Thing of Beauty

something to make your heart sing

LifeBOOK: “Gee’s Bend: the Architecture of the Quilt”


Some books are fictional, some are what I’m going to call LifeBOOKs – books which help you read life.  Books you remember because they open doors, open eyes, make you see and understand things you didn’t before you opened the covers.  I hope to pull some of these down off my shelves and review them now and then.



Patchwork: Gee’s Bend

After all the fuss about the glorious 1950s abstract paintings was waning, someone got around to recognising the same style in patchwork quilts made by black ladies in Alabama, at Gee’s Bend, for basic human survival.


These quilts are perfect material to cover in this blog – they were made for real life, to keep out the cold in uninsulated buildings; they were made from scraps and offcuts; they were made in the small amount of time women had from family and farming duties.  But they were made bold and beautiful and not prissied up.

One of the favourite books I have is a large format (almost impossible to shelve) book of their designs: “Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt” edited by Paul Arnett.  I just opened it to take some snaps to show what I meant – but I think that’s going to have to be a separate blog post.


Norway Scotland Mosaic – Line Mortensen

Have you seen mosaics by Line Mortensen?  Line was born in Norway, now lives and works in Scotland, and uses many different materials in her work: French tiles, Italian smalti, slate, Scottish sea glass, semi precious stones…

mosaic-subcat-1.jpgThese create dazzling colours and gorgeous texture in her pieces – they are very sculptural and richly rewarding for the eyes.

As well as a few mosaic wall pieces per year, she also makes jewellery with mosaics or sea glass or tile (see pendants below).

If you’d like to see more of Line’s works, follow her on Facebook, and keep an eye out for her colourful stall:

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You can see more of Line’s designs and story over at her website:

Line will be exhibiting 27-29 October this year at York Racecourse,YO23 1EX, England at “Art&”.


Quirky Ceramics Painting

Enjoying the work of James Ward, aka Jimbobart particularly on plates:



… and there are doormats… a welcoming masked panda or a vaguely threatening cat (“I’m so sorry Mr Bond, but my villainous sidekicks must kill you – it’s in their job description”… is what I imagine him saying)


Jimbobart’s works are available to purchase in Liberty’s London or online, on his website  They are quirky, without being at all cloyingly sentimental – there’s a kind of a feel of “The Wind in the Willows” book here.  If you fancy purchasing some for someone else, who has a particular animal they like, his work features cats, dogs, badgers, pandas, brown bears, foxes, penguins, otters – some in underpants and cape, others in full human well-dressed clothing (see “Mr Geography Teacher” stackable coffee cups).


my very favourite plate (although let’s be clear, I’m not the biscuit bandit in the house – cake yes, cheesecake definitely – but biscuits not so much


Creative Takeaways

Obviously, we’re not all skilled graphic designers, but we can still be inspired by Jimbobart.  Here’s a wee video of how you can do some personalised ceramic designs with a ceramic pen, design and carbon copy paper.  Inspiring…

NB: For designs to put on plates and bowls to eat food from, you will need to research which products can be used in this way.

Painting and Party

And for truly simple, fun handpainting gifts try booking a session at a paint/glazing pottery studio, where you can book the time, buy the blank ceramic of your choosing (plate or jug or bowl or mug etc) and they will supply all the paint and materials, fire your finished piece and have it ready for collection a few days later.  If you enjoy this – and it is totally absorbing and therapeutic for even the stressedout – you could also choose to do some pieces with a friend or hen party or kids’ birthday party.  (For the unconfident artist, they do have sponges which you can dab in paint and apply).


Above are some home pics from a friend’s birthday party, where four school friends who now meet up infrequently got the chance to meet and catchup chat while making.


Linocuts into body art temporary Tattoos

Tian Gan, a graphic designer is experimenting with making her linocut and rubber stamp works into temporary tattoos.  Form an orderly queue please, no shoving at the back.

The 2 different style sheets you can choose from are:

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Appropriately, these items are found on her website filed under “other awesomeness“:

The tattoo sheets are coming out in mid-September 2017, but you can pre-order now.  Sale price is in Swedish Kroner: 60 Kroner (approx $10, £7.50) – but I don’t know details and costs of shipping.  I suggest you head over to her website or facebook page for details.

Reader, I was about to tuck into some toast when I found her designs and the result was cold toast and jaw dropped.  I think she has got a winner on her hands – or arms – here. (In this picture she is wearing a mix of both style sheets, so if you want the exact same look, you have to buy both.)  Tian is a woman of good styling, as the first few comments I read were (like myself) keen to know just where she got the shirt, which she has rolled up in the first picture!  If you are keenly enjoying her stylings as well as art, she does have a Pinterest account – for yet further awesomeness.


All pictures and info from Tian’s own website

Thing of Beauty – Silver Jewellery

Don’t ever say I don’t point out luxurious beautiful things which you don’t need but will fall in love with, and find you need:

Emma Ginnever produces just such beautiful jewellery – some of it bespoke for weddings, much of it just gorgeous gifts…. for others, or for yourself, depending on the amount of love and bank balance you have.

Dear Santa:

if any of the above should happen to fall under my Christmas tree, with my name on them well, they wouldn’t be turned away…


Pouffe! Household furniture thing of beauty

You can have the world at your feet….. or take the weight of the world off your feet… with this pouffe.

Hot air balloons, butterflies and rivers are just some of the intricate patterns on this pouffe designed by Kristjana Williams.


Picture from maker’s website:

One of her largest scale commissions was a theatrical light projection for the Rio Olympics – for the beach fronted hotel Belmond Copacabana Palace.  Inspired by mapmaking and butterflies, it raised a spontaneous “wow” of delight and applause.  Before it appeared, there were butterfly balloons and kites given out on the beach.  (see a glimpse of it in this brief and beautiful one minute video).

Inside the hotel also contained more of her work, behind the reception desk and concierge desk:


If you’d like to see more of Kritjana’s work – or even, buy some – her website is: