Designer Desire: Mary Blair

Mosaic of Mary Blair artworks | H is for Home

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!

Mary Blair and Walt Disney

Image credits:

Flickr | Pinterest

Ceramic Mural from Animation Scoop on Vimeo.

Etsy List: I’m Shattered!

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'I'm Shattered!' Etsy List curated by H is for HomeI’m Shattered!
Curated by H is for Home

Mosaic is one craft that I’ve always wanted to try out but never got around to doing. It’s fairly easy to do – or so it seems to me – and the financial outlay on materials isn’t huge. Mosaic can be made using pieces of wood, plastic, glass, stone or the usual ceramic. It’s been around for thousands of years BC.

Remember I said that I thought it was easy to do? Well, I scoured Etsy for homewares featuring mosaic and there was a lot of it available. But so much of it wasn’t terribly good! It looks like it’s not that easy to master after all! Here are some of the items whose quality of craftsmanship I aspire to be able to produce one day!

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Mosaic tiled wall in Huddersfield town centre | H is for Home

We were out & about in Huddersfield the other day and took some photos of these amazing tiled mosaics.

Mosaic tiled wall in Huddersfield town centre | H is for Home

They’re situated in a 1960s-built precinct development in the town centre – they really capture the era.

vintage Platt tile depicting a prince on horseback with falcon on his arm | H is for Home

On the subject of tiles, we recently put this image on Flickr. It’s a 1960s tile by Platt depicting a prince on horseback with a hunting falcon – we absolutely love it! We’re planning on having it framed.

Vintage 1960s/70s raised relief tile depicting a bird on a branch | H is for Home

We got this vintage bird tile ready-framed which is very effective. We think it was made by Maw & Co. It reminds us of Lisa Larson in style. We bought it from Wowie Zowie in Chorlton. This shop is well worth a visit if you’re in Manchester – they have some lovely stuff, imaginatively displayed.

vintage 1960s/70s tile by Lisa Larson depicting Vikings in a ship | H is for Home

This large tile/plaque is indeed by Lisa Larson – she’s a real favourite of ours! It was designed for Gustavsberg of Sweden in the 1960s.

vintage Lisa Larson tile on our sitting room shelf | H is for Home

Here it is in its usual home on a shelf in our lounge.

vintage Italian tile on our bathroom shelf | H is for Home

Here’s another one of our vintage tiles in situ – this one’s Italian – it sits happily on our bathroom shelf. Here it is in close up.

vintage Italian ceramic tile depicting whitewashed buildings | H is for Home

The most recent addition to our little collection was picked up yesterday. It’s quite different to the others in the fact that it represents a real place – it depicts the Euromast in Rotterdam designed in the 1950s – we really like the modernist feel to it.

vintage 1950s ceramic tile of the Euromast in Rotterdam | H is for Home

The final item in our burgeoning tile collection is by Kenneth Townsend. We featured it before in our Z is for… Zoo blog post.

vintage lion ceramic tile by Kenneth Townsend from his Menagerie collection | H is for Home

The lion is an early piece from his Menagerie range. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find some of his other animals to fill our shelves!

Y is for… Yellow

Yellow – like orange – is another one of our favourite accent colours…

…a more gentle effect than the high impact of fiery orange, but perfect in some situations.

It has connotations of sunshine, freshness and spring. It was much used in 1950s design as countries emerged from the austere war years.

The mosaic at the top is made up of objects available from the H is for Home website.

Here’s a lovely little poem we came across recently… very fitting for today’s blog!

An omnibus across the bridge
Crawls like a yellow butterfly
And, here and there, a passer-by
Shows like a little restless midge.

Big barges full of yellow hay
Are moored against the shadowy wharf,
And, like a yellow silken scarf,
The thick fog hangs along the quay.

The yellow leaves begin to fade
And flutter from the Temple elms,

And at my feet the pale green Thames
Lies like a rod of rippled jade.

Symphony In Yellow, Oscar Wilde