“...We produced a sketch of exactly the type of dolls house that we'd like our characters to inhabit and once it was approved we just ran with it. My illustration was printed onto MDF and the house was constructed by their excellent prop team. Louise made all the characters beautifully and I designed loads of accessories for the interior. We wanted it to be full of funny little details that you perhaps wouldn't notice at first glance...” —Jonathan Edwards
Here’s an early sketch of The Treeps featuring “Mum, Dad & the twins Klipsy and Fring:”
Before being stitched and given added fashion flair by Louise Evans, the room for The Professors began as a preliminary sketch by Jonathan Edwards:
It is the careful attention to the micro details that truly impresses me, everything from wallpaper patterns with a retro touch, an imagined televised lecture by Dr. Wilbur Grumph, to designed record album covers.
The completion of the Felt Mistress window was quite a process and required true collaboration. Here is a picture of Jonathan and Louise finishing up some of the styling of the individual residences within one eclectic doll house.
In addition to Felt Mistress’ main window display facing Oxford Street at the flagship Selfridges store in London, several character designs were featured and already sold in The Wonder Room concept store. And as expensive hand made one offs, they are dispalyed in glass cabinets.
There is such a clever dose of humor behind each character design. Not only are the designs oddly cute creations, they come with equaly unusual names and background stories.
The "Exclusive Peacock Wrangler" comes with a very odd description: “Bewildered from his day job wrangling peacocks, this bearded Felt Mistress Creature is an all seeing, handmade collectible.”
Made with mixed fibres, Tabitha Snark is “never seen withouth her companion, Rolando...”
And the “Exclusive Scrimpton Fleeps” is a “music-loving hipster who wouldn't be out of place in East London’s coolest club. A fresh kid with a penchant for neon kicks and a love of crate digging, he divides his time between DJing at the legendary EBGB’s and running his own record label...”
One of the fastest sellers was not too big of a surprise: Lady Gaarrgghhh Garrgghhhh. To my knowledge, her bio is the most connected to a living celebrity. Here is an excerpt: “Inspired by previous glamonster icons such a David Growlie and Furry Mercury, Gaarrgghhh Garrgghhhh has taken the monster world by storm with a combination of killer tunes (literally!), outrageous outfits and an ability to breath fire (during a recent performance she inadvertently toasted the entire front row of her audience!)...”
Here is a sketch for the Lady Gaga inspired character persona before finalized for display in one of the Felt Mistress Wonder Room cabinets.
When I saw the amount of detailed craft and thought that went into this collaboration, I thought the majority of the Selfridges Christmas campaign was designed by Felt Mistress. I was surprised to find that the main window display by Felt Mistress is part of a collection of 27 different street facing window displays. They were all supposed to be inspired by the George Bernard Shaw quote: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” Four of the windows on the Orchard Street side feature the colorful work of Pete Fowler.
Unfortunately some of the UK media was fixated on a dispute involving one window which included a doll accused to be too similar to the late Chris Sievey’s Frank Sidebottom character (a possible mishap from Selfridges’ inhouse team). It is a shame this controvery overshadowed the abundance of originality and vibrance in the work of Felt Mistress and other artists participating in the large scale Christmas campaign.
Maybe next year a similar Felt Mistress installation will be up for public viewing in another country—maybe Japan, followed by New York City (I hope).
For more photos, I recommend the photostream of doc18 on flickr where I originally discovered the Felt Mistress + Selfridges Christmas collaboration.
(thank you to Felt Mistress for kindly providing photographs and sketches)
For fans of classic Disney and hand-drawn animation, a digitzed collection of vintage holiday greetings from Walt Disney and his “Staff” may make you smile. Many of the vintage Christmas card designs tied in with the year’s big feature film (such as Alice in Wonderland in 1951, and Lady and the Tramp for 1955) and when unfolded revealed a calendar with an ever growing cast of characters. Sometimes the cards included a teaser for a project in production, like the card from 1950 adding in a promotion for Peter Pan. An early card from 1938 is heart-warming and depicts an appropriation of “The Night Before Christmas” in panels (the same poem was a theme for an earlier Silly Symphony). In 1939, Pinocchio was the inspiration for the season’s greetings.
c. 1947 / 48
“...It’s time again to share this batch of wonderful Christmas cards from the Disney studio collected by Disney animator, Claire Weeks from 1938 through the mid-1950s. The designs on these cards are so much fun, it makes you wish the films themselves looked this cartoony.” —ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive
c. 1950 / 51
Clair Weeks, an animator for the Disney studio, collected many of the illustrated cards throughout the years. Thanks to ASIFA and the family of Clair Weeks, some of them are shared online for all to enjoy. I wish I knew if a specific Disney artist was responsible for the card’s design each year. The front facing illustration for the 1951/1952 card looks like it might be based on concept art by Mary Blair, comparing this to a record album sleeve for The Little House (image directly below from flickr collection of Dan Goodsell).
c. 1951 / 52
(these vintage card scans and more Disney Studio Christmas cards via the ASIFA)
One card not included in the ASIFA round-up is the very first Disney Studio Christmas card from 1930 featuring Mickey Mouse. The illustration was done by Floyd Gottfredson. At auction, this card fetched $1,725. Interestingly, the second studio card from 1931 sold for significantly more money as did a 1932 card signed by Walt Disney himself.
(image found via Vintage Disney Collectibles via Hake’s Americana)
How awesome it must’ve been to receive one of these cards in the mail. I hope the recipients appreciated them and saved them for their family.
“...The designs ﬁnd inspiration in modern art styles, such as action painting and pop art. The motif rabbits are depicted using black silhouettes that are adorned with orange and purple paint splatters, which create lively compositions. The backgrounds, which are yellow with random red splatters, cleverly make use of traditional Chinese ink-wash effects. The bright colors symbolize joy and convey high expectations about the Year of the Rabbit...” —Chunghwa Post
I appreciate the thought put into the symbolism of the stamp designs. For example, the descriptive copy for the stamp with two kissing rabbits reads: “This pair of rabbits conveys the idea of “the treasuring of each other” and symbolizes a year of abundance.” The stamp with the little bunny looking up represents “achieving success in all one’s endeavors.”
The stamps are printed by the China Color Printing Co., Ltd. on phosphorescent stamp paper. the name of the designer was not indicated. They are graphically a little busy, but fun and festive.
(more info via The Chungwha Post)
excerpt from Pahnl’s artist statement:
“...With well over 300 hours in the making, more than 200 stencils involved and too many cold nights spent outside on my knees getting the shots, I am very happy (and relieved) to finally share this with you. Through the course of shooting ‘Nowhere Near Here’, I have dealt with curious drunks, a dog almost peeing on the camera (the irony is not lost on me, haha), the endlessly suspicious police and even someone nearly running off with a tripod. This is street art, this is life and thank you for watching.”
Now there is a whole line of gift wrapping papers (sold 3 sheets a set) just in time for the holidays which are bringing back the beauitful work of Alexander Girard to a wider audience. The choices for gift wrap (available only in UK through Lagom?) are available in six different pattern styles: Dove & Hand (red), Dove & Hand (blueish green), Eden, Names, Retrospective, and Tablecloth.
Incase you aren't familiar with the design and illustration work of Alexander Girard, here is a little background:
“Alexander Girard (1907 – 1993) is one of the greatest colorists, pattern makers, environmental and exhibition designers of the 20th century. Hired by Herman Miller in 1952, Girard led the company’s textile division where he brought color and life to the modern furniture creations of George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames. He's left his distinctive fingerprints on the world of avant-garde with his celebrated contributions to the New York La Fonda del Sol restaurant, Braniff International Airlines. Using folk art as his inspiration, Girard created whimsical and sophisticated designs that have urged each of us toward a more personal and expressive way of life.” —Lagom UK
(the top image is from a BBC talks pamphlet designed by Eric Ravilious, c. 1934,
the second BBC leaflet, “London Calling,” dates back to the years of WWII)
His body of work has a great variety, but my eye first gravitated to the series In the Quivering Forest and Motorcross.
Studio Shelter directed the fun, colorful, and strange animated music video for the new song Play, by Korean electronic pop duo Cassette Schwarzenegger.
The song may sound familiar if you saw IdN magazine’s 100th issue promo trailer.
(click here for the myspace page for the Seoul-based music goup, Cassette Schwarzenegger)
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