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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Christmas Gifts: Best Art Books

As we begin the final run down to Christmas I bring you some highly recommended art books, from Black Dog publishing, Gestalten and illustrator extraordinaire David Shrigley.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras
In need of a last minute man gift? Is he a stylish cyclist? If so help could be here in the form of the new Rapha and Paul Smith cycling collection. Rapha are purveyors of high performance roadwear (which means they know what they are doing) and Paul Smith is of course the doyen of all things stylish. As well as the simple good design of the main collection – which includes a highly technical jacket, order knitted winter cap, leather gloves and a jaunty polka dot scarf – I am particularly enamoured of their collaborative wash bag which comes in two fun Paul Smith colourful cycling inspired prints, complete with sturdy leather details. Years ago I Paul Smith gave me a wash bag as a gift – and not only is it by far the best quality wash bag I have ever owned (don’t you find that cheap ones fall apart ridiculously quickly?) but my boyfriend has had his eagle eye on it ever since we met, even with the remnants of girl make up scattered across its insides. The collection also features a shoulder bag and a courier bag for those more inclined to show off their stylish wares in public.

So, if you’re still really stuck on what to get the man in your life check out the Rapha and Paul Smith range for something stylish and eminently practical (plus, shhh, he doesn’t even need to be a fully technical cyclist to enjoy the bags). The collection will be added to next year, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it might include something for the lady cyclist.

Paul Smith scarf and cap by Sandra Contreras
Rapha/Paul Smith scarf and cap by Sandra Contreras.

In need of a last minute man gift? Is he a stylish cyclist? If so help could be here in the form of the new Rapha and Paul Smith cycling collection. Rapha are purveyors of high performance roadwear (which means they know what they are doing) and Paul Smith is of course the doyen of all things stylish. As well as the simple good design of the main collection – which includes a highly technical jacket, approved knitted winter cap, mind leather gloves and a jaunty polka dot scarf – I am particularly enamoured of their collaborative wash bag which comes in two fun Paul Smith colourful cycling inspired prints, symptoms complete with sturdy leather details.

Paul Smith Rapha wash bag
Paul Smith wash bag

Years ago I Paul Smith gave me a wash bag as a gift – and not only is it by far the best quality wash bag I have ever owned (don’t you find that cheap ones fall apart ridiculously quickly?) but my boyfriend has had his eagle eye on it ever since we met, even with the remnants of girl make up scattered across its insides. The collection also features a shoulder bag and a courier bag for those more inclined to show off their stylish wares in public.

Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras
Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras.

So, if you’re still really stuck on what to get the man in your life check out the Rapha and Paul Smith range for something stylish and eminently practical (plus, shhh, he doesn’t even need to be a fully technical cyclist to enjoy the bags). The collection will be added to next year, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it might include something for the lady cyclist.

Paul Smith scarf and cap by Sandra Contreras
Rapha/Paul Smith scarf and cap by Sandra Contreras.

In need of a last minute man gift? Is he a stylish cyclist? If so help could be here in the form of the new Rapha and Paul Smith cycling collection. Rapha are purveyors of high performance roadwear (which means they know what they are doing) and Paul Smith is of course the doyen of all things stylish. As well as the simple good design of the main collection – which includes a highly technical jacket, click knitted winter hat, for sale leather town gloves and a jaunty polka dot scarf – I am particularly enamoured of their collaborative wash bag which comes in two fun Paul Smith colourful cycling inspired prints, complete with sturdy leather details.

Paul Smith Rapha wash bag
Paul Smith wash bag

Years ago Paul Smith gave me a wash bag as a gift – and not only is it by far the best quality wash bag I have ever owned (don’t you find that cheap ones fall apart ridiculously quickly?) but my boyfriend has had his eagle eye on it ever since we met, even with the remnants of girl make up scattered across its insides. The collection also features a shoulder bag and a courier bag for those more inclined to show off their stylish wares in public.

Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras
Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras.

So, if you’re still really stuck on what to get the man in your life check out the Rapha and Paul Smith range for something stylish and eminently practical (plus, shhh, he doesn’t even need to be a fully technical cyclist to enjoy the bags). The collection will be added to next year, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it might include something for the lady cyclist.

Paul Smith scarf and cap by Sandra Contreras
Rapha/Paul Smith scarf and cap by Sandra Contreras.

In need of a last minute man gift? Is he a stylish cyclist? If so help could be here in the form of the new Rapha and Paul Smith cycling collection. Rapha are purveyors of high performance roadwear (which means they know what they are doing) and Paul Smith is of course the doyen of all things stylish. As well as the simple good design of the main collection – which includes a highly technical jacket, more about knitted winter hat, leather town gloves and a jaunty polka dot scarf – I am particularly enamoured of their collaborative wash bag which comes in two fun Paul Smith colourful cycling inspired prints, complete with sturdy leather details.

Paul Smith Rapha wash bag
Paul Smith wash bag

Years ago Paul Smith gave me a wash bag as a gift – and not only is it by far the best quality wash bag I have ever owned (don’t you find that cheap ones fall apart ridiculously quickly?) but my boyfriend has had his eagle eye on it ever since we met, even with the remnants of girl make up scattered across its insides. The collection also features a shoulder bag and a courier bag for those more inclined to show off their stylish wares in public.

Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras
Paul Smith by Sandra Contreras.

So, if you’re still really stuck on what to get the man in your life check out the Rapha and Paul Smith range for something stylish and eminently practical (plus, shhh, he doesn’t even need to be a fully technical cyclist to enjoy the bags). The collection will be added to next year, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it might include something for the lady cyclist.

Timothy Hunt
Illustration by Timothy Hunt.

In my second round up of fabulous ideas from twitter friends for late Christmas gift shoppers I bring you the best of art, more about jewellery and homewares.

Firebird Lesley Barnes
Lesley Barnes Firebird horse

We love Lesley Barnes, oh yes we do! The Firebird concertina epitomises the way that Lesley has embraced colour since I *forced* her to design my Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration end pages in full colour only a year ago. This is a stunning narrative piece that is designed to be interacted with, but if you’re not feeling quite so adventurous there are also some simpler Lesley prints available at a cheaper price available from the ace Soma Gallery (as well as work from some other great artists).

Alice Potter polar bear

There are loads of fabulous illustrators and artists producing screenprints that are available via their shopping sites, but I’ve tried to steer clear of them here as we’ve talked about them a lot on the blog recently… and there’s only so much room on your average wall. But I do like Alice Potter‘s polar bear.

Platform License to Spill postcards

For someone who cares about the world and prefers a gift with meaning, why not buy a collection of postcards from Platform, supporting art activism? The Liberate Tate: Collected Works postcard book contains lovingly reproduced images from some great direct actions against oil sponsorship of the arts (read more about the ongoing campaign in our blog here) All proceeds will go towards Platform’s new crowd funding initiative, Licence to Spill – a five day participatory exhibition to explore how we kick oil out of the arts.

Ana Montiel wallpaper

I’m really impressed by Ana Montiel‘s designs. She’s got that continuing to be trendy despite the years passing scrawled biro thing down a treat, and I like the fact that she’s not just rehashing florals. Printed on high quality sustainably sourced paper from Finland, this wallpaper would be one for that stylish someone with plans to redecorate their space.

Simon Wild-Fantastical Flying Machines
Simon Wild-Fantastical Flying Machines inside

Illustrator Simon Wild has just published his first book, and it’s a veritable feast for the eyes and senses. Fantastical Flying Machines features a pop up race between the likes of a hot air balloon, a flying tea cup and a bubblegum rocket, and in this age of pop up shops and exhibitions it’s a welcome reminder of the simple brilliance of pop up books. Definitely one for the child in your life!

handmadebyemily

Or Handmade by Emily does a great range of recycled floral fabric owl cushions and mice. Ideal for a child’s bedroom.

Ella necklace Georgia Coote

Onto the jewellery: always a winner for Christmas… just be sure you know the recipient’s tastes. Georgia Coote makes adorable necklaces out of vintage buttons that she has scoured from charity shops. I like the way they become entire statements themselves as in this Ella necklace.

Stark at Beads headband

For those retro stylistically inclined there are also Stark at Beads vintage plastic flower head bands, based in Lisbon.

Summer Garden earrings chain of daisies

I have an unhealthy love of sparkly earrings – I hardly wear them but that doesn’t stop me hankering after the nicest pairs I see. From Chain of Daisies, Neptune Earrings are made out of gorgeous vintage gems as are the lovely Amelia Earrings – I had to mention them didn’t I?! And Summer Garden are made of vintage German plastic cabochons.

eve tv screen necklace

For something that makes a bit more of a statement how about this necklace from Eve at Howkapow, featuring recycled TV screen beads of all things. How fantastic! This is where all TVs should go to die. The Howkapow website features some great up and coming designers and is definitely worth checking out in detail.

Tatty Devine gin bottle cufflinks

Or you could try the newly reworked miniature bestselling Pegasus Necklace from Tatty Devine, or for a boy, these utterly charming Gin bottle cufflinks created in collaboration with cult Shoreditch artists Gilbert and George. You can find them on their newly revamped men’s section For Chaps – why not take a gander.

handcrafted black ninja

Boys, I find, are always a bugger. If the man in your life is a fan of small collectible toys these little hand crafted ninjas from Lilley might just be the thing for you to give him, attached to a keyring, or not – especially since they eschew the usual factory production for Etsy handmade status.

Emma loves Retro cushions

Homewares: Emma Loves Retro does a great job of recycling bold vintage fabrics into scatter cushions, and she has a wide colour and design range to choose from.

london kills me placemats

London Kills Me do all their own screenprinting in London, producing everything from ties and cushions to Christmas decorations. I really like the reclaimed slate planters and some of the printed dresses are very very cute.

meera lee sushi sets

Illustrator Meera Lee creates decorated sushi tea sets from upcycled crockery, which are very pretty but delicate – only for those who are happy to handwash! However the maker is stateside so only for those the other side of the pond at this late stage in the day.

Carlotta Morandini rug

Carlotta Morandini makes amazing sea creature inspired rugs. When I see stuff like this how I wish I had a bit of money! But maybe you do, and if so this would be the making of a room.

Carrie Reichardt plate
Carrie Reichardt

Carrie Reichardt sells at new eco fashion store 123 Bethnal Green Road: I just love her reworked crockery – what a find for the anarchist in your life. Unfortunately these are not online at the 123 Bethnal Green Road website, but I highly recommend a visit to their shop, choc-a-bloc with upcycled goodies at just the right price point for Christmas shopping.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration

And of course, how could I finish this blog without mention of my own book? Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration – perfect for the book/illustration/fashion lover in your life. Having had confirmation that the wondrous Royal Mail has already delivered the first copies of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, sent out on Friday, I now feel a bit more confident that you will still be able to take delivery of any of the mentioned gifts above should you decide to order them very soon for Christmas. You can order my book here.

You can check out my ethical fashion and skincare suggestions on this blog here.
Illustration by Timothy Hunt
Illustration by Timothy Hunt.

A couple of days ago *ahem, viagra dosage more like a week* I put a callout on twitter for people to send me their fabulous ideas for Christmas presents – here, buy more about finally is a round up of the best clothing and skincare gifts alongside some of my own recommendations. My second post will cover art, homewares and jewellery.

Bonbi Forest equus scarf

Lee May Foster of Bonbi Forest never fails to produce delightful stuff, my current favourite of which is this stunning Equus scarf, new just in time for Crimbo. It comes in either a pink or blue colour way and will certainly catch people’s attention with it’s lovely sustainably handprinted pattern of horses and zebras.

Natasha Rae Richardson hankie

At the upper end of the market check out this rabbit skeleton organic cotton hankie from Natalie Rae Richardson at Tout Nouveau, a website which offers the work of some fantastic emerging designers – perfect for a super stylish man to flourish when out and about.

Natasha Wood cardigan

I wish I had discovered ethical clothing designer Natasha Wood in time to include her in my book… but alas it is too late. These upcycled leather trousers are made from old leather jackets and above is her special two cardigans coatigan. Just fab.

Bradley Beanie Hat and Bow Brook Top by Maria del Carmen Smith
Bradley Beanie Hat and Bow Brook Top by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Continuing on an ethical clothing bent I really do love the simple good designs of Liv. I’ve been wearing her delightful Bow Brook top non stop this winter, and her Bradley knitted beanie is oh so cute. Liv works exclusively in fairtrade and organic materials. Better still she is running a wee Christmas competition – just join her on Facebook for the chance to win a lovely Shell Ford Cardi in her Berrrry Christmas competition. (but make sure you do it this morning as the offer ends at noon today)

Dr Hauschka bath care kit interior
Dr Hauschka bath care kit

Over on the beauty gift set side of life I recommend the Dr. Hauschka bath oils set – I am a real sucker for a hot steaming sweetly smelling bath and these smell just divine. A Bath Care Kit contains small starter versions of the oils and costs just £12.50. What a blooming’ bargain for the bath lover in your life. Dr. Hauschka is running a similar chance for a Facebook fan to win a beautiful make up set. Just join their Facebook page before noon.

Dr Hauschka rose tea

Many of Dr. Hauschka’s lotions make use of the wondrous properties of rose, and I particularly like the Rose Body Hamper Body Moisturiser Gift Set, which includes Organic Loose Tea with Rose Petals – since I started drinking black tea on it’s own I’ve discovered that rose tea is absolutely my favourite, yet it is still relatively hard to come by in your average supermarket, making this gift all the more special.

Pai serenity kit

As you can probably tell I am a big fan of a long luxurious bath, especially in this cold weather. Pai Skincare is another fabulous organic brand that has produced a bath care kit – and the Serenity Bath and Body Collection will go down a treat with anyone like me.

Savonnerie-Naughty Weekend Kit

For the lover in your life, there’s always the Savonnerie Ever So Slightly Naughty Weekend Kit. Why wait for the wedding anniversary or Valentine’s Day when you can drop a ginormous hint at Christmas? This boxed kit includes yummy Love Soak bath bits, Vetiver massage oil, a tender kissing glaze… and a blindfold and feather for a truly erotic experience. All this pleasure for both you and the recipient comes at a very reasonable price.

Savonnerie-soaps

Savonnerie specialises in high end hand made soaps encrusted with all sorts of delicious goodies, and their beautifully packaged luxury handmade soap box makes the perfect gift. They are based over in Brushfield Street near Spitalfields Market so if you live in London there is still plenty of time to go and visit them. Yum yum yum.

For fans of yummy skincare products there are plenty more Christmas gift suggestions in some of my previous blog posts about ethical beauty brands, so do go check them out. And you can check out the companion blog to this one, featuring art, jewellery and homeware ideas, right here.

Olaf Hajek-detail
A detail from Flowerhead: Olaf Hajek, viagra 40mg published by Gestalten.

I have been sent some fabulous books this year, and and now seems as good a time as any to put together a round up – should you find yourself dithering over what presents to buy when you are in a bookshop over the next few days check out these ideas….

Essential David Shrigley-cover
Essential David Shrigley-God is Idle
Essential David Shrigley-Not Ripe

This has been the year that David Shrigley has really cemented himself as the ironic illustrator of choice – he’s even collaborated with the Science Museum on a wall for their new Atmosphere climate science gallery for gawd’s sake! What The Hell Are You Doing, sildenafil The Essential David Shrigley will therefore make a happily received gift for many, featuring as it does page after page of his inimitable scrawls and warped slogans. Well, I say inimitable, but the opening spiel by Will Self amusingly recounts his meeting with a David Shrigley imitator par excellence. Delve into this big yellow book and enjoy Shrigley’s utterly unique view of the universe.

Impressive-Gestalten-cover
Impressive-Gestalten-inside
Impressive-Gestalten-letterpress

Impressive: Printmaking, Letterpress & Graphic Design explores the diverse world of hand printing that in this digitally sanitised age so enraptures many graphic designers. Beautifully presented with gorgeous photography, this book would make the prefect gift for anyone of creative bent. I love the work of so many of the featured artists that I can’t possibly pick any specific ones out.

Olaf Hajek-cover
Olaf Hajek-orange
Olaf Hajek-blue

Flowerhead: Olaf Hajek, is a gorgeous paean to the work of this supremely talented Berlin-based illustrator. Encompassing elements of naive art and surrealism, and always featuring large amounts of flora, the work of this artist is now highly sought after. An amazing source of inspiration for any aspiring illustrator.

The Upset-cover
The Upset-baseman
The Upset-Dzine

The Upset: Young Contemporary Art is another exemplary book from Gestalten, which is a publishing house that really excels in producing quality modern art books. Designed to showcase the work of artists that have formed their practice outside of the traditional establishment, it features art that is otherwise termed lowbrow, street, underground, urban and even simply as illustration. By presenting them together in one book it explores how many of these artforms have morphed into each other, adopting their own artistic kudos. Not all of the work is to my personal taste but I particularly like Camille Rose Garcia, John Currin (of course) and Gary Baseman. The chapter on Pattern is perhaps unsurprisingly my favourite. Love love the work of Rex Ray, Dzine, Jeremy Pruitt, Colin Johnson and Maya Hayuk.

The Front Room-cover
The Front Room-inside

The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home by Michael McMillan is published by Black Dog and follows an exhibition at my local Geffrye museum. It is a love letter to the kitsch home decor of West Indian migrants, for whom the front room was an all important place in which the family could gather and express their dreams and aspirations of a new life in the UK, as well as a place to remember what was left behind. My interest in this book stems from visiting my neighbour’s, a lovely elderly couple who came over from Barbados as children and have lived on my estate for over 30 years. Their house is preserved exactly as many of those presented in the book are, which I find utterly fascinating. If you know someone who might be interested in the way social mores influences aesthetics they will love this book too…

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