orange tree (part trois)

July 20, 2022

This is the third entry on my orange tree. The first was peppered with naivety and hope. The second was weighed down by frustration and uncertainty. Since then, I’ve watched my plant slowly flourish and grow before my eyes, restoring some faith in, well, myself. While I know that I’ve had very little to do with its resurgence –– plants are such resilient and intelligent things –– I do feel some small sense of triumph. For starters, I stuck with it. No small feat when the voices in my head were willing me to give up, let someone more seasoned (read: patient) take over, trade it in for a leafier, fruit baring one that’s neither nuisance nor eye sore. It was amazing how quickly it began to show signs of progress with just two or three adjustments to its care. Withered, yellow leaves fell away and tiny, acid green ones sprang through in their place. The texture of once thin and papery leaves turned waxy and robust. The satisfaction of watching this plant recover, bear new leaves and blossoms, has been truly gratifying. It turns out that it didn’t need much. A clean pot. Sun. Rainwater. Fertilizer. And maybe an attitude shift to its carer.

around and around

July 19, 2022

Rebecca Sammon’s mythical, magical figures.

A mural by artist, Zhang Enli adorns the facade of a rural, Italian chapel.

Printed summer dresses by Oslo based, Cathrine Hammel.

Francisco Matto’s couple, crafted from marble and wood.

Smithsonian miscellaneous shell collections.

The walls at Osteria dei Meriavigliati

only pink

July 18, 2022

I think about colour combinations the way my foodie friends think about parings of flavour. I get as excited about turquoise and terracotta as they do about ginger and yuzu. A bad colour combination is as hard on the eyes as a peanut butter and onion sandwich is on the stomach. I understand, taste is subjective, but some things are not meant to be partnered. Puce and acid green, please leave the room. I will always come back to pink. Pink is my safe place. Everything, and I mean everything, looks good with pink. Chartreuse, check. Mustard, check. Cornsilk, check. Tangerine, double check. From a fleshy, Renoir pink to the hottest Schiaparelli, pink is the winning hue. It’s my pantry staple. Pink is my pepper.

let’s polka

July 14, 2022

I am often drawn to pottery where I recognize something of my own work. Rather like the people I’m drawn to, I’m looking for something familiar. It’s validating and reassuring. A pot is a pot is a pot. Much like a person is a person is a person. Same, but different. Glory Day Loflin’s work is monochromatic, simple, and ostensibly classic if not for the wacky handles and whimsical surface decoration. Through the process of creative osmosis, fringe and polka dots are definitely in my future.

mangia bene

July 13, 2022

I’m not sure that it gets better than this. Giant artichokes, mounds of pillowy burrata, crispy zucchini flowers, handmade agnolotti, olives, plump tomatoes and a crisp white. The Italians sure know how to eat. It’s the simplicity in the ingredients and techniques that set them apart. With food this fresh, what more do you need than the artichoke itself? Maybe a little sale e pepe? In Stanley Tucci’s warm, charming and funny memoir, Taste it’s the 4-ingredient zucchini pasta dish that he first ate at Lo Scoglio on the Amalifi Coast that appealed to my taste buds the most. “The simple but poignant spaghetti con zucchine alla Nerano, born from a quartet of oil, basil, cheese, and humble squash, points once again to the Italian ability to discover riches where others might find very little,” he writes. If you’re deliberating on dinner tonight, may I suggest this dish.

clay, paper, scissors

July 12, 2022

There is something thrillingly simple about working with paper. For a few months now, I’ve been painting flowers, fish and fruit on heavy cardstock and cutting them out like a child would, jagged corners and loose, shredded edges. The paintings are loose and messy, with layer upon layer of colour. They are quick, irreverent and playful, and the perfect antidote to years of working with clay. With paper, I can make a vase in five minutes; ridiculously oversized handles, an explosion of colourful pattern, flowers bursting through the top. The faster I work, the better they come out. This is not the case with clay. Antidote, but also companion. I like to use paper flowers as props for my clay pieces. I like the way a paper bottle looks standing next to a ceramic one, the interplay between ephemeral and permanent, monochrome and multicolour, functional and ornamental. A whole bunch of them are hanging in the window of the wonderful Good Egg right now. If you’re in the market buying fish or a baguette, mosey over and take a look.

it’s all relative

July 11, 2022

I’m coming up for air after many days avec le dreaded virus, and much like I had hoped, there is some relief in having had it. As with anything we’re afraid of, the reality is rarely as bad as our imaginations would have us believe. I keep thinking about how far we’ve come, and how different my experience must be to people’s who caught it in the early months of a world in panic and lock-down, with no vaccine protection, long quarantines and a barrage of misinformation to wade through. I did throw a pity party for myself on more than one occasion, Jason being my only guest. We’re allowed to cry when we feel like shit. And we’re allowed to throw imaginary darts in the eyes of entitled, arrogant twats who’ve waltzed through the last two years ignoring and defying all sensible and altruistic action, people who’ve brushed it off as a mild headache or a bit of a sniffle. Goody for you. How nice that you’re sitting in a cafe with a mild headache. Now, do me a favour and choke on your croque monsieur. Once I stopped crying, (nothing like a good weep to release snot from your head) and feeling bitter and petty, I thanked my lucky stars.

around and around

July 6, 2022

Isamu Noguchi’s ashtray prototypes.

Pippa Dyrlaga’s exquisite paper cutouts.

Nathan Isaac’s mixed media collages.

Matt Stuart’s pictures of London’s busy streets.

Pan de maíz.

Ice house in Iran, photographed by Lynn Davis.

to the market

July 6, 2022

These quilts by Korean artist, Woomin Kim are so packed with detail one needs time to take it all. Inspired by the markets in Korea, each one is bursting with a multitude of colour and print. Think floral aprons, silver fish, fried eggs, stripey shoes and silk lanterns. I’ve been working with paper and collage a lot lately, and these quilts are just the inspiration I needed.

sgraffito

July 4, 2022

I’m drawn to art that has a childlike quality to it –– raw, playful and unrestrained. Anne Barrell paints her ceramics using the sgraffito (scratched) technique. Her work is crude and spontaneous, and I love it. Her rum cups are lovely, and while I don’t drink rum, I’d gladly fill one with pencils, hot tea or a velvety Merlot. Through simple line drawings and coloured glazes she is able to capture a mood; a schooner sailing through choppy, grey waters, Moorhens floating under a raging red sunset.

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