Category Archives: Marc Johns

Naked Heart Foundation’s Fashion Play

Play never goes out of fashion and supermodel Natalia Vodianova is keeping it very much in vogue through her Naked Heart Foundation. Since 2004 she’s been raising funds to build playgrounds throughout Russia – at last count 60.


And what an influential, not to mention well-heeled, list of friends and businesses support the cause. With runway chops like Louis Vuitton, Valentino Garavani, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar you can’t go wrong.

Over the last several years, Natalia has brought together fashion luminaries, friends, artists and entertainers in fundraising celebrations she has dubbed the Love Ball. To date, these spectacular parties for play have rocked Moscow, London and Paris and graced the fashion and society pages of publications around the world.

Love Ball Harper's BazaarLove Ball 2011, Chateau de Wildeville (Paris) – Harper’s Bazaar, September 2011

Earlier this month, the BBC and other media outlets reported on the Naked Heart Foundation’s first foray into the UK, Natalia’s adopted home. An inner city neighbourhood in Liverpool will receive £100,000 from the foundation for its kid designed playground that will be completed in the spring.

Speaking with Harper’s Bazaar, actress Anne Hathaway put a nice twist on Natalia’s playground passion:

Natalia chooses to mask her charity work by masquerading as a supermodel – which is a very bad disguise if you ask me.

Now on the off chance that any of us get invited to a future edition of the Love Ball we can glam out with these playgroundista fashionista accessories.

First up is a lovely swing necklace from Calourette sourced from SwissMiss.

Source: Elle, April 2010.

Next on the block is the must have tattoo for a Love Ball outing, an original line drawing by Marc Johns transformed into a tattly. Thanks again to SwissMiss for this find.

Playground March Johns

And finally the playground chic pièce de résistance – custom designed heels that you can just slide into from designer Kobi Levi.


Ok, now I think I’m ready to be pointed in the direction of the nearest playground catwalk.

From Russia with love, Natalia Vodianova a philanthropic playground angel.

Vodainova and ValentinoValentino and Vodianova in Vogue Daily a sneak peak in advance of the White Fairy Tale Love Ball held at Chateau de Wildeville. Photo credit – Kevin Tachman

The Unbearable Lightness of Swinging

There’s something cosmic about swinging, a certain je ne sais quoi. When I saw Teena Marie Fancey’s Baby Boy at The Craig Gallery on Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s waterfront a couple of years ago, I knew I had found a great opening image for a paean to swings. Thanks Teena.

Swings are all grace and simplicity as they trace their airy arcs. In downward sweeps there is the tickling acceleration of free fall. Then as the pendulum tracks the outer bounds of its trajectory, the weighty hand of gravity pulls down.

The rise and fall, earth to sky movement is one of the first experiences that parents and children share together at the playground. It’s the bond of the baby swings – push, push away and then fall back into papa or mama’s loving embrace.

There are milestones – graduating from baby to big kids swing, getting on unassisted, giving another child a push, pumping and propelling through the air unaided, standing up swinging, twosome riding one person standing and one sitting, helicoptering and flying off the seat into a heart stopping jump.

And what a variety of swings, of choices – rope, lawn, glider, tire swings and the truly inventive ones like this got you over a barrel model from India.

via flickr by Eileen Delhi. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Years ago when my art college daughter was just a tyke and I was finding my way as a single dad, we were regulars at a playground not far from our home. We created our own fun activities and for the longest time one of our favourites was the elliptical whirl of the tire swing.

For Alexa the velocity and tilt were exhilarating. For me, the rhythmic repetition of the pushing was a soothing release at the end of the day. We both remember the little ditty we sang together as she whizzed through air…

round and round and round
she goes
where she stops
nobody knows

round and round
on the tire swing
high in the sky
like a bird on a wing

People do love their tire swings and can get downright sentimental about them. Just check this Flickr group dedicated to one of the earlier recycling ideas for an industrial product.

Swings have also become part of the public art vernacular in some cityscapes. For two consecutive summers, Montrealers have been able to create their own downtown symphony of swings with the temporary 21 Balançoires installation. This is one of the more popular PlayGroundology posts.

And who knew that one day this elemental piece of equipment would inspire its own movement? The Red Swing Project installs swings anonymously in unlikely venues. This international band of merrymakers has hung swings in the USA, India, Thailand, Brasil, Taiwan, South Korea, France, Spain, Portugal, Haiti and Poland.

In their timelessness, swings are chic, à la mode.

I found this lovely necklace by Calourette on a SwissMiss blog post. If you’re not familiar with Tina Roth Eisenberg aka SwissMiss don’t miss her site on all things design which was recently featured on Say:100

And wait, just before we go, did I hear tattoo? Fellow Canadian Marc Johns has created this wonderful line drawing – Playground – that is also available as a tattly. The line drawing looks like this.

Find a few moments this weekend to swing through the summer sky, let your toes touch the stars. We’re never too old for that climb and drop sensation.

Keep on swingin’.

Tattoo Playground

I never thought I’d be posting about tatoos in PlayGroundology, but here we go. Fellow Canadian Marc Johns has created this wonderful line drawing – Playground – that is also available as a tattly. The line drawing looks like this.

The tattly™ looks like this. Will this be the first in a series? A slide, monkey bars and roundabout could all be complementary.

And this is how it could look on you. Playground, a fashion accessory and advocacy statement in one fell swoop.

Many thanks to Marc for his creation. This story via SwissMiss.

Check out Marc’s blog, serious drawings.

I’m in for 6 of the Playground tattlies™. Can’t wait to try them out with the kids.