Inspiration

summer loving

August 17, 2018

What a delightful dress –– demure and preppy like an English school uniform –– and simple enough to be worn a million ways. I rather like it as, no accessories, bare feet. I’d have this made in five colours and wear them all summer long.

 

here comes the bride

August 16, 2018

These are the kinds of sheets my grandmother would have appreciated –– richly patterned, scalloped and exquisitely soft, I bet. When my Mum got engaged, they flew to Madiera to choose her wedding linens, ivory, with butter yellow trim. Her initials, MM are embroidered into the sheets with the same pale yellow thread. My mother’s since given a full of set monogrammed linens to many a goddaughter and niece on the threshold of married life. It’s an old fashioned tradition, but a lovely one.

spring blooms

August 15, 2018

Venerable British textile and wallpaper house, GP & J Baker has teamed up with H&M on a collection that is as pretty and whimsical as an English garden. These wide length pants –– covered in peonies, irises and cherry blossom –– are delightful, and so is this fabulously floral jumpsuit. I want this blouse, so I can dress like Spring, no matter the season.

class act

August 14, 2018

Once a week, for well over a year, a group of women have gathered around a wedging table to make plates and bowls and vases out of clay. As we roll out our slabs and pinch our pots, it’s rare that we work in silence. Conversation flits from marriage to mastectomies to politics and polenta. We move from serious to silly with great ease. Our styles are very different, as reflected in the things we make, but we share a passion for pottery. And socializing. And food. And film. And the list goes on. I’m the youngest in the group by at least a decade, and every week I benefit something from the wisdom in the room and the energy we create together. Everyone there is on the other side of where I am, with adult children, a career (or several careers) behind them, and plenty of time to travel the world. They come back from Italy, Japan, Nova Scotia and Brazil with stories (and pottery techniques) to share. I find these women inspiring, brave, funny and smart. And I believe that I bring as much as I benefit. I just signed up for another term. Unlimited clay, unlimited fun.

some like it hot

August 14, 2018

Today was hot –– unpleasantly so. But there are too many things that I love about summer to care about the odd hot day. My garden is full and verdant. My children spend a good chunk of the day barefoot on our street. My summer wardrobe is so much more playful than my winter one. I spend most evenings on my porch, and I rarely look at a screen. My skin feels good and my feet are always dirty. I meet new neighbours all the time, and see ones I know and I love daily. We gather on each other’s stoops and share food and wine and stories. There’s an intensity to summer that’s both challenging and satisfying. It doesn’t last too long, so we make it count.

Repeat

August 10, 2018

My friend and fellow potter, Pat told me about a pottery studio based out of North Carolina called East Fork. I love the simplicity of the work — clean forms, unfussy glazes — and I could see myself snapping up several pieces. It’s run by Paul Matisse, great-grandson of the late, great Henri, and his wife, Connie and this quote really resonated with me. “Proficiency comes from repetitions,” Matisse says. “Where some potters might throw, say, 10 mugs in a ‘run’ before moving on to another form, we’ll throw 200. This style of throwing allows the potter to get into a flow, the pots coming off the wheel with ease, grace, and consistency.”

Souks me fine

August 9, 2018

Now, here’s a hotel room, I’d gladly trade time at the souks for. At the beautiful Riad de Tarabel in Marrakech, there’s nothing I don’t love here. The colourful berber, gilded mirror, romantic canopy bed, it’s all so gorgeous. Take a walk around the hotel — the tiles alone are worth the stay — and imagine yourself sipping mint tea in the lobby after a full day at the Medina. I know I am.

3D

August 8, 2018

I’ve been exploring 3D forms at the studio –– irregularly shaped vases, that mostly look like large pomegranates! So when I happened upon the work of Jessica Coates, I was massively inspired. They are just the sort of playful, organic shapes that I love. That deliberately simple, crude aesthetic is so hard to achieve. So, I’ll be practicing and practicing, until I master the perfectly imperfect pomegranate.

Folk & Fairy

August 7, 2018

I came across the work of Japanese artist, Tetsuhiro Wakabayashi and I was immediately enchanted. His folkloric illustrations conjure Chagall and Kandinsky. Bears dangle from Dahlias, a winged maiden carries a ruby and a peacockyoung girls in harem pants dance around a tree. It’s all very magical and bizarre.

Future Now

August 3, 2018

Iris Van Herpen is a Dutch designer who brings digital technology to the world of artisanal craftsmanship to create pieces that are time-defying and utterly otherworldly. Just imagine a dress crafted from laser-cut acrylic mesh, silicone, metal, transparent photopolymer or resin. More sculpture than frock, many of the couture pieces are barely wearable, unless you’re Lady Gaga or Tilda Swinton. Nature inspires almost every design –– a mass of black snakes, a splash of water, skeletons and smoke –– and exciting collaborations broaden possibilities. Von Herpen is only 34, but already so dynamic, sophisticated and daring. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Transforming Fashion is at the Royal Ontario Museum until October.

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