If you recall that chair I was coveting from Angie Lewin's design company St Jude's a while back, then it was a fortuitous wander around their website that also alerted me to the forthcoming limited edition of Volume One of the St Jude's design journal to be known as Random Spectacular. I had already spent ages coveting the fabrics on the site before very naughtily cutting off a virtual yard of Mark Hearld's 'Doveflight' fabric in grey as the obvious and only suitable background for my Twitter page, and I am grateful to Mark for designing it especially for me. (I'm sure)
But I can rarely resist a design-based journal, though finances dictate that I really should. I adore Selvedge and buy a copy whenever I see it and have the £10 lurking and unspoken for and it all segues perfectly into a book from Thames & Hudson that I have been enjoying for a while now.
'Looking' books are on an equal footing with those 'journey' books we were talking about on Monday I think, and in terms of value just keep on giving, and The New Artisans by Olivier Dupon is a treasure trove for anyone who warms to the notion of restoring noble status to the very word 'artisan'.
'Highly talented crafters around the world have been working laboriously and passionately, experimenting with techniques and materials, to produce high quality, modern, desirable, one-off objects of creation...History, vision and feeling are incorporated into each and every piece, and that clearly distinguished these products from mass-produced goods.'
Sounds (and is) poles apart from my selection of home-made Christmas gifts this year (can't reveal for obvious reasons) but there was nothing I was going to dislike about a book whose production values are stellar and which shares page after page of inspiration with me. I plan to share much more of this book and the designers, their goods and their websites on here through next year... in the meantime, it's obvious I would love Andrea Williamson who had stopped me in my tracks by page ten.
So I could see no harm in at least enjoying the first edition of Random Spectacular and giving something back to assuage my guilt for making off with that yard of virtual fabric, whilst getting some inspiration and wonderful colours and designs for the back of my eye in these dark and chilly winter months. I instinctively knew I wouldn't be disappointed; Angie Lewin's designs have really come to my attention on book jackets this year and they sit very comfortably with my gaze....
and talking of artisans, my thanks to Fran H-B for those hand-crafted snowflakes in with the card...yes indeed, move over Kirsty Allsop:-)
Published in a limited edition of 750 copies and with profits being donated to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, I signed up for the St Jude's notification e mail and then kept a track on Twitter for news of publication, because I had a feeling these would sell very quickly indeed. Up came the tweet last week, my order was placed within minutes and as I had thought Random Spectacular No 1 had sold out by the next day. News spread quickly that this was indeed spectacular and disappointed buyers gnashed their teeth, whilst I held my breath hoping mine would arrive...which it did last Saturday.
It's a journal that engages at every level, what I would call a 'looking' journal with writing which, measuring 14" x 9.5" and with 104 big pages, offers sufficient space on each to achieve something true to its name. The contributors have donated their time to the project and include...sorry in the end I thought I'd better name them all.... Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Richard Ardagh, Simon Beckmann, Graham Bignell, Paul Bommer, Adam Bridgland, William Brown, Chloe Cheese, Ellie Curtis, The Gentle Author, Jonathan Gibbs, Peter Green, Hand & Eye, Jonny Hannah, Mark Hearld, Ed Kluz, Justin Knopp, Angie Lewin, Ceri Levy, Maggie Li, Markus Lloyd, Jon McNaught, Alex Malcolmson, Simon Martin, Emma Mason, Joanna Moore, Justin Partyka, Tim Rich, Rob Ryan, Neil Sentance, Emily Sutton, Jake Tilson.
This is clearly a wonderful collaboration showcasing a wealth of design, artistic and writing talent that creates a truly spectacular and very harmonious whole. But one to single out... to my pleasant surprise Ed Kluz, the artist whose illustrations first drew me into A History of England in 100 Places.