When I was young the mug making game was pretty much nailed down by KilnKraft, they'd brand the base of the piece in relief and the artwork would incorporate a separate credit elsewhere (usually near the handle on the far side of a right-handed drinker). Maybe that's why we weren't so bothered about having a backstamp of our own, despite everyone's protestations.

Now we're changing suppliers it seems a good time to capitulate, we've spent all week sketching different designs until forced to surrender, letting the mind go blank and willing the right idea to announce itself sometime soon. It's uncanny how many times you want to use the Dover Street Market or Ordning & Reda logos without thinking. In the meantime, we'll probably go for some pedestrian button motif.


I still couldn't help doing a little research though, up-ending everything I laid hands on. My favourite things were these scrappy little drawings in a pocket-sized antiques guide. Sketched like occultish glyphs by Stanley Fisher, they have the all the scratchy symbolism of silvery tattoos from the bodies of sailors and convicts in early photography.

• English Pottery & Porcelain Marks, W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd, 1970


From Behind

winter scene painted on glass

I've had this folksy little glass painting for years, although I've always hated the frame. This week I salvaged some beading to make another, revealing the simple technique in the process. Built up in layers like old cell animation, the rear reminds me of Color Field abstraction.

winter scene painted on glass


London Underground Logo

Spent the first week of the year in London catching up with the friends we've missed so desperately since moving to Sussex*. Nice as it was, it wasn't all bad coming back to our little house (and Pocket, the cat, was certainly pleased to see us), but I still can't help wishing the tube stopped somewhere nearer the foot of our hill.

* Our thoughts are with one friend in particular right now, whose family last week began to realise their 19 year struggle for justice over the murder of Stephen Lawrence.


Hello and Happy New Year! This festive season I learned that Judy Garland's later, faltering rendition of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' can make a lot of tears from only a little alcohol; that a wreath on the door scratches like a hungry monster once the wind picks up; and that spontaneous applause, such as greeted Vaclev Havel's casket, is the finest eulogy a person can hope for.

The annual visit to the UK high street also taught me that Navajo prints are just about everywhere. I guess that means a cherished tablecloth (actually Scandinavian) and the cat's favourite throw (acid dyed blue in the bath) will soon seem passé to those in-the-know. If I could have anything genuinely Navajo though, irrespective of trend, it'd be the 1930s monogrammed rug gifted to George Herriman, creator of Krazy Kat (I've been saving a picture of this for years, only right now I can't find it).