If you were a child of the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, the illustrations of Mary Blair will be really familiar to you. She was responsible for the concept artwork on many Walt Disney films. Bambi? Cinderella? Alice in Wonderland? Peter Pan? That was her!
She designed a breathtaking, multi-storey mural inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort which opened in 1971 (see the top right image in our collage and the film of its making at the bottom of this post). It’s 90′ tall and consists of 18 thousand hand-painted tiles!
The styling and colouring of the original it’s a small world installation is also her work. It began life as part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair’s UNICEF pavilion thereafter moving to Florida’s Walt Disney World. It has since been followed by later versions in Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.
She was one of the main illustrators on the Little Golden Books series of children’s books (Another Disney project). Her output can be found in I Can Fly, Little Verses and Baby’s House.
Mary Blair also designed advertising and, on occasion, packaging for Meadow Gold milk, cheese and ice cream, Blue Bell children’s clothing, E-Z underwear, Hanes Underwear, Pall Mall cigarettes, Dutch Boy Paints and Baker’s instant chocolate flavor mix.
You can find numerous books illustrated by Blair, as well as books about her and her work on Amazon.
Check out some of our other past Designer Desire members here!
Flickr | Pinterest
Ceramic Mural from Animation Scoop on Vimeo.
Last week, we wrote about a vintage Bernard Rooke pottery floor lamp that we acquired recently. We also mentioned that he, at one time, shared a studio in Forest Hill and then Greenwich, London with fellow potter and Goldsmiths graduate, Alan Wallwork.
Wallwork (born 1931) is best known for his beautiful, often colourful, glazed tiles that adorn tabletops, cheeseboards, trivets etc. He also produces the most sensuous, sculptural studio pottery pieces. Often inspired by nature, these textural works resemble acorns, seed pods, eggs, slices of fruit, shells and fossils.
His art pottery pieces can often be found for sale at auction houses all around the country. The tiled items are very affordable and are always available on eBay and Etsy.
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1stDibs | Invaluable
I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.
Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.
He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.
A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.
Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:
A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.
Additional image credits:
1st Dibs | Artnet
Born in St Petersburg, Mari Simmulson (1911-2000) was an Estonian-Swedish ceramic designer. After art school in Tallinn and Munich, she first went to work for Arabia in Finland. From there, she emigrated to Sweden producing designs for Gustavsberg between 1945 & 49 before moving on to Upsala Ekeby until 1972.
She primarily produced plates, plaques, vases and small sculptures. Like Laila Zink, who we featured in this series a couple of weeks ago, a recurring motif in Simmulson’s work was beautiful, almond-eyed women and animals such as birds, cats and fish.
Her work is surprisingly affordable and is often available on Etsy and eBay.
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Alan Fletcher (1931-2006) was one of the true giants of 20th century graphic design. He is the legend that designed the logos of news agency, Reuters and the V&A museum.
He designed book & magazine covers and illustrations for publishers such as Penguin, Time, Life and Fortune. He designed advertising material for brands such as Pirelli, Olivetti and Cunard. He even designed the cover artwork for Pulp’s 2001 album, We Love Life.
Fletcher was one of the five original founders of Pentagram, today the world’s largest independent design consultancy. He was an art college contemporary of, amongst others, David Gentleman, Terence Conran, Peter Blake and Peter Firmin.
There are examples of his Mebel clam ashtrays, books, postcards and limited-edition prints available on eBay and Etsy.
A couple of weeks ago a fellow vintage dealer posted a photo on Instagram of an artwork they owned. Straight away I recognised the artist’s work – we also own one of her paintings. Her name is Rosslyn Ruiz… and it was the first time we learned of her full name.
Ruiz tended to sign her work merely ‘Rosslyn’ hence the reason we couldn’t find out anything about her before that fateful day. Ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to find out more about her and other examples of her work.
After quite a few Google searches, I stumbled upon a photo taken of the back of one of her paintings on which a label was stuck with the following inscription:
Rosslyn Ruiz was born in London in 1935. She is completely self-taught and began painting professionally in 1960 working with most recognised mediums and unconventional ones as well.
Her need to ‘create without rules’ has enabled her to explored and expand her techniques in texture and form. By combining holograms and collage with more traditional materials she creates contemporary paintings and has developed a unique style that demonstrates excitement and free spirit.
Rosslyn has had many successful exhibitions in Europe, America and Spain. She became well recognised in the 60s after her work was purchased by celebrities such as John Lennon, Jaqui Dupre, Thora Hird, Haley Mills, Jack Palance and Charles Bronson.
She appears to be still practising and is currently a member of Ely Art Society.
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