Thanks to “belle”

It was at the beginning of the year that glassybaby was brought to my attention in the colourful shape of ‘belle’ via the Pearl Jam newsletter (l’m a long-term follower of this gifted band, hence inclusion of “given to fly” ). Upon reading the articles, l subsequently clicked on the related glassybaby link. Lo & behold the glassybaby world came alive.

Founded by Lee Rhodes in 1998, glassybaby’s journey is an inspiring story of courage and hope, in which Lee faced a battle with a rare form of lung cancer. In search of serenity, Lee felt inspired to fill each glassybaby with a tealight, in which she found a shining glow of healing and hope.

l feel greatly touched by the creative manner in which glassybaby spreads the “power of giving” ethos by donating a percentage of glassybaby sales to various charities. A beautiful concept which enables givers to fundamentally change the lives of others.  l also find the creation of names and stories for each glassybaby makes way for an abundance of fun and many glassybaby discoveries.

Following on from my own discovery, it felt only natural to make a ‘Looking Glass Collection’. All six glasses speak to me from a personal perspective. l find a beautiful narrative thread running throughout my carefully chosen pieces. Generating my own sense of serenity, light & hope.

l’m also feeling rather curious as to which unique glassybaby you’re drawn too…

glass filled with wit

Stepping away from an extensive career in the advertising industry, British-based Andy Poplar now channels his creative talent for word play into the form of witty glass etchings.

As Andy, aptly describes; “The actual name for his brand [vinegar & brown paper] derives from an English nursery rhyme called Jack & Jill in which the character ‘Jack’ falls down and injures his head.He then goes to bed ‘…to mend his head with vinegar & brown paper’ “.

The playful use of words is intricately etched by hand onto the carefully chosen pieces of glassware – an idiom graces a milk bottle, a nod to Alice in Wonderland is beautifully recognised, and a vintage periodic flask is cleverly transformed into a unique Gin & Tonic vessel.

Andy’s latest piece is titled [inwhichhappinesshangs] – A beautifully crafted juxaposition piece – traditional in style, and yet reflects a contemporary message with regards to work and life, which may resonate with most.

l was fortunate to ask Andy where he finds inspiration for his work…”For the work itself – I find inspiration in the myriad of tiny accidental connections that exist in the world – all you need to do is look sideways, with one eye half closed and it’s amazing what you can see”.

Going forward, Andy tells me, “the main focus for next year will be a book of photographs based around a museum filled with a collection of etched glass pieces”.

To which l suspect will be equally measured with just the right dose of creative juices and wit.

A Vision of June

Despite the unpredictable weather, my ‘minds eye’ view of this glorious month is resolute.

June is…a glowing fireball of orange sunsets, sailing boat on the lake, the summer solstice, brighly lit lanterns hanging in the forest, al fresco gatherings, the scent of freshly cut grass, long lazy afternoons in the park, the circus coming to town, dragonflies hovering in the sunlight, a hammock swinging gently in the breeze, open-air music festivals gone wild, a country garden in full bloom, strawberries & cream, walking barefoot, a warm wind rustling through the overgrown reeds, sipping fruity cocktails with friends.

It’s the first hazy glimpse of summertime…

A quote beset with typographic jewels

It was an immense pleasure to design a set of materials for a client workshop. One element of the design brief was to create an A6 postcard depicting a quote from fashion & style icon, Coco Chanel.

In homage to the ‘Little Black Dress’, (highly associated with Chanel), it deemed only natural to start with a black canvas. The exploration of typographic language led me to select a serif typeface for the quote, to which l reversed out in white, giving a strong contrast to the solid background.

With a vision of traditional elegance taking shape, further dialogue took place, and the idea of adding a splash of colour was born.

My thoughts soon turned back to Chanel, as l pondered on another quote from the iconic 20th century fashion designer, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory“.

Symbolised by orange quotation marks, l visualise the quote as being beset with a pair of jeweled earrings. l wonder if Coco Chanel would view this as wearing just the right amount of accessory?

l’d like to think so.

A typographic wonder

With a pencil, ruler, compass point, stacks of paper, along with a steady hand, Australian based designer and artist Bianca Chang guides her blade, to produce what can only be described as works of pure paper wonder.

Taking typography as the subject matter, Bianca hand plots and cuts stacks of paper to create 3-dimensional typographic compositions forming beautiful patterns and in-depth shadow play.

l feel intrigued by the unique concept of cutting stacked sheets of paper in such a way that allows letterforms to be transformed into fascinating sculptures.

It’s surely a wonder to see the paper medium in all its purity, being treated with such typographic artistic flair!

Safari reflections

It’s astonishing how quickly time passes by, as it feels like only yesterday that l took flight and explored the vast wilderness grasslands of Kenya.

Wayfaring Art journal certainly proved to be my perfect pocket companion…a blank canvas wrapped in leather, waiting to be filled with visuals and story-telling recreated by gaslight…

The above extract taken from my journal, reflects the area that l was most fortunate to experience – the breathtaking Tsavo National Park.

On the right-hand page, is a winding path, which leads to a circular campfire place. It was here, that we were told African stories late into the night. And by day, the majestic beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro could be admired in all its glory!

Following the campfire evening, our local guide graciously gave me a hand-crafted gift, which in English is known as the Toothbrush Tree. 

Karithca kindly wrote down the different names directly onto the dental tool. The Maasi name is Oremit, in Swahli it means Mswaki, and the botantical name is Salvadora perscia.  l’ve placed this heart-warming gift in the middle of my journal montage, as a symbol of the culture embraced, and the friendships made throughout my travel.

Observing wildlife in their natural habitat was simply a dream come true – generating treasured memories that remain close to my heart and have become part of my Safari reflections.

How does your garden grow?

Indeed! How does your garden grow? A question l asked myself, when l discovered these intricate bowls of nature. Created by Yorkshire Dale textile artist, Anne Honeyman, each bowl vibrantly tells its own botanical story, from meadow, hedgerow to cottage garden.

Alongside the intelligent use of colour, and delicately crafted structure, l also like the way the bowls tilt at an angle, allowing movement to subtlety reflect the natural flow of nature’s habitat.

Anne Honeyman specialises in machine embrodiery, and yet also draws on a broad range of techniques from felting to metalwork to reflect the recurring theme of the environment – questioning man’s impact upon it, as she weaves her textile magic.

Nestling gently in the palm of your hands, these richly embroided creations, truly capture the vivid impressions of a warm summers day!

Typographic storytelling

In the world of creative expression where l joyfully reside, typography plays an integral role in my work as a graphic designer. In my mind, these particular two pieces created by Kate and Jimmy Moore of Blimpcat are captivating examples of typographic storytelling.

Taking a quote from the late fashion designer, Yves St Laurent, and shaping the words to form the iconic ‘Little Black Dress’, makes me smile. And the little finishing touch to carefully glide the dress onto the contrasting hanger is attention to detail that is surely noteworthy. l am drawn to the swirl shapes of the chosen typeface, perfectly forming the shape of the dress, and the contrast in type size, which essentially allows the central word “woman” to shine. Lovely!

l feel that the other selected piece called ‘A Beautiful Place’  reflects the quote from Sufism teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan, in an organic fashion with rustic charm, its backdrop of natural material – stripping life back to its roots.

l find it poetic how the word Beautiful for the first part of the quote, has been created using uppercase with strength, as opposed to the personal hand-written lowercase approach for the latter part. Thus, visually suggesting it is people which makes a place beautiful – enriched with life flowing through it. It certainly generates food for thought.

Two pieces that speak different languages, each telling a story – a story to make their own.

Let’s make some great art

In creative collaboration with Laurence King Publishing, talented illustrator Marion Deuchars has designed a book which fills my sketchbook heart with pure joy!

´Let’s Make Some Great Art´( Kritzeln Zeichen Kunst ) is a drawing playground for children and adults, which in my mind enables us to keep young at heart. This book allows the imagination to run wild – inviting the inner artist to simply have fun making art.

From playful fingerprints, to exploring the technique of artists like Jackson Pollock, l believe realising one’s own artistic expression can open up a whole new world – this book offers such a journey in creative abundance.

l warmly invite you to sharpen your pencil and make your mark…

© 2011 Marion Deuchars