Posts from September 2020

in between

September 28, 2020

Late September days with soft winds that lift orange leaves off warm pavements are a gift. They are summer’s last sigh; a big release of things clogged up by heat waves and relentless pandemics. I walked through my neighbourhood today, mostly green spaces where trees grows, and I saw a monk in saffron robes posing for a photograph and teenagers bouncing on foldable trampolines. There were families eating sandwiches, and exercise groups doing press ups and burpees. I noticed a lot of people reading, and just as many doing nothing. I love how the city has been everybody’s playground this summer, inviting us all outside to walk or talk or read or pray. I worry about what we’ll do in frigid temperatures when trees are bare and the grass is buried under snow. Here’s hoping we dress warmly and head out to play in it.

high and dry

September 25, 2020

My image of dried flowers is largely shaped by memories of hanging red roses from their thorny stems (a shrine to old boyfriends) and filling porcelain bowls with heady potpourri. But in the last few years, dried flowers have experienced a re-birth, surfacing as a chic, ethereal addition or alternative to fresh cut flowers. I have a Lunaria branch (delicate petals of mother of pearl) that adds a beautiful shimmer to my arrangements. And last winter, I collected several seed heads that I’ve scattered into bowls and baskets around the house. I’m seeing lots of pampas grass and stems of canary grass in arrangements today, and I love the look and texture of dried poppy pods. Have a look at this series of photographs shot by creative studio, Akatre. Some are dried, while others are in their final stages of life; each one is breathtaking.

all together now

September 24, 2020

It’s a human instinct to seek out experiences that tend to our need for solitude while embracing our pack animal urges. Activities that are both solitary and communal are of great appeal to me. Matinee movies are one of my greatest indulgences. It’s also why I love lane swimming. It’s communal, in that we’re sharing the same pool, but under water, you hear nothing but your own breath. My pottery studio is not so dissimilar. I’m aware of the people around me –– the sound of wheels turning, tools scraping, brushes mixing –– but I am also able to find great focus. Long car journeys where no one feels the need to talk, speak to the level of closeness and comfort of the people travelling in the vehicle. Same goes for train rides. And flights. Communal worship –– churches, synagogues, mosques –– brings people together and provides moments for private repose and reflection. I don’t often go to church, but when I do, it is this aspect of the experience that I most embrace. In these times of social distancing, many such opportunities –– communal swims and communal prayer –– have been limited, and that’s hard for people. I wonder how long it will be before two strangers sit side by side at the cinema sharing in the experience of being alone.

oddities

September 23, 2020

French artist, Anne Breton‘s work has such humour imbued into it. Look at these little toucan mugs, and vases shaped liked puffs of smoke! This tiny teapot is the sweetest thing I’ve seen since Luma got a bob last week, and these delicate tiles would be so special on a wall or as a coaster. I love discovering artists such as Breton, and a way of seeing that is so charming, weird and unique.

floor plan

September 23, 2020

I love the rubber flooring in this kitchen. I think you’ve got to be pretty bold to choose this much colour in your kitchen, and I’m not sure how practical rubber flooring is (scratches and stains) but the mango really is gorgeous. The cutting boards against those high gloss tiles look great, and I like the earthy tones in the wood, stool and pots. It grounds the whole look.

after Matisse

September 21, 2020

“We have suffered too long from the dull and the stupidly serious,” says Brooklyn-based artist, Wayne Pate. His paintings and collages are so full of whimsy. Iznik Blooms are my favourites. Have a look at his gorgeous textiles. I can’t imagine a room where his lemons and florals wouldn’t fit in. Wayne paints lampshades and ceramics with pomegranates and Chrysanthemums. What joy. “I’d be lying if I said Matisse wasn’t an influence. For him, every waking moment was about beauty. Matisse’s work was a true embodiment of the life he lived.”

home

September 19, 2020

“What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.” I love this quote from American author, Shauna Niequist. This is the house I grew up in, a red brick Victorian in the heart of Chelsea with more character than Joan Plowright. It was very colourful, with a mishmash of art and ceramics and weird and wonderful tchotchke that my Mum had collected at markets, auctions and bazaars all over the world. Our sofa was the colour of Arizona turquoise and our kitchen was the colour of a peach. The house was always full of friends, young and old, who gathered for roast beef on Sundays, or a glass of pinot grigio any night of the week. As our adolescent years set in, the house became that soft place where many lost, drunk and tired teens landed. My Mum stocked the cupboards with Jaffa Cakes and Frosties, and became a sounding board for all our friends. They loved her, and they were a little intimidated by her, which proved a winning combination. She had to steam clean the carpets once a year, and things got broken, but all in all, they were good years. Christmas, Halloween, birthdays galore, our house was that home where you knew you could bring your best friend’s cousin to and she’d just fit in. It had a feel, it had an energy. It was happy. It was grounding. It was my Mum.

bone white

September 17, 2020

Simon Bodmer-Turner’s alabaster white sculptures look like mammal bones brought in by the tide. I find them breathtaking. His collection of ceramic vases influenced by ancient ceremonial vessels and mid-century architecture and design are just as bold. The Bridge Handled vessel is inspired by Pre-Columbian and Etruscan water jugs. There’s something so tactile about his pieces. Please do touch the art.

autumn

September 16, 2020

“Autumn exists to remind us that things must end to begin again.” While I know this to be true, I wasn’t quite ready for the sight of crimson leaves on the pavement, or the absence of children’s voices in our home. I wasn’t quite ready for evening porch hour to turn into Netflix hour, or for my Chup socks and Birkenstocks to meet. I wasn’t quite ready for night to fall so early, and for our neighbours to retreat to their kitchens and dens before dark. I am never ready for the chill in the air, and more so than usual, my body is opposing it. I am not quite ready. But are we ever?

dahlia

September 15, 2020

I love dahlias, but cut ones rarely last more than a few days. I’d sooner look at this painting of dahlias by Irish artist, Oisín Byrne. It’s thanks to his husband, Jasper Conran that I know of it. Conran posted it this morning on his Instagram feed, with a lovely ode to his late, great Dad, Terrence who passed this weekend. “Dahlia heaven. A treasure to last many lifetimes . Thank you so much @byrneoisin and to my Daddy for giving me a passion for dahlias.”

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