Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pablo Picasso - a pleasant surprise!

If you visit a Picasso exhibition it is taken for granted that it will be exciting and inspirational in some way. On Wednesday I organised (quite nonchalantly I must say) to visit an exhibition called Pablo Picasso -  The Colour Etched showing 140 linocuts produced by the artist from 1939 onwards.
My first surprise was the location which deserves a blog post all of it's own. The Forte di Bard is a rock fortress positioned at the beginning of the narrow Aosta Valley an hour's drive away from Turin. In all these years I am almost embarrassed to say I had never visited this wonderful and dramatic setting, any visitors I may have in the future will definitely enjoy a trip to this medieval village and fort.
Forte di Bard - Valle d'Aosta
The second surprise was the exhibition itself. On entering I found that at least one third of the pieces featured Picasso's matador and bullfighting works, a theme close to my heart. Picasso began experimenting with linocuts in 1939, creating linocut posters for ceramic exhibitions and bullfighting events. So with the perfect subject matter there was no excuse not to have a fabulous time!
Pablo Picasso Linocut Toros detail
Pablo Picasso Linocut Matador detail
The unique sets of etchings on show contained not only the finished works, but also the progressive proofs showing the sequence by which Picasso developed the final images. Picasso developed a new method for creating prints which saved huge amounts of time, but also presented tremendous challenges. The artist needed to be able to visualise the completed image at an early stage, and made it impossible to reverse any mistakes made during the cutting process. Picasso created over 2,500 prints in his lifetime which is a significant part of his total artistic output.
Pablo Picasso Linocut detail
Pablo Picasso Linocut detail
The grand finale is a room full of wonderful photographs by David Douglas Duncan the photojournalist who became a close friend of Picasso. The photographs reflect this 'intimate relationship' and depict Picasso relaxed in his studio and at home with Jacqueline Rouge.
Pablo Picasso with ceramic plate - photograph David Douglas Duncan
I'm afraid my photographs may not do justice to the quality of the works but the subject matter makes me want to post them all here on my blog. I will also upload some of my favourites on my Pinterest board Toret.

I am still struggling with my blog, I don't have time to write and post all the news I would like to. However, I hope you will bear with me and visit every now and then just the same. My plan is that this trend will be reversed and my little blog will again become an interesting and jolly place to visit. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

No pattern, No party!

At this moment in time, due to a couple of unfortunate coincidences, my life has become a whirlwind, or as my mom says, like living in a washing machine and someone turned the cycle on to spin! Some things that are happening are enjoyable and others are a bit stressful, but all are things that I cannot control so I just have to sit them out.

I would love to turn this trend around, however, the spin cycle may not ease off until Christmas and as usual the one thing that gets thrown by the wayside first is my pattern making! So no serious designing is going on at the moment, just a lot of doodling and jotting down of ideas, keeping things on the boil until I have more time to dedicate to patterns again.

At first I thought 'No pattern, No party'... but I am now back to a bit of enjoyable cutting, sticking and doodling in front of the telly in the evenings, and it is not such a bad idea. This week I have been producing handcrafted envelopes known as 'Efuto' which I shall be posting off to some of my surface pattern friends.

It is always enjoyable to create 'little' patterns and projects just to keep my creative juices flowing until better times. Here are a few close-ups of my designs without showing the whole of the envelope. I like them to be a surprise when they arrive in the post!

If you leave a comment after this post I will be drawing out one name to find a winner for an Efuto that needs a new owner! I hope to hear from you :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

An interesting article!

Today I have a fun post about an interesting article which I came across in an Italian magazine called Verde Facile. The article featured the Canadian Surface Pattern Designer Elizabeth Olwen. Some of you may remember that Elizabeth was a guest on my blog in one of the Dream Designs features, you can read my post from far away September 2012 here

Verde Facile has written a lovely feature and dedicated six pages to Elizabeth and her work. They had the idea to make some seed envelopes to cut out and keep so her patterns are in full evidence with a half page for each design.

The article is also well written and very inviting, so inviting in fact that I cut out a couple of envelopes myself and made them up! Elizabeth's patterns are described by Verde Facile as delicate and beautiful, and we can't argue with that!

Read news of Elizabeth's successes and licensing deals, catch up with her portfolio, and, find out where you can buy her fabulous designs at

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Welcome back Milvia

For those of you who follow my blog regularly you will have noticed that I mention Milvia from time to time. Milvia is an Italian painter and artist who enjoyed fame in the late 50’s and 60’s. Her illustrations and patterns were produced on fabric in Italy and in the U.S., even Liberty London became one of her clients. There was never enough written about Milvia when her career was at it’s height and this fact has created a certain illusive atmosphere about her being. This lack of information has also created curiosity and regard towards her work. For quite some time I didn’t know anything about Milvia’s real identity but I was attracted to her quirky illustrations, her talent, and her style. Basically I was a great fan of the illusive Milvia.

Then about 8 months ago things changed, I was contacted by Milvia’s daughter. Just one meeting lead to the creation of the Milvia project. I have been working with Milvia and her daughter for more than 6 months. The project begins with cataloguing Milvia’s work from the 60’s onwards and ends with the work being digitalized and made available for licensing. I am responsible for the licensing and promotional side of the project and Milvia’s daughter in turn for the archives and restoration of the works. I can’t tell you all our plans but we are working on many aspects and markets, I hope very soon you will be seeing more and more of Milvia and her fabulous work.

The real news is that Milvia never really went away, I have been privileged to see her studio at her home in Florence. The studio has always been there for her work and as ‘real’ artists do she has continued to lead the life of a creative. After raising a family and following her husband all over the world in his career she has always found time to work and experiment. For those of you who have not read between the lines this means that there are many unpublished designs waiting to be discovered and I hope to lend a hand in making this happen.

So now it is time to really begin the Milvia adventure. Work has gone on for months behind the lines and it is now time to share some of it with the public. Milvia’s website will go live on 5th June 2014, which is of course today! Please visit us at I think you will all be interested in our unique proposals. Obviously there is limited information available on the website and for anyone with serious intentions just contact me at and I will be delighted to help.

In addition you will find Milvia on Pinterest,
and Twitter
More news of Milvia will be published regularly in press releases and obviously here on my little blog.

Thank you for reading.
Dawn Clarkson