Lula is a multi-disciplinary creative partnership by some very talented people in Gothenburg, Sweden. Their site displays a selection of enviable and covetable designs, illustrations, product designs, photography and styling.
In the 70 years between the 1880s and the 1950s, millions of colorful paper labels were used by America's fruit and vegetable growers to advertise their wooden boxes of fresh produce that was shipped throughout the nation and the world.
Collectors value crate art for its colorful design and its ability to trace the social and political history of American agriculture.
Beginning primarily in the southern regions of California, labels became an industrywide necessity to communicate the appeal of fresh produce to Eastern buyers. In the fast-paced setting of Eastern auction halls and commission markets, buyers could not see the fruit, which was individually packed in tissue paper and sealed in a wooden box. The brightly colored, attractively designed label soon became the growers' chief advertising device, the symbolic window from which the fruit could be judged.
You may purchase variously-sized giclee reproductions of Plan 39's collection of labels. Check out their closeups of the labels to appreciate the complexity of the original printing process and the wonderful use of colour found on these masterpieces of type and illustration.
(I have a modest collection of vintage food and drug labels, some of which make their way into my Eclecto paper packs, available in store or by email.)
Ornamentation and decoration of designed objects and spaces is a current hot topic in publishing. Wallpaper by Lachlan Blackley is a new arrival at UPPERCASE. In contrast to the Florence Broadhurst book (see review below), this book is a compilation of very current work.
The revival of ornament has seen a resurgence of interest in wallpaper design. Wallpaper is back, but this time it is different. No longer used 360 degrees to cover cracks and imperfections in crumbling plasterwork, wallcoverings are now a means of expressing individuality. The new wallpaper is blurring the division between art and interior decoration. Graphic designers and illustrators are playing with scale and using walls as their canvases, while fashion and textile designers are transferring their fabric prints to paper.
The book offers some great inspiration for designers and illustrators: the artwork and ideas are impressive for their scale, ingenuity, and obsessive-compulsiveness.
Available at UPPERCASE $52.00
A fabulous reference, Twentieth-Century Pattern Design is organized by decade. It has recently been released as a softcover.
Focusing on surface pattern in the home, [the author] draws frequent parallels to the worlds of fashion, packaging, and graphics and explores the interrelationship between painting and pattern design. The result is a book that is as inspiring as it is informative. Twentieth-Century Pattern Design is an invaluable resource for modern design enthusiasts and historians, collectors, and interior and graphic designers.
This is one of those books that you'll refer to again and again.
Available at UPPERCASE $45.95
While we're on the subject, here's a must-see wallpaper company that makes gorgeous hand-printed papers: Nama Rococo. (Someday, I'd love to have an exhibition of pattern and paper and this company would be first on the list!)
Who knew that a book about a wallpaper designer could be so full of deception and intrigue! Florence Broadhurst was a woman who changed her identity, nationality and profession to suit her personal goals and desires. From a career as a songstress in Shanghai, to a French couturier named Madame Pellier, to a British socialite/painter depicting the Australian landscape, Florence went from one glorious creative career to the next. (At least, she made her incarnations seem glorious… she had no qualms about telling lies about her credentials, associations and past.)
The book attempts to unravel the truth of Florence's true nature. Interspersed throughout are pretty, kitchy, outlandish and modern wallpaper patterns that ultimately Broadhurst is most famous for. Interviews with past associates reveal that it is likely Florence never actually drew any of her designs (she was going quite blind while at the helm of her company!) and that most are the creative work of the young women whom she employed and left uncredited.
Although Broadhurst lived to be in her seventies (she'd proclaim that she was twenty years younger), she was brutally murdered in her wallpaper showroom in 1977. Her murder remains unsolved, although clues link Australia's notorious Granny serial killer as likely suspect.
The book itself is beautifully designed with a lush red cloth cover with opaque white silkscreened florals. Pretty and disturbing - a rare thing in the realm of design books.
Available at UPPERCASE $32.95
So it's not quite spring yet, here in Calgary... but there sure are some lovely things popping up in UPPERCASE! There are some beautiful new Russell & Hazel mini binders and patterned elastics, new journals featuring the work of Amy Butler and Cath Kidston, boxloads of new books from Die Gestalten... we're bursting at the seams with new things. (Also some new Eclecto Books and Pouches available!)
My friend Erin sent me this list of a child’s development at 18-36 months. Much of this is true of UPPERCASE at 24 months:
I may know up to 200 words in my home language and sometimes in a second language, too.
I can put words together into sentences.
I can tell you about things that happened yesterday and about what will happen tomorrow.
I may get frustrated trying to express myself. I need you to listen patiently. It can help if you put into words what you think I am trying to say because it makes me feel understood and helps me learn new words.
I also communicate by using my body. I make up dances, songs, and stories, and I draw pictures that tell you what is on my mind.
I love hearing and reading stories, especially about things I know—like animals, families, and places I have visited.
Sometimes I like to “read” or tell you a story.
I like songs, fingerplays (like “Itsy-Bitsy Spider”) and games with nonsense words.