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TEXT & TONIC - G H I May 28 2020, 0 Comments

I enjoy blogging about my design series because I’m learning about the lives of some fascinating women. And I've found that many of the textile patterns that we live with today were created in ancient times.

 

"Instant gratification is not soon enough." Meryl Streep

The worldwide popularity of the gingham pattern was originally developed in India and Indonesia, exported to Europe and into the American colonies in early 17th century. Now we find gingham everywhere; we wear it, sit on it, eat on it. It's on cars, on Easter eggs, and on statues. It's not just for cowgirls. 

 

 

 Dior car                                                           vintage gingham                             Into The Woods 
Meryl Streep, actor extraordinaire, has played many characters including a prime minister, a holocaust survivor, and a whistle blower. Her talents have been acknowledged by fans and peers alike, and she's seen as one of the best actors of her generation. With this kind of adoration, I think I can learn a lot from Meryl when I sit down with a bag of popcorn and explore her creativity in the world of cinema.

 

 

"If there's no chocolate in heaven, I'm not going."  Jane Seabrook

The use of the herringbone pattern dates back to the Roman Empire where it was used in roadway construction. Filippo Brunellechi's creation of the breathtaking cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore was made possible by using the herringbone brick pattern. 

   
Roman Road                                          Santa Maria del Fiore                      Furry Logic

Jane Seabrook is an illustrator and designer known for her detailed paintings of wildlife. Her watercolours of animals, which she pairs with quotes, speak to the human condition. We are encouraged to laugh and feel good, and get on with it.

 

 

"Nature is commonplace. Imitation is more interesting."  Gertrude Stein

The Ikat pattern employs the resist dyeing technique. Ikat textiles are created in many traditional textiles centres around the world. The characteristic fuzzy patterning is prized by many textile collectors.

   
Woven ikat fabric                               Gertrude Stein 1980 Andy Warhol          Checkerboard 1915 Juan Gris

Gertrude Stein was a modernist literary pioneer and an enthusiastic patron of avant-garde art. She was a leading figure of the pre-World War I art circles in Paris. Along with many others, the Cubist artist Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso, frequented Gertrude's Parisienne salon.

 

               

Here are a few of the many fun items now available on my website. I think you'll find something there to brighten your home.

 

I'm looking forward to sharing more about some fascinating women with you in the next blog: Text & Tonic J  K  L.

Until then.

Hasta luego amigos.

Val

 

 

 


TEXT & TONIC - D E F May 19 2020, 0 Comments

    I think you'll enjoy this blog because I'm going to focus on three unique women and three wonderful patterns. We can follow history if we follow the patterns.

     

       

      "If you're not making mistakes, then you're not making decisions." Catherine Cookson

         

      English fabric 1710             painting Siena 14th century    Catherine Cookson Collection

      The damask pattern originated in China around 300 B.C. and travelled along the ancient silk road to Europe, and endures in today's contemporary design.

      Author Catherine Cookson's quote is on the historically luxurious damask pattern. Catherine overcame many difficulties, made decisions, and went on to write almost 100 books, which sold more than 123 million copies. Catherine's decisions and her commitment to endure and succeed encourages me to press on when I find myself in seemingly unsolvable situations. Especially when I'm standing alone.

       


      "Elegance is the only beauty that never fades." Audrey Hepburn

      Artists have been drawing electric lightning bolts wrong for centuries. When this stylized jagged graphic pattern became an essential design element of Art Deco, it couldn’t go wrong. 

          
      Kunisada 1786-1864 print                  Art Deco Coquette 1930-32                          Audrey's Star

      Audrey Hepburn was a humanitarian who knew that beauty resides in compassion and empathy. She left Hollywood and became a UNICEF representative to help raise public awareness about the organization's initiatives. With an elegant style, Audrey made a difference. I look to Audrey's style when I feel that there are different ways to solve problems, and I decide to do it with style.

       


      "In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous." Elsa Schiaparelli

      The fleur-de-lis has been used as a symbol of power and identification in Europe since the 12th century. But after a revolution or two, this French symbol came down to the street. Recently I found a pair of high-top canvas sneakers with a fleur-de-lis pattern.

       

              
             Gloves 1936                                                 Collar 1937                                 Hat 1937

      Here is a woman after my own heart. A brave and unique individual who created her own path. The non-conformist fashion visionary Elsa Schiaparelli fearlessly challenged the status quo during the last century. She found inspiration from the work of many artists. Her designs continue to inspire many of today’s designers. Elsa’s bravery encourages me to go my own way, and to hell with 'em. I'm going shopping.

       

                 

      Here are a few of the many fun items now available in my new collection, Text & Tonic, on my website. I hope you'll find something there to add colour and style to your home.

      Stay tuned for G,  H and I next week.

      Hasta luego,

      Val



       





      TEXT & TONIC - A B C May 18 2020, 0 Comments

       
      As mentioned in my previous blog, I'd like to introduce you to TEXT & TONIC, a series of graphic designs I've created using three elements:  pattern, alphabet, and quotations.  Let's begin at the beginning...


       
      "I’m a woman of very few words, but lots of action." Mae West

      I've placed Mae West’s quote about action on a version of the argyle pattern. This pattern became popular in the 1920's when it showed up on the Duke of Windsor’s sports outfits.  I wonder what Mae would say about that.

      Mae was a woman of action and courage, with a genius for comedy. Over her seventy year career, Mae understood that she had to challenge the customs of the day, take risks, and at times, live outside the law in order to be successful. She landed in jail briefly in the twenties, saved Paramount from bankruptcy in the thirties, and was at one time the highest paid woman in the USA. In 1935 Mae's lips even inspired Salvador Dali to design a sofa.  

      Mae West knew how to make enemies and she understood how to turn enemies into friends. From her, I've learned that disobedience, wit, action, and charm, can take us far. Later, we can relax on a red sofa.  




      "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

      I’ve put Eleanor Roosevelt's quote on a stylized version of the basket weave pattern. Images of woven baskets were found over 20,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Woven baskets are seen still in markets all around the world. Some things will always enure.

      Eleanor Roosevelt's legacy has been woven into our history. In her quote, she encourages us to believe in the beauty of our dreams knowing that dreams lead us into the future.

      If You Ask Me

      This remarkable woman turned many of her dreams into reality. We've reaped the rewards of here actions, including her contribution to the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’m reminded  by Eleanor Roosevelt to believe in my dreams....and to dream big. 



       
       When you have confidence, you feel like you’re much younger. Maye Musk

      The striking chevron pattern is the background for a quote from Maye Musk. This pattern shows up in Ancient Greece, in Byzantine architecture, European heraldry, and in contemporary decor.

        

      a queen's headress        Maye Musk photo

      Maye Musk is the epitome of self confidence. She tells me that confidence and decades of hard work can lead to success. With the right amount of confidence, I feel that I could fly to the moon...I'm working on it.

      I’m reminded that there are many extraordinary women who have made their mark in history by thinking outside the box and asking questions. Women like: Émilie du Châtelet, who was a scientist and intellectual in the 1800s; the Countess of Lovelace who was the world’s first computer programmer in the mid-1800s; and Rosalind Miles who wanted to know Who Cooked The Last Supper? 

      I like to think about all these wonderful women when I'm taking a walking. They're good companions and good for my confidence.

                  

      Here are just three of the many new items available on my website. These patterns and strong quotes are the foundation of this new design series. You're sure to find something there to brighten your home.

      Stay tuned for D, E, and F next week.

      Hasta luego,

      Val


      TEXT & TONIC - A to Z May 07 2020, 0 Comments

      It’s time celebrate Mother Earth’s gift of Spring: life’s eternal pattern of change and regeneration.

       

      In the spirit of change, I’ve been inspired to create a colourful design series, using three features: pattern, the alphabet, and quotations.

      I’ve chosen 26 patterns, starting with argyle ending with zigzag. The origins of these patterns are fascinating and I'm happy to share their story with you in my upcoming blog  series.

      With each new design, a single letter is the visual focus. I've been inspired by artists who have used the alphabet in unique, creative ways. Illustrator Edward Gorey applied his style to a very enjoyable alphabet book called The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

       

      Quotations are the third feature of this design project. I'll introduce you to some remarkable women who offer us their words of wisdom--some sincere, some hilarious. When Amelia Earhart in her quote tells us that "There's more to life than just being a passenger", we know she's telling us that we can be brave and we can fly on our own. I'm looking up, Amelia.

      I'm looking forward to sharing my new designs with you beginning next Tuesday, May 12th. Until then....


      Hasta luego,
      Val