a breath of fresh air: illustrator and ceramicist polly fern

 

On any given day, you’re likely to find British illustrator and ceramicist Polly Fern in her studio happily painting with her canaries Olive and Morris nearby.

 

 

 

 

Her birdie friends appear in her work, along with other domestic animals, garden flora, and winsome figures from halcyon days, who seem to thrive on the simple, everyday pleasures of rural life.

 

 

Polly grew up in the Norfolk countryside, but now lives in Norwich City, which is the most complete medieval city in the United Kingdom. She earned her BA in First Class Illustration in 2015 from Norwich University of the Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her charming folkloric style is detailed and delicate, inspired by history, local places and childhood stories. Her ceramic vases and platters, which are modern takes on traditional shapes, are all handmade and bisque fired. Her vessels are dipped in a tin glaze before the designs are painted on with oxides and pigments.

I hand paint all of my decoration. I paper-cut a lot of my illustrations and then use the paper resist technique on raw ceramic, painting upon them with slip and peeling away the paper, then working back into the resist shapes with glazes and oxide details. It’s quite a labour-intensive process; with each piece I make taking a lot of time. But the process is important to my work and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if it were straightforward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polly likes browsing antique shops and museums, wandering around market towns, and discovering gardens and buildings with a rich history of craft. Some of her ceramic pieces do look like things you’d find in a museum, and it’s fun to study the scenes she’s painted to ponder the stories taking place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her clients include Marks & Spencer, the MET Museum (NYC), Osaji, Pavilion Books, CARAMEL London, Home and Antiques Magazine, and Little Thing magazine. She’s also designed a line of products for Tonkachi Japan, which includes tumblers, handkerchiefs, notebooks, and iPhone cases. Her work has been displayed in various world-renowned international galleries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to her illustration work, Polly enjoys cooking and dressmaking, and hopes to someday design fabrics and create children’s books. She’d also love to have her own aviary. Her favorite foods include chocolate, figs, and pasta.

 

 

 

 

Find out more at Polly’s Official Website, Instagram, and Facebook Page. You can purchase prints, greeting cards, brooches, ceramic pieces, and other goodies at her online shop.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this short video of Polly painting dogs with canaries Olive and Morris singing in the background:

 

 


Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

cool and quirky: stephanie birdsong

 

Well of course. How could I not love an artist who paints a 24-hour SOUP restaurant? 🙂

At her blog, California based creative director and illustrator Stephanie Birdsong (cool name, no?) describes her picture this way:

Daisy packs up the kid and the dog and hops in the car to get some extra-delicious soup from Ida’s. It’s just down the lane. I started with a painting in my sketchbook, & added a storefront and, of course, a bear!

You gotta love that she thought to add a bear (Mr Cornelius was especially pleased about that).

Much as I love Ida’s, this wasn’t the first of Stephanie’s gouache and acrylic paintings to catch my eye. It was actually this piece:

 

 

It spoke to my inner Brownie (I still have my beanie from when I was six). I like the freckles, the pigtails with a mind of their own, and the general kookiness of the whole thing. It’s called “Kicked out of the Brownies.” 😀

 

 

 

 

Stephanie’s fun and irreverent style reminds me of Maira Kalman and Jessie Hartland — sophisticated and childlike at the same time. Since there’s usually a surprising detail or two; you can’t help but look closer. Both Maira and Jessie have illustrated children’s books — I hope someday Stephanie will too. Long live the quirky!

 

 

 

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a peek at monika forsberg’s walkyland

 

These days I’ve been loving Monika Forsberg’s wonderfully quirky art. I’m taken with her vivid colors and interesting compositions, as well as how she blends humor and fantasy with reality.

 

 

A Monika Forsberg design is bold, eye-catching and very distinctive.

 

 

Though she now lives and works in North London, she’s originally from Sweden. She grew up in a northern seaside town where it was almost always winter.

 

 

In her early 20’s, Monika moved to London to study art and animation at the Royal College of Art. Her boyfriend is also an artist and they are the parents of two boys. After the birth of her second son, she decided to pursue illustration.

 

 

Her work appears in books and magazines, on fabric and paper products (gift wrap, greeting cards, planners, stationery), and a variety of children’s products (games, puzzles, backpacks, baby clothes).

 

 

 

Her client list includes Anthropologie, eeBoo, NY Review, United Nations, Gorman Clothing, Oopsie Daisy and Unicef.

 

 

Monika begins her pieces with pen, paint, and paper — drawing by hand while sitting on her bed listening to audio books or radio documentaries. When she’s compiled a stack of drawings, she moves to her computer, where she scans them in before assembling the best ones in Photoshop.

 

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clover robin’s charming paper collages

Brush, dab, paint. Snip, snip, trim. Arrange, layer, rearrange.

It’s fun imagining collage artist, designer and illustrator Clover Robin creating another stunning piece in her Greenwich, London home. With her cat Winnie as companion and muse, she indulges her love of nature and all things botanical “inspired by a childhood of woodland walks and countryside rambles.”

Clover grew up in Devon and studied at Leeds College of Art and Design and Central Saint Martins. Home studio aside, she particularly enjoys being on location:

I’m pretty much at my happiest when I’m working in my sketchbook and looking directly at the scene or subject I’m creating.

She recently traveled up and down the west coast of America, documenting the beautiful vistas she viewed from the passenger side of the front seat. Where most artists would do pencil or ink sketches in their notebooks, Clover collaged as she went. Pretty amazing!

She hopes to tour the Nordic countries on her next road trip. 🙂

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