Monday, December 15, 2008


Photograph of one of Peter Beard's many African journals

It was a hot weekend and all we felt like doing was lazing inside, sipping glasses of iced ginger tea. I however, cannot sit ...or laze... for long so I hauled out a pile of my favourite books to get my mind off the heat.

When re-reading my books there are certain pages that I return to over and over again. Pages that either inspire or stir my curiosity enough to send me off on a google frenzy. Actually it doesn't take much to stir me into a google frenzy!

I thought I would share some of my favourite pages with you. The pages that stop me in my tracks even though I've seen them many times before.

The first one, from Africa Interior Design is a beautiful room in a farm house in Cape Town. The carved door from Mali caught my attention but the rest of the room is just as gorgeous. This house is featured in many books and magazines here in South Africa.

The Basket Room, Hotel Le Saxon, in Johannesburg --from At Home With Art by Tiddy Rowan.

The home and studio of sculptor Axel Cassel in Normandy. I love the mingling of books, african artefacts and ethnographic objects with his own pieces. From Contemporary Natural by Phyllis Richardson and Solvi Dos Santos.

An old favourite which I picked up on a sale for next to nothing, many years ago. Henry Moore: My Ideas, Inspiration and Life as an Artist by Henry Moore and John Hedgecoe. Seeing artists working in their studios is a big thrill for me.

This page from Art Making, Collections and Obsessions by Lynne Perrella is so my cup of tea!

In Amulets by Sheila Paine there are hundreds (431 to be exact) of intriguing illustrations. This cabinet is an 18th-century apothecary's cabinet filled with amulets dating from antiquity to 19th-century, France.

South African artist, Norman Catherine sitting amongst his giant fibreglass sculptures. They all have humerous names and are far more impressive in life than they are here in the book, Norman Catherine by Hazel Friedman.

There are so many pages that I gravitate to in The Artful Dodger by Nick Bantock but I'll share just the one of a collage which is included in Bantock's book The Venetian's Wife.

Last but not least are a few pages from Peter Beard's African journals. Many of the pages in Taschen's double volume, PETER BEARD, leave me feeling quite gobsmacked.

Can you believe the size of this mighty croc?

...And the young Peter Beard himself.


  1. Robyn, It was lovely to see Sheila Paine's "Amulets" amongst your favourite books. It is one of my favourites, too. I met her once at an Embroidery exhibition in Jarrogate, Yorkshire. She is a diminutive woman but looks very tough and is charming to chat to. We had a long talk about Samarkand and that area, where I had recently been. She was delightful. I also love the pictures where enormous collections have been "pigeon-holed" - how I owuld love to do that.

  2. Weaver, how wonderful to have chatted to such an interesting person. I'm so glad you mentioned it. I pick up this book and browse through it often.

  3. I could spend hours going over these books. So much detail and so much creativity! I'm sure the heat was soon forgotten once you went into this world.

  4. Thank you for turning me on to Peter Beard's journals, wow! Looks like I'll be doing some book shopping - so rich and inspiring in just these few page samples. How have I missed him?!
    I was extremely fortunate in getting the opportunity to spend a week in a workshop with Nick Bantock a few years ago and I have to say that he is one of the most generous and amazing teachers - if the opportunity ever arises for anyone to experience him, I encourage you to grab it!
    I just love your blog, Robyn!
    I just added a fascinating set of journal books to my library, via Amnesty International, by Mia Kirschner title I Live Here. They are powerful, visually intriguing, support AI, and seem like something you might find compelling.
    Thanks - hope you find a cool breeze of comfort,

  5. What a great idea. I can see 'you' in all of your favorite pages. Makes me want to gather my favorites together and see if they describe me too. Or maybe I will just go off one of those frequent Google frenzies - I do love Google for inspiration as well as my books!

  6. What a treat - to have a peek into someone else's beautiful books... I loved this - thank you!

  7. What an inspiring stash of books you have. I'm doing some of the same but here it is -15 deg C with winds up to 25 miles per hour. Wishing for some of your heat and Iced ginger tea :)

  8. Thankyou R. Gorgeous books and inspiration.

    Will now be hunting for Peter beard books.

  9. I enjoyed your favorite pages, images of Africa from your posts are always so inspiring.

  10. What fun! I keep a lot of my favorite books next to my couch that I will flip through sometimes just because they make me happy. I really liked the African Interior Design one - may have to pick that up. I have Bantock's first three of the Griffin & Sabine trilogy, but haven't seen The Artful Dodger.

  11. Mmmmm, all of your selections are heavenly. I love the photo of Henry Moore in his studio, the way he is surrounded by inspiring things. I wall myself in with stuff when I am working also.

  12. Leslie, thanks for visiting.

    Bindu, thankfully it is cool today!

    Karin, I'm sure you will enjoy Dan Eldon's journals. He was inspired by Peter Beard.

    Theresa, it would be great to share your favourite pages too.

    Kendalee, glad you enjoyed the peek. My books give me endless joy.

    Chris, I would definitely trade some S African heat for some of your cool weather. You can keep the winds though.

    HHMN, you will love the Peter Beards especially the new Taschen editions.

    Thinker, glad you enjoyed!

    Heather, African Interior Design is choc-a-block with beautiful photographs but not much text. Every time I pick it up I wish there was more information on each interior featured.

    Stevie, the Henry Moore photo makes me feel industrious just by looking at it. Moore's friend John Hedgecoe took fantastic photographs for the book.

  13. mm... The amulet book is currently the bedside friend.. and the magic is figuring how to store and show your collections of treasures..

  14. Robyn - we are the better for your 'too hot to move day' - what a fabulous journey through your book shelves - thanks so much! - every page a fav

  15. Hi Robyn. Thanks for another visual feast that transported me away from the cold and the grey skies here. I love the basket wall and thanks for introducing me to the work of Peter Beard. I'd forgotten about the shot of Henry Moore's studio, so will be finding my book of the same to read later.

  16. Such fabulous colours and shapes, I enjoyed peeping into these books.

  17. seen peter beards books and he is your selection of the pages robyn.
    am happy to be back,cant tell you how i enjoyed your other posts as well.

  18. thanks for the lovely mind-wandering...many of those were new to me.
    those treasures in the tiny compartments bring to mind the 'wunderkammer' private museums of times gone by...

  19. Hi Robyn, I am not familiar with any of these books, but really enjoyed the pages you selected. I like the ones with the amulets in the cubbys best, I think.

  20. holy smokes! what a wonderful, wonderful assortment of fantastic pages! thank you for the great book recommendations, too. :)

  21. Grrl, my copy has been the bedside friend for a while too. Nice to browse through whilst sipping my early morning coffee.

    Jeane, I loved sharing my favourite pages.

    Spot, don't you just love all the beautiful photographs of natural beauty... the pebbles and gnarled wood in The Henry Moore book.

    Blu, it was a joy paging through all my old favourites again.

    Megha, I'm so pleased your back!

    India, those little compartments are a feast for my eyes!

    Katie, how wonderful to introduce you to books you don't know.

    Michele, so glad you enjoyed them!

  22. Wowsa! so amazing to see your inspirations Robyn!

  23. Oh, I hope you do that again soon. The farm house in Cape Town page is a showstopper !! I have the Sheila Paine book as well and find it endlessly fascinating. Great page you selected.
    Happy holidays . . .

  24. love that peter beard journal image with the writing and the gathering tribe... i have to get closer to this book..

  25. Robyn, a pure thrill to observe...each and every page, truly a journey into the inspirational.
    Henry's studio :) :) :)
    and that pile of books makes me smile...

  26. Both Shelleys, enjoy!

    Mansuetude, do yourself a favour and find a set to browse through.

    Jo, I'm smiling back atcha :-) I love it when people understand and share my obsession.

  27. We're doing the same thing. Only, here it's too cold to go outside... I've been snuggled into a chair lost in a good book.
    I love Axel Cassel's studio- so light and organized. Yes, the little boxes of treasures and finds remind me of your work too. And the journal, wow. So much inspiration to be found there...looks like.a must have.

  28. Hey Robyn,
    Such a lift I felt when I read through this post. The basket room is simply genius. The amulets and boxes...the journal pages...all such eye candy. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Shayla, I'm looking forward to some snuggle weather.

    Leanne, it's a pleasure.

  30. The basket room is magnificent! The page of Art Making, Collections and Obsessions is so neat I could look at it for hours.. :)

    Great Post!!

  31. Robyn, wow, what an awesome post, I love the page of Collections and Obsessions, and it does remind me of your work! I would love a cozy day surrounded by open books of art... soon... Roxanne

  32. Funny, your blog has sometimes reminded me of Peter Beard.

    Lovely and interesting post, per usual! Happy Holidays to you.

  33. Robyn, another wonderful collection of eye candy! If you need cooling off, you may want to stop over and feast your eyes at what we've got! Stay cool,

  34. I envy your hot day - too cold over here. Thanks for sharing your favorite books - I will go check out Peter Beard's journals.

  35. I can't find your email to let you know I got the package. I'm SOOOOOOOOO delighted and they're hanging in my office where everyone can see them! Many, many, many thanks!

  36. Queenie, I'm so glad you like the basket room too. (I wouldn't like to dust them all though!)

    Roxanne, ....a cosy day surronded by open books of art....I hope you find the time soon.

    Pamela, thank you! Happy holidays to you too.

    Karine, I enjoyed cooling off at your blog. I still can't believe ...snow on a cactus!

    Pink Dogwood, pity we can't swap the weather a bit.

    Heather, I'm soooo glad you received the parcel before christmas. That's great!

  37. I love the work of Peter Beard, I'm hanging out to see the huge book with all of his journals in it. I'm also mad about the little box containers in Lynne Perella's book. I have typesetter's trays housing my vast array of beads.

  38. Peter Beard's pages are spectacular. Thanks.

  39. I have so enjoyed sharing some of pages from your favourite books. Love the stack of books too...reminds me of my bedside, always a stack of books, both for visual pleasure and reading.
    Peter Beards journals are amazing.

  40. What an amazing collection of books...I m speechless.

    Now your secret is out!!! So this is where most of your collections come from...

  41. i'm beginning your blog in the beginning and working my way to the present. love this post - i also feel that way about certain pages and also about certain magazine images that i've saved for decades.

    i covet the beard books. one day...
    do you know the book Evidence - the journal of Candy Jernigan? I think you might enjoy it.