Tuesday, 30 June 2009

more indulgence

I omitted bedlinen and other textiles from my list of stuff-that-I-keep-wanting-to-buy that I made yesterday. I really have problems. Now, I can't remember where I came across this site, All Things Original. It's a bit variable in quality, but there are a few things you might spend your money on. Can you tell I'm at a bit of a loss with my work right now, given that all I seem to be able to do is waste my time shopping for things I can't afford unless I actually get this damned work done?

Here are some things I spotted.

Sweet caravan pattern knitted cushions by Elsy and Vine.

Quirky ceramics and prints by illustrator Hanna Melin.

Kooky jewellery by Hoolala, who also has a shop with lots more stuff on Etsy.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Yeah, yeah, so it's too damn hot to think in this studio. I'm pathetic - it's not even that hot today and I'm wilting like a lettuce leaf in vinegar. Pathetic!

What better to do than indulge a little in my favourite things? I have an unhealthy relationship with bowls, jugs and chairs. I am scarily attracted to these items in shops. Mark has said that I'm not allowed any more jugs or bowls unless I start to get rid of some too. Our house simply isn't big enough for my obsessions and weaknesses. Today I thought I'd look at some bowls. I know, it's that bad here. I can't be bothered to do any work. So here are a few pretty things.

Blowfish Bowl from Anthropologie.

Cordoba Bowl from Anthropologie.

River Delta Bowl from Anthropologie.

Large Moroccan Bowl from Maroque.

I already have this one from the Taika collection designed for Iittala by the wonderful illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi. More on him another time.

Friday, 26 June 2009

dylan martorell

I first came across the work of Scottish artist and musician Dylan Martorell when I saw these fantastic wall stickers for sale on French website, Domestic. They are also available from madeindesign.co.uk. If only I were brave enough, I'd either have these lovelies (picture above) on my wall, or do something like this myself. I mean, what would be cooler on your wall than a bird riding a leaping rhinoceros, or a weird lady-creature playing a saxophone with two cats coming out of it? I have wanted these for about a year now but I'm not sure if they would suit our house, although they suit my illustration taste. I'm always wondering too if it's just a passing fad I'm having, but since they are easily removed I guess it wouldn't hurt too much if I only liked them for a year. Maybe I should get them for our future place, which I'm already dreaming of - light-filled rooms with high ceilings and tall windows... ahhh...

This magnificent wallpaper panorama can be yours for £424!

Anyway, I came across Dylan's work again at the Portfolios Show I was attending a few weeks ago. He is represented by Jacky Winter Group in Australia, where he now lives. I love the intricacy and rhythm of his work, and the slightly dark themes influenced by myth and tribalism amongst many other things I am sure.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

david hughes

For a little non-seasonal bedtime reading last night, I was looking (drooling slightly) at 'Silent Night' by Sandy Turner. It's about a little dog who goes crazy, barking at apparently nothing one Christmas Eve night. The only text is the 'woof, bark, yap' that the dog emits. Only the dog can see Father Christmas, not the humans who only see their pet going mad in front of them. I particularly like this bit below, where the father is looking through Santa at his dog and Santa isn't coloured in because the man can't see him.

I love the minimalist style and limited palette of this book - quite unusual for a children's book, but then the author and illustrator is no ordinary chap either.

Turner's real name is David Hughes who is a very well known British illustrator, best recognised by his sometimes caustic but always very sharply observed caricatures. I think he is a magnificent talent - he's been at it since the early 1980s and has caricatured the likes of the Royal Family, Nietzsche, Jack Nicholson and Osama Bin Laden. His work dances on the very edge between acceptable wit and downright insult, but his eye for detail and character is razor-sharp. I have huge admiration for someone who does their entire illustration on paper and goes nowhere near a computer. Check out his 'Drawings' book (link below) for more of his stunning work.

Thom Yorke/Radiohead, Rolling Stone 1997.

Pressure of Numbers, Observer Magazine (A Doctor Writes) 1991.

Poorly-scanned images from 'Silent Night', by Sandy Turner, and from 'David Hughes: Drawings' published by Kerber.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

this isn't from personal experience

Here's something I just drew. No idea why.

I wrote a while ago that I would like to do a twice-weekly comic strip or image. I haven't started yet. I suck at starting things. I think I'll spend the day drawing in my sketchbook and hope that some new ideas pop into my head - I'm free from proper work this week because I'm waiting for feedback, so instead of twiddling my thumbs and writing rubbish here, maybe I'll do something useful with my time and get this thing started (yeah, right...).

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

the garden

is filled with the scent of honeysuckle. Today it smells like the most beautiful thing in the world. It is feverishly hot outside in the sun and the hum of bumblebees amongst the sage blossom is the loudest sound in the garden. I have been walking up and down the path, to and from the water tap to stop my lovely plants from wilting in this heat. The courgettes have finally mustered the courage to put out some flower buds. Tardy, but I'm happy now they are winking at me from the vegetable patch with the promise of raw courgette salads at least later on this summer. I could spend all day out there if only my conscience didn't keep me chained to my desk. Maybe later it'll let me outside again for a spot of weeding :-).

Monday, 22 June 2009

the weekend...

...was a bit painful. Lots of housework. Lots of wandering forlornly around tile shops looking for something to put on our newly nude kitchen floor. Most tiles are so vile! So cheap and nasty you can see the dot matrix of the print on them. Yech! We had a washing machine leak that has caused all our terracotta tiles to come loose from the floor, so it's time for something new. After a terrible, dispiriting crawl around Topps Tiles, we ended up in Fired Earth where not only did we find something tolerable for the floor but where I also picked up some more pretty tiles to use as coasters! They have a lovely selection of loose wall tiles that can be bought individually for whatever purpose you like. Our favourite was the Turkish-inspired Tabriz range. I love how patterns are popular again after so many years of minimalist snoredom. Hooray for colour!

Then it was into the overgrown garden for a spot of mowing and a hardcore battle against the tenacious weeds. The colours out there at the moment are quite lovely, though. Plus my tomatoes are growing and I spotted some elderflower blossom that had drifted into a bucket in the sun. A good end to the weekend.

more snack-food goodness

Learn some really pointless facts about Skips.

cleo mussi

Image from Homes & Antiques magazine, February 2009.

I adore the work of artist Cleo Mussi, who takes pieces of broken ceramic and re-purposes them in mosaic sculptures and figurines. She has a wonderful eye for the bizarre and a very quirky sense of humour. After all, what better to do with one of those hideous Staffordshire Dog figurines than to lop off its head and give it a different body? Or to use a pair of artichokes from a tureen as a goddess' breasts? I think it is a delightfully subversive commentary on the idea of figurines as decorative items, and ceramics as objects of value and even mild worship. Each piece is made of fragments from a whole multitude of different sources - objects from different countries, different pieces ranging from teapots to gravy boats, each bearing an individual history - which adds another layer of meaning to the finished object.

I find her latest collection of 'Mutants' very appealing. They are like demi-gods or freakish outcasts and are both funny and unsettling. It's the kind of thing I would like to have made myself, and I would definitely have one of these crazies sitting on my piano top to watch me as I play.

Friday, 19 June 2009

the aftermath

fooling around with your conjoined twin

Yeah, relationships can get a bit strained, especially when one of you isn't inclined towards decorous and friendly behaviour... not that I'd know, really, but I imagine things could get fun.

I have also discovered that eating Wotsits with my left hand makes them last longer because it's so useless. It's only 11.30 in the morning and I'm already eating Wotsits. I need to get a grip on myself...

I succumbed to the wax jacket temptation a bit too easily (sorry Kat, your comment didn't deter me enough!) and it came through the post the other day. It's a second hand sage green Barbour Beaufort and it pongs of old wax. I'm not exaggerating, it REEKS like a barn. But I love it anyway and it fits perfectly. Whoop!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

lacking in list, and some auction action

Listless, that is. Feeling very tired and a bit overwhelmed. I'm not the best at coping with too much work and a garden that's threatening to turn into a jungle... I went out there yesterday for the first time, it seemed, in weeks to find that the weeds have grown positively Amazonian in size and spread, one of my pumpkin plants is dead (oh woe!), and the grass is ankle deep. I spent a lot of time earlier this year tidying it up and planting my veg but I've been so busy with work and going places at weekends that I've let it slip this last month. And what with all the rain and sun it's now gone BOOOMPH! with all manner of unnameable plants and now I've got a hell of a lot to do to tame it again. That said, I spotted my first pea pod (yeah, they're a bit late...), and the runner beans are going bonkers.

'Le Vieux Roi' Lithograph on paper by Pablo Picasso, 1959.

It is Willingham Auctions time again on Saturday. This month they've got prints by Picasso, Karel Appel, Braque and Matisse up for sale. Plus some more lovely chemist's bottles, which will always sell for more than I'm willing to pay. We're probably going to give it a miss this time though because we really need to practise our housework skills!

Carborundum print by Karel Appel.

I was looking at some watches like these last time and thinking that, with an estimate of £20-40, it might be quite fun to buy something like this and use them as pendants on a long necklace or something like that. I saw such a thing at Urban Outfitters the other day and whilst not all the watches would be suitable (they might be a bit large), a dainty little one would make a much more interesting and unique version of the high-street item, which I think was £24. I particularly like the enamelled one in the picture above. There are also lots of pocket watches and stopwatches, but they might be a bit big for hanging off your neck. Not bad for £20-40, though, eh?

All images from Willingham Auctions.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I seem to swing from day to day between pretentious art critique and girly shopping craziness, and missing out posting about my work altogether... So today I've decided to write about coasters! Yes, those things you put drinks on if you're precious about your furniture. And yes, I'm precious about my furniture.

I hate coasters. I think they can be so ugly and unimaginative. I've been looking for sensible and pretty solutions for some time and had the idea of using old tiles. To this end, when we were in the Cotswolds recently I bought two Victorian tiles from an antiques shop. Now they are a bit large for coasters, but they are quite pretty, nay? Much better than the old DVD I was using, which made me want to weep.

Now I've seen these before, but a greetings card that I bought recently reminded of Xenia Taler's lovely hand-made tiles which can be hung on the wall or used as coasters and trivets. They are treated to be heat-resistant, cork backed and have a groove for hanging too.

If you don't fancy tile coasters, how about these fun button coasters from Eden & Eden?

I really need to do something better with my time...