Stone me! Bathbombs, puppets, dribbles and Little Dancers!

Posted in Architecture, ART, BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, exhibitions, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 2, 2011 by echostains

Ronnie Wood Sketch

Musician,artist and printmaker  Ronnie Wood, who plays with the Rolling Stones (and has also played with The Faces, and the Jeff Beck Group) trained at Ealing Art College. His new exhibition, called ‘Time and Places’ will showcase 100 pieces of his work, including paintings of Jimi Hendrix, Slash and portraits of friends and family.  It shall run 7 – 12th November Cork Street, Mayfair. London.  Wood had this to say about his work:-

“People don’t know that I’m an artist. Playing music as part of a team effort is wonderful, but to express individuality as an artist is very personal. Art is more powerful, a more personal statement.”

 Creativity is creativity, but I take his point about personal expression and the need for own space to indulge this.  A group of artists can all bounce off each other and feed off ideas, each with their individual interpretation, – the inner journey must be solitary though.




Meanwhile, it’s nearly that time again.  No not Bonfire night – The Annual Turner Prize is nearly upon us.  love it or hate it, The Turner Prize has attracted controversy since it began back in 1984 to celebrate new developments in contemporary art.  Contenders have to have had outstanding exhibitions – and be under 50.

This year the exhibition will be held in the wonder BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts Gateshead.  This is a wonderful venue – a large and airy space  which used to be an old flour mill (see my review of this arts centre from when we visited – here)  The contenders for the Turner Prize this year are;-

Karla Black         


Martin Boyce
Hilary Lloyd
George Shaw

I shall be reviewing the other contenders in a later post, but my attention was drawn to the strange media of artist Karla Black – obviously a person after my heart where diverse media is concerned.  Whilst I have ground soft pastels mixed with polyfiller, and have flirted with latex, recycled acrylic scraps, Black uses crushed bath bombs (must smell wonderful!) foodstuffs and even medicines to make her sculptures.  Heavily influenced by psychoanalysis, she states;-

‘While there are ideas about psychological and emotional developmental processes held within the sculptures I make, the things themselves are actual physical explorations into thinking, feeling, communicating and relating’.

There’s a good review of this artist, image from here   If you want to see some of my painterly ‘recipes’ please look in my Categories MY SURFACES.  Here’s one I did earlier ‘Brown Sauce meets Latex’

This TV built 1936 was still going in 2009 please read the link below

Age is a dichotomy in many ways,on the one hand, nothing much surprises me any more – yet on the other there is still a yearning to believe in somethings and I still feel a childlike disappointment when they turn out to be wrong.  For instance, I find it very very difficult to believe that television is 75 years old today!  It seems only yesterday when I was told to see if there was any mail, went downstairs and saw a television showing a children’s programme in black and white.  I had never seen a television before – so you can imagine….  I was watching Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men – and they spoke my language ūüôā   Bill and Ben, along with Andy Pandy, The Woodentops and many more were part of the Watch with Mother series.  BBC Watch with Mother ran from 1952 –  about 1965 when it was replaced by other children’s programmes like Camberwick Green, Pogles Wood and Trumpton.  Here’s a very early episode from Bill and Ben (Thanks to ) :-

Also in the news is the famous Little Dancer, the bronze ballerina made

The Little Dancer

by French Impressionist Edgar Degas.  The bronze sculpture, stands 40 inches in height and  wearing a silk hair ribbon and satin tutu failed to sell at Christie’s New York.  The ‘Little Dancer aged 14’  had a pre sale estimate of between $25 million to $35 million.  Degas’s heirs had 28 bronzes cast from the original which was made from tinted wax.  Whilst I find it difficult to believe that there was no buyer for such an iconic work – on the other hand, the price tag is a bit on the high side…..

Whilst the ‘Little Dancer’ is at least a bronze, Jackson Pollock’s No.5 1948 painting sold at for $140 million in a private sale in 2006.  The painting measures  8ft x 4ft and is on a sheet of fibreboard.  Quality versus quantity?  Not necessarily – take a look at the rest of the worlds most expensive paintings here.  Perhaps, in the end, a painting is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it?

Ronnie Wood related link and painting from here

Television image and article (from 2009) is this TV still going now I wonder? read here

BBC first broadcast info here

Degas image and more information here

Pen and Inklings

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by echostains

lovely pen and ink

There’s something about pen and ink that makes it very satisfying to use.¬† I love pens, but they have to have black ink.¬† Not blue, blue will not do – don’t ask me why, I just don’t know.

The mark of ink on paper is a thing of beauty to me.¬† Whenever I get a new journal or writing book I never write on the first page.¬† Again, I don’t really know why.¬† Perhaps I don’t want to make a mistake.¬† I have been known to even start writing at the back of the book – which is probably taking things a bit too far.

this was considered grown up ink by me

I love ink, I love the thick fluid quality of it.¬† In particular I like indian ink, this contains¬†shellac which makes it good to mix with different media for art work.¬† We were taught¬†to use fountain pens years ago and practise our handwriting.¬† I always start very neatly when I’m writing then it all goes haphazard as I speed up!

late 19th century ink bottle

I have some old ink bottles like this and also some old adverts for ink.¬†¬† I even have a tile over my sink with Stephens ink on.¬† Of course there has been many mishaps regarding ink.¬† It’s terrible to get out of clothing.¬† Milk used to be a kind of remedy for this, but I’m not sure it works on Indian ink.

Stephens ink advert

Of course ink can be used to great effect by drawing with it.¬† I came across the artist¬† Kevin’Chopper’ Peshkepia the other day.¬† Not only are his paintings wonderfully expressive¬† – so are his pen and ink drawings.¬† I urge you to visit his site and look at his series ‘Bukowski and the Beats’.¬†¬†They captivated me!

Ginsberg on Campus 1

Talking of pen and ink – heres my latest Haiku – called ‘elementals’, nice video at the end!

Peshkepia website here

pen and ink image here

Great old adverts here

Valentine ‚Äď what a Saint!

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, HISTORY, HOME, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , on February 14, 2010 by echostains


I love this valentine!

Yes it’s that time yet again……¬† So if you have forgotten – woe betide you lol! This tradition started in the Middle ages when lovers sang or recited their valentines, which is rather nice.¬† The¬† valentine card¬† began in the 1400s and the paper ones were made in factories in the early 1800s

Typical vintage valentine

This early card is by  Esther Howland. an American printer and artist.  Howland was one of the first people to publish and sell valentines in the States. This  paper lace valentine Circa 1875 is so intricate and  astonishing in detail Рand  a very precious item in the emotionscard museum (beautiful cards here)

earlist Howland card

According to tradition, The Roman Emperor Claudius¬† at one time banned young men from getting married because he wanted to recruit them for his army.¬† A priest called Valentine went against the Emperor’s wishes and married couples in secret.¬† For this he¬† was put into prison and sentenced to die.¬† A young women wrote to the priest and became his friend.¬†¬† He would sign his letters to the woman ‘Your Valentine’.¬† So Valentine became St Valentine, Roman martyr.¬† or so the story goes….



Valentines have changed a lot over the years.  Original ones were made or real lace and very elaborate.  But there have been a lot of comical ones too.

Cute and Corny

Here’s a contemporary valentine card – which I found quite amusing.¬† It’s available from here, and it could be given any time.

Zombie love is undying love

The history of Valentine? HERE

Here is the heart on the cart link

Valentine mosiac from HERE

Pop Corn and other Vintage valentines available here

‚ÄėCut the mustard and get to the Ad!‚Äô

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

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?

Time and Tide and Other Old Washing Powders that make Life easier but no Slower

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, BRONTE BITES, BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING with tags , , , , on November 25, 2009 by echostains

fruit fantasia, better than the usual Test card eh? and very pretty

Not much of a post today, I’m afraid, just been very busy indeed.¬†¬† Found a cousin I haven’t seen for about 40 years so we have a lot to catch up on!¬† There’s not enough hours in the day sometimes – yet other times,it seems to hang heavily.¬† I have loads to do in the next couple of days so I might not put a great deal on…but then again, I just might (as an escape route).¬† Still reading the Norman Collins ‘London belongs to me’ book and have got Branwell Bronte’s Barbers Tale’ by Chris Firth lined up after that.¬† Plus there’s all that clearing out business that I STILL haven’t got round to…oh Deary ME!

Crafty Old Sugar!

Posted in ART, BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, HISTORY, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by echostains


An Icy Front

An Icy Front


I was watching a programme today which featured the Bowes Museum in County Durham.  The exhibition was about Sugarcraft as a sculptural medium.  I never realised that this craft was so old.  Apparently it was featured in the household of Princesse de Lamballe, Marie Therese Louise de Savoie-Carignan (1749-92) who was a favourite of the famous  Marie Antoinette.  The collection featured moulds and tools which the curator used to demonstrate.


Basket moulds

Basket moulds


The paste is pressed into the mould, then scraped round with a small brass tool and assembled.  These were used for table decorations and even deserts.


Cucumber basket

Cucumber basket



I love miniatures: my daughter and I used to have a lot of fun making miniature food with Fimo.


Butcher meat

Butcher meat


There has always been debate between Art and Craft and craft as an art form.  The Tate was founded by industrialist Henry Tate who made his fortune as a Sugar Refiner.

More information about the exhibition can be foound here;




Bahhhhh Woollies gone!

Posted in BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by echostains

An early version

An early version


Can‚Äôt believe Woolworths will soon be going!¬† I and millions and millions and zillions of other will miss it terribly.¬† It was part of my childhood, well everyones childhood.¬† As a child I would stand outside¬† pointing to the toys in the window, whilst I waited for the bus.¬† It was the scene of my first childhood public tantrum.¬† Kicking and screaming I threw the doll with rubberised hair across the store as I lay threshing and sobbing in disgust on the floor!¬† I wanted a doll with rooted hair, but Mum couldn‚Äôt afford it, so I had to settle for the rubber one.¬† It was a hard lesson to learn (kicking and stropping doesn‚Äôt get you anywhere‚Ķ) As it turned out, I grew to love that doll (Jennifer) I called her.¬† A relative drew string underwear on her (most weird when you think about it: a bit of a strange relative).¬† Jennifer was given to my younger sister as I grew older.¬† The first thing she did was poke poor dolls eyes out.¬† That doll really went through the mill, what with her faded biro penned stringed underwear and no eyes.¬† One of Woolies rejects.¬† Poor old Woolworths: part of everyone‚Äôs past and destined to not be part of the future.¬† 99 years old.¬† Sure, it will be bought by someone or divided up, but it will never be Woolworths as we know it.¬† Still, at least we’ve got our memories…and they’re precious¬†NOT cheap.