Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Olle Eksell

I've been on a bit of a book spending spree recently..... Shhhhh! don't tell Steve...

anyway, one of them is this one containing the work of the Swedish Graphic designer/illustrator Olle Eksell. The work dates from the 30s right through to the late 80s although most of it is from the 50s and 60s.... its amazing! So many of the images could be used today and not look a bit out of place. Which I guess means that designers are re-visiting work from earlier in the century or he was before his time or his work has become classic and is surviving time.

have a look

do you like it?


Waitrose have brought out a new range of recession busting economy products... and I really like the packaging. It's clean and simple with hand rendered images...

bathroom idea

this is what I'm going to do with our bathroom.... decided!
found on design*sponge

Saturday, 27 June 2009

lido, cheltenham

beautiful summer day,
cool, aqua, water

children playing,
in water

calling, shouting,
swimmers, swimming

layers of sound, on water

noise building through the day
people moving, talking, batheing,
with water
in water
cool, aqua, cool

Monday, 22 June 2009

"there's still light in the sky!"

There is still light in the sky.

It is a summer's evening and it is bedtime....
as I go upstairs and look out from the window, there is light on the horizon
there is a deep blush where the last light is kissing the land, and the day, 'goodnight'.


Monday 22nd June

I love summer, I love sunshine and I love light!

... ... ...

an extract from the website of Flora Douville...

It is also very important for her to help people to reveal their own light, find their true and natural harmony. This is why she created a whole new method --with psychotherapist Nathalie Gouret-- whose aim is to help you understand who you are, know how to respect your inner being while respecting your body, wearing the right clothes.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Hope is the thing
with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.

~ Emily Dickinson

art V design

I constantly battle within myself with the concept of being 'an Artist'. I'm quite happy with the idea of being a creative person but being an 'artist' seems rarefied, somehow on a pedestal above others. Maybe I struggle with that because I do not possess that innate sense of my own deity that many artists appear to flaunt.

I reach a dead end at the point when I have put my work into a frame and I'm supposed to then take it to a gallery and ask them to take it and hang it on the wall. (Maybe it is easier to be Banksey and anonymously, leaving your work for others to experience without having to formalize anything.)
I've just been flicking through the pages of the design book 'Spoon', sitting on the bathroom floor whilst running the bath water on a Sunday morning. (bliss!)

Anyway I came across the page on 'Dunne and Raby'. That mental conversation in my head, the one that never stops, said "Well, what are they in here for, what have they designed?". I read a few lines, dismissed them finally and moved on.
And then something in what I had read brought me back to finish reading the article and it is one of those moments of epiphany where a penny drops and certain things begin to make sense.

Q - People when looking at your work tend to either 'praise' it as Art or 'dismiss' is as Art?
A - We think it is just research, exploring ideas about the way we live today in relation to technology. We use products, sometimes furniture, as our medium. It is interesting that people either dismiss it or praise it but it does not really effect the way we think of it.
Q - Most of your pieces seem to be more comments about things rather than designs for the things themselves. The table with the compasses or the GPS are not there as your proposition for a new design for a table so why insist on playing in the design field and not art?
A - Because if it becomes art it seems to be on the edges of everyday life, a special category of objects in galleries and museums. And even if the piece ends there, it is ot our intention, whereas if we present it as a design then we think people interpret it in a different way.

So, maybe this is part of the answer to my issues. Maybe I am not able to cope with the idea of me presenting a piece of 'Art' as final, complete, beyond contradiction (and I know that in reality Art is never really beyond contradiction- but it often sets itself up as that!)

Maybe I need to present my work, unframed, informally for the viewer/purchaser to make of it what they will?

Saturday, 20 June 2009

found this today...

I did this ages ago, a rough sketch in black pen and I've just dropped it into Photoshop to add a bit of colour....
good memories

keri smith

this extract is copied from the blog of Keri Smith

May 31, 2004
10 ways to infuse your work with your personality

I have returned. Yes. I will keep you in suspense no longer, my talk went wonderfully! In fact I would say it was one of the best talks I have done, certainly the one in which I felt most comfortable. I'm not sure what happened, it was like somebody else took over my body, no nervousness or fears at all. I began by taking off my shoes (and inviting others to do the same). I've learned that it is helpful to try and shift the context of a place if possible. In this case the "ballroom" I spoke in was much too formal and stuffy, so barefeet were helpful. I shared the story about my first year art school teacher who asked the class to get under one large table. We sat there for a few minutes and she came back in and started pounding on the table top. In an instant that classroom became a very different place. You never knew when you walked in what would occur. Just a little shift is all it takes sometimes. I felt a little more ownership of this fancy hotel walking around the marble floors in bare feet.

I'm not sure what happened with this talk, but I really felt something shift in me. I think it had to do with the fact that for the first time I gave myself permission to be terrified (with the help of a few loving friends). So when those scared feelings came in I felt like, "oh hey, I know you." In the past I might have tried anything possible to banish them from my body. I think the other thing that happened is that I do feel deep down that I have something that needs to be said, (different than what we were taught in art school). It seems that the art schools are becoming more and more business-like, more strict in their approach. I want to tell people that there are no rules in this game, you really can try anything, try something you've never done before. do the opposite.

I did incidentally feel a bit like an imposter at times. My room had an actual boardroom table in it. I had my breakfast delivered to my room in the morning, sitting at the end of the long table I would call a meeting to order. giggling. For some strange reason the hotel had a bizarre "urn" theme. There were urns everywhere. In every hallway, in my room. I felt like I was surrounded by dead people. I was on a quest for some tape so I could subtly adhere little notes to them that said, "Uncle Ernie, 1932-1987, rip".

So for those of you artists and designers out there who could not attend, I am posting one of the handouts here. From what I could gather it seemed that my talk was quite a different focus than many of the others, (read:anti business/corporate, non-traditional, slightly controversial). This to me is the highest of compliments, I wonder if How Magazine knew who they were hiring.

1. Document what you are responding to regularly. *journal/sketchbook, blog, listmaking, photo journal, bulletin board collage, internet bookmarks, Allow yourself to go deeper into an idea. Find influence outside of your field. Consider that you are ALWAYS working for yourself.

2. Start to challenge yourself on a regular basis to try new things, (not just for work. *i.e. new foods, colors, processes, classes, travel, become a guerilla artist, etc. Your hobbies are your greatest source of play.)

3. Go back to your childhood, (the formative years). What were your favourite things to do? In this lies some clues as to where you want to focus your energy as an adult. What makes you burst with energy?

4. Do something that is not for money. For your own enjoyment. (Your greatest work will come from here!)
-x-mas card
-product concept
-gifts for friends.
Design for yourself. *See handout on guerilla art.

5. Use sources that are based on your daily life. Your life IS your art. What are the things that are most important in your current life?

6. Become a collector. Collecting allows us to look at one thing in a contemplative & mindful way. Giving you new insights and perceptions. Examples: Maria Kalman -purse contents, Steven Guarnaccia -shoe sole
rubbings, Ian Phillips & Grant Heaps -Lost & Found pet posters, Mark Ulriksen (former art director) -misspellings of his name, Charles & Rae Eames -toys from other countries

7. "Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain." Ignore what other people are doing. It has no bearing on your existence or vision of the world. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact we are comparing ourselves to others. Most times reading awards annuals, and industry mags only serves to make us feel inadequate. Try cutting it out entirely. Designer Bruce Mau recommends not entering awards competitions. His reasoning, “Just don’t do it, it’s not good for you.”

8. Don't promote to target your audience. By all means send things out into the world, but don't think in terms of "promoting to get work". Send stuff out because -you're proud of it, -you want to share something with the world, -it's fun to get mail, -to have good karma, -you want to spread your germs, -you like licking stamps. Try sending a postcard of something you made for fun, (i.e. directions on how to make a finger puppet). When thinking of subject matter for promotions look to your current life. If you deal with topics that are important to you a piece will have much more life to it.

9. Take a lighthearted approach (Don't take yourself too seriously). If you feel stuck, you can always reinvent yourself, (re: try something else).

10. Study other artists or creators who followed their own vision. Research.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


a mono-print onto brown parcel paper, with scrap paper cut and pasted onto the leaves. I don't find much time these days to spend being creative, teaching part-time and with a gorgeous little boy to look after. So, when I do find a few minutes it's like breathing pure oxygen (whatever that feels like!).

Sunday, 14 June 2009

ceramic pieces and pebbles

I made these two pieces... I am particularly proud of the thrown bowl...

one day when I have time,
and some peace and quiet,
with no-one looking over my shoulder telling me how I should actually be doing it, when really I don't care....
well, then I'll throw some more pots!

the taps

we are half-way through doing the bathroom and the walls are still bare plaster.
I was intending to paint them brilliant white and then the ceiling a duck eggy blue but the longer I live with the plaster walls the more I like them. It's a lovely soft dappled parchment colour and it changes. When the room has been steamy and damp the tones in the plaster darken and then dry again to their paler shade. Its an organic, transient wall surface.
Now I have a dilemma, as plastered walls are not very functional in a bathroom!?

anne naumann

I've been looking at the website of Anne Naumann. Her photographs are just sublime, so beautiful, clean and refined.
They make me want to give up everything and just go out with a camera and try to take amazing photos, although I know that I'd never achieve this kind of perfection.

tidying up...

sometimes it is the mess that is left behind that is most beautiful.