material matters

January 19, 2022

For a long time, I’ve thought about creating a textile made up of swatches of fabric that hold significance for me. Between boxes of richly patterned baby clothes, vintage t-shirts, old curtains, pochettes, and fabrics snapped up at markets all over the world, I could fashion a rather large wall-hanging of material memorabilia. Well, when I say, I –– what I mean is a good sewer, because I’m hopeless with a needle and thread. These beautiful pieces by Japanese-Jewish textile artist, Magumi Shauna Arai offer inspiration. Each one pays homage to the Japanese Boro tradition, (meaning “rags” or “tatters”) and combines Arai’s hand-dyed fabrics with a smorgasbord of vintage textiles. This may be another one of those creative projects that never makes it to the wall. Fun to think about though.

plate and plinth

January 14, 2022

Inspired by the colours and textures of the British seaside, Greek mythology and Italian kitsch decoration, Minnie Mae Stott’s ceramics remind me of the kind of treasures one might find at a fabulous European flea market. Think vases in the shape of Corinthian columns, pearly oyster plates and candle sticks adorned with bramble berries. It’s all so charming and nostalgic. I’m particularly fond of Stott’s forget-me-not collection, maybe because it conjures images of English tea cakes served with soft, salty butter. Yum.

Around and around

January 13, 2022

British Sculptor, Laura Ellen Bacon‘s otherworldly sculptures.

The exquisite mind and craftsmanship of Rowan Mersh.

Alexander Calder’s Connecticut studio.

Yuko Nishimura‘s beautiful paper sculptures.

Bold and bizarre forms from German ceramic artist, Monika Debus.

British artist Victor Pasmore at work.


January 10, 2022

“If people don’t like my house, then I don’t like them,” says Australian artist, Greg Irvine of his fantastically cluttered Melbourne home. Imagine walls of mismatched vintage plates, tortoise shell combs, teapots, scent bottles, books, biscuits tins and bangles. The house is a feast for the eyes, as colourful and detailed as Irvine’s large scale paintings. “I have to be surrounded by beautiful things,” he says. Antiques of all kinds appeal to his eclectic taste, and fabrics, collected over time, weave their way into his paintings. Have a walk around; fellow collectors will no doubt swoon. And those who don’t? Well you won’t be invited back.

paper chase

January 7, 2022

I’ve been wanting to experiment with papiermâché vases, and these ones made by Jacqueline de la Fuente offer much inspiration. De la Fuente uses chicken wire to sculpt her whimsical forms and then creates a clay paste from discarded cereal boxes, egg cartons, and paper mixed with flour, adhesive and a small amount of joint compound. The environment, and minimizing her family’s waste are key to her practice. “I like the idea that these materials go through less of a process than normal recycling. Very little energy apart from my own is used to turn waste paper into a new aesthetic.” Her vases are colourful and eccentric, and while they can’t contain water, there are so many creative uses for them. This latticed one is a favourite of mine; it looks like it could have been woven from yarn.

high art

January 5, 2022

Beautiful, exuberant and bizarre, Severine Gallardo‘s headpieces are topping my wish list for 2022. The French fibre artist attributes her love of textiles to both her grandmothers who felted, embroidered and knitted throughout her childhood. Folk art, the art of Africa and Oceania and artist, Sonia Delaunay are all inspirations. They really are wonderful. Now the question is, to wear, to display, or both?


December 22, 2021

These moths and butterflies, made with hand-painted fabric, embroidery thread, feathers, and faux fur by North Carolina textile artist, Yumi Okita are so beautiful. Some of them are tiny, while others are a foot wide. Her patterns are so intricate, and they’re all designed to be wall mounted, or suspended from ceilings with clear wire. What a gorgeous window installation a kaleidoscope of Okita’s butterflies would make.

around and around

December 15, 2021

Oliver Mourgue’s futuristic Djinn chair in yellow.

Tapestry weaver, Bea Bonanno.

My kind of shower.

This colour combination.

Juicy fruit candles from Nonnas Grocer.

Johannes Nagel’s beautifully imperfect forms.


December 14, 2021

It’s amaryllis season, and few flowers have the decadence and drama of a dark red amaryllis. My Mum used to buy bunches of them on December 20th to ensure that by Christmas Eve our table was adorned with a dozen amaryllis in full bloom. I love the flower’s thick, leek like stem and the way the petals feel like velvet. Most of all, I love that they remind me of a kitchen full of friends, food and flowers, laughing, singing and dancing well past midnight.

Oh, Christmas tree

December 9, 2021

This year, our Christmas tree is ridiculously big. Come to think of it, it was ridiculously big last year, too. The idea of plonking a Fraser Fir in the middle of one’s house is so bizarre, we may as well embrace the crazy, and go all out. That’s my view, anyway. Until I am wrestling with the lights, sweeping up one million needles, and crying over smashed ornaments again. It isn’t Christmas without a few major (adult) tantrums. It isn’t Christmas if I haven’t muttered under my breath that we’re sticking branches in a vase next year. I’m not quite sure why I do it on this scale –– is it nostalgia? fantasy? an overachiever complex? –– but I know that once Big Bertha is up, baubles on every bough, she is a sight to behold. We live in a narrow Victorian in south Annex, and our tree belongs at the White House. And I bet my turkey dinner that our topper is better.

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