Summer time

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Hooray!! One hour less sleep last night, but the start of British summer time (if that's not a contradiction in itself). Here's hoping it's a little bit warmer than last year!

Spanish meadows

Saturday, 29 March 2008

I just realised that I hadn't mentioned on my blog about my lovely trip to Seville over Easter. It was totally wonderful from the Semana Santa (Holy week) celebrations, to the delicious tomato salads to the air that smelt so strongly of orange blossom and rosemary. But the most wonderful thing about the trip was possibly the countryside outside of Seville, especially around El Real de Jara. I had thought Spain was arid and rugged, so it was a complete surprise to see lush green fields and the most beautiful meadows overflowing with flowers. There was wild lavender everywhere, sprinkles of white across the fields because they were full of daisies, yellow flowering bushes that looked almost like oncidium orchids, dry stone walls, and fields full of grazing cattle and little black pigs. It would be hard not to be inspired by a meadow full of purple, yellow and white flowers being visited by bees and cabbage butterflies, so expect meadows to crop up in some anzu designs before the year is out!

Why not? (3)

We've been busy trying to think of display ideas at anzu, so to continue with our blogs on this theme, why not use a desk, or jewellery box with drawers to display cards? The drawers can be pulled out and used to stock the selection. I saw a particularly effective display of our cards in the General Trading company, where they had used a bureau with a line of drawers, which were pulled out and filled with our men's cards all the way up to the till.


Thursday, 27 March 2008

As you may know I love Chinoiserie, and I always think of anzu illustrations as being essentially English but influenced by Asian design be it Japanese, Chinese or even Tibetan. I think that cross between East and West often results in something special and different. Chinoiserie started in the seventeenth century, with the West translating traditional Chinese images and decorating everything from china to cabinets to architecture with them. Preoccupation with Chinese styles was so strong that whole Chinese villages were even built in Sweden and Russia, and rulers such as Augustus the Strong built Chinese summer style palaces. Aside from the look of it, I love that chinoiserie often captures an exotic fairyland, full with cobweb bridges, bamboo pavilions overlooking lakes filled with water-lilies, vases full of lotuses, and swinging lanterns. So I have decided to do a new Chinoiserie range to launch in Summer. Some of you may remember our previous collection, but I am working at the moment on a variety of new images for a new range on the same theme, and in addition bringing back a couple of popular discontinued images such as the Screen vase above (currently only available in the US). Keep checking back for more details!


Friday, 21 March 2008

I love Easter, finally winter feels like it is at an end, I really like all the spring colours of mauve and sunny yellow, and shops like Fortnum and Masons on Piccadilly are such a treat with their displays of Easter hatboxes and chocolate boxes decorated with bees, hummingbirds and rabbits.
My Slovenian friend was also telling me all about how they celebrate Easter there, and I'd love to do something similar here. In her hometown of Ptuj they have family and friends round and have a big ham, salami, Russian potato salad, eggs, milk bread, and most importantly copious amounts of champagne! In Scandinavia, people decorate with vases full of pussy willows and pale birch branches from which they hang brightly coloured feathers and little decorations, which I also like the sound of. Have a great Easter weekend!
Above image: our new Jewelled egg card

Why not? (2)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

To continue with our display idea posts, why not use teddy bears to hold our teddy bears' picnic card, or to display children's cards hang them on a make-shift washing line along with pastel coloured babygros or socks? Everything is always so cute in miniature and I think our small gift enclosure cards look really sweet with these little baby socks.


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

I have been eagerly waiting for Atonement to come out on dvd, not because I especially liked the film, but because I love the interiors and the quintessential English look of the first half of it. As I am still working on getting things together for my new office and adore that 1930s English look, (which I try and get in my painting as much as possible), it is particularly inspiring to me. I love the floral blue bedroom wallpaper, the 30s silk dressing gowns, the faded chintz armchairs, the varied floral prints in the nursery, and even the bunch of stocks and garden flowers Keira Knightley gathers. It was filmed at Shropshire mansion Stokesay Court, and surprisingly (because it looks as if it somehow has a modern take on a traditional look), the original 1892 interiors of the house weren't changed much for the film.

Glass slippers, nightingales, and elves

Monday, 17 March 2008

Looking through my books for inspiration this weekend, I pulled out my book of Hans Andersen stories, which had also been my Dad's when he was a child. Even though I grew up with the illustrations, everytime I look at it I am still amazed at the elegance, wit and at times surprising edginess of Rex Whistler's drawings (see top left). The other book is a selection of stories illustrated by Edmund Dulac, whose designs are delicately coloured and totally magical. I am often asked which illustrators I admire, and I find many are children's book illustrators, whether it's E.H.Shephard and his sensitive and witty drawings for Winnie the Pooh, or John Tenniel and his woodcuts for Alice in Wonderland. Ivan Bilibin is another favourite - his illustrations are decorative and rich with Russian folklore of extravagantly dressed Kings, mystical forests and carved wooden architecture (see below).

Display ideas (part 1)!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

We thought for all buyers out there, it would be fun to come up with some different ways to display cards in your shop. Doing trade shows myself, I know that cards aren't always the easiest things to display so keep checking in because we'll be posting lots of ideas.
This first one is a really decorative and space effective way of displaying cards. You could use ribbon or string, and string across/down walls, behind your till or across picture frames as above. Below, Jasmine has pegged (if there is such a word!) them onto different strands of pearls.

Cornwall work

Friday, 14 March 2008

Just putting my work in a folder to go to the scanners, and thought I'd post a little selection of some of the paintings I did in Cornwall. We really need a more comprehensive range of business stationery for ourselves, so I've been working on designs for a new Anzu letterhead, compliment sheets, invoices etc.

The Lost gardens of Heligan

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

I have been on a little working holiday in Cornwall the past few days. I totally love Cornwall, whether it's the rugged almost beautifully surreal landscape with crashing waves against steep cliffs, to the Manderley style old manor houses with rooks circling overhead, to the cute little candy coloured fishing villages. Plus it also happens to be the home of the cream tea! The light is so good that painting down there is great, plus my mobile never works so I always manage to get a lot done. It is a great place to be inspired and this time I paid a visit to the Lost gardens of Heligan. For those of you who haven't been, Heligan was the seat of the Tremayne family for more than four hundred years. Hidden by bramble and ivy, this sleeping nineteenth century garden had been lost but has now been restored so you can see the gardens in all their glory. A highlight is the large tropical garden known as "the jungle" full of the finds of Victorian plant hunters, banana palms and giant rhubarb. Above is a photo of a section of this, and below is the gardener's shed. I love the basic, rustic look of it, with the old teapot and the brick walls but with the loving touches of a roaring fire and a vase of anemones. To read more about Heligan, visit their website on The beginning is enchanting.

Decorating my office

Saturday, 8 March 2008

I might not have actually found my new office yet, but that hasn't stopped me decorating it (in my head anyway). My home is neutral and simple, so for the office I want something completely different. I would like it to have English chintzy chairs, old cabinets, ferns and plenty of inspiration boards. I can't wait! Above is my idea pinboard for it, and below is a Paul Smith interior that I really like.

Bringing up Baby offer

Monday, 3 March 2008

To celebrate the March paperback release of Bringing up Baby by Daisy Goodwin with anzu drawings and lettering on the cover, and packed full of anzu illustrations we would like to offer English and US trade customers 10% off our piglet range for children and babies on orders placed in March.

Above and below: Images from Bringing up Baby, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

I would like to say Happy Mother's Day to my Mum, whom some of you may have met at some of the trade shows and who is also my agent in the North, and to say a big thank you to her for everything and for doing such a brilliant job for anzu!