Tune for a Monday Morning
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Sniffles, art, elephants...and a Monday Tune

Today's tune, recommended by my friend Helen Mason (a designer and ex-dancer in London) is "The Thought of You" by The Weepies(from California), with a beautiful and heart-breaking animation by graphic artist  Ryan Woodward. Go here if you'd like to learn a little more about how the video was made.

I'm back in the office, in a shaky and slow kind of way, and not yet entirely over the flu...but there's no sick pay for the self-employed so I'm back to work anyway (ah, the glamorous writing life) -- armed with tissues, ginger-and-lemon tea, paracetamal, and a trusty hot water bottle. Somehow in-between coughs and wheezes the mail will get answered and Work Will Get Done.

Didier Graffet

I have a few recommendations to pass on this morning:

Didier GraffetFirst, there's a fascinating interview with the French illustrator Didier Graffet over on Howard's John Barleycorn blog this week. It's part of the "Around the table with...." series of chats that Howard and his comics-partner, Rex, are running every third Friday. The table in question is our kitchen table...so as you read the interview, imagine the smells of woodsmoke, croissants, Devon blackberry jam, milky English tea and strong Italian coffee...with Tilly lying under the table looking up at Didier in adoration. (She definitely had a little canine crush.)

Didier is one of the most highly regarded book illustrators in France today; and a visit to his website will quickly show you why. He's perhaps best known for his Jules Verne art, which ranges from paintings and drawings to a model of The Nautilus (Captain Nemo's submarine), the plans for which are pictured below. Didier stayed with us in early December, braving the icy Dartmoor weather to attend the opening of the "Sir Lanval" exhibition, to which he'd contributed beautiful work. If you'd like to see more of Didier's art, it's been collected into a handsome volume titled Mondes et Voyages -- available here through Amazon France, and well worth tracking down.

Nautilus plan by Didier Graffet

Leaf ring by Miriam Boy Second, my good friend Miriam Boy, a jewellery designer here on Dartmoor,  has a lovely new website up which she's calling silverandmoor. You may remember the picture of Miriam's atmospheric workshop  from the "On Your Desk" photo series last month. Her jewellery is gorgeous, and she takes commissions, so please go over and have a look.

And here's one last recommendaton for you, tied in with the mention of Jules Verne above : "The Sultan's Elephant" (below), a little film I first learned about from my friend Danielle Barlow. Those of you who follow Danielle's rich treasury of a blog, Notes from the Rookery, will have seen this one already...but nevermind, it's an astonishing video and worth watching again.

Created by the Royal de Luxe street theatre company of France, "La visite du sultan des Indes sur son éléphant à voyager dans le temps" ("Visit From The Sultan Of The Indies On His Time-Travelling Elephant") was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of Jules Vernes' death. The elephant debuted in Nantes and Amiens in 2005, then traveled to various locations around the world. In the film below, the elephant and his companion take a stroll through London back in 2006. (How in the world did I miss it at the time?) Magical art like this fills the world with wonder, and just makes me glad to be alive.

You can find more pictures and more information on the Royal de Luxe website, and on the Sultan's Elephant in London website. Also check out the Machines of the Ilse of Nantes website for more cool stuff. They just do these things better in France.