Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Pointless (Yet Nice) Question.

Before you read this, watch The Wilderness Downtown

Use Google Chrome.

Not only is it a work of visual brilliance, it's so pretty and will make you think fondly of wherever you grew up.

Also, it's got The Arcade Fire in it. Who are stunning. Yes.


I don't know what got me started on the idea, but I began wondering which 3 parts of my hometown I'd save if the entire place was about be razed to the ground to make way for a shopping centre, or giant Travelodge or similar.

So I asked a bunch of people what they would save from their hometown.

(Okay, I actually posted it as a Facebook status but whatever. Noone actually talks to each other anymore...)

Here are the anonymous, yet no less real, responses:-

If the city/town you grew up in was about to be destroyed, which 3 parts of it would you save?

In Berkhamsted? the pubs by the canal, my parent's house, and the art deco cinema.

My house, My mother's house and the library.

My house (well Mum and Dads!), Clockhouse Station and Beckenham Place Park!

My house, the woods and the caravan where I kept my bunnies.

Autumn Leaves

Arbroath: Arbroath Abbey, the Harbour, the Nature Trail (aka 'the valley') near my mum's house (although if we're not talking landmarks I'll save Mum's house, Gran's house & 192 Brechin Road)
Rhyl: the beach, Harker's Monte Carlo Amusements ...

Where Is The Beach?

My dad, my house and the road to get the hell outta there.

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. The South Bank. Postman's Park.

Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)

Oh wait I just had a thought! I would like to save the Horniman Museum instead of Clock House station!

Chicago Rock Cafe, Asda and Planet Kebab!

I would protest to save everything.

Primark, the stables where I go riding and my flat!

The three lighthouses.

None. Progress is the way forward, no matter how heart wrenching.

Of New Addington? Nothing! I'd assist in the destruction.

Penge, Battersea Power Station, The Forum in Kentish Town.

One Day Like This

(The last one is mine.)

Daytripper: Molepolole, Botswana

Happy September.

Today we're getting out the virtual picnic basket and going to the village of Molepolole in Botswana. Mainly because it has an awesome name. Also, it's warm there.


Photograph by Zampano!

Molepolole is the largest village in Botswana, with a population of over 69,780 as of 2008. It's also one of Africa's largest traditional villages, although the Molepolole tourist web site tells us it's becoming more and more modern with each passing year.

Molepolole Southern Botswana

Photograph by Ian White

The Bakwena tribe reside in Molepolole, one of three major tribes in Botswana.

Masarwa man -

Photography by JonRawlinson

The village is named after the Molepolole River and is 50km away from Gaborone, the country's capital. It acts as a gateway for people wanting to explore the Kalahari Desert.

The temperature there is currently 27C and I firmly believe we should all go there immediately.

Molepolole Southern Botswana

Photograph by Ian White

Chiefly Residence

Photograph by Lee Otis

Molepolole. Yes. I'm getting a bit sick of typing it now. But it's pretty.

The UNdane Interview: Jo Tulley

This week I've been speaking to Jo Tulley, an Illustrator, Character Designer and Jewellery Maker from South Croydon. Jo lives with her partner and their son. She has two online shops; one is on Ebay that sells jewellery and the other is on Etsy selling handmade soft toys, cushions, and one-off creations. Both are under the name of Kidish. In the past year she has held stalls at several local craft markets and a selection of her creations have started to be sold at a store in Manchester called ‘Not For Ponies’.

Hi Jo. You sew plush toys and sell them in your Etsy shop and on eBay. How and when did you get into sewing, and what made you decide to begin your creations?

I have always loved to do crafts and draw. I started an eBay jewellery store just over 5 years ago, which I enjoyed (and still do) but I felt I wanted to make more hands-on stuff. After having a baby and finishing college I was a bit out of sync with illustrating, and I couldn’t get a full time job so I thought I’d have a go at working from home. I started experimenting with sewing, using my doodles and illustrations to make plush toys. I’m still learning but there’s definitely a big difference in how I sew now and how I did a year ago, it just takes practice.

Chocolate doughnut plush (zoom)

In your Etsy store, you give each of your toys a cute little character name and back story. Do you have a favourite character?

The back-stories have started to be a good and bad thing, because I get way too attached to them! I have lots of favourites but if I had to choose one it would have to be the Mad Hatter plush, just ‘cos he was such a pain to design and sew. He has pride of place in my front room now.

You’re also an illustrator. What do you use to create your illustrations and what most inspires you to draw?

I usually just draw in black ink or biro, then if I have time I use Adobe Illustrator. Everything I draw just comes from my head, usually in the middle of the night, or early in the morning when I’m still half asleep!

Dradgen illustration

How did you develop your unique cartoon style?

My dad used to be a technical illustrator and when I was small he’d give me drawing lessons so I think a lot of why I went into studying illustration spurns from that. I’ve always been jealous of people who can sit and draw something accurately; I’ve never been able to do it well. I’ve learnt to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t, so I doodle everywhere especially when I’m bored at work. Once I get an idea in my head it’s hard to stop.

Tell us about the process of creating one of your products, from the initial idea to the finished item?

It’s a pretty long process because I tend to do all my designing and cutting at the same time then one by one sew them together and stuff them. It can start with a drawing or sometimes I’ll just think of something to make and then cut the felt freehand. I stick and sew all the features on, then turn the felt inside out and sew it together, then I cut a hole in the back, pull the inside back out and stuff till it’s nice and cushy. Finally I sew up the hole, cover it with a heart shape or patch and it’s all done!

Tweet Twoo Owl

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m trying to think ahead. Halloween is the next major seasonal event so I’m playing about with clowns, ghouls, monsters and zombies at the moment.

devil illustration

What are your greatest creative ambitions?

Just getting my stuff out there is already an ambition achieved. To own a gallery/shop has been my dream for quite a while though.

I’m interested in learning to sew. What do I need to get me started and what is a simple project you can recommend to get me into the swing of things?

All you need is needle and thread and to experiment with different types of stitches. A great book to pick up is ‘Let’s make cute stuff’ by Aranzi Aronzo. These books teach you all you need to know and they’re easy to follow. I’d say to start easy by making a brooch or a keyring.

Alice In Wonderland Necklace

‘UNdane’ is the concept that beauty, happiness and creativity can be found within the mundane, the little things in life – you embody this in your everyday life with your creations and illustrations. Using this definition, what does UNdane mean to you? What is your idea of the UNdane? Give me some examples of UNdane things that make you smile.

UNdane is in a lot of what I do. I take something that is plain, it has no character, no spirit, and I give it an identity. I always like to change things, when I see a blank canvas I want to fill it. Smiles make me smile, so I draw them everywhere.

Plush Frog Prince

What’s your favourite song at the moment?

My boyfriend is a dubstep producer/DJ/Record label owner and he’s got me into a lot of his stuff, so I’m liking Magnetic Man ‘I Need Air’ at the moment. The Glee soundtrack is still a constant on my playlist. I love my cheesy pop.

Thank you Jo :)

Shop for lovely things from Jo at:-



Not For Ponies

Find Jo on Flickr

fire breathing

All photographs courtesy of Jo Tulley.

UNdane Monday: Iris Jones Vs Trapped Gnomes.

I've always wanted a traditional garden gnome. With a pointy red hat and a blue coat and brass buttons and a fluffy white beard.

But I wouldn't keep him in my garden, I would take him travelling.

Or send him travelling with someone else, a la Amelie.

Image by Elloh

Travelling Gnomes:-

The Traveling Gnome

'The Travelling Gnome' by Doc18

Garden gnomes, Gura Humorului, Romania

'Garden Gnomes, Guru Humorului, Romania' by Irish Guy

checking the strip

'Checking the Strip' by Garth the Gnome

for kris

'For Kris' by Mr Moor

gnome at Sacre Coeur

'Gnome at Sacre Coeur' by Pret a Voyager

gnome away

'Gnome Away (St Petersburg, Russia) by Paintballgooroo2

Gnome at the lake

'Gnome at the Lake (South Africa)' by Fredericjon

Thor on the Great Wall, Badaling, China

'Thor on the Great Wall, Badaling, China' by Planet Janet

Björn Hitchhikes for an Elephant Ride

'Bjorn Hitchhikes for an Elephant Ride' by Uberkenny

The gnome is cold

'The Gnome is Cold (Texas)' by HelenCE

And some travelling gnome links:-

Free the Gnomes!

Garden Gnome Sale

Garden Gnome Liberationists

The Prank


Swedish Nissa, by me..

What would you call your garden gnome and where would you take him?