Entries in Books (17)


Fall Reading List

It’s a was a rainy day in Toronto yesterday and this morning it is really starting to feel like fall is settling in. At least that will be our excuse for staying snuggled under the covers with a few good books this weekend. Here’s our reading list:

As typography and design nerds, we were big fans of Vancouver-based designer Marian Bantjes’ first book, I Wonder. Her new tome, Pretty Pictures, is a monograph of her collected works but it is much more than a catalogue—it also provides a peek at Bantjes’ process with sketches, rejected concepts and her thoughts on each project. Plus, the book itself is a beautiful object.

As furniture nerds,  we can’t get enough of the work of British industrial designer Tom Dixon. The new book, Tom Dixon: Dixonary, collects the self-taught designer’s ouevre in one book, with hundreds of illustrations as well as his personal insights on inspiration. Dixonary is, in his own words words, “a simple picture book with short ‘stories’ attached.”

And as building nerds, we’ve been waiting for the perfect rainy weekend to get lost in Montreal architect Phyllis Lambert’s Building a Seagram, a memoir of the building of Mies van der Rohe and and Philip Johnson’s great modernist skyscraper, New York’s Seagram Building. The daughter of Samuel Bronfman, then head of the Seagram Distillery empire, Lambert was charged with finding an architect to design the family flagship. The book is full of  architecture and art world gossip with just enough scholarly detail to make it a not-so-guilty pleasure.


Ahead Of Our Time?

Leafing through the new Ikea Catalogue we spotted this layout pictured above. Which reminded us of Dennis' foliage-filled living room in Covet Garden Issue 3 from November 2010 (shown below). What we're trying to say is that if you haven't perused our back issues, we can assure you you will find plenty of inspiration for your rooms in our past pages.

Catalogue vs real rooms. What do you think about this look? We'd love to hear your views in the comments?


Moomin Mania

[Moomin Volume 5]

If we were to psychoanalyze our love of all things Scandinavian, we would have to start with childhood. Many of us spent our youth surrounded by the sleek, streamlined teak furnishings of our parents’ or grandparents’ homes. So it’s funny how researching and recreating that Nordic style has led us to discover the Moomin series of kid’s books. (To help you get the big picture, Montreal publishers Drawn & Quarterly have collected all of Tove Jansson’s original Moomin Comic Strips in several volumes).

[page from Who Will Comfort Toffle?]

Created by Swedish-Finnish illustrator and author Tove Jansson in 1945, the Moomin are a family of hippo-shaped trolls and other creatures that live in the forests of Finland. Their world is magical, but also grounded in a sort of real world melancholy. In fact, Jansson based many of the characters on family (for example, Too-Ticky is based on her life-partner, the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä).

[Arabia Moomin jug and jar]

We adore the whimsical and wistful world that Jansson created for her characters so much that we want surround ourselves with Moomin ephemera. Arabia Finland has been producing a collection of ceramics based on original illustrations since 1950. In 1990 an animated Japanese/Finnish TV show started a “Moomin Boom,” which lead to a demand for other objects (Jansson’s simple, graphic style is well-suited to Moomin-print fabrics).

[Moomin Love fabric]



Katharine Sturges' "Little Pictures of Japan"

[image: childscapes]

Jessica has a weakness for vintage children's books. She can't resist the illustrations. One of her most cherished tomes is Little Pictures of Japan by Katherine Sturges, which was published in 1925.

Sturges was born in Chicago in 1890. As a young woman, she traveled to Japan to study art. the drawings for this book were inspired by that trip. Sturges had many talents in addition to book illustration: she designed greeting cards, drew fashions for Harper's Bazaa rand and was commissioned by Macy's to visit South America to design jewelry and fabrics based on Peruvian artifacts.

[images via: bluemoon books]

One of the things all of us Covet Garden gals love about illustration is how, with an elegant line and a simple suggestion of colour, you can say so much. Sturges work gets all the details but also captures a childlike mood and feeling of uncertainty and wonder.

[via: vmcfashion]

[image via: Online Vintage]

Even though Jessica has had this book for a long time, It took a while to figure out that Sturges is the mother of another beloved children's book illustrator, Hilary Knight of Eloise fame. Now we are re-reading the Eloise books in a whole new light — Little Pictures of New York!


Covet Garden Visits UPPERCASE HQ

While some folks think only of the Stampede when they picture Calgary, Alberta, the first thing I think of is UPPERCASE Magazine — a quarterly craft, fashion, illustration, and design journal published by Janine Vangool. So when I found out I was going to C-Town, I sent Vangool an email to ask if we could visit her at Uppercase HQ.

The lady pretty much runs the whole show by herself out of her downtown office! Not only does she publish, edit and art director four magazines  a year, she’s also the driving force behind book projects such as The Suitcase Series (with Camilla Engman and Dottie Angel), The Elegant Cockroach by Deidre Anne Martin and Stefanie Augustine and A Collection a Day by Lisa Congdon. And Vangool is also the proprieter of  UPPERCASE Gallery, which has hosted some exhibitions of illustrious illustrators such as Aaron Leighton, Renata Liwska and Ryan Heshka, amongst others.

The HQ istself is in the Art Central building at the corner of 7th Avenue and Center Street. The building is home to many galleries, studios, stores and a coffee shop. So Vangool is surrounded Calagry's creative community. Inside the space she is surrounded by fun and inspirational objects, including one of our favourites, Alanna Cavanagh's Scissor print.

The office isn't enormous, but Vangool keeps things light with a lot of white furnishings punctuated by examples of her colourful collections of vintage tins, typewriters and typewriter-related ephemera. In fact, her next project is a book called The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine. She's currently running a fundraising campaign to help fund this tome. 

UPPERCASE is almost entirely supported by readers (of which subscriptions are key). If you like Vangool's clean and friendly office space, you will love the look and feel of UPPERCASE. Each issue is practically a fetish object that you'll keep for years. So sign up for your next copy here.

Thanks, Janine, for letting Covet Garden invade your office.

[photographs by Jessica Reid]