Andreja Brulc's Blog

Typographic Project: Edible Valentine Type: Love & Kisses

Posted in MEXICO, Projects by andrejabrulc on 28/02/2014

This series of typographic cookies was inspired by my research on Mexican pan dulce – the idea is based on a particular variety of pan dulce [‘sweet bread’] called besos [‘kisses’], which are especially popular in Mexico for Valentine’s Day.

Andreja Brulc_besos

The idea was then expanded further into a typographic feast in 5 languages (English, Spanish, Slovene, Italian, German) using the words ‘kisses’ and ‘love’ as the basis for this project (the final result is the last image below). Furthermore, my project of edible type coincided with the Valentine theme set out to celebrate the first anniversary of Type Tasting led by Sarah Hyndman of With Relish – for Type Tasting’s review of my project click here.

Andreja Brulc_kisses

Recipes

4 different kinds of recipes were used for these cookies:

Besos from Tennie CakesBesos are not cookies per se, but pan dulce, a sort of sweet scorn-like breads.

Shortbread from BBCShortbread was shaped into letters by hand. Some letters were further dipped into a melting chocolate to give some colour to the type and sprinkled with icing sugar and chopped up hazelnuts. The recipe for these world’s famous biscuits, which originated in Scotland, is exceptionally good – in my opinion, it is in a high competition with the famous brand, Walkers Shortbread. For European readers – caster sugar, known in the States as ‘superfine’ sugar, is a British term for sugar with small grains that are between granulated and icing sugar. If you cannot find caster sugar, use ordinary white sugar rather than icing sugar. Your food mixer will do the rest!

Andreja Brulc_love_2

Jam-filled butter biscuits from BBC – A classic British recipe for Jammie Dodgers and a perfect one to sandwich ‘red’ jam between the two hearts. Again, my variation of the recipe came out to be more ‘Central European’ in appearance to make the type more diverse when assembled! Traditionally, Jammie Dodgers have a shape (e.g. heart) cut out on the top layer so that the jam is visible through it like in the BBC recipe, but, instead, I decided to make a template of the heart and lettering, placed on the top layer and then sprinkled in icing sugar.

Andreja Brulc_Valentine cookies_4

Andreja Brulc_love_3

Chocolate truffles from BBC – Very simple but incredibly delicious truffles – I had to keep them away from many long fingers before I managed to finish with photographing the project! It is worth using good quality chocolate (70%). For the decoration, the truffles were sprinkled with unsweetened cocoa powder, chopped up hazelnuts and coconut powder.

Andreja Brulc_truffles

The making of edible Valentine type

The cookies were either shaped into type before they were baked, but in most cases they were assembled into type after the baking and then photographed.

Andreja Brulc_poljubAndreja Brulc_ljubezenAndreja Brulc_amorWhen all letters were finally assembled in Photoshop into two words in 5 languages, the final outcome was a very satisfying typographic Valentine feast that fed my family for a few days!

Andreja Brulc_Valentine card

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Beletrina ’36 Top’ Book Covers / 2007–2011

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 06/10/2013

A selection of ’36 top’ book covers made in March 2012 for my ‘artist-in-residence’ application in Oaxaca, Mexico. The book covers were produced during my first five years of the Beletrina contract (2007–2011). My statement for this selection made in the application is below.

1 part_2007-2011 2 part_2007-2011

Statement

The largest body of work I have produced, often involving crafts in the context of contemporary art and design, consists of designs and illustrations for book covers for Beletrina, a major literary imprint of the Slovene publisher Beletrina Academic Press.

In Nov 2006, having just finished my professional studies at the London University of the Arts, I won a public competition in Slovenia to become principal cover designer and illustrator for the imprint, and after nearly six years in this role I will have created from my London home around 200 book covers. The publisher, subsidised by public and private funds, has gained its reputation primarily by introducing prominent works of contemporary national and world literature to Slovene readers, including Mexican authors such as Octavio Paz and Sergio Pitol. The publisher’s goal is to set standards for a new publishing philosophy which, in addition to focusing on non commercial titles and giving priority to inventiveness, freshness and directness, respects authors and invests a considerable effort in the promotion of their work. Their philosophy and my close-knit relationship with the publisher has helped me to develop a highly individual and recognisable style and branding for the imprint over the last nearly six years.

The branding is defined by a central stripe of a single colour with separate but unified design elements above and below. The artwork encompasses the entire jacket. The whole collection is uniform in style, but at the same time, each book is visually distinct as each requires a different response in method and technique depending on the content of the book. I am a passionate reader, so all the books are read before I get to visual thinking in the sketchbook, creating artwork and finalising the book for print!

Designs involve mixed media including photography, drawing and silhouette, montage and collage (cut and paste techniques), the use of typography, organic and man-made textures and patterns, textile, threads and so on. The illustrations in particular often use traditional craft techniques such as hand printing, stitching and patchwork, embroidery, knitting and crocheting, and industrial materials such as sandpaper and scrim tape. I also apply traditional techniques to unusual materials and use new techniques with traditional materials. I experiment with different possibilities in which images are juxtaposed in a tense relationship to one another and blended together through mixed media, thus creating different realities and perceptions through the interplay of natural forms, narrations and emotions. The choice of using the traditional crafts as a subversive technique is primarily in order to respond to the content of the book but at the same time to explore and challenge certain traditional ideas ad taboos, expressed in that content, that are deeply rooted in our society, such as cultural, political, social and geographical situations.

Beletrina book cover designs / June 2011 & August 2013

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 03/08/2013

MEXICO Project: Typographic Mexican cuisine

Posted in Craft, MEXICO by andrejabrulc on 16/01/2013

This typographic stitching artwork, titled Espagueti con chile poblano, was inspired by one of my favourite dishes I had in Mexico. It comes from Angela’s kitchen at Arquetopia. The dish is called Spaghetti with creamy roasted chile poblano sauce (Espagueti con Salsa Cremosa de Chiles Poblano). Her recipe can be found below. Provecho!

Andreja Brulc_Espagueti con chile poblano

Ingredients
1 pack of spaghetti (250g per 2 servings if the main dish)
4 medium-size fresh green chile poblano, without skin and seeded, roasted (picture below with 3 poblanos only)DSC_0258
1 tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil
1 Philadelphia cheese
1/2 cup of milk
3/4 cup of thick (double) cream
1 large onion, finely chopped after cooked with spaghetti
1 large garlic clove or 2 small ones
butter for onions
other herbs and spices to taste (pepper, salt)

Notes
– In Mexico, this dish is traditionally made with spaghetti, but other pasta can be used instead.
– The dish can be served with a grilled chicken breast and salad. In this case, the above ingredients are sufficient for 4 servings.
– Some recipes used chicken stock, while Angela’s recipe uses only salt to taste, added at the end.
– Instead of an ordinary thick (double) cream, you can also use sour cream or cream cheese.


Instructions

1. Add spaghetti to boiling water containing salt, onion and oil. When soft, remove from heat. Drain and set aside until the sauce is ready.
2. Roast the cleaned chillies in a flat pan (comal), so that the shell can be removed when rinsed in water. Remove the seeds. Alternatively, instead of roasting the chillies in the flat pan, place the cleaned peppers directly onto the flame of the burner on the cooker. Then let the skin char slightly making sure you turn them to have an evenly roasted skin. Then place the roasted poblanos into a plastic bag or cover with a kitchen towel and let them sweat with their steam for about 15 minutes to loosen up their skin. Using a knife or your finger, remove the core of the pepper with the seeds and the veins. Clean under running water or with a paper towel.
3. Prepare the sauce by mixing the roasted chillies with milk, cream and Philadelphia cheese and blend until smooth.
4. Separately, fry the onion and garlic in butter in a larger saucepan, and when gold, add the sauce to the pan.
5. Thicken the whole mixture by slowly simmering it for 10 minutes (low heat). Stir frequently.
6. Add the spaghetti to the thicken paste and salt to taste.
7. Served in a dish with cream if leftover.

MEXICO Project: Happy 2013 from Mexico!

Posted in Greetings Cards, Marketing material, MEXICO by andrejabrulc on 31/12/2012

Thank you for following my blog – I wish you a prosperous Happy 2013 and greetings from Mexico!

This ‘Happy 2013’ typographical card consists of food ingredients, all of which are staple foods and native to Mexico. It starts and ends with the essential ingredients of Mexican cuisine – beans as in beans and beans as in chocolate. The ‘typo card’ is my idea of Como agua para chocolate (transl. Like Water for Chocolate), a famous novel published in 1989 by the Mexican novelist and screenwriter Laura Esquivel. If you have not read the book or seen the movie, read or see it in 2013! Only then you can understand Mexican ‘love affair’ with their food!

Feliz 2013! Srečno 2013! Glücklich 2013! Felice 2013!

Happy_2013

HFrijol (bean) – One of the Three Sisters that were the three main native crop plants that originated in Mexico: the other two are maize (corn) and squash. These tasty beans come in or with just about anything. I am hooked!

AChayote (pear squash) – It is a delicious salad ingredient. Definitely absolutely hooked!

PCatarina chile – It is related to the Cascabel chile (rattle chile) group that originates in Mexico. All other chillies, when dried, looked at first quite similar to me, while I fell under the spell of these two species almost immediately as they look so different, interesting and recognisable with their teardrop shape. They are also quite musical – their rattling sound of the seeds inside when shaken surpasses all the maracas on the market, a traditional Mexican toy that has unfortunately almost disappeared (thanks to China!) and therefore hard to find. The chilli is used to make tamales, marinades, stews and soups. Tamales are a must when in Mexico!

PTomatillo ( Mexican tomato) – It is an essential ingredient to prepare green moles (sauces) together with the poblano chile peppers. One of my favourite dishes – Angela’s Espagueti con chile poblano, our chef at Arquetopia. I was spoiled rotten!

YChile de arbol – This species of chilli literally translates as a ‘tree chilli‘, as the bush on which it grows resembles a small tree. The chilli is a very narrow and curved that starts out green and matures to bright red colour. Unlike many chillies, this one remains bright red even after drying. The fresh version has the same name. So, definitely another chilli pepper that I can easily recognise – and I better as it is so so so hot! They are tiny – and the smaller the chilli pepper grows to, the hotter is its burning sensation. I managed to get them into my eyes when taking photos – of course, naturally, I ‘cried’! FYI, wash your eyes with warm water as soon as you can.

2Habañero chile – These chillies – the hottest chilli peppers found in Mexico – are the dreaded and deadly Yucatán killer, known to the Mayas as the ‘crying tongue’. They are very small (2–6 cms long) and lantern-shaped. They range from light green when unripe to bright orange when ripe. They are grown on the Yucatán peninsula only and are thus an essential ingredient of Yucatán food. When researching this chilli, I found the following warning:

The peppers are actually so hot and dangerous that precautionary measures should be taken when handling them, including nylon or latex gloves and goggles to prevent getting capsaicin in your eyes. Capsaicin is the chemical used in Pepper Spray. When cooking with these, be conservative in the amounts used. Habanero chilies are rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.

Another account tells me that some chillies [habañero are part of it] are so pungent that a farmer needs to wear gloves to avoid the skin on their hands from blistering. Blimey! An exaggeration or what! But I only now understand my agony of 10 years ago when I was in Yucatán – my food must have contained this chilli! I am now absolutely sure. The sensation of the heat in my mouth felt as if I was burning in hell! I had to drink 5 bottles of cccerveza afterwards, and yet I was still in agony! The only positive outcome of that experience is that I now feel I am a true veteran, as I can eat anything containing chillies, but nothing will ever surpass that unique experience of Tolumn!

0Aguacate (avocado) – Well, do I need to say more…! Our favourite party dish of all generations – guacamole dip – with tortilla chips, accompanied by a bottle of cerveza! Scrummy! I will never forget the experience of the best-flavoured avocado I ever tasted in my life – the very last one and freshly picked from a tree by the mother of my Spanish teacher in her garden in Tlacolula. The most generous and delicious gift ever given to me, as the experience of that avocado melting on my tongue like butter, made me feel I was double in heaven!

1Calabacín (squash or courgette) – Leaving in a boring land of northern Europe where exotic fruits and vegetables have a long way to travel to, to my pleasure, squash can grow quite well in our climate, so no wonder why courgettes find their way on my plate quite often (yeah, I am a bit of a courgette addict!).

3Maíz (maize or corn) – A daily staple food to make tortillas, the Mexican ‘bread’. It comes in three colours: white, yellow and blue.

! Granos de cacao (cocoa beans) – Essential: CHOCOLATE, yes, with capital letters! ‘I can resist everything but ???‘ Perhaps my new year’s resolution, but I shall say no more!

Project: The Meal

Posted in Exhibitions, Projects by andrejabrulc on 29/02/2012

I responded to the Art House Co-op’s first annual global snack project, called The Meal, which the team in New York, based at Brooklyn Art Library, described in a few simple but beautiful words as “One moment. One meal. Let’s eat”. The team had asked thousands of people around the world to participate in a simultaneous meal with strangers, which took place on 24th Feb 2012 at 12pm EST. The team had also said that the aim of the project was to encourage the artists to “take a moment from our hectic lives” in order “to inspire a feeling of community across geographic and cultural boundaries”, while addressing the statement “you are what you eat”. The slogan “what you eat” is never enough for nearly a billion people around the world and the project is, therefore, a call for our awareness of the growing problem in the struggle against global hunger.

My piece is called London Meal as I have lived in London (UK) for over 20 years. As London is ahead of New York for 5 hours, it meant that my meal had to be prepared for a traditional British afternoon tea at 5pm (GMT), to be eaten with a cup of British style tea rather than with a can of Coca-Cola as in New York. To emphasise the concept of the multi-cultural and global event, I, therefore, decided to test my technical – culinary – skills that I learnt in my mother’s kitchen in Slovenia. I also thought that such a global collaborative event had to be documented differently, not directly associated with the cooking skills of Slovenia, but by applying a valuable skill of hand-made lettering, I have ‘acquired’ it in London while attending a pioneering course on experimental typography at the University of the Arts. The course reopened endless thoughts and searches on how one can make use of any traditional technical skill for a project and recycle it in another context to give it a new meaning.

I first prepared yeast dough, used traditionally in Slovenia at the carnival and at other special occasions, which needed to rise. I then created letter templates for letters based on Helvetica. Once I cut out the letters from the dough, the letters had to rise again. They were then deep-fried, drained from oil and decorated with icing sugar.

All photos were shown in an exhibition documenting the world’s largest communal snack on 5 April 2012 at Brooklyn Art Library.

 

Fiction Sketchbook Project 2011: It must be …

Posted in Craft, Exhibitions, Projects, Sketchbook by andrejabrulc on 29/05/2011

The Cover

I participated in the Fiction Sketchbook Project 2011, which is one of many Sketchbook Projects run by the Art House Co-op (now called The Sketchbook Project) based at The Brooklyn Art Library. Since its inception in 2006, the Art House Co-op has initiated many international art projects and has brought together thousands of artists from all over the world.

The Project Overview

The Fiction Sketchbook Project is an opportunity to tell stories differently by fusing text and images. As a rule of thumb, the Art House Co-op recommends that you dedicate 51% of your sketchbook to words.

After one signs up to participate, Art House Co-op sends participants a Moleskin sketchbook (in this case, 5.25×8.25 inches). One can pick up the theme from a list of 40 themes, or choose to have the theme randomly assigned. However, once the theme is chosen, one is stuck with it! The themes are supposed to be a starting point, not a restriction. The theme I chose was It must be…

The Making

I decided from the start to treat my selected theme as if I was constructing a children’s picture book in the sketchbook. I wrote a simple narrative about four seasons seen through the eyes of a child. Each spread was, therefore, carefully worked out in advance on the basis that it was to contain a single sentence accompanied by the direct visual response.

As you are free to rebind the sketchbook, use a different paper, and do whatever you want to the front and back covers, I opted to rebind my sketchbook in a Coptic style binding using Fabriano Hot Press 90lb paper. This was an enormous fan as it was the first time I undertook such a process.

You can also use any medium as long as the book keeps to the same dimensions when closed. I used a mixed media combining illustration with photography, typography and traditional techniques, such as hand-printing, stitching, patchwork and crocheting, as well as and industrial materials, such as scrim tape.

Finally, as you are especially encouraged to write the text by hand, I chose to use a hand-written script type created a while ago in association with a book cover for Beletrina and have since used it in other occasions.

For all images of this Fiction Sketchbook, click Flickr. Here are some examples.

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

After travelling across the United States (see the venues below), the Fiction Project will enter into the Brooklyn Art Library’s narrative collection.

Brooklyn Art Library
103A N. 3rd St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(Open Tue–Sun: Noon–8pm, closed Mondays)
www.sketchbookproject.com
 
Sketchbook Project Tour
 
Jun 10–12, 2011
Form/Space Atelier
Seattle, WA
www.formspaceatelier.com
 
Jun 1618, 2011
Madrone Studios
San Francisco, CA
www.madronestudios.com
 
Jul 1417, 2011
Hyde Park Art Center
Chicago, IL
www.hydeparkart.org
 
Jul 2931, 2011
Full Sail University
Winter Park, FL
www.fullsail.edu/gallery

France Prešeren’s New Outfit Installation / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 30/05/2010
Baptism at the River Savica

Baptism at the River Savica

The art installation in process

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the main square of Ljubljana, was transformed for a day (21 May 2010) during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010.  This public art installation gave the poet a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of his longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica.

I was delighted with the final outcome of the work, which took almost a month to complete. Also, when finally installed, I was especially relieved to see that the tunic fitted the poet as if made-to-measure when in reality I had to work with the tailor Lidija Kešnar around the measurements I made from a photograph.

Passers-by

And the hard work indeed paid off. The project was received very well by passers-by – and many of them took out their cameras! I was especially pleased with the comment by somebody from the City Museum who shared his appreciation for the project by saying that the installation was “more than culture” and that the city of Ljubljana needed projects like this.

Above all, I was particularly pleased that the media was interested in covering the project on TV Slovenia 1 as well as in print and online. For a full report of the project, photos and video of the installation showing my interview with the journalist Živa Rogelj see  RTV Slovenia, who said that “Prešeren was stoically coping with the adornment, while two other statues nearby were observing this moment in silence”.

Young typo enthusiasts, Živa and Luka

A report by the Slovene Press Agency was published in the national newspaper Dnevnik among others. Also, A.H. wrote in an article titled “Prešeren v novi preobleki” published in the national newspaper Dnevnik (22 May 2010) that Prešeren’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, had received “a form as never seen before” and that “the project gave Ljubljana a new artistic inspiration”.

The tunic was only displayed for a day, but it is hoped that there will be other opportunities to show it for a longer period, or even that a more permanent place of the display can be found.

Art installation for a day in all weather conditions

Many many thanks to the organiser, Študentska založba, who supported my project idea. A special thanks to my family for their moral support during the month and particularly to my mum who helped me with the making of the letters. And finally, thanks to the tough guys, Marko Murč and Primož Kuharič of Študentska založba, who helped me to install the new outfit, very heavy in weight indeed.

Installation team

More installation photos on Flick.

Press Release: France Prešeren’s New Outfit / May 2010

Posted in Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 20/05/2010

UNESCO World Book Capital 2010: France Prešeren’s New Outfit (Baptism at the River Savica)

Location: Prešeren Square, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Date and time: Friday, 21 May, from 8 am – 23 pm

Summary

The monument dedicated to the most important Slovene poet, France Prešeren (1800-49), which stands in the main square of Ljubljana, will be transformed for a day during the Fabula Festival, the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. A public art installation, giving Prešeren a new outfit covered in hand-made lettering from stanzas of the poet’s longest work in verse, Baptism at the River Savica, will be realised by the designer and illustrator Andreja Brulc.

Concept

The sculpture of the poet will be draped in a unique black tunic, which is stylistically reminiscent of the cloaks fashionable during the time of the poet. The tunic will have a larger collar made out of a fine velvet, which will overhang the poet’s shoulders and will be tightened around the neck with a large bow. The tunic will then be divided into two parts at the back of the lower part of his legs and will continue in a billowing manner down each side of the pedestal to the first step of the monument. The statue is about 3 metres tall, with an additional 2 metres for the pedestal.

The selection of the text will be from the most important passages from the poem, and in particular those that are part of the school curriculum. The emphasis is especially on the connection of two vital speeches between Črtomir and Bogomila, the main protagonists of the poem. The purpose of the selection, and the execution of the whole design, is to conceptually connect the iconic status of the public monument to the work produced by the poet himself and the private voices of the speakers in the poem.

The text, executed in an experimental typographical manner, will run with the male voice on one side and the female voice on the other side of the poet’s sculptural body. The text begins at the same height as the book that the poet is holding, and this gives the impression of the letters falling from the pages. The overall design and experimental letterforms give a strong sense of the text travelling, coming closer and further away, and in this way attract the attention of readers, inviting them to read the poem.

Technique and material

The principal technique for transferring the text on the cloth is stenciling. The visual impact of the experimental typography is enhanced by the combination in the use of traditional techniques, such as sewing and stitching, knitting and crocheting, and patchwork letters made from textiles.

For more photos see on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/39890289@N05/sets/72157623978334159/

Photos of the tunic installed on the monument still to come.

Beletrina book cover designs / June 2009

Posted in Books by andrejabrulc on 29/06/2009

 

Beletrina © Andreja Brulc

Some recent book covers for Beletrina, a major literary imprint of the Slovene book publisher Beletrina Academic Press. I won a public competition to become principal cover designer and illustrator for the imprint in November 2006 and have since created over 80 titles.

 

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