One of the most exciting parts of my job is when Laura and her traveling buddies come back from an inspiration trip. She brings us all kinds of goodies to enjoy – photographs, books, fabrics, toys. It’s so inspiring getting our first glimpse of a new culture and imagining what designs we’ll create after seeing them.
After Laura’s inspiration trip for “Old World Hungary” I was admiring these stuffed, applique and embroidered ornaments. I shared my excitement with the design team by saying, “These are so cute! I really love that awesome horse head one.”
Instead of the shared enthusiasm I would have expected from my teammates, I got blank stares. When I went over and picked up the ‘horse head’ ornament to show it to them, they broke out in laughter, and explained that my ‘horse head’ was actually a rooster and that I was holding it upside down.
To prove to the rest of my team that I wasn’t a complete fool, I designed this adorable “Paisley Pony” graphic inspired by… a rooster.
Here’s a detail shot. You can see it, right?
click to enlarge
This was a Turul -“a falcon-type bird from Hungarian mythology.” Thanks to Zsuzsa for answering or debate about weather it was a eagle or a dragon. Turns out it was neither!
Owl was my first word. Or at least that’s what my parents tell me. I am sure I was just making ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ noises and someone thought it sounded like ‘owl’. Either way, I’ve received many owl presents throughout the years. So it was very exciting when owls started showing up in the fashion, home and craft scenes a few years back. I thought it was a trend that would die out, but instead it seems to be stronger than ever. An Etsy search for owl gives you over 30,000 results. There is even an entire blog – a pretty amazing blog, actually – dedicated to owl design and art: My Owl Barn.
I was little worried about creating a owl graphic for Old World Hungary. It seemed relevant because it showed up in the craft of all three countries we visited, it was even on the Romanian postage stamp. But how would I compete with all the amazing owl designs that were already out there? Many other clothing lines already had owl graphic tees. How could I make one that was more special?
top row: Marc by Marc, Misha Lulu, POL Clothing
2nd row: , Kate Garey, Alice Melvin, Soft Gallery
3rd row: Delias, Lucky Wang, Babylon Baby
After our inspiration trip to the library, I had a photocopy of this one embroidery that I loved. Every which way I looked at it I kept seeing an owl in it. Not a entire owl, just an owl wing or eye, and all I could think was what a cute owl graphic it would make. Since it came to me instead of me creating it – I figured it was a sign that I had to go ahead and make the owl graphic. I hope you like it!
For the final graphic I put him in a little tree that was inspired by traditional wood carving of the region.
Transylvania is a region in central Romania, nestled next the the Carpathian mountain range to the East and South. Dating back to the Roman empire, Transylvania has a rich history of battles, monarchies, and occupations. Despite its colorful past, in the USA Transylvania is known best for the myths of vampires, werewolves, and spirits that supposedly reside there.
In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote a book he called Dracula. While stories of vampires had existed before the release of Dracula, the popularity of the novel pushed them into the mainstream through books, theater, and movies. But how based in fact are these stories of the world’s most famous vampire?
The name “Dracula” is rumored to have originated from Vlad the Impaler’s full name – Vlad III Dracula. Vlad III is heralded by Romanians as a hero for fighting off the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 13th century, but unfortunately killed thousands of civilians in the process. Bram Stoker came across stories of Vlad when researching Romania for his novel, and borrowed the name Dracula for his main character.
What about Dracula’s castle? Transylvania has many old castles, and there are three in debate as to which is “Dracula’s” castle – Poenari Castle, Hunyad Castle, and Bran Castle. Bran Castle is marketed as the most credible, partly due to the fact that Vlad the Impaler (Dracula’s namesake) used to use the castle as a base during battles. Wanting to experience some of the legend, many tourists visit Bran Castle in search of the story of Dracula.
I always find it interesting to find out there is a little bit of truth, however tangential, in famous legends, particularly those of the spooky variety. Have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween!
In the spirit of celebrating Etsy artists from the region of Old World Hungary, here is another new favorite. Eszter Schall is a Hungarian painter, graphic designer, and illustrator. I love her bold use of colors and her use of squares.
Feeling lucky? The blog Pika Land is doing a giveaway of one of Schalle’s pieces on their site here.
Everyone loves Matisse.
Matisse loved Romanian Blouses.
So by transitive property…
Everyone love Romanian Blouses! Yay!
I am such a math wiz.
Check out our fun shirts inspired by traditional Romanian Blouses.
from left to right: Eastern Elegance Top, Long Sleeve Blousson Top, Romanian Floral Top
Here’s this week’s coloring book page!