Tuesday, 31 July 2012

This Saturday @ The Bluecoat

 Visit the Facebook page for more details and a sneaky peek at the fantastic exhibitors!

I do believe they have 2 spaces still available so get in touch for a last minute stall at

DIY : from Ella Johnston

Artist, illustrator and maker, Ella Johnston shows you how she makes her handprinted Japanese stab-bound note books. We currently have a great selection of these notebooks from Ella on sale - letting you guys into this crafters secret is a very special gift. We would love to see your versions! Email us at enquiries@nookandcrannyshop.co.uk 

Please note - if you're not confident at screen printing, try collage on the front cover of your book or even just some illustration. 
Materials needed  
- Screenprinting ink                           
- Squeegee                               
- Pre-designed screen                                     
- Awl            
- Ruler 
- Pencil 
- Two sheets of A6 card 
- 15 sheets of A6 paper (paper weight 120 gsm)
- Book-binding thread and binders needle                    
- A6 rough paper  
Step one: Screenprint your cover (this is optional of course). 
If you’re printing your own pattern, you’ll  need to print for both front and back cover.
My screen has been pre-exposed, so I masked off anything I didn’t want to print, leaving me with my Song Thrush motif here. I then secured a transparent sheet of acetate underneath the screen (taped on one edge so you can lift up and down) and printed my motif on this first, this enabled me to see where my motif would sit on the card. 
To print, you simply place your card under your screen, using the acetate to line up your design, then put the screen down over your card after you've lifted up your acetate. You will then need to pull your ink across the screen with a squeegee  

 then pull across again to force the ink through the openings in the screen  

 lift up the screen, take out the card allow your finished print to dry  
Step two: Make your book template 
Use your rough paper to make a template for where you are going to make the holes to sew through. Your rough paper should be the same length as the paper and card you are going to use for the book. 
Using a ruler, draw a line from top to bottom of the rough, about 1cm from the spine. Now make a decision how holes you want. The only rule is that you have to have an even number of holes, I have six here evenly spaced. Once you've decide how many holes you want, then measure them out and mark them on your rough paper, you can mark them with pencil or make holes with them using your awl. Which ever way you do it - this will act as a template for making holes in your book, so be very careful in your marking and measuring. 
Step three: Make your holes 
Using your rough paper template, even up your pages and cover card underneath the template and weigh down the front edge to keep the pages from moving. Protect your work surface with a piece of scrap wood or cork board as you punch a hole at each of the marked points using your awl. Your pages and cover should all look the same once punched. 
Step four: Stitch your book one way  
Put all the pages together. Thread the needle through the top hole of your book, leaving some thread loose 
Now make a running stitch along the book 
Pull the thread tight each time through a hole while keeping your top thread loose.  
Step five: Stitch your book the other way and link 
Loop your thread at the bottom of the book's spine and go through the bottom hole, so the bottom of the book now is now linked. Now place the book on the side loop around the top of the spine and go through the bottom hole again 
Repeat these steps with each hole until you get to the top of the book 
Remember to keep the thread tight. 
Step six: Finish off  
Now you've got to the top of the book you need to tie off the thread so the binding won't come loose. As at the bottom, make a loop at the top of the book and go through the top hole, now  slip the needle under two of the top bindings coming out of starting hole and tie a tight knot with the original loose thread. 
Step seven: Feel proud!
You've made a book - you now officially rock. Now you can give it to a friend or keep it for your self. 

Louise Wright

We've got some beautiful new work in from the wonderful world of Lousie Wright. Discovered through Twitter, @louillustrator, we're happy to announce that Nook & Cranny are the first (of most probably very many!) shops to stock Lou's beautiful screen printed and illustrated goodies.

The cards have a beautiful scalloped edge which adds an extra detail to the lovely illustrations that are hand screen printed. We're also really excited that Louise is going to use the deer image, which we love so much, as an idea for a tote bag - as well as turning some of her beautiful sketchbook ideas into prints for us. Discover more here.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Nick Jackson

With the print rooms upstairs at the Bluecoat available to everyone, we often get artists calling in to Nook & Cranny for inspiration. A short while ago, we met Nick who was just starting out at screen printing. He seemed a little unsure as to whether he would make anything, so I set him a challenge. He had just a few months to create a print that we could sell in the shop - often, having a goal gives you that drive to actually make the art work.
Considering Nick is still learning the art of screen printing, he has provided us with 2 fantastic prints!

The top print is so on trend with the ombre fade of pink to red - we can see this sweet print being very popular for valentines day.
The 'Stay Gold' print is full of surprises. On closer inspection, there's a great gold shimmer to the bright yellow print with the O making way for a medal - perfect for the up and coming Olympics!

For a first timer, Nick is doing fairly well. We can't wait to see his future work and know that he will go very far as an artist.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Guest blog post: Nic Farrell

One of our artists Nic Farrell shares a small insight into her world of freelance illustrating and how to survive. 
 I am a freelance illustrator by day and arts cinema employee by night (or sometimes the other way round, just to mix things up a bit). Since graduating last year I have worked for a few different clients, such as Dorling Kindersley, Rare and Tigerprint, who design all Marks & Spencer's greeting cards. During the day I work on any ongoing projects and commissions, and also design and print my own greetings cards and prints - which is my favourite bit. 
You have to be quite content with sitting in front of the computer on your own for long periods of time, so plan your time wisely - if you have a dog, take it for lots of walks! Or visit a library to do research, instead of online. I like to go to cafes and do some observational drawing every now and then, just to keep my hand in. It's good to always keep an eye out for places that you think could stock your work - and if they do want to, it's a good learning curve getting to know what commission different shops and galleries demand, what their rules are, which of your pieces sells best, etc. And of course there's always Etsy! Many companies run competitions with the chance of a placement or your card design being printed and sold, for example. 
The key is a beady eye and perseverance! Surviving without having a 'normal' job would be impossible for me at the moment, but by increasing your contacts and showing your work to literally anyone who'll look at it, it starts to become a possibility for the near future.

As Nic says, networking really is important in the world of art. I'd say being an illustrator/artist full time means 90% networking and 10% work. It probably would also help to have a 'normal' job to keep yourself grounded and keep a structured and hopefully productive day. 
We know that it wont be long before Nic is a full time illustrator - the above card is among our most popular and sold it within a few weeks! 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

"Knock it off" by Tim Elliot

I just had to share this with you. I read this article on The Sydney Morning Herald (I'm not an Aussie, I just keep up to date with designer stories..) and knew the battle of copyright, true design and authenticity will be a battle forever fought. Any aspiring artist and designer faces the stomach churning panic you get when you discover someone else had the idea before you, or worse yet, someone has copied it. I blogged earlier about the guys who went to prison for copying Banksy at a profit and I'm sure we've all been to the market or been to Primark to get the Topshop version at a better price. 
It seems now though, that in the design world, artists are fighting back...

"Earlier this year, under the not-so-watchful gaze of bar staff, someone slashed a dozen or so designer lounge seats in Sydney's Park Hyatt Harbourbar. A motive for the attack, which police are investigating, is unclear. But many in Sydney's close-knit design community would like to see it as "design vigilantism", the opening shots in a battle between those who believe in original designs and those who make money by copying them.

The seats in question are copies of a design by Charles Wilson, whose award-winning furniture can be found in the Powerhouse Museum and NSW Government House.

"The whole design community knew that those seats were copies," says the founder of furniture-maker Woodmark, Arne Christiansen. "It's very disappointing to see that a five-star hotel would do that, especially as the copies were such terrible quality." (A hotel spokeswoman said the fit-out was done in 2007 by a third party; she also said she didn't know who Charles Wilson was.)

Copies, fakes, rip-offs, replicas - the debate over what might be called "design appropriation" has been raging since at least 1956, when the impeccably polite Charles Eames appeared with his wife, Ray, on NBC's Home show. Trademark bow tie slightly askew, Charles explained how his moulded plywood chairs were the result of "a mass-production technique", while his plastic seats were an attempt "to take a high-performance material developed during the war and try to make it available to householders at non-military prices".

Eames's vision of mass-produced and affordable furniture has indeed come to pass - though not how he might have imagined. Thanks to a boom in the replica market, any fiscally challenged home renovator can buy a knock-off Jacobsen Egg chair or Eero Saarinen Tulip table for a fraction of the price of the original. And why not? Who, apart from Paul Keating or Rose Porteous, would pay $6072 for an original Jacobsen Swan chair when you can pick up a replica for $249?

According to the managing director of the colossally successful replica business Matt Blatt, Adam Drexler, "the high selling cost of originals bears no resemblance to the actual manufacturing cost". Thanks to outfits such as his, "the public has become aware that owning good-quality design furniture doesn't mean you have to mortgage your house".

Drexler started Matt Blatt 10 years ago when he realised there were loopholes the size of Tasmania in Australia's intellectual property law. "Any item that has an active design registration cannot legally be copied," he explains. But not all designers register and, when they do, it is only good for 10 years. (In Europe, registration lasts 25 years.) "The Eames Lounge chair was designed in 1956," Drexler says. "There is no possibility of an existing design registration for it; hence, we can legally copy it and sell it." The fact that the word "Eames" is trademarked means Drexler cannot sell the Eames Lounge chair. "But we can sell the same design and call it the 'replica Eames Lounge chair' ... you are informing the public that this is not a licensed copy ... and that you are not passing it off as such."

Replicas have been good to Drexler, who reportedly drives a (real) Porsche 911. "But you know," he says, "there are a lot of people out there who don't like us." He receives many lawyers' letters telling him to stop selling unlicensed products. "I once asked my wife if it was good karma to have so many [competitors] hate us," he says. "She replied, 'Think of all the people who love us'. "

Richard Munao is not one of those people. He runs Corporate Culture, which has an exclusive licence to sell many iconic furniture designs in Australia. He also founded the Authentic Design Alliance two years ago with four other furniture suppliers. "Replicas are damaging the design industry in this country," Munao says. "What incentive is there for a young designer to innovate, if the minute you develop something successful someone steals it?"

It is not just the classics being ripped off, Munao says, but contemporary Australian designers such as Matt Sheargold, Ross Didier and Charles Wilson. "These young designers often work off royalties; when someone copies their work, they miss out on that money," he says.

He insists his store is not losing market share (though notes that Matt Blatt's Leichhardt showroom is 3800 square metres "while ours is only 1100 square metres"). The alliance's real mission, Munao says, is education. "If you look at the countries that are famous for design ... it's because respect for design is ingrained in their culture. We don't have that here. People don't really appreciate the value of original design, which is why we can have the prime minister appear in a photo shoot on a fake Jacobsen Egg chair. That would never happen in Denmark; it would be totally taboo."

He also dislikes the word replica. "Replica implies that it's made to the designer's original specifications, or that it is somehow endorsed by the designer." Besides, he says, originals last longer and maintain their resale value.

Like many replica barons, Drexler says that stores such as his help democratise fine design. Rather than damage the industry, replicas "educate, develop and broaden tastes in design, which in turn can drive the growth in the overall industry".

Young designers have mixed feelings about knock-offs. "I am not such a purist," Charles Wilson says. "I believe that after a certain period of time, a cantilevered tubular chair becomes a generic type and not a Bauhaus original. There is also an argument that if the companies that produce Eames and Jacobsen weren't living off the royalties from their old designs, they might be more inclined to invest in stuff by new designers."

When the designer is alive though, it's different. "That's theft," Wilson says. He discovered the copies of his lounge chairs at the Park Hyatt last year when he took clients there. "For a brief moment I thought I was in luck as the meeting could take place on my own designs." He has no idea who slashed the chairs but hopes it was "someone who feels very strongly about original design".

Perhaps the last word should go to to the high priest of haute design himself, Charles Eames, who once remarked: "We want to make the best for the most for the least." Then again, he also said: "What I really want is a black with feeling." Go figure."

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

BACK IN STOCK: British garden birds print from Kate Broughton

Keep one of these prints handy and see how many of these birds you can spot in your garden!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Ping! Liverpool

If you've 'liked' us on Facebook and are following us on Twitter @NookandCrannyL1, you might be curious to know why we have been raving about playing table tennis. Ping! is a great opportunity to get out in the sun, get a little exercise and socialise with other people. 40 tables are set up across Liverpool (including on the ferry across the Mersey!), with bats and balls provided, you can pull up to a table and while away your time with a little fun. Ping! is also hosting various table tennis led activities and suprises.

More appropriatley to us however, 21 paddles (that's a table tennis bat to us) have been customised, altered and decorated by various artists, shops, designers, creators and bands across Liverpool. Each paddle is then being auctioned on eBay (here) to raise money for the fantastic charity CALM, the 'capaign against living miserably'.

 Paddle designed by Sophie Backhouse

The grand finale event is 26th July at the great new venue Camp and Furnace where you can out bid any eBayers last minute, enjoy a fantastic evening full of activities and know that you're doing a good deed for the day.

visit www.pingengland.co.uk and www.campandfurnace.com for more information

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Laura Seaby

Time to Brew Up!

This beautiful print is from Laura Seaby at the Keep Calm Gallery. A lovely young man has just bought this A3 sized print to send to his Auntie in America. Having friends in America, I know about the outlawed Brits desperation for a good cup of tea. This print will be the perfect gift to remind her of good ol' Blighty and hot mugs of 'cha'. 

We love meeting our customers and always take the time to talk through the art work, often finding out just how generous so many of you all are - the amount of gifts you buy is heart warming (even when they're gifts to yourself, we encourage those gifts the most)!

Tim Irving on Etsy

One of our very talented artists we stock here at Nook & Cranny, Tim Irving (see this previous blog post), not only takes amazing photographs but creates the cameras himself to create truely vintage scenes that iPhone camera apps only dream of. Tim is now sharing his collection of beautiful cameras on his Etsy page, including hand made camera straps for the super stylish.

Vintage camera - 1950's Rex Box

Hand knotted camera strap

Original 1985 Diana camera 

Vintage camera - 1962 Halina 6-4

 Hand knotted camera strap

Tim's enviable collection is making me want to dig out my grandads old Canon SLR from the 60's, then we just need more sunshine and it's picture time!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Independent Retailer Month

Follow @indieretailuk on Twitter - we're part of the great organisation encouraging consumers to shop local, independent shops. The Creative Community here at the Bluecoat in Liverpool is home to 8 independent shops selling records, clothes, cards and prints, glass ware and hand crafted goodies. Check out the Bluecoat website for more information on how to visit us, the exhibitions and activities happening inside the Bluecoat and how you can get involved yourself with the Creative Community.