Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones

The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones

This was another sparkly gem we found at the estate sale last week - you can't tell from the images but these are HAND-PAINTED and it's from 1910!!!! It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen - there are pages and pages of these glorious patterns - all taken from pieces at The South Kensington Museum, London - which is what I am assuming is now the V&A Museum.

It's too beautiful to sell so we're not going to.


Gentry Magazine No 2 Fall 1952

This is the best thing I've found at an estate sale possibly ever.

Yesterday morning we snagged four issues of the men's fashion magazine Gentry - all from the early fifties. They had articles with titles such as "What Defines A Man?" and "How To Build A Finnish Bath In Your Home". I say "had" because I put them on the shop floor this morning and a handsome man just came and bought the lot. All the clothing adverts had fabric swatches attached and one seed produce company even attached a tiny bag of oat seeds. It was like watching MadMen ads come to life.

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My.

The Book about Moomin, Mymble & Little My.

Here's little Moomintroll, none other,
Hurrying home with milk for Mother.
Quick Moomintroll, it's nearly night.
Run home while there's a bit of light.
Don't hang around in woods like these.
Strange creatures lurk between the trees.
The wind begins to howl and hiss.
Now, guess what happens after this.

Beyond the forest, bathed in light,
The air tastes fresh. The grass glows bright.
The sun shines down on fields of flowers.
Moomintroll's walked for hours and hours.
But, happy to be homeward bound,
He kicks his legs and leaps around.
He sees a tall shape. A house? His own?
How very tall the chimney has grown,
When yesterday the roof was flat.
Well guess what happened after that.

That's not a roof or chimney pot -
It's Mymble's hair, tied in a know!
She's weeping on a big tin can,
"Poor thing" thought Moomintroll and ran
To Mymble, begging, "Please don't cry!"
"I've lost my sister Little My"
She told him, and began to yelp.
She ran away! Oh Moomin help!"
Moomintroll frowned. "Well, let's begin
By checking if she's in this tin,
Some villain might have stashed her in it."
Now guess what happens in a minute!

This book is sold at Yolk - it's wonderful and full of beautiful illustrations and cut outs.

Moomins are a personal favourite of mine. I think the world is a better place with Moomins in it. And as Maria says "Moomins Not Mormons".

(This was in relation to a conversation we were having about Prop 8 in California - it turns out Mormons have donated $25 million to push the prop through. They don't even LIVE in California and should a religious group that once upon a time preferred polygamy really be in a position to judge what constitutes "marriage"? MOOMINS NOT MORMONS for sure.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Alphabet by Peter Blake.

An Alphabet by Peter Blake

Glenn makes fun of me for ordering this book but I love it.

The word alphabet comes from the Greek alpha and beta - the first two words of the Greek alphabet. The Greeks took this from the Phoenician alphabet which meant ox and house respectively. So when you scream "Show us your alphabet" at someone you love, you're actually shrieking "Show us your ox-house". Something to bear in mind when the moment sweeps you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vintage German Apothecary Jars

We got in a selection of vintage 19th century apothecary jars. They look very cool and all but I wonder is it safe for me to be located this near to 19th century Natriumcholrid? And what exactly is Natriumcholrid anyway?

My brain sure doesn't need any further addling.


Roost Squirrel Light.

This light fixture came in a couple of weeks ago and has been a big hit. He's great at giving off a dusty glow but he's probably not suitable for reading. He's also pro-Obama so if that's bothersome I would perhaps resist the urge to run down here and get one.

When I was little I always wanted a squirrel as a pet. I compromised by getting many small rodent-esque animals. I was the proud owner of the longest living guinea pig ever - Tinkerbell, who lived to the grand old age of nine. Yes NINE. Guinea pigs normally have a shelf life of about 3 years. Tinkerbell was superhuman (superguineapig?) and outlasted her colleagues Wendy and Tigerlily by many many years. I also had Oliver The Black Rabbit who suffered an untimely demise when he was eaten by my dog Jasper. When I moved away to university I continued my small rodent fascination with William & Charlie Surprise - my two gerbils. William was very sociable and would come to lectures with me. He was small enough to curl up in my clavicle and sleep while I learnt about the social policies of Pericles.

I have since learnt that squirrels are vicious and vindictive. They live in the walnut tree in my garden and they bombard whoever is in the garden with sharp remnants of dissected walnut shells. This is no random occurence - many visitors to my garden have noted that even if they move positions to avoid the onslaught of piercing shell shards, the squirrels move too. They also make a lot of noise. They incessantly chatter to one another in high pitched yips and yaps. I no longer want one for a pet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Moscow & St Petersburg

Moscow & St Petersburg
1900-1920 Art, Life & Culture

You have to look at this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Caspar David Friedrich.

I love Caspar David Friedrich. My modern art professor at graduate school had a bit of an OCD thing about him and I think it passed on to all of his students - or maybe I like Friedrich because I always wanted my modern art professor to like me. He was a very interesting human. He was married to a ridiculously beautiful red-headed writer whose first novel (which he insisted we all went out and bought and read, which we all did), was based on a woman who was obsessed with poisoning her husband. This did not seem to worry him. It worried me. He wore very round-toed shoes. He got me my first job.

David Thorpe.

David Thorpe.

David Thorpe is a new favourite artist of mine. I stumbled on him only because Richard McNeace The Book Rep showed me his copy of the book. The image above, is only a small taster - the rest of his work is even more incredible but the quality of my scans didn't seem to do them justice so I left them out. Have a look at some more of his images at his London gallery's website.

His paintings remind me of Caspar David Friedrich - I'm pretty sure this will have been pointed out before.

Balloon For A Blunderbuss.

A Balloon For A Blunderbuss.

We don't normally stock children's books which is what this title is strictly categorized as, but we felt it was beautiful from a graphic design perspective.

This is off the back cover:

"Some years ago, Bob Gill (a designer) and Alastair Reid (a writer) met by accident in New York and from their combined curiosity came this book for children. Gill (b.1931) worked as a freelance illustrator and designer in New York before moving to London where he, Alan Fletcher and Colin Forbes created the design agency that became Pentagram. He later resumed his freelance career as an illustrator, designer and author. He lives and works in New York. Reid (b.1926) is a poet and a scholar of South American literature. He has lived in Europe, the United States and South America, working as a writer, translator and as a correspondent for The New Yorker."

I am not going to become a teacher anymore, and nor do I fancy a life of rock and roll on the road. I have decided I am going to be Bob Gill instead.

Playful Type

Playful Type

With everyone banging on unceasingly about the economic crisis, I have been wondering about what else I could have done with myself that might have been slightly more lucrative than book-selling. At a time when more than most of the world's book retailing is done online and half of the world's economies seem to be in free-falling chaos it seems a bit of a silly idea. This morning while walking around the resevoir, I decided that I should have been the lead singer in a wildly successful rock-band. This would have satiated my love of traveling; would have got me lots of money; freebies from fashion designers would be proffered with gay abandon; I might have got to have sex with Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys (he is of legal age - I checked) and Morrissey would undoubtedly be my friend. I didn't dwell on the fact that I can't sing for toffee. In daydreams you don't have to take reality into consideration.

Then I thought I probably should look into teaching or something.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Theater of Insects.

Theater of Insects.
Princeton Architectural Press.

I've been watching a lot of Planet Earth lately. I find David Attenborough's voice very soothing. The last episode I saw was "Forests" and it showed the cicadas that hatch only once every SEVENTEEN years. They all pop out at once, eat loads of leaves, have sex and then die - all in the space of a couple of days and then the fruits of their labours don't come around for SEVENTEEN years - and it's always at the same time of year. Insects are amazing. Before Planet Earth I would be a bit horrified if any of them made an appearance on my tv screen (Although there was the one episode "Caves", where a million cockroaches are filmed marching up a mountain of bat poo that I could have lived without seeing. Ever.), but now I am more and more intrigued. I have a new-found respect for the Insect Kingdom.


These were seen from the deck this morning, clear evidence that the heat has broken! Hallelujah. I think I actually sweat my boobs off yesterday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Fraction of the Whole.

I think there may be something wrong with my scanner. This image is the front cover of the book I'm reading at the moment and having just mentioned hot pink I was looking at it and thinking how I love it's colour and over all design. But post-scanning I don't think the vibrancy is translated at all - which leads me to think some of my other posts might look a bit wishy washed-out washy.

The book is great so far, despite it's lacklustre appearance here. I have only read the first 24 pages so I may not be in the best position to judge but on the first 24 pages I would whole heartily recommend.

Fraktur Mon Amour.

Fraktur Mon Amour.
$75 - it has a cd rom thing which is why it's a little on the pricier side.
Princeton Architectural Press.

This book came in last week, and some-one asked me with fear in their eyes, if I'd started ordering bibles. I have not started ordering bibles - although the lovely Danielle - my Princeton Architectural Press book rep - did show me some when I was last in her showroom (bibles that is) - I told her they didn't really fit under my umbrella of Art & Design - she tried to convince me she had arty and design-y bibles, but I remained unconvinced. So, no, not stocking bibles.

This would be a cool looking bible if it was's bound in black leather and has hot pink lettering embossed on the front, back and spine. It's the brain-child of graphic designer Judith Schalansky and illustrates her obsession with Blackletter fonts.

I really like hot pink.

Tree Tents!

More Mobile: Portable Architecture for Today
Princeton Architectural Press

Considering the current economic climate I think these tree tents could become all the rage. As more and more of us humans lose our bricks and mortar homes due to mad mortgage foreclosures and our jobs due to some silly old white men who seem utterly inept and totally befuddled (but that's a rant for another day), these could be a real solution to some of our looming 2008 problems.

The tree tents were initially designed for the Road Alert Group - a group of activists that fight against motorways being constructed across areas of natural beauty and forests in the United Kingdom. The members of the Road Alert Group often hid in the trees and lived in them too, to prevent them being cut down and these tree tents were designed for them to have a pleasant place to rest during what could turn into something of an arduous and uncomfortable situation.

While I fully commend the motivations of the Road Alert Group, I wish they had a better name.

I'm sure they put a lot of thought into it.

It was 98 degrees here yesterday, which is frankly ridiculous. Today it's slightly less, I think we're hitting 90 - which is still disgusting. The thought of living in a tree tent in the Forest of Dean sounds heavenly - I'm sure the long-term reality might be more challenging but today it sounds supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.