A sprinkle of poetic prose…

´Magic is cloaked under the blanket of gratitude´…

In 2019, following years of writing down thoughts and poetry, writer and poet, Maria Kouka was gifted a 1920´s typewriter by a loved one. This set her on the path of visualising her poems with a delicate, endearing and timeless approach.

Reflecting the fragility and beauty of the written word, this particular poem by Maria Kouka inspires me to wrap myself up in all that l am grateful for, all the richly blessings and magic that sprinkle my own precious life.

Maria warmly describes her goal…

´to connect with people through the power of my treasured words, and hope that they find comfort, healing, and inspiration through them; all whilst knowing that we share some of the same life experiences´.

The idea to connect with people through her poetry has led Maria to scatter her poems all over the London. An innovative spark of artistic and interactive brilliance which truly speaks to my creative soul!

You can discover more about the project – London Poetry Treasure, watch the related playful reel (Highlights/ Found poetry), and explore further prose, affirmations and quotes on Instagram. For original prints, personalised vows, and other artistic delights head to her website.

A plethora of prose and verse, to captivate the heart, magically awaits…

Richly embroidered memories…

A photograph has the intense power to evoke a moment of long-gone by, a visceral connection to the past, and yet while we might not feel a personal connection to the person or people, we still have visual access to a story.

l discovered the thought-provoking work of calligrapher & fibre artist Han Cao via the eclectic and visually abundant social media platform Instagram, a scrolling moment led to a “Wow, now that is a unique and creative approach to embroidery”…wishing to see more l eagerly clicked ´Follow´.

Combining the handicraft and intricacy of embroidery and the papery fibres of antique photographs, long forgotten memories are given a breath of new life – with wit and soulful meaning.

The swirls of a steam train captured from a canyon scene become enchantingly surreal, as they move out and upwards above the edge of the fragile frays of a vintage postcard.

A gentleman’s suit is re-imagined, from black & white – blossoming into full bloom, while a May queen radiants in all her magnificent flowery splendour – inspired by the song ´Wildflowers´

Which nicely leads me to the pieces that l find most thought-provoking – the portraits…where faces have been exquisitely replaced by embroidery – and in some cases an explosion of colour. l felt compelled to dig deeper…Han Cao goes onto beautifully describe…

“My ´flower wife´ series which celebrates the life and beauty of women, who often appear secondary in photographs from the early 1900s. The flowers represent natural beauty, but also strength, as flowers return season after season in full bloom.

As a creative who believes in the magic of story-telling, and the inner-connections that life weaves, l am truly captivated by the work of Han Cao.

l have high hopes you’ll be captivated just as much as l am…

Photo credit: Han Cao website / The flower wife seated (´flower wife´series)

Art & culture through a virtual lens…

Thanks to CreativeMornings, and their vivid online community, l am happily discovering a wealth of virtual museums and interactive exhibitions.

Sharing the “virtual tours” link (via WhatsApp) to some like-minded friends subsequently led to a super suggestion to create a post “for all visual and creative people”. During these days of self-confinement, it feels timely to share a couple of “stand-out” platforms – to which you may feel compelled to further explore.

l am particularly finding Google Arts & Culture app highly insightful & innovative, with its extensive collection of museums, exhibits and interactive activities from around the world, including Monet: The Water Lily Pond, The National Gallery London. It is wonderful to be able to re-visit this captivating piece – online.

The British Museum London (in collaboration with Google) has created a impressive interactive piece which allows the viewer to explore a dynamic timeline of its collections. Via the medium of visual and audio, this site is best viewed as a desktop experience, and depicts a wide breadth of exhibits which can be explored at your own pace – beautifully enriching, it is definitely worth a virtual visit.

For someone who enjoys visiting art exhibitions on a regular basis, l am grateful that there are plenty of digitally based amusements to help me stay connected to the world of art and culture from the comfort of home – through this ever-evolving “virtual lens”.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Gif source: giphy.com / Vincent Van Gogh ´The Starry Night´, 1889.

The Sketchbook Project…

It was a golden autumnal day when l discovered The Sketchbook Project / Brooklyn Art Library post on my Instagram feed. With my heart skipping a beat, l scrolled through the engaging details of the project, and felt instantly compelled to participate.

Inspired by one of the suggested themes – ´Mixed Use´, l set out to create a visual celebration of the sketchbooks to which l have joyfully filled over the years – from graphic design student to present day. l see my book as an opportunity for others to follow my creative journey, as the project actively invites readers to browse through a sketchbook, whether it be analog – off-the-shelf, or digital “slide-show”. Parallel to this, the experience encompasses a mobile library in the form of “pop-ups”, tours and exhibitions. l find this aspect hugely exciting!

Titled:´Reflections of a Creative Hybrid´ my sketchbook evolved into mirroring both my sides – as a commercial graphic designer and mixed-media artist. l am delighted to announce, l am now officially an artist of The Brooklyn Library Sketchbook Project, and my book has been catalogued. As all books are trackable, l will naturally be curious to see who views it.

Founded by Managing Director, Steven Peterman in 2006, when he was just 20yrs old and in college, The Sketchbook Project was set up with the vision to create a small community art space. As Peterman so beautifully writes…

“With over 50,000 sketchbooks from 30,000 different global creative people, we have grown over the past 14 years to be the largest collection of sketchbooks in the world. We have reignited art careers, inspired first time creatives and even helped a few marriage proposals. We have connected long lost friends, sparked creativity in young minds and created a space for art to live on, indefinitely. We are more than just a project. We are a slice of global creativity. We are an inside look at what people are thinking. We are an archive, a library, a source for endless inspiration.”

l am thrilled to be a part of a global movement of creatives. It is an honour to help fund and contribute to the Brooklyn Art Library. l wish both the library and The Sketchbook Project a bright and creative future!

Perhaps you may feel inspired to participate, and become part of the global creative movement…

The Seaglass journey…

The idea started with a dreamcatcher. More precisely, the name l gave to the paper boat that l had assembled and perched on top of the words Every journey begins with a first step – printed on the cover of my new blank sketchbook. 

Seaglass is on the move, sailing to its new home alongside Looking Glass — where they will burn brightly together, like a lighthouse.

After creating a visual to capture this change, I happily turned to Patricia Vila Nova for another rewarding creative collaboration. Together, we worked to translate the new Seaglass message with simple paper-play charm and metaphor.

The animation itself reflects the newly explored shores of visual storytelling. As a graphic designer, I enjoy the wonderful sense of excitement and growth that learning new skills can spark — and the challenge of capturing a client’s voice and story in a creative, engaging way.

Consolidating Seaglass visual communication and the creative inspiration captured in Looking Glass feels organic — and like the realisation of a beautiful dream.  

And so, buoyed by the flow of nature, Seaglass is sailing on. I invite you to keep a look-out for new and exciting stories, side projects and updates.  

 

creative orange studio

Innovation is a common term in business today, some say overused, and often mysterious. Taking a look at the current Innovation landscape and one theme will dominate: ‘technology’. Today when we talk about technology we talk about computing, electronics and all things digital.  However, ‘technology’ used to be associated with ‘useful arts’ and included things such as printing, beer making and leatherwork.  Interestingly the root of the word technology identifies with craft and skill, with no mention of electrons at all!

What if we put the idea of ‘craft’ back into innovation? What value can craft add to innovation? I propose it can add a lot of value if we look at how innovation is done rather than focusing on the what. In his 2016 book “Innovating A Doer’s Manifesto …” MIT’s Luis Perez-Breva proposes that innovation is something that can be learned:  “The process of creating what eventually becomes an innovation is something you can learn and become better at through practice.” This is exciting because it helps to de-mystify innovation and make it accessible to everyone. 

Here is where the idea of craft can be useful. If we look at how a craftsperson works-we could say their practice, we can use this idea of ‘practice’ to learn how to innovate. Peter J Denning & Robert Dunham, innovation & entrepreneur writers also suggest that innovation is a personal skill that can be learned and advanced through practice in their book “The innovator’s way”.

In April 2019 I was pleased to help organise an event called the Craft Innovation Salon which brought together a diverse group of people from the worlds of craft, industry and academia.  This event was made possible by the collaboration of the UK’s Crafts Council and University of Arts London. During the day we explored this idea of How we do things by thinking about mindsets and skills, and later how these might be applied in partnerships between craftspeople and industry. 

Some of the themes from the day can be seen in the illustrations by Josie of Studio Jo Jo shown above. Participants enjoyed hands on activities to promote discussion, and the diverse mix of people.  Overall there was a lot of appetite for further discussion in the area of Craft Innovation. So next time you hear the word innovation, perhaps you can think about the role that craft could play?

Looking Glass while digital in approach has been curated with the intention to showcase craft across a wide platform of mediums – reflecting creativity, innovation and inspiration from a variety of visual perspectives. This ethos organically led to a conversation with invited guest writer – Ann Marie Newton.

 Ann Marie has a career spanning over 20 years in the Textile & Fashion industries, this includes roles as a scientist, designer and technologist. Her career has been based in the USA & UK but has included travel to many countries in Asia.  Having just completed her MA in Innovation Management at the renowned Central Saint Martins college in London, Ann Marie is now pursuing her interests in workshop facilitation, writing, weaving & all things creative including setting up her freelance company Creative Orange Studio which reflects her love of the colour orange. Ann Marie would love to hear from you, please email her at AMC@creativeorangestudio.com.

Name that tune…

Music has the power to evoke memories – be it a riff, a lyric, the sound of a certain instrument, or vocal, a song has the magical ability to conjure up a visual in the mind…transporting us back to a moment in time.

Combined with curiosity as to the creative process of other designers, and my love for music l feel totally captivated by Katrina McHugh´s project and subsequent book – “Pop Charts: 100 Iconic Song Lyrics Visualized”. With a artful mix of poetic understanding and visual positioning, Katrina draws us in to ponder on a song title – in all its playful beauty.

As an artist, author, creative director and co-founder of Flight Design Co . Katrina started her work while participating in “The 100 day project” – undertaking a daily practice of visual creativity. How inspiring that this path would organically lead to the development of “Pop Charts”.

l love the idea of dissecting a song and reflecting it in a visual capacity. Fun for the eye and uplifting for the spirit. The approach to weave elements of nature into the piece highly resonates – as l am a graphic designer who finds the natural world balm for the creative soul.

l warmly invite you to further explore the project, its thought-provoking origins of visual inspiration, and to happily discover the answers to the diagrams above – personal favourites of mine.

Wishing you plenty of joyful “name that tune” moments.

D is for…dream catching

Every journey begins with a new step. l find this statement exciting, it carries a heady sense of exploration, possibility, and promise. This carefully chosen note-book sits perfectly aligned with the origami wish-boat, instinctively named ´Dream Catcher´.

With a joyful feeling of renewed creative buoyancy…as the year unfolds, l wonder where my dreams will take me ?

l love the idea of catching my dreams (even dreams still to be realised) – with imagination, meaning, curiosity and insight as my fellow travellers. Naturally visualization (in its various forms) plays an integral and creative role – my daily tool at play.

Wishing you all sparkly dream catching.

A rich infusion for the visual eye

Intricate. The prime adjective that leapt to mind when l initially came across the paintings by Ruby Silvious. l was immediately struck by her attention to detail, notably given the nature of the chosen blank canvas – the teabag.

Much to my creative delight, l discovered further art and books dedicated to the teabag. “363 Days of Tea: A visual journey of Used Teabags” is a daily record of a mood, a moment – captured within one year.

l love the idea of capturing a moment with a day-to-day approach – pushing one´s creativity each and everyday. The book reflects a rich understanding of application and execution – delicately and artfully expanding the purpose of the used teabag.

Here l have chosen three images which l feel in different ways capture my first impressions of Ruby Silvious´ teabag art. Detailed, playful, artistic, and richly inspiring.

Enjoy.

Left:26 Days of Tea in Japan / Day 21 Tsuru (crane), watercolor, ink and watercolor / Centre:26 Days of Tea in France/9 Dressed to a Tea, ink, watercolor, collage / Right:Extract from the website/363 Days of Tea

Copyright © 2018 Ruby Silvious  All rights reserved. 
No images may be copied or used for any purpose without consent of the artist.