polaroid streamer snap

Roman numerals for our era are just too snappy.
Back in MCMLXXXVIII when the BBC ran copyright info at the end of each show, it read more like the curse-words from comic strips.

lonely tree polaroid

The media have been spoiling us of late with their take on the cultural highs-and-lows of the decade and, though I should resist the temptation to make my own list, it's certainly sad saying so-long to Polaroid Instant Film. I went Polaroid potty a while back, especially with the beautiful

cubist polaroid portrait


Independent Choice

I Choose You! made the Independent's Best Children's Books for Christmas list. It's always nice to get favourable copy... hitherto, most reviews have been of the '...and it fits in your handbag' variety.

Joanna at Silver Jungle was insistent on a point-of-sale container and, while I'll admit to initial resistance, I'm pleased with the result. However it's displayed, I'm also pretty pleased with the roll-call of stockists, which include...

Barbican • Bird • Bolingbroke Bookshop • Broadway Books • Cornerhouse • Daunts • Eden Project • Elphicks • Few & Far • Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge • Frank • Forty Four • Foyles • Green Apple • Koenig Books for Serpentine Gallery • Magma • My Little Eco • National Museum, Liverpool • Olive Loves Alfie • Owl Bookshop • Paul Smith • Queen's Park Books • Saachi Gallery • Salts Mill, Saltaire • Stanfords, Covent Garden • Tales on Moon Lane • Tate Britain • Tate Liverpool • Tate Modern • Waterstones Piccadilly

...and us online.


Plan UK

plan uk christmas cards

Just like Beyoncé I prefer not to talk about my charity work, though rummaging through some old stock boxes for last weekend's sale bonanza, I was disappointed not to find any of the cards we'd once designed for Plan UK. Luckily they still retail from their online store and at £4.75 for 10, they're a pretty affordable fund-raiser.


Weekend Wonderland

penguin recycled christmas card still life
London will become a veritable Venn diagram of bargains next weekend with seasonal sales on both sides of town...

As if they weren't busy enough with a third London outlet, one of our first and foremost stockists, Tatty Devine, will be adding their name to the star-studded list of stall-holders at Mangle's Xmas Sale. On offer will be t-shirts; prints; cards; books; bags; children's wear; accessories; tea/coffee; cakes and music. All from the likes of Marcus Walters; Ryantown; Luckybird and General Pattern (work pictured below). Oh, and us too.

general pattern james brown christmas tree

Mangle Xmas Sale
Tab Centre
, Tabernacle Baptist Church
3 Godfrey Place, Shoreditch, London E2 7NT
Saturday 12th December, 11am until 6pm, Admission free

Great Western will be showcasing their purpose-built (and now thoroughly heated) site with this inaugural open studio event. I'll be joining painters, sculptors, designers, illustrators, jewelers and makers as a guest exhibitor with my usual bazaar of goods from 50p.

I'll be especially curious to see Kate Gibb's pristine space. Her old garret, while not exactly Grey Gardens, nestled in years of layered source material and deeply embedded ephemera... fortunately captured on film for posterity.

The Great Western Studios
65 Alfred Road, London W2 5EU
Sat 12th & Sun 13th Dec, 12-6pm, Admission free



paxton and whitfield tote bag
While I'm not so hot on shopping tips, I am disproportionately smitten with my cheese shop tote. It reminds me a little of the New York Herald Tribune / Á Bout de Souf bags and t-shirts we printed at the start of the decade, only nicer. With grey web straps and a gusset, they're a mere £2.50 from Paxton & Whitfield's well-stinky shop on Jermyn Street.


Beep Beep

Red Double Decker Routemaster Bus
I can ferry a whole week's groceries on my bike if I cycle super-slow. Occasionally though, I just have to load up the little car with Lisa Jones goodies. One such upcoming event is the seasonal sale at Hampstead Womens' Club, which I do in the excellent company of Alice Tait. I'm sure she'll have an exceptional collection of prints for sale, including the bus below.

Ken Garland

Ken Garland
It'd be dumb to deny the car's leading role in our eco-dystopia, but it's always interesting to see the graphics of a more optimistic/naïve era; like Marimekko's infamous Bo Boo fabric or Galt, who (while under the auspices of Ken Garland Associates) could do little wrong.
Red Double Decker Routemaster Bus 
HWC 4th Annual Holiday Market Place
Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead NW3
Saturday 28 November, 10am - 3pm


Sweet Stuff

pastis de nata on cooling rack
There's some contention over the spelling (sometimes they're Pastis other times it's Pasteis de Nata), but why should I care? Either way those little Portuguese Egg Custards are plain delicious. Hence, no contest when asked to join an illustrious list of contributors and illustrate something sweet for the amazing Dessert Girl.


Spent fireworks always had a residual spark of melancholy in their rain-run colour and obliterated graphics. I still have trouble reconciling these earth-bound, day-lit husks with their sulphurous spectacle at night.


Ruth Duckworth, 1919-2009

The Art of the Modern Potter, 1977
There's a flurry of fluorescent post-it notes in my 1977 edition of Art of the Modern Potter, mostly marking Ruth Duckworth's pages. This short feature on her touring retrospective is a few years old, but makes for an exceptionally inspiring 7 minutes.



silk screen fox card

Forget restless spirits and trick-or-treaters this Halloween, it's these guys that rule on my street after dark.



Have I mentioned I Choose You! recently? Here's a couple of ideas for end-papers ousted from the project. We were eager for the book not to start and finish too abruptly, fortunately a third proposal made the grade.



A random stream of numbers maybe, but they're poetry to me... I've never had an ISBN. We've been
designing and illustrating I Choose You! for far longer than its simplicity suggests.

Ever since the contractual copies arrived, I've been losing five minutes here-and-there, idly picking it up, intently flicking through or, occasionally, even smelling the thing. And, yup, it smells just as good as a good picture-book should.

Sixteen characterful creatures with Joanna Skipwith's rampageous rhymes on 40 FSC colour pages, 978-0955265235 is available for wholesale from the publisher, Silver Jungle, or retails via their online store.



vintage geometric lawn dress textile

The perils of doubling-up the clothes on your hangers. Difficult to wear at the best of times, this dress had been hidden from view 'til it was far too cold already.



mixing inks for screen printing
Before I forget and a new issue comes out, I'm interviewed in UK Handmade's online quarterly. Of course, I'm not suggesting you cherish my every word, but the rest of the magazine's well worth investigation. Eco-living, arts and crafts, a smattering of horticulture and, most importantly... food!

I do wish I'd hoovered before the picture was taken.



autumnal squirrel and acorn illustration

We've been working on a handful of new designs, though some may prove too seasonal to become regular greetings. This little fella has the exact same colour-palatte as last night's ultra-autumnal pumpkin risotto.



A couple of old pals have exhibitions this month; Neil Tait has an overview of a year’s painting at the White Cube while, a few streets further east, Steven Claydon’s pieces completely disorientate a themed show at The Drawing Room.

More selfishly, I get to scoff waffles and take delivery of my new Acne trousers (so much cheaper in Scandinavia) as warm-hearted wunderkind, Daniel Rybakken, brings his deceptively icy brand of modernism to Norwegian Prototypes as part of London Design Festival.

daniel rybakken aluminium mirror



barbara fürstenhöfer poole 6 inch summer plate
There had to be a good reason for being at Preston Flea Market one freezing afternoon last year and perhaps this little Poole plate was it. Titled Summer II, its harvest theme is right on the cusp of autumn. The effect of the scene is a contrast I enjoy in real life too, when everything’s struck bright with sunlight against the gloom.

• Summer II, 6” plate by Barbara Fürstenhöfer for Poole, 1980


New Site

screen shot

I realise Paul Riley hasn’t devised a way of getting fresh water to remote African villages, but he’s still a hero. From a few scrappy files, hundreds of images and garbled suggestions riddled with bad terminology, he fashioned our wonderful new website.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a little grumbling about the workload vs. the miniscule timeframe and budget. Look at it this way Paul, at least I kept you from skulking off to the skate park every five minutes; broken bones heal slowly at our age!

screen shot



If I had more lives to live I’d begin another blog, an inventory of scraps found marking the pages in used books. So far I have tickets (old, new, foreign and familiar); photographs; curious confectionery wrappers; shopping lists and two full letters!

peter blake a4 1985 ambit invite

This A4 invite to Ambit’s 1985 Art Show was a good find. From the pages of a Louis MacNeice poetry collection, it’s not so much a colour copy as an ancient Xerox with coloured toner.

Aside from citations in arts articles, my knowledge of Ambit’s output is fairly limited; the current show upstairs at east London’s Raven Row has helped fill the gaps. As ever, and much to my chagrin, Paolozzi’s work from The Jet Age Compendium makes screen printing seem a vehicle of boundless possibilities.


Hallo Haru!

lisa and edward at the studio

Occasionally visitors will break monotony at the studio, one-off meetings or regulars for tea and sympathy. Especially welcome recently were Ayako (from Japanese agent
Tiny Crown) and her wonderful son, Haruniwa. Spotting all the potential perils in the studio takes a keen eye, but there’s never been such happy distraction from work!

edward and haruniwa with london transport poster in johnston ITC
Next time perhaps I’ll bring my camera too, that way you’ll see far more of them and a bit less of us.


Picture Book

vintage childrens maths book illustrated by enrico arno
Straight Lines, Parallel Lines, Perpendicular Lines, Mannis Charosh (illus. Enrico Arno), Black, 1970


Summer Interlude

Minus the tragedy, my annual dream of summer... maybe next year.

ingmar bergman's summer interlude page spread from imagesSummer Interlude, 1951 (Images, Ingmar Bergman, Bloomsbury, 1994).


Tea Towels

kitchen still life with fairtrade owl tea towel
I swear we need some worker elves; it seems like months since we decided to adapt two print designs for fairtrade organic tea towels. Of course it was a breeze out-sourcing the printing, but just as we’re through with quality control, packaging and branding, everyone’s off on their summer hols!

fairtrade packaged tea towel



new piccadilly cafe card
new piccadilly cafe card

I’m not sure why ‘ephemera’ (the grouping for flies that hatch and die within a day) has come to describe so well those unclassified scraps of paper that narrowly avoid the bin. Cycling by London’s old New Piccadilly Cafe, clad now in diagonal batons of fly-poster proofing, I’m pleased I kept their card.


New Space

Finally finished the month-long move into a studio on the other side of town. The new space comes with no fewer than ten keys… directly symbolic of the minutes it now takes to unlock each door.

My trusty old print bench proved just too big to budge, but now the new one’s up and in I think it maybe growing on me a little; clunky as a piece of De Stijl design and red as the Ettore Sottsass Valentine typewriter.


Cloud Project

I’m sure Show 2 at the RCA will be remembered by many as the place they’d been when this week’s shocking news broke. My graduating friend, Zoe Papadopoulou, hadn’t been in touch for a while and when I saw how busy she’d been pimping this ice cream van, I completely understood why.

Emulating cloud activity and nanotechnology, she sort of served up the essence of extracted flavours without the substance. The project was intended to highlight current nano-scale experimentation that aims to influence the biosphere as a whole, especially the release of CO2. All this and nice graphics too!

I’m guilty of not having seen the rest of the show, though my partner spent ages seeking out new design innovations… if some men love bicycles and radios so dearly, how come they crave seeing them constantly reinvented?


Artist's Rides

• Francis Picabia, 1940

• Yvonne Rainer, 1950



Seeing another article on Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama yesterday reminded me of a recent dinner with old pal, Virgene Valout… so many intriguing objects in her home (including Bingo the cat) it would’ve been rude to start photographing them all, so I settled for this spotty table.


Open Studio

Though next weekend sees another Open Studio event at GWS, it’ll be the last at the present site. The Lost Goods Building will soon be making way for London’s utterly superfluous Crossrail project. Many of the artists, designers and makers will be relocating just a few meters up the road, but I still reckon they’ll be hell-bent on selling everything super-cheap.

I’ll be doing my usual frantic bazaar of discontinued styles and slight seconds at 50p, maybe some drawings and tentatively testing out a couple of ceramic bits too. It’s taken a while for me to work out a molding method that gives me acceptably consistent but unique results.

Open Studios
June 6th & 7th 12-6pm
Great Western Studios
The Lost Goods Building
Great Western Road
London W9 3NY


Shutting Shops

I’ve been away for a while and trying to avoid crashing back to everyday life with a bump, I took a more meandering route to the studio only to see one of my favourite junk shops gutted with the shutters down. Run by a couple of slightly camp geezer-types with bifocals on elegant chains and pyramids of dog-ends in the ashtray, they had a tattered but extensive dictionary of artists and if someone’s name was in it, prices would soar.moya cozens framed bird printMostly I treated it as a mini-museum, I’d had a handful of interesting things over the years (like this gloomy Moya Cozens print) but to think of the curios I’d earmarked selling at everything-must-go prices in my absence just makes me shudder. Still, as one-door closes another opens, quite literally; there’s a lovely new bike shop a few doors down.