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The Jan Eleni Collage

The Jan Eleni Collage came to my attention through GOOP (I know, I know, I just can’t help it). Jan Eleni is a self-taught interior designer based in Brooklyn, New York who is known for innovation in children’s interior design, specifically through her collages. Her process includes nurturing a child’s imagination and working closely with a family. Each artwork created for and commisioned by clients is an unique piece made of a compilation of a child’s personal creations. The archiving process starts off with collecting a child’s ephemera ala Harold and The Purple Crayon.

Jan Eleni Collage and Interiors

After careful review by Eleni and editing of all individual pieces, she then handles and processes each one its own specific way. Send between 40 and 112 of your child’s’ sketches and doodle her way and she will return a streamlined grid of their work that complements any space. The result is a modern masterpiece of childhood, and memory.

Capture the magic of youth in a bottle….or a frame! 

Jan Eleni Collage and Interiors

Eleni offers two versions of the collage – original and print. Both are archival and the end product is a vast personal collection of art turned into one specialty piece – a modern grid collage with an art brut twist. The Collage, a true labor of love – includes hand cut miniature images, which come beautifully and professionally framed. Naturally, these keepsakes should become heirlooms once your child is grown; it is guaranteed they will be forever grateful to have their own work collected in such a meaningful way.

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Jan Eleni Collage

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Let the Rumpus Begin – An Artist’s Dwelling (8)

Today’s post is in honor of Maurice Sendak, prolific artist, illustrator, and author. Sendak is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, first published in 1963. He is from Brooklyn, NY and was born to Jewish-Polish immigrant parents. During his childhood several of his family members were still in Europe and died during the Holocaust. He decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney’s film Fantasia at the age of twelve. To read a more complete life story and obituary, go to the New York Times, HERE. 


Author/illustrator Maurice Sendak standing by an life-size scene from his book “Where The Wild Things Are” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Credit: James Keyser/Time Life Pictures/Getty


Actress Catherine Keener and director Spike Jonze on Maurice Sendak and Wild Things Way. The intersection commemorates where the book was written in Greenwich Village.  Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 was officially declared “Where The Wild Things Are Day” in New York City. Photo by Julienne Schaer courtesy of NYC & Company, found HERE. 

He has been quoted, during a PBS Interview, as saying, “My gods are Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Mozart. I believe in them with all my heart.” Elaborating further, he has explained that reading Emily Dickinson’s works helps him to remain calm in an otherwise hectic world: “And I have a little tiny Emily Dickinson so big that I carry in my pocket everywhere. And you just read three poems of Emily. She is so brave. She is so strong. She is such a passionate little woman. I feel better.” His work is just weird enough to be off-kilter!


An organic and tree based canopy just like Max would have! Found HERE. 

Max can’t have all the fun, here’s a room for the Maxine in your life. Under the apple tree canopy bed  features a modern romantic Scandinavian design from Sleep Therapy. I would feel like a fairy or nymph in this woodland fairy tale scene.  Image found via Etsy, HERE.

Found in Belsay Hall in Northumberland. In 2007, the abandoned Belsay castle housed an exhibition called “The Picture House”.  Artists, film directors, actors and musicians were invited to fill Belsay Hall’s empty rooms with installations to delight and amuse the visitor. The above image is from Geraldine Pilgrim who imaged a tree growing directly through a bed. 

Verdant green walls, a convex mirror, branches, stars, and rustic wood make this feel like a hidden childhood jungle. Image found HERE, originally from Toula’s, a home-and-garden boutique that is now closed in Athens, Georgia


In his New York Times obituary it is noted that Sendak’s work was the subject of critical studies and major exhibitions (recently at The Jewish Museum, in NYC); in the second half of his career, he was also renowned as a designer of theatrical sets. His art graced the writing of other eminent authors for children (Little Bear) and adults, including Hans Christian Andersen, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, William Blake and Isaac Bashevis Singer.


In the 70’s some really hip parents allowed this fantastic Where The Wild Things Are room-sized mural. The paint even camouflages the door and armoire!

Whole tree architecture is a form of building refined by Roald Gundersun that works with the local ecology and economy to allow buildings to be sustainable. To read more go HERE.

 Designed by Turkish Designer Asli Tunca.

Oh, to build a childhood fort, to live in a secret and private treehouse! Must have a password to enter and NO BOYS ALLOWED. Image found HERE. 

Or perhaps you like your tree canopy beds to be pine wood and a bit more minimal and sophisticated? Image found HERE.


His work was dark, mangled, odd and yet somehow gentle and nostalgic. He Sendak grew up  lower class, Jewish,  and gay — permanently shunted to the margins of things. His images and text both celebrate and chastise humanity – the judgement on those with AIDS, the expectations of childhood, homeless children, the anxiety of separation and loss during childhood, and the dingy nightsscapes of New York. Sendak explained all with a sense of sharp humor, surrealism, observations, and imagination. His work has touched millions of children, adults, and those in between. Let the wild rumpus never end!

“And he sailed off through night and day

and in and out of weeks

and almost over a year

to where the wild things are.

There, Max leads the creatures in a frenzied rumpus before sailing home, anger spent,

to find his supper waiting, and it was still hot”

Sendak explains, “And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming wild things”, perhaps through a fantasy room of our own we can tame our “wild things” as well.


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Mother Goose

The imagery in Nursery Rhymes has always struck me as very adult, not meant for a swaddling babe. It’s easy to be swept up into the gorgeous thoughts and unique vignettes of Jack Horner’s thumb in a pie, or an Egg-shaped man cracking irrevocably. Most people use these images as fodder for pastel designs and lullaby themed nurseries. Although the naive, adorable, bubbly, child loves the idea of “isty bits spiders” and “cow’s jumping over the moon”, Nursery Rhymes tend to have a more macabre, sometimes morbid meaning (seriously Ring-Around-the-Rosies is singing about the BUBONIC PLAGUE).

Images from a Roald Dahl themed shoot with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, titled “Tales of the Unexpected”, Vogue UK, 2008. Shot by Tim Walker, the editorial takes its name from Dahl’ successful short story collection. Roald Dahl plays on the platitudes and repetitive themes in most Nursery Rhymes, he even creates a re-telling of the old folktale “Cinderella”, here. Whereas most fables end with a happy, or at least meaningful resolution, Dahl allows the stories to take a wicked, if not sacrilegious turn for the worst. My favorite twisted portrayal of a common Nursery Rhyme is a poem in which Dahl has the Three Little Pigs eaten, not by the wolf, but by an upper-class Red Riding Hood herself (so that she can wear a wonderful pigskin purse of course).

“Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.” – Anon, 1852. Seriously, how Nihilistic is that line?  Images from Here, Here, and Here.

Other artists who have been inspired by the oral histories of Nursery Rhymes: Lewis Carrol,  Shel Silverstein, Louis Sachar, J.K. Rowling, Tim Burton, Jim Henson (HELLO DARK CRYSTAL), Henry Darger, Salman Rushdie (Haroun and The Sea of Stories), Salvador Dali, and Joseph Cornell. Can you spot the references above to Ba Ba Black Sheep, Mother Goose, Ring-around-the-Rosies, Jack Horner, Humpty Dumpty, Bo-Peep, and Hey-Diddle-Diddle?

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