Monday, 27 December 2010
Back in September, I decided that my job was giving me no satisfaction whatsoever and that I needed to do a little learning to enrich my life more. And what better time to go 'back to school' than September?! A friend of mine, AM, had just finished a sewing class in one of my all time favourite shops in New York, Purl Soho. I didn't realise that they did sewing classes, I thought it was more of a 'stitch n' bitch' knitters helping hub, but it turns out they do much more than that. Anyways, she created this gorgeous reversible tote bag in just 3 Saturday classes, and I just had to take the class!
The class was called 'Beginning Machine Sewing I' and my class took place every Thursday night for 4 weeks, at the back of the shop. The hardest part of the course was deciding on the material I was going to use for the bag, Purl have so many fabrics to choose from, I was like a child in a sweet (candy) shop! Eventually the fabrics I choose were a brown heavyweight fabric (for the outer) and a lightweight material for the lining which was called Wild Thyme, Ecru Dots 249E by Carolyn Gavin for P&B Textiles. Unfortunately our laptop died so I lost all the photos of my bag's progress, but that just gave me the excuse to buy a small sewing machine (a Brother 60-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, CS-6000i) and make more bags! I've since made a mixture of one strap and two strap totes.
The fabrics for the other bags are a mixture from Purl Soho and Mood Fabrics. Mood is where the Project Runway contestants always go. I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed in there, there is just so much crammed in the 2 floors that I just had to get out as quick as I could. But you can find some great fabrics, especially for linings, at the City Quilter and for good heavyweight fabrics, Ikea, has a great selection and very reasonably priced.
I got this wonderful sewing bible from my husband for Christmas called The Sewing Book by Alison Smith (a fellow Brit as it turns out) I just couldn't wait to get stuck into a new project that I dragged my husband out of our cozy apartment, into the snow to go to Ikea to get some fabric! Well if we're going to be stuck in a blizzard, might as well be doing something productive, no? So watch this space to see some of the projects I'm trying to tackle.
Saturday, 25 December 2010
Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays or whatever you celebrate this season, and what better way to do it than with some talented designers.
In order of appearance (left - right):-
1st row: Adrian Johnson’s ‘Six Geese A-laying’; Darling Clementine's 'Candy Cane';
Tom Gauld's '4 calling birds' & Rob Ryan's G2 Christmas card.
2nd row: Jotto Seibold's 'Olive the other Reindeer'; Craig Ward's 'Season's Greetings'; Alison Carmichael's 'Baubles' & Christoph Neimann 'Let it Dough'.
3rd row: Yulia Brodskaya's bookcover for the 2009 Neiman Marcus 'The Christmas Book'; Kate Sutton's 'Robin'; Jessica Hische's '6 Geese are Laying' from her personal project & Frode Skaren's 'Opposites' Christmas card.
Have a great one everyone!
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Wow has it really been nearly 4 months since I've blogged? That is shameful...I hope now that work has calmed a bit and with the break coming up, that I will be able to rectify this. I have a ton of things I want to blog about so please bear with!
So I will begin with telling you about my new scarf. Recently I've just got back into knitting, and there has been one pattern that attempted several times but to no success. So after 5 years, I decided that now was the time to try it again, especially as last winter someone stole my gorgeously long and cosy scarf one bitter December evening.
I found the My So Called Scarf pattern on this blog while searching for a fun scarf to knit, and it turns out that the pattern originally came from a San Fransisco knitting shop called Imagiknit. They were giving the pattern away free with any purchase of the Manos del Uruguay wool. I was drawn by the interesting pattern and the gorgeous colours but I just couldn't knit it! It actually turned out to be a very simple pattern, and one that I very much enjoyed knitting.
The best thing about this scarf is that with each purchased skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn you will be helping a woman support her family. The hand-crafted and hand-dyed Fair Trade yarns are each signed by the woman who made your yarn and the village she comes from, so not only is it beautiful, but you are helping someone as well.
The original pattern was knitted in Wildflowers (113), however I decided to go for Bramble (114) as it was more autumnal and I bought mine from Purl Soho. Get the pattern here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
So in my birth month, August, I received a curious envelope from Anthropologie - inside contained a card with a perforated cupcake, plastic candle and a birthday discount. Turned out that the candle is part of a necklace! The front read:
"Happy Birthday! Make a wish. And treat yourself to something special..." and the back read "Your candle necklace is for you to keep. This little gift is for you and only you. And cannot be turned into chocolate, flowers or cash. It's a one-time treat...."
I love the detail this store goes in to - it gets me every time! The discount came in handy as I also received a gift card in the cutest gift card holder I've ever seen - a little monster! I don't know who created this little monster, but Lizania Cruz (who I blogged about on 3rd April 2010) created the 2009 birthday gift for Anthro - also very lovely.
Images from 2Sisters and Effortless Anthropologie.
Monday, 2 August 2010
Today is my birthday, and those that know me, know that I love cake - I mean really love cake!! So I thought I'd give you all a sweet treat from the British artist Sarah Jane Szikora. Sarah's humorous and quirky paintings focus on larger than life ladies, skinny males, gingerbread men, edible treats and cats - each painted with a palette taken straight from the sweetest sweet (candy) shop. For me she shares a few similarities to the British institution, that is Beryl Cook, as both of their styles strongly feature subtle British humour and rotund ladies. I thought it was the perfect post for today - British and charming!
Sunday, 1 August 2010
I'm not a fan of wallpaper, in general, especially when a room has been wallpapered floor to ceiling. I've seen too many wallpaper disasters in my time. But if you must wallpaper, then an accent wall with a stylish pattern is always welcome. For me wallpaper should make you want to look twice which is why I love Dan Funderburgh's designs - which are available to buy here. He also designed some Moleskine covers which you can buy from Engrave Your Book.
Another wallpaper design that definitely makes you look twice is Paper Voyeur's flora and fornication range - as Lascivious so perfectly put it; this wallpaper imbues "European eroticism with a sprinkling of English reserve, these wallpapers nod to the florid romance of Mucha or Beardsley - an outline of the idea without the pink bits."
This unique collection of wallpaper was designed by the British design studio, DED and is popular with stores such as Agent Provocateur and Coco De Mer. Enjoy!
Click on the image and use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate through the album.
Thursday, 29 July 2010
Since my wedding I have developed an interest in calligraphy, and Bryn Chernoff - the very talented lady behind Paperfinger - is one of the best modern calligraphers that I've stumbled upon. What I also like about this Brooklynite's penmanship is that she also incorporates hand drawn designs which are great for extra personalisations to any wedding or event invites. Click the image to see the details and her beautiful lettering. Please check out her site and her blog too.
Images taken from Paperfinger.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Check more out here and here are some images from Brown's agents, Art Deptartment.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
If You Don't Belong, Don't Be Long at the Oh Wow Gallery is Scott Campbell's first solo exhibition in New York.
I last posted about Mr Campbell on 24th February 2010, and I was delighted to hear he finally had an exhibit in town.
While at the exhibition I got chatting to the curator about the way he works, in particular I wanted to know if he uses real dollar bills as I had seen a photograph of him with a sheet if dollar bills in the New York Times. It turns out they they are real dollars, Campbell contacted the treasury and requests full uncut and unwatermarked sheets of dollars, they cost a little more than face value. These uncut dollars allow him to work in a larger scale and more refined due to the crispness of the sheets, making a nice contrast to his beaten up used dollar stacks.
The exhibition had only been open 2 weeks by the time I went to check it out and all but 5 pieces had sold!
Since the exhibition I've had the pleasure to meet 2 lovely people who have had tattoos done by the talented Mr Campbell and they are faultless and beautiful.
The exhibition runs from 29th April - 30th May 2010.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
In August of this year, Kate Spade is launching a set of clutches based on "classic book covers" such as The Great Gatsby, Emma, The Importance of Being Earnest, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities. "The brand will release the 'volumes' one at a time as a sort of Book-of-the-Month Club"*. However these handbags aren't launching without controversy...
Not that long ago, French designer Olympia Le-Tan, launched a collection of clutches called You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover in Autumn of 2009. Obviously Olympia is not happy with Spade's choice of bags and feels that the design house has copied her style.
Le Tan is passionate about books, something which was ingrained during her childhood by her book collector father. She was inspired by her favourite first edition classic covers such as The Catcher in The Rye, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Moby Dick, 1984 as well as 17 other covers.
Le Tan's bags are close copies of the original first editions and it's undeniable that more craft have gone into their creations compared to Spades - for a start Le Tan only made 16 bags for each 21 covers; each made of embroidered silk with colorful felt appliqué. Spade's are new illustrated versions of their books and printed to look worn and will obviously be massed produced. But I have to say, that I don't think the idea was 'stolen' from Le Tan - the outcome is very different: differently crafted, different book covers and I'm guessing a very different price tag - although the retail price of Spade's bags haven't been disclosed yet I'm imagining that they will be the more 'affordable' of the two as Le Tan's bags cost $1,500.
I googled 'book bags' and got copious results for etsy shops and crafters. As the saying goes (and I don't entirely agree with it): there is no such thing as a new idea and Olympia and Mrs Spade are certainly not the first nor the last to have the same idea and it seem that for years people have been transforming books into bags. Michelle Pulis, a young designer who has been creating bag tomes out of actual books since 2008:
Here’s a lovely book tote bag designed by Lizania Cruz, that will unzip to become a handy shopping bag. Lizania creates many beautiful items for Anthropologie.
However I can see why Le Tan feels this way; her collection came out very recently and these gorgeous literary purses are her livelihood whereas Kate Spade is a much bigger cog and doesn't need the cash. If I were Le Tan I would take it as a compliment and reel from the amount of press this issue has received. If I could afford it, I would certainly choose a bag that had been handcrafted by a smaller fashion house over a mass produced one as it's more individual, and I'm sure she hasn't had a shortage of interest. Despite this all, I'm still a big fan of Kate Spade (and even her husband's shop - Jack Spade - is gorgeous too) and I constantly enjoy the visual feast I encounter every time I walk into the stores!
(*) Quoted from the Vanity Fair online article.
Images of the Kate Spade collection also sourced from this article.
Monday, 22 March 2010
However this weekend, between decorating a cake stand and practicing calligraphy for the place settings, I managed to go to the Charles Addams' exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. I was surprised how bustley the exhibition was considering it was sunny Sunday afternoon with highs of 72F. The mood of the room was jovial, I've never been at a show where so many people burst out laughing! It was infectious but the art was worthy which was evident from the surrounding chuckles.
Charles Addams' was a great American cartoonist/illustrator who drew over 1,500 illustrations (many of which were covers) for the New Yorker and of course he was the brain child of the Addams Family. He was born and raised in New Jersey, and said to have taken inspiration from the neighbourhood houses to create the Addams Family mansion. He drew familiar everyday life and injected humorous twists within each drawing, some of which you don't always notice on first glance. One of my favourites was this one:
It tickled me becuase the udder is not noticeable at first and it also makes me wonder where the milkman is...!! It's no wonder that he was a regular of the New Yorker, his charming and often creepy cartoons appeal to many audiences. He had a deep love of the city, it's buildings, the people and he used it as a background for his quirky unexpected stories.
Incidentally Tim Burton is directing a 3-D stop frame animation, not based on the TV series or films, but based on Charles' cartoons. It has Burton written all over in, in fact I can't believe he hasn't done it sooner, I just hope he branches out and doesn't hire Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter again!
The Charles Addams's: New York exhibition runs from March 4 – May 16, 2010.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
I was recommended by a friend to go to the opening night of Owls Have more Fun, and as soon as I saw the show's title I couldn't agree more, I just had to go! Owls Have...is Lisa Grue's solo show in NYC, at gallery hanahou. The show runs from 25th February - Friday 26th March 2010.
For the show the Danish artist mixes bold neon colours with images of nature (and of course owls a plenty) to create beautiful designs for the home such as a very large rug; 80 one off hand-printed porcelain plates and an enormous custom made wallpaper mural allowing you to submerge into her fantasy world.
I adored the wallpaper and rug but I'd have to say that my favourite was the hand illustrated and printed plates. The contrast of owls, words, nature, neon pom poms with the black and white imagery is just fab. There is also something about seeing objects en masse that I just love.
"Lisa, known for her playful and sometimes shocking illustrations that mix girlishness with feminism, puts her spin on owl and nature motifs, surrounding viewers with a magical world via domestic objects...Lisa's powerful and fun illustrations remind viewers to never forget the magic in everyday life. In addition, they make a statement to girls and women that wisdom and beauty go hand in hand." - gallery hanahou
Lisa's works isn't all owl focused, she has designed many pieces for graphic design, illustration and fashion magazines and labels. However she chose owls as her subject for this show as she wants to encourage women and young girls to "take pride in being clever in general, instead of acting like stupid bunnies to get attention."
Lisa was recently honored as one of the new design talents of Denmark, with a grant from the National Art Foundation of Denmark. To see more of her work check out her website and her blog.
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Scott is a Louisianan born, New York-based tattoo artist (sculptor, painter, illustrator and photographer...phew!). He creates these immense pieces of art by drawing onto each dollar bill layer, he then cuts them up and glues them together in stacks of 100 one dollar bills - an expensive hobby! He exhibited these dollar sculptures in 2008 at London Lazaride's gallery, called Always Almost There.
"Campbell has the taken the blue collar grit and lore of tattoo culture and extracted a visual language and wit that are supremely refined and deliberate. He has an uncanny ability to tell a story with any medium, flesh or otherwise." - OHWOW Gallery
Close up images via Ian Cox