Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Area Thrifty One (gorgeous things of wonder from around the web no. 2)

Jersey is such a tiny island that we are usually either related to each other, went to school together or at some point snogged at the Splash. And as I teach at the School of Art I kind of presumed that I had either taught or taught with most of the other artists over here, imagine my surprise then to chance upon Nanette of Area Thrifty One at one of the St Aubin's Craft Markets and see her incredibly beautiful handmade toys.

It felt a little bizarre to find her here, usually at local craft markets I expect to see badly knitted teddy bears and pots of homemade jam (I'm aware of how snobby that sounds) but here was the wonderful world of Area Thrifty One looking like it came straight out of Etsy. When I'd finished mentally buying everything on her stall I was quizzing her, are you on Flickr? Are you on Etsy? Do you have a Big Cartel shop? Do you blog? Are these Moo cards? Because it was a bit of an Anne of Green Gables moment and I felt like I'd met a kindred spirit. When I log on to Flickr and Etsy my little laptop allows me to become part of a much wider world of artists than I can ever be part of here in Jersey and so I have a separate online life and now here was someone else, living just up the road that is part of that too, how cool is that!

So, no wappy legged, boss-eyed knitted teddies here, all of the Area Thrifty One toys and gifts are beautifully sewn from these great fabrics that Nanette designs and has printed. They are deliciously reminiscent of the seventies and I think that also made her work feel familiar to me, the Babushka Bunny reminded me of an orange babushka doll printed on a coaster that my dad kept on his bedside table and the linen rabbit reminded me of a toy rabbit in a dressed in bonkers seventies fabric that my aunt made for me. But best of all we found this wonderful elephant pencil case who looks so much like my daughter's beloved 'Phunt' that we just had to have it. Phunt was Olivia's constant companion but he has become so worn that he is now see-through in places so he just rests on her bed and she carries a little photo of him to school in her coat pocket so that when she feels she needs a bit of Phunt reassurance he's there for her - now she will be able to take her Phunt pencil case to school and have him on her desk all the time, she's delighted and I have a feeling that this elephant may last a lot longer...

Meanwhile, Alfie goes to bed lovingly clutching at a square of dribbly muslin and is in desperate need of a special companion and I have my eye on that linen rabbit, or perhaps that linen cat... either way we have the perfect excuse to do some more shopping at Area Thrifty One! Go on, have a look yourselves...

Joanna x

Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

"Sophie opened the door and there was a big, furry, stripy tiger.
The tiger said, "Excuse me, but I'm very hungry. Do you think I could have tea with you?"

If I was forced to choose my favourite children's book, it would have to be "The Tiger Who Came To Tea" by Judith Kerr. The wonderful idea of a tiger popping round for tea still captures my imagination and makes me smile. (I also love the seventies tea service in the illustrations!)

For our friend's third birthday treat we went to see The Tiger Who Came To Tea at the Opera House. If this show comes to a theatre near you make sure you see it, it's fab! I just HAD to buy the girls tigers on sticks to wave, how cool are they? They have inspired Olivia and I to spend the weekend making Tiger Who Came To Tea puppets so that we can put on our own version of this wonderful story.

View the Tiger Who Came To Tea Live trailer here...


My boy spent all of last weekend painting the dining room sunshine yellow and after all the hard work was over I spent a happy week between the baby's naps titivating.

The previous week I had watched 'House Doctor' hoping that it would be like 'Life Laundry' do you remember that great show? Alas no, the House Doctor (a dreadful woman) visits some wonderfully bonkers homes and paints them all beige and sticks a vase of curly bamboo on top of the tv.

However, something started to rub off on me as I was putting the books back on the shelves and I didn't cram them all in. Then I got cross, after all we'd just painted over the magnolia, so as a nod to all the eccentrics that the house doctor has beiged I stuck a few vintage doll's heads in there instead.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Perfect, perfect words from Sonya


I hadn't met his kind before.
His misericord face - really
like a joke on his father - blurred
as if from years of polish;
his hands like curled dry leaves;

the prolifigate heat he gave
out, gave out, his shallow,
careful breaths: I thought
his filaments would blow,
I thought he was an emporer,

dying on silk cushions.
I didn't know how to keep
him wrapped, I didn't know
how to give him suck, I had
no idea about him. At night

I tried to remember the feel
of his head on my neck, the skull
small as a cats, the soft spot
hot as a smelted coin,
and the hair, the down, fine

as the innermost, vellum layer
of some rare snow creature's
aureole of fur, if you could meet
such a beast, if you could
get so near. I started there.

Kate Clanchy

(Sonya, you have inspired me with these lovely words to take out a new poetry book every time we visit the library, I have been leaving them in the loo because that's the only time I have to myself - poo and culture, ah a mother's life! Love you x)