Friday, 30 March 2012

Josh Ritter and paper art

Today we'd like to bring in the weekend with this lovely video of Love is Making Its Way Home, a song featured on Josh Ritter’s new album.

The video was made with over 12,000 pieces of paper and no post-editing.

Beautiful images for a beautiful song, don’t you think? I keep playing it over and over.

Enjoy before Monday is back again!


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spotlight on...Oak Estudio

Estefanía is the driving force behind Oak Estudio, a lovely project we have been following for a while now. For that reason we're especially pleased she's joining us today to share a little bit of her world so we can get to know her better.

This girl from Ontinyent (Valencia) who is based in Logroño makes mainly brooches, necklaces and earrings and they are all wonderful. From the first stitch in her embroidered necklaces to the intricate packaging in stamped boxes, all of her work exudes excellent taste.

Let's take a step back in time, how did Oak Estudio come about and what was it that made you take the final step and open your shop?
A course for leisure and free-time instructors helped me find my more creative side again. I started making accessories by experimenting with materials like felt and polymer clay. My first blog arose from a need to meet people with the same interests as me. This in turn enabled me to take my first steps into the handmade scene. A few years later, with a more defined line of work and different needs, Oak Estudio was born. Oak is a simple place you can pass through to look at nice things and the shop provides you with the opportunity to take home a piece of the time, patience and care I put into each item I make.
You use a lot of wood and recently even embroidered wood in your work. What are your favourite materials to work with and what does each mean to you?
At the moment I am most interested in finding materials and techniques that we've known our whole lives. I grew up connected to the world of wood because my dad is a carpenter and my mum has done embroidery work since she was a little girl. The idea of embroidered wood came from mixing the two. At the moment the materials I like working with most are porcelain because of its texture, wood because it is a natural product and copper because oxidation affects the piece making it change with time. In future, I would also like to work with leather.

What is the creative process behind each of your pieces? What are your main sources of inspiration?
The creative process starts with a sketch that sets off a chain of drawings and different versions. Once I've finalised the shape, I chose the material I want to make it with. Sometimes it can be months before the final idea comes together. Lastly I test the materials, paint, decide whether to varnish or not, choose the colour of the chain and so on. 
Inspiration can come from, e.g., a walk in the mountains, a photo, something you don't find in other shops, a material in itself, or even a moment in my life. For example, I got the idea for the necklace with the deer antler pendant after the first time I saw a deer out in the wild.

As a creative person, we know you like everything revolving around the handmade. Which handmade object do you treasure the most and why? 
It's hard to pick just one. I keep gems from my family like treasure: gems like crochet and cross-stitch work. I also have some material with the embroidery my mum used to do to practise different stitches, and wood hand-carved by my dad. Apart from that, I like buying handicrafts on my travels. For example, I have a hand-embroidered bracelet I bought from some women who had a stall at Dubrovnik port (Croatia) and it brings back very good memories.

And to finish up, let's look to the future...where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Of course I would like Oak to become a well-known brand on the handmade scene but it is not something I'm obsessed with. I just dream of continuing to have projects, large or small, just as long as they excite me and fascinate me as much as they do today.
I would also like to make the most of this interview to encourage people in La Rioja who are involved in the handmade scene to get in touch with me. I'm sure there are a lot of us. We're very scattered around and we need to get to know each other and support one another. 

Images: Oak Estudio
Thanks very much, Estefanía. We'd like to wish you all the luck in the world and hope the excitement and passion you feel now accompany you always.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Pick ’n’ Mix: triangletastic

Isosceles, scalene and equilateral...triangles have always been boring, until now that is!
The geometric fever that's sweeping its way through Spring has reached our latest Pick ’n’ Mix:

1. Skirt from Secret Squirrel
2. Necklace from Asos
3. Tray from Little studio
4. Brooch from Sketchinc
5. Cushion from John Lewis
6. Blanket from Humanempireshop
7. Matrioshkas from Sketchinc
8. Triangular washi tape from SeventyTree
9. Print from SeventyTree

Enjoy this love triangle!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hotel Haiku

While browsing the internet the other day in a "wishIhadenoughmoneytoaffordthat" state, my condition was made no better by Hotel Haiku - an excellent website full of interesting hotels and notels all over the world. It is written and curated by Garri Rayner who came up with the word notel to describe an "exceptional, often architecturally designed, holiday and vacation rental property that draws inspiration from the design hotel phenomenon".

The descriptions for each hotel and notel are expressed in haiku...hence the name Hotel Haiku.

Just look at these photos...

 Landscape Hotel, Norway
And the Haiku to go with this image...
Let nature greet you
As the outside comes inside
Seven detached rooms

(source: Hotel Haiku)

Nesting with the birds
In the forest canopy
Where tree lovers flock
(source: Hotel Haiku)

Mountains wraparound
Four sumptuous cottages
Perched on a ridge
(source: Hotel Haiku)

Don't all these places look amazing? I had to stop myself from posting every single one of them. If only it were possible to be a lady of leisure wot lunches and dines to her heart's content. One day, maybe. One day. And until then, I can always keep looking at sites like this for inspiration, no harm in that yeah?


Saturday, 17 March 2012

DIY: presenting your presents

Those of you celebrating Father's Day on Monday (I'm looking at you Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Bolivia, Honduras, Italy and Liechtenstein) have probably already bought a special present to give your dads. I'm one of those people who places just as much importance on the presentation as on the present so today we bring you a very easy DIY by PaperCrave that will really make your gifts stand out.

They are little gift boxes decorated with ties and bowties that you can make in your (or even better - your dad's) favourite colours. You could even base the design on his favourite shirt or tie to make it extra special :)
Images: PaperCrave

All you have to do is download the template here, cut it out and follow the instructions.

It's Mother's Day in the UK tomorrow, maybe you could even use this idea and "motherify" it with a necklace instead of a tie for example. Use your imagination!


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Rhapsody in Blue to animation

Have you ever watched a live classical music performance that was accompanied by a fireworks display and all the explosions and bursts of colour seemed to match the music perfectly? I'm thinking in particular of the concert at the end of the Edinburgh festival but I'm sure you'll have seen something similar in your respective countries. And if you haven't, take a look at this video, which follows the same idea but with illustration instead of fireworks. The animation is so well timed to the music, it's hard to take your eyes off it. 

Have you seen this DIsney film? I came across it purely by chance and although I recognised the name (Fantasia 2000, a sequel to Fantasia 60 years after) I had never seen it before.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ballerina project

I found this photo project the other day and thought it was so lovely I had to share it with you. It's by New York City-based photographer, Dane Shitagi, originally from Honolulu, and is a series of pictures of ballerinas taken over the last ten years. They all look so graceful, it makes me want to be a ballerina!
"...the Ballerina Project is not “dance photography” but an etching of a ballerinas heart and emotions.
Every aspect of the Ballerina Project is carefully crafted and cultivated. The project has  been photographed entirely on traditional photographic film and not with modern digital cameras."

Ballerina Project

They all look so calm but I'm sure it can't have been easy to hold those poses. What do you make of them?


Sunday, 4 March 2012

New feature: Double exposure

For a while now, Carla and I have been wanting to start a photography project to share on the blog. We've finally got our act together and our cameras are very happy they'll get to go out on more walkies :) 

As you already know, we live in different countries - I'm in Spain and Carla's in the UK (although temporarily in Switzerland just now). We have our own little shared universe here on PolkaDot Lighthouse but the little details that make up our day-to-day lives are very different.

A top-floor flat with views over Madrid 
and the sun streaming in through all the nooks and crannies, 
a big house with squirrels in the garden 
surrounded by all the greenery that only British rain can bring.
Yellow post boxes, red post boxes.
Café con leche, tea with milk.
Churros, scones.
Euros and cents, pounds and pennies.
Afternoon snack time, dinnertime.
And so on and so on...

So we decided to share our own particular ways of capturing something through the lens: a moment in the day, a scent, a sound, a flavour...and that will form the basis of our photography project - a very distinctive double exposure.

Colours will be the name of the game in these first few months, starting with red.

Olga on the left                                                            Carla on the right
We would be more than happy if any of you want to join in on this project. Just send us your photo of something red or a link to it and we'll publish it in the next Double Exposure post.

We hope you like it!
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