It's the last chance to catch Tate Modern’s Matisse exhibition which closes this weekend. It's truly spectacular, the gargantuan scale and precision of the dancing figures, fish & floral motifs in bold hues are mesmerising. I visited with my son, and we loved it. There's a really good film showing an assistant holding a huge piece of paper which Matisse cuts with mammoth scissors, must have been very tricky to anticipate how to twist and turn the paper! We were so inspired by the show that we decided to spruce up our studio window displays with our own attempts at Matisse style cutouts! Come and see our (rather wobbly) homage to Matisse while you are in the neighbourhood - hopefully after seeing this amazing show yourself!
A wonderful little stop motion film of ice-creams. My son watched this obsessively several times before remarking that the worse the quality of ice cream, the less beautiful the melt. Watch it and see what you think.... I particularly liked the Walls Vienetta..... it's all very beautiful indeed.
We had a great colourful summery day recently in the studio at our sample sale and cocktail party with the wonderfully talented Karen Mabon. In response to the many requests for the recipe of the delicious cocktails we served ....here they are, they will put a bit of summertime into your week:
Splosh a small amount of Belvoir fruit farms Ginger cordial in a glass. Then splosh about 2cms of their Lime and Lemongrass cordial in. Fill to half way with some crisp Pinot Grigio and then top up with sparkling spring water. Put in a large chunk of ice and a spring of mint leaves.
Use Elderflower cordial instead on it's own with the wine and sparkling water.
Very important - make sure to always use NICE glasses to serve your cocktails in.
Ps.... what shall we call our wonderful tipple? The snowden special?
Still a bit of time to pop to Pick Me Up at Somerset House this year - it's their yearly graphic arts festival - and this years is a good one with lots of workshops and fun things to do for all ages.
I came home with two prints by Kitty McCall from the Unlimited gallery - a great shop in Brighton - and I was very pleased to meet Sara who runs it with her husband as I'm a fan of their colourful shop.
Other things I liked were the work by Thibaud Herem - we stock his fantastic book by Nobrow Press of Art Deco London buildings in my studio. Pictured here, St.Pancras - incredible attention to detail in his draftsmanship. I'd love to see him begin a drawing and see how he lays it out and proceeds. It said he takes 150 hours which seems fast considering how much detail he packs in.
I also liked these little composite cartoony sculptures by Edward Cheverton, some of Alice Tye's paintings which remind me of driving around in the US when I lived there. Also Isabel Greenbergs work (I'd love to see her book 'The Encyclopaedia of Early Earth')
What I like about Pick me up this year is that it feels like people are having fun with their work and being playful without necessarily thinking about making a quick buck, so there's a good atmosphere in there with some silly fun things. Lots of bright colours too. The first collective gallery I walked into was playing a scratchy old Bruce Springsteen album on a portable record player. The second was playing a scratchy old Neil Young album on another 1970's portable player - so that made me smile to think of things my old (and decidedly uncool) texan dad likes being considered the epitome of cool now. Anyway definitely check it out if you want a fun day
Excitement is building in our studio about Le Tour de Yorkshire!! Yes the Tour de France is coming to Yorkshire in early July 2014. The route passes through some of the most stunning in the country. And Stage 2 - which goes from York to Sheffield seems to follow the route of some of our product manufacturing.... spookily mixing my love of cycling and all things cycling related with my love of UK manufacturing!
Stage 2 departs York Sunday 6th July. (You'll have spent Saturday looking around http://www.snow-home.co.uk on Gillygate in York - they are one of our newest stockists and have just had a refit. Do go in and tell Angus how great it all looks).
Onto Huddersfield cycling fast - you are now in the region of the country in which our award winning printers make our cards, notebooks and prints from waterbased inks and recycled papers.
Over to Holme Moss for some climbing. If our legs are tired we can spritz them with some cologne that we keep in one of our Cycling Lady pouches - the fabric is printed in Macclesfield and the bags are sewn in Manchester (which can be seen over the hill!)
Now... down the hill into Sheffield for the finale of Stage 2. That's a wrap. Yes it really is a wrap because our beautiful Croisette wrapping paper is printed in Sheffield - again on recycled paper and with waterbased ink. Hurray - we can use some to wrap all our cycling gifts up in.
Please wave as you go past to Jackie, Ruth, Sue, Noel, Janice, Emma and Shona. OK so they didn't cycle Stage 2 but they work hard to make our products look beautiful and most of them are Yorkshire based.
Perfect chart to decide an issue commonly asked of all creatives - Should I work for free? by Jessica Hische
Most people that I know who are working creatively NEED one of these amazing letterpress prints on their wall. Mostly when I work I try to get paid. That's not unreasonable is it? It's because I need to feed my kid and pay the mortgage. So why do so many companies ask me (and every other designer, actor and musician I know) to work for free so often? I just don't get it. I mean, when did you last ask a builder, lawyer or accountant to do the work for nothing? Do you think it's maybe because working creatively looks like play? My brother is a musician and he certainly has this happen lots too. Anyway I saw and loved this print because it's a perfect and beautiful looking but succinct solution to a common problem! Plus it's kind of comforting to remember that it's a common issue and nothing personal (that doesn't make it OK though!)
Buy one here from designer Jessica Hische (I also want every single one of her incredibly beautiful letterpress letters): http://shouldiworkforfree.com/
And spend some time looking at Jessica's site, (and you can chat to her momanager):
I like Kate Bush, I find her interesting, creative, complex, theatrical and clever. She hasn't performed any live shows since 1979 and just announced a tour. Whats the betting those tickets will be snapped up in a second? Right I'm joining the queue!
Here's a sweet video of Cloud Busting starring Kate and Donald Sutherland (dad of Keifer) on top of a hill with their invention. What's going to happen in the end though? Will we be rained out forever? Will Kate's dad languish in prison? Who are those men? Nice cardigan Kate.
There's been a bit of a long silence on my blog due to running around doing Design fairs for Xmas and being very busy in the studio/shop. An inspiring little film filled with colour and a beautiful spirit booted me into action to write again.
It's about Les Sapeurs in the Congo, a group of men (Society of Elegant Persons of the Congo) who dress elegantly as a statement and an ethos - "to defy circumstance and live with joie de vivre". I wish that people on the streets of our city would live their lives with this aim - and with the amazing sense of style that Les Sapeurs have too. Given where they live and the recent history of the Congo, they must put considerable effort into their lifestyle. (I don't have any shares in Guinness I promise - it's just a very good and uplifting film - so good for them!)
You can watch it here....
My son and I really enjoyed a show last weekend in London called Best of Britannia. It was in the Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell which is a wonderful 1930's building which you may have seen in Downton Abbey (as newspaper offices) or elsewhere on TV.
Anyway this show was great because of the breadth of work on display, from a 3-wheeler Morgan motor car to surfwear, from handcrafted leather bags to jukeboxes and bottles of spirits. Supposedly all made in UK (there were a couple of people who said it was 'Designed in UK' but made abroad so not sure how they snuck in...) nonetheless in almost all cases the stands were hosted by people incredibly enthusiastic about what they were doing and about making in UK, which is always inspiring.
We sat for a while on this beautiful and very comfortable sofa. Their one was in a heathery green linen, perfect for our house. I'm very keen on it's sleek lines with beechwood detailing. It's simply a very elegant piece that won't look dated in 10 years I think. G Plan was founded in 1898 by Ebenezer Gomme. More people should be called Ebenezer don't you think? Their furniture is carefully hand-crafted in Wiltshire so that's even better. I make all my own products in the UK so I'm always looking to buy things that are made similarly. You can have a look at the rest of the G Plan Vintage Collection by Hemingway Design by clicking the link below. Or explore some of the exhibitors from the Best of Britannia show.
Despite being only ten minutes walk from the studio I haven't had a chance to wander over and see this outside Tate Modern but it's on until the 10th Oct so I'll get there this weekend probably. Designed by dRMM Architects it's designed to be moved around and endlessly reconfigured. It's based on the MC Escher designs of stairs which I was fascinated with as a child and which my son really likes now.