Archive for January, 2010

‘Weird and Wacky Design: Slippers to er, slip into?’

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , on January 24, 2010 by echostains

rodent slippers whatever next

Slippers have come a long way since I was a girl.  But looking at some of these, I have to come to the conclusion that maybe they’ve gone far enough.  And more to the point – would you actually wear these rat slippers?  Surely, they’ve got to be taking the mickey?  or do I mean the Roland….. lol  Ooh it’s just horrible!

Holy Moley

I’ve always thought that moles were very cute – perhaps it’s their tiny pink hands and feet that contributes to this harmless image (and probably ‘Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame).  They are considered pests and even vermin that cause a nuisance – traps are laid down for the poor little fellows.  Even so, there’s no need to wear them on your feet as slippers!  Yes, I do know they are not real rats and moles – and that no animals have been hurt in the making of them etc (at least, I hope that is so!) .  But why pick on them?

You've heard of fish fingers? - now fish feet

Why you would want to wear fish on your feet – I don’t know, but these fish slippers are probably the most comfortable ones, and not as repugnant as the other two.  There are some pretty awful slippers around – one pair, I found particularly offensive, and certainly wouldn’t feature.  I’ll just stick to my little knitted woollen ones…… 

More weird slippers to be had HERE

And a real odd collection of shoes and slippers HERE



‘Cut the mustard and get to the Ad!’

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2010 by echostains

guinness Marmite, might even try this

I am  just watching Flog it  and the programme (may be a repeat) is coming from Burton on Trent, the home of wait for it…….The Marmite factory!  As you know I’ve recently wrote about that lovely brown sticky comestible – Marmite.  Comestible eh? what a locupletative word!  (Must get my poor now neglected word back into circulation again.) 

marmite cubes

I LOVE old packaging, I even have some of it.  Nothing like Robert Opie’s collection, of which I saw a few years ago when he had his museum at Gloucester docks.  On Flog it, I was amazed at the collection of Marmite pots he had – the earlier ones are an entirely different shape.  He even had Marmite cubes in a tin.  Each cube came in its own separate cardboard box.

colmans-mustard a tradition

So to continue with the old packaging theme – Colmans mustard!  This is my favorite mustard in the world – well nearly…… I quite like that mustard that you can see the mustard seeds in…oh and the one that has honey in it.  I have the tin sign over my stove at home.

Reassuring colmans mustard

There have been lots of advertising campaigns for this product which can trace its history back to 1814.  But mustard itself goes back to 46BC.  It is even mentioned in the bible by Jesus in the Parable of the mustard seed Luke (13.18. 19 among many others

colmans mustrad Lord Kitchener image with cooked meat by Peta O Brien

In November last year a new campaign was launched by Karmarama featuring the old 1914 recruitment  poster of the Lord Kitchener  – so was popular during  the war.  It was designed by Peta O’ Brien and is made completely from meat!  Amongst the 16 types of meats used, including Unilever’s pepperami are Chorizo, roast duck, beef skirt, chicken breast, sausages and Leg of lamb! 

HERE is the Colman’s Mustard website

Good Ephemera site HERE

Robet Opies London museum HERE

The Marmite cubes image came from THIS lovely blog

‘La Bella Raphaela becomes My Beautiful Raphaella’

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , , on January 22, 2010 by echostains

My Beautiful Raphaella collage

One of my favorite paintings is ‘La Belle Raphaela’ by Tamara De Lempicka.  I’ve wrote quite a bit about her HERE.  This is a collage I did of this painting.  As you can see, my collage is a transcription of the image not a faithful copy.  I wanted to add something to the piece.  The original is a smooth liquid version, bathed in light and shade.  My Raphaela has hot legs and a cool body!  I quite enjoyed this experiement with collage and paint.

Having primed and painted the canvas, I then marked out roughly the composition

I started building up the surface, starting with the leg

As I layered, I also started using acrylic, so that I was both collaging and painting at the same time.  This leg is the only part that I have worked simultaneously on.

a closer view

struggling with the tonal values

piecs of collage are interlayed with a silver acrylicshading

background almost completed

cool tones for the skin


nearly there

final result

As for the smooth silky Raphaella (as opposed to my bumpy cool untouchable Raphaella) here’s the real thing by Lempicka;-

La Bella Raphaela by Lempicka

‘Books, books, books, – so many but never too many’

Posted in BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by echostains

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake

My reading is coming along great, already on page 110 of my Flashback book challenge.  As you probably know, I am tracking my findings on my other blog ‘Bookstains’.  however my reading is overtaking my writing!  Just to whet my appetite further I have found some other books which I wouldn’t mind re -reading ‘Diary of a nobody’ by George Grossmith and ‘The Gilded gutter of Francis Bacon’ (and I will write about him – he is my favorite artist of all time, so I want to do him justice).

the gilded gutter of Francis Bacon by Daniel Farson

I had a clear out the other day and was determined to get rid of some of my books.  But when it came to it, there always seemed a reason to actually keep particular ones, even though I’ve read them.  Needless to say, the ‘unwanted’ pile consisted of about 3 books.  One good thing to emerge from this, was I found some books which I hadn’t yet read!  Isn’t it fantastic when that happens!  However, the negative  side of this is where on earth is the time for this reading  coming from?

the diary of a nobody

I rarely get any time in the day to read now, my readings done mostly at night.  I am going to remedy this though, I have to.  I am going to set a time in the day especially for reading, perhaps an hour.  I will make time!

Spread em

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 20, 2010 by echostains

You big lovely pot you!

I’m one of those people who actually likes Marmite.  As everyone knows Marmite is made from yeast extract.  But what I didn’t know was that the jar has a picture of a ‘Marmite’ pot  on it.  A marmite (French Marmit) is an earthenware or metal  covered cooking pot.

marmit love it or hate it

Someone once told me that Marmite was made of what was left when ale had been brewed – the leftover yeast.  They said that some was kept and rest was sold on as marmite.  Don’t know if this is true though. 

Yes it is!  Just found it in Wikipedia. I think it’s good for you,  – well perhaps all the salt isn’t, but I like it spread on toast with cottage cheese over it.  Sounds bad eh? Each to his own.

Peanut butter not how I remember it - wrong colour

Another spread that I used to be mad about but now can’t eat now  because of the calorific content and the absolute MORISHNESS  of it – is peanut butter.  When my mother used to get it – I would rush to that cupboard to get a bit.  Alas,  = sometimes I was not quick enough and my sister had been there before me – and stirred, yes stirred sugar into it, what a revolting thing to do  yuck!  And this is coming from a person who loves Marmite…

Love it? Hate it? why not join the club?

‘Happy Birthday Paul Cezanne!)

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by echostains


Paul Cezanne

 Today is the birthday of Paul Cezanne the French Post impressionist (1839 – 1906).  Cezanne, son of a banker in Province, he came to fame relatively late in life  He studied law before entering his father’s bank (1859 -61) but left to study art in Paris at Académie Suisse, where he met Pissarro, Monet and many other painters though he failed his entrance exam for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.  Pissarro became an important influence in Cezanne’s early career, introducing him to some of the techniques of impressionism.  But Cezanne wanted to lend more weight to, what he referred as the lack of structure of impressionist painting;-

“I want to make of impressionism something solid and lasting like the art in the museums” 


mount sainte victoire

Early in his career, Cezanne used to paint from memory rather than use actual models , though later in his career, the artist  preferred to work from his own observation of nature and the permanancy of classical composition.  Cezanne painted still lifes and Landscapes for a long time and was obsessed with the geometric shapes of the cone, cylinder and sphere which appear in nature, as well as colour as  tone. In his early work his  main concern was with the figure within the landscape. 


The Bathers Cezanne


Cezanne was very influential towards other artists and is sometimes called the ‘father of modern art’ as he paved the way towards abstraction and Cubism.  This can be seen by the strong geometry element that lies within his work, coupled with solidity and depth of volume and form.  This flattening of space and form did indeed go a long  some way to influencing  Picasso and cubism.   Picasso who didn’t give praise lightly, had this to say about Cezanne: 

“My one and only master . . . Cezanne was like the father of us all”.

There are a lot more of artist’s birthdays – look in my categoreis

For a more detailed look at this artists life HERE and HERE

THIS  site has a lot of his work



‘How’s it going? here’s an update’



Euphoria Borealis, Acrylic on canvas aprox 3ft x 4 ft

Time for a little update.  ‘Echostains’ itself is going well, many are reading but, not many are commenting – don’t be shy come forward and show yourselves!  ‘Bookstains’ my other blog is coming along alright, its early days yet, but I am enjoying doing it.  Although I keep saying it, I really do need to put a piece of art work on here from time to time.  So here you are – I give you ‘Euphoria Borealis’ (or Belly Laugh) which was the last painting for my graduation exhibition.  I had just completed a 10,000 word Dissertation, a 5000 word one about my personal project (‘Echostains’) which included 10 large paintings and 2 x 500 word essays as well as course work.  Wouldn’t you be laughing?  Of course I have much more recent work, it’s just a case of getting around to scanning some sketchbook stuff  or photographing the bigger pieces, but I am determined to do it! 




As for my altered book which has disappeared yet again….one day I shall actually finish it!  I will have to revise the way I have documented this book.  I think the best way would be to make a gallery especially for it, so each page is linked with its own artist reference (because the project is an art project, underpinned with art history) and each pages should follow the other, like in a real book.  Lol!  I can see me making a blog just for my altered book!!!….not a bad idea 


The material for my  teapot articles are getting a bit tougher to find.  My favorite one lately is the making of the chocolate teapot.  I shall carry on though.  There’s no shortage of material for the weird and wacky design section either, so I will keep that going.  Some sections, like places are now a thing of the past, but this year we are hoping to go to new places nothing planned yet – except to see Iggy Pop in London in May, but do hope to fit a couple of exhibitions in whilst we’re there.