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Updates: Christmas cards, book cover, spotted in Japan and chewing gum

A few updates to give you in this blog.

Christmas cards
In April, I put out a call for designs for Christmas cards to raise money for Christmas dinner, this year, at No. 84 Tearoom and Eatery at Echo Square in Gravesend https://www.no84.co.uk/  Owners Adrian and Andrea offer a free Chrstmas dinner to anyone in the local community who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. Well, the cards have been printed and boxed up. They are available on this website https://duncangrantartist.com/product-category/charity-christmas-cards/ and in various venues around the Gravesend Riverarea, including https://www.no84.co.uk/ https://www.visitgravesend.co.uk/event/hope-and-glory/ (more sellers to be added soon) or you can get them from me directly, if you know where to find me.

There are 42 original card designs, plus envelopes, in each box. Boxes costs £20 (plus postage and packing if you order them from the website). All profits go to helping those less fortunate than ourselves this Christmas. You can find out more about the 2019 Christmas card project here https://duncangrantartist.com/2019/04/07/only-261-more-days-until-christmas-time-to-think-about-lunch/

A big thank-you to everyone who took part! These pictures posted by Cafe No.84 from last year’s Christmas dinner, show the impact the money we raise can have https://www.facebook.com/groups/125240881313495/permalink/680243952479849/

Book cover – The Milkman by Anna Burns
In May, I found out that one of the prints from my winning #LibertyOpenCall Small Town fabric design had been chosen for the cover of a special edition of Faber & Faber’s Booker Prize winning publication, Milkman by Anna Burn. https://duncangrantartist.com/2019/06/02/can-you-judge-a-book-by-its-cover-maybe/

Each year Faber & Faber bring out a classic book, covered in a Liberty fabric (actual fabric, not a picture of it) from the year of publication. This year’s book was to be Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which was first published in 1963.  But because of their Booker Prize success with Milkman, Faber & Faber published an extra edition this year and my Small Town design was in the right place at the right time when they asked Liberty, ‘Have you got anything with houses on it?’

Last week Milkman it appeared in the shops, followed closely by a gift wrapped copy through my letterbox.

Lovely!

Spotted in Japan….
Small Towns have been spotted in Japan!
Japanese company AmandaMandy https://www.instagram.com/amandamandy_official/ seems to have bought a lot of different Liberty fabrics and is turning them into objects for sale – anyone for a Small Town water bottle holder, or a handy fabric covered notebook?

Ben Wilson: Chewing gum man
Artist Ben Wilson completes his latest miniature artwork on chewing gumThree weeks ago my blog featured artist, Ben Wilson aka ‘Chewing Gum Man’ https://duncangrantartist.com/2019/08/25/ben-wilson-chewing-gum-man/ 
Ben paints mini-artworks on discarded chewing gum and at that time was working his way down the Millenium Bridge just outside Tate Modern. My sister Annie met up with him again last week and was pleased to report that he’d reached the door of the Tate. His Kickstarter project to raise funds to produce a book of the Millenium Bridge Chewing Gum Trail reached its total, with just four days to go. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/studiomoe/ben-wilson-the-chewing-gum-man-the-millennium-bridge-gum Congratulations!

Tate Modern has agreed to allow Ben to hide some of his artwork around the gallery. You can see those pieces and keep up with his project on Instagram. benwilsonchewingumman https://www.instagram.com/p/B2EpjpjHzTR/?igshid=hwu58bt7f3t6

Think that’s all the updates for now! I’m trying to add some new artwork to my gallery – some of the stuff I’ve been posting on Facebook and Instagram lately – but have encountered a technical problem. Will let you know when I’ve managed to upload them, or check in here over the next few days https://duncangrantartist.com/product-category/new-artwork/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lions of Windsor and other animals

Visit my gallery

After I came back from the Liberty factory in Milan in March I wrote in my blog, ‘I wondered where this journey will take me next’. Well one answer is possibly ‘Windsor’ and I certainly didn’t expect that!

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by award winning homeware designer, Lisa Todd, who is Director of this year’s Lions of Windsor project https://lionsofwindsor.org/, to ask if I would be interested in decorating a life-size resin and fibre glass lion to be displayed somewhere around Windsor this summer. The original lion was created by Bath sculptor Alan Dun https://alandunsculpture.weebly.com/ as a 3D canvas.

The project will involve a giant pride of over 60, individually decorated lion sculptures being positioned around the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead from 10th August until 27th October this year, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. There will be an official public art ‘safari trail’ where visitors can see the bigger lions, decorated by artists and designers, plus a mini-pride of lion cubs decorated by schools and charities.

The project will culminate in a Lions Roar Goodbye  festival (9th/10 November) and then a charity auction on 22nd November. All profits will be donated to local charities, including the new Thames Hospice in Maidenhead, Look Good Feel Better and the Lions Club of Windsor, for distributing to good causes across the region.

I haven’t really got much experience of 3D art or drawing (on) animals really. I did decorate this set of Russian Dolls in 2018 for ‘Art on a Postcard’ https://www.artonapostcard.com/ and I’ve done relief prints of a few cats, birds, water creatures and insects over the years (see below) but a 3-D lion is going to be a bit of a challenge. Not least because I have to get it home, paint it and then get it back to Windsor, without being eaten!

Russian dolls decorated for ‘Art on a Postcard’

As you might be aware, over the last year I’ve been working on a series of Small Town ink drawings. You can see then all in my Gallery under ‘Original Artwork: Ink Drawings’. https://duncangrantartist.com/product-category/original-artwork/drawing-ink/ They are all also available as digital prints. I submitted one of the Small Towns to the #LibertyOpenCall competition that I won and the two designs that Liberty have been produced are due to be launched next month as part of their Summer Collection. I’ve included elements of the Liberty Small Town design in my lion design because Liberty fabric designs were very popular in the Victorian era.

My lion design is called Night and Day  and depicts Windsor in daylight (on the side of the lion with his eye open) and Windsor at night (on the side of the lion with his eye closed). Each side will reflect Windsor’s position on the Thames, and will feature prominent landmarks, such as the castle and the Great Park. You might even spot some Windsor collars and ties with Windsor knots on the final product. I haven’t really decided.

Anyway, that’s for the future. I have to have my design accepted first. The templates are really small so what you can see here is only an impression. If I’m successful, the design on the final lion will be much more intricate.

Here is what I have submitted:

Front view
Windsor by day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the other animals….. As mentioned above, here are some of my earlier encounters with animals. They’re all for sale via the Gallery on this website – just follow the links.

Cats

 

https://duncangrantartist.com/product/black-cat/ (also Blue Cat)
https://duncangrantartist.com/product/moon-cat-2/
https://duncangrantartist.com/product/cat/

Hares

https://duncangrantartist.com/rabbits/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://duncangrantartist.com/product/crow/
https://duncangrantartist.com/product/raven/
https://duncangrantrist.com/product/penguins/
https://duncangrantartist.com/product/pigeon/ 

Sea creatures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


https://duncangrantartist.com/octopus/
https://duncangrantartist.com/squid/
https://duncangrantartist.com/dogfish/

Insects

 

https://duncangrantartist.com/stag-beetle/
https://duncangrantartist.com/cheesy-bug/

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Day return to Milan: From design to Liberty fabric

Visit my gallery

Early on Tuesday last week, I flew out from Gatwick with my three fellow #Liberty Open Call winners to Gorla Minore, near Milan, to visit Olonia Stamperia, the factory where Liberty prints many of its fabrics. Things were about to get real. We were going to see our Open Call designs transformed into Liberty fabric!

Olonia Stampera – the Liberty factory

We arrived just in time for an Espresso and Liberty biscuits with two of the designers that we’d met during our initial visit to Liberty London and some of the Italian design team.

They gave us a bit of background about the factory – it’s been there since 1969, and as well as printing Liberty designs on their famous Tana Lawn – a cotton fabric that behaves like silk – it produces materials for other high end companies, including Versace. The factory is committed to sustainability – it doesn’t use toxic dyes or heavy metals in the print process.

 

The factory tour that followed was fascinating. We saw how Liberty uses traditional screen printing and digital technology to make designs come to life and watched the whole process from colour mixing, though to printing. Once the fabrics have been printed, they are conditioned and washed, before being stored in giant rolls, ready for dispatch. Because of commercial sensitivities, unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any photographs, although we are promised some from Liberty, which I’ll add here if I get them.

After a delicious lunch – a pizza washed down with a nice Sardinian beer – we got down to business with our own designs.

Lunch over: Back to business

Liberty have made two designs from the image that I entered into the competition – one with chimneys and one without. They will be produced as separate Liberty fabrics for their 2019 summer collection. They are going to be called ‘Duncan Grant’ and ‘Small Town’.  For our visit, the Liberty designers had prepared a series of ‘strike offs’ for each winning design. A strike off is a print sample that is made to check design and colours before bulk printing is done.

 

For each of my designs, the team had produced about ten different ‘colourways’ on Tana Lawn and silk, with two versions of each colourway in contrasting intensities. We discussed our own and each others’ designs with the team – which ones we preferred, which ones we weren’t so keen on. But the final choices about which colourways will make it to production and onto the shelves, is down to the Liberty buyers, who know their customers and the wider market, as well as what will be ‘on trend’ for 2020. They will produce fabric in at least one colourway from each of our designs – so at least two for me – more if they really like them and think they will sell.  I haven’t heard yet which have been chosen but a camouflage treatment and a bright orange print seemed very popular on the day. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Left home at 3.30 a.m. back home at 10pm. A long but exciting day. I wonder where this journey will take me next. Watch this space!