Cool Christmassy finds...

Here are a few cool festive cards and trinkets from my favourite online stores:

From Hero Design Studio + Boutique - some fabulous hand-printed greetings cards...

From Present + Correct, a spinning Partridge in a pear tree card...

One-of-a-kind Advent bags filled with "delightful paper bits and bobs".Only one available each day of advent...

... wonderful, vintage giftwrap and 'The Christmas Tree' book...

and finally from Soma Gallery, we have more deliciously festive greetings cards...

... this great range of Tatty Divine Parcel Bow jewellery...

... balloon fun for Christmas Day with this, 'Balloon Christmas Donkey' kit...

... and more crafty Christmas fun with this 'Make Your Own Tree Decorations' kit

Tim Flach

I love this image! It's from Tim Flach's Equus Project - a gorgeous collection of horse images taken from his new photography book on the subject. Commissioned to produce the book by New Zealand's, PQ Publishing, Flach has explored these magnificant creatures around the world for 7 years; from Mustangs to Arabians, in the studio and in the wild.

His striking images are definitely worth a look and are on show at Crane Kalman until 31 December.

Image copyright Tim Flach, "Frisians".

Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar

One of the very first books I ever remember owning was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a wonderful childrens book, written and illustrated by Eric Carle. Originally published in 1969 this Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 29 million copies in more than 47 different languages.

Carle was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929 but at the age of 6 he and his family moved to Germany, where he lived and studied until 1952 when he realized his dream and returned to New York. His first job in NY was as a Graphic Designer for The New York Times promotional department, after which he went on to become an art director in an ad agency.

It wasn’t until author, Bill Martin Jr asked Carle to illustrate his latest story, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ that his childrens book career began. His first solo book was ‘1, 2, 3 to the Zoo’ and his second was my childhood favourite, ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

His illustration style is distinctive and quite unusual. He collages hand-painted tissue papers - cut to shape, layered and finished off with hand drawn details, to create vibrant images with depth and bold colour. Throughout his career Eric Carle has illustrated more than 70 childrens books in this way, most of which he also wrote!

Images copyright Eric Carle.

Dick Bruna

If you read our sister blog you will know how excited I was to find out that a couple of children’s squeeze ‘n’ squeak toys I bought years ago were illustrated by the great Dick Bruna in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Hendrik Magdelanus Bruna, or Dick Bruna to you and me, was born in 1927 in Utrecht, Holland where he has lived and worked all his life as an author, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

It had originally been intended for Bruna to take over the family business, A.W. Bruna & Zoon - the Netherland’s largest publishing house. He had no interest in running the business, a role that his brother took on, but over the years he has illustrated over 2,000 book covers and over 100 posters for the company including designs for Zwarte Beertjes, or Little Black Bear series, including The Saint, James Bond, Maigret (which he also translated into Dutch), Simenon, and Shakespeare.

Dick Bruna is most famous for his children's books. He has written and illustrated over 200, his more popular creation being ‘Nijntjie’ (pronounced nein-che) meaning little rabbit, better known outside Holland as Miffy.

Miffy was created in 1955, she is characterised by the thick black outline of her simplistic 2D shape and by the bright primary colours used for the clothing and the backgrounds in the Miffy books. She is female only because Bruna wanted to draw a dress rather than trousers on his new creation.

Miffy books are sold in more than 40 languages around the world and in 2005 she celebrated her 50th birthday, she is an international star! Limited edition prints are available from the Miffy shop.

Images copyright Dick Bruna.

Angie Lewin at Castor + Pollux

Alliums, Winter Spey, 5 trees

A selection of Angie Lewin's beautiful limited edition prints are currently showing at Castor + Pollux on Brighton Seafront until 17 November. We had a sneak preview yesterday and we love them.

Her work is inspired by contrasting landscapes, plants and seedheads seen on the North Norfolk coast and the Scottish Highlands. The exhibition includes linocuts, wood engravings and lithographs, all immensly detailed and intricate, with a bold use of colour giving them a lovely 1950's feel.

There's large and small prints, framed and unframed, so something for everyone, plus they still have a great selection of Jonny Hannah & Rob Ryan prints on display and some lovely work from Ruth Green (remember her from the Brighton Art Fair post).

Images copyright Angie Lewin.


Crane Kalman are currently showing, ‘FotoRAMBLAS’ an amazing collection of photographs from the archives of a FotoRAMBLAS, a portrait studio situated on Las Ramblas in Barcelona from 1956 until 1998.

The studio created traditional portraits, captured families at special events and specialised in photographing celebrities of the time; actors, dancers, musicians, boxers and wrestlers. They give a wonderful insight into the fashions, trends and social culture of Barcelona at that time and have a beautifully nostalgic air about them. The dancers are my favourite - they look so glamorous in their full costume and there’s a great super-sized version of the top left image in the exhibition.

The exhibition is part of the Brighton Photo Fringe, which runs alongside the Brighton Photo Biennale (3 October - 9 November) so there’s still plenty of time to get down there. Can't make it - don't worry, more information about FotoRAMBLAS can be found here.

Images copyright FotoRAMBLAS.

Chema Madoz

Yesterday I came across the work of Spanish photographer, Chema Madoz for the very first time and I have fallen in love with it. His images have everything I like to see in photography - humour, simplicity and strong lighting.

Madoz was introduced to photography and imaging in the early 80’s whilst studying art history at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and it seems it was his true calling, having had 2 decades of successful solo and collective exhibitions to date.

His photos are black & white, surrealist images created using everyday objects, shown in a new light, juxtaposed or with a witty twist. The lighting and contrast of the images enhances the intensity and creates an effortless beauty, even though you may be looking at a pair of scissors and a needle, or a burnt out matchstick!

I do hope he’s planning a UK exhibition sometime soon, it would be great to see these photos in the flesh.

Images copyright Chema Madoz.

Pancake Breakfast

Some great illustration at Pancake Breakfast, the online portfolio of illustrator/designer Evan Geltosky who recently graduated from Cal State Long Beach.

The Zine above can be bought via his site and if you like the tees, be sure to vote for your favourite over at Design By Humans to help get them into production.

Cut & Paste at The Estorick Collection

Cut & Paste: European Photomontage 1920 - 1945, curated by Lutz Becker is now showing at The Estorick Collection until 21 December.

Photomontage, the art of collaging together pieces of photographs with selected newsprint, emerged in the 1920's from Dadaists such as George Grosz and John Heartfield in Berlin and could also be seen in the work of Constructivist artists like El Lissitzky in Moscow. This new technique created illusions and manipulated the space on the page. It was dynamic and had a visual power that "spoke to the masses".

The exhibition is a homage to the manipulation of photographic imagery and modernist photomontage, "a rediscovery of the sources of modern image making, exploring the work of the great predecessors and innovators who created photomontages by physical means with scissors, scalpel and retouching brush".

The Estorick Collection
is on Canonbury Square, London N1. It's open til 8pm on a Thursday, as is it's licensed Italian cafe, so there really is no excuse!

Mika Nash

Thanks to Mika Nash, a surface designer and illustrator based in London for contacting us about her new online shop and portfolio.

After graduating from Ravensbourne College with a degree in Fashion Textiles, Mika worked as a freelance screen-printer for Zandra Rhodes creating textiles for the ENO production of Aida and has exhibited at London Graduate Fashion Week twice; in collaboration with Ewa Dauter and printing for Gold award winner designer Jessica Au.

Mika's work is colourful, fun and bold, she has some great screen prints and t-shirts on her website, some of which are available to buy in her new shop.

Images copyright Mika Nash.

Brighton Art Fair: The Lowdown

I finally sorted through all the postcards I collected last night at the Brighton Art fair preview, so here are my personal favourites and a taste of what's on offer:

Retro, folk-art style screenprints and etchings by Ruth Green.

Beautifully, graphic photography by Peter Greenhalf.

Bold & colourful typographic paintings on perspex by Clay Sinclair.

Handblown multi-layered ovoid forms from Kathryn Wightman.

Limited edition paintings and screenprints by Ben Allen.

Wonderfully, abstract sculptures from Christine Fox.

All the work exhibited is for sale, many of the artists have smaller prints and unframed versions on their stands too, so there's something for everyone and for every budget.

All images are copyright to the artists.

Brighton Art Fair

Brighton Art Fair starts today. It's on until 7.30 today, 10-6 on Saturday and 10 - 5 on Sunday at the Corn Exchange, Church Street, Brighton.

I was lucky enough to have tickets to the preview last night so I can tell you there are some great pieces on display, although I was somewhat distracted by the free wine and cupcakes!

Info and pics from the preview to follow, I just need to sort through them...

Design Cities at The Design Museum

Suit, Paul Smith. Teapot, Christopher Dresser, 1879, photo V&A images. Lotus Arm Chair, Jasper Morrison, photo Studio

Design Cities is a new exhibition on at the Design Museum and running until 4 January 2009. It features some classic pieces of design from some of the world's most iconic designers; Charles & Ray Eames, Le Corbusier and Issey Miyake to name but a few.

Flickr and Don't Panic are partnering the Design Museum throughout the exhibition to bring us, 'Your Design City', an opportunity to share your city-themed photography and the chance of having your work featured in a Design Museum exhibition and made into an 80,000 specially-commissioned, Don't Panic Poster.

To enter the competition, upload your photograph to the Design Cities Flickr group before 1st December 2008.

Fish & Stitches at Castor & Pollux

Fish & Stitches is the new art collection by Brighton-based Cardigan, created exclusively for the Brighton Food & Drink Festival and based on everyone’s favourite seaside treat – fish & chips!

Cardigan Label is the brainchild of Kate Jenkins, set up in 2003 to, “fulfil her philosophy that anything can be created from yarn as long as it is made with love”. After making her name in the fashion industry designing for the likes of Donna Karan, Missoni and Marc Jacobs, Kate opened her shop, Cardigan, selling her unique, knitted creations - from keyrings to art.

The art collections are detailed, knitted versions of the nation’s best-loved foods, mounted in a box frame. They are colourful and wonderfully witty – a truly unique piece of art. To date there are 4 collections; Comfort Food, Soft Smokes, Cardigan in Bloom and the latest addition, Fish & Stitches.

Fish & Stitches is now running at Castor & Pollux, 164-66 King’s Road Arches on Brighton seafront until the 3 October.

Watch out for the Rob Ryan exhibition too, running at Castor & Pollux from 12 September to 20 October!

Photos of work copyright Cardigan.

Illustrator, Ricardo Cavolo

Thanks to illustrator, Ricardo Cavolo for pointing us in the direction of his super blog. I love these cityscape illustrations and the idea of drawing them on airmail envelopes.

There are loads of great pieces on the blog, his work is diverse, quirky and always fun. Here are a selection, of my favourites...

Images copyright Ricardo Cavolo.

Nirrimi Joy Hakanson

Can you believe that this great photography is the work of a 15 year old girl??

Well it is. Nirrimi Joy Hakanson is just 15 years old and lives in Townsville, Australia. She describes herself as, 'an amateur photographer', who one day, 'hopes to shoot for the likes of Vogue' and I for one, think she stands a very good chance.

It's so refreshing to see such talent and passion in someone so young. Goodluck Nirrimi, I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Images copyright Nirrimi Joy Hakanson.