March 2014 – Knitting 101

In March, Cheeka and Anna did an amazing job teaching us how to knit …in the pub.

Seeing as most of us were beginners we decided not to be too ambitious, so we made tiny hats.

Afterwards, some of the Hackney Wicked Women got knitting fever…

…and we also tried to find uses for these incredibly small hats…

February 2014 – Meeting Nina Cosford, Illustrator

On 18 February the Hackney Wicked Women met at our cracking new venue, upstairs at Number 90 in Hackney Wick. We welcomed the inspirational Nina Cosford, an illustrator from Hastings who talked to us about her work, and how she has carved a career in a dynamic and creative sector.



Nina brought some of her work, including some pop-up educational books with her own distinct illustrations.


Nina, where did you study? 

I studied Illustration & Animation at Kingston University, London and graduated with a First Class Honours in 2011.

What has been your favourite moment of your career so far?

I think the ‘Girls Illustrated’ project has been one of my biggest career highlights. I started the blog in November 2013 when I realised I wanted to combine my love of HBO’s tv show GIRLS with my illustration.

Within just a few days, Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow were following me on Twitter and were retweeting my work and sharing it with millions of fans. This led to an exclusive commission from HBO to help launch the release of Season 3.

I also was invited by Sky Atlantic to the London Premiere of GIRLS as a special guest and commissioned to do live drawings of various guests at the afterparty. It’s amazing to think of the difference social media has made to my career – how else would I have had access to people like Lena Dunham and the Girls HBO team?!

What’s the hardest part of your job?

I don’t yet have an agent, which means I have to spin many many plates – from contracting to social media, negotiating fees to all of my self-promotion.

It can be quite hectic at times as I am having to play all of these roles let alone produce the actual work!At the same time, it’s very insightful and a good way to learn the ins and outs of the industry I’m working in.

What’s your favourite part of your job? 

I like the fact that I have a choice in what I do. I can say yes or no to jobs or even approach people and create my own jobs in some cases. It’s nice to be able to plan my own schedule and run my own studio.

I’d like to have an agent one day so that I can develop my practice even further and push out into other realms whilst someone else takes care of all the negotiating and admin stuff! I also really like the fact that I can make my own projects and use illustration to learn and understand things.

What advice would you give to any budding female illustrators?

I would advise three simple things to any budding illustrator:

  • A decent, clear website that instantly gets across your style and character
  • Online platforms are crucial! Regular use of Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram make you look busy, productive and dedicated and give you access to almost anyone.
  • Meet people in person wherever possible. It’s really nice for people to put a face to your work and see the person behind the practice.

As a female, I think there can be a big advantage of working for yourself. It can be very empowering and allows you to understand the industry you are working in from a very close perspective. There can often be a lot of multitasking involved as I mentioned!

Using your personal image also helps to get your character across and adds a feeling of integrity and approachability.

Find out more…

December 2013 Beer and cheese tasting

On 11 December 2013, Hackney Wicked Women WI welcomed Jo West and one of our very own committee members Lauren Mulhern to introduce us to a highbrow* beer and cheese tasting…

Beer and cheese tasting

An introduction to beer…

Jo explained the beer making process, and how taste and brand has evolved over the years. She also discussed  the interesting marketing techniques and campaigns that some companies and brewers have recently used, to try to tailor their product towards a female audience.

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We tried several different types of beer, from a more popular and ‘easy to drink’ lager Kronenbourg, to a much darker London Porter.

This pale ale, Wild River, was my personal favourite…. this may have been due to no one else liking it very much… so by default there was more of it for me to drink. Or maybe it was because there was an animal on the label. Who’s to say…

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Cheese tasting…

Lauren talked us through a range of smelly and wonderful cheeses that she had Caerphilly selected (sorry, that was a terrible cheese pun), which went down pretty well with a beer.

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We had a variety of cheeses:

  • Blue Monday, the famous Alex James (sha-wing) cheese named after his favourite New Order Song
  • Cornish Yarg – wrapped in nettle
  • English brie
  • Ruby Mist, a blended cheddar with port and brandy

Lauren has what many might consider a dream job. She is a cheese buyer at Cheese Cellar. Yes, a CHEESE BUYER! So we asked her a few questions about her job:

What was your favourite work moment?

‘My fave work moment was definitely going to a supplier’s farm in Devon and making my own cheese – starting with milking the cows! also meeting Alex James (swoon)’

What’s your least favourite part of your job?

‘My least favourite part is probably physically counting all the cheese in the warehouse – can be quite gruelling and smelly!’

Find out more:

* It wasn’t at all highbrow.


What’s the point?

It all started on the 11 November in a chilly meeting room in Hackney Wick.

We didn’t all know eachother, and it felt like that awkward moment when you share the left with a colleague you don’t really know, or when you attend a training event and you need to moderate your biscuit intake to ensure you’re not labelled the ‘opportunist’.

Two mature (and one might say more traditional) Women’s Institute veterans from Essex to deliver a somewhat ceremonial introduction, whilst copius papers and details were handed out, and we tried to take note of rules and regulations.

But what was the point?

For many of us was really about making friends and doing things. That’s it really. And that’s why we meet, to:

  • learn new skills and hear from inspiration speakers
  • meet people and organisations in our local area
  • make friends with other women in our community
  • have fun.

what we want to do...

We’ll be blogging about some of our meet ups, and other things we’re up to around Hackney Wick. We hope you’ll stop by our next meet up, or keep up to date here on our blog. Don’t be shy. We’re all pretty welcoming and ridiculous.

Lora Su
Committee Team, Hackney Wicked Women WI

Find out more: