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O Frabjous Day!

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Or days to be precise….. to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first telling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the Story Museum is holding a special Alice weekend on the 7th and 8th of July. Based in Oxford their ” Alice Day” is in its 5th year and a special programme of events are to be held for this 150th anniversary including a re-enactment of the Caucus Race on the Sunday.


Ashmolean Queen of Hearts {picture credit Marc West from the Story Museum }

Go and look at the Story Museums pages for more information about this and also their summer exhibition ‘Tea with Alice’ which runs 28 June – 16 September 2012.  This exhibition reveals the new golden age of Alice illustration – with original illustrations from contemporary artists both published and unpublished.  As someone slightly obsessed with both children’s illustration and the Alice books this is a wealth of new and old ‘eye candy’ !

 Dusan Kallay.jpg  This wonderful image is from Dusan Kallay, A Slovac illustrator who is one of the artists included, along with the former Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne two wildly differing styles yet both perfectly capturing the spirit of “Alice”

The Story Museum in Oxford – in their own words –   exists to celebrate children’s stories and to share 1001 enjoyable ways for young people to learn through stories as they grow.We take story performances, exhibitions, activities and ideas to schools and communities. In 2014 we plan to open a magical new centre of children’s literature and storytelling in the heart of Oxford, UK.”


A Monster Calls

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For the first time in the awards history one book has won both the Carnegie Medal and its sister prize for illustration.

More accolades for Patrick Ness’s wonderful book – I have gushed about this book twice before so  just go read this article by Tim Masters, and I will use this opportunity to feature yet another of  Jim Kays haunting illustrations.

Three Things That………Play With Marbles

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More Stitchery

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Continuing with my current mini obsession with stitch work.  See previous post!

At first glace this could be a detail from a vintage embroidered dress or purse, turn of the century maybe ? But this is actually from a piece by Karen Nicol who produces beautiful modern art based on traditional techniques.

Karen Nicol is an embroidery and mixed media textile artist who specialises in Irish, Cornelly, Multihead, beading and hand embroidery. She is a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art and exhibits with the Rebecca Hossack Gallery. Take a trip to her Website  for more beautiful images including lacework and items designed for an impressive list of clients including Anthropologie, Lulu Guinness and Bruce Oldfield.

When you draw back you see that the detail is from this delicately worked Swan.






I am particularly fond of the less traditional very tactile Bear pictured below along with a detail from one of her lace pieces.







All pictures © karen nicol 2010

What is particularly exiting { well to me } is that she has produced a book !

Titled ” Embellished – New Vintage” and published by A & C Black Publishers Ltd. The publicity describes it as  “A beautiful, elegant, and visually intelligent look-book, Embellished contrasts vintage objects, collected over the years, with cutting-edge contemporary decoration for fashion and textiles.”   It is due to be publised at the begining of July and I cant wait. See more details here –Embellished: New Vintage [Hardcover] [link takes you to Amazon]

I found Karens work via a very informative blog post with beautiful images and a Q&A with Karen herself here at  Lovely Textiles , thankyou to its owner who has produced a blog “about fabric, makers and artists” which I knew I would love when they described themselves as  “Actually, a totally and utterly insane in the mummy membrane textile bore of horrifically tedious proportions”.  Go and look around!!

Embroidery – Historical Storyteller, High Fashion and Art

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 Louboutin /Jean-Francois Lesage shoes inspired by Marie Antoinette

Francois Lesage master of French couture embroidery died aged 82 in December 2011 and it was a memoir in the journal  ‘Selvedge’ by Alastair Macleod which awakened an interest in embroidery that once I opened my eyes I realised I had been admiring for a while.  From a recent re-emergence among the fashion houses to the many ‘textile’ artists creating beautiful artwork incorporating stitchery both traditional and innovative.

What I really got immersed in though was the history. There are many beautiful books on the history of embroidery, but the actual pieces themselves can be historical and social documents.

The following  books are the ones that have really held my interest over the past couple of weeks

Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China,Korea,Japan,and Vietnam

Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China,Korea,Japan,and Vietnam  by Young Yang Chung. Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1 Mar 2005)

Lavishly illustrated with vintage photography and artwork of magnificent dragon and bridal robes, rank badges, kimonos, and other embroidered textiles produced during the last two thousand years, this book is a fascinating study of East Asian embroidery through the ages. The author Young Yang Chung, is a world-renowned master embroiderer who founded The International Embroidery School and established Korea’s first vocational embroidery centre. In this book she presents a wealth of information about the symbolism and meaning of the designs, as well as explaining the uses and functions of embroidered textiles.

Quaker School Girl Samplers from Ackworth [Hardcover] by Carol Humphrey. Published by needleprint (Dec 2006) 
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the samplers and their schoolgirl makers, how they can be seen as important social documents telling us about 18th and 19th century schoolgirl education, about Quaker life values and genealogy.  It is a fascinating and strange story of how these pieces of needlework came to be and how at auction avid collectors can and will pay thousands of pounds for an Ackworth Sampler.
 Sarah Evans’ Sampler 1801 (Scholar 1799-1801 from Birmingham)
© Ackworth School Estates Limited.
There are a couple of really interesting posts about these samplers at the Needleprint blog here among many more beautiful illustrations and stories about samplers.
I see more reading in my future!

Maurice Sendak 1928 – 2012

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Not just the creator of  “Where the Wild things Are”, not just a  ‘Childrens’ illustrator or author but so much more.

As he said “You cannot write for children. They’re much too complicated. You can only write books that are of  interest to them.”

So sad there will be no new work to pore over but he has left a wealth of illustration behind which I will never tire of revisiting.

So here are three of  many of his wonderful illustrations


Illustration from Dear Mili {Wilhelm GrimmMaurice Sendak Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988

1967 sketch byMaurice Sendak, part of a proposal for a new illustrated edition of  The Hobbit. (Credit: Maurice Sendak/Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University)










And one of my favorite quotes

On E-books  “I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.”

From a Guardian interview in  October 2011


 According to The New York Times, a posthumous picture book, “My Brother’s Book,” is scheduled to be published in February 2013.

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Amazing art work from the culmination of the Coffee Served Daily Blog – such a simple idea for a ‘project blog’ which became a fabulous place to visit and participate in. I will be following the new blog caffeinated | by design with close interest!

coffee | served daily

Well, here we are at 1000 cups of coffee. We made it! This mosaic was created out of the photos I took along the way, all 300 of them (this may be obvious, but click on the photo to enlarge it). Feel free to use it and share it, wherever good coffee is appreciated. Coffee|Served Daily began as a small idea and morphed into an opportunity to connect, caffeinate and create. Clearly I had no idea what I had signed up for, even if it was just in my imagination.

I envisioned a  project that would enable me to stay connected to a few friends who love coffee and photography. I suspected there were five of us. My friends played along, and then 99 other new caffeinated friends joined in. From all over the world: China, Finland, Italy, Monaco, Germany, England, Malta, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, France, Hong Kong, Turkey, Denmark, Portugal…

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