Thursday, August 30, 2012

Turin - A Baroque haven

Turin is many things and one of them is a Baroque "haven" full of palaces, churches, squares, statues, facades and halls, all decorated in the Baroque style. Some of them illustrious and of great historical value. The Baroque style uses exaggerated motion and detail to produce drama and tension, as a movement it ran through sculpture, painting, architecture, literature and music, and reigned in europe for over 150 years.

Piazza Castello in the historical centre of Turin has many splendid examples of the Baroque style.
Palazzo Madama with its Baroque facade and a magnificent hall designed by Filippo Juvarra (1718-21). Palazzo Reale the official Royal residence of the reigning House of Savoy until 1865, inside you will find the Sala dei Forbici again by Juvarra. The chapel of the Holy Shroud a Baroque masterpiece by Guarino Guarini was originally built as part of the Palazzo Reale but now is accessible from the Cathedral entrance. Guarini also built the San Lorenzo church 1557, it is one of the most famous examples of european Baroque style.
Round windows, inspired by the dome of San Lorenzo Church

Palazzo Carignano which was the home of the first Italian parliment in 1861 when Torino was declared the first Capital of Italy has a swirling facade and majestic atrium designed by Guarini, both are beautiful examples of Baroque architecture.
Red brick patterns inspired by the facade of Palazzo Carignano
The aristocrasy also saw this elaborate and dramatic style as a way of impressing power and control. Baroque palaces were designed around an entrance of courts and with grand staircases and rich interiors. A wonderful example of Baroque opulence is La Venaria Reale, originally comissioned by Carlo Emanuele II as a "hunting palace" in 1660-75. Subsequently in 1716 extension work began and again Filippo Juvarra designed the Grand Sala. Today the Palace has been renovated and is a "must" for any visitor, with its Royal Gardens the whole complex is presented in a new "creative" light providing a cultural experience adding to its enormous historical value.
The Grand Gallery, La Veneria Reale
A pattern inspired by the flooring in the Grand Gallery
Using my patterns I have created a set of mugs to remind me of the lovely patterns found in and around Baroque Turin.

Link to Flickr "Turin Snapshots"
Starting on Monday, Module 3 of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design will be occupying all my time and I will go back to posting more of my pattern designs. When time allows I will pick up on the theme of Turin again, until them enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Turin - The Mole Antonelliana

Photo: © Bruna Biamino
The Mole Antonelliana is the most characteristic building in Turin and is the true symbol of the city, its spire reaches a height of 167 meters. It is situated in the historical centre of the city, between narrow streets, old apartments, shops, courtyards and porticoes. Designed by Alessandro Antonelli it was intended to be a synagogue. Building began in 1862 but was only finally completed in 1889 one year after the death of Antonelli. 

La Mole Antonelliana and the Italian Alps

Inside this bizarre building you can visit the National Cinema Museum. The building itself adds to a quite unique and spectacular presentation of worldwide cinema. Over 3000 square metres of exhibition space dedicated to every aspect of cinema, from a technical history through to original film artefacts, photographs and film posters all illustrating the international cinema scene. It is also a centre for events and acts as headquarters for the Torino Film Festival. On the ground floor a dark cinema atmosphere is presented at the Cabiria CafĂ© with screens at every table so you can view film clips whilst eating! The glass panoramic lift also departs from the ground floor. When it breaks through to the first floor you are suspended in the centre of the dome and can enjoy the view of the whole museum beneath you. At the top of the spire a 360 ° view of the city of Turin awaits you, and, the amphitheatre of the Italian Alps. 

The Italian Alps are also are a characteristic symbol associated with Turin and in the winter months they become snow-capped. Only an hours drive from the Milky Way skiing area, with over 200 km of slopes just waiting to be discovered, Turin is truly at home in a winter scenario. In 2006 the XX Winter Olympics where successfully hosted in Turin thanks to its proximity to the Alps and its winter sport traditions. 

Tea towel design showing the mountains in winter!

The National Cinema Museum

Read my article about Turin on page 27 of the first issue of MOYO magazine the first online magazine dedicated solely to surface pattern design.

Join me later in the week when I will be posting more beautiful images of Turin :) 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Turin - The Art of Chocolate

Turin is famous for lots of things but not many people realise that one of them is CHOCOLATE. Some specialities inculde: the Gianduiotti chocolate with its unmistakable shape the most typical of all the chocolate delicacies invented by Piedmont chocolatiers; the Gianduja cream spread, which has been around for over 150 years and is now eaten all over the world commercialized by a famous Piedmont family; and the Bicerin, an excellent traditional hot drink made from coffee, milk and chocolate served in a characteristic glass with a metal handle.
The first known document about chocolate in Turin dates from 1678, a license authorizing the sale of chocolate. In 1802 the expert chocolate artisans managed to solve the age old problem of making liquid chocolate solid and consequently transform it into chocolate pralines and bars. The chocolate industry was truly underway. 

Torino - Choco Barocco

Nowadays, Turin is rich in small traditional workshops which continue to produce a wide range of chocolate products using original recipes and only first class ingredients. Many early twentieth century shops are still open in their original premises, they continue to create wonderful window displays and pass on their chocolate skills from generation to generation. 
In autumn the Cioccolatò Festival is held, an ideal opportunity to celebrate all things chocolate. With a "choco pass" in your pocket you can spend a day tasting mouth-watering offerings, available in the city's illustrious cake and pastry shops and bars. You will be given a map and a list of shops and bars in the centre of Turin so you don't miss out on any!

Gianduiotti - Baroque style


Finally I have created a few designs inspired by my love for Chocolate and made gift bags which would be perfect to fill with chocolate delights. I have united the old traditons of chocolate with the abundance of the Baroque style which is to be found in Turin. Both inspire richness and captivate the senses!

Visit Guido Gobino, Cioccolato Artigianale. For guided tours of a “real” chocolate factory. Address: Laboratory. Via Cagliari 15/b, 10153 Torino

You can also see some of my "snapshots" of Turin here, including some photographs of the chocolate factory. I will be back on Monday with another interesting post about Turin obviously accompanied by some of my designs. Until then enjoy!

Modern shiny gianduiotti!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

MOYO - The secret is out!

Good morning everyone, I have some really super news to share with you all.

MOYO has been launched today, it is a new free resource magazine and will be published quarterly by Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicolls. The first publication of its kind to be dedicated soley to surface pattern design. The promise is for an action packed issue, full of interviews, design briefs, colour challenges, art reviews, student showcases, design tips, inspiration, trends and much more. You can read and download the inaugural issue of MOYO here


The second bit of good news comes on page 27 of MOYO, here you will be able to read my article "A postcard from Turin". It is such a such a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to present the city where I live in the first issue of MOYO. Turin, with all its beauty and splendors, is a place full of history, Art, and culture. With a large dose of character it is a place which fills me with inspiration and never ceases to amaze me with its many different aspects. So for today please read the article and let me know your thoughts. Of course, make sure you read all the rest of the magazine too!

Starting from tomorrow the theme "Turin" will continue on my blog. There are so many interesting things to learn about this great city and I will be indicating, exciting and inspiring places to visit, or things to do, which will naturally be accompanied by some of my designs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dot, Dash, Slash...

I have been working hard all day and have a lovely new collection of gift wrap to show for it!
My designs are based on Dot, Dash and Slash, and have been achieved by using brushwork markings to create complex and decorative repeat patterns suitable for Autumn/Fall 2012. 

The heat is getting everyone down... even my computer is complaining!
As a special treat for my Mum... here is the link to my collection on Flickr.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunshine time again!

Sunshine time again! On Friday Rebecca Greenwood of LittleTree Designs was kind enough to include my work in her final showcase from Module 2 of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design... even kind enough to fit me in when I had run over the submission date!

Thank you so much for the feature and congratulations Rebecca on your lovely blog, always interesting and always written in a happy and informative way. Take a look at her super blog here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Les Lunettes

Just look at this super opticians shop that I found in one of the grand avenues in the centre of Turin, in a listed building, and, under the most amazing porticoes! The shop sign is mirrored and very old. The typeface is fabulous. 

It's hard to believe that the owner had the courage to commission this paint job. Strangely enough it works perfectly and certainly catches the eye so to speak. This image can be seen on Flickr as part of a little collection of snapshots that I take when I am out and about in the lovely Turin!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How I made my stitched postcard!

Today I have posted my "Stitched Postcard" which is part of the 5th Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap! I cheated a bit as my embroidery skills stop at chain stitch and I was more than a little worried at how neat the finished item might be. However, I surprised myself at making a lovely job of the whole thing. All in all, with just the minimum amount of hand stitching but lots of creativity I managed to create a strange little postcard which even has an inside!

The base is made using some handmade paper that I have had for years and that was just waiting for a project like this to come along so that it could be used. I then embroidered some hearts onto some fabric designed by myself and printed by Spoonflower. I then stiched the two together by machine and secured one of the ties to the base. For the front of the card I chose some fine netting material which was surprisingly quite rigid. I love the fact that it is transparent and leans itself to the theme of "discover“, you can see most of whats inside but not all of it.

I then did the "cheaty bit" by sewing strips of paper onto this and "drawing" the letters to create the word discover, before securing the other tie and attaching the whole thing to the base. The postcard is closed like a book... but can be opened to show the lovely butterfly fabric and embroidered hearts.

I do hope it goes to a good home, I wrote the date and a dedication on the back. Now I will just sit back and wait for my swap partner to send me hers in the post. YUMMY!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Module 2 Final Showcase - Part 2

I have been away for a long weekend to the border which divides Italy and Switzerland. I thoroughly enjoyed three days cycling, walking, sightseeing and generally relaxing in this lovely area of Italy. 

I came back to a lovely surprise. My work has been featured on the lovely Rachael Taylor's blog today! So you still have time to see my Sunshine pattern which is part of my Sunscape collection over on her blog here!

Speacial thanks as always to Rachael for the feature and congratulations to everyone who has had their work showcased so far.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunscape Collection

Hi, happy Sunday everyone. Just playing catch up on the Module 2 of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design. I am very behind with the lessons but loving them just the same. These are a few ideas which are coming out of my Sunscape Collection, hope you like them! Well, back down to work.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

No Entry

I am always taking photographs when I am out and about in Turin. Often they are one-offs and not linked to any project or theme. Perhaps just because they appeal to me in some way, or inspire me for a moment, or make me smile. I have lots of these photographs and I intend to put them all on Flickr eventually. Today I have found time to upload a few of them, please go and take a look, I do hope that they may inspire you in some way
The above photograph is quite funny and made me do a double take... some people are very sneaky and very clever!