Mummy, dearest…

This gallery contains 21 photos.

With Mother’s Day just round the corner, I thought this might be an opportune moment to take a look at a few cards through the ages… Mothering Sunday started off as a religious celebration, honouring the Virgin Mary and your … Continue reading


All the fun of the Festival…

This gallery contains 8 photos.

So The Royal Festival Hall has featured in my life for two extremely good reasons just lately. First off, I got a call from the buyer at the South Bank Centre asking if she could place an order so Pennychoo … Continue reading

Nokia Nonsense

Ah, so here we are again, dear reader!

I had thought I might open up a discussion this week about the epitaxial growth and structure of metal overlayers of oriented substrates and how I might visually represent this in a commercially viable range of birthday cards…  But then I started to notice that my phone’s been getting quite heavy of late, and a bit of exploration revealed that I’ve got loads of photos on my memory card! Seems the pesky blighter starts storing them there when The Other Place It Stores Them gets full – and I had no idea!

So I’ve just spent an amusing half hour downloading and sorting through them and I thought it might be good (ie very easy) for me to post a few of the more ‘interesting’ ones and call them ‘a blog entry’!

There is some method in my laziness, however, as I do tend to snap stuff that I find mildly interesting and/or stuff that will give me ideas, so assume the brace position, and prepare yourself for a visual trip into the (frequenly mundane) mind of the phone-wielding retrophile…

A typeface that quietly suggests 1930s officialdom and all the tedium and restraint inherent therein. Take a letter, would you Miss Flange....?

From the sublime to the ridiculous: not sure who does Ridleys packaging design, but I wish it was me. I'd buy the empty box.

Bought this for my first trade show.

Then I bought this one aswell. I was a bit nervous.

Midwinter dinner set - £20. Yes, you may hate me. I understand.

Sauce boat... very sculptural... gorgeous colour... yes, yes, I did say £20... yes, for the whole lot...

Pattern detail. Okay, I'll stop now.

Appalling photo, sorry, of a great logo on the sole of a shoe in our local cobblers.

Pete playing Russian roulette with a lovely vintage tie and a very contemporary fry up.

Not at the end of the pier, sadly, but at the end of a field at a hotrod event last summer.

It's only just occurred to me that I didn't go on this, and I can't for the life of me imagine why..

And last, but definitely not least – I spotted this fantastic wallpaper in a shop window and have no idea what it is. Anyone?

So there you have it – and if you found those boring, you should see the ones that ended up on the virtual cutting room floor, including one of a nasty blister, one of some comfy-looking Clarks shoes (no connection with the blister one, incidentally) and about 18 of the floor/my shoes/my lap, etc.

Thanks for looking! Be sure to drop on by again, y’hear?

Lucky for some…

So since Christmas, my blog has been a bit low on, um, words. And pictures. And the longer it goes on, the harder it gets to jump back in, but here I am! Back and raring to blog! Whether you’re raring to listen is another matter. We shall see…

Anyway – I have my theme: black cats. I recently launched a range of cards called Jazz Cats inspired by a very fleeting encounter with one of those gorgeously elegant, elongated ceramic cat ornaments so popular in the 1950s. The cat in question belonged to my good chum and fellow retrophile Fiona ‘Notorious Kitsch’ Culshaw and it seems that my timing was perfect as shortly after immortalising the little chap in card form, he was smashed to smithereens. (A moment’s silence, if you will, for the passing of a small chunk of kitsch history.) But not to worry – she’s got plenty more!

RIP kitty.

I even bought one of my own to display alongside cards at trade shows:

Hello Kitty!


(He hasn’t got a name yet – a competition may follow… )  Anyway, all this got me thinking: why were black cats so iconic in the 1950s? It’s hard to think of another era so fixated with motifs: poodles, Mexican, Chinese and African charicatures, Eiffel Towers, playing cards, atomic stars, fish, shells, boomerangs and kidneys, cherries, palm trees… so why cats?

Well, my investigations have turned up some interesting items, but no real explanation so until I get an answer on a postcard, I’ll just do a bit of Show & Tell.

First up – nothing says 1950s more than a pair of (black) cat’s eyes spex frames (and if you’re a fan of vintage face furniture, you could do worse than visit this site):


(Jazz) Puss in Spex


...and as immortalised by the incomparable Gary Larson

Then I found these cuties – 1950s black cat salt and pepper shakers, made by Shafford (Japan). Shiny black red clay ceramic with painted details (it says here).

condiments of the seasoning...

And finally – an Italian children’s carnival ride. Made of fibreglass and resting on a metal base with spring mechanism ‘for easy riding’, it’s from the 1950’s and is possibly the weirdest cat-themed item I’ve seen so far. Not sure you’d get away with that nicely exposed open spring mechanism these days, somehow…  Today, they’d call it being maimed: in the 1950s, it was simply ‘A Valuable Lesson Learnt, Jimmy’…

So there you have it – a conclusion-free examination of the black cat as iconic motif in 1950s design. I think I just failed that module. The only really useful piece of information I can pass on is this, courtesy of Fiona: if you have one of those tall cat ornaments, you’re best off  keeping it on a blob of BluTak.

Top Drawer

So, I survived three days of  Top Drawer at Earl’s Court. It was my first one ever and what a great first show – busier than I’d dared expect, lots of interest, plenty of orders, and potentially a handful of agents on board so a great start to the new year. Had a very good response the new ranges too, which is a relief…

As I’m still in post-show headless chicken mode, I decided a gallery post would have to suffice, and hey – we all need a break from words sometimes… I’m too lazy to even do captions, so my wonderful assistants this time were Patricia (not pictured, which is tragic as she was wearing a superb turban), Fiona from Notorious Kitsch (who co-ordinated her vintage shirt with my doggy cards, above), and Pete, the multi-talented chap, who did a sterling job of chauffering, re-wiring, making sure all my cards went on the wall straight etc etc. It’s the little things.. Anyway, hopefully wordy normal service will be resumed soon – until then…. click on any photo to see it bigger.

Stop Press!

I’ve received an email from the Pallant House Gallery who saw my last post and informed  me that they have an upcoming exhibition featuring the work of Robin and Lucienne Day. Definitely one to try and get to.


The Days thou gavest…

This gallery contains 14 photos.

I have to admit to being one of those people who has a morbid fascination with going through those end-of-year obituaries to find out exactly who’s pegged out over the past 12 months, and was amazed to see that both … Continue reading