Sunday 25 January 2009

Gotta lotta bottle

I had forgotton how much fun Brick Lane can be. I spent most of last Sunday rummaging in shops stuffed with vintage goodness and chatting to their delightful owners. I was most pleased with the selection of tea towels I found, I might frame them. The Dairy Council tea towel features a slogan from the 'jingle king' Rod Allen. He is credited with saying "We wanted to get away from the middle class, worthy image that milk had and we went particularly for a very young boisterous approach. We quite literally broke all the rules" and the slogan is said to be responsible for "changing the personality of milk" in the early 1980s! I don't actually like milk, I just liked the design, but haven't been able to discover who the designer was.

And when my friend held up this apron, we were speechless! I think a trip to our local bingo hall might be in order. A visit there is long over due as it's in a marvelous old cinema with the original interior. The pockets look perfect for holding dabbers! The shop owner told us a lovely story about her dad's business that made and supplied such aprons to local department stores, delivered in mixed batches of a dozen tied up in brown paper and string.

The nice owner at Hunky Dory vintage let me take a picture of this wonderful apache scarf display. Apparently the owner sported one just like these when he was a wee lad!

Monday 19 January 2009

Take Hart

Couldn’t let today pass without remembering Tony Hart. I was sad to hear he had died at the weekend and that in the last few months of his life he had to give up art. I grew up with Vision On and loved the art adventures the programme would take its viewers on and the wonderful range of materials he worked with from crayons and paint to motorbikes in the sand. Reading the obituaries I am struck by how calm and gentle he seemed and his commitment to taking art to children. A while ago, I picked up one of his books published in the eighties, ‘Small Hands, Big Ideas’.
The book has lovely examples of the different types of art children can produce at different ages, and is packed with ideas for children to try from mono prints to bubble paint, each illustrated with trips to different schools and examples of the children’s work.
And of course, examples of his own work.


I finally had a sunny, quiet morning so I could take some photos of my local Woolies. I've always really liked the chrome frontage to Woolworths stores. This one is set off with sparkly black granite. Alas, this shop doesn't have the shaped door handles or mosaic W floor in the entrance, which I had last seen at the Brighton London Rd branch. A few more pics are up on Flickr.

Friday 16 January 2009

The snowy day

The snowy day by Ezra Jack Keats has always been one of my favorite books. The little bit of snow we had recently made me think of it again so I decided to buy a few copies to send to nieces and cousins so they could enjoy it too.

I remember really liking the thoughtful little boy and his attempt to keep a snowball...

and I still love the illustrations now, I haven't seen a better one of snow.

And I liked his use of wallpaper cut-ups in the pictures. The book was also very significant for its inclusion of an African-Amercan family at the centre of the story. Keat's style changes in other books, but there are plenty of wallpaper cut-ups in some of his other books from the sixties, Whistle for Willie and Peter's chair.

I also treated myself to Keats neighbourhood. It includes 10 of his stories and commentaries from other writers. Lots of illustrations, and stories to read with visitors.

Thursday 15 January 2009

New year, new blog

I'm dipping my toe into the blogging world having enjoyed and been inspired by many blogs over the past year or so. I enjoy blogs by crafters and artists, but also random daily journals, musings and commentary. I have loved barkcloth fabric since I first came across some at a jumble sale in my teens and made it into a dress. I now make toys, bags and cushions, but I might make another dress soon! I also love prints and printmaking, mainly etching and print gocco. I learnt etching with the wonderful Frank Connelly at city lit and got the gocco bug from xtina lamb and mark pawson. I have worked as a researcher, sitting in front rooms hearing amazing stories and telling them to others so that life might change for the better. I'm lucky to have had such a fascinating job, but this has always taken up more time than I planned, so now I'm hoping to adjust the balance and spend more time making, crafting, printing and enjoying my friends. I'm not sure what shape this blog is going to take, so lets see what happens!