Beauty

icing on the cake

May 5, 2022

I always think glazing takes less time than it actually does. Come to think of it, I think most things take less time than they actually do. I’m working on that. You know, slowing down, taking on less. Clay can’t be rushed, and the glazing stage is no exception. It’s such a shame when days of work end up in the bin because the glaze was slapped on in a hurry. I paint on my glazes which is finicky and laborious. There are other techniques –– easier and more efficient ones ––  but I’m stubborn, and that’s what I’m used to. Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one. Yada, yada, yada. Another thing to add to the list. Glazing is my least favourite stage, but it’s a stage that can make or break your piece. The icing on the cake, if you will. These porcelain cake sculptures are by Jacqueline Tse. Sweets and skulls –– enjoy!

new normal

May 4, 2022

Born in Morocco and raised in Belgium, Mous Lamrabat‘s photographs are an eye-popping fusion of his Arab heritage and the Western symbols he grew up with. Think models dressed in Gucci djellabas and superhero burkas. “As a child of first generation immigrants, there is always a point in your life where you feel like you don’t fit in anywhere; not in the country you were born in nor in the country you were raised in,” says Lamrabat. “I felt like I was too Moroccan to fit in as a Belgian and too European to fit in as a Moroccan, and this is something that almost every immigrant has to deal with.” Through his photographs, Lamrabat is honing a visual language that captures both the universality and uniqueness of this experience, while dismantling stereotypes and cultural norms and paving the way for something new and more flexible. “As a kid, I loved wearing djellabas and rocking them with my Jordan sneakers. It felt “cool” at that time because that’s who I was: a mixture of identities. Doesn’t it make sense that your “idea-basket” gets larger when you live in different cultures or you live in multiple places in the world?” The eyes, and often the whole face, are covered in Lamrabat’s images, which interestingly, makes his subjects even more accessible. It’s the experience that we’re connecting with rather than the individual. “I love creating from a perspective that it’s not about one person,” he says. “The face takes so much information away and doesn’t leave that much to the imagination…. I feel when the face doesn’t show, the person who is looking at the image puts their own face in there.”

circle line

May 2, 2022

Dutch artist, Marian Bijlenga works with unusual material such as horse hair, fish scales and porcupine quills. Her textile wall reliefs are an homage to lines and dots. Patterns are repeated, but as in nature, it’s the irregularities that make her designs interesting. Pockets of white space create a dialogue between the work and the wall it hangs on. “By leaving some space between the structure and the wall the object is freed from its background and interacts with the white wall,” says Bijlenga. “It becomes what I call a ‘Spatial Drawing.'” I love her work with fish scales, particularly this collection of them on Bijlenga’s studio wall. Loose and structured, geometric and organic, black and white and vividly colourful, the possibilities are endless.

nature trail

April 27, 2022

I read yesterday with my daughter that there are 950 species of sea urchins, and that puffer fish make huge, beautiful nests in the sand that look like mandalas, and that certain bees build cacoons out of petals and mud prettier than any springtime bouquet. Nature is flipping amazing. Each one of these seeds has a slightly different form and pattern. Purple, acid yellow and milky white. I can’t imagine how many seed species there are on earth, and like the urchins, how much variety exists in each one’s appearance, both subtle and dramatic. It blows my mind. Nature truly is the greatest artist –– resourceful, innovative, disciplined and fiercely imaginative. No wonder we all look to her for inspiration.

silence

April 25, 2022

At first glance, Keisuke Yamamoto’s lithographs look like photographs. They’re that detailed. His hand-drawn stone lithographs of quiet, empty rooms demand you spend time with them, in them, in fact. “There are no re-dos with lithograph. It requires a great deal of systematic planning in the carving process. That’s why lithograph is fun,” says Yamamoto. Exquisitely crafted, with a beautifully meditative quality, the work reminds us to pause and reflect.

I must have flowers, always, and always

April 21, 2022

I remember standing at The Orangerie in Paris as a teenager enveloped in Monet’s waterlilies. “These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me,” he wrote to a friend in 1909. “It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel.” The waterlilies dominated the last 30-years of the artist’s life, each painting capturing the passing of time from sunrise to sunset. The Orangerie (built originally to store the citrus trees of the Tuileries Garden from the cold in the winter) is the perfect place to house them. I often wonder what it would feel like to re-live its curved walls bathed in lilies through an adult’s eyes, like re-reading Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm three decades later. The subject remains the same, but the way we see and feel it changes.

around and around

April 20, 2022

Miyu Kurihara’s charming bird vases.

This sweet hotel in Laguna Beach.

Green design by act_romegialli.

Frescos by David Novros.

Bisti Badlands in New Mexico.

Lucie Rie at work in her studio.

freestyle

April 12, 2022

Artist, Sarah Boyts Yoder has developed a visual vocabulary of shapes and motifs that are the basis of her wildly colourful and expressive paintings. To watch her at work in her Charlottesville studio, mixing paints with well-worn brushes and fingertips and sweeping across her canvases as though she’s a five-year-old at play is such an energizing sight. She describes her work as “thoughtlessly careful, casually precious and carelessly precise,” all of which can only be achieved when one’s grip on the brush isn’t too tight. “I love the idea of letting go of control and in doing so, making room for the unexpected—for surprise.”

quilt

April 6, 2022

Quilting –– much like pottery, papier-mâché and printmaking –– is both a humble craft and a fine art. While Kathleen Probst‘s bold colours and minimal patterns grace gallery walls, Brigitte Singh‘s intricate paisleys live in baby cots. Both are skillfully made, and designed with huge imagination, and neither is more than a humble quilt, nor less than a work of art. There are no quilts more beautiful, and more original than the ones created by the residents of Gee’s Bend in Alabama’s Black Belt. Last year, Gee’s Bend artist, Sally Mae Pettway Mixon‘s multi-hued quilt landed on the wall of London’s Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition. “No needlework, flowers, cut paper, shell-work or any such baubles shall be admitted,” read the original requirements of the show back in the 1770s. How far we’ve come, and how long it took.

around and around

April 4, 2022

This beautiful and down-to-earth desert home.

These weirdo bud vases by Sandra Apperloo.

Pappardelle and pesto, ricotta and burrata.

Peter Bainbridge’s minimal silkscreen prints.

Cecilia Levy’s exquisite paper sculptures.

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