Spring has finely arrived and so I went to see Pemberley Pond
The rain pours down outside. Hitting the roof top and pavements stones outside with a strange musical melody. Drops run down the windows. Wind wips the rain across the street, like a ever spreading curtain. Inside the room is warm. A log fire burns cheerfully on the hearth. A large pot of tea stands brewing on the table. The fresh cakes are waiting. Their tops are thickly coated. The icing slipping down the barely cool cakes like melting snow in the spring. Th sofa is cosy. Hidden in the cushions. She is sitting curled up with a book. She may be there on that sofa but her mind is far away. Where is she? Who is she with? Is she lost? Lost in another time, another place, another world. Oh yes, simply lost within a book.
I have always seen reading and books as a bit of magic. Their ability to carry you away to another time and place is hard to find anyway else. They have a way of absorbing you completely, drawing you into their pages and not letting you go until you reach the last page. I think I should start this article by confessing. I won’t beat around the bush about it. Okay here goes. . . I love books. No, that’s a huge under statement. I really, really, really love books. When I was little I never bought clothes or shoes or make-up or anything like that. All I did was buy and devour books. I read at night, under my blankets with a touch, outside in the summer sitting in a hammock, in the winter in front of a fire. Hang on, this sounds like a musical number . . . anyway, as a result I have over 300 books. I don’t read too much any more but I still love my collection and my favourite books still to read are classics. Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Fitzgerald, Gaskell, Elliot, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Verne and so on . . . They all have a special type of magic hidden within their pages. You just have to listen to the whispering words and let them carry you away. The above image shows some of my favourite products from this week’s shop and sums up everything I love about it. The cards are useful, the colours are matched and well balanced and they are illustrated with detailed and flowing hand-calligraphy, sweet little illustrations and most of all, these cards are a celebration of three of my favourite books.
Now that you all know about my obsessive book loving/book buying behaviour, you will all be able to see clearly why I love this week shop so much. It’s a book lovers paradise. For shop number four I’d like to introduce you all to Pemberley Pond. Oh if any of you don’t recognise the name Pemberley, I am afraid you seriously need professional Austen help:). Pemberley Pond opened in early 2012 and is based in Italy. The shop is run by two sisters: Lalla and Luisa. Working together they mix their considerable talents and love of literature to create a wonderful variety of products including cards, posters, posters, pins, notebooks, book marks and even wrapping paper. Lusia is the writer and hand calligrapher. Her style is smooth, feminine and detailed. Every letter is perfectly placed and the words of the calligraphy posters fit and merge together to create a wonderful work of art. I have always admired calligraphy and I love the fact that the posters from Pemberley Pond show you what you can do just with words alone. Lalla is the illustrator of the pair and her whimsical illustrations perfectly compliment her sisters calligraphy, adding beautiful details to their combined works of art. Lalla illustration style is bold and colourful, yet it never loses it’s imaginative and humorous side. In her Pride and Prejudice illustrations, I love Mr Darcy’s expression as he is rising from the pond and the price tags over Mr Darcy’s and Mr Bingley’s heads as they enter the ball. The shop has work inspired by many well loved classics, the calligraphy posters and illustrated postcards for example show the wide variety from Jane Austen to Jules Verne. Personally, I am tempted by everything. If by chance your favourite book it not listed, Pemberley Pond offers several custom orders, including having your favourite quote hand written onto a book mark. I think in the end what I am trying to say is that as a literature lover, this shop is for me. It’s a celebration of the magic of literature and of it’s timeless appeal. Just to think that books can still inspire artists and creative people like Lalla and Luisa, hundreds of years after the words were written down.
In Spain we don’t really have the four normal seasons. Just a long dry summer and a wet (and slightly colder) period. Most of the trees are evergreens and the ones that do lose their leaves, do so in the summer when they are shrivelled into dust by the sun. Spring lasts about a month, just after the rain and before the hot sun. It’s beautiful. Hillsides covered in wild flowers, sunny barmy picnic weather, bees, sweet fragrance. As the wild flowers are beginning to appear, I decided to celebrate my favourite time and do another round of handmade shops. Everyone has their own way of viewing their art, colours and feelings on Spring, so I look forward to all the different answers. Lets see what Lalla and Luisa say!
Interview with Lalla and Luisa,
What led you to calligraphy, drawing and Jane Austen?
When we were kids our father used to draw flowers for us to color. I won’t lie telling that we spent most of our childhood with pencils and colors because it’s not true. But drawing it’s something we have always liked. During high-school we both managed to choose the wrong school and we got so frustrated that we decided to change our paths completely and go back to something that had always given us joy. I, Lalla, studied comics and Luisa illustration. Since we are close in age and disposition we ended up working together and we specialized in school text books which are great but after a while not very creative. Only a few years later we decided we wanted to have control on our work and work on something we felt very close to our heart: at the time it was Jane Austen.
We love books, we love a good story and believe in the power of words and imagination. Calligraphy and handlettering are Luisa’s thing, something she has learned all by herself in the past few years with the help of good books and a lot of practice. I always marvel at how good she has become in such a short time!
What’s your favourite or most rewarding part of your process?
I particularly love working together with Luisa on a piece. We put together our efforts and our abilities to create something we wouldn’t be able to make all by ourselves. Sometimes I ruin her work, sometimes she ruins mine but most of the times her work complements mine and vice versa. And it always helps to have someone able give you a sincere opinion or present different ideas or points of view. We are very lucky to be able to work together.
Everything inspires us. We love buying books and we have quite a lot of them. You know, it’s easier to justify the purchase of a new book rather than a pair of new shoes. I have this William Morris book that I look at every time I’m going to draw a flowery decoration. Such intricate designs and so elegant! And we love vintage illustraions and vintage hand type.
Every time I see a design or a decor that I like I try to absorb it and take it with me. And obviously pinterest is our best friend!
Another source of wonderful inspiration is the Uppercase magazine. If you are an artist interested in all creative things this is the magazine for you. Every single page is a rainbow of colors and inspiration.
And obviously nature, with all its wonderful details and imperfect perfection.
Are colours important to your work? If so which are the ones you use most and why?
We adore colors! We are like kids! I always have to restrain myself when I’m buying paper for our cards or beads for our bookmarks because I just want all the colors. In turth I’m more for sublte colors and Luisa is more for strong colors. I guess, like in most things, we balance eachothers.
When we are considering color palettes for our posters Design Seeds (design-seeds.com/) is the place we visit.
Do you have a favourite product in your shop?
Luisa’s favourite product is the Anne of green gables poster.
Mine is probably the tea etiquette poster since we had so much fun designing it!
What do you like best about Spring?
Spring is absolutely our fave season. We are looking forward to start working again in our vegetable garden. There is true joy in growing your own food and such gratitude in eating it.
Check back next Saturday for the next shop in this series. Just two more left to go! I love this time of year and I look forward to sharing the rest of the shops with you all.
Have a creative day!