Thursday, 26 January 2012

Easy Roast!

On a recent visit to England, I spotted this intriguing combi on offer in the pet food aisle of Sainsburys Supermarket, in Richmond, London. 

Ok chaps, we're all aware of how hard the economic recession is hitting everybody, but I think your marketing division should have a rethink as to the message you're sending by this placement of the Bako Easy Roast bags!

© Alison Day Designs

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Invisible Body

Recent artwork of Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes’ has her disappearing into the backgrounds of her artwork like a chameleon to his habitat - not through magic but with paint. Via Design Taxi

Friday, 20 January 2012

Urban Carpet

The Dongsi Shi Tiao [Urban Carpet: Green 2009], is just one of a series of 8 urban carpets, representing different maps of Hutong areas in downtown Beijing. 

Embroidered by hand onto canvas, employing the same technique as on propaganda slogans, used by the communist party in the 1970's. 

Kind of fun to be able to pick out the whereabouts of your house on the carpet! For the other 7 carpets in the series go: here

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Squirrel it Away

This unique masterpiece of a female torso is realised in birch wood and includes a set of small velvet-lined drawers. Multifunctional: furniture; sculpture and jewellery box. Using only natural materials in his designs, his work is a challenge to 'your perceptions of traditional furniture
For more: Peter Rolfe

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Futures Exhibtion - Think Act Vote

An exciting project, up and coming book, and the brain child of Think Act Vote. Follow the links to find out more. 

If you're interested - my illustration includes the fish, at the start of the video

Indie Gogo info: here

Other Links:

Alison Day Designs

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Fallen Angel

I've always had a soft spot for angels...take a look at neon artist, Darren West's beautiful, ethereal, neon angel. A master craftsman of the 100-year-old trade, he now applies his expertise to artistic projects and collaborations, many of which are within the fashion industry.

For more about Darren West

Friday, 13 January 2012

Angélique Boter

The Autumnal air is still mild as I make my way through the Rivieren neighbourhood of Groningen. My Vespa is parked a little way off outside a doctor’s surgery because of another disruptive bout of building and road alterations, leaving the street impassable. Trees line the street of my destination interview, and at the base of each trunk is a pool of bright yellow fallen leaves; nature’s annual haircut, leaving branches like un-gloved fingers pointing skywards. The clack of my heels on concrete slabs is intermittently replaced by a swishing sound, like crinoline skirts at a ball, as I wade through the dry pools of yellow to meet illustrator and muralist, Angélique Boter.

A small figure with friendly face opens the door to her second floor flat. I can see from her eyes that the thought of being interviewed has her somewhat unnerved, so I put her fears to rest as we sit down with cups of peppermint tea.

At a young age Angélique often accompanied her father, a window dresser, to his work and assumed that one day she would follow in his footsteps. However, this was not to be, as she was accepted to study drawing at the Academy Minerva in Groningen. Her study years she coupled with a job in the family business, which supplies exhibition stands and walls for public events. Enjoying life drawing and painting the most, she discovered that her strength lay in simple, black and white, line drawings, so she decided to graduate in this.

After Minerva, with a tutor’s comment still ringing in her ears that when asked to include colour in her drawings, they became forced, she decided that she would go in search of colour: “Colour is also a feeling,” she proffers. To this end, Angélique goes out regularly for coffee, alone and armed with a sketchbook and drawing materials, to draw the world at large. Sometimes, she will be in Groningen, other times she picks another city, like Berlin or Prague. With the drawings come stories, thoughts and experiences; a living diary: “It is an experience of what I see”. She hands me a sketchbook filled with sketches - snapshots. One catches my eye that of a little dog in a bicycle basket by some traffic lights; seen in Amsterdam whilst touring the city on her fold-up bicycle. Later, she skilfully pens the memory to the page; the result is pure, simple, the essence of her subject.

The sketches come thick and fast, her writings often leading to the creation of a child’s story book. With several of her ideas, she has taken the illustrative stories to colourful, printed mock ups; all she needs now is a publisher. She hands me one entitled dEUS, which takes place in the Noorderplansoen, and will include an informative treasure hunt through the park, when finally published. For this she has enlisted the help of a biologist to research her facts. 

The idea of layering within her work becomes apparent; she hopes to stimulate the viewer to discover the rest for themselves: “The less I show, the more there is for another to discover.” Playing with words and names, she wants to give children something to think about. Why should a book be obvious after only one reading? As a child grows mentally, why not offer them a book which grows with their fantasy and perception as well; a book can be an interesting re-read at a variety of ages?

In today’s highly competitive world, like many illustrators, Angélique is determined to publish her work. With several illustrative commissions in children’s books already to her name, and regular assignments for a local newspaper, her work is out there for all to see.

Should you want to know more about Angélique her website can be found here:

© Alison Day
First published in the 
Connections magazine #34 Winter 2012
Read & download issue here

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Spam-A- Lot

Whether you accept it, ignore it, or turn the other cheek, everyone at one time or other has been on the receiving end of Spam. 

It is with this in mind, that I wanted to share a rather original spam action. Outside the train station in Groningen, I came across, amongst the zillions of bicycles stalled in racks, a large proportion of them sporting a bright, red, plastic seat cover. On closer inspection, they turned out to be an advertisement for a sports school, with the aim of bringing in more clientele. A visually bright and slightly more original way of trying to interest a broad cross section of the city's inhabitants in becoming clientele. Also, unlike most spam, it is inoffensive, the seat covers are useful, and  free.

So, I vote this a great little idea , which not only enhances your business visibility, but also brightens up the greyness of concrete city life, in the bleak winter months. What do you think?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Hou je Thai

From the hustle and bustle of the Folkingestraat in Groningen, I turn into a narrow little alleyway, and the sounds magically melt away is if absorbed by the stone-sided buildings. Karen greets me, a big friendly smile on her face and a white china coffee cup, empty and dangling despondently from her hand. Before we go further, she tells me she’s in need of another cappuccino from café Pure. So, we retrace my steps into the noisy street again to return a few minutes later armed with a fresh, steaming cup of the beverage and we venture further into the alleyway, Karen enthusing and pointing out the hidden gardens along the way.

We reach her studio via an impressive marble staircase, with a smooth, varnished, wooden handrail that ascends with us. The room, high ceiling and white-walled exudes a comforting wave of warm incensed air and ushers me across its orangey-red floored interior to a large comfy chair. In place of coffee, Karen presents me with an infusion of Thai herbs, in a lidded china vessel and sits opposite perched on a fuchsia coloured covered stool.

To my question as to how she began with holistic medicine in the Eastern doctrine, namely Thai massage, she replies that with an Indonesian father and a Thai Aunt the knowledge was unavoidable: “It was already integrated in my life – I was it, because it was in my family and so it is already within you…”

“It’s an accident that I am this”, she says. In Eastern cultures overcrowding has meant that people are more used to physical contact; with touch you can feel how someone is, unlike the western world where people would rather sit as far away as possible from each other. Casually, she lays a hand on my shoulder and gasps at its tightness. To begin with, she says, she practiced not only just on family members, but also friends and guests, which led to more people coming to her. As she recalls, in those days it was always unpaid and often in dusty little corners, unlike now in her pristine studio.

With twenty years of experience, she says she has a combination of Western knowledge and Eastern intuition, including acquiring some all important diplomas, having studied under Maria Mercati, in CheltenhamEngland. A fruitful time, which not only broadened her knowledge, but taught her to understand the connection between sickness and the application of pressure, something she had always known and applied intuitively.

Once we had talked for a while Karen suggested I remove my boots and sit on the white cloth and cushioned area, for a short session of massage, the idea being to understand what it entailed: “We can talk all day about it, but it’s hard to describe unless you experience it first hand. You’re the words person, maybe you can.” No pressure there then eh, Karen (s’cuse the pun)?

To begin with she started with my shoulders, and using her weight and forearms, pressed downwards, followed by release. This increased with intensity with each repetition. At its most intense and, just as I thought I couldn't take it, she would release the pressure and my body felt as thought it was rising upwards; a pleasant and somewhat unusual feeling. When it came to arms and legs, type and duration of the pressure applied was dependant on how much the limb accepted or resisted her manipulation. Relaxation and trust are key in this, but after a while I found both body and mind relaxing into the experience. In a third of the length of a full session, not only had the tight feeling in my shoulders disappeared, but both my back and neck seemed elongated and my posture had improved - all this in just half an hour! Sitting cross-legged and trying to muster up the desire to get up, I chatted further with Karen about her vision of collaboration with the healthcare system.

She tells me that these days the cure to an illness cannot always be solved with a pill or a week sitting at home; sometimes the cause goes much deeper. Sickness can be a culmination of many things, not only from the present, but the past too, sometimes even as far back as your childhood. Also, it can be carried over from one generation to another if not dealt with

If we start teaching children at school level, to recognize their body’s physical needs, weaknesses, excesses, and to be consciously busy with health from the word go, this could lead to an all round healthier life for them.

In the future Karen would like to see collaboration between what is considered the ‘socially acceptable’ medicine and the centuries old natural medicine that she practices. In a world of increasing stress, with doctors who have little time and where patients are generally seen as numbers or percentages, this would certainly help to improve the system as a whole. She believes that she can be instrumental in preventative medicine and help people to recognize, and thereby become responsible for their own health again: “I am the instrument - you will feel what you need to do.” 

As a parting gift Karen very kindly gave me 3 samples of her specially blended teas plus a scent box containing one of her homemade oils:
Ya dom. And yes, I highly recommend that you treat yourself to one of Karen’s therapeutic massage sessions.

For a list of insurers who reimburse natural medicine by BATC therapists: here

For more information, take a look at Karen’s

First Published in the Connections magazine January 2012
© Alison Day Designs

Thursday, 5 January 2012


'A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, 
It sings because it has a song' - Lou Holtz

The new Connections magazine cover, Winter issue #34. Also, promo design for Vocalips whose up & coming concert you can see 21 Jan 2012, Plaza Danza, Groningen (NL). More Connections back issues: here

© Alison Day Designs

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Thousand Cups of Wine

'A thousand cups of wine do not suffice when true friends meet, but half a sentence is too much when there is no meeting of minds.' ~ Chinese Proverb

After a whopping 229,764 corks (that's a lot of wine!) and 27 days of hard work, artist Saimir Strati achieved his goal, in the Sheraton Tirana Hotel, Albania. This earnt him the record for the World's Largest Cork Mosaic.

Or, if you're not feeling so adventurous, you can always make a cork creation on a smaller scale.