Monday, 23 January 2012

Wishing you prosperity!

Or as the Chinese would say, "Gong Xi Fa Ca!" Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year, marking the start of 15 days of celebration for the Year of the Dragon. In the Chinese calendar it is the year 4709.
We've always rather loved dragon imagery and Jonathan's charming little Chinese dragon appears on his very popular 'Nine Interesting Things' wood engraving, and on the large silkscreen prints based on it. We also have a few dragon cushions.
People born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual and passionate. Dragon themed presents seem appropriate for anyone you know with a birthday coming up who was born in 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952 (who are having their own little Diamond Jubilee moment this year), 1940, 1928, 1916...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Learning from Hockney

Hockney's Spring mug at the Royal Academy
We visited the exhibition at the Royal Academy today, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. Despite all the hype and his amazing PR machine, the work is stunning. The exhibition builds through the galleries, and we were becoming breathless half-way round with excitement and feeling overwhelmed by the colour, beauty, draughtsmanship and energy. Take time to sit and watch the 9-camera films. We began to get an inkling of how he sees the world. It's all about looking.

To save a string of superlatives, I've boiled down a few things I've learned today, that are good advice for any budding (or not so budding) creative:

Have no fear
of failure
of doing the same subject over and over again
Draw everything all the time
Use all media - charcoal, pencil, crayon, watercolour, pen and ink, oils, iPad, camera, film, digital...
Be prolific

Oh - and go and see the exhibition.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Things that made us happy in 2011

As work/life balance goes we do rather tend to err on the life side. The result of this is that we are generally very happy - but not always as well off as might be sensible. Here are a few of the things that made us happy last year.

Drawing on Dartmoor.

Artists at Home, opening our doors to lots of local art lovers.

Fabulous Miriam Bridson, our work experience student, who helped design and produce this new fabric pattern.

Walking on Hadrian's Wall.

Visiting Cherryburn, the home of Thomas Bewick and spiritual home of wood engraving.

Making a new pond in the garden.

Selling at the Bedford Park Show.

Ravilious Watercolours at the Fry Art Gallery, and James Russell's series of books, Ravilious in Pictures.

Ghosts of Gone Birds in Rochelle Street.

Getting photos of Neptune's Horses in situ from our customers's house in Cornwall.

Making our first sale to USA, Black Pollen (Anemones) and Nine Interesting Things.

Our bespoke social stationery, photographed by the lovely Catherine Gratwicke.

Our Lobster Again! mugs - available from us and through Nothing But Navy.

Our lovely Barnett Freedman book from The Fleece Press and this piece of Freedman ephemera - a biscuit wrapper.