Life

Even if the shoe doesn’t fit

September 12, 2018

My Mum had a gorgeous pair of strappy sandals, made of leather ribbons of metallic pink, emerald and electric blue. The heel was gold, and maybe an inch or two in height. I remember tottering about in her heels and a cotton nightie, and feeling utterly glamorous and grown-up. Even for my grown-up feet the shoes were too big, but I kept them anyway.  These Stine Goya strappies remind me of my Mama’s shoes.

Fine expression

September 11, 2018

It was this great photo that prompted me to look up the work of abstract expressionist artist, Perle Fine. Joyously colourful and wonderfully textured, her paintings are hard to miss. And yet I have. In all my years of art history study, Fine never featured in any text book, lecture or seminar. Nor did Helen Frankenthaler. How can one teach abstract expressionism and not delve into the work of these two greats? I find it shocking that there are so many holes in my education. An entire gender. The only female artist I ever recall learning about was Berthe Morisot. Oh, and Camille Claudel, but more in the context of muse to Rodin. I read online that Samuel Kootz, a hugely influential 50s and 60s New York gallery owner, never allowed women artists to show at his gallery. To this, Fine responded, “I know I was as good as anybody else in there.”

M&Ms

September 10, 2018

I’m not one for colour trends, or any trends, but based on a recent shopping spree with my nine-year-old daughter, mustard and marigold are in colours. At Zara, we saw dresses, puffers and culottes in all shades of the season’s favourite hues. I wouldn’t turn down a Big Bird faux fur jacket or Mansur Gavriel mustard suede mules. And a marigold velvet arm chair is kind of a dream.

Being Maude

September 7, 2018

It was the bathroom tiles that drew me in to stylist, Maude Smith’s South London home. Each tile, hand-painted by Maude, is a  ladybird, butterfly, beetle or bird. The rest of the house, with its fabulous wallpapers, textiles and Persian rugs, is just as delightful. The fire place in the living room was hand-painted by one of Maude’s flatmates, while the wallpaper in the stairway was designed by Maude for her final year project at Edinburgh College of Art. Maude designs clothing from hand blocked fabrics and many of her dresses hang in her bedroom. A picture wall, as dense as the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition, hangs in the dining room and Maude’s kitchen cupboards are covered in corks, shells and broken china. How lovely to pour so much of yourself, and your creative talents into your home. Have a look around. It’s pure whimsy.

bird house

September 6, 2018

Brass taps, a marble sink and a floor that’s ready for a game of chess. The bright coral flamingo brings a humour and whimsy that all guest loos should have. And if only all were as spacious as this one. Guests could have a party in there.

shape shifter

September 5, 2018

I like the simplicity of  Seri Tanaka‘s paintings. Her palette is muted and serene. I can see a collection of them gracing the walls of a minimal home, uncluttered and calm. This one is my favourite –– of course, I see a vase. Take a look at Tanaka’s Tumblr, it’s really quite lovely.

summer

September 4, 2018

My friend, Kerry Clare writes one of my favourite blogs. I’ve been reading it for almost a decade. She’s grateful, and delights in small pleasures like pie, pools and the Sunday papers. Here she writes about her summer. “And it was precious, all of it. Because summer is abundance, a wave of too-muchness, life growing up between the cracks in the sidewalk, and you can’t hold any of it, not even for a moment. Summer is a force and it just goes and goes and goes, and the best thing you can do is just be swept along by it, and be able to say in the end: we are so lucky and that was good.”

I chose this image, because the supermarket really is the best place to cool down.

I was here

September 4, 2018

There is a breathtaking moment at the end of Thomas Riedelsheimer’s latest documentary on land artist, Andy Goldsworthy, where Goldsworthy stands at the cliff’s edge in the midst of a rain storm leaning into the wind. It’s a form of performance art, I suppose. The wind knocks him over several times, before Goldsworthy, for a second or two, is one with the wind. “I think a good work is a moment of understanding and clarity in a very chaotic situation. Like a shafted light it just penetrates, and for a moment it is very clear. And then it all becomes unclear again.” It’s a beautiful, reflective film that challenges the way we think about art, nature and life. In Sleeping Stones, a series of sculptures in Cuenca, Spain, Goldsworthy creates a human “sanctuary” by carving human sized forms into the stone. There are two ways to look at the world; “You can walk on the path, or you can walk through the hedge, ” he says. While wandering a city, Goldsworthy literally pushes through hedges while people around him walk along the pavement. And earlier in the film, we watch him clamber from tree to tree like some kind of sloth. From a distance, it’s hard to tell where the branches end and limbs begin.

kitchen sink drama

August 31, 2018

I like to see a farmhouse sink juxtaposed with streamlined cabinetry and sleek, modern plumbing fixtures. This is a good looking utility room. This sink from Native Trails, a modern take on a traditional design, is kind of perfect for such a setting. I love it in slate. But it looks great in pearl, too.

take me to the fair

August 30, 2018

My brother and I spent summers in Greece, and the Luna Park was always a highlight. We’d pile into our nanny’s Renault, four or five kids and the wonderful Mrs. B, and off we’d go to eat candy floss and pumpkin seeds and ride rickety roller coasters under the stars. I remember the thrill of Snow White’s skirt and the way my tummy somersaulted at every turn. The Ex, unlike other local amusement parks, feels like an old fashioned European Luna park, especially when all the tacky lights comes on. I watched this week as my daughter’s face turned from dread to glee on the roller coaster, her teeth bright pink from her candy apple. It’s an invasion on the senses; the bright lights and screams from above, the smell of sweat, garbage, and saccharine delights. I loved the Luna Park then, and I love it now.

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