Tuesday, 27 September 2011

If you have not yet met, may I introduce

Klaus Happaniemi

He is one of the most wonderful designers, working in surface design, textiles, ceramics and prints.

He draws on the rich tradition of Northern and Eastern European decorative design then twists it with his own inimitable eye.


A truly wonderful range with a distinctive style.

Monday, 26 September 2011

If you go down in the woods today

It is just possible you may meet with these two:

Who of course have a similar theme to each other.

Go on have another look

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Blue Polar Bears, small white mice and a new passion

Thank you, thank you, Thank you to Gillian Cox!  As you may know I spent last Sunday at her whimsical creatures workshop.  Having loved every minute of that I have been trying hard to think of a way of teaching my year 6 children how to make a simple version.  I have also had Finnish Bears and Kalevala creatures haunting my day dreams.

Work in progress, I am slightly embarrassed by the wine glasses, especially as there are only two of us here.
Gillian's techniques involve painting and sanding to 'age' the finished piece.
Nearly finished (in background you can see a doll made last year).

Meeting Moongazey hare on the mantleshelf.

Joined by a naked mouse.

I have a number of animals racing and chasing through my head right now, they come from many distant lands.
Marimekko's classic take on the Kalevala

The wonderful Klaus Haapieniemi

I have one of the lovely mugs he designed for Arabia / Ittala

Mine is the blue version of the above mug,  we just can't afford the dinner service but I covet it every time we walk along Esplanade in Helsinki and press our noses to the Arabia window; like children at a sweet shop.

Some years ago my husband bought me this for my birthday; I don't wear very much jewelry but this necklace is my most prized piece along with my wedding ring and "engagement" ring (we eloped to Finland so didn't really do the whole engagement thing!)  My rings are also both Kalevala Koru, the "engagement" ring is also the Kalevala Koru bear.

Anyhow, these bears have been stalking through my head and calling to me to come to life.  Here is the first of them

I am not sure about the colour scheme yet, and the unsewn calico is a smaller version of the first one.

I also have the first layer of colour on mouse; he is planned to have cornfields around his base, in a simple design.  This one will go into school and we will see if we can make something similar.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Wanting the moon and getting it!

Nottingham is gifted with a number of extremely talented and very generous artists.  A number of them offer workshops through a number of venues, one of which is Lakeside.  This weekend the lovely Gillian Cox (perhaps known to some as Gillian Lee Smith) ran a workshop on how to create a version of her incredible textile dolls.

I have long coveted Gillian's work so the opportunity to finally meet her and have a go was too good to miss. it was a very enjoyable day, along with some very nice people.  We were able to look at Gillian's work in the flesh and learn how she makes her characters.  Then, with a pattern designed by her, we had a go at making our own versions.

I chose to tweek a bit and made a moon gazing hare.  I am absolutely delighted with him, and keep looking at him, currently he is residing on top of the piano.

I have photographed him from each side, as the pattern extends around his base.  There is also a close up of the painting here:
Cow parsley by moonlight
If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop like this then do; it was a very creative and stimulating afternoon and I have an object I am exceptionally proud of.  

Post Script:
Husband's comment "He looks a bit smug!"

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A spring (ahem Autumn) clean is good for the soul

I should have taken a before picture...But this gives a flavour of the state (it wasn't quite this bad).

But I did take an after picture, in fact I took several....
It has a floor and a work bench no longer under piles and piles of junk.

A lovely winter wood store.

I do feel better!

Just like Alice we followed the instructions on the label.

Last year I achieved my ambition to have a wood burning stove put in.  With much thanks to my lovely mum, dad and mother in law (who kindly gave us an envelope with some green stuff in at Christmas) we put together the money.  By Christmas day we had a lovely cozy living room with a gentle glowing fire - now known as the proper telly. However we didn't have money for a fire surround.  The fire sat in the tiled hearth with a grey painted wall around it and some of the tattiest plaster work.

But just look at it now!

On the way home from work last week we passed a mantelpiece sitting outside a garden gate.  Pinned (okay blu-taked) to it was a label:
  "Free, please take me."
So, just like Alice, we followed the instruction on the label.  Husband duly got out of the car, hoicked said mantelshelf over his shoulder and manfully carted it down the hill.   

So far we have not shrunk or expanded up the chimney...Bill Lizard has not appeared and the White Rabbit recently left home.  However I think we do have our own little door and, as with Alice, we can be found sat in front of it looking in.

Thursday, 8 September 2011


I get out of my car
step into the night
and look up at the sky.
And there's something bright
travelling fast.
Look at it go.
Look at it go.

(Kate Bush: Hello Earth.)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Paper pop outs.

I love the unexpected; I love intricate and delicate creations; I love engineering and it's applications; it therefore stands to reason that I love 3d books. One of my very first was this one, bought for me by my brother along time ago

I love the way the view into the park can be changed as the pages are stood together in different combinations.

Then more recently I was given the means to make my own.

This book is wonderful for giving you techniques and tips, as well as practice.

But my most recent addition is this one:

I love this book, it is elegant in the simplicity of the design; a design that cleverly gives three dimensions to each page of the story.  I love the combination of painted and needlefelt illustrations and the way that characters are depicted in both forms.  I think Gretel's work is superb! I can't afford her actual pieces but I can own them this way.

I recommend you try and get yourself a copy of the Puddletown Tales, the stories are delightful and the illustrations are a joy.  Each time I have looked through I find something new.  I think that is what attracts me to good 3d books, there is so much to look at and absorb.  I know that technology gives children virtual worlds, interactive gaming and now "3d" screens but there is nothing to match the brilliance of the works above.  One day I am going to have a go at making my own.

Friday, 2 September 2011

In my daily world what is the most important location?

An important part of my daily world
This is part of my daily world and it is a pretty important part of that world.  The keys to a child's future success.

However, this is not the most important location in my daily world, this is:
Who feels like lounging around.

It has comfy pillows, a bookcase, bits and pieces of interesting things, boxes of beads; board games; natural stuff and good books.
Who is that sneaking into the picture?

How many dinosaurs will fit behind a cupboard?
This is the most important part of my classroom, the world I inhabit for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, is the Reading Corner.  A place to chill out, relax and read a book; think for a bit, maybe play a game or two.  
The tree will grow and become inhabited by birds and animals drawn by the children.  
Fancy a story, anyone?

And yes that is a skull in front of the Mad Hatter's Titfer.