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Cuppas and cupcakes

Categories: Jewellery Quarter

Last week, Birmingham's Likemind coffee morning celebrated its third birthday. Wow, that's a lot of early starts!

To help mark the occasion, we made some cakes (as did Lindsey and Claire – thanks both!) to help raise donations and awareness for Marie Curie Cancer Care and as part of their Blooming Great Tea Party.

The cake donations raised were enough to pay for an hour of at-home nursing care, plus bereavement booklets to support more than 20 children. Brilliant stuff – thanks so much to everyone who came along and donated.

Thanks also to Saint Caffe for continuing to look after us so well every month.

(The next Likemind will be on Friday 20th August; same time and place as usual. Hope to see you there!)

Cash for cake (for cancer care)

Categories: Extra-curricular, Jewellery Quarter

I'm writing this post on a caffeine-high, having recently returned to the office from our monthly Likemind coffee morning; a gentle networking event which takes place not only here in Brum but in 52 other cities across the world on the same date and at the same (local) time each month.

We've been hosting the event since July 2007 which means that next month – Friday 16th July to be precise – it'll be Likemind Birmingham's third birthday. Crikey.

To mark the occasion we're having a 'cash for cake' fundraiser in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care, as part of their Blooming Great Tea Party. We'll bring along some cake and, if you'd like to make a donation to the charity in return for some spongey goodness, that'd be most appreciated.

Coffee, conversation, celebration, charity and cake? Surely that's a winning combo?  

The need-to-know stuff: Come along to Saint Caffe, St Paul's Square, Birmingham on Friday 16th July. We'll be there from 8am until about 10am and, as I may've mentioned, there will be cake.

Pressing local matters

Categories: Jewellery Quarter

The fact that a former incarnation of Supercool HQ was a pen works and that it's located only about a 2-minute walk away, it seemed like madness to have never visited the Jewellery Quarter's pen museum. So, in an effort to explore nearby places, I went to have a quick look around.

Cosy it may be but the Pen Room is packed to the rafters with pen paraphernalia, there's typographic eye-candy a-plenty thanks to loads of glorious examples of old packaging and signage, and the enthusiastic volunteer staff are brimming with pen-related facts.

"Birmingham was the centre of the world pen trade for more than a century, employing thousands of people, pioneering craftsmanship, manufacturing processes and employment opportunities – especially for women."

Probably the best thing about the Pen Room is the interactivity – there's no touch-screen technology here but you can make your very own pen nib. You go through the whole process – from cutting the blank, to embossing the maker's mark and then pressing into shape – using the chunky, clunky, antique machinery; all under the careful supervision of one of the staff, of course. Then, you get to take it home with you! (The nib, not the staff member.)

The Pen Room is free (though donations are welcomed) and it's perfect to visit during a lunch-hour; you'll get a bit of history and a smattering of heritage, see some fantastic packaging design and make a tiny keepsake. I reckon it's well worth writing home about. (Sorry, I can never resist a bad pun.) Next on my to-go list: the award-winning Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

Making an exhibition of Birmingham. For Birmingham. By Birmingham.

Categories: Events, Extra-curricular, Jewellery Quarter

Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to be invited along to the private view of Birmingham Photospace's Birmingham's People exhibition which is currently housed in the (stunning) Jewellery Quarter offices of architectural practice, Bryant Priest Newman.

A bit of background incase you're not familiar with Birmingham Photospace – they're a collective of folks who love photography and are working incredibly hard to establish a permanent public gallery space for photographic works here in Brum.

The photos featured in Birmingham's People were taken over just two days at last year's Artsfest and are an eclectic bunch. The images really are beautiful and it's impressive to think they were taken in a marquee, in a bustling city centre, in the middle of a festival and with a very quick turnaround time per subject. Massive kudos to photographers Jennifer Peel and Matt Murtagh – it takes real talent to get people so relaxed and natural in front of the camera even at the best of times!

Sadly my quick attempt at getting an arty shot of reflections of the building within the photos didn't work terribly well, as you can see, and really doesn't do Birmingham's People justice. The exhibition runs until 19th June though, so you can go and see the images properly over at Bryant Priest Newman – the exhibition's open during office hours but you do need to call or email in advance as it's a working office. Contact details can be found on their blog.