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At last, I’m back with new instalments from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko Hayashi.

It’s always a thrilling day here when a MUJI notebook sized package, postmarked Tokyo, lands in my letterbox!

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

In my previous entry (which you can see here) I’d left Yoko with a rather awkward, untidy-back-of-embroidery page to work with…

muji notebook (tokyo) - back-of-embroidery

I was intrigued to see what she’d done with this page. I knew it would be beautiful and inventive, but I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful – there was actual gasping when I turned the page to reveal Yoko’s most recent entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

This fine lace-like filigree evokes a constellation of delicate celestial bodies or magical snow crystals.

Although they are painted they have an enticing three-dimensional quality – like real openwork – that makes one want to reach out and touch them.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread (artwork by yoko hayashi)

The village beneath this constellation (itself, it would seem, born of fallen stars/snow crystals) exudes a peaceful otherworldly calm, and that deep stillness that almost always accompanies abundant snowfall.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

Soft, substantial snow came to Haarlem a few days after the notebook arrived. Coincidence or enchantment? I favour the latter…

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – all artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II)

All artwork in this post is copyright yoko hayashi

While I had a screenprinting table booked at the printmaking studio (for the making of owl and octopus prints) I took the opportunity to also work on my annualend of year’ greeting cards (in the middle of October… an unprecedented bit of forward-planning on my part! ;)

Once again I was inspired by kirigami snowflakes (I love the surprise of seeing the final shape revealed as you open up the cut, and I cannot get enough of their pleasing symmetry and infinite variety!). Unlike these cards made a couple of years ago I was determined to keep the process as simple as possible (i.e. less time-consuming, but still very much handmade) so I ‘cut’ my snowflake designs out in Adobe Illustrator…

… to quickly have high quality vectors and a digital file ready to create transparencies for exposure onto the printing screen.

Colour choices were determined, in part, by the large stash of already-mixed inks I have from previous projects (can’t let all that lovely, gloopy ink go to waste!).

I made colour swatches (on the paper I intended to print on)
to better see the available colours…

… and enlisted the help of my colour-savvy studio assistant in making the choices.

I printed on a favourite paper – Oud Hollands (‘Old Dutch’) cards and envelopes. The 300gsm cards have a subtly textured vellum finish surface and four beautiful deckle-edges, and the old-style envelopes are lightly textured with a laid surface (lightly ribbed) and an Old Dutch watermark (“Van Gelder”). Although the paper-making process has been automated to some degree over the past 350 years these cards and envelopes are still made here in Holland with a love and respect for 17th Century Dutch paper-making processes and traditions, and they have a wonderful handmade quality.

I’m very excited about this beautiful paper (can you tell?), and if I wasn’t so busy trying to distract my afore-mentioned studio assistant from voraciously chewing on it I’d probably be tempted to eat it myself (it’s that tasty!)

I’ll be using most of these cards myself but I did make a few extra in all four colours and these are now available in my Etsy shop, as packs of four cards & envelopes (one of each colour), or packs of two cards & envelopes (in a single colour).

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

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Sketchbook doodling… in search of my lost mojo #creative_block #ugh #sketchbook #doodling #drawing #acrylic_ink #white #anthracite #monochrome #leaves #birch #botanical #pattern #negative_space #design Bold, beautiful brassica #cruciferous #cabbage #leaf #phyllotaxy #purple #green #verdant #fibonacci #pattern #raindrops #roofgarden Gira sez "Eat yer greens!" #good_advice #yum #catgrass #cyperus_zumula #teeth #canines #green #grey #cat #gira #catsofinstagram September is upon us (!) and this is an illustration I made towards the end of last year for @essie_letterpress ‘s 2017 Artist’s Almanac. The almanac is produced in South Africa and the only stipulation for the illustration (apart from colour and sizing guidelines) was that it should fit a Southern hemisphere timeline… September is early springtime in South Africa, when the remarkable fynbos wildflowers begin to bloom and southern right whales migrate through SA’s coastal waters where they can be seen frolicking close to shore.
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The almanac’s cover illustration (partially pictured here) is by the talented @ikronk
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#south_africa #spring #cetacea #eubalaena_australis #baleen #whale #southern_right_whale #tail_sailing through a #garland of #fynbos #flowers #gazania #quaqua #stapelia #pelargonium_incarnatum #ornithogalum #lachenalia #spiloxene #romulea #oncosiphon #euphorbia #lapeirousia #protea #flora #pattern #artistsalmanac #calendar2017 #two_colour #illustration #letterpress Our brave, beautiful boy… happy to be back home after his first cancer treatment @mcvoordieren earlier this week.
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If you’ve got any healing good vibes to spare (I know that’s a big ask in this perennially tough world) please send them Gira’s way ☄💙🐈
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#gira #cat #greeneyes #steady_gaze #inscrutable #manga_eyes #studiomate #best_fur_buddy #positive_energy #healing #lymphoma #enzyme_injections #fuckcancer #catsofinstagram A profoundly pleasing polar bear…
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'Orso’ by Simona Vergani (1998, white Carrara marble, h 350cm) can be found in Amsterdam’s Erasmuspark, and is definitely one of the coolest ❄🐧❄ public sculptures I’ve encountered!
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#polar_bear #ijsbeer #ursus_maritimus #vulnerable #habitat_loss #climate_change #paws #orso #sculpture #carved #white #carrara #marble #blue #summer_sky #amsterdam #erasmuspark

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