10" plate, blue/gold winter scene, 1979 Arabia, scandanavian ceramics
Oh, I wish it could be Christmas everyday-yay... then I'd use this plate non-stop.

• 10" date plate, Raija Uosikkinen for Finland's ever-popular Arabia


illustration of white dove in decorative bush of mistletoe
Here's a pair of recycled lithographic Christmas cards that never quite made it into production. When we changed supplier all our paper became recycled and made these guys sort of superfluous. Hopefully one day I'll find another job for them.
Christmas illustration of robin in holly bush


Alex Moulton F-Frame bike

Moulton Marathon in British Racing Green 
Alex Moulton, 1920—2012
I remember the first part of Steven Claydon's bacchanalian after-show party pretty well, though later events became noticeably less distinct in recollection... before receding from memory entirely. Luckily for me the exhibition itself lingers in the mind with crystalline, sober clarity. If you're in London's west end for some Christmas shopping you could do worse than flee the crowds for a five minute culture fix.

Sadie Coles, 4 New Burlington Place, London W1
29 November 2012 – 26 January 2013


Perfect weather for penguins this week. While Robert Bright's Which is Willy? (1963, Windmill Press) is wonderfully wintery, this really gets our little wings flapping with anticipation.


Whoever designed this flyer must be too cool for Crimbo or something... what's with the architecture and bold sans serif? I want sausage dogs in Santa hats with jingle bells galore. Still, hopefully the event will be full of festive fun with bargains by the sack-load. I'll be selling my usual quality seconds at rock-bottom prices and getting all squiffy on warm beverages that taste like old man's aftershave. Now, that must have sold it to you!

Friday December 7, 6.30pm-10.30pm
Saturday December 8 2012, 12pm-6pm
Great Western Studios, 65 Alfred Road, London W2



The three months of winter start today and I'm thinking we've got enough wood to keep warm. There's a heap of scrap this year but it'll burn well enough alongside the good stuff. Looks like we're not the only ones hunkering down; Pocket just loves this cover (made from parachutes by a Polish PoW), then again, there's probably a tell-tale layer of fur on every soft surface around here.


No prizes for guessing what I'm up to this weekend... if you're in the area you might want to get up to it too!



Fisher Price musical toy 1970s

Rätt Start
Bumkins bib from Moma Store
The boy hits 6 months this weekend. I know people don't generally celebrate half birthdays but we're told it's a significant milestone on the journey of parenthood... it's also an excellent excuse to thank friends and family for some of their beautiful gifts. Keep 'em coming!
Flensted Mobiles
crabapple cheeks



Bird Cherry and Walnut

So saddening to see the probable fate of the UK's Ash trees turn ever more certain with steady spread of Chalara fraxinea, or Ash Dieback. Maybe it's because trees occupy that time-frame somewhere between the human life-span and deep geological time that we imbue the landscape they create with something like permanence.

When Charles Raymond (of Joy of Sex fame) completed these illustrations in 1973 the Elm was falling prey to the disease that decimated their population. Still, it's heartening to know, irrespective of our blunders here on the surface, all known horticultural specimens form part of Svalbard Global Seed Vault, interned 120 meters beneath a Norwegian sandstone mountain.
1970s horticultural illustration

Cyril Hart & Charles Raymond


Radio On

Jacob Jensen for B&O 1978/79
The BBC celebrate 90 years of radio this week and, given the choice, we'd all be listening in on Jacob Jensen's colourful old Beolit 707 while we print... shame they're either all busted-up or bucket-loads of money!



I do enjoy a topical post, no matter how tenuous, so when it came time to congratulate the US on Obama's second term, where better to look than The Museum of American Folk Art's 1983 book, Expressions of a New Spirit? As you might expect, there's a heap of beautiful quilts and these lovely newspaper patterns for a Bird of Paradise bridal piece (1858-63).


The 5th

French children's illustration 1969

French children's illustration 1969

Remember, remember the Fifth of November? In the little town of Lewes it's impossible to forget. Shop fronts are boarded up, folk test the fireworks months in advance and take their Bonfire processions so seriously that it's nearly no fun at all. 

French children's illustration 1969
Musical nightscapes from Images qui Chantent, Edition Fleurus, 1969/1971


Danse Macabre

Ub Iwerks
Ub Iwerks

Wonderful Halloween themed drawings by Ub Iwerks for early Disney animation Skeleton Dance, 1929. In the intervening years our collective attention span has become so worn that this so-called short now seems interminable.
Ub Iwerks


We Say Meow

So nice to be featured on the cat-tastic We Say Meow. Seems there's not just a correlation between Felis domesticus and eccentric spinsterhood but with illustrators too! You can paw over some of our stuff alongside some amazing artists and their furry feline friends. It's also great excuse for me to post this whiskered wonder from 1966 by Arnold Varga.



Spent last weekend staying with pals in London's bright autumnal sunlight. We felt like just-landed aliens from a US film, eyeing the human hubbub and sudden wealth of stuff with a too naked curiosity, putting away pastries like we'd never tasted your Earth food.

The baby went to his first private view too, Hannah Sawtell's crisply coherent Vendor at the Bloomberg Space but like good parents we swerved the after-show party for some more of your Earth food. And, though we'd missed the opening of Simon Martin's UR Feeling at The Camden Arts Centre, we caught up with him after the Sunday talk from Frieze's Dan Fox.

Simon's work may look like a dour museological re-presentation of the C20th anthropological artefact but plays-out like an ultra-hip cultural studies lecture. Neither entirely canonical nor wholly obscure, works selected here seem to operate on the boundaries of this-or-that discipline. This sharp curatorial collection forms the research for a forthcoming film and includes pieces from Sottsass, Burton and Shore, alongside his own open-edition poster, a knowing skit on the structural exposé of New Wave marketing. 

from top: Richard Artschwager, Chair, edition of 6, 1965-2000 // Storm Thorgerson/Hipgnosis, LP cover for XTC's Go2, 1978 // Ettore Sottsass/Memphis, Malabar room divider, 1982 // Stephen Shore, Twenty-First and Spruce Street, 1974



Child's cane rocking chair
This Liberty Bauhaus fabric cost 99p from Oxfam, I hoped the muted palette might suit this tiny cane rocking chair. I've always been game for a bit of ad hoc upholstery but this is my first attempt at piping. I'm thinking it looks pretty good... from a distance!



Though we're all out of wall space, I'm still thinking these dozen polygons should look well framed up for the kid. Let's just hope he never asks me to solve any of 'em, it's tough enough orientating the bits back in the box!   


Farrar, Straus & Cudahy 1959

Idling through an advertising annual from 1959, I was struck by this Leonard Baskin (1922-2000) carving, its downbeat countenance and the similarity to the countless characters of Barry McGee. If you've not seen McGee's work or that of his late wife, Margaret Kilgallen, you could always watch this or this. My hipster tolerance is set way too low to watch Beautiful Losers though.

• from 38th Annual of Advertising/Editorial Art/Design, Farrar, Straus & Cudahy


Most Eksellent

Olle Eksell Pencil Alphabet Letters

Olle Eksell Pencil Alphabet Letters

Sköna Skämt is an international survey of cartoonists and, while its contents are broadly mired in the politics of the period (1985), the alphabetised chapter headings by Swedish designer, Olle Eksell, have aged with exceptional grace. I know it's wrong to destroy a book, but they'll make the greatest children's wall frieze. And how did I choose which letters to scan here? They all appear in Lisa Jones Studio, of course. Yep, I really am that childish!

Olle Eksell Pencil Alphabet Letters



The centennial birthday of 20th century giant of no-music (and mycology), John Cage, is a good reason to re-post this picture I've had sitting on my desktop for who-knows-how-long. As unassuming as ever, I'm guessing that carrier bag's just full of fungi.



We've been selling this card for over a year now, but every time it went onto screen some aspect of the artwork was missing; once the heart, then the poodle's bow! Finally printing off a few hundred, I got to thinking about the telephone box (the K2 in particular) and how the curve of the roof is based on Sir John Soane's family tomb. Part of his own architectural vernacular, you can see the domed-square especially clearly on The Dulwich Picture Gallery. This seemed like the kind of trivia you might pick up watching The London Nobody Knows (1969) or, even better, Patrick Kellior's elegiac London (1994).

John Soane K2 telephone kiosk

Of all paeans to London though, Patrick Hamilton's Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky (1935) steals the best title, suggesting the manifold intertwining narratives of millions, humbled by the city's scale. But then I accidentally read Wordsworth's Upon Westminster Bridge (1802) while searching for something in an entirely different emotional key. Just beautiful.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!