Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It's spring time here at Little Branch, so we are having a giveaway!

We want to get as many of you and your friends to add Little Branch to your favourites. So for every person who follows Little Branch we will put your name in a hat, if you make a comment below this post you will also get an extra vote!

The person whose name is drawn on the 30th September 2010 will receive a boxy beribboned set of Little Branch gift cards.

If we get 100 followers then we will add an unframed yet luscious Little Branch 30x40 print to the prize!

Those of you already following us go automatically in the hat, your name that is!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Possibly the most inspiring and generous gesture an artist can make is to open up the pages of her diary (http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Frida-Kahlo-Abradale-Books). Frida Kahlo's pages looked gauged, as if she was literally carving her vision into the page. her expressive passion looked a good half century ahead of its' time.

On Beci Orpin's beautifully sensitive blog (www.beciorpin.com/blog) she shares pages from her travel journals. A tender mix of packaging, bus tickets, clothing labels and drawn things, we feel like we are inside the suitcase, nosing around the cool places with the eyes of a curious child. The third artist we feature (and asmire0 here is a designer and illustrator from Denmark who made a solid artbook where every page was a little masterpiece.

Christine Clemenson's DEAR DIARY project (www.christineclemmensen.blogspot.com) made me want to paint all over my more boring books and start journaling like a fiend. Little Branch are keeping a diary. it is seasonal, private and a bit fractured. Happy to share when more pages and more experiences have gone down. Now come on, what is stopping you starting a really lush little diary today? The one thing you can never regain is the day you just spent. Seize it! Paint it! Love it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


image via: http://decidedlydolly.worldcollectorsnet.com/2007/10/decidely-dolly.html with little branch wrapping design in background

When I was in Los Angeles a while ago I ran into a shop that sold mainly Blythe dolls. The store was called Valley of the Dolls and sadly they just closed their doors on August 10th. The recession is such a pleasure crusher! Anyway...Blythe.... I have a guilty pleasure thing about them. They have such strangely beautiful hair, sulky eyes and succinct fashion sense. If we hire/beckon an assistant to stuff envelopes in our garage we want her to look JUST like this and trill away in a half whisper like Joni Mitchell and arrive for work on the back of a motorcycle with a banjo strapped across her crochet clad shoulders. Later on we will seriously accept interns but we want them fairly emo and possibly disillusioned and still in high school. We will provide the chocolate and the vital river of hot black tea.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Image: www.malinkadress.com

Maree and I don't watch TV. We don't even watch many movies on DVD. Instead we blog hunt by night and cram each other's inboxes with extraordinary art, craft, contemporary art, weird poems, eco-activism, recipes, interiors and, yes, clothes we can't afford (yet). I used to be a bit cynical about craft and good taste blogs. I thought they were a symptom of some sort perverted lifestyle saturated neo-Victorian needlework neurosis. Yet my seduction was swift. In a single sweep, tea in hand, I might find a Swedish dress-shop that sells Liberty print dresses (see image from Malinka) or a living room where the blogger has hung paper flowers from her ironing boards like a Japanese conceptual artist. Recently i read an interview with the founder of design*sponge. For the sake of content freshness, she claimed that she no longer searches the web to unearth new talent but art and design colleges. I understand this. But for a reader/artist and non-editor, blog hunting is incredibly illuminating and touching. I love the attention that people (mostly women) pay to their inner lives, to the quiet moments in the day that give solace, and the generous spirit of community that pulses through all the link listing and art praising. Certainly there is a commercial imperative, but the best blogs are not flogging anything, and if there are items for sale they are usually things made at home, made with human hands and heart. Sometimes I am too sleepy/wired/visually saturated to note the blog I am digging and in the morning it's gone, like a disintegrating dream. Always I wonder how the best bloggers find the time. Children are mentioned and often photographed. The woman who writes and collates the excellent artroomplant blog spot is an art teacher and she often features her student's work. How they must love her! I admit that many of the best recent sites were found on her favourite's list and then those sites lead to other blogs and I wind up on a Swedish dress designers site looking at a girl in a shrunken dress standing in a wheat field with white legs. And I just sigh and say YES. Romance is everywhere. Creativity is OUTSIDE mainstream shops, TV and glossy magazines...well outside.

Blogs and websites we adore right now...












Good for the weekend

Little Branch is now stocked at Ariel Books, Oxford St. Paddington (www.arielbooks.com.au), a small collection but an exciting foray into the best idea nerve center in town. Our friend Steve Blanks runs the philosophers night at the bookstore, readings for kid's on Sunday afternoons and hosts regular book launches, so it's a bit of a social as well as a great place to plug your brain in. Before we designed cards we would ogle the racks at Ariel and score off-cuts from the wrapping papers to make collage. Please look for us on the walls next to the check out. It's nice to come full circle.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

Lily my muse

When our Rags and Glory card collection comes out you might notice a girl. A girl with long hair. Long legs. Sloping almond eyes. Strange raggedy style. And do you know what? She is not just another nameless glamour girl from my imagination. In fact she is Lily, my ex-nanny, a stylist, designer and writer living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I often write Lily long illustrated letters, very tall and half my age she is like a very naughty little sister and I imagine her adventures in my drawings and sometimes follow them (in real life) on her blog: http://romanticsqualor.blogspot.com.

Lily cuts the bottoms of her dresses off with big clunky scissors. So I did a card showing her doing just that. Sometimes she'd turn up at my door in a sun dress and a crazy old fur coat, bare legs, a pair of men's riding boots, middle of winter! Lily writes in bed. Lily has deliberately tangled hair and sometimes too much eyeliner. She is a bit of a nudist and the playsuits she wore to the playground with my son gave older men heart attacks. The other night I was grooving out on you tube and stumbled over Kate Bush singing Wuthering Heights. Nineteen turning twenty, she is just Lily's age and they look so similar. Romantic. Inventive. Raw and whimsical as all hell.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Grown

For anyone who ventures here in the absence of an actual existing card line for sale, your curiosity will not go unrewarded. While we finalize our first Sydney stockists and prepare our website (due for launch in October 2011), we will soon be be selling on etsy.com and madeit.com.au. And while you patiently await these venues we are holding a poetry contest. The theme of the poem is HOME GROWN. And we want you to squint into the tree top photographed here and think about spring, recycled beauty, tree trunks, rain, hand-washing, potato skins, hot tea, apples, raw morning sunlight and precious home grown pleasures. Mull on it. Wax poetical and the best poet shall receive a boxed set of six original LITTLE BRANCH cards for their hand written pleasure. Come on, pick up thy quill.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Girly No More

Gender and design. It's a question when you are launching a line of who it might be for. What do men want? It's a question we hardly ever ask ourselves EXCEPT when it comes to designing cards. Maree's husband Bruce is our acid test. And what does he fancy? The girls, the nudes, the long legs. OK Bruce, thanks for that.

Anna's beloved (known as Tree) is a die hard Modernist with a taste for contemporary art and Danish chairs. In a way Anna has paid homage to him with a forthcoming boxed set that features mid century chairs in masculine tones of Olive Green and Burnt Orange. She played Johnny Cash and The Clash while painting. To stay nice and non-flowery and all butchy butch.

But of course the flowers that pollute her mind are creeping back in. They never go far. And maybe it's the teacups we drink from and maybe it's the stupidly feminine bedroom furniture that holds Anna's new art materials. Little Branch will always be just a little bit rococo and boudoir. Perhaps (secretly) the men will come round to our way, isn't there enough cement, metal and brown corduroy in this world already?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Going Public

Maree worked hard. Inhumanly hard. Hand cutting the art prints, packing individual gift boxes, cello wrapping our prints, fussing and fiddling late, late into the night. And then finally came last Saturday, the Lady Game Kindy fund raising Art Fair. It was a cold windy unpromising day but very little gets in the way when mothers are involved and the organisers and the mums and all the participating artists made a great day. Our stall was a bit sexy if you ask me, with quite a few nudes and girls with falling stockings. No doubt the drawings featuring children's themes were a bit more popular. It was an amazing little big success and Little Branch was not the biggest seller (our price points were deliberately modest) but the most popular stand by far. We had some passionate buyers snapping up original art and some mysterious punters as well. Like the Asian looking business man who walked up to a very Danish looking floral and snapped it up like it was a bag of biscuits. He knew what he liked.

Today, almost a week later we are putting together the very first packaged sales kits to hit the stores of Sydney and it's that silent gathering mood that descends when you really need to concentrate. We are looking at our gift wraps with a critical eye. We are brooding over designs for Christmas (we both dislike green and red), and I am still obsessing about where I can print up five meters of cotton for two maxi dresses. Does Maree even want to wear a Little Branch Maxi? Maybe not. But I know she wants a silk skarf....and her birthday is coming soon.

P.S. To all those friends, relatives and cool mothers who helped with the Art fair, bought prints, cards and art works and came by to stuff envelopes we say MERCI!