Wednesday 29 April 2009

A 1970's Chinese Reader

Above: It would have been nice to be able to say that I bought this book in a back street of Shanghai or Kowloon in the 1970's when I was a little girl, but I didn't. I found it about ten years ago at a stationery shop in Chinatown here in Melbourne. Unlike our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, I do not read Mandarin (or Cantonese for that matter), so I am unable to translate any of the characters. When I find someone who can help, I will post the results. Meanwhile, enjoy the enormous flowers, patterns, flared pants, attentive Chinese grandparents and slightly creepy realistic looking cat in the last picture.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Work in Progress: Decoration

Above: one of my favourite pastimes when surfing the net is peeking into other people's homes on Design Sponge. I thought that I would be brave and offer parts of mine for inspection too. I am always changing things at home, adding, taking away, moving or making. I get enormous pleasure just from re-arranging things.

Above: It is only a small change, but the addition of the little side table makes alot of difference to the lounge room, and it's great to have a reading lamp by the couch. Mostly though, it's just another excuse for another arrangement of flowers, books, and ceramics, to be changed as often as I like.

Above: visitors to my house, both big and tiny, tend to be drawn to the contents of the large kitchen cupboard. I have resisted any temptation to "style" the objects for its internet debut: unfortunately I can see now that there is alot going on in there and it's becoming a mess!

Monday 13 April 2009

Some Greetings Cards for Seed

Above: one of the enjoyable things about the day job lately is the opportunity to design new products. It is relatively easy to translate my appliques into greetings card designs, especially as the "real" Seed graphic designer* is the one who actually sends off the final art with all the cropmarks, etc., included on it. Choosing which designs to print and which ones to leave out is harder! That's generally a decision shared by about 3 - 4 people. So really, I don't do all that much but provide the initial design and ideas for what colours it should be in.
Here, a motif based on a couple of photographs of model aeroplanes found on the net. To see how it appears as an applique, click here.
Above: the chicken which appears on bright blue and grey marle girls' t-shirts, has been changed to a more greetings card-commercial shade of pale pink. His colours had to be modified slightly to suit.
Above: this little owl is in sombre neutral colours for the customer who is presumably buying a gift for a baby which is still in utero. I have ceased to be surprised by the number of customers who still expect and adhere to the old "blue" and "pink" baby gender identifiers. So this is where my study of feminist theory at university has led me! Oh dear...
* "real" graphic designer, you ask? This is the person who looks after the signage in the stores, designs the carry-bags, labels, tags, gift-boxes, updates the layout of the website and sometimes even elements of the visual merchandising (during the tennis in January our little store mannequins made special Seed tea and in the springtime they gardened holding packets of Seed seeds). I look after the graphic elements for the products themselves.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Around the museums of Zagreb

Above: a photo that I took sneakily at the wonderful Zagreb City Museum. Not every museum in Zagreb is put together this well: architecturally sensitive, thoughtfully laid out and jam packed with interesting objects . The museum is housed in a very beautiful building too, over ancient ruins which have been carefully uncovered and can now be walked through -- a double treat. Unfortunately I was in a rush when I was there and did not note who painstakingly made this tableau of nuns clothed in their various miniaturised orders. It is likely that it was one of The Poor Clares, who first settled in Zagreb in the 17th century. Strangely, these women were all actually from wealthy families and therefore undeserving of their poetic title. Read more about them here, and see a little of the above work in situ to get an idea of its scale. Above: from The Croatian Museum of Naive Art, also in the Old Town of Zagreb. Kod Suda (At the Courthouse) 1936 by Mirko Virius (1889 - 1943) a painter of peasant origin whose artistic career began late in life. Virius was a founding member of the Hlebine School, which was an important movement in the naive art of the region. As is evidenced by his subject matter, he was also an active political defender of the peasant class and was sent to die in a concentration camp as a result.
Above: Preplaseni Konji (Frightened Horses), 1937 also by Mirko Virius. I love this picture: there is a pathos about the composition and an attention to detail which makes it quite compelling.

Above: Ivan Rabuzin (1921- 2008), a later, highly popular and more conventional naive artist than Virius. Rabuzin's work concentrates on idealised landscapes in a highly decorative style. The repeated spheres seen here in Orehovec Hills (1959) are his trademark, and I am not sure whether I find them captivating or twee. Maybe both.

More work of artists from the region can be seen here.