Pages tagged with "cool stuff"

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    A Little Taste of Heaven


    Wasara describe their product as disposable paperware for spiritual enlightenment, and for what its worth we think they're spot on. Their collection of beautifully designed disposable tableware makes us go weak at the knees. :)

    We've all had the disposable tableware dilemma....borrow in crockery for a chic backyard barby, or buy in the disposables and save on the washing up. In recent years theres been some pretty funky cornstarch alternatives on the market, (plastic hasn't cut the mustard for a long time), but this new offering from Wasara takes disposable to a new level.

    Underlying the concept of the brand is the legacy of  Japanese aesthetic and values. With one of the most refined food cultures in the world and a timeless design aesthetic, this range of bowls, mugs, wine glasses, sushi plates could only of come out of Japan.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Solar Flower Power Street Lamps


    For once one of the multi nationals is looking to nature for the answers, and in doing so has come up with something truly beautiful. Inspired by how flowers open up to the sun to collect the suns energy, the Blossom Street Lighting by Philips transforms cityscapes from industrial to ecological featuring photovoltaic petals that open during the day to collect energy, then at night, the light closes and Led lights turn on to brighten city streets.

    Monday, March 01, 2010

    Insert Coin Here


    Insert Coin Here, is a group exhibition curated by Nella Themelios and Kim Brockett that is part of the 2010 L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program.

    Comprising vending machines strategically placed around the Melbourne CBD, Insert Coin Here explores hierarchies of value and mechanised systems of exchange.

    The Insert Coin Here vending machines contain limited edition 'fashion objects' which are randomly dispensed when a member of the public inserts a $2 coin. The artworks contained in the machines have been produced by over 60 Melbourne-based artists, designers and craft practitioners.

    Monday, March 08, 2010

    Pothole Gardens


    Guerilla Gardening is taken to a new level by quirky British artist and graphic design student Pete Dungey.

    Guerilla Asphalt Gardens, a creative solution to surface imperfections. :) We love it.

    Dungey has perfected the art of filling potholes with soil and flowers, undeniably enhancing the aesthetic of weather beaten roads. And, since guerilla art is often effective at capturing the attention of passersby, guerilla asphalt gardens may do the same.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Crop Art....Japanese style


    Most rice fields in Japan, and throughout much of Asia, are much more than a simple place to grow food. In some cultures, whether or not a farmer owns land on which to cultivate rice is symbolic of his stature in the class system and overall social hierarchy. They spend hours of time not only in the fields, but also blessing and decorating the granaries within which they’ll store the rice once it has been harvested.

    So, in true Japanese style, the art of growing rice has been taken to a new level. Crop art — created by strategically arranging and growing different colors of rice plants — can be seen in farming communities across the country. The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori prefecture village of Inakadate, which has earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry.


    TED is a US based not-for-profit enterprise devoted to the propogation of Ideas Worth Spreading. TED started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment & Design.

    In the spirit of Ideas Worth Spreading TED has created a program called TEDx, a series of local self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

    TEDxSydney at CarriageWorks on Saturday 22 May 2010 will feature a selection of Australia's leading visionaries and storytellers showcasing their Ideas Worth Spreading LIVE to a group of thinkers ... as well as ONLINE to the world at large. At this invitation-only event, a curated group of changemakers, innovators, thinkers, creatives, cultural leaders & social pioneers will witness a back-to-back schedule of talks, performances and other multimedia surprises showcasing “Ideas Worth Spreading” from a carefully selected coterie of presenters whom the event organisers (and their networks) feel have something valuable to contribute.


    Eco artist Edina Tokodi is making her mark in one of Brooklyns’ trendy suburbs. With an emphasis on the touchy feely, her moss installations challenge preconceived notions of art and graffiti.

    The mossy graffiti art offers an opportunity for interaction with nature within the city boundaries, and the artist believes strongly that the reaction (or lack thereof) of passersby speaks volumes. In an article in Inhabitat Edina says, ‘City dwellers often have no relationship with animals or greenery. As a public artist I feel a sense of duty to draw attention to deficiencies in our everyday life.’

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Salone del Mobile - design week Milan


    The Salone del Mobile is the International Furniture Fair of Milan, the largest decoration tradefair in the world. The annual show showcases the latest in furniture and design from international sources. It is considered by interior designers as a leading exposition for the display of new products by furniture manufacturers, designers , lighting concepts, and other design items.

    During the fair, Milan becomes a showcase for all things design, so along with the Salone del Mobile official events, a programme ‘Fuori Salone’ (‘outside the showroom’) runs in parallel, and it seems that these satellite design events  around the city are almost more exciting than the fair itself. 

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Dumpster Diving

    If it’s true that one man’s trash in another man’s treasure, Goldsmiths (prestigious UK art school ) design graduate Oliver Bishop-Young should be an extremely wealthy man. The London-based designer repurposes rented skips under the guise of the ‘Skipwaste Project’ to create patches of communal outdoor space, challenging what we perceive as waste and wasted space.

    He has transformed skips into a variety of cool outdoor spaces, including a swimming pool, a living room, a garden, a skate ramp and a campsite.  His designs aim to encourage recycling and sharing discarded objects as well as creative uses of space in a crowded city.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Guggenheim Donut Paper Art

    Paper Artist, Mia Liu was born in 1980, in Taipei, Taiwan. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, followed with a Masters in Fine Art at the University of New York. She has won numerous awards for her work.

    Made from reclaimed objects, her paper art is exquisitely beautiful. The artist punches holes into thousands of paper strips to form decorative patterns.


    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Deconstructed Architectonics

    Founded in 1948, the Art League is one of the oldest non-profit visual arts organizations in Houston and is the first alternative art space in Texas, USA. 

    But for some time, the Art League has generated relatively little interest amongst either the art crowd or the general public. Perceived (fairly or not) as more of a kaffeeklatsch for local artists of mediocre talent and ambition than as a dynamic organization with interesting programming, the Art League has, for over 30 years, quietly gone about its business of housing classes and exhibitions in a grouping of nondescript white houses in the Montrose.

    Over the years, there have been many abortive attempts to tear down those houses and make a grander architectural gesture; and it seems, finally, that this most recent attempt is actually going to come to fruition. To celebrate, the oft-disregarded Art League has sponsored what is the most exciting installation in Houston in recent memory.

    The C word is misunderstood.
    The C word is a work of art.
    The C word is cutting edge.
    The C word is passed down from generation to generation.
    The C word is desireable
    The C word is unique.

    Brilliantly talented, highly creative, ambitious for their futures..... crafts people have hung their heads in shame in the past when using the C word.

    But the popular resurgence of craft over the last few years, supported by reputable organisations like Object Gallery, Craft Victoria and commercial indie craft ventures like the Finders Keepers markets have impacted on the perception of craft in Australia.

    On the other side of the world, Craftscotlands progressive CEO, Emma Walker, was fresh in the job, when she had a C word epiphany.  ‘Craft, contrary to popular belief or the tired and lacklustre marketing campaigns that so often surround it, is one of the most urgent of art forms’, said Emma. ‘It demands attention. We wanted to inject confidence into the sector.’ And so ‘The C Word’ media campaign was born.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    Sydneys Coolest Festival - Winterland

    Come and check it out.....Sydneys coolest festival – Winterland.

    ...and guess what?....Bird will be there as part of the Winterland Markets, curated by Finders Keepers. You’ll find handmade art and craft pieces, winter fashion, and traditional seasonal food to munch on while you skate the ice rink and kick back to live music. So come on down, on the 22, 23 and 24 July.

    Experience all the magic of a glittering European winter in the heart of Sydney’s inner west.  Come to CarriageWorks for the first ever Winterland festival!

    Throughout the festival, the beautiful foyer will transform for a winter festival boasting an dazzling indoor ice rink, live music and hot new bands, a design, arts and craft market, fabulous food stalls serving alpine cuisine, dancing, karaoke and activities for everyone to get involved in.

    Bring it on.

    Here’s five favourite highlights that we’re looking forward to the most......but for a full programme please go to www.sydneydesign.com.au

    Young Blood Designer Markets   Way back in 2005, Bird featured in the very first Young Blood Designer Market. Offering an opportunity to buy direct from the best new design talent in the country, Young Blood features fashion, furniture, jewellery, graphics, industrial design and more. This curated market is a glimpse into the future, a critical launch pad for Australia’s talented young designers, as well as a vibrant market for the design-savvy shopper.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    The Audio Design Museum

    How's this for a wicked idea.

    Object Gallery, and the guys who brought us the Sydney and Melbourne Design Guides, have got together to create the Audio Design Museum.

    The theory is, no gallery space could ever be big enough to capture the creativity of an entire city. So, they’ve done away with the concept of a conventional design museum, and made the city the exhibition space.....with tours that guide towards hotspots of design and the stories and people behind it.

    You can download the audio tours and accompanying maps, for free, direct from the Audio Design Museum website straight to your mp3 player or iphone and hear designers tell there story as you pound the pavement.

    For those of you who didn’t see the recent SBS doco, The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers.

    The project officially launched in August of 2000, with the release of the first 100 journals in San Francisco. It was started by ‘some guy’ who gave them to friends, and left them at bars, cafes, and on park benches. Shortly thereafter, people began emailing him, asking if they could participate. So he started sending journals to folks, allowing them to share with friends, or strangers.

    Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues.

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Pencil Art

    45-year-old carpenter, Dalton J. Paul Getty has been turning ordinary pencils into incredible miniature sculptures for 25 years....without using a magnifying glass.

    “When I was a schoolboy,' says Dalton, 'I made gifts for my friends, carving out their names on pencils. Later, I decided to try sculpture, and after a long search the choice fell on a pencil lead.” Dalton uses blades, sewing needles and special knives for the sculptures. However, the material is extremely fragile and there are many mistakes: at home Mr. Getty has more than 100 unfinished or broken sculptures. “At first I had a few broken figures, later I decided to keep them all in memory. I call this my “cemetery collection”: they are all dear to me, because I spent a few months alone with them.”

    The artist could spend many months working on one sculpture. For the creation miniature alphabet Dalton spent 2.5 years. “My patience is simply amazing to people, because nowadays everyone wants to be quicker, faster and faster.”

    It's a beautiful thing.



    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Organic Christmas Giftboxes

    Bringing eco style to the Christmas Hamper.....limited edition Bird organic Christmas gift boxes.

    Ohhh...how could you resist. :) There are three types to choose from....

    'Everything But The Girl' Organic Giftbox....

    'Sweet Smell of...' Organic Giftbox.....

    'You Crafty Minx' Organic Giftbox.....

    ....all at just $99 each. Be sure to read on for further details, and scroll down for 18 fabulous variations.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    View from a birds wing

    In my mid twenties I learnt to fly. I know, it kinda makes sense, being top mama bird an‘ all.....but truly, it was something I’d always wanted to do......to soar through the skies, free as a bird, with the wind in my face and my feathers ruffled. No machinery, no noise, just me and an inflatable wing.

    So the opportunity arose, whilst I was travelling in India in 2000, to tandem paraglide in the hills west of Pune. Spiralling in the lift bands of rising air at the edge of the range, as the sun set. I was hooked. Instantly. Just magical.

    Later that year I learned to fly solo, and on arriving in Australia, I retrained to get my Australian paragliding pilots license. For a few years I travelled around to flying sites along the east coast in my spare time. The highlight, and my longest solo flight was near Manila in rural NSW, where I flew up to 6000ft above the earth, and with just the power of nature flew 30km’s across the countryside. I shared a good part of the journey with a wedgetail eagle. It flew in the slipstream created by my paraglider and terrified the living daylight out of me....its claws a constant threat to deflating my wing.

    The earth looks so very different up there. You get a whole new perspective on the lay of the land.

    So when I saw these divine aerial photographs by Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter it brought back lots of lovely birdy flying high memories.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Treehotel - eco luxury on the Arctic Rim

    Many hotels around the world offer guests the chance to get closer to nature, but only this one, in the forests of Swedish Lapland, lets them disappear within it.

    Treehotel is an eco based boutique design hotel located just outside Harads, a small town just 60km from the Arctic Circle.

    Think abstract luxury tree house.

    Drawn by Sweden’s best architects, a series of unique rooms including a giant birds nest, a mirror cube and a UFO sit high above the ground as a series of suspended sculptures. Each tree house is unique and there are plans to build another 20 over the next five years.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Egg Nogg for the Urban Chooksta

    In January 2010 we became the proud mama and papa of eight (yes eight!) baby girls.

    Crikey I can hear you cry!  Eight? Yes. Eight darling lickle chooks.

    Our new lickle family, Queenie, Blacky, Glynis, Dorothy, Sharon and M’Lady all lived in a lickle house, under some trees in our orchard on the edge of the rainforest.

    They loved the home we had made for them. Sharon, the Silky, thought her new home was nearly as dapper as her hair do. 

    The girls thought this was a pretty cool place to live. Glynis liked hanging out on her perch. There were mangos dripping off the trees. Citrus. Lychees. Bananas. Figs.

    Queenie and Dorothy had a little natter and decided they were on to a good thing at Rach and Cams nest. And because they were on to such a good thing they laid beautiful fresh golden eggs for our breakfast every morning.

    But, you know, M’Lady ...well M’Lady had an eye for detail. She was a cut above the rest. She yearned for a home, with a little bit more style. Panache. She wanted to nest down in something a little more stylin.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    The Nesting Instinct

    So while we’re on the subject of top birds, comfy nests, and chook eggs.....do we talk about anything else?.....we thought you might like a sneak peak of this new offering from German furniture company Dedon.

    Dedons take on it is an oversized birds nest, but I’m thinking it looks more like a wild bee hive. Either way, this hanging pod looks tres comf, very cosy cuddly, just the thing for a super chilled lazy Sunday arvo.

    Loving the natural fibre and feel. And their emu shot is classic.

    I'm thinking I might ditch my bed, and get one of these instead. All top birds need a super comfy nest to sleep in.

    Designed by two of Paris’s most intriguing design talents, Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety.


    Bring it on.

    Ten out of ten for Matt W Moore’s scrumptious seed packaging which I happened across yesterday whilst surfin, duckin and diving the net. I am gonna ooze and rave about them because they really do embody just about all that I love about well designed sustainable product/packaging.

    I’m seriously diggin the combination of illustration and typography....could it be possible to get this much pleasure from a play on shape and colour. Love love love.

    With a ridiculously impressive client list, Matt of MWM Graphics considers custom typography his lifes work...and it shows. Based in Portland, Maine, in the U.S., Matt works across several different disciplines. His style is really unique. Colourful digital illustrations and commercial projects, all sit comfortably next to a growing list of Fine Art gallery commissions and exhibitions around the world.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Reverse Graffiti

    Sustainable communication......street art.......green graffiti. Call it what you will. A new style of communication has hit the streets and the corporate world is sitting up and taking note.

    An early pioneer of the movement is Englishman Paul Curtis, better known as ‘Moose’. No paint, no defacing, Moose takes his cue from the ‘wash me’ messages on the back of trucks. He works in sooty tunnels and on dirty road sidings, by inscribing images, slogans and tags in the dirt. He has been commissioned by a number of brands, such as Smirnoff, who want to convey a sense of “clean” in an innovative way.

    Other artists have used snow, chalk and sand in the same way.

    Leading the way internationally is Dutch new media and communication agency Greengraffiti. Working in the public, government and not for profit sectors, their messages are clean and strong. In their words, ‘using our business as a tool for social and environmental improvement, we aim to be the world market leader in sustainable communication.’

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Debris Chandeliers

    What is there not to like about Stuart Haygarths work?

    With a project portfolio that reads like a dream.......The Design Museum, Vogue Nippon, Habitat, Selfridges, Sculpt the Future.......Haygarth is clearly appreciated in his home country, the UK.  Giving recycling the bling treatment, his artworks and designs are eerily beautiful.

    Haygarth’s work comprises a series of design projects using collections of found waste objects. The objects are collected in large quantities categorized and assembled in a way that transforms their meaning. His work is about giving banal and overlooked objects a new significance. The finished piece of work takes various forms such as chandeliers, installations, functional and sculptural objects, but it is the chandeliers that are to die for.

    His longest ongoing project, is based on collections of tidal debris from the coast of South East England, namely the area of Dungeness in Kent. (More of Dungeness next week...from a  visit nearly 20 years ago, to the home of another very inspiring artist/gardener/filmmaker, Derrick Jarman, who lived in a little shack in Dungeness in the 1990’s.)

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Knitty, Gritty and Lego?

    The work of two artists is creatively, and literally, filling gaps at locations all around the world.

    You’ll remember our previous post on Pothole Gardens. These guys are patching holes with two completely different materials.

    Jan Vormann’s material of choice is lego....which he uses to fill in damaged or decaying brick or stone walls. The visual effect is rather surreal...theres something quite odd but strangly captivating about the finished ‘artworks’. Dispatchwork is an ongoing global project with roots in Bocchigano, Italy. With a growing following and requests for participation, he has broadened the concept to dispatchers worldwide, and the phenomonen has already spread to over 35 countries.

    Juliana Santacruz Herrera is a girl after my own heart, working with colourful yarns and braids to repair ugly potholes on the streets of Paris. Once again, the effect is quite surreal but beautiful, with splashes of colour bringing streetscapes to life.


    If you haven’t had the good fortune to come across Andy Goldsworthy’s work......then be prepared to be amazed.

    I first found out about Goldsworthy whilst I was studying textile design in Glasgow in 1991. He had already been creating his amazing art pieces for fourteen years, and my flatmate, a sculptor, was completely obsessed with his work. It wasn’t long before I was too. Twenty years on, with a vast catalogue of site specific sculptures to his name, he is still, without doubt, my top pick.

    Goldsworthy is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing  sculptures and land art around the world. He works almost exclusively with the materials he finds in the outdoor environment. He is the grandmaster of wrapping, filling, shaping and balancing. Snow, ice, maple leaves, dandelion heads, twigs, pebbles -  wherever he is, Goldsworthy uses whatever happens to be  around him. Much of his work is ephemeral and he records his creations in colour photographs, many of which, with the accompanying text, form an integral part of his work.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Solar snowflakes

    It’s hard to believe, but these divine glitter sized shape forms are actually tiny microphotovoltaic cells. Did you ever think solar could be this cool?

    I know I’m a textile designer, and random repeat patterns rock my boat, but truly......it’s a beautiful thing.

    The ability of light to produce electrons, and thus electricity, has been known for more than a hundred years, but these little snowflakes take solar to a new level. Each cell is formed on silicon wafers, etched and then released  in hexagonal shapes.

    They could revolutionize the way solar energy is used, in textiles and clothing, turning a person into a walking solar battery charger. From 14 to 20 micrometers thick (a human hair is approximately 70 micrometers thick), they are 10 times thinner than conventional 6-inch-by-6-inch brick-sized cells using 100 times less material to generate the same amount of electricity as standard solar cells.

    All this, and soooooooooooo beautiful. Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    A compostable USB stick?

    Russia’s leading industrial, graphic and web design studio Art. Lebedev has come up with a new concept for the flash drive USB stick. The Flashkus.

    Purchased in magazine sheets, and detached along perforations as needed, the bulk of the packaging can be composted, with the electronics all contained in the tip of a detachable cardboard module. The recycled cardboard material is easy to write on directly, negating the need for stickers or additional packaging.

    Alternatively, the cardboard can be custom branded or use feature graphics. Maybe a Bird Flashkus?

    Art. Levebdev Studio’s Constitution is worth a glance.  I particularly like points 11 & 20.

    As are the portraits of its art directors.


    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    The curvilicious Villa Nefkens

    Those of you who’ve seen this mama birds nest, will know I have a thing for curves. At my house, the walls are made from strawbales, so we were able to create long ambling organic curves with the bales and a chainsaw (see my blog post on our home from last year).

    But the bottom line is....curves just do it for me. I think being a curvy kinda girl gave me a head start on appreciation for the non straight line. But when you put curves with architecture and a northern European aesthetic, well.... it’s enough to make me think I’ve died and am on my way to curvalicious heaven.

    Enter Mecanoo. That’s Mecanoo the prominent Dutch architectural practice, not Meccano the children’s model construction system...although there are parallels across both brands. Both have a joyful approach to building. Both are the complete opposite of cool, abstract and minimalism. Maximalist might be a more appropriate term for their approach to building. But it’s creating that warm fuzzy feeling that both brands really have down pat.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Teardrops and Tiny Trailers

    Call me sentimental, but I have been drooling over vintage Teardrop campers for years now....and having finally purchased my dream 1974 Citroen DS last year, I’m saving up for a Teardrop to go with it. I’ll be lucky to find one in pristine condition like this 1937 Gypsy Caravan Company original but my eyes are peeled and fingers crossed.

    For those of you who haven’t seen them before, the Teardrop is the quirky hand made little brother of the flash Airstream trailer. First made in the U.S. in the 1930's, their popularity soared after World War II when family vacationing, with dads and husbands freshly back from the war, was all the rage.

    The do-it-yourself kit Teardrop was easily achievable and affordable using salvaged backyard materials, and this added to its popularity. The "Popular Mechanics" and “Popular Homecraft” magazines published teardrop trailer plans enabling DIY enthusiasts on masse to have a go, and some of the most exciting mint condition vintage models still seen today were made in this way.  

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Wallpaper Mandala

    For those of you who missed out seeing this beautiful collaborative series the “Wallpaper Mandala” in 2010, a collection by body artist and photographer Emma Hack, and the team at Signature Prints, using Florence Broadhursts original designs.

    Emma is a fine artist who has seamlessly applied her art to the body as a skin illustrator. In this series, painted nudes stand in front of Broadhurst wallpapers, the artwork flowing seamlessly between the two as if drawn by the same hand.

    Here’s a look at  some of my favourites.... along with a fascinating short behind the scenes documentary video showing Emma at work, and interviews with David and Helen Lennie from Signature Prints studios in Sydney.

    Just gorgeous.  A match made in heaven.

    DeKalb Market opened last weekend, in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

    Another inner city artist market? Well, maybe. But the thinking behind DeKalb has a little bit more to it.

    Its fair to say Urban Space have been reinventing spaces for over 30 years now, both in the U.S and in the UK. Camden Lock, begun by Urban Space in 1978, is the fourth busiest visitor destination in Greater London. In the 90's it was my local weekend haunt. Many businesses I know, found their feet in Camden markets. Not least, The Body Shop founded by one of my all time greats, the late Anita Roddick. So, knowing Urban Space, in conjunction with local designers Young Woo & Associates are behind this initiative, is as good a place as any to start.

    Brooklyn is known for its history in manufacturing, ship building, and as a commercial port, so it's only fitting that its latest community destination is made up of a collection of salvaged shipping containers.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Burd Haus. Home to the uber chic chick.

    Wrap Modern Birdhouse in Vintage Orange
    Wrap Modern Birdhouse in Vintage Orange

    I was a very early bird this morning, up with the dawn chorus, tweeting and twirping, and gathering info on my favourite designer bird houses around the world.

    Some of you will remember the Bird Textiles cuckoo clock, a limited edition range of clocks we released a couple of years ago, inspired by both the classic German cuckoo clock and the humble bird house. I love a good bird house.  So, here’s a few treats to tickle your fancy....plus a  special treat for those of you who don’t have a spot for a bird house.

    First up, Nathan Danials amazing Burd-Haus.  Nathan says his goal is to ‘create modern shelters for our fine, feathered friends’.  His is a contemporary, tongue-in-cheek take on the humble bird house, using classic modernist shapes and fresh aesthetics. With names like ‘Mid Century Modern Birdhouse in Matte Black’ and ‘Case Study: Modern Birdhouse with Attached Pool’, these little gems get 10/10 from us. He describes the aforementioned as ‘the second addition of the modern case study series for the upper middle class modernist birds. A fully functional, water-tight pool is accessible from a side entrance of the house. There are two chill-out spots pool-side that hover above the water surface and act as a perch for the main house.’ Love it.

    We’ve been checking out the work of Rune Guneriussen in Norway. He’s got the installation in nature thing going on.

    Like Andy Goldworthy (see my previous blog post earlier this year), most of his installations are temporary, and recorded for prosperity through photograph. The photograph as a medium ultimately becomes as important as the installation.

    Guneriussen’s work on objects such as tables, lamps and chairs started in 2005, and has been photographed on location all over Norway. The objects are ‘cast’ in landscape scenes, as if part of a story.

    As an artist he believes that his work should be ‘questioning and bewildering’.

    We love his quirky compositions.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Every Object Tells A Story

    Wikipedia defines the hobby of collecting to ‘include seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloguing, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector’.

    Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world. Others focus on a subtopic within their area of interest, perhaps 19th century postage stamps, milk bottle labels from Sussex, or Mongolian harnesses and tack.

    For me, over the years, my small highly collectable, rather exclusive collection of hand blown glass birds, by reknowned Finnish glass designer Oiva Toikka has been somewhat superseded by a larger collection of birds. You see, roughly around the time my nickname became ‘Bird’ my dear friends and family took it upon themselves to start buying me bird themed presents. I should clearly state, I had no hand in this decision, it was as if a great big fluoro light went on in the collective brain of those around me. From here on in, I was going to be easy to buy presents for. And that they did. Bless them.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011

    The Fly Catcher

    Originally trading as makers of fly catching paper in the early 1920s, Japanese company Kamoi have been manufacturing various forms of industrial masking tape for over 80 years.

    In the summer of 2006, three women; a gallery owner, an artist and a graphic designer, made a trip from Tokyo to the production factory. They had with them a small book of collages and patterns made using some of Kamoi’s coloured rice-paper tapes. After their visit, they were further inspired, and invited 17 of their artist friends to design patterns and prints for them. These in turn, were once again presented to Kamoi.

    Kamoi saw the potential for growth into a whole new market, and realised the idea, launching the sub-brand MT, focusing on ‘sweetness and functionality’. Cleverly designed packaging and a super slick, very Japenesee marketing campaign complete the picture. The rest is history.

    MT, the Japanese washi masking tape, has become a global art, craft and design phenomenon.
    The kinda idea we all wished we thought of. Enjoy the piccies courtesy of Hello Sandwich. :)

    Tuesday, December 06, 2011

    Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

    Spontaneous City is a space creation experiment for birds, appearing in a number of urban green spaces across the UK over the last 18 months.

    Started in London in 2010, and continuing in Norwich, Norfolk in 2011 for the Norfolk Festival, the sculptures are installed by art and architecture collective London Fieldworks.

    The sculptures are made from hundreds of bespoke, wooden bird and bug boxes that create a sculptural ‘habitat’ for the birds, insects and invertebrates that occupy the gardens, providing spaces for shelter, nesting or feeding.  The design of the boxes reflects the local architecture, a metaphorical interplay between the condition of the animal and the human.

    Images 1-4 are taken from three new sites in Norwich. The boxes in image 5 reflect the architecture of the nearby Worlds End housing estate in Chelsea whilst images 6-8 refelct the Georgian terrace and 1960's flats that surround the neighbourhood park.

    If you are in the hood check them out. Mama Bird.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    The End of my Garden

    Hauntingly beautiful, the artworks of Steffan Dam are not all that they seem.

    Originally trained as a toolmaker, Steffen has been working with glass for over 25 years. Blowing, casting, and grinding by hand, he ‘presides over chance’ and traps in perpetuity.

    His artworks suggest the elusive and fragile shapes, colours, and textures of nature, specifically underwater life forms such as embryonic shellfish, jelly fish, and other invertebrates. But they are in fact an illusion, a suggestion, an otherworldly biology lab.

    The artist describes his process of glass making, ‘To me, a garden is a metaphor for everything unregulated. I cultivate the garden, but then there are so many other factors – slugs, wind, frost, sun and rain. It also depends whether I sow too early, too late, or just at the right time..... The garden is under my control and out of control at the same time....... I simply preside over chance. It is just like the process of forming glass’.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Birds, Bats and Bees

    timber: Rolf Sachs
    timber: Rolf Sachs

    As you know, we’re a sucker for funky lookin bird houses. This little selection caught our eye.

    Back in 2008, around 20 international artists and designers came together to create habitats for threatened British species from recycled materials for a charity auction in London. The brief was set by environmental organisation, Adventure Ecology and auction house, Phillips de Pury & Company, as an attempt to upcycle the auction house’s waste in a creative way.

    The paper, plastic and wood discarded in the process of packing, moving and installing art works and exhibitions was up-cycled to create habitats for the rapidly declining numbers of bird, bat and bee species in urban areas.

    Not sure how practical they are, but we love anyway. :)

    Tuesday, February 07, 2012

    Folk of the kin.

    I first came across Kinfolk Magazine late last year, and fell head over heels in love.

    It's a bit like the divine Dumbo Feather magazine, but with their own style, content, and format. Their magazine, like Dumbo, leaves me feeling warm, and gooey ....part of a community based on core grass roots values, good design and food!

    Their Manifesto reads, ‘Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends, not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza, that anchors our relationships and energizes us. We have come together to create Kinfolk as our collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining that we love. Every element of Kinfolk—the features, photography, and general aesthetics—are consistent with the way we feel entertaining should be: simple, uncomplicated, and less contrived. Kinfolk is the marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends.'

    We love.

    And so do others, looking at their rapidly expanding stockist list!

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Painting the town red

    In honour of all things red and lovely this Valentines Day,......courtesy of the ever fabulous Dezeen archives.......

    A bright red psychiatric centre in Zaragoza, Spain by Jose Javier Gallardo.
    The waiting room of a health centre by architects Migue Barahona and Luis Castillo in southern Spain.
    The garden of 10,000 bridges by West 8 in Xi'an, China.
    Brazilian architects Metro’s red glass chocolate museum.
    A bright red car showroom in Bangkok, Thailand by Supermachine Studio.
    The Nanhe River Landscape Bridge in the Sichuan province, China by New York studio WXY Architecture.
    A pedestrian crossing by Atelier 9.81 in Tourcoing, France.
    The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Jean Nouvel in London.




    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Paradise Parking

    Many of you will know I am the lucky owner of a 1974 Citroen DS. Otherwise known as ‘The Goddess’.  She is my pride and joy, I shine and polish and gaze lovingly at her. It is an affair of the heart. Ours is a love affair only some will understand.  I waited many years, and she was absolutely worth the wait.

    With mixed feelings, I recently came across the work of photographer Peter Lippmann. Peter lives and works in Paris, France, so it was inevitable really, that a goddess would be featured in this series of photos from his latest work, Paradise Parking. Torn between the violent tug of heart strings strained at seeing a goddess in such disrepair, the joy of texture on texture (come on, I am a textile designer, and it can’t be all doom and gloom), and the divine victory of mother nature reclaimed I have spent hours admiring Lippmanns latest work.

    Stunningly beautiful, haunting, simple. Lippmans old and decaying classic cars are joyful in their abandoned bliss.

    Love love love.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    The Gorgeous and Magnificent Emma Magenta

    Some of you may have recognised our lovely bird logo as the work of author and artist, Emma Magenta. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Emma is the author of a series of adult picture books; The Peril of Magnificent Love, A Gorgeous Sense of Hope, The Origin of Lament and The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch. Her books have resonated with thousands of women around the globe.

    Her most recent creation; The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch is Emma’s first foray into the world of animation and follows the emotional journey of Emma’s alter-ego Phillipa Finch, from death to life. A sixteen episode series screened on ABC1 in 2011 that seeks to bridge the gap between human emotion and technology via an interactive website.

    Phillipa is the pin up girl for the emotionally twarted. Each episode tumbles back through her past relationships, and follows her journey from the numb, torpid and stupified to the land of the emotionally fulfilled.