Freaking Out.

Okay. My original ideas for the Product brief included: 

- a paper-cut lampshade inspired by Yu Jordy Fu's Cloud lamps

- intricate jewellery set

- a hanging mobile

These ideas all revolve around a sea theme, with lots of seaweed, anenomes, coral and beach flowers being the inspiration for the shapes and with the aim of making something with a very organic feeling. However...this being one of our first projects, and being of a 3D nature, I'm begininning to feel I've bitten off more than I can chew by attempting the hanging mobile. Especially as each piece that would need to be cut, by either the paper-cutter or the vinyl cutter, would require it's own individual design, due to the way I planned the prototype. There are also six or more layers to each flower, and I'd planned for about ten flowers. 

Bearing in mind that I rarely work in 3D and have barely experienced Illustrator AND have no idea how to go about making the hanging for the pieces of the mobile, I'm going to run away screaming from this idea and go with the plan I'd originally been really enthusiastic and happy with: a jewellery set!

I love the mobile, and I'm going to complete it in my own time, without the pressure of it having to be  able to mass produce it, and without the push for it to be made by someone / something else. I love making all the pieces by hand, by paper and allowing each piece to be entirely different from the next.

The jewellery set concept is a lot more do-able as there are fewer pieces to the jigsaw (so to speak) and I'm a lot more confident in my ability to pull it all together. I'd definitely want to attempt the mobile again in the future, using the required methods, but with two other briefs and no experience in this as of yet, I'm afraid I need to take a step back and chicken out for now.

This was my first experiment playing with the jewellery idea; I think I shall work more on this, and hopefully the final product will be made from vinyl. More research needed.

Shadow Play: Alchemy Redolence & Enchantment

Look.... a 3 day Illustration Symposium organised by Cardiff School of Art and Design which will take place from the 2 - 4 November 2010. This is right up your street! Guest speakers include Roderick Mills, Graham Rawle and Anna Bhushan.

Blogging as I go, blogging as I go, ee aye ee aye oh blogging as I gooooo. Tune.

Yu Jordy Fu - Cloud lamp

Lizzie Thomas - Hidden Winter

Snowflake Curtain - found here

Sarah Rothe - Papercut Earrings

Corinne Okada Takara - Fish Mobile

"Our Heartbeat" - Origami Star Mobile


I saw this a few years ago and still love it so much. Mostly for the music, especially the female vocals which send a shiver down my spine, but also for the execution of this animation, using Slavic mythology I believe. The animation was created for the Russian band Theodor Bastard

A tiny google search later and I found this site with brief descriptions of aspects of Slavic mythology. From this I chose a few pieces of information which I think could have influenced this animation. It's all guess-work and my own interpretation as I couldn't find any information about the animation, nor the Russian animator. But here goes:

Perun is the god of thunder and lightning, very similar to Thor. His name comes from the root "to strike." He carries an ax or mace, his sacred animal is the bull, his sacred tree is the oak. He has dark hair with a long, golden beard, and is sometimes portrayed with three heads with fiery-red faces surrounded by flames. A perpetual fire was maintained in his honor; if it went out, it was rekindled by the use of a stone. Worshippers laid arms at his idol's feet, and stuck arrows around oak trees in his honor. His idol was thrown into the Volkhv River when Christianity came to Russia. A six-petalled rose within a circle was carved on roofs to protect houses from thunder and lightning, and the symbol may have been associated with Perun. Perun became Ilya of Murom in epic tales, and St. Elijah in the church, because the saint's chariot rolled like thunder and his arrow was lightning. Perun was also associated with St. George, since he slays a dragon (Volos). St. George is the patron of wild and domestic animals.

Navky, spirits of children who died unbaptized or who drowned.

Rusalka, the spirit of a child who died unbaptized or of a virgin who drowned. Rusalki live in lakes and have long, wavy green hair. Some have fish tails like mermaids, and some can turn into fish. They manifest either as beautiful girls, dressed in robes of mist, who sing sweet songs to bewitch passersby, or as ugly and wicked women who attack humans, especially men. During Rusalki week, around Midsummer, they emerge from the water and climb into weeping willow and birch trees until night, when they dance in rings in the moonlight. Any person who dances with them must do so until he dies. After that week, the grass grows thicker wherever they walk. In the 19th century, the Rusalki were connected with the cult of the dead.

Spor, the embodiment of fertility, who watches over the corn and cattle.

Vodyanoy, a malevolent water spirit who likes to drown humans. He will attack anyone who swims after sunset, or on a holy day. He can appear in different shapes to trick his victims. The Vodyanoy lives alone in his body of water, and he especially likes rivers with strong currents and swamps.

Vodni Panny, sad and pale water nymphs, who dress in green, and live in underwater crystal palaces.

Turisi - January 6
This is the day of the bull, Jar-tur, a symbol of life and fertility. People celebrate by wearing masks, parading and imitating the bull. They play games called "Turisi". This also ends the period thought of as the New Year holiday.

Rusalka's Week - June 19-24
On the Thursday preceding Whitsunday, women go into the woods, singing, and pick flowers to bind into wreaths. The men cut down a birch tree, and the girls decorate it. A ritual meal of flour, milk, eggs and plenty of beer and wine is eaten. After the meal, the tree is carried into the village and put into a special house to be left alone until Sunday. The tree becomes the focus of girls' songs and dances, then it is thrown into the river at the end of the week. On Whitsun Monday, a small shed covered with garlands is erected in an oak grove. A straw or wooden doll called Rusalka is decorated and put inside. People come bearing food and offerings. At the end, the doll is destroyed by burning or drowning. Sometimes a girl or horse replaces the doll and undergoes a mock funeral. This celebration is connected with the Rosalia, the Roman festival of roses. See "Women's Trance Ritual."

This also made for interesting reading.

And here is another Theodor Bastard video which I rather liked...

Theodor Bastard - Mir Album version from Nick Nickandrov on Vimeo.

Oh Lindsey Carr, how I do love you.

Acrylic on wood

Lindsey Carr is an artist living and working in Scotland and is possibly one of my all-time favourites. Her paintings seem to glow, and I'm always spotting something I missed the first time I looked, a flower or vine that takes time to emerge from a dark background, making it really feel like the pieces are alive.

From Clockwise: "Dukkha", "The Fox Confessor", "The Spoils of War" and "Natural Dark"

Carr's mix of flora and fauna is extraordinary.


Most of this summer seems to have been really really reaaaallllly awful and I would like it to stop now. Hopefully Autumn and Winter will be lovely and dark and crispy and there won't be any more big changes and I'll start to feel a bit more like me again.

P.S. I love tiny thin nibbed pens.


'Hark! A Vagrant' - online comics by Kate Beaton make me ridiculously happy. I think it's the amazingly expressive eyebrows...

Kris Chau

Just this second discovered Philadelphian Kris Chau whose work I've fallen a little bit in love with. Possibly because it's such a nice contrast to looking at black paper-cuts. Her use of inks is brilliant! Chau's images are vibrant and full of personality, though there's still a very soft quality to them. The combination of more determined lines and that watery use of inks and watercolours creates such a girly feeling, though her bolder, black lines undermine that a little; I feel they could be made to appear more sinister with more sombre colours.

"Smoke Monster"


"Hearts Afire"

"Lover Loverly", which is the image of the little girl and snake, is fitting I suppose, looking at 'Eve Tempted'; the patchwork detail of the snake is really beautiful, I'd love to have had a soft toy snake with those patterns. Chau's use of inks make it look almost silky and reminds me of waxy batik paintings on silk that I did at GCSE, the white areas being where the wax would have set, the rest being a colour wash. I think it's the same with all her work, I can imagine it sitting really well on fabric, perhaps mixed with appliqué.

'Isabella's Art'

Baba Yaga - Laser cut shadow puppet

Dragon Rider - Hand cut shadow puppet

I'm really pleased to have found these via Etsy, happily falling across the Dutch illustrator, Isabella. She works both as a shadow puppeteer, paper-cutting, and in ink, creating pieces that are as clean edged as her paper-cuts.

While I rather like Isabella's inky prints, I definitely prefer her shadow puppets. They have a confidence about their lines which empowers the characters. Similarly it is Isabella's choice of what to cut away that makes the puppets so successful. She doesn't over-do it, though still manages to convey the beauty of the stories she's illustrating and their intricacy; evidently a great deal of thought goes into her compositions.

Some of my favourites:

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