Tag Archives: illustration

Wabi Sabi Revisited

Wabi Sabi by Mark ReibsteinOut and about this weekend, I came upon the most charming children’s book, Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, with stunning art by Ed Young.

Here comes a book that describes wabi sabi, a complex Japanese concept — and the focus of The Design Tree’s inaugural series – to children!

The story about a cat named Wabi Sabi who goes on a quest to understand the meaning of her name.  Her adventure is one of self-discovery:  she is introduced to a host of characters, who each lead her to a little revelation, the sum of which become Wabi Sabi’s understanding of the namesake she embodies.

The book is written with lovely clear prose, but it’s the haiku on each page that moves the story along, revealing a little more of the elusive definition.

The artist, Ed Young, a Caldecott medalist (for “Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China”), marries the prose and poetry with beautiful collages made up of natural elements as well found objects. This art is a metaphor for wabi sabi itself: capturing a moment of transcendent beauty in ordinariness, while the medium embodies the aesthetic spirit.

A beautifully illustrated page from the book

A cat named Wabi Sabi

The tone of the book is beautiful, serene, and a little bit mysterious.  What a gift for the artists, poets, design-savvy and, yes, kids on your list this year (the publisher suggests that this book is suitable for the philosophical 3-6 year olds in your life).

If your interest is piqued, here’s an interview with the author and artist. Creating the art in particular is a very special story.


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12 Artist Designed Calendars

Best Year Ever- Spread the Love

With only a few weeks to go until 2011, I thought I would put together a collection of artist designed calendars that will be sure to keep you inspired the whole year through. In addition to being practical, these calendars are also an inexpensive way to add some art to your walls while celebrating those fleeting days, weeks and months. It turns out there are hundreds of gorgeous calendars to be found on the web and it was hard to pick just twelve. Letterpress, screen-printing, painting, photography, papercuts; these artists have used a wide range of mediums to create their unique and lovely calenders. Pour the bubbly and cue “Auld Lang Syne” let’s ring in the New Year in style!

Typography Calendar- Heather Lins Home

Chairs and Caravans- Leah Giberson

Hooray Hands Curious Doodles

Hot Air Balloon Fabric Calendar- Lisa Rupp

Polaroid Calendar- XO AZUREE

Endeavor 2011 Wall Calendar- Nikki McClure

Cub Desk Calendar- Cabin

Buy Local- Caludia G. Pearson

Cabin and 2011

2011 Calendar- Caitlin Keegan

Kid Icarus Limited Edition 2011 Calendar

For my twelfth pick I chose a calendar for your computer screen, because your digital world should be aesthetically pleasing too. Here is a free download from illustrator and artist Christiane Engel. She releases a new design every month and her beautifully illustrated designs are whimsical with just the right amount of moodiness. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with in January.

Well that’s it for my calendar roundup. I hope you enjoyed my selections. Whether you make it a habit of hanging a new calendar every year or are looking to start a new tradition you can see there is no shortage of amazing options out there.

Wishing you all a joyous and magical New Year and here’s to hoping 2011 is, in fact, the best year ever.


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