pleats, please

July 21, 2020

One day, I will own a Ronan Bouroullec painting. I don’t care which one, I love them all. They’re Miyake pleats on a canvas. I read that his approach is totally unconscious, and that he creates in the manner of the Surrealists, with his intuition holding the brush/pencil. They’re so simple, and yet breathtaking.

trash & treasure

July 20, 2020

At first glance, I saw sequins, pearls and beads. This Moffat Takadiwa wall hanging is actually created from found bottle caps, foil caps, aerosol tops, and keyboard keys. The Zimbabwe-born artist is known for his intricate wall sculptures made from discarded objects. “He weaves together these small everyday objects to make impressive organic forms evocative of jewel-encrusted excess or a ritualistic kind of minimalism,” reads his biography. “The artist’s choice of materials communicates his concern with issues around consumerism, inequality, post-colonialism and the environment.” Have a closer look at the spiritual garbage man’s (that is how Takadiwa describes himself) work –– it’s kind of astonishing how something so beautiful can spring from everyday discards.

Many gifts

July 17, 2020

I came across the exquisite photographs of Robert Polidori today. I’ve happened upon one or two of his images before –– most notably the Havana home of painter, Amelia Peláez –– but today was my first dive into his extensive body of beautiful architectural spaces. If you have a moment, have a look at his extraordinary range, from a beaten up old slave shack, to the restoration works at Versailles, to the weathered walls of Hotel Petra in Beirut. As we move into our new home –– a true labour of love –– Polidori’s wisdom resonated with me a great deal. “Besides the obvious sheltering from the extremes of the elements, people make rooms to live in as if they are animated by an unconscious desire to return to a prenatal life, or even before that, to a soul life. This is what they exteriorize in rooms, their internal soul life, or less magically put, their personal values, if you will.”

the artful scientist

July 16, 2020

Jenny Kemp‘s brightly coloured canvases are hard to miss, and some are so densely patterned that one could stare at them for hours. Biology is a central theme, and Kemp’s process is highly considered. “Biologically-inspired imagery, stemming from contemplations on our relationship to organic matter is built through lines and planes of subtly shifting hue intensities and gradations, generating form through a slow additive process of layering line work by hand that parallels growth and changeability in the natural world.” Personally, I’m drawn to the simplest canvases, ones that feature bold colour blocking and beautiful, organic shapes. “My interest in abstraction lies in its ability to satisfy my desire to create images that serve to represent unseen phenomenon.” The inner workings of the human body, realized through intricate lines and vivid colours, is quite mesmerizing.

nest egg

July 16, 2020

Lani Adeoye’s woven lights are handcrafted in Nigeria and exude such warmth and nostalgia. To me, they have a decidedly 70s vibe, with a modern, sculptural twist. The line is called ITE which means nest in Yoruba. Adeoye is Parsons trained and divides her time between New York, Toronto and Nigeria. These lights, she says, are Inspired by the layered structure of a bird’s nest.

swan story

July 15, 2020

It’s been a while since we spent a penny together, and this loo is too divine not to share. I have no idea what stone the sink is carved from –– onyx, granite, amazonite –– but it’s bonkers beautiful. As are the brass swan taps. The wallpaper –– swans and dragonflies on a Schiaparelli background –– is pure whimsy, and that chandelier of fern leaves is the perfect topper. If I ever write my tome on toilets, this one may make the cover.

one-stop-shop

July 14, 2020

I came across this photograph by the late American artist, Paul Strand this afternoon and it felt so beautifully familiar. Shot in Nafplio, a seaport town in the Peloponnese, “the broom shop” reminds me of the many small and charming European shops that sell everything from light bulbs and umbrellas to cigarettes, shoes and house plants. I love those shops. And I love that they still exist in an sea of specialized retailers.

paper trail

July 13, 2020

At first glance, I thought these were ceramic, but they’re actually made from the pulped remains of unwanted and abandoned books. Ben Branagan is the artist, and his “monuments” have such a brilliant sense of humour. They look both modern, and pre-historic. “Faced with a pile of abandoned books, I was interested in creating an alternative archive of the information these now redundant containers once held, returning them to an object making tradition that is prehistoric, pre-literate. Transforming one kind of container or vessel into another.”

home and away

July 12, 2020

It was the first apartment that we’d seen that I could imagine our life in. The children would share a room, and there was space enough to accommodate everything we owned. I imagined Jason and I sitting on the roof terrace after the children had gone to bed. There were red tulips stained into the glass windows, and a beautiful old stair case with grand posts. There was a working fire place. Most important of all, the apartment felt comfortable. Familiar, even. The bathrooms reminded me of my grandparent’s bathrooms in Florida, and the wall-to-wall beige carpeting was decidedly nostalgic, also. It was the carpet that sold the apartment to the kids. On our first visit, they all jumped on it like they were bouncing on the moon. We’ve since stained it with wine, coffee and toothpaste. And Jason and I have indeed spent a hundred hours on the roof. The fireplace was where I’d sit every evening in the winter months listening to Bruce Springsteen. Never could we have anticipated quite how much time we’d spend within these four walls, that all five of us would quarantine in this bright and comfortable apartment, and that the living room would double as a classroom, pottery studio, home office, gymnasium and playground for almost five months. The neighbourhood, a twenty minute walk from ours, has none of the grit, character and warmth of South Annex, but it’s been thoroughly convenient. I’ve enjoyed the local gardens and beautiful homes, and most recently, we’ve all been grateful for our proximity to one of Toronto’s loveliest ravines. Our landlady is an avid gardener, and to be surrounded by her lavender, orange blossom and peonies, has truly been a pleasure. What I have loved the most, are all the trees that surround us. To be in the heart of a city, especially of late, and to feel like we’re in the woods, has been golden. I could stay here forever, but that’s how I feel about most places I grow roots in. Which come to think of it, may be everywhere I go.

Guinness

July 11, 2020

On Saturdays, my Dad drank Guinness. We ate Shepherd’s Pie and green peas for lunch, and he always washed the meal down with a pint of dark Irish dry stout. I came across this photo today and it made me think of our Saturday lunches. It was taken on the Aran Island of Inis Meáin in 1971 by American photographer Winfield Parks.

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