moving parts

April 27, 2023

David Neale’s Colour Fold series of painted metal on canvas remind me of mountainscapes, icebergs and handfulls of sea glass. They’re simple, crudely made, and so very lovely. I love his chalky colour combinations and the texture in the metal. There’s a feeling of rough cut gemstones to the work, which given Neale’s life long commitment to goldsmithery and jewellery design makes sense. It’s always so interesting to see how an artist manifests from one medium to another and these artworks are similar to his jewellery in that they have a warm, organic and tactile feel, but the overall impression is decidedly different. How exciting.

sea shells

March 27, 2023

For several years my family has travelled to a small island on the Gulf Coast side of Florida for beach walks and grouper sandwiches. The sand there feels like pastry flour and is laced with a million shells from cockles and lightening whelks to rough scallops and calico clams. If you’re really lucky, you may even find a sand dollar or a dried-up starfish. Shelling takes time and patience. My largest shells are from Irene’s house. All the best shells wash up on her little beach. Irene and my Mum have been fiends since childhood and no visit to Anna Maria is complete without a drive over the bridge to her weathered clapboard on Longboat Key. Most of the shells have some imperfection –– a small crack, a chip or some discolouration –– but they’re still so beautiful. This time, I found two large Southern Quahogs, chalky white with rough lines on the outside, and a fighting conch (the ones with the jagged spires at the top). I also brought home a bag of broken seashells; teeny, tiny fragments that I’ll piece together to make something whole. Eventually, I hope to take shells collected over many years and mount them on some lovely fabric, but in the meantime, they live in pockets and drawers and inside my shoes.

shoe in

March 15, 2023

The first pair of designer shoes I ever bought were cream with red piping and a kitten heel so small that they were almost flats. I think I was just as excited about the felt shoe bag as I was the shoes. Marc Jacobs. I wore them everywhere, and with everything. Skinny jeans, check. Tea dresses, check. To the cinema, out to dinner, in the grass. I have no idea where they are now. Did I give them away? Throw them away? Are they in my mother-in-law’s North York basement with all the other sartorial relics? What I loved most about the shoe is that it exposed the perfect amount of toe cleavage, not too much, not too little, and that the leather softened with every party and every mad dash for the 22 bus. The 22 bus that took me straight home. These pink leather beauties (with a point like my MJ’s ) are from the 1800s. Fashion is cyclical. So is life.

stone, pebble, rock

January 12, 2023

As a fellow lifelong stone collector, I am drawn to Avery Gregory’s beautiful assemblages of found stones. In her “stone studies” she curates them by size, colour and shape drawing one’s eye both to individual stones, and the collection as a whole. There is so much beautiful detail in the stones she selects; lines, holes, speckles and swirls. Gregory, who lives in Western United States, sources stones from all over the country. “I pick up the same stones in different iterations over and over and over again. The natural world is inherently entropic and that is deeply comforting to me: that the planet unconsciously creates these little polished bits of itself with no care as to how they look or where they end up or any knowledge that they exist. Enviable detachment.”

clay and lace

January 11, 2023

I’m a little teapot, short, lumpy and stout. Have you ever seen a lovelier vessel from which to pour tea? The entire collection from Barro by Lucrecia is so charming. Her surface decoration, inspired by lace, is delicate while the wabi sabi forms are brimming with personality. I’d happily drink my ginger tea from this sweet little cup. And bring me my jammy toast on this perfect little plate.


December 12, 2022

When I’m overwhelmed my brain feels like a waterlogged sponge. We all know what it’s like to wipe down a counter with a sponge that needs to be wrung out. It can’t absorb spills and water seeps everywhere. What’s good about sponges though is that they have an amazing ability to withstand compression and bending. We all have our own ways of “wringing out the sponge.” It’s rare to achieve that perfect state-of-mind where we’re strong and springy and confidently in control of what we do and don’t absorb. I’m learning to savour those moments, knowing that they are transient. Just as transient as the overwhelmed ones.

heart of mine

December 7, 2022

Surreal, magical, otherworldly, Azumi Sakata’s brooches are modern heirlooms, to be treasured alongside your grandmother’s wedding ring. Her moths, skulls and human hearts are all handmade in Japan using the finest gold threads, velvets and beads. “I think that in the past, many women had few creative outlets other than embroidery or cooking,” writes Sakata. “I think that the repetitive stitching motion of embroidery was therapeutic, and the choice of colours and techniques allowed them to express themselves. Like these women, I want to use embroidery to strengthen my own heart.”

flower fairies

November 30, 2022

Samantha Kerdine’s ceramics fill me with delight. I’m as excited about these candlesticks as my eight-year-old is about her new fairy lights. Childlike glee. I think you’ve got to be pretty connected with your inner kid to make work as playful and free as this. I love Kerdine’s wonky vases, and her plates are charming, too. Her illustrations remind me of Luma’s, which is the ultimate compliment.

great wall of china

November 23, 2022

Molly Hatch creates stunning installations of handmade plates adorned with designs that reference periods and paintings from the history of art. From 15th century Dutch still life paintings to the lithographs of William Saville-Kent, Hatch looks to fine art and textiles and ceramics for inspiration. Her progress series, made during the Covid 19 Pandemic, is inspired by 18th Century Indian weaving while her beautiful mille fleur series pays homage to a series of tapestries made in the South Netherlands in the early 15th Century. The plates are illustrated with the whole piece in mind, and yet each one stands alone.

in the mood

November 22, 2022

Shelagh Wilson’s paintings are so richly atmospheric. She captures a mood. “My paintings and drawings are primarily an emotional response to a subject rather than what I see,” says the Brighton based artist. “When I work, I become absorbed in memories –– of colours, of pale suns, snow, mist and soft rain, plants, trees, bogs, birds, fields full of wildlife –– all things sown deep in my sub-conscious from my Irish childhood.” Her landscape series is so intensely saturated with colour and emotion that one might actually feel that they’re seeing through Wilson’s mind’s eye. Tobacco leaves, bruised skies and migrating birds over frigid waters.

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