Finally an interiors book that a)
acknowledges that we don’t all live
In brownstones in Brooklyn and b) that 25%
of us now privately rent our spaces. Chock-full of gorgeous home inspiration
(always a winner), Joanna Thornhill is the decorating agony aunt you have been
The other great bonus of this book is the
pictures were researched, by the talented Caroline Rowland owner and editor of 91
magazine. She has sourced some great images, many of them from bloggers.
Joanna Thornhill, is a London based interiors stylist and writer . She guides you through an array of design dilemmas from minor tweeks to bigger projects. The chapters are those you would expect, including a beginners tool kit, colour combining explained, painting furniture, interior design rules which to follow and which to break.
If you have just moved into your home and
have no idea where to start or what to do and your landlord won’t let you paint
the walls Joanna has the answers. They are broken down into clear,
easy-to-follow chunks of advice. Each topic covers a real life dilemma.
At the head of each page the question is
asked and then answered briefly. An in depth solution is also given plus tips.
My bedroom is an office
In brief : Confine the office equipment to
a specific part of the room, and create a set up that you can easily
conceal-literally or by clever design- at the end of the working day.
The reader is given three different visual alternatives plus as a DIY challenge
as a tip.
It includes samplers, quilts, tribal and
nomadic cloth. Anne Kelly explores traditional motifs used throughout the world
in textile folk art and shows how contemporary textile artists use them in
their work today. She demonstrates how to incorporate treasured personal
objects- such as garments, stitched samples, vintage lettering and motifs-into
textile to create unique works of folk art.
We are shown examples of collections from around the world – Scandinavia, USA, Australia, China and Mongolia. There are some step –by- step projects including collages, screen prints, folding books. We are shown creative collages on garments and even a stitched shed that was shown at the knitting and stitching show. The reader is given resource to some of the best textile artists, such as Nancy Nicholson, Mandy Pottulloh and Sue Stone and you can see their work on their web sites.
My verdict this is a lovely book that more
than earns its place on a bookshelf, I will delve into time and again.
A major exhibition of the work of Jeff Koons (b. 1955) opened at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, on 7 February- 9 June 2019 .
“I couldn’t think of a
better place to have a dialogue about art today and what it can be.” Jeff Koons
Until I visited, I couldn’t think of a weirder or more inappropriate place to hold the exhibition. The Ashmolean, attached to Oxford University, one of the U.K.’s seats of learning, holding an exhibition of work that comes over, at first glance, as superficial, overblown and trashy. Curated by Koons himself together with guest curator Norman Rosenthal, the show features seventeen important works, fourteen of which have never been exhibited in the UK before.
They span the artist’s
entire career and his most well known series including Equilibrium, Statuary,
Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings.
Dr Xa Sturgis, Director of
the Ashmolean, says: ‘In showing Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean, the world’s
oldest public museum where the collections range from prehistory to the
present, this exhibition provokes a conversation between his work and the
history of art and ideas with which his work engages. I am sure it will also
provoke conversations among those who see it.’
The press information
describes ‘Jeff Koons as surrounded by superlatives. Since he burst onto the
contemporary art scene in the 1980s he has been described as the most famous,
important, subversive, controversial and expensive artist in the world. From
his earliest works Koons has explored the ‘readymade’ and appropriated image –
using unadulterated found objects, and creating painstaking replicas of ancient
sculptures and Old Master paintings, which almost defy belief in their
craftsmanship and precision.’
Well that is true up to a point, the work is beautiful the craftsmanship superb, but it isn’t he who has painted or sculpted. As in the tradition of many of the greats, he has a number of artists in his atelier who carry out the work on his behalf and under his direction, and it is his concept, that he oversees.
Throughout his career he has pushed at the boundaries of contemporary art practice, stretching the limits of what is possible. The Ashmolean exhibition includes important works from the 1980s with which Koons made his name through the novel use of the readymade and the appropriation of popular imagery: One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank 1985; Rabbit 1986; and Ushering in Banality 1988. It also explores Koons’s more recent focus on the art of antiquity and the western art canon where layered images of ancient and modern art meet in Koons’s singular vision.
Among the highlights are the spectacular Balloon Venus (Magenta) (2008–12). While evoking the tiny Ice Age ‘Venus of Willendorf’, one of the world’s oldest works of art, Balloon Venus (Magenta) is made with Koons’s signature motifs: monumental scale; the inflated balloon with its intimations of transience and mortality; and the flawless mirror-polished surface which positions the viewer in the work. He has put the figure through a double transformation from limestone sculpture to balloon model and from balloons to his trademark, super-reflective, coloured steel on a huge scale. The artist insisted on the model being made from a single balloon to maximise the sense of a continuous pressure all over.
The tiny Ice Age ‘Venus of Willendorf’
Reflective gazing balls are
usually sold in suburban American garden centres, along with birdbaths and
water features. The one’s Koons uses are handmade , specifically for him. His
preoccupation with them ties in with recurring themes in his work: breath (they
are hollow and hand blown) and the presence of the viewer in the art work- it
is impossible to look at a gazing ball without seeing yourself and your
“When I grew up, if you drove through Pennsylvania, people would put gazing balls in front of their houses. There’s a kind of generosity about that. Your neighbour doesn’t have to do that for whoever drives by.” Says Koons.
Shown in the UK for the first time are seven works from the series including Gazing Ball (Belvedere Torso) (2013), Gazing Ball (Gericault Raft of the Medusa) (2014–15), and Gazing Ball (Titian Diana and Actaeon) (2014–15).
“ The gazing ball
represents the vastness of the universe and at the same time the intimacy of
right here, right now.”
Curator, Sir Norman Rosenthal,
says: ‘Jeff Koons’s work plays with our memories of childhood and our
“educated” cultural experiences as he blends high and low culture, inviting us
to challenge the distinction as we gaze at art and at ourselves. Putting his
work in the Ashmolean – the first museum in the very heart of academia, Oxford
University – we can take his experiment a step further. For those of us willing
to share in his visions, Jeff Koons makes art a magical transformation.’
In case dear reader at the end of this article you think I don’t like his work, this is not the case-I love it. However, I am a great lover of kitsch and I am not sure where we draw the line between high art and kitsch.
This humorous and witty picture book uses the cat as a guide to enlighten us about the different and fascinating art movements throughout history. This is Art history as you’ve never experienced it before- with a large helping of cattitude. From the old masters to the modernists, the moggy as muse.
Feline friends have stalked the studios of
many artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keefe, so, it
only seems entirely fitting to enlist 21 cultured cats to navigate a journey
through art history.
From ancient Egyptian and Byzantine art to
the wacky and wildly successful world of the Young British Artists, explore the
styles that characterized important art movements and the artists who led them.
Each cat is depicted in the style of the art movement that is being shown. For
example the Egyptian cat has an ornate eye and the colour palette of the
Egyptians is explained.
To show renaissance art, the Mona Lisa has been represented in cat form.
We have Rococo cats, impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Pointillism, Symbolism, Fauvism and Cubism. Dada, Destijl, Magic Realism, Art Deco and all the major art movements of the twentieth century are represented. The book ends with a feline timeline. This will make a great gift for any cat lover.
This book was published in October 2015 but it is still beautiful and relevant today. It encompasses the world of Fine Little Day, you’re invited to take a peek into the fascinating life of blogger, artist, designer and photographer Elisabeth Dunker. We meet Elisabeth in her studio, where she presents her workplace and sanctuary, before she introduces us to one of her greatest loves – collecting!
With beaded baskets, crochet potholders, vintage embroidery patterns, Scandinavian crockery and retro novels just as a start…
Elisabeth gives us a tour of her own eclectic home. Bursting with colour and pattern, her Gothenburg apartment is an enviable mix of handmade blankets, vintage finds, bold printed wallpaper and fabrics, smart storage and classic Scandinavian furniture.
She also gives us plenty of ideas for recreating the look, with quick and easy projects to try at home: pressing flowers, re-using textiles in a patchwork, making beaded baskets, decorating wooden spoons or printing a sweatshirt…
There are also images of Elisabeth’s creative friends and partners we also meet Japanese artist Mogu Takahashi, illustrator Henning Trollbäck and hear about her successful collaboration with homeware brand House of Rym, to name a few.
inspiring book is full of pictures, fun and heart and is an essential addition
to the bookshelf of anyone interested in interior design and handmade.
Elisabeth Dunker was educated at the HDK School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg. She founded her blog, Fine Little Day, in 2007. The blog reaches an international audience and features interiors, art and craft. The blog has been featured in Vogue Living, Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living and more. It has been listed in The Independent (50 best interiors websites 2013), Vogue Japan (top 3 blogs for moms and kids, 2012), and The Times Online UK (50 of the world’s best design blogs). Elisabeth has designed homewares for Urban Outfitters and has worked as a stylist for IKEA.
acclaimed British designer Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE founded her eponymous fashion house in 1969 with a small
collection. Her prints were Pop Art-infused commentaries on the world of
Sixties Britain; the designer felt that there was inherent structure within the
pattern that could work with and enhance the shape and construction of a dress.
With this concept as a starting point and with her distinctive approach to cut
and form, the house of Zandra Rhodes soon became one of the most recognisable
labels in London.
In celebration of fifty years of the Zandra Rhodes’ label, the Fashion
and Textile Museum presents Zandra Rhodes: Fifty Years of Fabulous. This
retrospective will highlight 100 key looks, as well as 50 original textiles.
This comprehensive exhibition will explore five decades of the distinguished
career of a British design legend.
Last week the event known as ‘Collect’ the international art fair for modern craft and design, took place at the Saatchi Gallery in London. You may not have the money to be a collector but this exhibition is well worth a visit. It is a visual feast.
Collect grew out of the incredibly innovative, at the time, Chelsea Crafts fair. CCF was the brain child of Lady Phillipa Powell. She chose the designers/makers who were allowed to show and sell their wares to the general public.
It was not a foregone conclusion that you would get in from one year to the next and the standards were very high. Eventually the crafts council took over the show and it outgrew the Chelsea town hall venue.
Collect is still run by the Crafts Council and is much more akin to an an art fair rather than a crafts fair with designer makers being represented by galleries. All crafts are represented textiles, ceramics, jewellery, silver smithing, wood turning, glass blowing etc.
The top floor ‘Collect Open’ shows some of the most innovative and exciting work. It showcases individual makers and collaborations, providing them with a platform to break free from the usual constraints of their practise, creatively experiment and present exceptional new work.
The other great pleasure for me was seeing the work on sale of one of my old tutors, Peter Collingwood. Although originally trained as a Doctor he changed career paths became a weaver and taught woven wall hangings at Camberwell School of Arts.