Scandinavian home craft

Lotta Jansdotter has a worldwide reputation for handprinting patterns which are used on textiles, notebooks and household interiors.

“Can’t find what you want?  Make it!  Don’t know how?  Learn it!” is how her website describes her pragmatic approach, much of her printing based on simple potato cut prints, in repeating patterns.

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Her fabrics are stocked by Windham Fabrics but you can learn the techniques of handprinting fabrics in workshops – this year, she ran several in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Brooklyn.

She is planning a source trip to Japan in 2018, and if you’d like join up with her in Tokyo for a workshop, her website are taking names and email addresses for contacting.

On the other hand, if she’s still off your beaten track, any library or good bookshop is likely to be able to quickly source one of her books, where she shows you how to print fabric, make it into a cushion cover or apron, with simple sewing skills.

If you like this Scandinavian style, you might also enjoy the graphic drawings of “children’s” book characters the Moomins.  There’s a immersive exhibition of the Moomins just opened today in the South Bank Centre, London.  The exhibition is obviously geared towards families with kids – but the Moomins (written by Tove Jansson) have an appeal and iconic status for adults also.

Exhibition details at:


Another Way of Looking

Tatsuya Tanaka has been shaping everyday things into landscapes with miniature people figures…. this video is silent (why not have fun trying different background music to it).

See for more, many more, and there is a fresh picture daily.  The maker has been publishing a new one daily, so far for 4 years and counting.  It has become a regular project, running in public.

I wonder if there is some little fun creative thing you do which people like – could it become a daily challenge?  Repetition forces you to think outside the box, and look for new ways of doing something similar.

Think small. It may be beautiful.



Daily Discipline of an artist

Henri Matisse was a prolific artist – his firm daily discipline during his time at Riviera was:

dawn: Club Nautique: row in canoe for 2 hours

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9 a.m. start painting.  Work 3 hours.

Lunchbreak.  Nap.  Then write correspondence – family and friends.

4 pm Restart painting, paint til daylight fades

Draw with pencil by artificial light


(6 days a week)

(from Richard E Grant’s BBC programme: “The Riviera – A History in Pictures)

This may sound surprising to people who believe the cliche that artists are irresponsible, lazy over-emotional characters.  But when you look at someone who made great art, often, during their lifetime, they are actually hardworkers.  It was that regular turning up at the easel, putting in the hours, making a great deal of art – and destroying much of it which they felt didn’t work out – gave them space to experiment but rigorously edit out all but the best, to keep enough successes to make a dent in Art History.

Brief Playlist for evening drive

As I drove home tonight along the plummy blue-violets of the evening, reflected in the firth, these few tracks from a playlist hatched a year ago, seemed to match the mystery of the atmosphere:

Brilliance   “The Sun will rise”

Mumford and Sons “Sigh no more”

Page CXVI  “Be thou my vision”

Scott Blackwell “Hallelujah”

Port Blue “Up Ship”


Rocking chair – heritage from the Highlands


This incredibly comfortable and beautiful design by Angus Ross is handmade in the Highlands of Scotland.  Made in hardwoods such as oak, cherry, maple, ash and walnut – this is a heritage item, so bear that in mind when you view the price.  It is sculpture, but also gives kinetic movement.


Hokusai – master artist/printmaker – exhibition

From 4 June, Documentary film “Hokusai” will be shown at selected cinemas in UK

25 May – 13 August Exhibition at British Museum “Hokusai – beyond the Great Wave”


The exhibition will include prints, paintings and illustrated books, many of which are on loan from Japan, Europe and the USA. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these extraordinary works together.                                 – British Museum

Cinemas showing the film include Inverness, Aberfeldy, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Alnwick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Liverpool, Sheffield, Brighton, Cambridge, Canterbury, London, Plymouth, Exeter, Swansea, Cardiff, Dublin, Cork……

Full list at:

Ceramics – Sytch Farm Studios SY5 7LL

From subtle textural fossil to glowing coloured interiors of vessels… Sytch Farm Studios has got it going on.  Potter Gill Thompson throws, turns and glazes the works, in Shropshire, England SY5 7LL – and you can choose from a wide range of colourways to make your own dinner service (a lovely indulgence for a wedding list!).  If you have an order value over £200, you can commission to your requirements.

Also available (see bottom of page) beautifully shaped wooden boards for chopping or simply serving food upon, from same address, made by Jon.

Find out more at:

Pricing e.g. (according to a recent The Sunday Times article) 2 breakfast bowls costs £40.

Meadow Green dinner service
Golden Rain colourway


Made from hardy stoneware, the eating/drinking vessels are dishwasher safe.

Also available from the same address – wonderful wooden boards by Jon – in elm, walnut, oak, plane woods.  (reminiscent of Henry Moore shapes)board-selection-gallery-img-2016-09-26-16-52-09.JPG