Renaissance Art and Technology Combine to Tell Alice’s Story Again

Emmanuel Paletz

Are tablet computers revolutionizing the picture book? Ask me again in a hundred years. In the meantime, authors continue to explore the question by experimenting with the ever-willing, always-revolutionary Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. First to be mentioned on this site was Atomic Antelope’s ground-breaking “digital pop-up book”, then David Neal’s animation of classic illustrations. Now we have a third: an unabridged Alice illustrated with images from Renaissance art. The result sounds like it will be interesting:

To portray the colorful events and idiosyncratic characters of this book, Paletz gleans bits and pieces from Jan van Eyck, Joachim Patinir, Quentin Matsys, Hans Holbein, Sandro Botticelli, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hieronymus Bosch and more, combining them into his signature visual collages which dazzle the eye. Alice is a book filled with riddles, puzzles, illogical delightfulness, and brainteasers.

… Most importantly, Paletz’s layered creation will inspire thought. Readers will fall into musings such as, “What is the historical significance of dressing Fish-Footmen in French Revolution military uniforms and the king as Henry VIII?” The use of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance art extends farther than the eye can see. Paletz pulls from historical events to shape each illustration with significance.

The book is the brainchild of Emmanuel Paletz, a creative consultant for the advertising industry and also the art director for the successful cookbook Art and Cook. Read more about him and about the storybook app on the project’s website. Emmanuel is seeking financial assistance to help bring his ebook project to completion. Donations of any amount can be made on the fundraising site IndieGoGo.

‘Tis the Season to Remember Who Does the Dishes

After every tea party must come the washing up (assuming your clock hasn’t stopped at 6 o’clock). Make the job more pleasant, or at least more literary, with the Alice in Wonderland Tea Towel or the Literary Map of Britain and Northern Island Tea Towel from the British Library (around $16 each, plus shipping). These were very popular when they first appeared and sold out quickly. Now they’re back.

Alice Tea Towel from the British Library

Alice Tea Towel from the British Library

Literary Map Tea Towel

Literary Map Tea Towel from the British Library

An Unabridged and Animated Alice for Tablet Computers

Long before the world knew anything of tablet PCs and iPads, David Neal had an idea for an animated audiobook that children could watch on a screen. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was the inspiration, more specifically the many talented illustrators who had brought the story to life. Fast forward twenty years and Neal has brought the story to life in his own way. As he puts it, “to make a long story short, twenty voices, three animators, an investor and various other help and ten or so months later, we have created Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The 150th Anniversary Edition for Tablet Computers.

In the audiobook, classic illustrations are animated and sometimes merge into each other. Watching the preview, it is quite strange to see Bessie Pease Gutmann’s white rabbit metamorphose into Margaret Tarrant’s white rabbit and from there into Alice B. Woodward’s white rabbit—hopping all the way. Illustration afficionados might like to take the opportunity to test their knowledge as the scenes unfold!

The audiobook can be purchased via the website Alice Winks for $9.95.

Alice in Hulaland: Clothing, Jewelry and Hawaiiana

Alice in Hulaland

It’s hard to imagine anything less Victorian than the hula, but world-travelers like Alice always pay a visit to Hawaii sooner or later. Alice in Hulaland is a boutique in Paia, Maui, selling clothing, souvenirs and its own line of Alice in Hulaland t-shirts. You can order online or pretend you didn’t hear that and add it to your list of very important reasons to go to Hawaii.

One more piece of fashion news for you: back in May, a British newspaper reported that rogue Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo is designing Alice in Wonderland-inspired accessories for H&M. According to the article they should be appearing in stores worldwide next month.

The Wonderland Transit Map – for when it doesn’t much matter which way you go

Your destination will most certainly be uncertain if you follow the Wonderland/Looking-Glass Land Transit Map for sale on a t-shirt at ThinkGeek.com. According to the website, “the red line is Wonderland, the yellow line is Looking-Glass Land, and the blue line is a commuter line that makes it easier for all the queens to get together for tea.” But what happens if you try and change lines at Mount Jub-Jub, where in the world is the City of Charity, and will you ever find Dinah again? Proceed with caution.

Wonderland Transit Map

Wonderland Transit Map from Think Geek

 

 

Alice Party Ideas from a Party Planner to the Stars

If you are looking for ideas for an Alice-themed party the internet is full of suggestions. When it comes to comprehensiveness though one website in particular has come to our attention. Party Ideas by A Pro is run by an Englishman called Matt James – professional party planner to the likes of Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kevin Spacey. I’m not sure if any of them have ever requested an Alice-themed bash, but if they did it seems Matt would have plenty of advice.

His Alice in Wonderland party ideas starts with the important question of which Alice will be your inspiration (Tenniel, Disney, Tim Burton…) and goes on to provide an extensive list of ideas for invitations, decorations, food, costumes, and games. Every suggestion I have ever seen elsewhere is there, plus several that are new to me. His idea for creating a teeny tiny doorway through which your guests must crawl to enter the party particularly appealed to me for some reason. . .

New Alice in Wonderland Poster from Prospero Art

Do you want an Alice in Wonderland poster? How big? How about 12″ x 18″? Sounds delightful. You can put it up in all manner of places (walls are one suggestion.) Here’s a nice new one from our friends at Prospero Art, selling for $12.45. It has a handsome collage of colored Tenniel illustrations.

The Mouse from the Caucus-Race babbles on a Wine Label at Trader Joe’s

We saw this Instragram photo on Twitter (thanks @1devo) and lo! it’s Sir John Tenniel’s illustration of “A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale” from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on a bottle’s label. The wine art tastefully adds a glass of red wine in hand of the Mouse, who is telling a very dry tale about a dry wine. (You can see the added color slightly better in the image at the bottom of the post.) Is this a commentary that all descriptions of the wine on wine labels are babbled nonsense? The mouse is babbling “It’s an insouciant little vintage that’s both playful and brash, brawny and confident but with a smidgen of unctuousness that allows its provocative f lavor s to blend into a voluptious tastescape – …” [I couldn't go on transcribing...] If that’s not the wine industry self-parodying itself, then what is? The back label begins, “We won’t bore you with overwrought descriptions of Babble,” et cetera.

It also replaces Alice for some reason with the Gryphon from Chapter IX. Maybe the vintners didn’t want to offer wine to a young girl (even though the March Hare does.)

Babble Mendocino Red Wine is a designer blend available inexpensively at Trader Joe’s (one of their unique distributions I believe.) The promotional article from their Fearless Flying is far from dry:

Something to Talk about

The English poet Edward Young once quipped, “They only babble who practice not reflection.” Au contraire. They who partake of a fine, high value red wine can reflect thoughtfully, then run at the mouth enthusiastically. (Case in point.)

In honor of our thoughtful prattlers, we bring you Babble Red Wine from Mendocino County. Crafted exclusively for us by a renowned vintner, whose 40 years of wine making experience is as legendary as his infinitely quotable wit, this red blend is verbose but harmonious. 36% Petite Syrah, 26% Syrah, 17% Merlot, 10% Carignane, 10% Grenache and 1% Malbec, this full-bodied red boasts aromas of savory plum and blackberry preserves. It’s creamy on the palate with hints of blackberry cobbler and baking chocolate that roll around the tongue, along with substantial-yet-rounded tannins that lead to a long, wordy finish. As you can imagine, this is a wine that pairs well with hearty fare. We’re selling each 750 ml bottle of Babble Red Wine for $6.99 – a price so good, it will only stir more chatter.

Viticulture Veracity: Mendocino County profited heartily from the California Gold Rush. Failed prospectors planted vines on the rugged hillsides, turning the lack of nugget gold into pure liquid gold – wine.

Hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica:A harmonica to produce music for the soul played by fingers dipped in water… It’s a real thing. To make a wine glass sing, simply wet your finger and gently rub it along the rim of the glass. Or just pour in some Babble.

The Lewis Carroll Mad Tea Collection not available in stores everywhere (or anywhere)

Neha Hattangdi

Neha Hattangdi

The perfect Christmas present—if only it existed! This beautiful tea chest was designed by Neha Hattangdi, a student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She was asked to create a product line inspired by a literary author and the Lewis Carroll Mad Tea Collection was the result.

The wooden box contains three loose-leaf teas, reusable tea-bags, a tea strainer, and a bar of extra dark chocolate.

For more pictures of the imaginary collection go to The Dieline, the foremost blog for packaging design industry. Other great designs by Hattangdi can be found on her own website.

Throw teddy out of the pram, Jabberwock is here!

Look! Isn’t he adorable? It’s a poseable plush toy made by Toy Vault, currently selling for $6.99 on Amazon.com.

Toy Vault Jabberwock Plush Doll

Toy Vault Jabberwock Plush Doll