Action. Art. Adventure
This magazine would not have been possible without the help and support of everyone who believes in Coven and what we are doing. A HUGE thanks to all our contributors, readers and advertisers. PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY Coven Press For enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Will Melling
I've spent so much time working on a magazine extolling the virtues of activity, adventure and fulfilment that I've spent the whole year at this computer and allowed the seasons to flash by. So I'm off to enjoy the myriad Autum hues, the crunch of the first frost and the earthy scent of the leaves breaking down. And I'll leave you to relax with our third issue without too much waffle from me. Enjoy! - Juliet
EDITOR/PUBLISHER/DESIGNER Juliet Elliott WORDS Andrew Hartwell, Hannah Bailey, Gemma Lacey Maisie Hill, Gemma Ford, Kat Hart, Jess Duffy, Angie Marino
PICTURES Lydia Garnett, Matt Georges, Sven Martin, Suzi Kemp, Will Melling, Sam Mellish, Lindsay Hale, Suzi Kemp, Rebecca Kaye, Matt Georges, Lucia Griggi, Rebecca Doolan
Cover: Rebecca Kaye www.rebeccajkaye.com This page: Lydia Garnett www.lydiagarnett.com All rights reserverd. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form without permission from the publisher. The opinions of authors do not neccesarily represent those of the publisher
12 Hells Belles Battling it out on bicycles 17 Oh, Jennifer The Royal Trux frontwoman’s new denim collection 21 Knight Mills Sascha Knight’s Navajo interiors 24 Rachel Atherton The mountain bike champion’s battle against injury 30 Spencer O’Brien The Canadian snowqueen powered by PG Tips 38 Carol Martori The magic of storytelling through the eyes of the editor 40 Ashley Fiolek Bringing motocross to the mainstream 52 Travel As Wild As You Want In the Aosta Valley 60 Back To School Our Editor finally gets to ride motocross 64 Katrin Berge The Norwegian illustrator dreams of escape 70 Who Needs Pixels When You’ve Got Particles? Hannah Bailey talks analogue cameras 72 Remember You Always When Lydia Garnett met Mireia Roelas 80 Valerie Phillips “Girls give less of a shit”
We’re after every piece from the Element Eden AW collection, but top of our list are these ‘Eve’ pants, £53 (above).
We’ve loved these backpacks since we first spotted them on Scandinavian exchange students when we were kids. Now we can finally get our hands on our own in one of 28 colours. Fjallraven ‘Kanken’ £55 www.fjallraven.com
Our handpicked Autumn favourites
Our favourite for a woodland stroll with a flask and map of the stars. Quicksilver Women ‘Sail’ Cardigan. £53 www.quiksilver.co.uk
DESIRE We’re pairing our favourite new Vans kicks with denim cut offs and a huge fleece. Yes, a fleece. Vans ‘Mohican’. £53 www.vans.com
Paralympic Handcyclist Karen Darke’s exploits in ‘Boundless’ include scaling ‘El Capitan’, sit-skiing across Greenland and kayaking around the rocky shores of Corsica, incredible feats of strength and endurance. With only her arms to propell her, Karen faces challenges, hardship and fear head on . www.karendarke.com/boundless
The new Vulpine women’s merino baselayer is light, beathable, cosy and warm and the natural fibres stay fresh for longer than synthetics. Big thumbs up from us. £75 www.vulpine.cc
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and sales from Volcom ‘Clove Ins’ jacket benefit charity Boarding For Breast Cancer. £179.99 at Surfdome www.surfdome.com
WE LOVE Frustrated with a lack of style in many women's wetsuits, Elsie Pinniger dived headfirst in to the world of wetsuit design, sketching up and hand-making her own creations under the moniker, ‘Neon.’ With people begging for one of her eye-catching suits, her designs are set to make a splash in stores from next year. www.neonwetsuits.com This cute little fella from Knog is surely the sweetest way to light up your Winter commute. Knog ‘Blinder 1.’ £23.99 www.knog.au
The Bird Bottle Cage (left) from Portland Design Works is top of our xmas wish list. $20 www.ridepdw.com
Tour De France nutritionist, Dr Allen Lim and chef Biju Thomas bring you ‘fast and flavourful food for athletes’ in The Feedzone Cookbook. The uncomplicated, highly nutritious recipes deliver power and energy whilst steering clear of wierd supplements and fads. We love the to pack one of the homemade rice cakes on our training rides. www.feedzonecookbook.com
ESSENTIALS CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Vans ‘Clouded’ Scarf - £30, We Are Knitters ‘Knit Your Own Snood Kit’ £59.99 from Surfdome, Coal ‘Coco’ Mittens - £23.99, Vans ‘Beat Brim’ Hat - £35, Coal ‘Addie’ Arm Warmers - £32.99
The Surf Trip Survival Handbook talks you through what to do in varierty of situations we hope we’ll never encounter. From shark attacks to jellyfish stings, hangovers to reef rash, this handy tome will ensure you’re prepared for every eventuality. www.surftrip-survival-guide.com
Show And Tell
SNOWBOARDS CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Rome ‘Factory Rocker’ £249 - Sizes 149, 152, 155, 158, 161. Burton ‘Lipstick’ £395 - Sizes 141, 145, 149, 152, 154. Capita Space Metal Fantasy. £329 - Sizes 140, 143, 145, 147, 149. Endeavour ‘Boyfriend’ £329 - Sizes 142, 145, 148, 151. K2 EcoLite, £435 - Sizes 145, 148, 152, 155.
A t t h e B o a r d t e s t i n K a u n e r t a l , w e p u t a w h o l e h o s t o f t h i s s e a s o n ’s o f f e r i n g s t h r o u g h t h ei r p a c e s , p i t t i n g t h e t r a di t i o n a l a g a i n s t t h e n e w s c h o o l , t h e flexible against the responsive and sorting the wheat from the chaff. With a r i g o r o u s t e s t i n g s c h e d u l e o f o u r ow n , p l u s a c c e s s t o t h e a l l t h e d a t a c o l l a t e d b y s n ow b o a r d m a g a z i n e , T h e R e a s o n , w e ’ v e w h i t t l e d d ow n o u r f a v o u r i t e s t o b r i n g y o u o u r t o p f i v e W i n t e r 1 2 / 1 3 s n ow b o a r d s .
Bons Baisers De Biarritz
Inspired by the book Biarritz created by Yves Hottes and J a c qu e s B a r i s i n 1 9 9 0 , V i n e n t Balhadere set out to pay homage t o t h e Fr e n c h A t l a n t i c t ow n o f the same name by capturing the w e l l k n ow n s i g h t s a n d t h e u ni qu e characterful personalities who inhabit it. His goal? To h o n o u r B i a r r i t z a t t h i s v e r y m o m e n t i n t i m e a n d s h ow c a s e t h e t ow n ’s s o u l a n d m a g n e t i c a p p e a l .
Tasked with interpreting Vincent’s vision and adding her own outsider’s perspective, photographer Crista Leonard spent several long weekends over the summer capturing the shops, bars, restaurant owners and local characters in the seaside town wedged between the Ocean and mountains. Crista told me more about the collaborative process. “I met Vincent Balhadere a couple of years ago through my friend Sally Braid, who is also a part of this project. Vincent and his friend Alix had been thinking about doing this book for a long time, he’d grown up with a book published in the early nineties on Biarritz, and had often thought of paying a sort of “homage” to this book and to their home, so they pretty much had a fully formed idea when they approached me about shooting the photos. But for the actual shoot, it was always about getting a more objective, outside vision of Biarritz so I tried to interpret Vincent’s ideas through my eyes. Biarritz pretty much rhymes with chic and beauty in France, it has that sleek, French allure in contrast to the wild ocean and I had a feeling a book on Biarritz might be appealing but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how far reaching the book’s appeal has been. Biarritz offers everything; surf, amazing food, beauty, wilderness and culture. The whole project was self funded which was another reason it was such a pleasure to be a part of, I like that notion of purity and passion, of doing something genuinely out of love. It’s the first book I’ve ever published and it’s been such a good experience that I’d definitely be up for doing a few more. I have some zine ideas in the pipeline too, plus hopefully we’ll have some more exhibitions coming up.” Description: dimensions 240/320mm, 136 pages, 102 photos. Text: French / Price: 30€ www.bonsbaisersdebiarritz.com
hells belles WAR & PEACE ON THE POLO COURT Watching the three players from Tornadoes, a Hardcourt Bike Polo team from London ecstatically hugging each other in the middle of the court brought tears to my eyes. They had just won Hell’s Belles Vol. 2, London’s second all-female bike polo tournament after a nail biting final against Europe’s Rolly Polly Dollies which went into extra time. Not only that but two of those girls, namely Erin Giuliani and Nik Hamilton had organised the Hell’s Belles Vol. 1 tournament which had encouraged so many female players to get involved in the sport and develop their play competitively in the past year. To say that the roaring crowd and I were proud of them would be an understatement! Hardcourt Bike Polo has been played in the UK since 2008. It’s a fun and dynamic contact sport predominantly played on single-speed bicycles with low gearing. The aim is for the teams of three players to score on their opponent’s goal until the time runs out (usually ten minutes). There are polo scenes in most cities worldwide and the community is growing larger every year. The sport has always been mixed and is very welcoming to both male and female players, however, women used to be a rare sight on the court. I started playing in early 2011 and was the only girl in the Birmingham polo scene at the time. At my first tournament, I met other female players from London and started to visit when they all got together to play. Soon, a few of those girls started to talk about how much fun it would be to have a female majority polo tournament and the idea for Hell’s Belles was born. It was the first of its kind in the UK and news spread quickly. Before the London Ladies Polo Club knew it, players were registering from scenes such as Brighton, Manchester, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and Geneva. Those who didn’t have other girls in their local polo scenes were matched up with each other to form new teams. The idea was not to exclude male players or to segregate the sport by sex but to promote the continued growth of female players in hardcourt bike polo and to provide a route for women into another sport traditionally seen as ‘testosterone fuelled’. The message was essentially; “We’re here, we’re awesome players and we want you to join our polo community!” Hell’s Belles Vol. 1 took place in October 2011 at Newington Gardens in South London. Twenty female majority (two out of three players) teams battled it out over two days with a team from Seattle and Vancouver eventually being crowned champions. The skill level was varied; beginners played alongside more experienced players and the best girls definitely inspired those of us with less experience Words: Jess Duffy / Photos: WIll Melling
to train harder, ride faster and play better! The whole tournament also showed how easy an idea could become a reality with the right people organising it and when this year’s UK Championships seemed like it might not happen, the experience definitely gave me the confidence to step up and push to host it in Birmingham. With the first Hell’s Belles being such a success, there was no question of there being another tournament. Those who’d missed out the first time and those who’d started playing as a result couldn’t wait to take part and Vol. 2 took place on the Friday before the London Open (the UK’s biggest polo tournament) in August. This time the teams were all female and even more girls competed than last year. It was fantastic to see how old friends/rivals had improved and that so many beginners had been encouraged to take part – some girls had been playing a matter of weeks and you could see how their game developed throughout the tournament. The elimination stages were extremely close as the standard of play was so high and one of the highlights was my new London team winning a game against our good friends ‘Sirens’ in the morning and then losing against them in the afternoon. The international polo community had turned out in force to support their female players and the atmosphere for the final was electric. Tornadoes and Rolly Polly Dollies had played out of their skins all day long and the crowd were on the edge of their seats as both teams were neck and neck but Tornadoes scored an incredible goal just as it was getting too dark to see the ball. It was one of the most exciting games of polo I have watched. Since the tournament, London has already seen new female players at beginner’s sessions and now that our scene is flourishing, there is talk of Hell’s Belles being hosted in a different city in Europe each year in the hope that it will have the same positive effect everywhere it happens. Meanwhile, we have mixed bike polo being taught in schools and the London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association now has both a male and female chairperson. I think it’s safe to say that women in our sport have a bright future!
Jennifer J Herrema is one of those people who merge in and out of legend by either will or design. Impossibly cool, fearless and intelligent she was one half of the seminal alternative band Royal Trux who ploughed a complex and sometimes difficult furrow from 1987 to 2001, with almost unlistenable early albums heavy on experiment such as "Twin Infinitives" of 1990 through to catchy and still bizarre masterpieces such as "Cats and Dogs", before finally reaching an almost pop sensibility with albums on Virgin such as "Sweet Sixteen". Royal Trux fell apart and morphed into RTX with Herrema now fully in the driving seat, things progressing further along the strange multifaceted trip of smash and grab musicology. Just when you thought things had settled down, RTX metamorphasised into Black Bananas in 2012. "People started to think they knew what Royal Trux was, then they started to think they knew what RTX was… But they don't know, so I thought let's just flip it. It's been a six year process teaching them, learning with the band the language that I wanted to use, just getting the band working together". Black Bananas debut album, 'Rad Times Xpress IV' , an insane combination of all music ever made, sounds like nothing before though still manages to pack in the hits. "Rad Times' did really well on the radio here, all of it's own accord" Herrema tells me in her calm and measured tone on the phone from Southern California, "But the day before yesterday we finished a song that blows that one out of the water, it just came… You never know when its going to come". Herrema's cultural presence though has always been more than musical, and her idiosyncratic look, a synthesis of every cool rock icon ever and then some, has also seen her image adopted by Calvin Klein, H&M, and Volcom, for whom she currently creates and curates a collaborative collection. "Volcom have been super cool and they've given me free rein. They're the real deal. They're real people and it (Volcom) just turned into this huge thing… They didn't go to school for that, you know? They made their own way and approached it all with that same kind of open mindedness". Its easy to see the collaboration as a meeting of minds, Volcom the accidental giants who combine underground music and extreme sports, notorious for tie dye Gore Tex and other eccentricities, and the uber-rock style icon as explorer of fringe sounds. Herrema made the natural choice for them to collaborate with on women's denim "They knew I had this reputation for having the sickest ripped up denim and attention to detail so the art director brought me in. They hadn't done any collaborations for the women's line before and they wanted to bring it to the forefront, so we started working together on the first
collection and then in the second we brought in some non-denim stuff. After the first year I brought in Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, I brought in Pamela Love… Its been awesome." The collaboration very much revolves around Herrema's own style and she works to an ethos of creating what she herself would wear and she road tests her own designs on tour, the new super tight jeans with reverse bleached stars and stripes on the ass being a case in point. I suggest that its a long way from the almost pariah status of the underground alternative musician from when she started working with Royal Trux. "You could not have foreseen this kind of collaboration when I was 15, but then I could never have foreseen doing anything with Calvin Klein or H&M! The only thing my grandfather ever recognised that I'd done was the CK stuff as he recognised the brand, but I got all that work through the other stuff I'd done, you know?" She's happy working with Volcom as all of their collaborations are natural, everything happens in an organic way: "Its a measure of the brand, who they bring in and who they think is culturally relevant. Bringing in people that live a life in whatever artistic medium, that are in it for the long haul, and I include myself in this. I feel like I am a representative of something, its not tangible but its understood. They are very solid. There are still people that have an education beyond a Google search." Perhaps Herrema is now an archetypal Californian resident, with a perfect work/life balance. Despite a notable incident involving having a cat stolen - "a desert lynx, part bobcat, he was big boy, looked kinda wild…." - that ended up in the local news, beach life has been good to her. “Its different… I grew up in South D.C., kinda the hood, then I moved to New York when I was 16, then San Francisco so I always grew up in big urban spaces. Finally when Royal Trux signed to Virgin and we got a lot of money, we were like 'Let's totally get out of Dodge' so we got the farm. That was way out in the middle of nowhere, that was awesome and I loved that, so when I moved to California I didn't want to live in the city, I wanted something more like it had been in the mountains, so I chose the beach". She mentions surfing and yoga, which at first seems incongruous but it all pulls the picture together. "I've been surfing for about nine years now. I still only ride a longboard, that's my thing. But I don't surf in the winter , I hate wetsuits… I can just walk over to the yoga studio. As I don't do a 9-5, I kind of just do my own thing you know, so it gives me some structure. I didn't think it would be my thing you know, the more someone tells me to relax the more uptight I become, but it all came correct." With Black Bananas working on their second album and touring Europe in September and her continuing fruitful collaboration with Volcom, it really has all come correct.
M u s i ci a n a n d s t y l e i c o n , J e n ni f e r H e r r e m a l i k e s t o k e e p h e r f a n s o n t h ei r toes, she tells Andrew Hartwell
oh, Jennifer Jennifer Herrema wears her signature Volcom jeans
I just like surfing, and if someones going to pay me to surf in a bikini I'm down with that!
Devon surfer, Sophie Hellyer is a charming, sweet natured bundle of good looks and talent. And she's in it for the love. Never one to stand still for a minute, the blonde haired surfer puts laughter, adventure and having a good time at the top of her list of priorities, one which includes getting enough time on the football pitch and never taking herself too seriously.
ert where she filmed an advert for deoderant brand, Lynx. Somewhat unusally for a surf flick, the interactive advert allows the viewer to select an angle from which to watch Sophie in action and with one of them being the 'rear' view, the film has sparked a lot of debate. Sophie takes a lighthearted view of the whole thing, telling us,
After spending her time racking up competition wins in her teens, these days Sophie has refocused her efforts on buying a house by the beach, studying for her degree and fitting in her obligations as a sponsored surfer for Cushe and a model.
“We had great fun, I just got to surf, surf, surf so I was really happy. The rear camera is pretty tongue in cheek, it's just lighthearted and silly. I do think its hilarious, so did my friends, we had a good bit of banter over it and a real laugh!
“I think I was over competing by the time I was about fifteen, I just felt I had to do it for sponsors and stuff, but I decided that I didn't enjoy it a couple of years ago and now surfing is just for fun again,” says Hellyer. “It started to feel like a job and it put me off being in the water.” Nowadays, Sophie is happy “wherever there's a friend and a wave.”
I just like surfing, and if someone’s going to pay me to surf in a bikini, I'm down with that! What do they want me to do...surf in a wetsuit in 36 degree water? I only really do sports and fitness modelling, and hopefully that stuff doesn't make girls feel shit about themselves, but inspires them to get out there and get active.”
A avid traveller, Sophie spent the summer surfing both sofas and waves, racking up an enviable list of trips including a visit to the United Arab Emirates' Wave Pool, a programmable surf centre in the des-
Whichever way you look at it, as Sophie says “A smile is the best thing a girl can wear” and with Sophie's warm hearted outlook, we can't help but agree.
A UTUMN wit h M aisie Hil l
Autumn is well and truly upon us: There’s a chilly breeze in the air, the nights are getting increasingly longer, and my Converse are always wet. My guess is that this is the time of year when most of the population start to feel tired and gloomy. We feel short changed by our 'summer', and it doesn’t seem right that it’s getting dark so early. Throughout these colder months, your body tries hard to keep its internal fire stoked. When your internal fire is burning steadily, you are able to keep warm, digest food, absorb nutrients, and fight infection. So now is the time to cut down on cold foods like salads and iced drinks, as they have strong cooling effect on the body, not what we need when trying to fight external cold and damp! Autumn is all about nourishing our bodies and building our reserves in preparation for the winter months. So what can you do to increase the warmth in your body?
• • •
Eat warm nourishing foods like roasted root vegetables. Stop wearing ballet slippers and sodden Converse (note to self), as cold readily enters the body through our feet. Buy a Haramaki. No, I’m not talking sushi. This band of fabric is worn around the waist, and keeps your core nice and warm. It also has the added benefit of preventing builder’s bums. Move. Get cycling, running, dancing. Whatever it takes, just get out there and do it. It can be tricky to stay motivated in this weather, but stick on an energising playlist, and you’ll reap the benefits. Exercise improves the circulation, raises serotonin levels (a great way to prevent seasonal affective disorder, and supports your immune system.)
This is the season when many of us will start giving our immune systems a • boost. Taking a vitamin C supplement is a good idea, but be careful if you take a large dose and use hormonal contraception such as the pill. When women take over two grams of Vitamin C a day, the synthetic hormones from the pill are metabolised differently, causing your body to react as if you were taking a higher dose of contraception. When you stop taking Vitamin C, the body can react as if you have stopped taking the pill, and is therefore no longer reliable as a form of contraception.
What about when you do come down with a cough or a cold? First up, slow down and stay hydrated. When you get 'that feeling', get home, curl up on the sofa with a good movie, relax, take a nap, and stick to light meals like chicken soup. When your body is fighting an infection, the last thing you want to do is tax your digestive system with a heavy meal. As comforting as it may be, if you eat a meal which is loaded with carbohydrates, for example, your blood flow will immediately be diverted to your gut to aid digestion. Chicken soup is actually ideal, as it not only provides gentle nourishment, but it also contains cysteine, an amino acid which thins the mucus in your lungs, making it easier to expel. And if your throat feels like
shards of glass, a simple gargle with salt water can work wonders. It’s not just our physical health that we need to take care of, our mental health can also greatly affected by the seasons; Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is thought to affect two million people in the UK, and is characterised by a prevailing lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, feeling despondent, loss of libido, irritability, and craving carbohydrates and sweet food stuffs. The good news is that light therapy, using a medically certified SAD light, can rectify things within 7-10 days. So when it comes to Autumn, think hibernation, think good food, think taking it easy and being kind to your self. Oh, and a nice glass of port to warm you up in the evening, strictly medicinal of course!
A h u g e f a n o f S a c h a K ni g h t ’s w o r k s i n c e f i r s t g l i m p s i n g h e r Hyde S.K Navajo inspired bags a few years ago, Gemma L a c e y c a u g h t u p w i t h f o u n d e r o f K ni g h t M i l l s t o f i n d o u t more about her beautiful new rug and interiors collection.
KNIGHT MILLS When did you start getting into interiors? I moved out of London to Kent and suddenly had a house to fill. I’ve always had an interest in interiors and it sprang from wanting some nice things for the house, I couldn’t find any rugs that I liked, so I thought, ‘ok I’ll make some!’ Then people started seeing them and saying they wanted them so I thought maybe I could do it as a sideline to my design work. It’s quite a new venture for me but I’m really enjoying it, I’m expanding the collection really slowly and I still want to keep it quite small, but eventually I’d like to do illustrated wallpapers and I’d like to do a little bit of furniture if I can find someone to work with. We’re doing some patchwork quilts for next season, and I’m still making the odd bag here and there as people keep asking me for them. So a bit of everything like before, but not as big a collection as I used to do.
No, I did all the designs and everything and then spent ages trying to find some weavers and I looked into America, Mexico and places like that and the prices were just so expensive. I thought that if someone is going to buy one of my rugs made in Mexico which will be really expensive they might just end up buying a really amazing vintage one instead. Then I spoke to someone who recommended this family of weavers in India, who specialised in dhurries (Indian rugs)and stuff like that, so I thought I’d contact them and see what they said and they were really nice. so I gave them some drawings and they just worked really well with me. My designs are really quite complicated and they take a day to do each of the big rugs, they’re great, easy to work with and they understand my direction for things so I thought I’ll just carry on with them and see how it goes long term.
So when you made the first rug, how did you start, was that something you made yourself?
Yes, I’m growing the collection slowly but surely, everyone has been really positive about it which is nice and it’s something I’m enjoying as well.
I’ve seen lampshades in some of the images, are those also part of the collection or something you’re just trying out? The fabric they’re made out of was some remnants that I had from a print I made a few years ago. The printers I was using to hand print all that in London is actually going to be closing down so I’ve actually got the screen artwork, I just need to sort out where I’m going with it. The cost to set up a print room is quite expensive but I’ve had quite a lot of queries about the lampshade so it’s just weighing it all up really. I’m going to look into digital printing; I kind of prefer hand printing, but it’s so expensive even for them just to touch your screen! You have to spend about £150 for them to get it out of the rack, whereas with digital, if someone says I want ten lampshades or someone says I want two lampshades you can just order short lengths. So I don’t know we’ll see. I need to make more lampshades for my house so I’ll have to order some more fabric for myself at some point anyway. It seems like everything is evolving really organically..
It seems like a big jump from accessories to interiors. How have you found the transition in terms of doing something for a bigger space which needs to work with a lot of other elements around it? I guess when I was doing my bags I didn’t look at trends or what was going on I just did my own thing, so all I had to think about were shops, my different types of customer. Of course fashion is a bit more fickle and I had to watch the price. With doing the rugs, they’re ‘statement pieces’ and even though they can be quite crazy with all the colours and patterns, I mean I have a bit of a clash going on in my living room, you kind of think it wouldn’t work but it does. I’m finding it possibly slightly easier to do homewares and rugs and big pieces. In terms of how you work, I remember how high your production vales were with the bags in terms of using the best quality materials. Has it been hard to maintain that with this project? I guess in a way because I can’t weave but I can print, bead and stitch. I can always take control in that case
and it’s a really complicated thing, they take an A4 drawing of mine and then just sort of freehand scale it up to 4ft 6” rugs so each one is slightly different and I’m finding it slightly difficult to get my head round. I just keep looking at it and thinking ‘this one is slightly different to that one’ but it is handmade. I’m paying quite a bit to make sure the weavers in India get it right and spend more time on it and I concentrate on my stuff, dying up all the colours. I send them things to copy exactly and if there’s an issue I just tell them and they change it, they’re pretty good. I’m actually finding them easier to deal with than some UK manufacturers I’ve worked with in the past and they’re so eager to please. I did a lot of research, an old friend of mine recommended them and they’re not a massive company. Things take a bit longer as they’re a small operation but it’s more intimate and they’re personable and nice. They know exactly what they’re doing. When I was trying to find rugs for my own house everything I wanted was a minimum of a couple of thousand pounds. There’s nothing wrong with an Ikea rug, you can get some really good ones but everyone else has got them. Even though mine are made in India, they’re not mass produced, they’re good quality, come in a nice printed hand roll bag and the price is pretty competitive. I made some backed ones for Dover Street Market and they’re selling them for around £450. I’m aware people will say ‘oh made in India’ but it’s getting
the balance of the quality, interesting design and price, so the unbacked version, which I’ll sell on my site will probably be around £380. In terms of inspiration for design and colour, was there anything specific you looked to? I always like Navajo stuff, I have done since I was little but I also just really like strong graphic prints and colours, I love colours! The first thing I do is look at colours and then I work backwards from that. I’ve got some nice books that have been made by blanket collectors and rug collectors of old Navajo stuff which I’ve had for a while and I absolutely love them. I look at them for inspiration but I don’t draw on any of the designs I just look at colour combinations. Do you have a favourite colourway from this collection? I do really like the pilot rug, because it looks the most traditional. I thought I loved colour number one the most but once colour two arrived in the flesh it was really amazing, so now I can’t decide. I think I’m going to have two of them. It’s greedy but colour one of the Pilot, which is like a red, sagey grey and black is probably quite traditional and the second one which is kind of like a green tea colour with ice blue and a bone colour really works and is a bit more modern. Then the new collection which I’m working on now for spring summer is, I would say, less Navajo styles and the colours are quite bright, quite contemporary looking. 23
Imogen Humfris - Cyclist, UK
can’t say it came as a surprise. Even as I careered towards the mountainside barrier on my much loved Lemond, I confess I remember a calm sense of inevitability. But despite the pain that would no doubt greet me on the other side, I was confident that, as I had done so many times before be it on road bike or BMX, I would walk away. Here there’s a gap in the memory. I don’t actually remember hitting the barrier or flying over it. Nor do I remember impacting the ground face first, breaking my nose, removing half the skin from my shin, bruising the majority of my thigh and worst, worst of all tearing my lower lip away from my jaw exposing the roots of my teeth to a woodland selection of twigs, dirt and leaf-meal. Some unknown amount of time later, in my adrenaline fueled confusion I climbed back to the quiet road and deliberated over whether it would be appropriate to stop the approaching car and ask for assistance in my broken F rench. Before I could make my decision, the driver had pulled to a screaming halt anyway. Only his reaction to my bloodied face and legs told me I would not be traveling back into town on my bike. Six days in a French hospital ensued. Fortunately I had landed myself in some of the world’s best public healthcare. With a heavy local anesthetic and morphine drip, pain was not an issue. Undoubtedly the difficulty lay in coming to terms with the fact I was not walking away so gracefully from this one. Just four hours after being admitted to Aix en Provance A&E I was initially discharged (before they had clocked half of my injuries). Overjoyed I busied myself, gathering my belongings ready to return to my friends house and life outside. But soon I felt my legs give way beneath
me and my body come heavy, crashing to the ground again. As nurses hauled me back onto to the bed for further examination a bitter emotion stung my eyes as I struggled to understand why my body seemed to be incapable of day to day tasks. As a BMX rider, I find the game is often ‘man-upgrin-and-bear-it-get-back-on-as-fast-as-you-can’. It’s an ethos I wholly sign up to, proudly keeping my photo journal of personal injuries up to date on my phone to the amusing shock horror of my non bmx riding friends. But, over the last ten days, I’ve had to adopt a somewhat meditative state of self reflection here. Being indoctrinated into hospital routines of timely medication and disinfection, being taught how to attentively treat my own wounds, sleeping up to 13 hours a day, wondering if my sensation of taste will ever come back and generally learning to give my body what it needs to recover has all made me acutely aware of the not so robust and unbreakable nature of this little vessel I call home. Far from assigning my bikes to the back of the garage in favor a more reserved and risk free life style, I can only hope this confrontation with some of my most deep set attitudes towards my body will give me the courage to keep riding with a more positive mindset. I’m still eager as ever to push my riding further this year but maybe the next step requires a greater degree of consciousness, a bit more patience and, above all, a bit more self respect.
Po s e O f T h e
AU T U M N
he ancient science of Ayurveda, which goes hand in hand with yoga, is very helpful when balancing the energies and the elements of the seasons in order stay healthy and feeling positive. The ancient Indian philosophy is a holistic system for balancing your body and mind, the emphasis being on finding equilibrium between the three energies or ‘doshas’ within. The three doshas all have characteristics of their own, ‘pitta’ being tied to the elements of fire and water, ‘kappa’ the energy of water and earth and the ‘vata’ dosha generally attributed to the elements of air and space and to movement. Many people are thought to be a combination of these elements and it’s generally believed that external factors such as nutrition and exercise can play a part in influencing the harmony of your system, as can the the seasons. Gemma Ford of Love Yoga Online talks us through the ‘Warrior I’ posture and it’s role in your Autumn wellbeing. The Autumn season sees a prominence of the ‘vata dosha’ which is how Ayurveda describes the elements of air and space. It's important to adjust the balance this season and we can do this by by developing grounding, warming and calming practices in our yoga (asana) practice to oppose the airy and unstable nature of vata. The 'Warrior I' pose is perfect for this very purpose. To practice the Warrior I post, begin facing the long side of your mat. Step your feet three to four feet apart, turning your back foot in 45 degrees and positioning the toes of your front foot in the direction of the short end of your mat. Align the back heel with the front heel and draw your back leg hip forwards while taking
your front hip back, rotating your pelvis and torso to to face the short end of your mat. Bend the front knee deeply bringing the knee directly over the ankle, and lift from the pelvic floor so the abdomen gently rises, lengthening the tail bone towards the mat. Grounding the back heel and all four corners of the front foot into the mat, sweep your arms up over your head drawing your shoulders down and away from your ears. Take your hands together and reach your fingers to the sky. Hold for five slow, deep breaths all the while staying aware of the warmth being created in your body and the firm connection of your legs and feet to the earth. Slowly release the pose returning to the front of the mat then repeat on the other side. 25
RACHEL ATHERTON ON TOUGH TIMES AND TRIUMPHS
Sunday Times Sportswoman of the year, Downhill World Cup Champ and together with her brothers, part of the formidable Atherton Racing Team, with even a fleeting interest in mountain biking the name Rachel Atherton can't have escaped your attention. Since cutting her teeth on a BMX aged eight, and moving to the muddy, technical world of downhilling at the tender age of eleven, Rachel's undeniable talent and tenacity have seen her brave multiple surgeries and testing times in pursuit of gold. Fast, focused and tougher than kevlar, the multiple national and world champion most recently cinched the overall World Cup title in Norway after an exceptional summer which saw her winning 5 out of the six World Cup races she entered. Rachel told me more the demands on a world class athlete and the road from surgery to podium.
Photography by SVEN MARTIN
Last Winter was really tough for you, with your your surgery, rehab and training...
that because of the accident you had whilst training on your road bike in 2009?
Yes, I was pretty gutted to have another shoulder surgery at the end of the 2011 race season. I had major surgery at the end of the 2010 season, basically a bonegraft to stop the shoulder dislocating anteriorly (forwards) and I rehabbed hard to come back for the 2011 season. Then towards the end of the 2011 season I started having some major issues with my shoulder popping backwards. I made it to the end of the race season and had another surgery to fix the large tear at the back. It was worse than the surgeon thought once he got in there, so recovery was long and very hard mentally because it was my third year of having shoulder surgeries, and it was so ridiculously painful getting the movement back with my physio so I could start strength training again.
Unfortunately I've had a lot of shoulder surgeries, on both the left and the right. It is a weak point in my body and it took me a long time to learn that my speed on a bike and the strength in my body when I crashed were not equal!
I got a puppy about a month after my surgery, I was still in a sling and getting pretty down on life so getting my puppy Angus was the best thing I ever did! Then once I was stable and could lift light weights I went to California to join my brothers for 6 weeks training before the real mountain biking began. How many surgeries have you had on your shoulder? Is
I had shoulder surgeries when I was about 15 on both sides, then in 2009 I hit a truck in America on the road bike and had to have a huge nerve graft to my left shoulder, taking nerve from my leg. Once that healed, I had another surgery to fix the tearing of the capsule. Then in 2010, I crashed and wrecked my right shoulder, which I had also had surgery on when I was about 15. I was so gutted after working so hard to comeback after missing 2009 season. The right shoulder was pretty bad, the bone was damaged from the impact of the dislocation and my surgeon and I decided that with my history, a procedure called a Laterjet was the best bet. They take the end of a small bone called the Coracoid and screw it basically at the edge of the shoulder joint, like a doorstop! That was intense and it affected me mentally; I still didn't feel like my shoulder was 'ok,'
but due to the nature of our race season I barely had time to get the surgery, rehab and train hard before it started again. The 2011 season came and I raced hard but with a lot of pain and lacking strength. Towards the last few races I crashed a few times and my shoulder was definitely not right, it turned out I was dislocating backwards instead of forwards, and the doctor had missed a large tear in the rear from the year before because we were so focused on the damage at the front. So I had that fixed and it was a long process, I missed the first World Cup in 2012 because I wasn't ready to race, but from then on I raced my first full season, pretty much injury free (apart from acquiring a major bad back)! I have now finished the season injury free for the first time in four years and I've learnt how much attention my shoulders need, my whole body needs. When I was young, I didn't understand that I needed to train so that I wouldn't get hurt, and not so I could ride my bike fast. How did you manage to stay positive throughout such a tough time? Its been really, really hard dealing with all the time off and surgeries, but each time I learnt more about myself. I definitely allowed myself time to wallow, I got
really down and sad for a couple of weeks but then decided that if you're going to come back stronger than ever, you need to set little goals for each day. And before you know it you're back. I also bought a really cool camera and walked for hours, taking cool photos with my puppy to keep me sane! How did you feel at your first race of this season at Val Di Sole? Coming into that World Cup, my first big race of the year on a new team with an additional team mate to my brothers, I was so excited! I love the track, long, gnarly, physical, technical and brutal, I was really nervous too because it was so hard, but I felt strong and ready and everything went better than I could have hoped for. And I won! You did really well the rest of the summer too, you must be really happy! Since that first World Cup it's pretty much been amazing. I have been so happy at the races, and I feel like a more experienced racer now. It's nice not being so young and wild, having knowledge is good. I've won more World Cups this year than any year before, but I missed out winning at Fort William, where I was 2nd again and that was so, so hard to lose. I was furious!
And then mid season my back started getting painful and at the World Championships, a one off race for the title, my back was so painful I could barely move and only managed 5th which was hard to accept. I won the final world cup in Norway though and took the Overall World Cup series, which you have to be consistent and clever to do, so I was immensely happy with that. It sounds like you train really hard off the bike as well as on. What does it entail? I need to train a lot in the gym with weights, and this winter should be really fun because instead of starting from scratch after an operation, I can start training already strong! I do weights, ride a lot of Motocross and Enduro, road riding and XC riding, and yoga. It's pretty versatile, diverse training because for Downhill you have to be really physically fit, strong and technically good too. I also rock climb a lot and I'm trying to start kayaking as part of my winter training too. Can you tell me a little about how you prepare for a race once you arrive at the location? I love arriving at a race venue, sussing out the mountain, the town, I try to figure out how the place fits into my heart, because the places we race are always amazing and mountainous, which is where I feel most at home. So I always look for connections and things that mean something to me. And I find them! As an athlete I think its important for me to have a routine at a race. No matter where we are we have our race truck set up and the pits are the same, warm up area, food, mechanics etc are all the same and that allows me to relax and get on with things. Walking the track the first day eases a lot of nerves, you get to see what you are about to tackle and start getting excited about hitting certain lines or jumps. Then the first day of practise always starts with a long warm up on the turbo trainer (stationary bike), then stretching and finally talking with my mechanic about my set up be-
fore heading up the mountain for a slow, sensible first ride down. Also, mental preparation is such a huge thing for us and for me its the be all and end all. I write a lot in my diary during a race and practise yoga in the evenings. How do you deal with really bad, wet conditions, or if you really don't like the track? It's pretty gnarly to go from a fast dry track one day, to a wet slippery wild track the next, and it often happens at races. You have to relax though and be confidant in your abilities. I used to love racing in the wet conditions, not so much now that I'm older but being adaptable is important as is relaxing into it. Not trying to fight the wet is important too. Does the pressure to win ever get too much? Yes. sometimes. It only gets too much if something else happens too, like a slight injury or a big crash. I can deal with plain old pressure when I'm strong and fit no problem, I like it. But say if I crash the morning before the race and hurt a little, I have to work really hard to control myself and stay calm. What's your set up like at races, it must be a big operation? We are really lucky in that the team is our own. We are 3 siblings, 2 brothers and me, plus another rider this year. So we have team manager, 3 mechanics, 2 chefs, photographer and a filmer that travel with us. We have a big motorhome for Europe with a huge set up which we work from; mechanic stations, chill out area, warm up zone and a shop to sell merchandise from. It's pretty cool having such a big setup but a nightmare trying to get it back home down the Welsh lanes! You grew up mountain biking with your brothers. When did you realise that this could be your job? I used to hate riding my bike when I was young! I would only ride at races so I could win. When I was about 15 I travelled to Fort William to watch the World Cup there and Tracey Moseley won, a British female racer. I remember standing in the crowd as she was on the podium, watching her cry, wrapped in a British flag, the crowd cheering and crying too. It was pretty intense and I thought then that I wanted to be like her. It was only years later, maybe even 2009 when I had a year off from racing, that I suddenly realised that it was just racing I needed, it was just riding a bike. I learnt that I'm a better person when I can ride a bike, and that is just the way it is. Pretty cool to know! Have you always been naturally competitive?
Yes definitely. Like I said, before I only wanted to ride a bike so I could win races! At school I loved sports and running, and I used to love beating my brothers at anything. But I think to be a good athlete you need to also accept defeat sometimes, it took a while for me to learn to respect my competitors and that is when you truly become successful. Do you think things would have turned out differently if you hadn't grown up with your brothers? I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't be racing bikes if I hadn't had two brothers to follow into the sport! They are incredible to follow, copy, to train with and probably are the only reason why I am where I am today. Copying boys is the best thing for girls in sports to do! Do you like constantly having your brothers around? Do they ever cramp your style? They definitely cramp my style, haha! It sounds like you're on the road a large amount of time. Do you miss home? During the season we get to come home every couple weeks, which isn't too bad really. I really miss home when I'm away, I miss my dog and the Welsh hills, but I am stoked that I get to still be in amazing places around the world! What's an average day at home like for you? Mid season when I'm at home, I wake up 8am, walk around the fields with my dog, normally barefoot. Then I go home and have my breakfast outside, normally porridge, nuts, fruit and eggs. Next Iâ€™ll take my road or XC bike for a spin to get the blood going, have lunch, do some gardening or shout at the builders to keep working on my new kitchen! Perhaps Iâ€™ll go into the office (our house is also the team HQ with office, workshop and stock rooms) and answer some interviews then go and ride DH or go to the gym...then cook tea! Pretty chilled. What do you think you'll do when you stop racing? I have a few things I want to do outside of the sport, but within the sport, our brand and team of Atherton racing is always growing and new ideas are coming up of where to take it. I am keen to study once I finish racing as I quit college to race, so that's important to me. Are there certain things you would like to do but you can't because of your career? Yeah, the last few years I've really had to tame down my other sports because I've always been recovering from surgery, so haven't had much chance, but Iâ€™m determined that my body is going to last a long time and so every sport is my oyster!! 29
Who better to chat to before the w i n t e r s e a s o n k i c k s o f f t h a n Wo r l d C h a m p i o n s n ow b o a r d e r S p e n c e r O ' B r i e n ? T h e C a n a di a n ' s w i n ni n g ways, competitive nature and friendly character make her one to watch on t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l ci r c u i t a n d i n s h o r t , a n i n s p i r a t i o n . Fr e s h s o u l f u l p ow d e r lines vs. aggressive competitive park, the backcountry calls her but she's not ready to leave competing behind just y e t . S o j u s t h ow d o e s s h e d o i t a l l , a s k s Hannah Bailey?
Why is being Spencer O'Brien good? I'm lucky enough to be able to do what I love as a job, which is sweet! I'm me, I don't know how to be anyone else. Everyone is different and you live your life how you want. You started snowboarding hobby when you were young, when did you realize it was more than that for you? When I was around 16, I kind of started taking competing more seriously. I was still doing it for fun but I noticed myself really wanting to do better, to win and learn new tricks. I started to get more sponsors and I got my first agent, so things started picking up around then and I realized 'maybe I'm good enough to do it as a job one day.' So then I started dreaming about going to the X Games and riding for Burton… you know dreaming about the stuff you do when you're young! Has being on the competitive circuit always been the aim for your riding? I've always been a competitive person my whole life. I did a lot of different sports growing up and competing was just the natural route for me. It was the easiest way back then to get noticed as a girl. I love to film and I got to with 'Misschief’early in my career which was such an awesome experience, but I also learned that I couldn't really compete and film at the same time if I wanted to do well at both. It was really hard to produce both at the level I wanted, so I made the choice at 18 to solely focus on competing. Do you aim to change your snowboard path at some point? Absolutely, that's what I plan. I'm still stoked on com-
peting right now and still want to go to the Olympics. But definitely down the road that's always been a goal of mine, to film a video part and hit street rails again and start to learn how to ride the backcountry. You're killing it on the competitive circuit. You're World champion, X-Games medalist, Dew Cup winner... what's been the highlight of your career so far? The Worlds were probably the best things for me, just because I’d had a really hard week; I got hurt and didn't think I'd be able to compete. So it took a lot of mental determination to even get to finals and be able to put down that run. That's probably my favourite as I'll always remember how much work it took to get there. You're a rad-vocate for women's snowboarding, involved in campaigns such as 'Keep Her in the Game.' It's obviously close to your heart, so how did the passion spark? From the generation I grew up in, playing sports with boys, girls and everyone, there was never anything like 'you can't do that you're a girl’ which is what it’s like now with sports like snowboarding where we are riding the same features as the men or competing in the same events. I'm so proud to be part of a sport that is starting a trend in a new direction for women. I guess that in the last few years, the passion has grown for me and I've started to work with the 'Women's Sports Foundation' and learn more about equality in sports.
'Keep Her in the Game' is a really cool campaign and an awesome thing, it's very powerful. It's something that I was surprised by; that many girls were dropping out of sports at a young age and it's sad to see. It’s so important to keep inspiring girls to stay involved so I'm really happy they asked me to be a part of that and to help spread the word. I feel really grateful to be in the position I am in and I hope snowboarding will continue to inspire a trend for equality in sports for girls.
When you’re scared like that it doesn't mean your going to get hurt, just means you're being a baby!
What's the scene like for girls in Canada?
It's good. A lot of good girls are coming through and there is quite a bit of support, more than when I was coming up. For me it was hard to make that jump from Canada to the US, to get in to contests etc. But now they have more feeder events with the global series and TTR, it's making it a lot easier. It's cool to see all the young girls coming up and it's exciting to see where it's going to go! If you were to take us on a road trip in Canada, which spots would you take us to? We'd definitely start in Whistler. Do that, then come down and do Mount Seymour, which I think is the best mountain ever! Not in Canada, but you have to go to Mount Baker, it's really close. Then through to the Rockies, hit up Banff. I've never been, I've only skipped over the top, but you'd have to go hit hand rails in Montreal, that's the fun-est thing to do out East I think. Is there anywhere else you have never been but you would like to shred?
park? What do you like about each? I love both, it's different hitting park than riding powder. When I ride powder I feel like, that for me is the soul of snowboarding. It's why I do it! When I get a really good pow turn in, that feeling I don't get anywhere else in life. I don't think it's the most fun thing you can do on a snowboard though. When I ride park, its almost more aggressive. I really like the competitive side. But to ride park on a fun day with friends is one of the best things! So your perfect shred day is… Definitely riding powder with friends, somewhere people don't care about powder, like Japan. No shooting, no filming, just doing pow turns and jumping off stuff! What trick are you going to bring this upcoming season? I've been working on front 9s a little bit. They're not coming so easy… I would like to get a switch 7, hopefully a 9. That's what I'm working on right now. Try a couple new tricks and set something on lock for this season. So, how do you mentally prepare to hit an 80ft kicker? I don't know! It depends on the jump. Sometimes you've got to just suck it up and go. Other times, I'll hang out, watch the guys hit it, watching the speed and how people are looking on it. I'm pretty calculated when it comes to snowboarding. It's scary if you've not done it before, but at the end of the day you're capable and just have to trust yourself. Does fear push you to go further or hold you back? It can do both depending on the situation. I'm scared all the time! It's knowing the difference between being scared because you're not capable and being scared because it's different and not familiar. When you’re scared like that it doesn't mean your going to get hurt, just means you're being a baby! Who inspires you to shred?
To spend some time out in powder in Europe would be cool and also I'd love to go to Argentina, I’ve never been there. I've been to Chile but I've heard Argentina is amazing!
My dad and my sister have been my biggest inspirations because I grew up riding with them. My sister was a pro so she inspired my from a young age. My dad is 60 and rips super hard!
So you're into powder, but you love park… powder vs.
You've got a rad dad then?
Photo:Nathan Gallagher In Whistler people are better friends with my dad than me. Theyâ€™re like, 'Are you Spencer? I know your dad, he is sick!' Yeah, that's my dad! My sister still shreds but she's not pro anymore, she retired. She is really into split-boarding and riding the backcountry. So Sochi is coming up and the Winter Olympics are
Win an exclusive pair of Dragon goggles signed by Spencer! To find out more, head over to the Coven website!
snowboarders is great for companies and athletes. I think for the athletes getting to be a part of something like that is such a cool experience. I got to go to London and just the energy around it was amazing I know a lot of people don’t agree but I am hyped, I can't wait to go! The prospect of Olympic Gold, how do you feel about that?
on everyone’s mind, how do you feel about slopestyle now being a part of it all? I think it's awesome. For the athletes it's a great thing, such a cool thing to be a part of. I'm excited to go. From an industry stand point, I'm conflicted… I don't like that we've given the FIS a bigger portion of our sport and I'd love it if they'd give back the reigns to snowboarders. But at the same time it's opened a debate and got people talking and that's a good thing. It's a tough thing as we’re handing over a portion of our sport to people who don't really care about it...
Yeah, I mean that would be cool. Snowboarding is such an individual sport, it's interesting that with the Olympics you're competing for your country or a greater team. That's an interesting concept to me. It's going to be cool to represent my country and hopefully win a medal, bring it home! The energy it creates, with all these other sports you'd not normally be connected to, now supporting you. I went to London with curlers, halfpipe skiers, all cheering together. I met a load of people I'd never have met otherwise. I've never been super patriotic but the Olympics brings out that part of people! Any embarrassing hobbies when you're not shredding? I go on Perez Hilton frequently, on a weekly basis. I love my celeb gossip! Also I bake a lot, cookies and bread and lemon squares…
What good can come from snowboarding in the Olympics?
Britain is fueled on cups of tea, which would go nicely with a lemon square, what is your fuel choice?
Obviously it creates more exposure for the sport and hopefully in turn more people will get involved. More
Tea.. Tea! PG tips! My Nike team manager, Jonathan Weaver got me crazy hooked on them last season. So bad that I started traveling with a box!
CAROL MARTORI BEHIND THE SCENES I first heard of Carol Martori and her work on the Danny Way documentary, â€˜Waiting For Lightningâ€™ through our mutual friend, Sharon. Sharon was effusive in her praise of Carol, telling me of her dedication to the Danny Way project and how her canny editing had resulted in an enthralling and powerful documentary. After being totally entranced at the London screening, I was eager to discover more about Carolâ€™s role in shaping the film and the power the editor as storyteller. How did you get into editing and working on documentaries to begin with? I didn't actually ever study film; I studied Psychology and Sociology but it was through my Masters in Sociology that I became really interested in film. I became passionate about the ideas and concepts that I was learning and I was really surprised that Americans weren't really talking about certain things in a broader perspective and thought that documentary was such a great way to get ideas across. It gives you the ability to communicate all these complex ideas through people's individual stories. So I started to pursue at that time in the nineties things were changing a lot, in terms of editing platforms and cameras. You had Adobe Premier and FinalCut Pro available so I got them both and just kind of started learning on my own and creating projects for myself to do. I started putting the word out about what I was doing and then I met a guy in San Diego who was doing documentaries on American culture for Gernman TV and I ended up working with him. The first documentary I edited was called 'Click Me' which was about online dating. Back in 1999 it was a pretty new concept and I was intrigued by delving further into that world. Why did you end up editing instead of directing from the get go? I think it was two things; I tend to work better on my own, so when you're the editor of a documentary, your kind of driving the bus a little bit unless you have a director who is micro-managing you! But generally you
have a fair degree of freedom, you have all the tools right there to really shape the movie and I work well under those circumstances. I enjoy the tinkering process and moving things around and seeing what works and what doesn't. And it was really close to my academic work; for my thesis you had to do a load of interviews and then cut and paste them to the relevant places so it felt like a good fit and it was easy for me to flow into. It was much easier than having to see things visually as a director does. Developing that visual language has taken me a lot more time, editing is little more akin to writing in a certain way so it was easier for me to fall in to. Were you always interested in documenting counter culture and action sports? I actually got into the action sports thing through my husband, Yogi Proctor. He's an art director, he's worked with Emerica and Etnies, Transworld Snowboard Magazine and stuff like that and when we got together he introduced me to action sports and skateboarding in particular. So it was really through him that I became interested or even involved at all because it was what he was in to. He tried to teach me to skateboard and I did actually learn to ollie but that was about it! I think I'm really more interested in it as a sub culture. What was it like working on the Danny Way documentary, 'Waiting For Lightning?'? I was working on another project at the time in the edit suite and they'd rented out another suite to another
production company. I was working on the Willie Nelson documentary which was a long process, it was a ten month edit and through that process I got to know one of the partners, Jacob Rosenberg. I kinda heard around the office that he was doing this Danny Way project and we started to talk about his project and what he was doing. Eventually he came round to the idea of hiring me and I got the job. It was a long process, a year and a half in the editing room and it took a while to find that story. Danny has quite a complex personal life; obviously his life as an athlete is pretty extraordinary so that's easy in a certain way. The harder part was to tell a human story, something that everyone could relate to and actually we brought my husband Yogi in to have some initial conversations about the film so we could all bounce ideas of each other. We were looking to make something that was beyond skateboarding and Jacob was talking about 'man on wire' as an inspiration so we just kinda started rolling that around in our brains and really trying to find a sort of hook, something that could really be accessible to a broader audience. I remember Jacob told me about this interview he had done with Danny's mum where she'd told him about Danny jumping the Great Wall of China and about her bringing his dad's ashes to him. A few days later I listened to that interview and I was totally riveted. It was really powerful, she was really emotional on camera, so I came home and I started talking to Yogi about it. We started thinking
about it and he was like “its China, it's China which is gonna get you the broader audience and which should be the thread”, so we proposed that to Jacob and slowly but surely we started putting the pieces together and building the story. There was this incredible archive
of footage from the ramp builders, who'd documented the whole build of that ramp which was pretty dramatic in itself and we carved essentially we carved out the story from that.
you hope that people will feel a certain way in a certain part but when you see their reaction, it's amazing So the way the story was told was done to you? Jacob's original idea was to go with X Games 14 as the thread. So each run Danny took (in the X Games) was going to introduce a new chapter in his life. It was a good idea and it could definitely have worked but I think the thing we realised is that if you want to reach a broader audience, you have to do things slightly differently. I mean, everyone knows what about the Great Wall Of China but they don't necessarily know about the X Games. I think the struggle for me was trying to incorporate X Games 14 in a meaningful way but I think we found a way to do that, to make it more about this increasing risk in his life and his continuing to build higher and bigger ramps and go faster and do scarier things. I think the way it turned out is less literal. Were you happy with how the documentary turned out in the end? I am proud of it but it's hard not to see the flaws when I go to a screening. You go back to a piece after some time away from it and you have some perspective and you're like “oh we could have done this, we could have done that”, so thats hard but you know the best thing is I've been to the screenings and the greatest thing is being able to watch the film with and audience and see and hear their reactions. That's been amazing. I mean you hope that people will feel a certain way in a certain part but when you see their reaction, it's amazing.
FIOLEK WILL STEAL YOUR HEART
Ashley Fiolek is the girl who'll steal your heart from the get go, the cute badass with a rightful swagger. The diminuative champion fought hard to be one of the biggest names in motocross, male or female, and being profoundly deaf in one of the noisiest sports around has been no obstacle to her ambition whatsover. Since becoming the first ever female to secure a factory racing deal, Ashley's talent and charisma have brought her mutliple WMX Championship medals, X Games golds as well as appearances in Vogue and on Conan O’ Brien, one of the biggest talk shows in America. Ashley grew up just outside Detroit and bikes were a big deal from an early age. Motorbikes ran in the blood; both her father and grandfather were former racers so it was really only a matter of time before Ashley got on one herself. That time came at the age of three, when Jim Fiolek proudly presented his daughter with a mini bike to play around on and from that moment forwards, every weekend was spent up at granddad Fiolek's cabin, with father Jim on his 250cc, mother Roni on a quad bike and Ashley tearing it up on her Yamaha PW50. A couple of years passed with Ashley enjoying spending every minute she could riding for the sheer pleasure of it. Astride her mini motocross, Ashley found a whole new way of expressing herself, and felt a true sense of belonging, “I was always a good student, but kind of quiet and shy” says Ashley, “But when I started racing and riding it really helped me to open up and become the person that I am today.” From time to time the family would watch
motocross races on the TV but it wasn't until Ashley saw riders competing in a big amateur race, the Mini Olympics, that she saw how fun it looked not just to ride, but to win. A year later, whilst on holiday in Florida, Ashley's training wheels came off for the first time giving her a whole new sense of freedom and control and from that moment on, everything changed; Ashley knew she wanted to compete. When she returned home with a little trophy from her first race against a dozen other kids, Ashley's intentions were further solidified; racing was what she was meant to do and she would give it everything she had. “I am such a competitive person and I love to win! I was always that way with everything, school work, sports you name it”, she says. With father Jim's help and support, Ashley began pouring all her time and energy into her racing and it wasn't until she moved up from her tiny automatic 50cc to a manual 65cc bike that Ashley's deafness was too much of an issue. Up until that point, her parents had done all
they could to learn more about the unfamiliar world of silence, employing a sign language specialist to help them communicate, getting involved with the deaf community in Michigan and generally taking everything in their stride. But when it came to shifting gears on the bike, riders usually listen out for the purr or screech of the engine to know when the time is right, so how was Ashley to know when to change up? Jim briefly considered putting lights on the bike as a visual indicator of when to change but the pair decided that taking your eyes off the track in front of you to look at a light was less than ideal; in motocross things happen quickly and any slight lapse of concentration could be costly. In the end, Jim and Ashley worked together to learn how to feel when to change gear, tuning in to the vibration of the engine. “Because I was unable to hear anyone or anything, I was already starting to use my sixth sense, my rider's instinct, observing each and every change in my surroundings,” Ashley explains. And once that was mastered, there was no stopping the dirt hungry youngster.
I love to win and I love to do things for my fans, they give me lots of motivation
When Ashley was eight, the family moved to Florida to be near one of the best schools for deaf people in the States. Jim built a track behind the house and it was here that Ashley's serious training began. The family trail rides came to end once Ashley's set her sights on total domination of the motocross scene. “When I was old enough to start racing he stopped (riding with me) because he wanted to help me and he didn't want to miss any of my races”, says Fiolek. With her Dad as her coach and an incredible drive to succeed, it wasn't long before Ashley was competiting, and winning, as often as possible. It was tough on Jim, who had to squeeze in a full time job around Ashley's burgeoning
career and on her mother, Roni; the family poured every minute and every dollar into their daughter's dream and soon most weekends were spent in the family's motorhome riding different tracks and events around the country. Every second they had was spent on refining Ashley’s technique, particularly after some parents voiced concern about their kids’ safety on the track next to a deaf girl. But Ashley and Jim's hard work payed immediate dividends and Ashley began beating all the girls and the boys and making a name for herself on the amateur circuit. Ashley’s star was ascendent. In American motocross, there are several different kinds of races and circuits on which to compete, and for boys, after the biggest amateur race of the season, Loretta Lynn’s, it’s time to turn pro. Many women raced Loretta’s and turned pro, and then continued to race on the amateur circuit as well, something Ashley was keen to avoid. The problem was (and is) that the two sexes receieved unequal levels of support and coverage, with many women struggling to make enough money to do away with the amateur races entirely. But Ashley decided she wanted to change the way things were done, and wanted to make a point of never returning to amateur racing after Loretta’s, she was determined to make motocross pay like it did for the boys and set a precedent for female racers. She also decided not to accept ‘freebies’ in lieu of a proper salary, to hit home the point that women are worthy of serious investment rather than being happy with the odd hand out. In 2008 she won Loretta’s, and after that, there was no going back. After her big win at Loretta’s, Ashley became the first female race to appear on the cover of Transworld Motocross and a deal with Honda with a salary and a place on their elite factory racing team swiftly followed. The move onto a factory racing team was itself another female first and with Honda’s support Ashley was in a position to really make a difference in the world of women’s motocross. In 2009, after winning Gold at her first ever X Games Supercross event, the 18 year old Fiolek threw herself into the Women’s Motocross Championships coming into the final in a strong position, determined to prove her worth and continue along the career path she’d mapped out for herself.
Only needing to place 11th or above in order to secure the season’s overall title, Ashley looked sure to succeed until a tricky fall and a broken collarbone mid race looked set to derail her plans. In another story of pluck and fortitude, Fiolek managed to climb back on her Honda and complete the final laps over jumps, bumps and berms, totally broken but as determined as always to succeed. With a seventh place finish, Fiolek had just enough time to celebrate becoming 2009’s AMA Women’s Motocross Champion before dashing off for surgery. Ashley went on to win the Women’s Motocross Championships again in 2011 and most recently in 2012, grabbing herself another X Games gold medal en route and earning an army of fans along the way, inspired by her steely determination. TV appearances and a feature in Vogue have followed and with her success, an even heavier workload which doesn’t seems to bother Fiolek, “I’m hyper and love to always be doing something,” she says. “I just love to ride and it helps me to destress. I love to win and I love to do things for my fans, they give me lots of motivation. So my schedule is always busy and there always seems to be something happening, whether it’s getting ready for a race, training, riding, travelling. I cycle sometimes and do cross fit but mainly I ride a lot. I have to watch what I’m eating but I’m not too strict about it. (It’s) more like common sense. I love soda and Red Bull so it’s so hard not drink it! I used to pay more attention to my diet when I wasn’t riding as much but now that I’m riding so much I don’t really have to worry about it.
I would like it to be more equal. Just the same as what the guys geT!
During the off season I do have a lot of free time but that is when I also try and do interviews etc and catch up on everything I missed during the season,” she says, before laughing and telling me that just occasionally she’d quite like to just stay in bed! Ashley clearly loves what she does but more
than that, her hard work ethic and tenacity have inspired a new generation of female riders to take themselves seriously as female athletes. Ashley was never one to sit on the sidelines and not make a fuss, and has always felt that the women of motocross deserve more equality. It remains frustrating to Fiolek that women have less coverage, poorer race slots and fewer opportunites than the men. “I would like it to be more equal, like the men’s motocross series longer motos, practices, tv times. Just the same as what the guys get,” says Fiolek. “I think our sport is just still such a male dominated sport so it is hard to bring the women into focus. And when we are forced to ride on the tracks when they are at their roughest or when we have short practices I think it is hard to showcase our talent....and if the girls are not on TV they can’t get sponsors, they can’t travel. It kind of all trickles down.” Ashley’s story as well as her talent have done much to promote the world of motocross to new audiences but she feels that it remains an uphill battle for female riders. “I think I have brought a lot of mainstream exposure to the sport that it never had before, men or women. I was in Vogue and on the Conan O’brien show, I am appearing in ABC’s Switched at Birth, just different media than most motocrossers do,” says Ashley before adding, “for a while things in women’s moto were improving but now I think it is kind of moving backwards!” So what does the future hold for the talented Miss Fiolek? “I want to do something else, like maybe be an actress or try off road truck racing! I am just thinking of branching out a little in my future maybe trying some different things. But I am sure it will always come back to riding.” It’s hard to deny what an incredible inspiration Ashley Fiolek is, whether you have an interest in the world of motocross or not. Ashley’s passion, drive, patience and the support of her family and latterly, the industry and media, have allowed her talent to flourish. She’s battled her way to the top of one of the toughest sports in the world, and done so with what some would see as a disadvantage. Having achieved so much at such an early age, the world truly is her oyster.
LUCIA GRIGGI In Her Own Words
Iâ€™ve always surfed a lot and Iâ€™ve always loved art so naturally, surfing became my main inspiration for my photography. My photography started to become just as important as my surfing and I started to shoot in the water. I started with coverage in local surf magazines, newspapers and London based press and then ventured onto the international scene and the pro surf tour. I love to capture the moments I experience in a still so I will always be able to hold onto that memory. Capturing surf images has a certain element of danger to it as well as unpredictability. You can shoot for a year in the water and not get the shot you wish for. There are so many factors which effect getting 'that perfect image', the wave conditions, the clarity of the water, the surfer's performance, positioning in the waves. It takes a lot of time to prepare but only a second to capture a moment.
Most often a jet ski or a boat will drive you out to the waves as they are normally quite far off the coast. I'll be dropped off in the water and swim into the impact zone where I sit and capture the surfers coming by, ducking under the waves as they break above me. If the waves are closer to shore I'll swim out with fins, sometimes wearing a helmet for protection if the reef is sharp or the waves are big. When I was in Fiji shooting the last massive swell, the waves reached 30ft plus. It was so big the ocean had opened up and mother nature was working at her finest. There were times I came close to being caught out by the waves and I actually drowned a camera and lense. The conditions were difficult to shoot in, I did feel really intimidated by the ocean and itâ€™s true force that session.
I love the freedom of being in the ocean and swimming with the wildlife but I also love the creativeness of putting together a portrait, capturing someone’s spirit in a still and interacting with the person. Working with 'The Skateboard Book' was truly a pleasure, capturing those personalities was a lot of fun and they all had such great stories behind them. I run a series of surf related workshops. I'd like to see more girls work in the industry and get out there and see the world. I like to support this and offer not just a course but back it up with help right into their new careers. At present I don’t have any new dates but next year they’ll relaunch and will take place from the UK to Costa Rica. I am on the road a lot but it’s fun and never leaves time for a boring day! www.luciagriggi.com
As Wild As You Want In The Aosta Valley
Words and Images by Katy Dartford
“If there have been many bees in the summer, then there will be plenty of snow” our slightly eccentric yoga trekking teacher, Marzia Mosca, had told me earlier. Well, the snow had already started dumping down in parts of the Alps by the end of August, and now in Champoluc in the Aosta valley, Italy’s smallest region surrounded by Europe’s highest peaks, there seemed to be plenty of bees around. So I was going to make the most of the glorious sunny conditions here for the next few days on foot, bike, water and rock, before it was too late. I’m being slowly lowered down about twenty meters of slimy rock face, the icy alpine water below reflecting my fear back at me. It’s not the height that worries me or scrambling over slippery rocks, I am a rock climber after all, but I have a deep aversion to cold and I can’t quite believe a wetsuit is going to protect me from it. But in a split second I plop into the pool and a shot of cold runs down my spine, water somehow managing to penetrate a gap somewhere in the suit. I’m in the canyon of Chalami, at Pont St Martin, accompanied by Italian guides Stefano Percino and Andrea Demaria, from Champoluc adventure company: AWAY (As Wild As You) With me is mountaineer and adventurer, Squash Falconer, the Aosta Valley Ambassador, who last May summited Everest. I’ve a lot to live up to so try to put on a brave face, however Squash and I end up being the “naughty schoolgirls” of the group, running off ahead and trying to find our own way through the boulders. Fortunately, Stefano, isn't much like your classically, half- starved, serious looking mountain guide, and finds it all rather amusing. We jump in bubbling pools and throw ourselves down an amazing 25 ft slide which sends us spinning upside down, water up our nose and round our brains. After about an hour and a half we've slid, plunged and swum through the chilly canyon, feeling very satisfied and very brave. I’ve lately, more and more enjoyed walking in the mountains, but for me, and certainly for Squash (who on the morning I arrived in the valley, became the first British women to climb then paraglide off the top of the Grand Paradiso mountain) it’s
generally been more “alpine” in style; getting up at daybreak and trying to reach the summit before the day warms up, or slog it out mountain marathon. I’d never actually ‘relaxed’ on a hike, or stopped to meditate and to breathe in the alpine air. But now I’m “yoga trekking” in the shadow of the Monte Rosa, and I soon discover its calming benefits. Our guide, Marzia says practicing it amongst the peaks helps mental balance and promotes emotional and physical energy, which improves concentration and endurance. Willowy Marzia learnt the Asian arts out in Nepal and India, but it was only seven years ago that she put yoga together with walking. We are met after breakfast at the Stadel Sousson, a rustic looking seven bedroom modern refugio, on a tranquil, southwest facing meadow above the village of Champoluc. It opened three years ago but has been there since the 1500’s and is a short and bumpy ride away in a jeep from Champoluc, the ski spot of choice last season for Boris Johnson. Marzia takes us through some breathing exercises with a straight back and relaxed shoulders helping us to breathe completely, rather than with short breaths that stress the mind. Next we have some Nordic walking instruction: “we walk wrong, we go too fast, we need to breathe better,” says Martzia. We are told to hold our sticks at a 90 degree angle and not to put them in front of us as this makes you lean forward, “It’s better to plant them slightly behind you so that your lungs are open and you can propel yourself forward using all or your body, then on the descent use both sticks in front of you to give you balance,” we’re advised. As we head off through the lush valley of Cime Bianche, with the Matterhorn’s and Breithorn’s white peaks in the distance, through a forest of rhododendrons which only reveal their bright red flowers for two weeks in June, we attract some attention from local builders fixing up a restaurant roof who wolf whistle as we strut past. Marzia suggests we go silently and listen to the mountains. But stopping me gossiping would
require quite a steep ascent, and fortunately the route is mainly relatively undulating. Also Marzia’s ‘yoga dog’ keeps dashing past me, tripping me up and disturbing my rhythmic breathing…
Marzia’s ‘yoga dog’ keeps dashing past me, tripping me up and disturbing my rhythmic breathing
After another hour hiking we reach a grassy valley where we stop to do some more breathing, then we hike on a little higher, to the freezing cold Lago Blu. Now we finally stop to practice yoga at the foot of the Monte Rosa glacier by a bubbling glacial stream, with the mountain breeze in our hair we take off our shoes and practice a few gentle cat stretches and sun salutations - nothing too hardcore, and I try to keep a straight face as gnarly trekkers pass us by looking a little bemused.
Marzia now explains another variation on breathing; with three fingers on our foreheads, a thumb over one nostril and a little finger on the other, we close one nostril and breathe in through the other, “Opening and closing” the channels … our left side is the sun and a man and right is the moon and women,” apparently. It’s hard to shut your eyes however with the peaks - the Breithorn, Castor and Pollux, standing proud above the tumbling glacier. I’m relieved to break for lunch before scampering off back downhill, poles planted in front. We take one more stop, to paddle in a stream by a grassy glade, before one more yoga and breathing session, then head back, well stretched to Soussun, ravenous and more than ready for an Aostan feast of fondue and local meats dribbling in honey and chestnuts, ample fuel for the next day’s adrenalin-led activities. Andrea meets us at Frachey Sport in the morning to
One day's yoga trekking or mountain biking from Champoluc or other villages in the Ayas district costs €250 for groups of up to eight.
Stay: Refugio, Stadel Sousson www.stadelsoussun.com Between 80-140 euros half board per night depending on season.
Book these and other activities in the Val d'Ayas through As Wild As You, an adventure company set up this year by the Champoluc mountain guide Stefano Percino
Frantze Le Rascard. Auberge, Restaurant www.frantze.it Between 55-85 euros, half board per night depending on season.
0039 33 5735 5576
Eat: Restaurant il Balivo, Champoluc
www.aswildasyou.eu For further details about The Aosta Valley in Italy www.aosta-valley.co.uk
take us mountain biking from Campoluc to the town of Verres, about 30km away. We try out our bikes for size; unfortunately my head must be rather small as I only fit a child’s helmet. In moral support, Squash decides to use a childs’ helmet too and we head off towards the pretty village of Pilatz on an easy trail that’s mostly flat with some good grassy downhills then a small climb before a descent with an amazing view of the mountain of Zerbion. Squash says she’s never really mountain biked before, but flies down a flight of rickety steps; “well, you’ve just got to go for it haven’t you,” she says. We then head into a forest and it gets trickier, with rocky uphills and some very loose
rocky downhills. I grit my teeth, sit back off my seat and hold on as I negotiate a path through the stones, whooping with delight and adrenaline as I don’t fall off. Fortunately for those who haven’t mountain biked before it’s no problem to just get off and walk. Finally we reach a long winding road offering us an amazing downhill ride to Verres. It was a great route with a little bit of everything, and although Andreas seemed to think it was the easiest in the valley, it still had its gripping moments. Completely worn out after mountain biking and canyoning we headed back to another refugio for the night, further up the valley. Hotel Frantze is a gorgeous, rustic building and there we are served a three course dinner using vegetables from the garden; a starter of red cabbage and fontina cheese is folllowred by broccoli crepe with mushrooms and then beef, and the next morning a hearty breakfast prepares us for rock climbing. Stefano takes us to a crag near the village of Extra Pieraz, where the rock is more compact than in other parts of the valley. There are a good range of grades from 4 to 7b and there’s a laid back vibe with mostly local climbers. It’s not busy so we have our pick of the routes which are nice and juggy and slightly overhanging, just how I like them. Stefano starts us off on a 4, then as the others lay back to sunbathe, I lead a few harder routes before it's time to leave. Stefano suggests I’d be ready for the ‘Spaghetti tour’: a high alpine hut to hut traverse, consisting of up to 12 summits over 4000m. Fortunately, this being AWAY -As Wild As You, I might leave that wild suggestion for Squash.
yeah zine trip
WORDS: ANGIE MARINO PHOTOS: LINDSAY HALE A year ago I went on a trip with Girls Riders Organization for 6 weeks. Five skater girls and myself went from New York to California in a van doing workshops for girls who wanted to try BMX or skateboarding, holding little contests in a few cities and a few demos. I thought the trip was rad and wanted to do one with all BMX girls this year, so I started planning it out.
really fun dirt jumps, a mini ramp, water slides to ride and a crazy tight bowl setup in the garage. Our next and last stop was California. We first went to Woodward West and then worked our way down to San Diego, stopping at Long Beach on the way. We got the chance to go to the Fit and S&M warehouse to see how they make their stuff. Thanks Ben Ward for showing us around!
2,500 miles, 17 days, 5 girls, 4 states, 1 van. Our final city was Los Angeles for Games. Girls BMX doesn’t have Sounds like a recipe for Xa class in the X Games.. yet! Every year GRO has workshops set up for if they are interested in trying disaster right? girls to skateboard or BMX. Doing clinics The next stop was Colorado. We picked Finally it was on and myself, Nina Buitrago, Mini Park and Lindsey Hale headed to Austin, a BMX mecca with more and more girl riders popping up. We got the pleasure of riding T1, Empire before they tore the bowl down and held a jam at a pump track.
up our 5th girl, Jessica Ausec, in Denver then headed to Salt Lake City, Utah. All I have to say is, wow! You can’t go ten miles without being at another awesome cement park with a ridiculous view. We also got to ride Matt Beringer’s backyard and if you don’t know who that is, he’s like the Willy Wonka of BMX. His backyard has
with the younger girls and teaching them how to ride on the course X Games provided was a good end to the trip. Thanks to our sponsors : DK Bicycles, Etnies, Red Bull, Dans Comp, TSG Helmets and Fit Bike CO.
Tric king yourself into thinking no one else is snowboarding
Photo: Matt Georges
Lisa Wiik tells Hannah Bailey how to stay sane whilst recovering from injury Scars are beautiful they say, right?’ exclaims snowboarder and Olympic athlete, Lisa Wiik. When asked, if her scars could tell a story what would they would say: ‘that I have lived my life to the fullest and am not afraid of a challenge’ she tells. You can’t be afraid of a bruise or two when you're a rider of Lisa’s level. She’s been on the scene for over a decade, making a name for herself in both halfpipe and slopestyle as well as representing Norway in two Olympic games. But being a powerful force on a snowboard comes with a risk attached. “Injuries are a big part of professional snowboarding,” Lisa says, and unfortunately it’s been the main focus of her normally snow filled calendar these past two seasons. “I already had four surgeries on my poor left knee; lateral and medial meniscus and ACL twice.” she explains “My most recent surgery (March 2011) was the second ACL.”
A killer time to be sidelined, so early on in the 2011 season, the rest of her winter was spent injured and inactive, recovering then preparing for surgery. “It was the most difficult time. When I was going to the gym just to get a good foundation for recovery,” explains normally optimistic Wiik, “it felt so pointless. I felt like I was ages away from healing.” When snowboarding is not only your passion but also your career, there is not only this mental and physical battle to deal with but a professional one too. Luckily Lisa ‘was determined to get back on snow’ and last season it was her time. She was back on board and ready to shred. Much easier said than done, we ask her how she physically and mentally dealt with everything and more importantly how she bounced back. As an athlete or professional snowboarder, what goes through your mind first when you get injured?
A lot of things go through your mind when you just know you’ve had a big injury. The first thing I thought about in 2010 was actually the World Snowboarding Championships. Oslo was hosting it and I really wanted to enter! So you get all frustrated because your plans are ruined in a second and you don't know what to do. Girls are throwing bigger and bigger tricks, how do you know when to set your limit? It’s not always about being unsafe or not knowing your limits. It’s a lot of things to deal with besides the sizes of the jumps. You have the weather, speed, snow construction, tracks etc. All these outside factors can make the difference. I think its important that you feel safe, and I have learnt from lots of experience that I should listen to my ‘inner voice’ and not risk anything if there are factors that I can't control. It's all about having control, then you know you are within you own limits. Mentally how did you cope with inactivity? Not too good. I was on crutches through most of the winter so it was hard to even move around outside. I knew I had to be patient, but I think, like a lot of athletes, that I lack that ability! What helped me was that I was determined to get back on snow and I knew that I’d already lost a season which meant that I had a lot of time to recover in the best way possible. I didn't want
to rush it, I wanted to do everything right. How did it feel to be missing out on the season? I had to keep a distance from the snowboarding scene just for my mental health. Tricking myself into thinking that no one else was snowboarding while I was injured. I didn't want to feel left out in a way. It was hard to watch the girls at competitions and tweeting about going here and there. What did you do with your slow, down time after surgery? For me my school was a saving thing, I found it positive in a way that I had time to finish unfinished projects and studies, and it was really helpful to have something to fill up day with beside the recovering. Last season your were riding again, how did it feel to be back on a board? First time back on snow really sucked to be honest. I called my doctor after the first day riding and told him that if this was what snowboarding was going to be like, then I’d lost a big pleasure in life. He told me again to be patient, which you already know I'm not good at! But a few months later after some more biking and squats I went to Colorado and I felt so much better! I started off really easy, just hitting boxes and rails for a week and then slowly moved it back to the jumps for some airtime. I learnt that I shouldn’t rush anything, no stress. The most important thing in the end was that I had fun riding and less pain. From that point I could start building up my confidence. Now Lisa is back to what she loves. It’s been a tough journey, but she walks away stronger from the experience: “you can look back and see what you have worked your way through and be proud. You learn how to deal with changes, you learn more about yourself. Self-evaluation!” she tells. For those reading who sit there with crutches at their side, aches in their joints and frustration in their mind, some final advice from an inspiring person: “Find your motivation and stick to it. Fill up your day with interesting things. Be patient!’
Like every ‘noob’ I shot forward like a rocket, not really getting the whole ‘gentle’ thing
BACK TO SCHOOL First Steps In Motocross
As a teenage girl with an unhealthy obsession with biker boots, denim cut offs and bandanas, when I thought of motorbikes, I thought of Harley Davidsons, Hells Angels and leather jackets. Either that or of men past their prime tentatively riding a ludicrously expensive, shiny machine through an awkward mid life crisis. Then along came the Crusty Demons Of Dirt who opened my eyes to a whole new world of motorsports, flying high above the earth on their screaming machines and carving lines through vast, rugged landscapes. Fast forward a few years and I peered deeper into the world of motocross and learned of talented racers riding full throttle over double and triple jumps and tearing around muddy circuits, riders such as Ashley Fiolek, Jessica Patterson, Tarah Geiger and Vicki Golden who just blew me away with their gutsy manoeuvres. I wanted in, I wanted my turn on one of the dirt ready, high performance beasts I'd seen my heroines tearing about on, but where to begin when you've no bike, no land and you've never ridden before? There are several places around the UK where you can have your first taste of motocross, with many tracks offering beginners' days to those looking to cut their teeth on the dirt. The very best, and the only facility in the UK with an indoor track is Wheeldon, near Totnes in Devon and they offer a complete range of courses for all levels of riders, even hungry novices like myself. Wheeldon's 30,000 square foot indoor arena sits just behind a row of beautifully thought out holiday cottages, nestled in a farm hidden away in some of the most stunning countryside in the UK. South Devon also boasts some of the very best 'green lanes', or bridleways in the country so a stay at Wheeldon is the perfect way to get to grips with all kinds of off road riding. With no experience and no license, the green lanes were off limits to me, but with a hand crafted, beautifully maintained all weather haven of whoops and berms and a fleet of new Husqvanas to play on, I was more than happy.
Suited and booted in top of the range Alpinestars gear, my heart was pounding in anticipation; this was something I'd wanted to try for so long, but I'd never really known how to get going in this sport. Luckily our teacher, Mark made everything seem so simple that it was in no way intimidating, starting me off on a small bike in a separate beginners' loop of the track and explaining the basics of pulling away. If you drive, it's actually pretty simple as the theory is the same, the main difference being that you use your hands rather than your feet. Holding in the clutch lever with my left hand, Mark instructed me to very gently twist the throttle with my right hand whilst easing out the clutch. Like every ‘noob’ I shot forward like a rocket, not really getting the whole ‘gentle’ thing right away, but after a few more tries and some successful laps on the baby track, Mark deemed me ready to join the other riders on the main circuit. Wheeldon’s all weather arena is a golden oasis packed with turns, jumps and bumps of various sizes. Despite never having ridden a motorbike before, the fact I’ve ridden very similar terrain on a push bike was really helpful so I slowly circled the track focusing on smoothly changing between gears, unruffled by
the twists and turns, the banked corners and bumps. Unlike a push bike, you change gear with your foot, pressing a small lever up or down with your toes and it’s easy to tell when to change by listening carefully to your engine, a plaintive screech indicating a shift up is needed and a slow, sluggish, chuggy sound suggesting you might need to shift down. As I became more confident, Mark gave me tips for cornering, shifting and standing and made it clear he wouldn’t put up with any monkeying around.... I tried my very hardest not to get carried away but staying slow, calm and collected was a bit of a struggle for an overexcited bean like myself! My next challenge was moving from the small ‘field bike’ or 125 I’d just learnt on to what I deemed a ‘proper’ bike, a full size, Husqvana 250cc. I was a little intimidated as a climbed onto the beast, it seemed enormous after the field bike I’d only just got to grips with and even though I’m not short, I struggled to get the foot of my inside leg to touch the floor as I cornered, something I’d been doing with ease on the first bike. But despite my initial trepidation, me and bike number two fast became good friends, in fact we got on so well that we’d be going on our first date in the big, bad world after lunch. Bellies full, we loaded up the van and headed to an outdoor track down the road. Whilst Wheeldon does have it’s own outdoor circuit, it’s off limits during the summer holidays in a bid to cut down on noise pollution and escape the wrath of the locals, so the next part of our adventure was to take part on Mark’s friend’s land. The landscape, an intensely saturated green amplified by a luxuriously wet summer was dotted with long lashed, contented cows who casually strolled over to inspect the suspicious vehicles in their midst. Gate safely shut, I hopped on my red and white Husqy and tried riding on grass for the first time before Mark led us over to view the track from the brow of the hill. Myself and the other woman I was riding with were initially somewhat apprehensive about riding down a steep grassy knoll but there was no way I was going to stand at the top watching, or suffer the indignity of someone else riding my bike down for me. Mark was a fantastic teacher, building up our confidence by taking bigger laps of the incline before pointing his bike down the hill and telling us to follow. Hearts pounding, knees gripping tight, and arms so stiff we could have
popped a tendon, we inched our way towards the bottom to put everything we’d learned to the test. The outdoor track was more challenging than the indoor one as it featured more inclines, plus the length of the circuit meant you could build up a little more speed and let it rip. Spurred on by the other riders, I began shifting more confidently, getting into third and forth gear on some of the open stretches before shifting down to take the corners more cautiously. Somewhat recklessly I attempted a jump and whilst it wasn’t a complete disaster, it could have been, so Mark, eagerly watching his protegees from the top of the hill had a few words to quell my cockiness and prevent me getting dangerously over excited. Lap after lap, I sped my way round the track, spellbound, my every muscle and thought invested in completing a ‘perfect’ lap, unable to give up until I was satisfied. Amused, the other riders began to gather at the top for a breather whilst I became ever more focused on my riding and the melodies of by bike, deep inside my own little world, thrilled to be coaxing a steady performance from the Husqvana. Multiple laps later, I reluctantly joined our crew to load our muddy machines into the van for a bumpy ride past our bovine friends who were happily nibbling grass again, unperturbed by our presence this time around. Without doubt, my day at Wheeldon was one of the highlights of my summer, if not the very pinnacle, and I deeply wish I could become a regular participant in this high octane, adrenalin fueled sport. Sadly, motocross is no poor man’s game, so I’ll have to save future visits for birthdays and celebrations. But whilst I know I can never truly ‘get into’ motocross in the way I secretly crave, I’m so happy to have dipped my toe in the water and happier yet that I found such a fantastic teacher and one of the best tracks in the UK. Now, can I have more than one birthday a year, please?
Wheeldon Off Road Skills Academy Full day of instruction, lunch and kit, £199 www.wheeldontwo.co.uk
KATRIN BERGE ESCAPING INTO NEW WORLDS Words: Andrew Hartwell
Puffin children dressed for school. Human pine cones. Curious geometric shapes hanging in space. Im possible landscapes populated by anthropomorphic beasts and faceless children in historic costume. If you would like to see such wonders simply take a look at the work of Norwegian artist Katrin Berge. Since graduating with a Masters degree from the Bergen National Academy of the Arts, Katrin has continued to evolve and spread her work like a forest creeper. With a style that is soft and organic, her art often manages to be both whimsical and confrontational, confusing the viewer with images such as near faceless children piercing an oversized toad. What is happening? Where is this taking place? Why is the toad so big? Or are the children so small? Katrin's work is often unsettling, though always beautiful, gentle and expertly rendered. As such, her work has come to the attention of the masses through Bergens Tidende, the main newspaper for Bergen and the surrounding area, for whom she has created many illustrations, as well as via numerous artworks for musicians seeking stand out cover art. Andrew Hartwell caught up with Katrin at home in Bergen and asked her for some insight into her mysterious creations. Your art seems to feature two main ingredients children and animals. What do you think draws you to these subjects? Animals have always been a part of my drawings, the children characters started to appear more and more these last few years, and often together with animals. I think has to do with my fascination for old pictures, I've always been intrigued by early 20th century photos where children are portrayed posing in old fashioned clothes and a decent haircut. I think they have an interesting expression and a mysterious feel, and I've tried to find the same feeling in my own drawings. Now children and animals are a natural theme in my drawings. What do children and animals symbolise for you? Do they symbolise similar things, different aspects of the same thing perhaps? Children and animals symbolise my childhood, I guess. When I was little and didn't go to kindergarten, I was exploring the natural surroundings where we lived and had a lot of time to be outdoors. We lived near woods, hills and the sea, and I was really interested in everything that could walk on four legs: deer, mink, otter, horses, cats, dogs, caterpillars, snails, frogs, insects, mice and so on. What about when you create very anthropomorphic animals and human animal hybrids? I think it's influenced by fairytales and perhaps a trend. A lot of artists explore these combinations of hybrids and I also went through this "phase", if you can call it that, to explore what is possible within the things you like. I've also had many animals as pets, for example I had a ferret for eight
years, and now I have rats. They are the most loving, fun and inspiring creatures, and communicating with animals is something special. Distorted scale is another frequent feature in your work, the world 'out of whack'. Are these adjustments to the natural order a manifestation of your feelings about the modern world? Is there something wrong with the modern world? There are many things that are wrong in this world and difficult to think about and accept. I've always been a very philosophising individual, and as a kid my mom always used to tell me that I think too much and worry too much. When I draw pictures I don't use this way of expression to criticise things that are wrong with the world, it's more a way of getting away from it for a little period of time and make up new worlds, atmospheres and images that you won't see anywhere else. I love that you can create so much from just a pencil and a paper out of your own imagination! I escape into this world of my own, and it makes me feel good to create something that hopefully others will find joy in – a little break from their everyday life.
as a kid my mom always used to tell me that I think too much and worry too much
Costume is a further frequent focus for you: how important is history to you? Are the costumes worn by the children traditional Norwegian dress? Do you consider yourself a Norwegian artist? Â Or do you view yourself as an artist first and foremost? Â How important is Norway to your art? The clothing and costumes is absolutely an important focus in my drawings. They contribute to make up the expression of the characters and the mood. I love drawing clothes because of the tactile feeling you can make with the pencil, the folds and pattern. I like to add pattern to the clothes from my imagination, and these patterns can give the drawing a subtle modern feel. The costumes that I draw might be a traditional Norwegian dress, I'm not sure, but I don't care so much about whether or not something is Norwegian, I just draw what I think is nice and suits the mood I want in the picture. I consider myself an artist first of all, second a Norwegian artist. I guess Norway plays an important role in my art, because of nature, traditions and how I grew up and the surroundings that I grew up in: the Norwegian woods. What is your favourite thing to draw? Is drawing still a joy,
a natural thing that you do all the time or has it become more like 'work' as you have had more commissions? My favourite things to draw are still animals and children in surreal surroundings, and drawing is still very much a joy! But of course it can be hard to find enough time to draw the things that I want to, I have so many ideas that I don't find time to explore. I choose the commission work that is fun to work with and that suits my style and interests visually, I have to consider if it's something that I will enjoy working with. I can have as much fun with the commission work as I have with drawing from my own will and mind, as long as I try to be true to myself in which assignments I choose to take on. Commission work within illustration and my own artwork is two different things, and they both help me develop as an visual artist. What are you working on at the moment? Â What are your favourite types of commission? When you work with musicians, do they brief you or give you much free rein? Right now I have a commission work for a Norwegian graphic design agency named ELLE mELLE who is
making the visual identity for a hotel in Norway that is located in a lush natural surroundings, focusing on the benefits of this. So I am drawing elements from this environment like deer, fox, rabbit, sea eagle, birds, berries, fish and so on. It's a great job where I can draw what I'm best at and have fun with it! When working with musicians they give me a lot of freedom and I still have some clues to what direction they want me to go with the expression and mood. They know what they'll get when it comes to drawing style, but I have to suit the drawings to the lyrics and the mood of the music, which I think is an exciting way to work. I think it's good to have some limitations but then a lot of freedom within these limitations. What are your current favourite records? My current favourite records are Real Estate - Real Estate, Atlas Sound - Parallax, Devendra Banhart - What Will We Be and Norwegian artists Nathalie Nordnes NN and Susanne SundfĂ¸r - The Silicone Veil. I can also highly recommend these artists and bands from the city of Bergen where I live: Alexander von Mehren, Nathalie
Nordnes, Young Dreams, Razika, Sondre Lerche and last Chris Holm who I made the sleeve design for his first record, "Kilos", that will be released this fall. What do you like about Bergen? There are so many great things to see and do in Bergen, I love to be a part of this vibrant city and I have everything I need and want here. It rains a lot but I've learned to like the rain. I have mountains and forests to wander in, a vibrant city centre, cosy and urban streets with lots of fun shops and cafes. The music environment is characterised by the relatively small size of the city, but that makes people collaborate across genres and create great music. Bergen is the place to visit!
Do you have any words you live by? I live by the words kindness and continuity: be kind to others, and create as much as you can!
who needs pixels? Words: Hannah Bailey Illustration: Rebecca Doolan
As the world continues to get digitally enhanced, we are opting out of perfection and going back to analogue with our photography. Glorious and grainy, film's unpredictable nature holds our suspense, keeping our fingers snap happy and our creative needs satisfied. Each roll providing 36, perfectly and possibly, flawed snapshots. In an age where everyone is a photographer, with all the gear, millions of pixels and the vintage filters of Instagram at our fingertips, what actually makes a good photo? We don't know the answer, but we do know that we are analogue obsessed and there's no going back. So here's our pick of the top 5 analogue cameras to get your snap happy fingers clicking.
The Kodak ‘Brownie’ It's no surprise that Kodak make an appearance in the top 5! A chap called George started it in the 1880's and for almost a century Kodak was the dominant force in the photographic film industry. In the 1900’s the Brownie camera was born and is arguably one of the most important cameras ever made! Kick-starting the revolution of low cost, accessible photography, no longer was it an activity limited to the rich or professional anyone could get snap happy! Likely if you were a child of the 50's or 60's you saved your pennies to get your clicker finger on the Brownie 127, a beautiful brown bakelite model that sold millions worldwide. It cost our mum her best bicycle bell and half her pocket money for 6 months, that's camera commitment! With so many models produced, they are easy to hunt down these days. Keep your eyes peeled, we found a 1930’s pinhole version in a bric n' brac store in Oslo the other month…with a half exposed roll of film in it! The Brownie is as much an accessory as it is a workable piece of equipment. But put the effort in to find the film, take it out for a walk and snap a timeless shot. The picture you take with this will likely look like the picture your mum took in the 60's!
Find it: in your mum's attic, in an antiques store, at a jumble sale or in a charity shop sitting patiently waiting for a new home. Keep your eyes peeled! Best for: vintage Kodak moments! Film friend: depends on the model, ranges from 127, 120, 116, 117.
The 35mm Point and Shoot Really the 35mm point and shoot category deserves a whole feature to itself, our favourite friends fall into this beautifully simplistic camera crew. But we had to give the limelight to just one, and the Rollei it was! A beautiful little point and shoot, one of the smallest 135 film models ever made (second only to the subminiature Minox, often used to spy on people!), the Rollei is a quirky little fella designed to fit in your pocket and join you on everyday adventures. Their unique style, with the shutter speed and aperture dial on the front, plus the film leaver and viewfinder on the wrong side, make them a cheeky looking chap and a collectors dream! It wants you to rethink how you take a photo. You can hunt one down on ebay for around ÂŁ30. But we recommend getting a heap of point & shoots, no camera collection should have less than 3. You can snap them up for as little as a pound. Every camera is unique and being reliant on 35mm they are cheap to feed
Find it: at pound stores for a cheapy p&s or ebay for a vintage model such as the Rollei 35. Best for: trial and error photography. Snap roll after roll to work out what conditions are best for each camera! Film friend: conventional, cheap pound-a-roll 35mm. Buy in bulk!
and can be really rewarding. One of our favourite camera friends is a broken TOMA (a recently made Korean plastic cheap thing) found at our local pound store. It snaps with a faded dreamy hue and has a light leak which streaks the left of every shot. It's flawed and that's why we love it!
The 110 Camera Kodak can take claim to this invention too when in the 70's they brought out the Instamatic 110 to help out the film-phobic public. The success was its simplicity; literally these cameras were designed to be easily loadable with a cartridge style film and small enough to fit in your pocket. Check out the mini 110, you can't get much tinier; it's literally the size of the cartridge! But technically it was nothing more than a plastic case with a button, so its simplistic nature became its downfall and 110 film ceased production. Untilâ€Ś. earlier this year the good chaps at Lomography announced they were bringing it back, giving these hibernating cameras a chance to see the light and our Dixon's manufactured (attic found) Prinz camera from 1972 a second chance at life!.
The 35mm SLR We couldn't choose between the models when it came to a 35mm SLR and of course a Nikon and Canon tried to inch their way in too. But you've got to hand it to the Pentax K1000, the choice of thousands of photography students, it's a sturdy indestructible chap and rather handsome too. Similar to this fella, the Olympus OM-1 is another common SLR choice, these cameras are inexpensive hard workers and you will love them for it! Genuinely well made pieces of analogue equipment; they were the technical choice when film was the only option. They have many controllable features, similar to their digital younger brothers, but with the added grainy unpredictable element of film. Unlike a simplistic point & shoot, the SLR gives the power back to the user, so give the camera some time and you'll harness its ability. Load it up with some high ISO film and get snapping every particle the lens can see. Who needs pixels when you've got particles?
Find it: on ebay Best for: a user with genuine camera appreciation and time to learn how to get the best out of it. Film friend: high ISO 35mm film, e.g. black and white ISO 3200. The higher the ISO, the greater the grainy goodness
Find it: a bric n' brac store or go modern with Lomographys baby Fish eye or mini Diana. Best for: packing lightly, these cameras can be smaller than subminiature. Film friend: Lomography 110, orca black and white or tiger colour. Yes these are technical namesâ€Ś.
The Medium Format Yes, it may look like a toy but honestly; this is a real working camera! Relying on the square 120 film format, it hopped its way to Europe in 1982 after China shunned it for 35mm. Europeans embraced it with hungry hands, and it won the hearts of those in awe of itâ€™s creative capturing and unpredictable nature. The plastic fantastic cameras success was directly linked to its weakness, dreamy like snaps caused by cheap manufacturing and flaws. Light leaks, extreme vignetting, odd focus and general unpredictability make this toy camera a fun friend to have. A similar camera concept, Lomography's Diana is one from the toy box too, coming to life to capture more dreamy like 120 format shots. These are both low budget medium format cameras that are a big reason why we love analogue. The modern day Holga range includes a variety of models, from pinhole to 35mm and even a 3D version. Yes 3D! These plastic toys of creative colour have not only inspired a generation of modern day analogue photographers but also their digital enemies, the Instagrammers!
Find it: at Lomography, with a ton of colourful Dianas and Holgas to choose from. Eyes peeled for limited edition models. Best for: colourful creative snapping, multiple exposed shots, flawed images and fun pictures. Film friend: Lomography's 120 mixed film pack, from x-pro to lady grey, your choice of film further adds to the unpredictable image capturing.
UMBRO ENGLAND polo shirt LEVIS jeans AMERICAN APPAREL knitted jumper FILA Socks DR MARTENS shoes
LOVE YOU FOREVER
photography by Lydia Garnett. styling by Mireia Roelas
BEYOND RETRO Baseball Jacket PENFIELD Shirt LEE jeans Sweatshirt Stylish own Opposite: UMBRO Football shirt LAVENHAM Jacket
LAVENHAM shirt STUSSY windbreaker MIKO leather jacket
UMBRO ENGLAND Polo Tshirts NIKE sweat shirt PENFIELD puffed waistcoat Opposite: UMBRO football shirt
I try to recall how I first met Valerie, yet I can't. She's one of those people who bounds into your life and makes you feel like she's always been there and always will be, her doing her thing, me doing mine, our lives somehow intimately connected yet miles apart, both happily trotting along down different paths. Should we need to meet, I know she'll be there and she knows the same of me and it will be so completely natural, yet when I think of it, I haven't even met her that many times. But Valerie just 'gets it,' no explanations needed. The magic of her art is to communicate the tender moments, the cherished insights she teases from her subjects and let you immerse yourself in someone else's world, one you'd secretly like to inhabit. Valerie's photography can feel voyeuristic, the delicate moments a privilege to see and the pureness that springs from these girls' exploratory hearts so fragile, yet it's so celebratory and charming that we don't feel dirty for sneaking a peak. She speaks much of her cherished subjects, the raw intensity she adores to capture, those moments in time framed by her lens and I get it, these creatures she presents to us are that beautiful combination of vulnerability and assertiveness, of questioned confidence, but there's more to it than her carefully chosen subjects. There's just something about Valerie, some alchemy she performs that makes you want to bare your soul....
We meet at Valerie's studio near Hatton Garden, a compact room lined with extensive archives from her time in London and chat over tea whilst her young intern patiently colours in zines, careful to keep within in the lines. We have a quick catch up, comparing the price of houses in Devon and Hackney and speak extensively about the absolute necessity of creating for it's own sake, keeping our strong artistic culture thriving. A native New Yorker, Valerie was first drawn to these shores by the the vibrant creative energy unique to our capital which she felt unreplicated anywhere else, her hometown included. Valerie explains, 'I've always loved British pop culture and youth culture and the fact thats there's so much more of a DIY culture here....like when I first came here if you wanted to be a designer, start a magazine, have a record label, be in a band, you know, you could just do those things, anything was possible. In New York, rents were so prohibitively expensive, so it was very hard to be able find your way. I've pretty much spent my entire adult life here because for me, London is a much more creative place to do my job than anywhere else.”
interesting for herself and getting the record label to take notice of her. For whatever relaxed, laid back vibe you might get from Valerie, she clearly believes in the value of hard work and ambition telling me, “It was a real slog, I really put the time in, like I'd get to work at 5 or 6 in the morning and do my version of not just the (video) still of what was being shot, I'd try to make a project that was a more personal and intimate interpretation of the band, to deliver something more to the record label.”
Valerie's one clear goal in life was to become a photographer and she got stuck in as soon as she arrived in London, starting out with live music photography and working for Smash Hits then shooting a lot of bands' promo pictures and capturing stills on video shoots. Although it was good money, it was not quite the creative outlet she'd had in mind, so Valerie worked hard to give more to her clients than the simple video stills required from her, with a dual advantage of making work more
She recalls, “there was a period in time where I was photographing a lot of boy bands and a lot of rock bands but it was just getting a bit thankless, there was little I could do that felt fulfilling and special and that meant I could get to make the pictures that I saw, that I wanted to create. Doing a shoot for a boy band, they have an image already, they know how they want the photos to look, it was very much like showing up and just being a technician, it was a very functional role. There was a
It was through her more inquiring, inspired way of working with musicians that Valerie ended up photographing bands such as Manic Street Preachers and artists like PJ Harvey, projects on which she felt truly at home, where the artists themselves wanted to collaborate and do something really creative, fun and personal. But although Valerie continued to build on her relationship with these unique artists and indeed still cherishes working with them, ultimately she found the world of music unfulfilling and made a conscious effort to move away from it.
lot of money in it for a while but after a while I felt I was getting nothing out of it for myself, they were not pictures I wanted to be looking at. After a session with a band I decided to quit, it was just too uninspiring, unless you were shooting Shirley Manson or PJ or Florence, who look fantastic, have great records and a brain in their head; great women with their own thing going on, and a sense of humour. A lot of the boy bands didn't have that, it was just unfulfilling apart from very few shoots.”
work out how to do it! I spent time doing pictures I didn't like, then working out how to take things where I wanted them. I think your references from art, travelling, conversations you've had with people, books you read as a kid, those things are so ingrained in your head that for me, once I gave myself the freedom of using all those references, the references of my life, I think I just knew what I wanted my pictures to be like.”
Her work with visionary musicians aside, Valerie decided to focus more on her personal work and either take a break or get out of the world of band photography. She tells me, “I wanted to do a book...I like getting into the mind set of an actual person and becoming quite obsessed and indulging that one project with a very narrow focus; a person and what their world looks like.” Valerie continues, “I started with my first book, 'I Want to be an Astronaut' when I met Monika in about 1999 and that's basically the start of what this body of personal work ended up being.”
There's just something about Valerie, some alchemy she performs that Makes you want to bare your soul
The visual language and signature style was developed naturally, Valerie learning her craft en route, “It definitely wasn't conscious as I wasn't technically good enough to decide ' I want to do that' and be able to
Quite organically, Valerie drifted towards the world of fashion once she she realised the industry might
be more receptive to her way of working, giving her a chance to make her pictures 'work' the way she wanted them to. “ You have this great looking girl or guy, and if you've chosen the stylist, some cool clothes, somebody who understands what your pictures are about and wants to collaborate with you, and you're able to make pictures with somebody, more like how I would make a personal project.” But though initially a welcome break from the rigidity of band promo shoots, the fashion world also has it's limitations which Valerie is determined to push. She explains, “I like to do editorial my way, I make so much of my own work and I find it easy and obvious to incorporate that, the trick is to make it fit into what people need editorial-wise. Of course I want to do my own thing and shoot the clothes I want to shoot, but I like to think I can work with any situation, even if we need to shoot some ugly ass fashion. I try to bring what I do in my books and zines into editorial.” So whilst the fashion editors and art directors have been knocking, Valerie has continued to produce her books and her zines, clearly where her passion lies. I joke about the age of the girls she photographs, many of them looking so young and ask Valerie what it is about those adolescent years that's so intriguing to her. She explains, “I think people think I shoot younger girls than I actually do, actually they're not all teenagers
at all! But yeah, I guess I like people who are not so fully formed and locked into their own way of being that they're not open to just kind of experimenting. I think with teenagers there's an interesting point where they're trying to declare everything that they're about and a lot of that tends to be very visual, which I love, whether it's slogans on their t-shirts or the way they dress, whether they're a punk, a goth or a preppy. So that's very interesting visually and it's also very interesting to hear their running commentary on their life, they're completely fully formed yet could turn on a dime and by the next time I see them they could have a totally different take on the entire universe. That's what I think is interesting and I think that's what the pics look like. It's like this weird journey, there isn't really a narrative, it's just all these special, weird intimate moments that make up someone's life and that's really inspiring to me, I feel very privileged to be allowed into that world which is very personal and intimate and to get to participate in it. I don't have an age cut off, I don't walk around thinking 'where's the next 14 year old I can do a book with' but I think that when people are at a certain point in their life, when people are younger they're more open to experimenting, to doing things that are scary because it is scary exposing you life to someone you don't necessarily know that well yet, like 'here I am with all my
random weirdness, here that all is!' I don't know that someone who is 35 is necessarily going to want to do that, I think that people get a little more guarded and scared as they get older and I think that that is what I see visually, I see that in people.” As the builders continue hammering away outside the window, we look through some of Valerie's books and projects, her latest being 'A Fantastic Kitten' a follow up to the sold out, 'Meow', featuring young Swedish photographer, Arvida. I'm always intrigued at how Valerie finds her subjects, knowing she saw the subject of her first book, 'I Want To Be An Astronaut' amble past her window in a Halloween Parade, circa 1999, ('I literally ran downstairs, out the door and into the crowd to find her, it was like it was ordained by the gods!') It turns out that Arvida was a savvy suggestion from a friend. Valerie tells me more about her latest muse, “I was intrigued by her very original, exciting, crazy tumbler, and her many beautiful self portraits on line, so I just rang her up and invited her to London to do a zine. We were Skyping about clothes she was going to bring, and she was like 'I have these nipple tassels, and this pink tracksuit' and I just thought, this girl's a dream, she's like a present!” I agree with Valerie that Arvida looks and sounds amazing, but understanding her preference for capturing these moments in young lives, wonder why it's mainly girls who get to dance for Valerie's camera. She tells me, “There have been some cool guys, some skaters and artists... but I think girls are more confident and more confident about showing their mistakes and their imperfections, they don't really give a shit, they're less guarded, and I like that, girls will just go with it and they don't care if they look like a dork or an idiot, none of them have ever gone back and seen the pictures and done anything apart from laugh, and all the guys, apart from my boyfriend, I can't shoot in the same way. It much more interesting and rewarding with girls, I find they give less of a shit, and obviously I was one so there's a sense of having a common, shared experience.” As I sit in Valerie's studio surrounded by paranphenalia, the pair of us pouring over zines, chatting about illustrators I finally get to peer closer into the world of Valerie, for moments with Valerie can be fleeting and she often steers the conversation onto others. Her excitement about life and art are so infectious, her manner an endearing mixture of ultra cool and nerdy. Valerie strongly believes that youngsters are inherently more interesting than older folk like ourselves, as they struggle to find themselves and figure out how to present themselves to the world. I'd have to disagree, if Valerie is anything to go by, I think we never grow out of being either fascinating, delightful, or slightly awkward in the sweetest possible way. 85
When I was ten, I saw a guy with a bright yellow false leg at Bakewell show and we got chatting. He turned out to be an ex Paralympian, Calumn Gordon and I ended up going to try wheelchair basketball with him and the Sheffield Steelers.
depth, it was the toughest training I'd ever done. I remember not having much spatial awareness about me and having balls lobbed at my face, but now I read the game so well because of the basic level of understanding I learned there. My performance level just rocketed.
I remember coming home after my second training session and telling me parents it was what I wanted to do. I upped my training to twice a week and a year later, I made my first few baskets on the ten foot net and got invited to super league training. I was way out of my
This is a little crazy, but what what appeals about wheelchair basketball is the violence. I love that you can tip people out of their chairs and that there's no gender bias. I'm on a predominantly male team and they used to bash me around and I loved it, I love being wiped out
and put on the floor and I love doing it to other people!
early age. I got a bit behind over the Olympics so I've had to really knuckle down.
When I was 13, I won the prize for most valued player at Stoke Mandeville in the Junior Nationals and it made me want to go for Team GB. A week later, GB Juniors phoned me up and invited me to a camp. Again, I was a little bit out of my depth, I knew I wasn't good enough to go to London 2012 but it made me want it really badly so I upped my training to four times a day and then at the age of fourteen, to every day of the week.
I also have to stay on top of my training, working out on my arms and shoulders twice a day; muscle deteriorates if it's not used for more than 16 hours, so maintaining arm and shoulder strength to avoid injuries is crucial for me. I train every of the week without fail. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I train with Sheffield Steelers then I'll either do Team GB training, my own personal training or do some gym work. The weekends aren't any less hectic either, I finish training at about 9.30 or 10 at night, get home at eleven and eat something quickly. I don't particularly like to cook, my favourite is Pizza
I wake up to the banner of the Paralympic World Cup which is the first tournament that I ever did at 14 for the great britain women's team. My bedroom is full of me and my achievements, itâ€™s probably the most embarrassing room of my life! I love Weetabix so I'll have bowl with a bit of sugar then exercise my wrist using therabands. I broke it back in December which wasn't the best thing to happen before The Games. I recovered really well but I make sure that I keep work on strengthening it. It's hard to balance education and all my training but it's something I've done since an early age so I guess I'm used to Photo: Lissa Cook it now.I get the bus to school at 8am, study all morning then have something like a tuna salad for lunch and occasionally an iced finger for a treat. After a full day at school until 4pm, including PE lessons I head off to training having some food on the way. I do a lot of homework on the car journey as I have to make the most of my time; I'm studying for my A Levels in Biology, Psychology and Sports Studies at the moment so it's more important than ever to work hard. I've always liked to keep on top of my school work, it's something I've always paid a lot of attention to since an
This is a little crazy, but what what appeals about wheelchair basketball is the violence but obviously I can't eat that all the time because it's not good for me. So after a quick bite to eat, some cous cous or spaghetti bolognese, it's off to bed. I do like to party, which teenage girl doesn't, but training always comes first. After the Olympics for practically the first time ever, I was allowed a week to party and see my friends so we made the most of it. A lot of athletes give up their social life which is a choice we make but its still something which you miss. Growing up, I always wanted to be a forensic scientist. I did my work experience at an undertakers putting make up on corpses which was pretty crazy, but these days I'm focusing on winning a basketball scholarship to America and studying something science based. I also like to paint and I love textiles but I don't really get time to do much of that. I tend to sleep really well but I sleep best in the car! As I kid I used to struggle to sleep so my dad used to drive me around to try and get me to sleep. So I tend to sleep on the way back from training to capitalise on the amount of sleep I can get. But I do love my bed and love sleep. I'm usually tucked up by 11 or 12 then I'm up and at it again at 7.
Until recently I’d had the same board for years. I trusted him, we got on well, had been through a lot together, and despite having taken a few knocks over the years, he still performed pretty well for his age. Of course, like any other hot-blooded snowboard chick I'd been eyeing up the new boards on the block, being seduced by their flexibility, strong cores, and alluring graphics. I'd flirt with the idea of ditching my old board and getting hooked up with a fancy new one, one that liked to have fun in the park, performed well in the powder and still maintained enough contact when things turned icy.
there was always some reason why I couldn't go through with it
I'd even get as far as fixing my sights on 'the one’, telling myself that I'd hold out until the end of the season, and if he was still left on the shelf, he could be mine for less. However, year in, year out, when it came to the crunch, there was always some reason why I couldn't go through with it – the reason invariably being an impromptu extra trip to the mountains which left me spent. I was also never quite convinced by all the ever-evolving technology and was very much of the opinion that I wore the trousers in our relationship and it was me who controlled our performance on the mountain, rather than the other way round.
So, other than flirtation and the odd date (which, admittedly, did test my resolve), I'd remained faithful to my old board. I was happy enough, but at the same time, I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I could do better… My epiphany came when I was invited to a snowboard testing event – a veritable snowboarding orgy. With all the hottest new boards in one place, all crying out to be ridden, what's a girl to do? Clearly I obliged. Suffice to say that I barely spared a thought for my old board over those few days. The new ones were so amenable that most of us clicked on the first, well, click, and with each turn I fell deeper and deeper in love. Or was it lust? It didn't matter, it felt good. The chemistry was palpable and I began to realise what I'd been missing out on all this time. I became much more adventurous, tried out different moves in the park, and even felt bold enough to take them out of bounds. I still believe that a good rider should be able to tame any board, regardless of how many contact points or camber variations it has, but that said, if you can make your life easier and more fun with a newer model, why wouldn't you? And while there's a lot be said for having a board that you’re familiar with, sometimes you just want to spice things up a bit.
I'd hate to compare my snowboard to a man, but even the best of relationships can eventually turn stale. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut, and sometimes it's just best to move on… I'm certainly having lots of fun with my new one!
Words: Cat Hart / Illustration: Suzi Kemp
BY WOMEN, FOR WOMEN. YOUR INDEPENDENT streetwear & LIFESTYLE STORE...
Action, Art and Adventure for women. Issue 3. - Mountain Bike Champ, Rachel Atherton - Motocross Superstar, Ashley Fiolek - Snowboard Legend...
Published on Nov 2, 2012
Action, Art and Adventure for women. Issue 3. - Mountain Bike Champ, Rachel Atherton - Motocross Superstar, Ashley Fiolek - Snowboard Legend...