Prickly Little Fella

I had a couple of hours free today to work on developing a little 'cook' of a hedgehog.
He / she - I don't know yet... - became a bit less cute over the course of the morning:

From rough first sketch:

To this:


Some More Bloggy Inspo...

Morning Edit - is a contemporary blog run by two lasses who like design more than food even.

They feature designers who work in quite a nice diverse range of styles - some of which are sampled here:

Julia Trigg

Freya Cumming

Emily the Pemily

I checked it out just now, ready to put the link up - and noticed there was a post featuring the very designer who was going to be my next blogger to look at ! - How "Small World" is that?

From the Jane Foster blog, we see how she has created a clean bright yet friendly brand with her sixties inspired style:

all Jane foster

So fresh = one colour on white works so very well when it's executed with a bold simple design, like Jane foster's exceedingly is! Clever woman.

Next up I'd like to include decor8 - a chatty endearing blog by Holly Becker who loves interiors, craft and design. Her eclectic approach means there is always something new and different to grasp when you visit. She has great tips, workshops and has written a book too:

Holly Becker's book on Amazon

Design Post Cologne

not me - Decor8's Holly Becker 

Hope these sneak peaks have introduced to to at least one blog you didn't know previously - and that you have found a little inspiration to see you through until yellow and white flowers peep.

Take The Paper Trail

I love to see the work of animators used in things like advertising - the creative industries doing their jobs well... And I was just floating around the web - jumping from one design blog to another creative website - to see where it took me and (on Vimeo) I found this animation for the French postal system by French animator Edouard Salier, which is both beautifully simple and incredibly complex at the same time.

And then I wondered what other paper animations there might be and found this fun one by SNASK  a Swedish design, branding and film company.

And then...! That reminded me of the work of the artist THOMAS DEMAND. A good few years ago I went to his fab retrospective of massive photos which looked marvellous at the wonderous space that is the Serpentine Gallery in London. 
Demand's work is photographs of paper and card models of everyday scenes - which have the ability to ask us to look again, realising the extraordinary in the mundane. That's my favourite art theme really as most of my work comes back to celebrating the ordinary. Here are a few images of his work:


Imagine these are photographs six or eight feet high - and you get the idea.

Blogs I Find Inspiring

I have bookmarked HUNDREDS of blogs and websites over the past few years and often re-visit many of them ~ but there is a significant percentage that I go back to frequently and regularly.
Thought I'd do a riddley-tiddley round-up of them and put a few linkety-links in too ~ in case you want to take a little look for yourself
Here goes:
I suppose the one blog I look at the most is PRINT AND PATTERN. It is "..a website that celebrates the world of surface pattern design". Run by a british designer living in London, it is a running commentary on two aspects of design - what designers are doing that hasn't reaches the shelves yet and what is out there in the shops now. The former often takes the form of designs that are sent to the inbox of Bowie Style (aka Marie Perkins), which she then likes and puts onto the blog, or otherwise...
It's a never-ending source of what's new and interesting in terms of season, colour, pattern, motif and style in the world of cards, gift wrap, wallpaper, stationery and ceramics.
Here's a few pics from recent posts:

Dinara Mirtalipova
Amanda Dilworth
Quarter Report
Shinzi Katoh

If you fancy an overdose of snazzy sixties pink and orange updated - then head over to HANDMADE BY ALICE APPLE. Working in Devon, Alice Burrows designs fabrics and graphics for all kinds of surfaces as well as making toys and decorations from her own designs and vintage fabrics too.
It's a fun site with insights to her family life as well as her business ~ I often feel exhausted just browsing, imagining how busy-busy she must be ALL the time! 
Here's some pics to whet your appetite:

Felt Houses
Alice Apple
In complete contrast to the bright flat impact of Alice Apple's blog, CATHY CULLIS has a blog that celebrates old fashioned muted colours and is very textural. Cathy Cullis makes dreamy paintings and stitched textiles of women who could be the Bronte sisters or Jane Austin ~ or any of their fictional characters. There seems to be a slight melancholy about them ~ yet they are sweet and charming. 
Let me show you what I mean:

dreaming the future
Dreaming the Future
This Happy Thought
Wintry Sisters
Shakespeare's sisters
Shakespeare's Sisters
Cathy Cullis
On Mondays she always makes a mosaic - calling it Mosaic Monday - a lovely way to build up a 'scrapbook' of images that maybe link together a theme - here's one:

mosaic monday 
Mosaic Monday by Cathy Cullis

Right that's going to have to be enough now because I am off up the hill to big son's school to respond to a call for help with clearing the outside areas so it's safe for 700 pairs of precious feet tomorrow morning! - Got me a BIG orange snow shovel...

What Would We Do Without Our Computer-Savvy Children...?

Bless him, my oldest boy helped me bring this little lady to life - kind of. I should have made many more slides and fiddled about for longer with the feet - as she's not quite walking so much as shuffling! - but it's a first attempt and a nice fun way of introducing you to a spring/summer character idea.
Only thing is I do not have a name for her... Despite having the Thesaurus by the bed and poring over the trillions of wonderful words in there - I still have diddley-squat of an idea who she IS.
I'd quite like her to have the name of a thing or colour or feeling rather than a name we might give to a human - a trend for giving an animal a human name has been around for quite a long while now, maybe it's time for names like Dapple or Sparkle or Apricot, Velvet, Bliss or Custard?

Also, I have been making some sketches for some new characters - a hedgehog who loves cooking, a new duck - based on a little felt fella I found in desperate need of adoption, in a charity shop.
Here are a few initial drawings from my sketchbook:

Made of felt with lovely hand stitches and a name tape sewn under his little jacket, this scatty fellow is fearless and funny; making hilarious jokes at the most inopportune moments - somewhat gauche, you might say, yet always ready to help - a good friend.

Today, little bunny has dressed up as a pirate and has her cutlass and telescope, eye patch and all important stripey top. She also sports a rather dashing neckerchief - what a fun tomboy bunny!

Here's a pic showing the whole book - a sweet little sketchbook given to me by the very lovely Corrin Tulk - (thank you dearie). It's just a bit smaller than an A6 size - so grand for doodling thoughts before putting the light out a bedtime, on the bus to work or for taking on a walk in a pocket to record a beautiful shaped tree for instance.
Watch this space for the developments of these cutey-pie characters and their escapades..

Looking Back At Old Stuff In A New Year

Just before our over-stuffed break, we decided to get the new carpet fitted in our sitting room.
Shifting stuff around was a good thing as it enabled us to see the space afresh.
We have decided to move the bookcase into the dining room, but will need to take off about two centimetres of the last ceramic mantelpiece tile in order to fit it where we want it!

Anyway the interesting bit in all this is that when moving the books I realised that I bought or acquired or simply hung on to quite a few of them for their covers alone (don't you just love the bookness of books?) and have no intention of reading them!
So this morning I quickly took a few snaps of some of them with my phone - not great photos I'm afraid -  but here they are:

The top one was my Dad's when he was a boy - 1937/8/9 I should think, whereas the second book was my Mum's from when she was little - a few years later.. 
They both have black and white line-drawn illustrations and BOTH also have some of them carefully coloured-in with pencil crayons by my parents little child hands! Sweet! 

These four are hardback books and I love how dated they are! - The dark colouring and typography on these last two is great

Here's a funny mish-mash grouping with effective use of colour, scale and humour linking the otherwise diverse titles / themes

I just like these two together - Simon Garfield is such a good read - there's one I HAVE managed to get past the cover of - and should re-visit with my students embarking on their Typography Project next week...

This is the catalogue from a lovely show at Kettles Yard Some years ago now - my MA work was concerned with dwelling / representing domestic / intimate space, so this was very relevant then

Similar but different - I love the intimacy of small scale things - celebrating the insignificant! This book is full of charming photographs that cherish the peculiarity of the model village.

Lastly - for now - there's a funny bit of me - the bit that is my dad's daughter - that loves a good old classic car, caravan, motor-home, tractor, train - or any other vehicle! Weird or what? This book is full of fab-ly cheesy illustrations of Austin Maxis and such like

There is a ton of books under the bed too - so as we dig them out, I'll snap them and post them here for posterity