marty

May 21, 2020

I watched Back to the Future with my daughter the other day, and now I’m all about Marty McFly’s high waisted jeans and braces. You know what, throw in the tattered Nike’s and that two-tone denim jacket, as well. I love it all. He was such a dream boat in that film –– sweet and kind — and just enough of a trouble maker to tussle that baby soft hair.

land and see

May 20, 2020

I’ve always had a fascination with land art, Richard Long’s ephemeral line in a Wiltshire field, to more permanent installations like Andy Goldsworthy’s massive red sandstone arches in Scotland. This morning, I looked at images of Robert Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty, and how much its changed since it was created in 1970. Built during a drought, out of mud, salt, crystals, basalt and dirt, the Spiral Jetty measures 1500 feet long and stretches far out into the Great Salt Lake. For 30 years, the work remained fully submerged, due to a rise in water levels. A drought in 2004 meant it could re-emerge. The New York Times called it, “the most famous work of American art that almost nobody has ever seen in the flesh.” Smithson –– who died in a plane crash three years after he built it –– described the work as, “the edge of the sun, a boiling curve, an explosion rising into a fiery prominence.” How all these works connect with the land around them, whether they stand out or blend in, (or in this case, completely disappear) and the extent to which they’re affected by changing conditions, is what makes them interesting. For Smithson, the idea of entropy was at the core of this project, and all his work. Natural decay is part of the piece, and what renders it, and all land art, transient. But as long as the land exists, so will, in some form, the art that is built upon it. “Entropy is a condition that is moving toward a gradual equilibrium,” said Smithson. Eventually, land and art are one.

May 19, 2020

Lake Natron in Tanzania is vermillion red, and hellishly hot. The water’s alkalinity is so high that human skin would sizzle and burn upon contact. Animals that enter the lake die and morph into calcified sculptures of their former selves. Except flamingos. A breed of flamingo, the lesser flamingo, flourishes in this lake. These breathtaking images are shining proof of it. The bird’s tough skin and scales protect them from burning, and leave them free to frolic in the lake, and drink the boiling water from the springs and geysers that surround it. I have a soft spot for Flamingos, they’re wildly beautiful, whimsical and jaunty, so the idea of thousands and thousands of them gathered in one spot, is swooney.

nuvole

May 18, 2020

I keep circling back to Fornasetti’s clouds. A collaboration with Cole & Son, Nuvolette, little clouds, is such a moody and atmospheric wallpaper. It reminds me of a dramatic British sky, over Battersea Bridge, or the beaches of Norfolk. I’ve seen it used everywhere from laundry rooms to dining rooms.

spring forward

May 16, 2020

Today felt like Spring. In a world that’s on its head, it’s reassuring when we can count on a season to send an evening that is beautiful, and wholly familiar. Between the rain and the sun, the city is suddenly green. The tree outside our window, and the ones that line our street, have gone from barren to blooming in days. Magnolias, tulips and daffodils colour street corners. The air is scented with blossom and cleaning product. The light is warm and lifting.

big screen

May 14, 2020

One of my favourite things to do, is to walk over to the Ted Rogers Theatre and catch a lunchtime documentary. The opportunity for that is rare, but I enjoy few things more. Sometimes I go with someone, but very often I go alone, which also feels like an indulgence. This morning, I thought about the cinema, and how long it will be before we comfortably enjoy it again. I thought about the many makeshift versions people might create this summer –– DIY backyard movie theatres, drive in cinemas, films projected into garages, parking lots and backstreet alleyways –– and how resourceful and creative this period is making us all. For me, watching documentaries at the cinema is about learning and reflecting, while satiating a need for solitude, all within an experience that is communal. I don’t have the same urge to watch documentaries on my couch. Golda in the garden, anyone? Agnes Varda in the alley?

maxed out

May 13, 2020

The home decor I love most is the one that defies trends, the one that makes no sense, and all sense, and the one that reflects the spirit of the people who live within its walls. I don’t expect you all to love this aesthetic –– mismatched and decorated to the max — but we can’t not admire the creativity, playfulness, confidence and joy of it all. Scroll down from the top. If anything, it will make your jam-packed home feel minimalist.

community

May 13, 2020

I’ve walked past this bronze sculpture over a hundred times. Each time, I scan my eye across the 21 figures, and wonder which of them looks most satisfied. Is it the children playing baseball or kicking a ball in the air? Is it the man marvelling at the stars through a telescope? Or the one lifting a baby up in the air? Or is it the women walking to work with what appears to be great purpose? Or the woman standing poised with a baby on her back. I’ve observed them all under a canopy of Autumn colours, mounds of snow, and drenched in bright sunlight as they were today. And wondered which of these people do I most connect with. And over the years, I’ve realized that I see a smidgen of myself in each and every one. A smidgen of most of us, in fact. And maybe that’s why I find this work so accessible, and so hard to walk past without pausing to reflect. It’s called “Community” and the sculptor is Kirk Newman.

grape

May 12, 2020

I associate grapes with beautiful women in turbans and chandelier earrings who lie around on silk brocade sofas sipping Vermouth from a coupe. They also remind me of my Nana, Claire who used to peel her grapes before she ate them which I always found weird. I’m quite sure the Italians eat grapes on New Year’s Eve for good luck. As with all fruit, grapes have to be really plump and shiny, and likely covered in some fake wax coating, for me to find them enticing. I think I’d rather wear them as earrings.

stitch in time

May 11, 2020

When I was about ten, I made my first skirt. It was a simple A-line silhouette, and it was cut from a delicate, floral fabric. That skirt is the only item of clothing I’ve ever made, not counting all the jeans I’ve turned into shorts. I’m hopeless with a needle and thread, I can barely darn a sock. But I love to imagine all the things I would make if I could sew. For starters, I’d make my summer wardrobe of caftans and loose fitting pajama pants, as well as an endless supply of printed napkins and throw pillows. Nothing fancy, but things I usually pay someone else to make that I wish I could do myself. It’s a basic skill I learned as a child. I should have kept it up.

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