Posts from August 2020

plats du jour

August 31, 2020

For a long time I made plates. Or at least I tried to. Plates are tricky because they very often warp. But I loved having a white surface to paint on. And on the occasion that one didn’t warp, it was truly satisfying to eat my toast off. When I finally get back into the studio, I may well make plates again. In the meantime, I am lusting over all the gorgeous ones at Carolina Irving. Green flower plate and Bullseye dinner plate are two of my favourites, perfect for a piece of grilled fish, or a late summer salad. While perusing plates, you may want to have a look at Irving’s stunning textiles. Aegean stripes in terracotta and indigo is top of my wish list.


August 28, 2020

We’re weathering the same storm, but our boats are very different. For some it’s a bamboo raft, for others a 200-foot schooner. I’ve thought a lot about home lately, and how one’s physical space has influenced their experience and digestion of the last six months. I’ve thought about my sister-in-law and her husband in a small condominium in downtown Toronto with two pre-schoolers and no green space. I’ve thought about the families we know with heaps of land and lake views up north. I’ve thought about multigenerational families living in tiny apartments in San Paolo. I’ve thought about front line workers living in hotel rooms. I’ve thought about Elton John in his Los Angeles mansion. I’ve also thought about the happy times I’ve spent in a tent, and how the only home that really matters is the skin we’re in. It’s like Blake Edwards said in Vanity Fair‘s Proust Questionnaire when asked where he would most like to live. “Comfortably in myself.” This morning, a local florist whose work I know and admire posted a lovely image of her country cabin accompanied by this caption. “For the past six months, I’ve lived north and in the city. What I’ve come to learn, is that there’s no hierarchy in the different environments. Only the circumference of my own being. The circle I draw around my energy. The nest of my own thoughts. The others that I invite in. The common denominator of sustenance. The nomenclature between loved ones.”

free expression

August 26, 2020

There are artists whose creativity knows no bounds. They can’t be confined to a single medium. They’re courageous, versatile and voraciously curious. The Lebanese artist,  Etel Adnan leaps to mind. At 95, she writes poetry, novels and plays, creates paintings, ceramics and large scale tapestries, and is busier than ever. “Once things leave my files,” said Adnan in the Paris Review “I never know where they are, and don’t think about them anymore, otherwise you lose your mind.” Colour is central to her art, and is what lead me to her work to begin with. Le Poids du Monde, “the weight of the world,” stopped me in my tracks. “I didn’t need to use words, but colours and lines. I didn’t need to belong to a language oriented culture but to an open form of expression.”


August 25, 2020

One of the best wisdoms I’ve received is to “say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.” It is seemeingly such simple advice, but in actuality, this level of candour demands great self awareness and confidence. It also requires losing face, and maybe even a friend or two, along the way. The Turkish word nazlanmak translates as, “pretending reluctance or indifference when you’re actually willing or eager; saying no and meaning yes.” The inverse is just as common. Feigning enthusiasm for something that neither suits or serves you. I think if we all paid attention, we’d notice the little white lies, sometimes hundreds of them a day, that we unwittingly tell. It’s something I’m trying to be more mindful of, as John Mayer puts it to, “say what you need to say.”

la parachute

August 24, 2020

Iole was a beautiful and daring Greek princess who escaped Hercules by leaping from a palace window and using her skirt as a parachute to freedom. Anytime, I see a dress or a skirt voluminous enough to double as a parachute, I think of my daughter and her namesake. It was ancient Greece, so togas would have been de rigueur, but in my mind’s eye, I see her in metallic silk charmeuse or an electric blue organza. In reality, my Iole wears plain t-shirts and grey cotton shorts. There’s no flash or splash to her style. It’s practical and understated, just like she is. I’m quite certain she’d find her way though, with or without a parachute.


August 21, 2020

I rarely buy clothes online, but I came across a shop today that spotlights African designers, such as Katungulu Mwendwa and Gloria Wavamunno, and my eyes are now on printed caftans, cotton rope totes and sandy coloured espadrilles. I love the cut and colour of this fringe sleeve Christie Brown jacket, and this block printed two piece jumpsuit by Maisha Concept is my dream summer get up. Ichyulu (eechewlu) comes from the word, “Chyulu Hills” which means “Spotted Hills” and is a mountain range in Eastern Kenya.

stitch in time

August 20, 2020

I have enormous respect for people who embroider –– it’s such intricate, painstaking work. I came across the vibrant creations of Zélia Smith today, and for a second or two I thought about picking up a needle and thread. I love her simple patterns and bold colour choices. I think I should start with mending the odd sock. With a neon thread, perhaps.

summer love

August 19, 2020

I’m often looking for affordable art, a beautiful splodge of paint to add to our walls. Tess Guinery‘s prints caught my eye this afternoon and I thought I’d share her work. Red, pink and orange is one of my favourite colour mixes, and Summer Sandwich is topping my wish list. “In this season the colours were brighter, the sounds were alive and all my senses were electric—it was as though the colours were holding the sun and the sun was holding me,” says the Australian artist. Have a look, it’s all so warm and wonderlust-ie.

sitting witty

August 18, 2020

It’s a little fantasy of mine to own a pair of Jean Royère chairs. Royère was a French designer known for creating colourful and irreverent pieces like the iconic polar-bear sofa. “I’d always had a thing about interior design. So much so that as a child I didn’t want toys: I asked to be allowed to decorate a room in the attic in our country house.” These aquamarine beauties are to-die-for, as are these adorable ouefs. I’m quite sure that if I ever sit on an ours polaire, I’ll never get back up again.

flight plan

August 17, 2020

I remember a time when travel was as much about the journey as it was the destination. As a little girl, I dressed for flights. “You never know who you might meet on the plane,” my Dad used to say. I had a nautical pant suit that I recall wearing on a flight from London to Athens. I felt like Alexis Colby. I guzzled orange juice like it was champagne and pretended the in-flight magazine was Vogue. The flight attendants were so chic, with their hair-sprayed chignons and ruby red talons. My grandmother had been a flight attendant in the 60s, and she made it all sound so glamorous. “It was how I got to see the world.” She met my grandfather on a flight between New York and Havana. They were married a year later. When I met Jason, air travel still felt glamorous and carefree. His father, who had helmed the family business for decades, could call in for an upgrade every time I flew. The white linens, Scottish smoked salmon, flutes full of bubbles, it was all so decadent. Today, I’ve traded in my sailor suit for anything with an elasticated waist. There are no upgrades, the seats are sardine-can-small and even a pretzel will cost you. The journey is an experience most of us barrel through to get to where we need/want to go. And yet, no discomfort or stress can keep people away from an airport for too long. A pandemic may have slowed us down, made us more deliberate in our choices, (which is a very good thing) but travellers will travel. There’s much to much world to explore, and too many people to meet and clink glasses with over paella or Thenhuk soup. As psychologist, Marie Murray observed in the Irish Times, our urge to travel is innate. “It is our nature to travel. It is our joy to travel. It is our paradoxical psychological disposition to wish for the contradictory conditions of stability and change: to stay and to go, to be and to explore, to rest and to travel unceasingly.” Maybe Ralph Waldo Emerson was right, and it is about the journey. The discomfort, the tension, the thrill and the relief.

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