Saturday, 30 April 2011

Why don't we take off.........

(Aitutaki Lagoon , Rarotonga) 2005 Backpacking

It will be summer very soon and thoughts take to holiday and travel plans - no matter near or far, where will you be going?

They told us about a small tear-drop island in the south Pacific, the most perfectly encircled lagoon seen from the skies.  To get there, we would lose two days - it would need 4 flights and a kayak to set a foot on One Foot.  Take shelter and your own food and this island would be your own, except as we discovered, a few cast-away feline friends.  We left for it, pregnant on so many thoughts.

And they were right, paradise had no place being on earth.

My high resolution travel photography on my blog are available on high-grade gloss or matte editions or royalty for image licensing, please contact me.  I would love to hear from you.  Just a word:  I appreciate your respect for my copyright and the exacting quality from high resolution sources.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Guest Post  - follow StillArtist on Twitter


Only three people know this.  In the second school term of my fresher year at college, I  tried to change my degree, to History of Art.  But it was clear, by the gaze sliding down his long narrow nose at me, that this would not be possible or plausible; there was only funding for one History of Art place each year and that had been taken.  But, I felt it as sharply as it was meant, that in snobbery, unfortunately heritage counts for a whole lot.   

Onto art and Joan Miró currently at Tate Modern; in retrospective he is far more aggravated and political than his dreaminess and spots let on.  And makes me think of those chips that people knock away on small shoulders; being infinitely deeper but gives life to paint.

I knew Miró for his vast blue canvases with spots and lines.  So brief and yet so brave with colour.  Standing before it and touching the void of a sparse dreamscape.  The ability of a painting to steal the viewer belongs to Miró's Blue. At the Tate Modern, Room 11, they are celebrated in their original triptych; Bleu I, II,III/ III produced during a calm phase of his career, by which time he was already an internationally recognised artist and embracing the influence of American abstract expressionism.

Bleu II/ III

And before these are his recogniseable constellation series, that he began during his last year of exile in France and within the fold of the surrealist movement.  Beauty and lyrical whimsy (and a recollection of his early animation) despite the backdrop of Franco dictatorship in spain and the German war sweeping Europe. The 23 gouaches, which are presented together and in complete chronological order (room 7). The last few completed on his return to Spain and to "internal exile" following the German invasion of France in 1940.

 Constellation:  Awakening with Dawn

But for me the most interesting are the opening rooms exploring his Catalan heritage, early abstraction and the surrealist occupation with the subconscious, poetic and automatic.  Placing all the paintings against a timeline of Spanish civil war, dictatorship, and bloody unrest.  Dealing with his rebellion, uncertainty and frustration and identifying motifs he would later consistently repeat - the l'echelle de l'evasion (escape stairs) as a beckoning imagination and freedom from harsh realities, the barking dog up to the moon, the eyes later multiplied by anxiety and drawn on amorphous shapes unyielding of their character, birds later with teeth as oppressive flocks and a representation of the onslaught of aerial power during war, the language of the line and chromatic saturation.

Still Life with Old Shoe

Perhaps because I also paint in still life and in a small way recognise how it feels, I am most intrigued by Still Life with Old Shoe (room 5).  To take the everyday and reveal through it the context of the times, or the emotion of the artist down the hand - this may seem trivial but it is an unforced documentation belonging to those who seek it and why art has its value beyond the aesthetic.  Described as "Both everyday and wildly disconcerting".
 Portrait of V. Nubiola

Room 1 - The open shirt collar as a sign of the subject's political radicalism, the style as a sign of the painter's early exploration with fauvism (wild colours) and cubism (geometry).

A retrospective at Tate Modern, London
14 April to 11 September 2011
Link :

One of my Oil Paintings was recently featured on Etsy Finds - Thank you : ) Follow me on Twitter StillArtist

And here is my still life with bottle and bread.  Available for purchase Rum-oil-on-canvas-76-x-101-cm

© SisterBatik 2010

 For sale: last-bloom-oil-on-canvas 

Friday, 22 April 2011

Let's do Bibimbap!

It used to be that "Let's do sushi" would mean a catch up.

Now there's a hot stone bowl for friends, as more Korean eateries serving the Dolsot Bibimbap have become available in London bibimbapsoho.

In Soho, Greek Street, there's a little doorway with bubblegum signage "Bi Bim Bap" - already you know what you are getting.  Its an unfussy, relaxed eaterie; simple white walls and pops of colour furniture - it might appear to feed the Facebook generation, with polaroids of past diners, strooned along the walls in wave and heart formations.  But this is Soho, afterall, so there is thin bar-style dining where you will find the after work diner/ comic book lover with rafferty hair reading some esoteric comic publication, small tables configuring knee-knocking distance between Kings of Leon-type and svelt swedish date-mates and booths for chiming groups, and all sharing the experience of a heated hot-rock rice bowl.

Let's start with a Hite (Korean beer) and small plates of pickle; cabbage leaves, daikon (mooli) and cucumber - salty, sour and fiery, to whet the appetite.

Onto the Dolsot Bibimbap which literally means "stone pot mixed meal".  A very hot stone bowl on a wooden platter is brought out - and in it is hot rice, any combination of sauteed and seasoned cucumber, daikon, mushrooms, spinach, bean sprouts, tofu and raw sliced fillet of beef and sometimes a raw egg topped with chilli pepper paste. When you mix the contents together the egg and beef are cooked by the heat, sizzling as it touches the sides of the bowl and crisping the rice.

There are also good cooked chicken, seafood and vegetarian combinations.

There is something about this dish that speaks to the  soul of staple food which I think is why I like it so much.

For my money, I would have Bibimbap, and often : )

I would also recommend the bibimbap and delights of Korean barbecue served at Asadal Holborn and style conscious Koba a stone's throw from Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia - try the Yuk Hwe, a Korean beef tartar with pear.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Big Fun Floor Cushion

Very comfortable floor seating, meditation pillow or a great scatter pillow for the home, pool house, decking area and as al fresco seating.

In a Julius Holland premium designer print we call Java Java for it's coffee bean motif, crisp 100% Dutch wax print cotton.

The under side is a "burlap-effect" wool mix; perfect for durability and laying on the floor.

ps proptastic - do you like the little coffee prop?  I was so afraid of spilling it over the nice new cushion, but it was okay - phew : )

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Coachella Cloth

The grass, burnt short and dry, by way of the Indio heat.
Like a rag-tag band and a brooding bunch of tomcats, with instruments under their arms and over hulking shoulders; tobacco-tin rattling across country.  Arriving at white turret tents; festival empires to serve cool golden nectar to cool streaming music, and the weekend girls and boys ready to rock-out. 
Time does not happen equally for everyone, what is the expression – “better to burn out, than fade away”?  As some plan the long game, other’s play it short with musical eyes darting across the universe and rock star lips. Be heavy with soul and raspy with good times. 
Coachella is underway in sunny Indio, California - so here are some bohemian festival fashion from Etsy sellers all under $30:



Take a look at our Global Chic market for bohemia and travel inspired handmade from Etsy sellers, below : )
Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


This is not symbolic, but a simple fact, that the only time I have been away from home on my birthday, I was in Kathmandu.

On reflection, I was still young and had the widest eyes at that age. Having rarely left UK soil, Kathmandu was a land rich in my imagination and alas, I was at the point of having enough money from the 9 to 5 job to make escape possible - the irony.

We were crossing the expanse of Durbar square ( a central complex of palaces, courtyards and temples including the abode of the Living Goddess, built between the 12th and 18th centuries) the old centre of Nepalese life.  It was dusk, and the sun-down light splayed kaleidoscope rays through fine dust particles in the air, making the atmosphere magically appear to glisten.  I remember, at that exact moment sensing my boyfriend's hand holding mine, giving it a protective squeeze, because he could see my wonderment spinning like propellors and it was all he could do to hold me from floating-off.

Globally inspired wares - free to Link so join in and spread the word : )  New member of the Etsy Global Chic Team : globalchiccreations

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Nomad Patchwork OOAK

 Available on Etsy: nouveau-plume-ooak

This is our most recent mixed batik/ patchwork pillow taking influence from the nomad lifestyle:

 Here are some of our other OOAK patchwork pillows:
 Available on Etsy: sisterbatik

Friday, 8 April 2011

Chewing Meringues

Every year I convince myself that we will have an early summer - just as I imagine at the end of it, that we will have a late burst of Indian summer - the eternal optimist. 

And when that warm day comes (as it has this week), I make a certain pudding, and sometimes I only get as far as making the meringues the night before, leaving them to dry in the oven over night.  I sit with a coffee, chewing meringues - the satisfying soft crunch as I sink my teeth into one and chew on its cotton candy centre - yum!

This is the recipe I use:  meringue/eton-mess

I loved reading theblackheartrevolution.blogspot today - LOVES! 

With your coffee, please take a look at an interesting Etsy blog article:  noted-can-local-manufacturing-make-a-difference  And if you have time, see my related post in February:  be-your-own-boss

SisterBatik's  zambezi-stripes-set-of-two-cushion are featured on the handmade-europe-blog trend report today - please take a look.

Have a fab weekend and I hope, nice weather!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sticky and Rich

I like my food hearty.  Or is that cooked with alot of heart or perhaps best, when my heart is full?

In the South of France.  A slow cooked duck in a heavy pot; sticky and rich.  This may sound alittle too glutinous for the clean and healthy of palate.  But we ate late into the night; sharing good food and local wine makes for effervescence.

It was the summer of the infamous heatwave and we had exhausted ouselves just by moving that day.  Heat that makes everything stick and clam.  The sort of heat of Tennessee Williams and Orleans, and the sort of heat that made for unrest.  Protests ran abound, with bin men striking in Marseille, and the smell of the sea had been all but forgotten with heaps of molten food scraps and infestation that had piled onto sidewalks.  In the spirit of our Beat brother Jack - we ran a short road out of there.  Retreating to a tiny studio in a  Medieval townhouse inside fortress walls.  With its fairytale spiral staircase and cotton cool solid stone walls that mocked the raging heat.

Our local hosts had invited us to join a reunion dinner with two other couples from California, all married into their middle years and revelling in the same trip 10 years prior.  The writer and I felt oddly juxtaposed amongst this crowd, we were co-pilots, captain and navigator, travellers together in a renault clio. We were both escaping and seeking; the default of fragile artistic souls. They were all women of grown confidence, and they were all husbands very much in love with their wives, one who had sought to hold her hands through cancer, her delicate frame giving away the long battle which she had bravely and only just won.  The flesh on both their faces, now laxed after having been so taut through stretching on their masks. But we needn't have shuffled awkwardly.  We saw, that what becomes of lovers down the years, are great friendships.  No heft with which to lull the lover or whimsy, but the love of longevity and angels.

Make your own way: Marseille - coastal road to Casisse - inwards to Aix-en-Provence - into the fortress of Manosque  - Pierrevert home of rosé wine - lavender fields of Valensole  - Moustiers-Sainte-Marie "big rock" - breathtaking gorge road through Gorge de verdon and a boat out onto its great lake - onto field and wine roads of "A year in Provence" country - Cucuron and vineyard camping and garlicky and buttery escargot - stoney Lacoste and Luberon landscape -"red chalk" road to Roussillon - onto Arles and a salad of summer blooms and field grass "art on a plate" - the heat really soared - back to Marseille.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Tangerine Summer

Spring is here but I am already impatient for summer : )

I want to open my French doors wide and sit out on my tiny balcony, and have the branches of the tree limber over the bars.  I want my lavenders to singe ever so slightly and as the heat dries, to sublimate.  And the cherry tomatoes to roast ever so slightly, to sweeten, as I imagine them picked, and sat beside red snapper and capers in the oven.  The fox gloves that I carefully seeded last year to bloom and grow strong and tall.  My arid plant to be reminded of the heat, which is its idyll after I absent mindedly forgot to bring it in over winter, for which I am so sorry. 

This summer, orange is to make a big statement in fashion and home styling.

And this one is perfect as a scatter pillow for indoor/ outdoor living.  For the patio or pool house, garden, decking or porch, as picnic or al fresco seating......

In a large fun size 18" x 24" - superb quality and comfort.

Here is a treasury I made to : orange

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Paintings and Pillows

I love oil paintings and of course pillows : )  Here are some perfect placements of the two together from some of my favourite home decor books/ brochures (sorry for the poor picture resolutions but it was the only way I could find to do this).  And enjoy!

Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw
Designers Guild 2010

SisterBATIK on Etsy:   daydreamer-patchwork-ooak-deluxe-pillow
Oil on canvas my own.

Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw

New London Style by Chloe Grimshaw

**If you are interested in my still life oil paintings (in image 3) - please feel free to email me via this blog, I would be happy to hear from you : )