Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I've Been Pasting: Silhouettes

By Julie

When I decided to change the header on my
notes on paper blog last month I knew that, if I were to replace all of the much-loved kitschy, colourful, patterned bits and pieces which made up my original design, I'd have to make sure that the new one was something I could love just as much.

And I knew exactly what that thing should be.

A silhouetted bird:

I love bird designs in general and had been noticing how many bird silhouettes there seem to be around the place all of a sudden, there's even a Twitter profile page background featuring them. Perhaps I even subliminally shared the Johnny Flynn video with you on here last month because, as I've realised since, that too features bird silhouettes.
But mostly ideas of small, black, winged things have been on my mind due to this:

Ever since I came across that photo via Amanda Johnson's blog I haven't been able to get it out of my head. To say I'm tempted is an understatement! Seriously.

As if I needed any external nudge that maybe this could be the tattoo for me, when I logged on to Flickr to get you the link for the above image, I saw that a friend of mine had just that moment uploaded this photo to his gallery:

Come on now... that must be a sign? Musn't it?

Well, while I consider my options you can feast your eyes on a flavour of some of the other silhouette designs which have been grabbing my attention lately.

This is one of my favourite works from Wilhelm Staehle's Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre

[you should check out the other designs too, they're a a great mix of comedy... and silhouettes, so what's not to love?]:

Or how about resting your head on one of his pillow cases? Then there are these pretties made by the fair hand of our very own Kirsty as part of our 12 Days online class last November:
And finally there's the following, hand-cut, 'Birds on Paper Wires' from mr.Yen's etsy shop:

How lovely?

I think I've surprised myself at how much I've become drawn to clean simple designs lately. I think they compliment the other half of my 'lots-of-pattern-throw-more-stuff-on-there' character quite nicely.

I think 'balance' is a good word for what these silhoutted designs can bring to the walls of my rooms, the pillows on my bed .... and maybe even the skin of my back?????

What design styles have you been surprised to find yourself day-dreaming about? Have you got any secret plans to adorn your body with them? We always like a bit of crafty gossip here at C+P tell ...

Julie :D

Thursday, 25 March 2010

I've Been Pasting: Dick Bruna

The first book I ever loved was a Dick Bruna hardback called My Vest Is White. Not the most obvious of choices for someone who went on to become so very bookish. The plot consisted of listing various clothing items - from the eponymous vest outwards - and their respective hues. If Julie were writing this, you might be less surprised (her sartorial leanings haven't gone unnoticed, right?). But me?

The truth is, I was totally suckered by the pictures. I knew all the words by heart, but it was the bold colours and simple lines that kept me asking for the same story, night after night.

Dick Bruna’s work still has a similar effect on me. It’s pared down, retro and modestly beautiful. Even the slightly heavy-handed licensing of Miffy in recent years hasn’t dented its appeal.

In true Copy+Paste spirit, it occurred to me recently that I was more influenced by My Vest Is White and its leporine cousin than I'd previously realised. Does this little pasting look familiar?

Or this one?

Thanks to Mr Bruna, I suspect my rabbits will forever be marked with an ‘x’.

How about you - what were your favourite children's books, and how have they influenced your later years? If you could pick a modern-day favourite, who would you like to 'paste', and why? You never know, it might influence a whole new C+P challenge.



Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I'd Like to Copy: Mark Rothko

I like Mark Rothko.
There, I've said it and no amount of criticism such as:
  • there's no skill involved in his paintings or,
  • that he just slapped paint on to canvas, or the perennial favourite which never fails to annoy me:
  • 'a child could paint better than that'

.... will change my mind!

In fact I'd happily refute each one of those claims .... but rather than get into a deep and meaningful [verging on the heated] discussion on Modern Art right now .... I think I'll stay in the safe territory of sharing some nice photos and talking about colour ... and stripes!

Untitled 1969

This description is one which better explains what I find so fascinating in Rothko's work:

Color, for which Rothko's work is perhaps most celebrated, here attains an unprecedented luminosity. His classic paintings of the 1950s are characterized by expanding dimensions and an increasingly simplified use of form, brilliant hues, and broad, thin washes of color. In his large floating rectangles of color, which seem to engulf the spectator, he explored with a rare mastery of nuance the expressive potential of color contrasts and modulations.

I can still remember seeing one of his larger works, a vast canvas, at the Tate gallery many years ago [beforeTate Modern was even created] and my enduring memories are of having to keep backing away from it in order to take it all in in one go but of also wanting to study it up close to see how it had been painted, to detect the layers and to absorb the colours.

Today he has a whole room dedicated to him in Tate Modern:

A place in which I could see myself spending some serious thinking time! The works in which remind me very much of this oil painting which hangs above our bed which, sadly is not by Rothko, but which allows a similarly broad interpretation of its meaning just the same :
Since thinking about using Rothko in our 'I'd Like To Copy' feature I've been thinking how painting such as this:
Untitled 1969

.... remind me of the following photos I took a while back, by holding my camera against the window of a moving car. Please note: I was not the person driving the car at the time!

What do you reckon? Rothko-esque? Maybe? I think we must have been driving past a wall or something at the time - to get such straight lines and clear divisions between the colours.

Finally, I've recently discovered the blog
'Kris's Color Stripes' which satisfies many of the same colour and stripe desires I have as looking at a Rothko:
'Kris's Color Stripes' blog features items on nature, design, craft, surface patterns, vintage finds photography and what makes it stand out for me is that beneath many of the photographs there features a co-ordinating colour palette. Kris says:

"Striped palettes are here just to celebrate my biggest passion of all - color".

It's a blog full of very satisfyingly indulgent stripey / colour delights for me. I do rather love
a stripe or two. Plus it also puts me very much in mind of one of my favourite books of all time, yes, you guessed it Kevin McCloud's book Choosing Colours . I know I'm always banging on about it but I don't seem to be able to blog without mentioning my personal colour bible every few months!

So, how do you feel about Rothko .... are you with me on this one? Are you a fan of abstract art? Or not so much? Say anything ... even 'My child could have painted that'.

And do leave a link to anything you've made which you could vaguely say was Rothko inspired even if it's only retrospectively.

I'll look forward to hearing from you and your stripiness.

Julie :D

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

I'd Like To Copy: Gudrun Sjoden

I can’t remember how or where I first heard of the Gudrun Sjoden range of clothing but her website has been one of my favourites for quite some time.

Firstly I love the clothes. Even the ones I would never wear I find inspirational and the unique cut of some of the items lifts her designs far above the ordinary.

There's a good chance that I've already *copied* her style. The ever-inventive layering which features in every range has greatly inspired how I dress .... even though perhaps most of the influence has been subliminal and I've only recognised it in retrospect.

From her latest designs I'm a little besotted by the simplicity of the 'Oaxen' range [below].
For those of you aware of my leanings towards in all things Swedish this Spring won't come as much of a surprise to hear how the range is described:
[...] and all of a sudden we present you with something simple and spartan. And that's the story with these patinated pieces that have a slightly worn-in look. Which we decided to photograph in a disused limestone quarry on the island of Oaxen. Here in this barren Scandinavian environment, where sea, bare rock and forest meet [...] this was a story of our Scandinavian origins.

After seeing this shot [below] I can't tell you how much I want to sit on a post, looking moodily into the middle distance, wearing that outfit:And I'd really, really like to add this to my blue dress collection please [if three blue dresses constitutes 'a collection'?]: Either way, I already own some burgundy tights so could easily recreate the look!

One of the most original features on the site is that, in addition to regular fashion photography,
they include illlustrations of all the items too: The sketches are so like those from dressmaking patterns that looking through the site takes me right back to a 70s childhood with a mother who dabbled in making us dresses! So now we can add 'a cosy sense of nostalgia' to the myriad of reasons I love browsing through the catalogue each season.

Sadly, the only items I have ever had from there is a hat and gloves set and that was some years ago now. I think I'm going to need to start a 'buy something wonderful from Gudrun Sjoden' fund for myself [or indeed for anyone else who cares to] to start adding to! Maybe I'll start picking up pennies in the street, or not spending as much on paper, or cheap T-shirts!

If I ever manage to get my hands on somthing from the range, I'll let you know. Although, you know, as it all works so very well when several items are layered up'd be a shame to buy just the one piece ....wouldn't it?


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