Feb 242012

Abigail Borgs Notebooks Come To My Garden

This season saw the launch of Abigail Borg’s new range and a very welcome range it is. A natural tangent from fabric and wallpaper, notebooks are an easy accessory that everyone can indulge in without too much bravery or having to redecorate. If you’re too nervous to embrace big, bold hand-drawn florals in your home (shame on you) and you’ve already got more cushions than you can shake a stick at, then why not carry about your own little piece of floral fancy in hardback A5 form. What better way to celebrate the first signs of spring than with a nice cheery flowery notebook? A welcome burst of colour and I reckon they can only serve as further inspiration for all your already splendidly creative thoughts that, no doubt, you all have in abundance. The tricky thing is choosing one. I like all the designs and her colour palette so much that I think I’ll just have to have one of each. But which to start with…? All notebooks are hardback and A5, £16, available in Abigail’s on-line shop.

1.) Friti in plum, 2.) Hello Yarrow in teal, 3.) Mr Chrysanth,
4.) Lady Green, 5.) Laburnum in raspberry, 6.) Dahlia Fox in golden,
7.) Laburnum in teal, 8.) Polka Pollka, 9.) Friti in teal,
10.) Hello Yarrow in natu, 11.) Dahlia Fox in sky.

images with thanks to Abigail Borg.

Feb 162012

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee 2 Of This World Landscapes

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee 3 Of This World Landscapes

These exceptionally exciting pieces of work created out of books are by artist Guy Laramée. This collection of geographical paper worlds are not only mind-bogglingly amazing but beautiful. Lamarée has transformed dusty old hard-backed tomes into recognisable of-this-world landscapes. The amount of time they must have taken him I can only begin to wonder, and even that hurts my brain. A truly multi-talented man, these undertakings came about whilst completing a masters in Anthropology. The result of a happy experiment with a sand blaster, Laramée visualised the landscape and created it using old obsolete encyclopaedias and dictionaries. The books are chosen purely on aesthetic basis, there are no hidden political contexts or messages to be read in these sculptures, however, there was an interesting exploration of the idea of ‘Biblios’ a people who lived in books (best you read the interview with Laramée on It’s Nice That than me try to rehash it. There are more photos of his work too). They’re everything a zen garden of calm requires, move over Buddhist monks because if this is tranquility and inner calm, I’m in. You can hear the trickling streams, the tinkle of wind chimes and the gentle cooing of exotic birds- feel the worries of the world melt away and let me hear you say ‘ommmmmmm’.

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee 5 Of This World Landscapes

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee 8 Of This World Landscapes

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee 6 Of This World Landscapes

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee Of This World Landscapes

Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee 7 Of This World Landscapes

Feb 102012

1950s Fashion Print Marnie Foggs 1950s Fashion Print

There is no end to the delights that are in this book. It is crammed to bursting with delightful 1950s prints, just as the book’s title promises. 1950s Fashion Print by Marnie Fogg, is not only a fashion expert and media consultant but also lectured in Visual Studies and the Culture of Fashion at the University of Nottingham, so you can safely say she knows her stuff. The 1950s was a time of great change. We were picking up the pieces of an enormously destructive world war, recovering from the impact of a massive rationing period and one could say, that the social structure was turned on its head with the introduction of women into the work place. And no place saw a greater change than that of the design world. We saw the end of the war-time print restrictions (both in colours and pattern size) and the beginnings of bright acid colours and abstract forms. We see a lot of the social, cultural and political changes reflected in design, especially textiles with the popular news of the day being immortalised as subjects in ‘conversational’ and repeat designs (pylons, the Festival of Britain’s Skylon, cinema, travel, scientific modernity etc.). This is the period where we really see the launch of the ‘conversational’ design- a whimsical, stylised, popular-culture referencing designs denoting famous film-stars and rock’n'roll motifs; the choice of design that helped teenagers throw off the dowdy, dour, dull patterns and textiles of their parents’s generation. The light-hearted ‘fun’ fabrics also really helped to add that necessary extra flounce in the big circular skirts on the dance floor, if only in personality and not ‘body’. I can only begin to give you an insight into all that this book covers and I am incapable of doing justice to it in 400 words. This really is a fascinating look at the changing face of not just fashion prints but also, the influence into homewares and furnishing fabrics. Do NOT be put off by the title, this is not just for ‘fashionistas’ or textile students. I defy anyone to not sit down with this book and not find it utterly scintillating and exciting.

1950s Fashion Print by Marnie Fogg

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Batsford (September 2010)
  • Language English
  • ISBN: 978-1906388881
  • RRP: £20

Kite Strings Marnie Foggs 1950s Fashion Print
Kite Strings, created by David Parsons for Heal Fabrics in 1955

Dandelion Clocks Marnie Foggs 1950s Fashion Print
Dandelion Clocks by Lucienne Day

Trio Marnie Foggs 1950s Fashion Print
Trio by Lucienne Day

Shattered Glass Marnie Foggs 1950s Fashion Print
Shattered Glass by David Whitehouse Studio

Anonymous Marnie Foggs 1950s Fashion Print
anonymous home-furnishing fabric

Feb 032012

Fred Herzog Photographs Fred Herzog : Photographs
All Images Courtesy of Equinox Gallery, Vancouver © Fred Herzog, 2012

This hard-back book of colour photographs by Fred Herzog really is a celebration of the mundane. I mean that without any of the negative connotations of what is considered mundane. These photographs are a fly-on-the-wall look at humanity in the Americas during the period of phenomenal social, political and cultural changes that shook the Western world to its core and changed it forever. Starting in the fifties, Fred Herzog’s photographs chronicle society in its truest form. They document everyday-life, unabashed ‘normality’ for thousands of people in North America, middle America and Canada. This is unadulterated voyeurism at its best and is both beautiful and unnerving simultaneously. A collection of snap-shots that grant the viewer a moment of a stranger’s time and yet sufficient in context to enable a whole imaginary story of life to be built up around the subject and image. These pictures conjure such an overwhelming wealth of emotions, they somehow make me nervous yet envious of their existence and place in history, I want to be there and I can’t get enough of the image. I want to look around the corner, smell the air, look through the pile of books, call out to the boys and rifle through the bits and bobs in the second-hand shops. There’s a strong urban-grittiness to the photos that verges on the bleak and depressing and yet they are beautiful, poetic and most importantly, there’s a grain of hope embedded in the heart of the images which in many ways makes a good metaphor for life in all its myriad forms. The light, the colours, the people, the type fonts of shop logos and adverts are all stunning an would make even the contemporary-inclined heart yearn with nostalgia of times past. Beautiful.

FRED HERZOG: PHOTOGRAPHS By: Fred Herzog (Contributions by: Douglas Coupland, Sarah Milroy, Jeff Wall)

  • Hardcover: 224 pages, 150 colour photographs
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre & Prestel Publishing (2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN: 978-1-55365-558-9
  • Price: CAD $60.00  | GBP 26.99
  • Product Dimensions: 12″ x 10″

Black Man Pender 1958 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Boys on Shed 1962 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Victoria 1967 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Room with Television 1967 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Newspaper Readers 1961 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Crossing Powell 1984 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Mexico City with Chev 1963 Fred Herzog : Photographs

House of Treasure 1975 Fred Herzog : Photographs

Family 1967 Fred Herzog : Photographs

With thanks to Prestel Publishing

Jan 232012

This little bundle of joy has been painstakingly created by creative couple Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp and Sean Ohlenkamp on behalf of a Toronto bookshop called Type Books. Another example of stunning stills animation, this is a tale of magic. A tale that tells of the life of books at night when the world is sleeping, everything we have always secretly hoped for having grown up with Bagpuss and Disney’s Fantasia. I really enjoyed the added extra of the little creatures seen moving around the store chasing each other and the books. I can only begin to imagine how long it took to constantly turn around all those books on all those shelves. But turn they do and turn beautifully to boot. This is a masterpiece of shelf organisation and how good it can look and if nothing else, of patience. The video is accompanied by a splendid score by Grayson Matthews which conjures sparkles and wonderment as the books dance the night away before they all return to their rightful places as the new day dawns. I shall never view my bookshelves in quite the same way and the next time I wake in the night, I shall lie quietly whilst sneaking a peek to see whether my books are doing the foxtrot around my bedroom floor. Oh, if only they would!

Jan 122012

9781905400973 RGB For The Twitcher Within Us All
Illustrations from Madeleine Floyd’s ‘Birdsong’, published by National Trust Books

This really is one of the sweetest books that I have seen in a long time and I can’t think of anything more perfect to help welcome the eventual coming of spring than with this little book. Madeleine Floyd’s ‘Birdsong’ is a collection of illustrations in pencil and watercolour of no fewer than 50 of our nation’s feathered friends. Now, we all know that collectively we are a nation of bird lovers and that has never been more apparent than in this slim chronicle offering affectionate descriptions and words detailing the quirks and the behaviours of each little winged creature. The illustrations are charming and perfectly capture the characteristics of both nature and colouring of bird and her egg. Each illustration accompanies a couple of nugget-sized paragraphs giving the reader information about the bird’s habitat, food requirements and habits. Perfectly informative, the book manages to remain factually accurate (complete with the latin names) whilst being softened by a gentle and fond, if not strictly objective, writing style. The most delightful element for me is each bird’s song has been articulated into written sounds, which you cannot help but try to replicate yourself whilst looking at the wee fellows. A true celebration of both bird and song, a guaranteed all round winner.

Swallow copy For The Twitcher Within Us All

Nightjar copy For The Twitcher Within Us All
images with thanks to Anova Books

Available to buy from the National Trust bookshop, for £7.99, ISBN: 9781905400973

Nov 152011

Katya Maters books towering high: a building of books

images taken from Katja Mater’s website

Katja Mater is a photographer based in Holland. Taking her camera and turning the way of seeing around, she plays with the idea of perception and people’s understanding of looking into something new. She makes her camera into a tool of creation rather than one of documentation. She has a number of different projects on her website showing her exploration with this theme, with a varying degree of success. I am a big fan of her ‘book building’ project. This is not the first time I have blogged about book photography, my previous post about Paul Octavious details his approach which not only shows the books spine side out in some of the images instantly injecting intense colour to his images, but is far more fluid and relaxed, yet it share a similar beauty to Mater’s photography. The variety of different shades of paper is so apparent in these pictures due to the straight lines of the stacks and towers that create the buildings. The subtleties of the hues are resplendent in their gentle linear reign over the image. A well-read geometric and modern architecture of which I would like to see more of. Maybe she’ll do a whole city next time? Here’s to hoping.

Nov 042011

Movember Welcome Movember with all your Moustaches

1.) La Cerise sur la Gateau’s Moustache cushion cover, £52, Selfridges 2.) brass Muse bottle opener, £98, Jonathan Adler 3.) Skull and Cross Buns’ Moustache stamps, £5.50 for a pair, Not On The High Street 4.) Mini and Maximus’ ‘One Must Dash’ print, £35, exclusive to Bodie and Fou 5.) Moustache Grower’s Guide, £5.99, Heal’s 6.) Golden Moustache tumblers, £17.95 each, Lifestyle Bazaar 7.) Moustache flavour saver clips, £8, Oliver Bonas 8.) Mr Chocolat Moustaches, £4.99 each, Selfridges 9.) I heart Moustaches moleskin notebook, £4, Finest Imaginary

Please donate to Movember Uk who are raising money for prostrate and testicular cancer initiatives.

Oct 212011

notebooks The Best Noteworthy Notes (please note)

1.) hummingbird-printed leather notebook, £30, Natural History 2.) Claudette notebook, $12, Darling Clementine 3.) Caderno notebook, £6, Present & Correct 4.) Vim & Vigour jotter, £5.50, Shelf 5.) WL 08 orange glue BIG, Whitelines 6.) Aurore mini note in yellow, £2.50, Katy & June 7.) Eiffel Tower notebook, £2.50, Papernation 8.) Sparrow notebook, £10, Sparrow & Co. 9.) Meles Meles notebook, £4, Finest Imaginary

Oct 072011

coffeetables hurrah for coffee time tables

1.) Monty low table, £POA, Channels 2.) Parq Life, £2585, Lee Broom for Deadgood 3.) Jura, £POA, James Burleigh 4.) Nakashima Splay-Leg, £1,884, The Lollipop Shoppe 5.) Stonehenge, £299, John Lewis 6.) Swedese’s Breeze, £517, Skandium 7.) Coffee table One, rectangular, £475, Another Country 8.) Zero in, £881, Established and Sons 9.) Roller, £975, Conran

pixel hurrah for coffee time tables
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