News

TEXT & TONIC - M N O June 09 2020, 0 Comments


My latest blog introduces you to three exceptional women, artists who overcame obstacles, adversity, and discrimination, then became famous, and shared their abundance.

 

 

Where there is a woman, there is magic.  Ntozake Shange 

     

                  Ntozake Shange                                         That’s a Moiré 

I find the moire pattern interesting because there's always an impression of motion. Sometimes it appears suddenly, but it's always fun to play with.

Ntozake Shange was an amazing black feminist, American,  playwright and poet, whose work focused on race and black power. She was a pioneer in theatre arts, blending poetry, music, dance and drama. The 'choreopoem' shook the theatre world and challenged the traditional three-act structure.

 

I wasn't really naked. I simply didn't have any clothes on.  Josephine Baker

      

Josephine Baker                                    Mosquito net suit

The net pattern is seen in many different places: fishing nets, mosquito nets, and in the medical profession. But it's in fashion that the net pattern reveals itself at its most flamboyant.

In 1926, the 20 year old Josephine Baker  left America and landed in Paris, where she fascinated the French with her outrageous dancing style and was celebrated by artists and intellectuals of the era. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre, was a fearless civil rights activist, and created her own Rainbow Tribe family of adopted children. And she showed the French a few things about dressing in style.

 

 

There are no mistakes, only opportunities.  Tina Fey

    

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow                        Tina Fey

The ogee pattern first appeared in the middle east and by the 14th century Europe it was used in Venetian Gothic and Gothic Revival architectural styles. This old world pattern has travelled through history and now decorates our contemporary homes.

Tina Fey is an award winning actress, comedian, writer, producer, and playwright. For her enormous contribution to the entertainment industry, she has been voted the Entertainer of the year and won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Tina is known for her commitment to charity works and global development projects. 

 

The three inspirational quotations in this blog appear on a variety of home decor products in the Text & Tonic design series. They're available on my website. May they always inspire you.

               

 

I'm looking forward to writing my next blog about three more fascinating women and their words of wisdom.

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 12 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


      A Message To My Readers September 20 2017, 0 Comments

       

       Welcome to my corner of the internet. I've been designing cards for a few years and look forward to sharing regular new creations with you, whether you are someone looking for a card for a special occasion, another card designer, or someone looking to sell my cards in your shop. I hope you'll find something here for you, or someone you love and care about.

      Future posts will include updates on card offerings, some behind the scenes peaks at my process and what influences me.  I will share inspiring quotes and thoughtful words of great minds of poets, writers, musicians, philosophers, and artists. But there's more…

      I'm going to offer you, my reader, regular tips on writing meaningful messages for celebration, condolence, and appreciation. We all love to buy and give cards, but sometimes we lack the words to say, ' I love you', 'I appreciate you', or 'I am sorry'.  I will help you with that. 

      I always welcome reader feedback, so if you have something to share on a topic, a question, or want to suggest a future post or card, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section or send me an email.

      Hasta luego!

      Val