check mate

June 18, 2021

From the quintessential summer table cloth, to Dorothy’s pinafore, to Bardot’s wedding frock and the classic oxford, what’s not to love about gingham? It’s preppy and playful (like the hotel room at Finca Cortesin, below). This gingham check top is right up my alley, as is this scoop neck bikini. Just thinking about gingham sends me into holiday mode.

give me resin

June 17, 2021

I came across a beautiful bowl of blue swirls the other day and fell in love with it. Dinosaur Designs is an Australian brand founded by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy. The duo’s line of homewares and jewellery is made from resin and brass. I like resin. It’s smooth and durable, and provides immense possibility in terms of colour and form. Have a look at the Wildflower Collection; think giant bangles in peach and lapis blue, jewel tone platters, and drinking cups in every colour of the rainbow. If you’re preference is a more muted palette, the Clay Collection is a mix of terracotta, honeycomb, caramel and sand. It’s design at its best; simple, original and bold.

flower power

June 16, 2021

Once a week, I pick up a bunch of flowers from our local corner shop –– this week it was floppy tulips and frilly stock –– and run home to play. Flower arranging is an easy way to feel a burst of creativity. We have a large tulipiere which always poses challenge and possibility. My tastes run the gamut from minimal to classic, but a decadent vessel stuffed full of a single bloom is always a good idea. Have a look at Marina Filatova’s stunning photographs. I love the playful combinations of vessel and flower, and the scale and theatre of each arrangement.

around and around

June 15, 2021

Moroccan Bejmat tiles.

Johannes Nagel’s fearless ceramics.

Potato, courgette and feta pizza on a cauliflower base.

The secret paintings of Hilma af Klint.

A striking concrete home in Queensland.

 The beautifully restored Le Prince Haveli.

White shirts by the sea near Lake Vouliagmeni.

Sculpture by Mathieu Nab.

cut it out

June 14, 2021

Kim Bartelt’s paper paintings are soothing to look at. It’s the palette –– pastel pink, terracotta, oyster, sand and grey –– and the simple cutout shapes that make them so easy on the eye. Bartelt has worked with paper for several years; “I like its fragility, the noise it makes when you touch it, the transparency. It always lets you see what’s behind it, it never covers up completely like real paint does. It has a luminosity to it, and also a chalkiness, which I enjoy a lot.” Recycled materials such as fabric and silk paper often make it into her work, also. “I definitely think that these materials, carrying a history of their own, add to an artwork,” says the Berlin-based artist. Even the canvases have a history, and some have travelled as far as Beijing, Ethiopia and Morocco. “I loved the idea of their travels; there are small dents and marks on the canvas and the frames, it’s beautiful how life has left its marks.” Bartelt likens her process to a puzzle. Her studio floor is covered in paper cutouts, and very often it’s the leftovers from a cutout that inspire her next canvas. “One series of works is actually called ‘Puzzles’ as I move these shapes around until I find the right place and relation to the surface and the other shapes.” Have a look at her work. And her home/studio.

nomad

June 12, 2021

I came across the work of Sean W. Spellman today and I was taken in by the playful simplicity of his drawings. Spellman has journeyed across America more than two dozen times recording his travels in paintings, drawings, photographs and song. I like his sunsets and sunrises the most, the squiggles of waves, and the stars in the sky. It’s all very wanderlust-ey.

smorgasbord

June 10, 2021

I love the word smorgasbord. And a smorgasbord is my favourite way to eat. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. This is a beautiful one, with cheese, cherries, olives and prosciutto. There’s no easier way to feed large numbers than this, and no prettier, in my view. The minute we start to break bread again with our friends, this is what I’ll serve.

portrait of a lady

June 9, 2021

As a teenager, I spent hours staring at slides of Elizabethan nobles bedecked in pearls, ruffled collars and elaborate corsetry. Many such portraits were in the form of miniatures, as was the custom of the time. Beyond a penchant for billowy sleeves, this portion of my education has had little influence on my style. I was whisked back though when I came across Lizzie Riches‘ exquisite Elizabethan inspired portraits today. I especially like the ones where people are portrayed in Elizabethan and Jacobean clothes with a contemporary feel. This one in particular is a favourite. The floral fabric is beautiful, and minus the collar, a dress I’d gladly wear to my next lawn party.

Around and around

June 8, 2021

LISA SORGINI’s images of motherhood.

JOHN PAWSON’s wooden chapel.

MOHAMED MELEHI’s trailblazing swirls.

Inside the beautiful La Galerie Louis Vuitton in Asnières.

A house on the tiny islet of Saint Cado.

A man and his dogs.

A wicker chair by JOSEPH ANDRE MOTTE.

A room with a view at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice.

some like it hot

June 7, 2021

It was hot this weekend, gloriously hot. I noticed an un-peeling in myself and everyone around me. Bare arms, bare faces. Heat has a way of softening us, like butter in the sun. I came across a collection of vintage images this morning that capture the laziness, the lethargy and the yielding that takes place inside our bodies when heat is all around us. A couple sprawls out on a beach in Coney Island, kids lay down by the water in Póvoa de Varzim, people sunbathe under the canopy of a tree in Czechoslovakia.

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