Friday, 28 August 2009

Design For Mankind

We know from experience that design blogs can very easily become an addiction. One inevitably leads to another, which in turn leads to hour upon hour of poring over creativity from around the globe. One place we know we'll always get our fix is Design For Mankind. Created by Erin Loechner, the site bursts with news and images related to everything from photography, product design, style and craft. As well as running an award-winning blog, Erin also manags to find the time to self-publish a bi-monthly digital zine, MANKIND/MAG. We caught up with her to find out how she does it.

Your blog has been going since 2007 and has a fantastic reputation, why did you begin blogging in the first place and do you have any new plans for it up your sleeve?
The blog started as a creative outlet for me. I was living in L.A. working at a top advertising firm, feeling as if I'd sold my soul to consumerism. I spent my days producing and researching marketing materials to sell Americans more items that they didn't need, and I wanted to create something that counter-balanced the desire to spend, spend, spend. I realized that not only is inspiration free, but it's very necessary in today's culture. The idea grew very organically from there, and I'm happy to note that the majority of the content that I feature can't be bought with money, but are geared toward artistic development. Ha. I always have new plans up my sleeve. It's in my blood. I'm never content unless I'm juggling a few projects, as I bore very easily. Look for some exciting news in early 2010.

Where do you find inspiration? How do you source the work you feature?
I'm constantly conversing with friends, strangers and the community around me. I find it so interesting that we all walk very different paths that often fork into the same crossroad. That, to me, is inspiring.The majority of my features come from emerging artists across the country whose work I wouldn't be familiar with if not for this awesome thing we call the Internet. To unearth new inspiration, I like to source artist pages for links to their friends. Often times, creativity begets creativity, so artists tend to run in similar circles and the community blossoms from there. I also make an effort to keep my eyes and ears open at all times -- you never know when you'll run into a talented typographer in the local coffee shop!

Who are your favourite artists and designers?
Oh shoot. This is a tough one for me, as there are so many. (Doesn't everyone say that?) If I could mix the range of Sandra Juto with the eye of Elisabeth Dunker, the heart of Camilla Engman and the mind of Jaime Hayon, that would be my dream artisan. If we're talking about emerging art, I always love the work of Rasmus Emanuel Svensson and photographer Erin Jane Nelson.

Can you take us through a typical day at the Design for Mankind office?
Ha -- office sounds so official! I often work from local coffee shops on my trusty Mac, and because I have an intense habit of compartmentalizing my week. What I'm doing depends on the day, but I'm usually writing a few articles for AOL's ShelterPop, DIY Life, posting on Share Some Candy, Design-Milk and SFGirlByBay, or business planning over at BAKERY. If I'm not juggling the above, I'm sourcing for Design for Mankind and Mankind Mag content, or heading to local yoga classes to blow off steam.

Who are in your eyes the ones to watch over the next year?
Will Bryant has been producing amazing work as a young graduate, so keep him on your radar. I'll also be tuning in to Christien Meindertsma, Nicolas Cheng, Catherine Soto, Natalie Rognsoy and Katy Horan.

Any tips for our budding couture contest entrants?
Stick to what you know. Risks are fun to take, but when entering a contest, stay true to your brand and let your personal work shine through. Let the risks fall on your everyday work.Also, have fun! (Another thing everyone says, I'm sure.) Every opportunity is worth its weight in gold, so take the experience for what it is and enjoy your time crafting.Good luck to everyone entering!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Tiny Couture

The House That Lars Built is one of our favourite blogs. We recently spotted some fabulous outfits from Kate Spade there and one of them made us think of our brand new Momiji 'Coco'. So that got us thinking about the couture contest and the endless possibilities of transferring your personal style onto a piece of tiny couture for your doll!

What would the momiji version of you look like?

Top image via Kate Spade

The Times

Sorry it was a bit quiet on the blogging front last week. We've been out & about talking to people about the competition. We met up with Susan Hancock, founder of Royal/T who was over from LA to discuss details on the exhibition of winning dolls.

We also spotted that the contest was in The Times. Look, there we are just under the one about, er, The history of Tube maps.

Thanks for all your emails about the contest. Hope your dolls are coming along well!

Friday, 14 August 2009

A Creative Weekend...

It's Friday and here at MomijiHQ it's nearly home-time! Hope you all have a great weekend with plenty of time to get creative on your Couture Contest designs. Loving this print by illustrator, surface pattern designer, crafter, blogger, and art teacher, Smantha Hahn. If you're in need of some inspirational eye candy she has a fabulous blog filled with loveliness.

Happy Friday, folks xx

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Marilyn Neuhart Dolls

We first stumbled upon this great story via Sprayblog. It's the tale of designer and writer Marilyn Neuhart who worked closely with the legendary Alexander Girard and Charles and Ray Eames. In 1961 Alexander Girard asked Marilyn to create 100 of her beautiful dolls for his Textile & Objects store. Back then she used Mexican cotton from a family-owned mill and when asked recently asked to create four new designs by House Industries she used the same supplier.

Maximo has lots more details about Neuhart and her work. I'm sure this quote from her will strike a chord with many of you:

"I sew because I have to-it is just that simple. After a long day hunched over my computer dealing with the vagaries of English spelling, clumsy syntax and wayward grammar, not to mention computer crashes and arbitrary and demanding clients, I look forward to time spent with my needle and thread, the tactile delight of cloth in my hands and the pleasure of working with color and form-nothing is more life-sustaining and yes, it has to be said-more therapeutic."

This picture of the dolls displayed on the wall is wonderful, it's exciting to think about our Momiji doll exhibition at Royal/T!

So, Marilyn used simple yet stylish print techniques on cotton to create her dolls. Which techniques are you guys using for your Momiji Couture dolls? Or is that top-secret?

photo credits: House Industries

Friday, 7 August 2009

Creative Profile: Veronica Rowlands

During the course of the Momiji Couture Contest we'll be keeping your creative juices a-flowin' with profiles of some of our favourite designers. While we were at the New Designers exhibition we had an amazing time chatting with all the students and graduates about their work and their inspiration.

First up is designer Veronica Rowlands from Swansea Metropolitan University in Wales. Veronica's work caught our eye immediately with its sumptuous colours and decadent fabric. We chatted with her about how she took inspiration from old toys and vintage dolls and gave them a new twist with contemporary colour and digital printing. Veronica's illustrations and prints would make amazing fabric for clothing, in fact she's already working on a neck scarf collection for Mission Gallery in Swansea. We think this girl's going to go far!