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You can be sure of Shell

July 25, 2016

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As a child my earliest associated memory of going for petrol, was always the free gift you would get for filling up at that service station. Different companies tried to outdo one another with the presents they would bestow on you for your custom. As an early artist, I particularly remember one company giving away felt tip pens. Each colour had a name and so you were encouraged to try and get the set. I always found it so exciting, going to choose the colour (or colours, depending how much fuel you had bought) after my dad had filled the car. It was a clever way to get loyalty and repeat custom and was possibly one of my first exposure of the power of advertising and consumerism !

Shell used postcards as an early form of advertising, beginning in the early 1900s. Postcards were a quick and easy way of sending messages before telephones became a popular commodity and postal deliveries could arrive several times a day. The popularity of postcards helped Shell increase their profile in Britain, reaching everyone including the non-motorists.


The first Shell advertising poster was created in 1920. They were displayed on the side of lorries carrying fuel to customers all over the country. These adverts (or ‘Lorry Bills’ as they became known), were designed in reaction to the public outcry against roadside hoardings in the countryside.

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Foreign posters too and a whole range of topics and themes, not just centered around the more obvious choices of cars and transport.

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Of course there were still many classic posters produced using the more obvious themes too.

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But unusually Britain’s landmarks and a campaign showing the different types of people who use Shell, became very popular.

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I’m sure you’re relieved to know that Judges, Architects, Scientists and even Film Stars all use Shell.

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We’re told it’s even a ‘friend to the Farmer’, giving it that ‘good for the environment angle’.

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The most innovative designs were created around 1932, when Jack Beddington became responsible for the company’s advertising. Under his direction, artists were commissioned who weren’t necessarily associated with commercial art. These artists went on to become famous names in British contemporary art.  Among them were people like Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Vanessa Bell, Ben Nicholson and John Piper.

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There are over 7,000 posters in the Shell Art Collection, reflecting the charm and character of a nostalgic age of motoring.

Just imagine filling up here… : )

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The poster (below) depicting the family all ready for their holidays, is definitely my favourite.

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Which one is yours ? You can find out more about the Shell Posters by visiting the National Motor Museum website.











Chris Turnham Illustration

July 19, 2016

Fishinkblog 10112 Chris Turnham 1  Photo by Dan Cole.

Chris Turnham lives and works in Los Angeles. He has worked in both feature and television animation and has contributed illustrations to publications and children’s books.

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Of course his style appeals very much to my eye and love of the mid century life.

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This could be fresh out of a book from 50+ years ago…. fabulous.

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Interesting to see some floral and botanical studies too.

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Illustrations of intrepid explorers….

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and places Chris has also explored.

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But my absolute favourites are his his beautiful architectural pieces… was this the bridge used in the film Grease, I wonder ?

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Many of these illustrations are commissions.

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Or just plain jaw-droppingly wonderful ! Lol

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I love Chris’s use of the sun in these sleepy suburban dwellings.

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He has even covered the Eames House, below. Stunning work Chris.

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Fishink Thanks

July 11, 2016

Today is all about Thank you’s. I want to start with the wonderful Jo and Sophie who together were running this year’s Sale Arts Trail. The event ran as smoothly as ever and it was a joy to take part for the second year. Here’s a taster of how the crowds appeared (after the heavens had stopped opening) on the Saturday.

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My second vote of thanks goes to Claire over at Minikin ‘Paint A Pot’ Emporium. She’s such a hard working, warm-hearted and generally lovely soul that I knew we’d have a fun weekend and a chance for a catch up too. Thanks for letting me take over half of your shop.. and the work will be up for a few more days this week, so pop in if you missed it at the weekend. I was so pleased how it all looked. I also do take on commissions so if you wanted something specific for your home, or another variation of a piece that sold, please drop me a line

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Lastly I wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported my artwork through either sales, praise or just dropping by to say hello and support the trail. It really does all help. Thanks to Jenny who reads my blog for stopping by to meet me and numerous other people who’s names I didn’t manage to gather but who helped the weekend speed past by just being friendly and being there.

Lastly thanks to ‘him upstairs’ for the cascading rain most of Saturday and the dark stormy clouds and wind on Sunday. I decided… why fight what you can’t change.. embrace it instead! : ) Happy new week one and all.


Vintage Housekeeping and Cooking Tea Towels

July 4, 2016

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For decades designers have thought that it would be a great idea to inspire the cooking housewife in the home, by putting recipes onto tea towels and linens. Imagine the scenario… you completely run out of ideas as to what to make for the family dinner, well worry no more, dust off the tea towel and there’s your answer, ingredients and all ! Of course that doesn’t help you out the next day when you have the same problem all over again, unless that is,  you have a drawer full of these beauties lol

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Cooking and washing up go hand in hand, whatever country you happen to be in. You can even be inspired to go global and make a Goulash or Curry as a complete change to the British meat and two vegetables ensemble!

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Such was the popularity of the idea, that there were hundreds of variations made.

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Over many different time periods.

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And in many different countries. I’m sure you ladies will all be flocking to get a copy of the Housewife’s Arms below.. with the inspirational motto ” Labour without ceasing”. I am hoping if that was meant to be tongue-in-cheek ?

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It appears (from the design above) that Sunday is the only day of rest for the working housewife, and perhaps the saying ‘ a woman’s work is never done’ would be somewhere nearer the truth.

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I do find the quotes on these towels rather amusing.

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Great designs and educational too.

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I bet this Happy New Year 1968 tea towel just bursting with advertisements for Colgate & Palmolive, went down an absolute storm ! But seriously, who wants to be reminded about cleaning products all year round ? Really !

However, I do think some of these much more modern illustrations (below) would make some fetching new tea towel designs.

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Many thanks to Cindy over at NeatoKeen for selecting most of the images used in this post, from her vast collection of vintage linens. Also for coming up with the idea for this blog in the first place.  May our collaborations long continue : )




Fishink Artwork

June 27, 2016

Happy Monday everyone. I’m still working hard on building up some new artwork for next month’s Sale Arts Trail, Sale, Manchester. I did a quick question session for them here …


A good friend lent me their badge making machine…. oh what fun. I swear it’s such an integral part of artistic folk’s second nature to produce products and I for one had a great time creating 80 hand-made badges for the Sale show. I nearly didn’t want to give it back lol

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Some designs I re-coloured especially for the badges and others are collages pieced together beneath the plastic coating.

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It is quite addictive.  Something new… elephant illustrations.

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Happy Cat.

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And more stripey birds.

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I’m enjoying making these. Don’t forget to come along to Sale on the 9th and 10th July for the Sale ArtsTrail and drop in to say hello. I’ll be displaying a large range of work in Minikin Emporium, which is Venue C on the Sale Arts Trail Map. There will be 50+ other designers exhibiting over 24 different venues, so it should be an exciting weekend.

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Look forward to seeing you all there. More work available here on my website.






MMU Degree show 2016 Part 3

June 24, 2016

Welcome to the final part of my visit to the MMU degree show for this year. A couple of graduates firstly from the Architecture department, with wonderful architectural illustrations from both Alexandru Trofin and Hannah Bellerby.

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These visuals are amazing, they make their creative, structural interpretations feel so real.

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Of course, the MMU building is pretty amazing too.

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Pauline Chorlton from the Creative Practice course is interested in the nature and the dynamics of the universe. I love her planetary paintings.

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Some quirky lighting with accessories from Hattie Grace.

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Math Whittaker and Bethan Wilson show us some great uses of form and function, mixed with a little decoration.

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Curvaceous glass work from Imogen Davis.

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Perfectly made, pleated, fungi-inspired-forms from Theresa Kitching.

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Leanne Orme presents us with jewellery made from foraged materials.

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And Francesca Lobb explores the ideas behind body adornment and how objects evoke personal comforts for their owner.

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Chelsey Mae Roberts is using fetility and IVF as inspiration for her final project. The use of ritualistic artifacts for fertility historically and today and our current relationship with modern and traditional fertility treatments, are all ideas trailing through Chelsey’s work.

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Well that’s all for this year, wow and to think I saw all this within an hour ! Plenty more to view and I’m sorry I didn’t get to see more. Good luck to everyone who’s graduating this year, do let me know what you think of the work and which pieces in particular you find inspirational.










MMU Degree show 2016 Part 2

June 22, 2016

Today is the final day to get along to Manchester Metropolitan University and take in this year’s degree show. Following on from Monday’s post, textile designer Lois Ruddock starts us off with a few wonderfully coloured weaves.

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Heidi Leeming specialises in Women’s wear and fashion accessories for both the commercial and high end markets. Megan Templeton Roberts says that her work ” is strongly influenced by the structure and the organic marks seen within insect wings. By abstracting forms and textures from them, I digitally printed surfaces, which I then hand embroidered and beaded to express the texture and delicacy of the wings”

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Taking a sturdier approach on materials, Mella Moylan uses the laser cutter to engrave images of draped fabric onto wooden geometric pieces. Her ‘wooden textiles’ could be used in many different ways to mold and form new shapes into our interiors.

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Hannah Brown says her work ” has a strong relationship to light and I incorporate the use of transparent or reflective materials in conjunction with other tactile surfaces. I enjoy manipulating materials through a variety of different processes, such as embossing, laser cutting, printing, dying and hand craft techniques ” Very effective they are too.

Molly Newport  says ” Using the language of embroidery and particularly embellishment, I have developed a practice that is primarily aimed at an illustrative context. I am an avid drawer, and use my textile skills to realise the translation of two dimensional mark on paper into both three-dimensional and two-dimensional works that give the drawn mark and form a physical and tactile quality” I can see these working well in a theatre or children’s drama.

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Mollie Milnthorpe has been inspired by botany and the natural world. Her ideas are developed through hand drawing and digital processes, combining and contrasting elements which has been an over riding concept throughout her work, creating unexpected but beautiful combinations.

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More botanical work from Becky Ayre and a freestyle, fifties-feeling print from Anna Carver.

From there we move onto the Illustration with Animation course graduates. A beautiful collection by Roisin Swales. I will eagerly look forward to seeing more from Roisin, as her own style emerges and develops as she certainly has the talent to engage and inspire the reader.

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One of my favourite illustrators work this year was that of Katie Williams. Her sea-focused dramatic work were full of life and vigor.

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With a strong mix of collage and paint/pencil mixed media techniques. Katie’s work was a joy to look at.

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Some wonderfully ‘out of this world’ pieces by Dwayne Campey.

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Keeping on a planetary connection with Cara Davies.

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Moons and wolves by Jasmine Bird.

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Unusual and intriguing images from Monica Giraldi.

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More graphic and sketchy work from Dominika Wroblewska and Antony Cross.

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Beautiful colours and tranquil settings from nature by Emily Dayson.

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A wonderfully dramatic journey into the animal kingdom by Rachel Fitchett. Great colour and expression in her work.

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More to come on friday with the last post on the show. Do pop in to see the work at MMU today and let me know your thoughts on what you’ve seen here too.

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