Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday | Thanks!

It's Friday and I just wanted to say thanks for another fun week of blogging. It's been great to read your comments this week. I think it's important to talk about design - not just post pretty pictures everyday that we can all swoon over - so I really am interested in your feedback. Thanks!

edit: I just noticed the book at the base of this pile of books is my "Something to Do " book. I have had this book since I was about 6 years old. It is partially responsible for my art and crafts lifestyle - do you remember a book in your past that influenced you to be the person you are today?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Design | Packaging

In my previous life - before stationery I did some packaging design as part of my life as a freelance graphic designer. I really enjoyed it especially the intricate nature of designing complex boxes - it's a real science. Over at they have a great selection of award winning packaging designs. Here are some that caught my eye recently.

This can, above left, is from a paint company and the rolls are oversized paint chips.

These are bags of chips.

I really like to see great type on packaging. I love the simplicity of the wine labels above and the type design is so refined and graceful with the big wax seal above. I would pick up this bottle in the wine store for sure - just for the label.
Inspiration | Rockwell Kent

A Birthday Book illustrated by the amazing Rockwell Kent - published in 1931. We are big fans of this guy over here at the studio!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Design | Vintage Suzanis

Great Suzanis via Trendbites  - anyone else notice how similar these traditional Moroccan textiles look to traditional Hawaiian textiles? Fabulous bold, graphics - love these!
Oddities | Tombees du Camion

Well who can resist a flea market? I love to go to markets and have been lucky enough to go to some of the most amazing flea markets in Europe. There's nothing like getting up at the crack of dawn and heading out to look for something special amongst the boxes of dust and rubbish. I can't resist a table covered in someone elses old treasures  - have to stop and rake through it! 
Now it's not like I am obsessed with old stuff.  As I have said before - it's just a reality, that in the quest for artistic inspiration, one will inevitably often end up back at the old stuff - you don't find inspiration at Walmart.

I ran across this website the other day - Tombees Du Camion and they sell the strangest and most delightful stuff. Just the kind of stuff I like to find at a flea market! The imagery on their site is very intriguing and I think you will be drawn in by the oddities. They have 2 stores  and I would love to go there. Here is a glimpse of what's in store these days.

Well - I certainly think it would be worth the trip to Tombees du Camion. I love the look of all those little boxes full of tiny little relics(above). Did you notice the blinking eye on their website? 
Tombees du Camion have a store in Paris and one in Toulouse - but for now just check out their excellent little site.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trends | A perfect union

Have you seen this trend? I am sure you have. I have been giving it some thought - I find it strangely appealing.
Using a powerful national symbol as a cushion, to sit on, really is a bit of cheeky irreverence don't you think? - but it's such a great graphic. Why does it work? Well I guess it's such a graphically pleasing arrangement of colours and shapes - a familiar icon that rings of more patriotic times perhaps.

The Americans have used their patriotic symbols as decoration for years - stars and stripes have become a well used motif on everything from quilts to dog's collars to doormats. But the British are more conservative with their traditional icons, it has taken them longer to associate the flag with fashion - { that's if we don't include Union Jack t-shirts during the punk movement of the late 1970's and Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell's, sequined, Union Jack bathing suit - good grief! }

One question I have though, is, Is this just a trend for expats, like me? Or is it a trend that YOU would introduce to YOUR home and fashion style{ presuming that most of my readers are not British! } What do you think - is it more a decorative statement than a patriotic or political one?

I think that basically, in this age of visual overload, symbols that were so important to us 100 years ago are less important, politically, now and are being embraced by the masses as pop culture, art and even craft. And I'm just fine with that, Jack.

Two top pillows are from Rocket St George. 
Four bright coloured pillows are from Karen Hilton
Leather cushion from Coffee and Cream
Bag from Paul Smith at Bloomsbury
Obsessions | iPhone

Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with my iPhone, and if you have one you know what I am talking about. In my previous life, before I had an iPhone, I never knew where my cell phone was - or if it was charged. Things have changed and now I spend hours thinking about important things like, what image shall I have as my iPhone wallpaper . It's a sick sick habit. Now lets see . . . which image should I use this week . . . .

All photos taken with my iPhone  :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Inspiration | Les Indiennes

I don't suppose this is the first time you have laid eyes on the treasures to be found at Les Indiennes. I can't get enough of their stuff. The imagery on their web site is proof that good photography can make or break the success of a product - it is fantastic. I am so drawn in by the atmospheric images that every time I flick through their absolutely brilliant online flip-book catalogue I am taken away to exotic places and come back feeling refreshed and calm . . . it's a very zen-like shopping experience that you should try too, right now!

One of the amazing things about the fabrics being produced for Les Indiennes is that no automation, electricity or mechanization is used. It is all produced using the traditional Kalamkari process developed 400 years ago for the Dutch East India Trading Co. to satisfy European cravings for exotic Indian prints.

"Because of the Kalamkari process, Les Indiennes is and always will be a small and exclusive company." 
- Mary Mulcahy, founder and designer of Les Indiennes

"We are particularly proud of the fact that Les Indiennes never set out to industrialize or to change the way things are done in India. The production of our fabric does not cause pollution nor does it disrupt the traditional lifestyle of the village where it is made. Les Indiennes provides fair trade employment for over 50 families, raising the standard of living for the entire community, and all the while leaving no environmental or social footprint." I say BRAVO to that and also to the fact that Les Indiennes now have an online shop!
Random Objects | angry tiger label

This is not a happy tiger - what else can I say?  He's a very old label, part of a package. Apparently the designer, way back then, thought that this unhappy tiger would be the perfect image to sell the product!  I think this was probably printed around the turn of the century judging by the printing technique. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Eye Candy | Les Indiennes

Well I can hardly discuss Indian influences without talking about the real thing from Les Indiennes. I hope to be able to share lots of images from their catalogues and site over the next few weeks(maybe starting tomorrow). Meanwhile here's a taste of things to come.
Inspiration | A brief history!

So I have a had a few people email me and ask about the images down the right hand side of this blog. So I thought I would start off this week with a bit of background history.  My grandparents lived and worked in India for a very long time - starting around 1925. They were textile exporters - exporting textiles to the UK and raw fibres(like hemp) to the textile mills in Scotland. My mother grew up in India. I grew up, with my sisters, and mother in my grandparents house in Scotland - a house that was 250 years old and stuffed to the gills with really odd collections of stuff that my grandfather brought back from India and South Asia. Everything from books and pictures to silver ware and ornaments. Our family photographs are a bazaar collection of elephant riding, pith helmet wearing images that have influenced my art and design work for as long as I can remember.

The top sepia photograph is a picture of my grandparents and friends swimming in the Indian Ocean. The locals made them wear the pointed grass hats so that they wouldn't be knocked down by the huge waves - we used to think these were the funniest pictures when we were young but I am sure it was the locals who were getting the last laugh!
A lot of what my grandfather collected was paper ephemera from India and Asia like a couple of my favourite labels(above). Stamps, postcards, labels, printing blocks, wood type, magazines, books and prints - it's all very influential to my design these days.

Nowadays I combine my own collections of vintage ephemera with the stacks of paper relics, wood type and printing blocks, that my grandparents collected in India(above) and spin it into the imagery that we use at Cartolina Cards(below). 

Wish Big is one of our best selling cards at Cartolina. Elephants play a leading role in our imagery and they are always a favourite with the buyers.
Random Objects | Zinc Tags

A couple of images from Petite Paris. I love the colour and texture of these zinc tags. They are a great idea, a great shape and they caught my eye today. I think you might like them too.
Studio News | 3x3 Magazine

Congratulations to Doug who has had two illustrations accepted into the 5th annual 3x3 Magazine international "Pro Show" illustration annual! He is one of only 200 illustrators, worldwide, accepted from out of 4000 entries. Winners will be featured in the 3x3 Illustration Annual N0.5 available on newstands in the U.S. Canada, the UK and Europe.
3x3 Magazine is a magazine devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration. Three times a year they publish articles on the best international artists working today and encourage a new focus on the use of illustration by the advertising and design communities.
You can buy these posters at Doug's Etsy Store.
More of Doug's work can be seen here 
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