Monday, November 3, 2014

Spoonflower - 2015 Tea Towel Calendar contest

The Spoonflower 2015 Calendar Tea Towel contest is underway and I have entered again this year. I have noticed that over the last four years I have always adapted a recent design into a tea towel for this particular Spoonflower contest. If I'm honest, as my design time is always limited, I think this trend comes from the necessity to come up with something at the last minute! However I like to enter this contest, it is becoming a bit of a tradition, even if only have a tea towel printed up with my design on it for my Mum! 
It is also nice (and very useful of course!) to look back on old work and take stock of things, how my style may be changing and improving. So I have grouped together my four tea towels and the patterns which inspired them. It is interesting to see how they were adapted for the contests.

1. Owls in the Kitchen. This design was created for Spoonflower and then adapted to become the 2012 tea towel calendar.

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

2. Laughing Owls. This design was created for Spoonflower's Extinct Animals contest. The design was then adapted to create the 2013 Tea Towel Calendar.

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

3. Buon Appetito. This design was created for Spoonflower's Retro Kitchen contest which was colour palette restricted. I therefore changed the colours along with the design to create my 2014 Tea Towel Calendar design.

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

4. Cut Me Up. This design is a weekly planner and was recently created for a freebie designer download, available here. I changed the colours (as I didn't feel that black was suitable for the kitchen) and the layout to incorporate a 2015 Calendar Tea Towel.

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

Voting closes on Tuesday 4th November and the winners will be announced on Thursday 6th November!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn colours!

It's that time of year again where nature explodes in one final crazed colour party before winter sets in. We enjoyed one last trip to the mountains on Sunday and we were expecting to see the first signs of snow on the highest peaks. However, much to our surprise, a warm day with lots of sun just extended our hope of a prolonged summer... not a trace of snow to be seen even over 2500 metres! 

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

niceandfancy.blogspot.com

Whilst someone cycled to Colle del Nivolet 2602 m I strolled through gorgeous woods and listened to the mountain river pounding down the valley, a constant background sound which omitted everything else... problems and all. 

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

niceandfancy.blogspot.com

niceandfancy.blogspot.com

These are just a few photographs of my walk in the woods, bright autumn colours and with a few patterns thrown in! 

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niceandfancy.blogspot.com

niceandfancy.blogspot.com

niceandfancy.blogspot.com

Shocked and a bit saddened not to have seen one animal just hundreds and hundreds of mushrooms! Definitley the last I will see of the mountains without snow this year and a most enjoyable end to our summer trips.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The 2014 Designer Calendar + Planners - October

Just as last year I have designed a 'piece' of MaJo's lovely freebie designer calendar. I along with many other of her designer friends were invited to participate and each create a different month for 2014. I am happy to announce that my design for October is already available for download HERE.
Luckily I was asked to create a weekly planner which could be printed up and then pinned directly on a wall or used as a desk planner. My design started out as an experiment with cut-outs and a bit of collage. I had no theme but just decided to enjoy myself. 

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Although the original brief requested I be inspired by the Spring and Summer 2014 Pantone colour palette I found that the design also looked great in black and white. So this means two versions were created for downloading. You can decide to doodle and colour my black and white design with your own personal colour scheme, or just download the original coloured version. So get colouring, and get planning, now!

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I liked the finished design so much that I also changed my header to match :)

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.

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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! 

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Pablo Picasso Linocut Toros detail
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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. 

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Pablo Picasso Linocut detail
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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.

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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.