Craft Produce

Craft ProduceLares and penates are so often craftworks nowadays rather than mass manufactured goods yet our spend on crafts is still relatively low. To get hold of quality crafts / one-off commissions you historically needed to visit a gallery or craft workshop and a lot of the goods for sale were ‘local’. Now, with the tremendous opening up of the World to ‘direct trading’, much of the world can buy anything from anyone over the internet. I don’t profess to know where this will lead us all – maybe away from retail environments and more glued to our screens devoted to ebay (?)

One thing that is happening is the growth in ‘go-getters’ online. As start-ups online are easier than on the high street, there are far more craft works and artworks available thus we can all browse the craft boom with ease. For the buyer, this growth in selection is great fun and for the maker, it must be heartening to sell work internationally.

Some interesting items here at the ‘HoBB Gallery’ are pictured above and I challenge anyone to find them in their local shops. One is a delicate pot shape created totally from handmade paper but guess what’s been incorporated into the original paper fibres as the artist brings up the bowl shape from the flat sheet – shredded banana skin! It’s a very interesting process and having tried to make paper myself out of shredded newsprint and ended up with mucky over thick insulated blotting paper and grey stained hands, I know something of the challenge that Sue at Cinque Port Paper has mastered in creating such a fine craftwork.

The second might be green after it has lived outside in the HoBB Gardens for the next year or two but thankfully, will not be crawling around my jacket attached to a pin. At the moment, this fine, numbered edition of the Sacred Scarab of Ancient Egypt is in terracotta. It has been crafted by Colin McGowan, the Sculptural Ceramist from Kent who’s recent artworks have been passionate large modular ceramic sculpts helixing around the doubly important topical subject of genes and genetic engineering. For such artists who traditionally showed one off works in galleries, the issue of limited editions and their despatch worldwide, is becoming an essential way to build reputation ahead of the artist’s international exhibition tours.

Waves ~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ Grant

Educating Children through fruit and fruit stickers

A collection started in 1930

There’s a world of fun geography and a long history in collecting fruit stickers and wrappers.

In 1878 the World’s first plain small orange papers were patented (Ref: The Opium Museum / Dr Dirik)

By the 1920’s, some fruit growers wrapped colourful graphic messages around their fruit as a protective covering to limit the spread of fungus and the risk of bruising during transit. Within a few years, hundreds of people started to collect these decorative tissue paper wrappers because they were free and displayed the work of artisans who regularly blended colourful folk art with contemporary imagery.

Between the 1930’s and 1960’s, producers started to spray wax and fungicides on fruit so removing the need to wrap each fruit individually but increasing the need to wash fruit before eating it.

Whilst over the 1970’s and 1980’s fewer fruit wrappers appeared in shops, some continued to wrap a few fruit per box in tissue to grab attention in the marketplace and identify the growers. This made fruit wrappers much rarer which probably caused more people to collect them.

Bananas however, have carried stickers on them for an age – well you try wrapping graphic-rich tissue paper around a hand (bunch) of bananas! Gradually the use of fruit stickers spread – initially adopted by citrus fruit growers. You can even find stickers on some vegetables.

By 1985, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, had a growing collection of fruit wrappers and in October of that year published a selection (Book by Gill Sanders. V&A)

The wide use of fruit stickers soared in 1990 with the issue of the first ‘PLU’ numbers and stickers started to appear on all fruit/fruit packaging. Suddenly, children started to collect fruit stickers around the World – a free, easy and education-full hobby around a healthy product. The attention of growers, distributors, retails and point-of-sale promoters all focused on the fruit sticker making it information-rich, easier to collect and often depicting popular cartoon characters on special editions.

Each year a new ‘crop’ of fruit sticker designs is released and a new generation emerges eager to continue a collecting hobby that is free to start and cheap to build – all you need is a love of fruit and a place to stick your stickers.

As we consume greater quantities of fruit (and vegetables) the fruit sticker designers will be kept busy, creating new shapes and graphics. As fruit sales grow so too do the number of fruit sticker collector. However, the future of this low cost hobby is uncertain as growers research ways to tattoo PLU number into fruit skin. The future may be ‘Orange’ but the orange skin may be graphically blemished … by design.


Fruitstickers and wrappers online

One of the earliest online Flickr pages “orangepaper and fruitsticker group”: (international web site) reached 190 members worldwide but hasn’t updated for years.

Little People Books (LPB) first published two selections of fruit wrappers from the 1930’s Wallis Collection, online in 1999 (UK) at and (USA) in 2000 but closed down.

Kelly Angood, Designer has a gallery of her greatest fruit stickers online with 8.8K followers at instagram
and there’s a “ten little known facts about fruit labels” – one fact says, “they are edible”.

Fruit Wrappers
Fruit Stickers
Banana Stickers
PLU Numbers

Background publication notes:
Chronicle Books published a selection of fruit wrappers from the collection of Louise Fili (President of U.S. graphic design firm Louise Fili Ltd.) and Steven Heller (senior art director of The New York Times.)

Two catalogues of Banana Stickers have been published. (First Edn. August 1995. Gerri Lorenzo, Tulare, California) and Bananaman exists – he’s a great guy and he has published a book about his Bananaman campaign in Africa.

Stay a’peelingEmpowering Children and fruit stickers