Friday, March 22, 2013

The Folded Page

First off, I'm experimenting with a new font, which for me is like Sophie's Choice as I know-what-I-like-&-like-what-I-know regarding text settings. But with the banal aside, Having recently finished a bookbinding course myself, I thought I'd share with you one of our lovely  papercraft designers, Rosy and her clever creation that is The Folded Page.

Landbaby met Rosy in February last year when we started to stock some of Her Heart-Books, just in time for Valentines Day. Originally, we had them here & there in the shop, as part of pretty, themed displays and they really fitted-in with other items by some of our regular artists & designers. So because of this and also because of the great reception Rosy's work received by our lovely customers, it wasn't long before we began receiving folded books in various colours, shapes, sizes & designs.

Customers (and myself!) are always so shocked to hear that Rosy doesn't use any scissors, scalples or knives in creating her small-wonders. IT'S ALL FOLDED. Which baffles me when I think back to trying to simply fold a paper aeroplane, or one of those four pointed fortune-tellers in which you were usually insulted by the end of your choosing of colours & numbers.


Whilst The Folded Page heart-books have been ideal as 'sweet nothing' gifts or Valentines Day presents, Rosy's folded-text books have equally gone down a storm; they've been a fantastic alternative to any of our albeit wonderful, prints and peices of jewellery as customers have realised the intricate work that has gone into creating such decorative items and how they'll make wonderfully personal gifts.
If however, you're not sold on a local-lass spending hours folding pages of a book into words such as 'Love', 'Hello' etc being a personal gift, then fear not! Rosy's Etsy page shows just how personal you can get with a folded- page book. Rosy makes anything from a folded celtic knot to folded initials of a loved-up couple and it's items such as these which make her work so desirable and unqiue, in that you won't be picking one these up from the Homeware dep' in John Lewis!

And like I've said before, social media goes a long way in showcasing the work of stunning artists such as Rosey; The Folded Page Facebook  has more than 1,000 'likes' and is constantly being updated with personal thoughts from Rosy, new ideas, posts of newly created books & the like. There's such an interaction with 'likers' on her page that really show why there is such love for Rosy's work from us here at Landbaby: it's inventive, intricate and ingenius and fits in so, so well with all of our other items by artists & designers. You should definitley check out a video made by Rosey showing her work from start to finish...


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Deborah Ballinger Illustrations

Most definitely the one to watch-out for in the shop for the coming spring & summer months (I use 'spring' and 'summer' with a pinch of salt- judging by the dreary days March has so far brought us!). Deborah Ballinger (formerly known as Raccoon Press) is an amazingly talented freelance- illustrator who creates all manner of things floral, intricate, inventive and simply beautiful.

We originally began to stock Deborah's work because of how well it works alongside that of
The Aviary and their recent exhibition we've had on display in store. But Deborah is a talented artist in her own right, whose unusual work makes her distinctive from a lot of other contemporary illustrators; you only have to pay her website a visit to notice how broad her body of work is, from a fantastic wordpress blog to personal commissions & custom patterns.


Having explored Deborah's web pages, I have become obsessed with her collaboration with a professional shirt maker, Victoria Eames-Fernandez and their brilliant idea of combining two different modes of art to create something extra special for more-than-appreciative individuals. As someone very much into their tailored, well made clothing, I think I may have to be placing an order in for one of these. Here's an example of this collaboration from Deborah's website, by far my favourite!

Whilst we don't have any of Deborah's apparel in Landbaby, we do have (and keep an eye out for more upcoming stuff!) various other stunning creations by her. A really popular item in the shop has been the patterned origami writing set. Available in two different patterns, each pack contains excellent quality writing paper, envelopes, stickers and sheets of origami instructions to turn your love letters, hate mail & general correspondence into a blooming paper flower. These sets make excellent gifts, look lovely on the edge of a book shelf and are a brilliant modern twist on the old favourite of letter writing.

If you're a Landbaby regular, you'll know that we do love a good tote bag and Deborah doesn't disappoint: using her original designs, she has created an excellent range of totes with designs that are simple and clean in their lines but are coloured beautifully with various pastel shades (like the wonderful origami writing sets, these have been a very popular with you lovely shoppers)
Admiring Deborah's work, it really reminds of traditional tattooing and how that similarly uses thicker, bolder outlines, clean-cut lines and builds upon this with colour and ingenuity regarding style and design- this is what attracted me to the pieces created by Deborah, both in Landbaby, and also when browsing her website and
facebook; how she doesn't seem to shy away from bold, unusual prints but more so, how there's a definite rethinking in how to 'create' in the current independent scene- creating naturalistic graphics but making them into temporary tattoos, illustrating using the conventional pencil, but creating some of the most stunning, macabre images I've seen, such as the 'Howl' piece on her website.

So, next time you're in store, have a good look at all of Deborah's work which we have in stock (and stay tuned on our facebook for when we have more of her stunning items in). Her work compliments the shop and other current designers we hold perfectly, yet still remains unique; Deborah's floral patterns and designs are refreshing to see- a brilliant alternative to seeing Cath Kidston, Emma Bridgewater etc prints everywhere you turn and this is what I love about independent artists and businesses- the ingenuity and hard work that goes into their creations and how it sets them aside from the high street and chain stores. Something which Deborah Ballinger Illustrations more than succeeds in doing!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's our Birthday !

this week on the run up to our 5th birthday here at the bluecoat and our 8th year in business, we'll be sharing the love and running giveaways over on our Facebook page .
Each day you have the chance to win something from the shop, all you have to do is LIKE or SHARE the image posted , and then each night I'll pick a winner at random's that simple.


and the winner of Monday's giveaway is ......

Caroline Maclennan

And the winner of Tuesday's giveaway is ..... 

Emma swift

And the winner of Wednesday's giveaway is ......

Rebecca Chrystall

And the winner of thursday's giveaway is .....

Sarah Pugh

And the winner of Friday's giveaway is ......

Arron Mitchell

well done everyone, please email me with your address thanks .

Friday, March 1, 2013

finding beauty in the everyday, the overlooked, the once loved, the almost lost”

The Aviary

I am just going to presume that you have ventured into Landbaby over the past few weeks and gazed in wonder at our current exhibition by Victoria Foster, one half of the extremely talented The Aviary. Initially, the exhibition was meant to last only several weeks but because of the exceptional reception it’s received (many thanks beautiful admirers of Landbaby!) we’re going to extend it a little furthe

Displayed on our feature wall of the shop- along with the much loved, seasonally decorated stag’s head- the exhibition of The Aviary’s work is one to be marvelled at. The clean lines of the framing and the simple white backgrounds make the intricately detailed, natural, beautifully coloured designs stand out for admiration (and jealousy) by all. It is only on closer inspection that you notice the finite detail that has gone into creating these stunning pieces and this is where you’ll notice the said “beauty in the everyday, the overlooked and the almost lost” that Victoria successfully creates in her unique work. But fear not! Although this is an exhibition, you can still purchase the art and once you have gazed at how well Victoria uses colour, patterns and niche designs, you will have a moral obligation to do so. My personal favourite is the small accordion fold-out design containing various connecting prints. (If you’re reading this my and you’re feeling generous, it's birthday on Sunday…)

Nonetheless, Victoria is not a one trick pony! She has recently sent us a selection of smaller prints (which look extra special when framed in a lighter frame!) and greetings cards which have been of a very high demand for Valentine’s Day and are still continuing to be. In a recent Seven Streets interview (and those of you who are followers of creative activity in Liverpool, will know that a Seven Streets appreciation is more than a good thing) said that she loves translating her drawings across a range of surfaces and this is definitely the case when you take a look at The Aviary’sFacebook page. It shows an exciting array of new & upcoming products for spring and summer 2013 including organic cotton cushions (the floral heart design being my favourite) and more recently printed T-Shirts. I truly believe that the success of The Aviary as a unique, specialised beautiful craft collaboration is due to the service in which both Victoria and Ben provide; constantly updating their facebook page with unusual images, pictures of their work in progress and most importantly, polls to determine what their appreciators would most like to see them work with next- I believe we’re all on tenterhooks for the spring men’s & women’s tees and tops!

To end, I thought I’d share with you my own tale of appreciation for The Aviary...So, it’s the middle of October and I’ve suddenly had a panic that my mum is the big 50 in late December. You may well be thinking “that’s around eight weeks away”, but I like to put a lot, probably too much, thought into my gift giving. I trawled the internet for hours, trying to search out something that the mother would like (bearing in mind she’s very fussy and allergic to nearly everything but fresh air) when I stumbled upon a review for a stunning pendant from The Aviary. I got in touch with Victoria and she was so helpful sending the pendant to me in gift wrap that would put ‘Harrods’to shame. Months later (once I’d spent hours trying to find where I so brilliantly hid the gift) my mum opened the pendant with sheer delight and appreciation. She could not believe the detail that went in to combining the stunning swallow piece and the antique optical lens. Aside from her wedding ring, this is one piece of jewellery I rarely see her without.


Remeber! You can still pop-in and take a look at Victoria's work in the shop (and all our other stunning items, for that matter) as we've extended the exhibition. Believe me, it's definitley worth it.