#2009 (Go Bang)

I woke up this morning thinking of Arthur Russell. Today being the last day of 2008 is when I’d like to spend a bit of time lamenting and reflecting on the year that’s been. 

I remember watching Wild Combination at the ICA. The film added many layers of meaning to the music I’ve always been fond of. I remember  listening to a lot of Arthur Russell after watching the documentary because it made the music a bit more personal and important.

So today, before the partying starts and it goes bang into the new year I quite like to have a bit of quiet and fill my head with the wonderful sounds of Arthur Russell. 

I hope that despite the economic gloom, London will still be a city of wonder for me in the sort of magical way like City Glow by Chiho Aoshima

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Poupee Flash and other paper delights

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I’ve long wanted to write on paper cutout and was prompted today to get the fingers dancing on the keyboard when I saw a beautiful (and simple) project by Lupin. I like the idea of revisiting children’s crafts and making it work in an adult setting.

artstyles_anshui1Paper cutout is a rather international folk art. It is also one that I am familiar with. And probably one everyone has come across, even in the form of the good old doily (oh how I love them).

Chinese paper cutouts with auspicious designs are used to adorn doors and walls, especially during Chinese New Year and weddings. While Chinese paper cutout designs tend to focus on symmetry and symbols, Japanese paper cutout designs tend to be of nature.  I randomly found a blog post about some very pretty paper cutout books that are available to buy from Amazon Japan.

In Mexico, the art of papercutting is made using chisels on brightly coloured tissue paper.  Papel picado is used, and looks like a more elaborate form of bunting for festivities with certain colours for certain festivities. I was very happy to stumble upon Casa Mexico one day on the way to Broadway Market.  I was very inspired to have a party with lots of papel picado decorations and a giant pinata filled with goodies!

3132209288_6001790602Rob Ryan is the darling of the fashion industry (he has had many commissions from Vogue and recently designed a limited edition collection with Tatty Devine). This reputable paper cutout artist makes the sweetest most delicate paper cutout designs. Visit his shop on Columbia Road where you can buy his work.

I am feeling very inspired to make. That might as well be my New Year’s resolution, and luckily for me one of my Christmas presents was Making Stuff- An Alternative Craft Book

And to listen to while working away on projects, I think Premiere Classe’s Poupee Flash (heard on Metro Area Fabric mix 43) is perfect.

Sticky in the middle

dsc005301This Christmas, I decided not to send out any Christmas cards. I had the idea of making stained glass cookies and giving them out instead of the more traditional paper option.

Starting out with a mixed bag of boiled sweets, Katrina and I crushed the colourful sweets and placed them in little pyrex ramekins to urge us on with this fiddly, but exciting baking job.

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We listened to some  music and worked hard together, waiting to see the end result. It was a satisfying feeling to see the shortbread cookies turn out looking like stained glass. They looked unlike jammie dodgers but in your mouth, the cookies had the unique texture of being both hard and soft.

I’ve always loved the look of sweets. Sugar is wonderful tool for producing edible art (think Papabubble).

I placed mine in little clear bags tied with some Christmassy ribbon and felt a little pride giving them out, knowing that they were homemade delights.

This doodle needs colour!

Not long ago I wrote a post about interactive wallpaper that I’d spotted. I was delighted today to read about Jon Burgerman‘s colouring-in wallpaper that is available to buy from nineteenseventythree

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My first introduction to Jon Burgerman came from guyfriend who has long been a fan of this doodlist. My presents last Christmas were wrapped in the intricate illustrations of Bugerman, and one of the presents included some wonderful Jon Burgerman character stickers. 

I am pleased to see that more colouring-in wallpaper are being developed and the amazing characters of Jon Burgerman can be brought alive in a fun and interactive way. 

Get your colouring pens out and personalise some art!

Cosy Toes

People tend to stay in more in winter because it’s easier to be cosy at home than it is outside. You wouldn’t really walk around draped in a blanket or duvet but you can curl up in front of the telly in this fashion.

I love wooden flooring and going bare feet so having perfect slippers is essential in winter.  Last winter, I had a pair of knitted ones from Istanbul. They were beautiful wool socks hand-knitted by the same Turkish ladies who sold them for about £4.  It was heartbreaking when they fell apart.

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So I have been on the hunt for replacement slippers and these have caught my eye . I love how the details go as far as the soles of the slippers. I’ve seen similar slippers being sold but for toddlers and I am so glad that these are now available in adult sizes as there are many of us who have not grown up.

I am not a big fan of fleece but I can just imagine that these slippers would be very nice to sink tired feet in.

Let’s start from the very beginning…

About a year ago, on my regular browse on day-lab, I fell in love with these vintage jumbo initial pins. This time last jumboini12year, day-lab still shipped internationally, but there were no “A”s or “Q”s or even “K”s. I continued to check, almost obsessively to see if perhaps one day, Amy would find more of these dead stock and upload them on her site. Instead of finding the correct letters in this style, the site was updated with more varieties of initial jewellery. And still to no avail. There was nothing in these letters. It suddenly felt like I was playing a very bad game of scrabble. Speaking of which I did buy some scrabble tile earrings from Brick Lane ages ago and was pleased that “A” and “Q” made up 11 points on their own.

I remember my mum buying my dad embroidered hankies with the letter “Q” in the corner. They were just so classy and made a special gift for the gentleman, that is my dad.

I guess those hankies had something to do with my need to get my hands on something similar.  I had a flash of genius. I was going to save a search on Ebay for initial. So for awhile now, I have been getting daily results for initials. Unfortunately this has resulted in some pretty ugly pieces of jewellery, and mostly in the letters that I wanted.

In October, I was in Paris for work. The apartment in Montmartre is next to the best junk shop in the world. Outside the window display is filled with heads of dolls, leather partridge pins in French colours. This shop as my friends had predicted had my name all over it. I spent a good hour and more in this teeny-tiny shop, the size of a medium bathroom. I found some gifts for everyone and myself! I walked out with wooden blocks of letters in beautiful fonts, a plastic red sailboat brooch (which I have unfortunately lost- boo) and a vintage thin gold leather belt (which is already falling apart 2 months on).  I spent much of that hour looking through a tiny box that was filled with vintage initial brooches. And again, no chance pour moi.  A feeling of stubborness came over me and I decided to buy a “Y”. I was going to tell people that it is not always about the initial, but also the end. My name ends with “Y”, so this brooch is mine.  I convinced myself that I was more than qualified to be wearing a “Y”.

I stopped looking.

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And on Saturday, we went to Broadway Market to get some brunch. It was a gorgeous day with a clear blue sky. And something caught my eye. And there amongst the beautiful bird hairbands and pearl brooches that were being sold by Jessie Chorley and Buddug lay some pretty decent-sized initials. A quick scan and I found them. Quite easily my new favourite earrings.

I went to bed yesterday satisfied with my weekend find and listened to Serge Gainsbourg’s Initiales B.B.