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I didn’t expect to be absent from this space for quite such a long time, but some sort of internet service provider snafu meant we were without a ‘phone or internet connection for almost two weeks after our move. Not so good for work productivity and ‘public relations’ with my clients, but very good for unpacking boxes and… customising Munnys!

7" GID blank munny

blank 7″ GID Munny from Kidrobot

blank munny head

Alas, poor Yorick!

red panda jungle munny

This little fella was inspired in part by a new neighbour (our new home is very close to Artis and, although I have mixed feelings about zoos, I decided to become a ‘friend’ so I could visit the Red Pandas, and sit in Artis’s beautiful Japanese rock garden, as often as I like).

red panda jungle munny... other views

Red Panda Jungle Munny… on a mission to spread the word about the importance of preserving his, and other creatures’, jungly natural habitats…

While in Antwerp a week (and a bit) ago, in between scoffing Vlaamse frites and sampling a multitude of Belgian beers :), we learnt the story of how the city got its name. According to legend there was once a giant called Antigoon who demanded a toll from those crossing the River Scheldt (Antwerp’s river). He would chop off a hand of anyone refusing to pay the toll and throw it in to the river. His tyranny continued until one day a brave young hero (named Brabo) slew him, cut off the giant’s own hand and flung it in to the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from the Dutch ‘hand werpen’ (hand = hand, werpen = throw).

(OK, so this folk etymology is disputed by many and there are several other theories based on actual facts and historical accuracies, but none involve a giant called Antigoon – a name which could not, according to the above legend, be more deceptive – so this is the story I’m sticking with).

And so an upheld hand is the symbol of Antwerp. I wasn’t consciously gathering hands while there (best place for that would be the bottom of the River Scheldt!) but while going through the photos taken I found quite a collection:


top left to bottom right:
stencil graffiti hand  |  detail of painting by Gustave van de Woestyne, ‘Christus toont zijn wonden’ (Christ showing his wounds) 1921  |  detail of painting by Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Ongeloof van Tomas’ (The incredulity of Thomas) c.1630s?  |  De Koninck beer ‘logo’  |  doorknocker fist  |  detail of sculpture by Juliaan Dillens, ‘Gevleugelde genius’ (The winged genius) date?

On the subject of collections I did consciously gather some of the meticulously painted fabrics while visiting Antwerp’s Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten. Here are some of them, ranging from simple white cotton to elaborate embroidery and lace:

top to bottom:
detail from painting by Pieter de Ring, ‘Stilleven’ (Still Life) 1653 | detail from painting by Quinten Massijs, ‘Bewening van Christus’ (The Lamentation over the Dead Christ) date? | detail from painting by Cornelis Vos, ‘Portret van een familie’ (Portrait of a family) 1631


* ‘fabric hand’ or ‘handle’: the way that a certain fabric feels to the touch.
Apologies for the lame, and frankly misleading, title – I needed something to bring these two unrelated subjects together!

And finally, if music is more your thing, click here for an evocative review of the Mogwai gig at the Rivierenhof open air theatre (the primary reason for our visit to Antwerp).

DIY and other diversions…

‘Self-promotion’ is not one of my strong points, and although I really like making things I have a hard time actually showing them to anyone (that’s a problem for someone who is a designer / illustrator by trade!). So I don’t know what came over me when I decided to submit my mural painting to the ‘DIY Contest’ over at Design*Sponge. But once you’ve hit that email ‘send’ button there’s no turning back! I was surprised (and very happy) to learn recently that of the 500 DIY projects submitted the mural was selected as one of the 20 finalists. Thanks very much to all of you who gave me encouraging comments and helped me to ‘face the fear’…

You can check out the 20 DIY projects here (they were posted in five sets of four so you’ll need to view the earlier posts to see them all. My mural is listed as No.18). And you can vote for your favourite project here (voting is open until next Tuesday, 18 March ’08). I like Kirsten’s Suitcase Dog Bed (No.10), and Natasha’s Baby Doll Coat Rack (No.4) is delightfully creepy.

If you’re looking for another diversion check out this beautiful sashiko pincushion (and all its equally beautiful non-sashiko pincushion pals) that Kate from needled has made.

In my other life (as the aforementioned designer/illustrator) I have been working on some research for a set of illustrations for a client. My research has taken me, desk-bound, to Cape Town, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Singapore, Durban, and across the length and breadth of New Zealand. It has left me with a serious case (more so than usual) of wanderlust! So it’s very fortuitous that I have a trip to Cape Town planned in the not-too-distant-future (17 days and counting!).

And finally, here are a couple of the specimen drawings I’ve been working on when I haven’t been researching far-flung sunnier climes, admiring beautifully hand-stitched pin cushions (and entering DIY contests?!). I still have a few more creatures to complete before I can begin work on the repeat pattern design I have in mind, but I hope to be able to get started on that soon. In the spirit of ‘facing the fear’ I’m throwing caution to the wind here and posting them at a bigger size than last time.

Octopus & Frog, ink drawings

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Squid & Snake, ink drawings

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images at the top of this post are l to r:
diy contest – mural detail | rocky outcrop, cape point, south africa, april 2005 | seaweed specimen detail | sunset, paternoster, south africa, april 2005

Just as I couldn’t resist using glow-in-the-dark paint for the owl’s eyes, so I couldn’t resist posting a picture of those eyes…um, glowing in the dark… here!


He’s been getting acquainted with the other ‘radioactive’ critters he now shares a home with. They’ve been hanging out, staying up late and doing what they do best – glowing in the dark!

Series 1, 3″ Dunny by Jerry Abstract

Series 1, 3″ Dunny by Jerry Abstract

Goon (Immortal) by Touma

Goon, by Japanese artist and toy designer Touma

Knuckle Bear (Bones) and FangWolf GID by Touma

KnuckleBear and FangWolf, also by Touma

Toy links!: PlayloungeRotofugi, Toytastic, Vinyl Pulse, KidrobotTokyocube


Here is the completed owl (the ‘work-in-progress’ in my previous post).
He’s a tubby little fella…


… but that doesn’t seem to bother him.
He’s quite content perched amongst the branches of his chosen tree.


some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation


A post in honour of this little fella, who would have been celebrating his 6th birthday today. We still – and always will – sorely miss the tummy-tickles and all the good times we shared together. Happy birthday Gira! #gira #rip #best_fur_buddy #studiomate #cat #russianblue #greeneyes #grey #furry #stretch #catsofinstagram #fuckcancer
When the furry host at your temporary AirBnB lodging doesn’t want you to leave… #attemptingtopack #suitcase is futile! Thanks Mustard, aka The Colonel, for the warm welcome and fond farewell #mustard #ginger #cat #airbnb #capetown #southafrica #catsofinstagram
Powerful, compelling work by Zanele Muholi, from her 'Somnyama Ngonyama' (Hail the Dark Lioness) series. -- 1. ‘Thembeka II, London’, 2014, 50 x 46 cm, Silver gelatin print 2. ‘Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo’, 2015, 50 x 43.6 cm, Silver gelatin print - #zanelemuholi #photographer #visualactivism #art #portrait #selfportrait #blackandwhite #photography #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #southafrica - @muholizanele @somnyamangonyama -
The new Zeits MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) building in Cape Town is an extraordinary architectural intervention/renovation (by Heatherwick Studio) of a decommissioned 1920’s grain silo complex. I particularly like the many-paned windows, which bring to mind the compound eyes of insects, and offer wonderful multifaceted views over the city and its iconic mountains. - #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #architecture #heatherwickstudio #tablemountain #devilspeak #southafrica #africa #window #multifaceted #pattern #blue -
Weird & wonderful rock formations and epic vistas at Stadsaal Caves & Truitjieskraal, deep in the Cederberg mountains - #cederberg #mountains #caves #rocks #sandstone #erosion #cederberg_wilderness #capenature #stadsaal #stadsaalcaves #truitjieskraal #southafrica #hiking #chibi_totoro #landscape #nature #texture #colour #form -
Rocking rocks! Luminous lichens! And other textures, colours and patterns ‘collected’ over three days' hiking in the Cederberg mountains - #rocks #sandstone #erosion #mountain #cliff #lichen #protea #cederberg #hiking #southafrica #nature #texture #colour #pattern -


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