Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fresh Pickings: The wild world of Polly Fern Sergeant

From every breed of English bird you can name, to tiny colourful insects, doe-eyed miniature hares and silky-feathered chickens, Polly Fern Sergeant's beautiful illustrations are a who's who of British wildlife.

During her studies at Norwich University of the Arts, she has established a dedicated following, with a rapt audience of over 23,000 followers on Instagram.

Her beautiful drawings and paintings feature everything from pheasants and peonies to crickets and canaries (which are no doubt occasionally modeled on the birds she keeps as pets and live-in muses.)

As big nature lovers ourselves, Assemblage couldn't resist sitting down with her to find out more about her work. 

What inspires you?
Countryside walks, changing of seasons, my canary companions that are always beside me whilst I am painting. 
I currently live in Norwich city and I find the history of a place very inspiring and I enjoy discovering small everyday events/stories.

What drew you to focusing on wildlife in particular in your work?
I think it's because of the amount of time I spent in the English countryside as a child. I would spend my days in the garden, looking after my animals, cleaning out the chickens, playing with the frogs and attending my fairy garden. I kept birds as a child and when I came across injured birds, I would take them under my wing, keeping them in my bedroom and nurturing them in till they were fully recovered. I think this is where my love of birds comes from.

Do you spend a lot of time in the great outdoors gathering inspiration for new subjects and working on pieces? 
Yes I do, but I spend a lot of time in the studio too, working out ideas and testing new materials.
I find that it's important to be open minded about where I am gathering my inspiration from, as I feel that it helps me progress my work and ideas.

Where are your favourite places to go for inspiration?
I like visiting small, quaint towns in Suffolk and also coastal areas in North Norfolk.

What are your favourite materials to work with? 
Watercolour, gouache paint and I love working with mixed medias for collaging.

What types of wildlife do you enjoy studying and painting the most?
I think I would have to say birds - of course!

Who are your favourite artists and illustrators? 
Alice and Martin Provensen, Stig Lindberg, Mark Hearld, Josef Frank, Charley Harper, Cedric Morris, John Piper.

What exciting projects have you worked on in the past, and what have you got coming up?
A lot of uni projects...I usually have a lot of small personal illustration projects that I am constantly 
thinking about and working on. I am now approaching my third year which will be one big intensive project!
I hope to illustrate my own book in the upcoming future.

What would your dream project be?
I would love to design some wallpaper and fabrics. I have recently taken up sewing and I am into dressmaking at 
the moment, so illustrating some fabrics would be wonderful.

All illustrations and photographs are credited to Polly Fern Sergeant. To see more, visit her on Instagram @pollyfern, follow her Tumblr or visit the online shop.

- Abigail

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Wanderlust: Limone, Lake Garda

La Limonaia Del Castel

The little terracotta town of Limone sits on the west shore of Italy's best-loved lake, Lake Garda, and is perfect for adventurous types looking for a relaxing break which doesn't compromise on scenery and opportunities to appreciate the great outdoors.

Being positioned in the northern half of the lake, it boasts a dramatic shoreline complete with views of Monte Baldo and the surrounding hills, which sit directly across the water.

Assemblage spent two glorious weeks here over the summer, and found it to be one of the lake's more architecturally beautiful towns, which possesses some of the most dramatic scenery we saw on the northern half of the lake.

While Limone is a popular package holiday destination, those looking to get a little more out of their trip will find themselves spoiled for choice.

From exploring the town's winding lanes and pebbled shoreline, to wild swimming in the perfect turquoise waters of nearby Lake Tenno, Italy's clearest and most lipid freshwater lake; exploring the lush vinyards of Trentino and windsurfing in Torbole - one of the continent's most popular watersports spots - or mountain biking and climbing in some of the finest mountain terrains in Europe, there could not be more on offer.

Wild swimming in Lake Tenno

But really it is the views that steal the show. The gradient of the town means many hotels are in prime position for admiring the views over the bay and the mountains on the Eastern shore opposite, where the clouds hang over the tips, leaving shadows on the hillside below.

From almost any point in the town, you only need raise your eyes to catch a glimpse of the dramatic hills hanging overhead. And with the mountainous climate bringing with it balmy evening thunderstorms, there couldn't be a more perfect place to watch the lightning fork.

La Limonaia Del Castel

La Limonaia Del Castel - On Tuesday nights during the summer months, this restored limonaia offers late night opening, where visitors can admire the citrus trees by moonlight, enjoying enchanting views over the rooftops of Limone and the lake, limoncello tasting and live music, all for only a couple of Euros.

Windsurfing on the western coast


Spiaggia Foce fiume S. Giovanni
Get to grips with surfing Garda's famous Ora wind, which blows like clockwork from the south of the lake every day and makes the north of the lake one of the best-loved water sports spots in Europe.

Museum of Tourism 
Via IV Novembre, n. 29/L
A fine place to kill time during a wet afternoon, and worth a visit alone for the photographs of the town during its lemon-growing heyday.


Osteria Al Veccio Fontec
Via Della Corda, 21
This delightful restaurant is nestled in the courtyard beneath a local residence on a quiet street in the village, and offers an intimate evening. Guests are greeted with complimentary prosecco, and the menu offers an alluring array of options, including almond crusted tuna steak. £££

Osteria Da Livio
Via Tovo, 4
Nestled high in the olive groves about 15 minutes' walk from the centre of Limone, this is a locals favourite. Expect magical alfresco dining amongst olive trees, and a delectable, traditional Italian menu. ££

Osteria Al Veccio Fontec

Bar Spaghetteria Da Titano Di Fort Enea
Via Della Corda, 9
This little ristorante in the heart of Limone offers unpretentious, traditional Italian cooking at very reasonable prices. Pasta portions are enormous, and the Spaghetti Limone is a delight. £


Bar Limone
Via IV Novembre, 22
Situated on the main road leading above the old town, this buzzing hotel bar is frequented by locals, so prices are reasonable, and the chef's abilities are beyond that of many of those at the town's other osterias. Stop by on a Saturday, when the bar puts on live entertainment and a buffet of the highest order for 20 euros. 

Via IV Novembre, 4
Another locals' favourite, this is the perfect place to enjoy a late night by the water. From the mellow, low lighting emitted by colour changing spherical lights, to the designer bean bags laid here and there and the generous spirit measures, the emphasis is on maximum comfort and fun.

Where to stay

Hotel Castell
Via IV Novembre, 62
This friendly establishment is built directly into the rocks on the cliff side, and boasts prime position beside the Castell de Limonaia and a mere three minutes' walk to the centre of Limone via steps beneath the hotel. The rooms, dining area, terrace and pool all offer breathtaking views over the town, lake and eastern shore, and the atmosphere is friendly and unfussy.

All photos by Abigail Outhwaite.

- Abigail

Views of the east shore from Limone, Lake Garda

The view of Limone from Hotel Castell

Art in the alleys in Limone

The beach in Limone at dusk

Views of the east shore

The beach at Limone

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Spaces: The Ideal Home

I spend a lot of time thinking about my ideal home. Polished parquet floors, smooth white walls, large framed windows and tall ceilings beckon to me. I picture trailing green plants and geometric cacti sat in little terracotta pots on shelves and above the fireplace (wood burning stove, a necessity). There's a big queen-sized bed pushed up against one of the bedroom windows covered in creased cotton sheets. Fragrant fresh flowers sit in glass vials on Scandinavian-design kitchen and coffee tables. Back issues of Kinfolk and Cereal sit on oak shelves, complemented by framed postcards and analogue cameras. My own photographs, retro film posters, unique gig posters and a vast collection of maps are framed on the walls of every room. It's lived in, but not cluttered. Minimal, but from a maximalist's point of view. Tasteful, yet filled with personal touches.

Stay tuned for a series of posts further investigating my interior musings.

Photos from Whistles and My Scandinavian Home


Monday, 8 September 2014

Stylenotes: Urban Outfitters Collective No. 07

With its lush green cliffs tumbling down onto black lava beaches, steaming natural springs and frantic terrains slashed apart by the meeting of the tectonic plates, Iceland boasts some of the world's most photogenic natural sights.

So we were not in the least surprised to discover that Urban Outfitters has shot its latest lookbook there.

The brand's Collective No. 07 mixes mod tailoring and a cheeky teddy boy attitude with utilitarian layers and chunky anglian knits. 

Contrasted against ethereal, dystopian landscapes, the result is a stunning set of images that has us wanting to sail north immediately.

All photographs by Urban Outfitters.