Last week we took our kids to a rather lovely exhibition, another one in a series organized by the Museum of Gdynia to celebrate the work of classic Polish illustrators of children’s books. This one presents the work of Bożena Truchanowska, an artist most active in the 1960s and 1970s, who illustrated scores of children’s and young adults’ books. The exhibition was designed as an interactive experience where kids could move things around, draw on a wall (or on paper) and literally get in touch with the world of Truchanowska’s drawings. It didn’t overwhelm with information (perhaps, in fact, adults could stand to learn a little more theory about the work of the artist) and our kids were delighted. In fact, it’s become a returning topic of discussion why you can’t draw on the walls at home if you can in the museum. The striking thing about Truchanowska’s work is how she never limited herself to a single style, as illustrators usually do, and if you look at a number of her illustrations it’s not always easy to tell they were created by the same person. While our kids enjoyed demolishing the exhibition, we were most interested in the original drawings and even book layouts exhibited on glass panes.

A movable structure with elements of illustrations from which you can build your own creatures.
Ants stuck on the floor.
The whole exhibition space turned colorful and chaotic with stickers.
Animals you could peek at through holes in a wooden structure (that was actually fun regardless of age).
The biggest hit with our kids: a board with movable illustration elements.
Elevator transformed.
Truchanowska has a real way with drawing animals.
One of the original drawigns exhibited on a glass pane.
“Why can’t we draw on the walls at home???”

We’re photographing new stuff to share with you but editing takes forever so for now enjoy the sneak peek of an anniversary medal we had the pleasure of designing with Dorota Terlecka (Biuro Kreacja) for the 50th anniversary of the Museum of Gdańsk. We’ll show you more soon and now back to editing!

May you all have a beautiful Christmas time full of warmth and joy that fills you with peace!

(And this year’s card includes a nativity scene that our son had to construct for preschool. We helped with the building but the holy family and the animals are his work. It looks cool under the Christmas tree.)

We know, we know. We still don’t update regularly – but we will, once the seasonal madness is over (which mostly means everyone wants to finish everything before New Year). However, we have a treat for you today. A while ago the Museum of Gdynia showed an exhibition of old Christmas cards from the time of People’s Republic of Poland (which we missed) and then printed a book about the phenomenon (which we failed to buy – still beating ourselves up about that). But we did buy a few of the reprinted cards in the gift shop and wanted to share them with you.

They were drawn by amazing Polish illustrators, working in traditional techniques and evoking an atmosphere of Christmases long ago: snowy countrysides, carollers, things that were already becoming a thing of the past as the cards were drawn. This generation of illustrators also coupled skilled observation with a subtle sense of humor. Enjoy!

Józef Wilkoń and a countryside sleigh ride.

Zbigniew Rychlicki, depicting a Christmas decorations stall – the thing that has definitely not become one of the past and is even multiplying, together with all the Christmas fairs.

And our favorite, Adam Kilian, working in his own, unique technique reminiscent of classic etching.

Check back later this week for our own Christmas card of this year and have a good pre-Christmas time!

We are currently doing an Advent Calendar on our Instagram – a tradition we started last year. We really enjoyed the challange of coming up with a new illustration or photograph each day to get us into the Christmas mood. However – full disclosure – this year is mostly our son, J, who’s doing the illustrating. If this feels at all like something you’d enjoy following, please feel invited. And happy pre-Christmas season to everyone!

Earlier this year we were awarded Communication Arts award for the design of Reports of the Society for the Reconstruction and Beautification of the Malbork Castle (this title is so long, huh?). Here‘s the project we shared earlier.

We finally received our very cool trophy and, even cooler, the design annual including the Reports and so many other wonderful designs. I might have shared this story or not but when I joined art class in my high school (which was a bit out of character for me and, as it turned out, life-transforming), the classroom had a collection of old Communication Arts annuals that I loved flipping through. They felt almost exotic and certainly exciting, the things you can do with simple drawing. It feels like a rather unique achievement to see our design in this publication.

The book by Jan Tymiński was published by the Naval Museum in Gdynia and describes the marine administration in the 1920s and 1930s in Gdynia’s port. We’ll be sharing more and more detailed photos of the book – and then we’ll tell you more about it – but for now please enjoy the sneak peek (editing these photos takes more time than it might seem).