If you're a native of Forest Gate you can't miss the cosmic couture and pastel-pink hair flair of community creative Ioana Simion who with her infectious energy is our local vibe merchant. The Arts Facilitator and Creative Programmer founded her platform Artizine UK in 2019 to cultivate mindfulness, disconnect from technology and restore ones creativity through the medium of zines and zine-making which you can read more about on The Forest here.

We love encouraging entrepreneurship and networking with the local creative community so have found a kindred spirit in Ioana. She has hosted a series of Artizine takeovers at The Forest's home hub Tracks including book-binding workshops, cross-collaborative crafting classes in support of Ukraine and now we welcome her back for her new workshop The Art of Wintering next Thursday 27th October, 6.30pm-8.30pm. This session is designed to help you create your own visual languages to explore a gentle transition to wintertime through collage, mark-making, creative writing and a lot of more play. So if you wanna channel your creative spirit you can book The Art of Wintering workshop tickets here.

Here Ioana invites us over to her art studio for a sneak peek of how her expressive enclave inspires her.

What's home life for you?

A tidy(ish) expression of who you are, a place of rest.

How have you made your house (studio) your home?

First of all, I feel so lucky to have a studio in the first place. I know how challenging it is to find affordable spaces in London. This still feels surreal to me sometimes.

I believe a studio becomes your home when you start to let your ideas feel safe to simply exist in that space.

You don’t make expectations or judge the outcomes, you don’t think about what you’re going to achieve by being there or how you’re going to use your studio. Even if it’s just a tiny corner in your room - you welcome the process, the mess, the failures open heartily...

Describe your colour palette…

I absolutely LOVE anything that’s bold and compliments your mood. But a favourite would be my brand’s pastel palette: pink, green, yellow, blue and violet.

Minimalist or maximalist? Be honest…

I love trinkets, anything but a minimalist.

Best bargain piece or treasured possession you'll never let go of?

I collect Magda Archer prints, I’m really fond of her work. Best bargain is a brand new desk for my studio from Trash Nothing.

If money was no object, what would you do in your home?

Tough question. I would love a music room, a big open living room where you can go into a garden.  

Plant policy both inside and outside?

Plants everywhere. I have so many aloe plants in my studio, because they grow like nothing else and they’re really not fussy. They really inspire me - a friend once told me that a plant's only worry is to grow despite anything else. How sweet is that!

Cats or dogs?

I love both, huge fan of pet hedgehogs too - ANY type of pet to be honest.

Where are we most likely to bump into you out and about?

I’m always around Tracks, as I live next to it, always makes my day when I stop and talk to everyone around there. Ramble Cafe, is also a vibe.

Why should we move to Forest Gate?

For those of you who don’t know this yet...

Forest Gate is also known as the house of real!

It’s just a great place for everyone who is looking to find community - it’s creative and very welcoming (and full of cute dogs).

For further updates follow @artizineuk and subscribe to Ioana's monthly newsletter here.