I almost forgot to show my new big sleepy bear posters here...
Both sleepy bears can now be found in my shop!
Maybe you can also find my stuff in your neighbourhood! Click here to see an up-to-date list of where you can buy my products.
Interested in selling Ninainvorm postcards, posters, art prints or ceramics in your own shop? You can send me an email at email@example.com to hear about the possibilities!
I almost forgot to show my new big sleepy bear posters here...
Both sleepy bears can now be found in my shop!
No matter how much I'd like to pretend that we're really the hiking, nature-exploring, through rain and wind kind of people, truth is that usually we're lazy city dwellers who hardly ever put on our rubber boots to walk in the mud. Which is of course something we pass on to our kids: Rosa already starts to scream and comes running inside the house as if she's being chased by a madman as soon as the first drops of rain start falling. And Julie is, well... I can't really say that she's afraid of the spiders and their webs in our garden, it's more that she sort of gets angry at them: 'Spider, go away!', is what we hear her shout with a rather strict voice pretty often.
So when our friends asked us to accompany them on a walk through a little forest at only a fifteen-minute bike-ride from our home (a place where we'd never been before, even though we've been living so close for almost ten years...;-)) we thought this was our chance to become real good nature-loving parents. Especially now that Rosa is starting on a Waldorf school real soon, you know with all the love for nature and the changing of the seasons and such, we thought it was time for her to get to know about the beauty and the mighty powers of nature a bit more.
Well, let's say that at first she wasn't too pleased...
'You said we were going to do something nice, but I can't see any playground here!', was her rather indignant conclusion.
Meanwhile we were carrying around her little sister, who fell fast asleep during the bike ride. Of course we hadn't thought about bringing the carrier...
...which by the way did offer the opportunity to take some sweet sleepy photos that you don't get around to take that often anymore with en energetic toddler!
But after a bit of napping the fun began...
Rosa quickly realized that there was so much to explore in the forest, like mushrooms...
...frogs (or is this what you should call a toad?)...
...and exciting shacks fully made of branches!
So I think we did fairly well bringing them a bit closer to nature. Well, at least a little... ;-)
So blog readers, of course this instagram offer is for you as well!
Here's how it works:
If you place an order of €50 in my shop you'll get a 12-postcard-set or any a3 size poster you like for free. Just leave me a message saying which postcard set (there are two different ones available, see details in my shop) or poster you'd like.
This offer is valid till Monday night (but I'm not too strict when it comes to time zones and such, so whenever it's Monday night where you live it's fine with me! ;-)) on all purchases from my etsy shop.
And so I finally joined instagram... As always I have a lot of thoughts, ideas, enthusiasm, objections and questions about it, but I'm still trying to figure them all out and will then post some more about it soon!
For now it seems the perfect medium for the many work, family and everyday life pictures that I take all day, all those small moments, snapshots and images of little corners that don't necessarily fit into a story or a chain of thoughts. It's easy in a good way, and maybe also in a not-so-good way, but I still have to make my mind up about that a bit.
So chances are that I'll be posting less on this blog and more on instagram (you can follow me here if you like, my username is ninainvorm). Truth is that I have no idea if anyone is still reading here at all, or more than just a few people. When I lost my old blog design and tools about two years ago, I also lost my stat counter and never had anything new installed, so I really have no idea. It has definitely become a bit more quiet lately, so maybe by now it's just me and my mom and dad here ;-) (mom, dad, are you still there?).
So if you're interested in seeing some glimpses of our daily life, bits of work in progress and of course some home/interior stuff, there's probably much more action going on on my instagram account right now. On the other hand I think I still like to have this blog as an outlet for some more elaborate posts about basically anything.
Anyway, so this is not a goodbye or anything, just a little notification of where you can find me more often than here right now!
A little while ago I was at my sister Olga's perfectly tidy and carefully decorated home. Oh, the joys of not having kids (yet)... Well no, of course I could only wish that all the mess at our place could be blamed on those poor girls ;-).
Anyway, it was time to take some pictures of my new Night swans posters, and all of a sudden I thought: I could spend hours tidying up my own living room so that I can show you the poster on my by now slightly too familiar little library cupboard once again, or I could profit a bit from having a tidy younger sister who recently moved into her first apartment (and who enthusiastically spends her income at Ferm living and Hay each month ;-)).
I brought my sweet assistant...
... and then we took lots of photos!
The night swans poster is a pretty large poster (50 x 70 cm or 20" by 28"), that's available for purchase here.
Meanwhile I hope you've also enjoyed this little peek into my sister's apartment!
Last week we took the girls to the famous dutch amusement/fairytale park the Efteling for the first time. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day, and besides the fact that Rosa was terrified of the big dragon (her dad was smart enough to show her a little movie featuring the famous fire breathing dragon a few days before we'd go) everything went quite smooth. (Oh, and besides the fact that both girls threw up in the car on our way there... But further, really, it all went quite okay ;))
Almost a year ago, after our moving house adventure had slowed down a little, all of a sudden I found myself working on posters instead of (mainly) ceramics... From one came the other, and posters also became postcards.
Right now I love working on paper designs, there's something kind of attractive about doing some (okay: usually a lot of) work on a few sheets of paper and on your computer and then receiving large boxes of your 'finished product'. It's so different from ceramics, where you put quite some time into just one piece without even being sure if it survives the firing in the kiln properly.
But in a way what attracts me sometimes also feels like the downside of it. To produce or to make?
It's hard to describe and it might sound a bit whiny, but for a while I've been feeling that the art/craft community that I've felt part of for such a long time has started to change, or maybe it has already been changing for a long time. It's kind of difficult to put this into words because in a way it's just a vague feeling, and maybe it's just a natural evolution or the coming of age of a movement. But when I look at places like etsy, but also at blogs and other media and art/craft shops, it seems like the focus is changing from original, handmade and one of a kind pieces towards 'production' and making more of the same. Also I often feel that the independent art/craft movement and the big brands/shops are growing closer towards each other, which I think is a mix of mutual inspiration on the one hand but sometimes also blatant copying on the other hand.
I guess the independent art/craft/design movement grew big and popular because there was a real demand for new original, creative and handmade items, that weren't mainstream and easy to find for a long time. Then a whole subculture with blogs, shops, magazines and books grew around it. Artists and bloggers started to collaborate with big media, big shops and big brands, and some of the artists and indie designers also became real brands themselves. Handmade became quite a hype, the supply of 'unique, original handmade items' became larger (including the DIY copying) and maybe that hype has just more or less reached it's end, like all hypes sooner or later do. I think this interesting article by Design Sponge's Grace Bonney describes some of these developments very accurately, but then more focused on the specific (but related) world of the (interior) design blogs.
When I look back at all these years of online art/craft/design, I think for a large part it has sort of 'grown up'. Almost everyone seems to be able to take the most beautiful pictures these days, the styling of pictures has become much more important and probably the items people make have also improved and become more professional. Maybe in a way the artists and crafters have become a bit more mainstream and less 'cutesy-crafty', while the big brands and shops have become a bit more inspired to try new things that are a bit more daring and artistic.
So is it a win-win situation? Sometimes I think yes, when I'm able to buy some really nice, well-designed stuff for little money at the department stores that used to sell only boring, basic stuff a few years ago. Sometimes I think no, when I see that those department stores are simply copying beautiful designs by small/independent designers and selling them for much less money.
For myself, I really want to keep finding the balance between enjoying a bit of production and enjoying the experiment and inspiration of one of a kind, handmade pieces. Though of course I sometimes also have ambitions to take certain things to a higer (efficiency/productivity/sales) level, somehow I still feel very comfortable just making small amounts of things with my own hands.
I've been working on a seriously big version of my bear asleep print. It may not be visible on these images, but the result is going to be big. The bears are on their way to the printing office now, and I'm pretty curious to see what they'll look like at size 50 x 70 cm...
It's probably the corner you've seen most often on this blog, because I've used it for photos of my posters quite often and well, also because I have kind of a soft spot for my vintage school cupboard (aka the little library, or at least the dream of it).
So throughout time this little corner of our living room has already gone through quite a few incarnations...
But as you can imagine an open cupboard like this (that's also home to some toys, children's clothes and books) can quickly turn from the cutest part of the room to the messiest part of the room. And after I wrote this I realized that I indeed really like that you can see that kids live here, but that on the other hand not every corner of our living room should have to be occupied by toys and children's stuff.
So I decided to try and reclaim this one little corner...
Which of course wasn't all that easy: after I'd taken some stuff off the shelves to declutter them a bit, Julie immediately took her chance and thought that the now empty shelf was the perfect place where she could put her dolls to bed... So quickly I had to reclaim my little corner not just from the toys, but from a whole doll's entourage... Now try that if you have a heart! ;)
Of course not all the childish stuff had to go: I happen to be sort of a big child myself, who can really like things that are officially designed for children. So it's a bit of a balancing act not to let the toys take over from the grown-up stuff anyway ;).
They've been some very good days, these last few. Quite busy, but very manageable, which is always a good thing (and not always the case ;)). We seem to be somewhere inbetween summer and fall. I brought home some fall flowers from the market, but when I arrived home it felt like summer again in our garden. So good to soak up these last bits of summer sun!
Often I feel there's so much to do, so much to make and create, so much inspiration to be found. Do you know this feeling of your head exploding, but in a good way? It's definitely much better than to have your head exploding in a bad way, but it's still a lot of explosion. Can't say I don't like it though ;).
Sometimes I get the feeling that the play area of our living room is some sort of living creature, that is slowly but surely taking over the living room. Each morning when we wake up, that nasty animal has occupied some more space, and in fact I'm fairly certain that one day it'll eat us all alive.
Oh, I know I've probably also been one of those people who, in some harsh kind of pre-kids-era, has bravely said things like 'I'm never ever going to live in a kindergarten' or 'Those kids just have to learn to value a grown-up design interior from an early age'. Well, guess what? They don't ;).
Sometimes it really drives me crazy, all those toys and all the playing everywhere. Tidying up the same silly stuff six times a day. At a certain point Helmut and I found ourselves solving those same enormous wooden puzzles every night, not because the girls loved making puzzles so much, but because they just liked to casually turn them upside down once a day. So the puzzles went up to the attic and no one has ever asked for them again ;).
Oh and then of course we still have this...
But truth is that besides the annoyance that those toys and the all-over-play sometimes bring, I actually love this play area a lot. It's so good to see how the girls really have room to play, how they come up with the funniest games, how they interact and connect with each other more and more. I love to see how they really have their own little world here.
And of course I must admit that I'm the main person who keeps adding new things, like the little school table and chairs recently. However I must say I wasn't the one who secretly brought in a whole bucket of acorns and wettish autumn leaves the other day... (I did have to pick them up from all over the room though ;))
I never really missed a garden when we didn't have one, though at the end of our apartment-period I sometimes envisioned how awesome it would be when you'd just have to open your kitchen door to be outside. Now I actually enjoy having a garden even more than I could have imagined. Even though it is just a small garden, there's such a sense of freedom in being able to step outside every once in a while (especially when there's a lot of noise and yelling inside ;)).
Recently we finally hung the vintage camper birdhouse that I bought on etsy a little while ago. Rosa, who has been obsessed with caravans since we slept in one on last year's holiday, just couldn't imagine why the birdhouse was still vacant the next morning: how was it possible that those stupid birds hadn't moved in straight away? Ah well, their loss ;).
Oh A4, I must admit it: my love for your bigger, more impressive brother A3 took over a bit lately... But when I discovered the option to have A4-sized prints printed on the same beautiful heavy recycled paper that my postcards are made of, I didn't hesitate to give it a try. You can find the Bear asleep print here, and the Patches #1 print here.
In general I tend to avoid showing my crappy phone pictures here (there's a good reason why I'm not on Instagram, besides the fact that I have an internet-free phone ;)), but in this case I had to abandon that rule because I just had to show you a glimpse of how amazing the Fiep Westendorp exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum in Helmond is.
Months ago I read about the exhibition on Octavie's blog, and though we made plans to go visit straight away, in the end it took us a few more months before we finally paid the museum a visit. And so glad we did! First of all because this is an absolutely amazing exhibition for young kids, something you don't see very often. There was so much room for fantasy, play and discovery that our girls got slightly manic (though in a good way) the first few minutes they saw everything. Then they just started to play and enjoyed everything they saw around them. So many of Fiep Westendorp's famous illustrations really came to life in larger than life decors, and everywhere there were little corners where kids could join their favorite book scenes and play along.
I was also quite impressed myself. Here in the Netherlands we are so very used to seeing Fiep Westendorp's illustrations everywhere (not in the least on so many shelves filled with HEMA Jip & Janneke merchandise) and her style has become so familiar that we hardly notice the beauty, art and craftmanship of her work anymore. It was mainly the art aspect that struck me when I saw so many of Fiep Westendorp's original drawings. When you looked close, almost every piece was a masterpiece, and so much more than 'just a children's book illustration'.
So if you're anywhere near Helmond in the next two weeks (yes, unfortunately there are only two more weeks to go) you should definitely allow yourself and your kids the joy and inspiration to spend a few hours in Fiep Westendorp's illustrative world. I promise you won't be disappointed! (And probably you'll end up taking millions of crappy phone pictures just like me, so if you want to avoid that, do bring a proper camera! ;))
You may have noticed that my postcard and poster collection keeps growing and growing. In fact having postcards and posters printed seems to have turned into some kind of addiction lately, along with another one: baking healthy cookies and cakes almost daily (but more about that later). However the good news is that I'm sort of rid of my sugar addiction ;).
More good news is that all those boxes with postcards and posters aren't just piling up in my studio, but that they're actually being sold in more and more nice shops, both brick and mortar shops and online ones. I thought I'd let you know where you can find them!
Brick and mortar shops
All the luck in the world, Amsterdam
Bos & Heij, Arnhem
Huiszwaluw, Ghent (Belgium)
Woonwinkel Nova, Breda
Of course all the postcards will also be available in my etsy shop.
Do you have a shop and are you interested in wholesale of my postcards, posters, prints or ceramics? You can always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to hear about the possibilities!
I once wrote here about how the artificial, overly styled images of perfect homes in magazines or on blogs can sometimes make you start considering your imperfect daily home as some kind of anomaly. I loved seeing how Anke and Kim styled the pictures during this photo shoot (which they of course did) without overdoing it and without losing the spirit of the house that we actually live in. In fact I think the nicest photos turned out to be the ones where Julie grabbed the grapes that were part of the styling of a picture and started eating them...
If you're curious you can find some more pictures of the shoot here.
My name is Nina, I'm a ceramics and paperwares designer and mom of Rosa and Julie. This blog is about making, living, liking, loving and so much more!
Want to get in touch? You can always send me an email through email@example.com.