putting together a documentary In your voice, in your heart, about Collins' journey back after the stroke.

A bit later, Laura Dockrill exploded onto the stage to talk about her new book Darcy Burdock. Laura's fantastic, and her reading from the book was electrifying.

After lunch, animator Ben Boucquelet spoke about the genesis of his totally brilliant TV show The Amazing World of Gumball, which airs on Cartoon Network. Based around a kid called Gumball Watterson (is that a nod to Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes?), and his family and friends, it's a glorious mish-mash of animation styles, all anchored in really brilliant storytelling - heartfelt without collapsing into sentimentality.

"The Wattersons are a totally normal family. Dad is a big pink rabbit who stays at home while Mom works at the Rainbow factory. Their kids are pretty standard too: there's Gumball, a blue cat with a giant head. Anais, a four-year-old genius bunny rabbit and Darwin, a pet goldfish who became part of the family when he sprouted legs."

Around them live a host neighbours and schoolfriends, who include Anton, a crumbly piece of toast; Alan the balloon who's in a doomed relationship with Carmen the cactus; Tina the T-Rex, who's the school bully; and Banana Joe, the happy fool. Here are a couple of short clips:

If you've more time though, check out this episode, where Gumball's dad gets a job, a situation which threatens the very existence of the universe:

Quite wonderful.

A bit later we were treated to more animated brilliance by Mikey Please, with his Bafta-winning short film, The Eagleman Stag:

Just brilliant.

Huge thanks to Matt for pulling together such a brilliant set of speakers. Already looking forward to next year.

posted: 28 February 2013
categories: Events | Ministry of Stories | Television
recommended reading

Ace Jet 170
One of the finest individual design blogs (it’s been going as long as we have!) from Irish designer Richard Weston. Covering found type, print and stuff.

Casual Optimist
If you want to know what’s happening in the world of book cover design, keep an eye on this excellent blog by Dan Wagstaff.

Creative Review
Covering design and advertising, CR has been running since 1981, under the editorship of Patrick Burgoyne since 1999. Essential reading.

Daniel Gray
Dan writes a column in Creative Review, and this is his consistently entertaining blog about design and suchlike.

Eye Magazine
The best graphic design magazine out there, from editor John L. Walters and art director Simon Esterson.

Flat File
A fantastic collection of online publications based on pieces from the Herb Lubalin Study Centre.

Grafik is the brilliant online magazine about all things graphic design, from writers Caroline Roberts and Angharad Lewis.

Justin’s Amazing World
Justin Hobson, of Fenner Paper, is a bona fide expert on paper & print, and a charming chap to boot. His blog features in-depth analysis of the projects he’s worked on, including a few of our own.
One of the oldest blogs on the web. And one of the best.

Lecture in Progress
An invaluable collection of wisdom from a range of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers et al. From the team that brought you It’s Nice That.

Spitalfields Life
The anonymous Gentle Author of this wonderful blog has promised to write 10,000 stories about the life & culture of Spitalfields in east London, writing one story each and every day.

St Bride Library
The St Bride Library houses one of the world’s finest collection of books (& related objects) about printing and design. It also hosts unmissable design talks and events.

Styling and Salvage
Rupert Blanchard is a mate of ours, and makes great furniture. This blog covers his projects, interests, and life in Margate.
Brooklyn-based designer Khoi Vinh has been writing insightfully about design, technology and culture since the turn of the millennium.

The Ride Journal
A glorious mix of the very best writing and illustration about all types of cycling. On an indefinite break now, but you can download past issues for free.