Archive | Art and design RSS feed for this section

Silkscreen printing snippets

19 Nov

I mentioned a little while back that I enrolled on an eight week evening class to learn the basics of silkscreen printing. I’ve only got a few weeks to go so I thought I’d share a couple of the designs I’ve printed so far.

{Decorator’s Notebook}

We’ve been working on two techniques. The pomegranate (I’ve been variously complimented by my classmates on my onions and pumpkins!) were done using simple cut paper stencils. These are easy to make but tear easily too, so you can only get a few prints from each one. The fern is done using photo silkscreen, where you expose a screen coated with a light sensitive emulsion to UV. If I carried on, I think this is the method I’d use as the image can be quite detailed and the screen can be used many times before it wears out. The photo on the bottom left is the screen itself.

Picking myself up to go to a three hour long class after a full day at work has been tough, but once I’m there the time goes so quickly and I wish I’d been able to work on more designs. There’s nothing like thinking creatively and doing something new to treat the winter blues!

Is it too early to mention *whispers* Christmas?

7 Nov

Well, not if my blog searches are anything to go by – the eager beavers amongst you have been looking for Christmas decoration ideas for weeks already, so now that November is upon us I reckon it’s finally acceptable to jump in and share a little festive inspiration once again.

But for those who are likely to be drawing a sharp intake of breath at the thought of tinsel and baubles when we still have 47 days to go until Christmas I’m hoping today’s house tour post is a nice gentle introduction for you.

Not a bauble in sight! This subtly sparkling Scandinavian schoolhouse (try saying that one after a couple of G&Ts) belongs to calligrapher Ylva Skarp. The building hadn’t been used for teaching since the 1940s and most recently it was a tin museum which Ylva remembers visiting as a child. The little graphic poster in the photo above is the last remaining trace of its former use.

The house couldn’t be more Swedish if it tried, with its big open plan rooms, grey and white walls and wooden floors, and Ylva’s kept it equally simple with her Christmas decorations. A few sprigs of spruce and flickering candles take the chill off and homemade decorations add a personal touch. I love the paper Christmas trees on the coffee table (instructions here) and I’m tempted to opt for a basic branch  instead of a real Christmas tree too this year.

Ylva’s love of calligraphy is evident throughout her home – this linen cupboard is painted with her favourite phrase “yes, but why not?” and the rugs, cushions and crockery are her designs too. Nordic Bliss sells a selection of Ylva Skarp prints and textiles in the UK.

{all Magdalena Björnsdotter for Lantliv}

Such minimal Christmas decorations aren’t going to feel festive to everyone… does this house say winter wonderland or bleak midwinter to you?

Print & Pattern

7 Oct

I don’t think I’ve ever grown out of that ‘back to school’ feeling so I usually try and sign up to an evening class at this time of year to keep my brain cells ticking over and my creativity alive as the nights draw in.

This year I’m doing a beginner’s class in silkscreen printing at Morley College in Lambeth. We’re starting off with basic stencil prints so for my homework I’ve been gathering simple patterns for inspiration.

{Diamond Dogs / Clouds and Bolts / Leaves}

{Feathers / Trees and Birds / Glasses / Blue Clouds}

{Circles / Chevrons / Coffee Beans}

I could go on and on – there are so many talented printmakers out there. Not sure how far I’ll be able to get in twelve weeks but I’m hoping the learning curve will be a fun one! I’ll be sure to share the results with you.

Sawdust & Sparkle: Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb Shop

21 Sep

When I read that Lee Broom was transforming his Shoreditch studio into an old general store, complete with mahogany panels, sawdust floor and 200 of his glittering crystal bulbs, it sounded like a very attractive combination indeed.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

The glittering cut-glass bulbs looked so beautiful against the dark wood walls – I was really tempted to invest in one for le flat (I do live in Crystal Palace after all) but having seen them en masse I’d never be satisfied with just the one!

The Crystal Bulb Shop is at Lee Broom’s studio at 93 Rivington Street (a stone’s throw from Tent) until Sunday – if you’re in the area call in and check it out.

Mind the Map

5 Sep

I’ve long been fascinated by maps. Perhaps it’s the fact I have an atrocious sense of direction that means I pay more attention to them than most!

Mind the Map at the London Transport Museum is a must for anyone with an interest in cartography or vintage advertising. The exhibition explores the relationship between the London Underground and the geographical, diagrammatic and decorative maps and posters that have been commissioned over the years to help travellers navigate it.

As well as beautiful old maps and posters (there are some wonderful examples from the ’30s and ’40s) some new artworks have been created especially for the exhibition. The detail in Stephen Walter‘s Subterannea (below) is incredible. If you need a closer look you can take home a poster version for £35.

{all courtesy of London Transport Museum}

Mind the Map is on at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden until 28th October 2012 and entry is included in the usual admission price, which means you can try your hand at driving a tube train while you’re there!

Wycinanki: Polish papercut art

20 Aug

I’m notoriously rubbish at getting things framed and have boxes full of ephemera, prints and doodles that I’ve been intending to hang on my walls for yonks.

However, with half an hour to kill on Tottenham Court Road before dinner here (go, it’s great) I found myself in Habitat and remembered to pick up a Bacall frame for one particularly lovely scrap from my collection. It’s a wycinanki, an intricate Polish papercut.

{both Decorator’s Notebook}

Wycinanki (pronounced vee-chee-non-key) were originally made by shepherds from scraps of leather or tree bark and used to decorate their huts. The designs often feature traditional folk art motifs such as peacocks, roosters, flowers and elaborate medallions. Over time the art developed to use paper instead and the technique is passed down through generations.

{via Ponoko}

Designs vary depending on the region where the wychinanki are made – mine’s typical of the Kurpie forest where only one colour is used, while those from the Łowicz region feature layers of multicoloured paper.

{both via Sublimacje}

If you’re not making a trip to Poland anytime soon, try this wycinanki stockist in the UK or this one in the US. I also really like Angie Pickman‘s prints of contemporary wycinanki, especially this fox design.

Finally, if you want to have a go at making your own, check out this excellent wycinanki how-to by papercut artist Suzy Taylor.

{$20 Rural Pearl}

Playful pattern by Jessica Hogarth

6 Aug

It’s always great when young designers are proactive enough to promote their work, so when Jessica Hogarth emailed me she immediately grabbed my attention. At just 24 she’s just exhibited at New Designers: One Year On and opened a NOTHS shop to boot. I really love her playful designs inspired by daily life in Paris and in Robin Hood’s Bay, where Jessica grew up.

{all Jessica Hogarth Designs}

Jessica was asked to design her bright textile collection Velocity for American quilting company P&B textiles… she doesn’t have a UK stockist for them yet but I expect it won’t be long before they’re are snapped up over here. I’m predicting a bright future for this bright young designer!

In the meantime, you can buy her Coastal Cottages wallpaper (£120/roll), screenprints and home accessories through Jessica Hogarth Designs at NOTHS and visit her website for more details.

Words for #teamGB

1 Aug

{both unknown via Pretty Stuff}

The Union Jacks are bought, an elaborate travel plan is in place, my red white and blue clothing is washed and ironed. Yes, today is the first of my six days off to ‘do’ the London 2012… I can’t wait!

Write more handwritten letters

9 Jul

Remember the sentiment of this Pinterest A-Z post? Last week I came across this appropriate print by Mary Kate McDevitt and have really enjoyed browsing her work. She’s one designer who definitely practices what she preaches!

I’ve always enjoyed messing around with my handwriting… adding my own little loops and twirls to the regulation joined-up writing we were taught at school was about as rebellious as I got during my early years! I love the idea that someone can build a career around a passion for writing and have the title ‘Illustrator and Letterer’ on their CV.

Mary Kate McDevitt lives in Portland, Oregon and mixes creating prints and cards for her Etsy shop with commissions for magazines, shops, restaurants and designing posters for events.

I often toy with the idea of making a blackboard wall / door / panel somewhere in Le Flat… I reckon I’d be much more inclined to go ahead if I could write like this!

{all Mary Kate McDevitt}

There are lots more examples of Mary Kate’s illustrations on her website and a selection of designs are for sale here on Etsy.

New screenprints by Bold & Noble

6 Jun

I’ve been a fan of Bold & Noble for years. I ordered a British Isles map within moments of the press release popping into my inbox and have two of their limited edition prints in my living room too. I have to be honest though and say that as time’s gone on and almost everyone seems to have a Bold & Noble map of one country or another on their wall, it’s the small, intricate prints I’ve come to prefer. So, I was very excited to hear about three gorgeous new botanical designs: Sea Holly, Meadow and Wild Wood.

These prints are a relatively dinky 30cm x 40cm which means they fit neatly into off-the-peg frames and would look lovely hung in pairs or a group. Across the three designs there are four colours to choose from: Dark Mulberry, Sheer Slate, Duck Egg Blue and Warm Grey.

If you fancy one, they’re £33 each and you can order directly from the Bold & Noble online shop. I think Sea Holly (at the top of this post) is my favourite… you?

%d bloggers like this: