Turning life around –  inside and out

recycled cabinet from charli hoganLocal resident Charli Hogan Hooker has used the lockdown time at home to think about her future and how she can get creative again. Now that the kids have grown up, and she’s spending much more time indoors she’s beginning to think about how to develop her creative streak into more than a hobby.

photo of Charli Hogan Originally from a small Irish town Rahdowney, County Laois,  Charli Hogan Hooker has lived in Brixton for 30 years.

Charli says: “I fell in love with everything about it – the atmosphere, the diversity of people. It was absolutely full of life and still is in my opinion.

 “I feel privileged to be able to walk to the centre of Brixton in five minutes and have Brockwell Park on my doorstep is heaven.”

Since the coronavirus lockdown Charli has been using the time to requaint herself with skills she learned from her mum.

“I have always loved the idea of recycling clothes and furniture and thought this is the perfect opportunity to do it as we are in lockdlown.”

Charli looks back at how it all began. “I was definitely hands on with my Mum when she had the sewing machine out. Whether it was making a dress or assembling a home supply of sheepskin gloves, I was there to help her.

“She taught me how to knit and crochet and she always had her hand in some art and craft job, whether it be reupholstering a new chair or trying to make a cover for the sofa.

recycled wood from Brockwell Park
Charli Hogan: recycled wood from Brockwell Park

“I was definitely hands on with my Dad too – passing him nuts and bolts and screws in the workshop; or helping him retile the roof; or, when he was building an extension to the kitchen, I was the bricky! Being creative definitely came from both!”

She has spent most of her life in London doing creative work in fashion and then as a beauty therapist.

Charli had a two year contract from 1998 as a researcher for fashion designer Patty Shelabarger which took her to Vassano del Grappa near Venice in Italy to New York and LA in the States.

Despite Charli loving her profession that took her around the world she says she  loved coming home to Brixton.

“London is more fashion forward ,and putting my foot back down in Brixton felt like I was home again”

She tells me that the lockdown quarantine has brought her back to thinking creatively. “I am in the process of making a doll’s house for my beautiful twin grandchildren – August and Ashton – out of a cardboard box so that we can take it apart and put it away.’’

plant holder designed by local resident Charli Hogan
Plant holder from recycled materials

She says being able to use recyclable materials is important to her. “I have been collecting bits of furniture over the years and I thought this is my opportunity to try to recycle, reuse, recreate and make them a little bit more joyful to look at.”

Talking to friends on FaceTime has given her the opportunity to encourage them to do things that they wouldn’t normally do themselves.

 “I’ve been collecting used leather from old jackets and sofas and I really want to make bags and pouches. I haven’t started yet but that is my next project.”

Charli’s goal is to be in a business that recycles and updates old pieces of furniture when this crisis is over.

“My future aim is definitely creating things out of recyclable materials.”

She has recently opened an Instagram account with a close friend Anahita Haghi – who has an art degree and is an art teacher.

“She has a different eye to me regarding design and that is why we collaborate so well together with better ideas.”

Check them both out at the beginning of their new adventure on Instagram – fixup_london

up cycled chest of drawers by Charli Hogan