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Entries in design (12)



Christopher Dresser : Art Botany

Nature has always been and continues to be an ongoing source of design inspiration for the manufacture of goods. I thought about this more lately because we have been studying botany and dissecting flowers in class with the students. Christopher Dresser, a Scottish -born designer and  professor of Botany Art, and subsequent designer of botanical-inspired fabrics during Edwardian times in England, is fascinating.  


Botany Diagram 1855


Nectaries, diagram by Christopher Dresser

Christopher Dresser, 'Original drawing for The Grammar of Ornament (Leaves & Flowers No. 8)', published 1856. 


 'Botanical lecture diagram', about 1855. 

Fabric design, Sweet Peas, by Christopher Dresser

Victorian teapots designed by Dresser (hardly your average Victorian teapot!)

Dresser was born in Glasgow, Scotland of a Yorkshire family. At age 13, he began attending the Government School of Design, Somerset House, London. He received training in design and took botany as his specialization. He lectured on the new subject of Art Botany to complete his studies before his appointment in 1855 as Professor of Artistic Botany in the Department of Science and Art, South Kensington. He wrote a series of articles that appeared in the Art Journal in 1857, "Botany as Adapted to the Arts and Art Manufactures." In 1858 he sold his first designs. In 1873 he was requested by the American Government to write a report on the design of household goods.[2] 

En route for Japan in 1876 he delivered a series of three lectures in the Philadelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art and supervised the manufacture of wallpapers to his design for Wilson Fennimore. He was commissioned by Messrs Tiffany of New York to form a collection, whilst in Japan, of art objects both old and new that should illustrate the manufactures of that country.[1]

In four months in 1876/1877 Dresser travelled about 2000 miles in Japan, recording his impressions in Japan, its Architecture, Art and Art-Manufactures. He represented the South Kensington Museum whilst in Japan, and was received at court by the Emperor, who ordered Dresser to be treated as a guest of the nation – all doors were open to him. He was requested by the Japanese Government to write a report on 'Trade with Europe'. His pioneering study of Japanese art is evident in much of his work which is considered typical of the Anglo-Japanese style.


Toast rack, designed by Dresser for Alessi in 1878


Some of Dresser’s metalwork designs are still in production, such as his oil and vinegar sets and toast rack designs, now manufactured by Alessi and Alberto Alessi goes so far as to say Dresser 'knew the techniques of metal production better than any designer who has come to Alessi'.[3] (Wiki)


A recent postcard design for Cooperative Art Gallery.


Design work in progress...

Road trip to Cooperstown this lovely Fall weekend.



Wishing a Happy Birthday to my big sister! Its really not until June 12 but since I'll be away, I'm sending this a bit early! Will try to post while at ICON7 to let you know what's happening.




Fruit Tart and breads by Jenna Nocciolino and helpers

Pupa con l’uova “Italian Easter Bread"


a little group holiday kitchen creative....traditional Easter egg breads and a fruit tart.

Design creeps into everything :)


"Flesh Forks"

more quick sketches from my sketchbook project ....



This book by Michael Beirut....Each essay is set in a different typeface which makes it interesting to read but somewhat maddening as well. Reading it is a lesson in itself...


Linocut Print: Japanese Goldfish

I thought I'd try doing a linocut of the goldfish drawing/watercolor from earlier post here. I used the MasterCarve blocks and a #1 cutter. This image from applying watercolor directly to the block and printing on watercolor hot pressed paper. Since I have been reading so much on Design, I could not help envisioning this as a logo. So this is a fictitious cafe...but I would love to go there:) Not done with this yet. May still want to add the characteristic spots by subtracting more of the block...more to come:)


Reading up on design

The sun came out for a rare appearance and lit up a gathering basket...
I've been reading and thinking a lot about design lately. Stephan Sagmeister's new book, Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far and his website, and Marian Bantjes' blog. Her work is amazing. Her sugar drawings reminded me of my experience with Buddhist monks from Namgyal Monestary in Ithaca and making sand mandalas. (That's another post coming up:)


Christmas Catalogs

Most of the catalogs we receive these days go in the recycle bin. I held onto the Patagonia catalog though because I thought the cover image and design was so striking. I was making stamps later in the day and couldn't resist adding a bit of color and well...sentiment.


wine label design & illustration



Stocking up on wine for the holidays. Hardly an expert, I sometimes pick wine because of the label and hope that it's a good wine. Here is some wine label art that I found to add to my collection. It seems that illustrated labels for wine companies are " scarce as hen's teeth" as my mother used to say. But these really caught my eye.

About the "Cycles Gladiator"(2006 Merlot Central Coast)...the label reads..."The invention of the bicycle ushered in a new spirit of freedom during the late nineteenth century. The Golden Age of Cycling reached its pinnacle in 1895- that same year French printer G. Massias unveiled one of the great Parisian art posters advertising a fashionable new bicycle: "Cycles Gladiator". His mythological image of the winged bicycle captures the stylish grace, beauty, and unfettered freedom of our hillside vineyards. Let Cycles Gladiator whisk you away for the ride of your life."
(This was actually a really good wine!! and you can buy the poster here) Cycles Gladiator Wines Participate In Cycling

About "The Smoking Loon"( 2006 California Chardonnay)...the label reads ..."Besides his bein' kinda crazy, they called him the Smoking Loon cause he was so damn efficient," Jake began, stubbing out his cigar. "he'd take care of business an ' get in an' out before anybody seen him comin'...leavin no trace 'cept the lingering sound of his eerie, loon-like cackle. No one was really sure who he was or who he worked for, but when word got out somebody needed his services, the Smoking Loon just appeared on their doorstep, like outta thin air or somethin'." Here is another illustrated label on the Smoking Loon website that is humorous called "Plungerhead" by The Other Guys. Actually this company seems to have their sense of humor in their back pocket.

About "Toasted Head" (2006 California Chardonnay)...the label reads..." Aromas of vanilla spiced pear and nectarine are complemented by tropical fruit, and toasty oak notes. Rich and creamy in texture, with ample acidity and a long soft finish. The mystery and wry humor of the fire-breathing bear, along with serious winemaking captures the Toasted Head state of mind." There is even more explanation on their website.