The Art of Book Design: A Floral Fantasy

Walter Crane. A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden. London: Harper, 1899 — Source.

When I started this series I envisaged it as being about the art of book cover design, not about the art between the covers.  The art between the covers of this book, though, is available on-line and it’s gorgeous so I thought I’d share a few interior plates. The book is a lighthearted look at the “personalities” of plants done in verse and gorgeous art nouveau design. [Read more…]

Tree Tuesday

I love to see the bright, fresh blossoms on flowering trees in early spring, but around here the show hasn’t started yet and the trees seem to be waking up very, very slowly. In Germany, though, the cherry trees are in full bloom and Avalus has taken some gorgeous photographs to share with us.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

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Barberry Flowers for Caine

Something very special from Nightjar.

The Barberry shrub I planted last year in Caine’s memory ( is blooming right now and the bees have been visiting it. This Sunday I was finally able to take a few photos and I thought I should share.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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The Art of Book Design: Alice In Wonderland

I couldn’t make up my mind about the Alice in Wonderland books. I like several of the early edition covers and they’re all striking in very different ways. I just couldn’t choose one over the other so today I’m showcasing three cover designs for this classic book.

Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland – Through the Looking Glass. London, A. Wessels, Co.1900. –-source Blanche McManus

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were first published in 1899 as separate books. The cover pictured above is from the first edition of the combined stories. The attention to detail in the stitched cloth cover is amazing. I want to hold this one in my hand and let my fingers wander all over that gorgeous design.

Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. USA, Harper, 1901 –– source Peter Newell

This cover from 1901 might be my favourite. I love the small gilded Alice boldly pointing into a vast expanse of open space, ready to write her own adventure.

Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. Cassells, 1907. –source Charles Robinson

This Alice is full of whimsy and charm. She walks on a cobbled path that might be made of bubbles and she’s surrounded by stars and swirls and leaves made of lace.  The overall design has an airy, magical quality to it. I also like the gold stitching on indigo cloth. It reminds me of fireworks against a night sky.


If you’re interested there are a few other early cover designs to see at the link below.

From: Google Groups, The Illustrated Lewis Carroll

Mystical Worlds

No, this will not be another black hole post, although if you haven’t seen it yet, quickly:

First ever direct image of a black hole! The supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87 — 6.5 billion times as massive as the Sun! The image is better than I expected!

As tweeted by Katie Mack (@AstroKatie).

Instead, I found some art! Some spooky art that speaks to me, because despite the darkness, they don’t leave me feeling sad – there’s a loneliness that I enjoy because it has strength and conviction. Anyway, may I introduce you to Dawid Planeta – Artist Illustrates His Battle With Depression as a Mystical World of Spirit Animals, via My Modern Met:

A small figure appears throughout the poignant series, perhaps representing Planeta himself. He’s seen wandering through the fog-filled labyrinth, bravely facing the ominous jungle animals who feature glowing eyes that illuminate the darkness. They seem to be guiding him through the deep jungle, “to find his inner strength, find the light and come back with it.” And, Planeta explains, “When he knows who he is, he goes there again, this time without fear. He goes there because it’s a part of who he is. It’s a part of human nature you can’t ignore. You need to know all parts of life, dark and bright.”

Despite the difficulty of dealing with depression, Planeta managed to channel his feelings into creativity. “Depression—it’s not easy to deal with, but when you try, you can stop thinking about it as a weakness and turn it into something brilliant,” he says. “That’s what I aim to accomplish with my art. Things I’m trying to depict are dark, mysterious and frightening, but if you look closely, you will find excitement, passion and joy. Just open your mind and see.”

One example before the cut, for more keep reading:

by Dawid Planeta

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YouTube Video: Turning 2 hex nuts into a Diamond ring

Pablo Cimadevila Álvarez is paraplegic from childhood, after a car run him over at 4 years age. But his mother told him that if he cannot run, he still can swim – so he did. And he went on to  compete in several Paralympics and won several medals.

But besides sports he also designs and makes jewelry and had a smallish youtube channel where he shows his skill, which is really great.

This video of his went viral and his subscriber count exploded at the beginning of this year and very deservedly. Enjoy it – if you haven’t already. And if you had, it is re-watcheable (speaking from experience).