Monday, 31 October 2011


Woot woot! I am so excited, iKHAYA, is launching its brand shiny new store this Friday the 4th November. Expect to see well crafted furniture in Rhenda and Nev's signature style, original artwork, hand carved figurines, prints by local and international illustrators, reclaimed notebooks, ceramics, vintage and custom lighting, cushions, tea towels, kuwaii stationery and glassware. Their beautiful wood, eco principles and a repurposing ethic - drive towards creating stylish contemporary interiors with a firm hold on classic design principles and the preservation of craft heritage. Rhenda and I will also be launching our secret splendid collaboration. Don't miss this opportunity to nab some really special Christmas gifts, plus some super cool stuff for your own house.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Kathie Olivas is the triplet of my lowbrow ladies. Possibly the creepiest of the pack but she is super smart and the concept behind her Misery Children is worth a read in her Bio. I love the story behind people's work and I appreciate the thought behind the prettiness.

She freaks me out a little but thats the point. I love all things CUTE and her aim is to question why us human creatures need to make everything shiny and pretty and happy on top.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


For my next post in the LOWBROW LOVE series I'm sticking with the ladies and giving a heavy nudge nudge wink wink to Halloweeness. Tara McPherson has a slicker graphic style but similar angst and imagery to Camille. I relate so much to both these artists from a shared exploration of the autobiographical, love of folktales and a sense of humour that is a little skew of convention. Plus they limit their colour palettes which makes us besties fo' sure!

The other reason Tara is my homegirl is that she is the artist behind the Magic Love Hello Kitty, need I say more?

Not to mention her blind box set Gamma Mutant Space Friends, so much of the lovely, especially the little blue bunnikins.

Monday, 24 October 2011


Camille Rose Garcia is the first artist on my Lowbrow list, a visual art movement that oozed out of LA in the 1970's. It is the art of the sub culture. It embraces punk, comics and zines, hot rods and tattoos. It is also known as POP Surrealism. It is often naive, has a sense of humour and leans towards the dark side of life. Many of the artists are self taught and there is a strong emphasis placed on craft, traditional and folk art based. What is not to LOVE! Originally some art critics doubted that it was a legitimate art movement and it was largely excluded from the fine art establishment during the early 80's and 90's but artists such as Mark Ryden helped to turn the tide.

Camille's body of work is expansive and it was really difficult to choose from my favourite pieces, just Google her and you will get to see all the lovelies. These images are from an exhibition at SCOPE in NYC, March 2009. They tie in rather nicely with this months Nautical/Toy theme. They are not Camille's first toys, which were vinyl and beautiful, but her plushy reaction to the environmental evils of producing vinyl toys.  

Thursday, 20 October 2011


The November 2011 issue of HOME magazine has this beautifully styled and shot flower story by Mabel Steenkamp, photographs by Christo Lötter. Not only are the vessels, flowers and foliage awesome but the simple background combo of plaster and what looks like a very aged outside wooden table is perfect.

They have an almost painterly feel to them, still life can sometimes be on the wrong end of twee but they cut the mustard when on target. My favourite and my best floral still life artists are from what was known as the 'Golden Age' of Dutch painting combined with Flemish Baroque ( 1584-1702).

I love the rich limited colour palette against the black. All four of these are by different artists: Abraham Mignon, Ambrosius II Bosschaert, Maria Oosterwijck and Willem van Aelst but they capture the same feeling of brooding abandon.

Vera Mercer took photographs of the old Paris market halls in the 1960's shortly before they were torn down. Arranging food items into still life, combining a harsh directness with classic motifs. Her book Photographs and Still Lifes ISBN 978-3-86828-111-8 is on my wish list.

Clinton Friedman's eerily sublime photographs of uprooted indigenous plants makes me think of the Röyksopp video What Else is There with the uprooted house, which bizarrely enough has images of a still life table in it.

Monday, 17 October 2011


Following on from the September of Scandi, October brings all things nautical. Ahoy and Yoho and Crow's Nests to you all! Have kept to a similar format but changed the colour palette and inking style. I love letterpress and etched botanical, zoological and anatomical - vegetable and mineral illustrations. I love the layering of fine strokes and the gentle wash of aged water colours. Sailors knots are the cheese as well.

Gulls are so funny, they really crack me up! Everytime I see them I always think of the Mine! Mine! Mine! scene from Nemo. A hilarious combo of crow and duck. While the whale has a spout this little fella has a cloud, cause' having your head in the clouds isn't always a bad thing.

There is something about octopi that I love, they have a strange sheepish look that seems to say give me a cuddle. That is if you would want to cuddle something that has a rather lethal beak and tends to ink if it gets nervous. I dream of enormous octopi that embrace submarines 1000 leagues under the sea or fire lazers from their eyes to incinerate Godzilla in downtown Tokyo.
R380 unframed (excl.postage and packaging) 248.5 x 205 mm. An edition of 20.
R630 framed in white/red/blue or natural Kiaat wood, iKHAYA.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Mine and Swan's wish will come true because some of these bright little beauties are wending our way. I love Kokeshi - small wooden dolls originally from Northern Japan. They are handmade, usually have no arms or legs, a large head on a simple trunk, very rudimentary painted features and a floral pattern or scene on their body. I am even more fond of the contemporary interpretation of Kokeshi which will take numerous posts to cover but I have decided to start with our most recent acquisitions. Wish Come True are one of the brands bought to you by FriendsWithYou, established in 2002 by Miami based artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III. Don't you love their rainbow wibbly-wobbly happiness.

These are some traditional vintage Kokeshi from my collection, I think they have such a modern feel and would not look out of place on a shelf with some of our new toys.

Mark Giglio is an incredibly talented illustrator, designer and photographer living in Oakland, California. His wooden toys rock my boat!! Check out more of his fabulosity at PenPencilStencil.

A post on wooden dolls would just not be complete without those of Alexander Girard, one of the design fathers of the 20th Century, there is no official website but I love the collab between House Industries and the Girard family. I will do a separate post later covering more of his magnificence.