Inspiration

Ribollita

October 25, 2021

I lived in Florence for seven months, and almost all my memories centre around food. The fresh-out-of-the oven brioche that we’d devour on our way home from the nightclubs, the pastas we’d cook in my tiny, attic apartment, the charred zucchini, mushrooms and smoky eggplant at Enrico’s café around the corner from school, the Linguine al Limone at Harry’s Bar. One of my first meals in Florence was a Ribollita served piping hot at a trattoria in the cellar of a palazzo near the Arno. This recipe, with barlotti beans and cavolo nero, whisked me back. It was Winter when I moved there and Ribollita is the perfect Winter meal. Stale bread, beans, greens –– it’s all so hearty and comforting.

sink in

October 22, 2021

People who know me know that I take sinks quite seriously. We have a marble one in our kitchen that’s large enough to wash a Guinea Hog in. This one below, in a farmhouse designed by Amber Lewis, is pretty stunning. I love that it’s shallow, and that the rough texture works so well against the lustre of brass taps. This is a laundry room. Pairing up socks just got a whole lot less choresome.

bone dry

October 21, 2021

Clay goes through so many stages before it reaches its final destination of mug, bowl or vase. My favourite stage is the greenware stage, specifically when the clay is bone dry and ready to be fired. It’s here that I am full of hope and possibility. The kiln hasn’t had its wicked way yet. No cracking, blistering or warping. I can see the finished piece exactly as I want it to look. It’s rare that I ever look at a finished piece with the same satisfaction that I do in that early stage. I often photograph my pieces just before they enter the kiln as a marker of what could have been, and what could still be, if I keep at it.

oyster

October 20, 2021

I tried my first oyster on a trip to Halifax in the late 90s. Jason and I were on an East Coast road trip and Halifax was our first stop. “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster,” wrote Jonathan Swift. Like most people eating oysters for the first time, I felt self conscious. Oyster etiquette; how do I respond when asked if I like my oysters briny, buttery or sweet? Do I slurp or do I bite? Do I use a fork? We opted for salty, and we slurped. I can’t say that I loved them, or that I’ve ordered oysters much since. But when I do see them on a menu, I think of two wide-eyed twenty-something-year-olds slurping oysters on the water. “So have you heard about the oyster who went to a disco and pulled a mussel?” That’s the brilliant Billy Connolly. And this here is a Fine de Claire oyster, cultured on the French Atlantic coast. It’s beautiful and ugly, all at once.

around and around

October 19, 2021

A beautiful stone facade in Zaria, one of the oldest Hausa cities in the Northern Nigeria.

Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes.

Matilda Goad’s fabulous kitchen.

Brenda Holzke’s fantastic black and white forms.

A small, uninhabited island (Lítla Dímun) in the Faroe Islands, often covered by a cloud of its own.

raise the roof

October 18, 2021

Let’s all paint our ceilings like Casa Taberelli‘s. Ensconced in the tiny northern vineyard village of Cornaiano is architect, Carlo Scarpa’s great masterpiece. The ceilings look like Rothkos. Oh, to have the chutzpah to bring a mustard brush to one’s ceiling. It’s daring, it’s original, and I love it.

momento

October 15, 2021

With a loose stroke and vivid palette, Charlotte Ager captures fleeting moments from everyday life with sensitivity, empathy and humour. “I love that drawing has the ability to communicate the difficult and challenging whilst having enormous capacity for joy and silliness,” says Ager. Exaggerated proportions and clashing colours bring a childlike whimsy to the work. Faces lack details rendering her people, or rather the emotions embodied within them, universal. We can all connect to scenes of swimming in the local pool, waiting for the bus or sharing a meal with friends. No doubt, Monet, Morisot et. al. would be fans.

dendro

October 14, 2021

I am making a collection of vases inspired by trees. “A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it,” writes German forester, Peter Wohlleben in The Secret Life of Trees. I feel this way about my collection. The vases compliment one another. They look better together. I came across this image of the Adansonia grandidieri, an endangered species native to Madagascar and it reminded me of my vases. Trees, vases, people –– aren’t we all better together.

float effect

October 13, 2021

“Sculpture is like farming,” said artist, Ruth Asawa. “If you just keep at it, you can get quite a lot done.” Asawa’s parents were farmers, who emigrated to rural California from Japan, hence the comparison. Asawa discovered the technique of weaving and looping wire while watching basket weavers on a service trip to Mexico in the late 40s. Today, her ethereal wire sculptures hang from ceilings, “like drawings in space” at major institutions all over the world. Asawa had six children, some of whom appear in the image below. If you have a few moments today, this vintage footage of Asawa sharing details of her process and vision is quite lovely. On an artist’s relationship with his/her material, she says, “rather than being concerned with your own design ideas and forcing something into it, what you do is you become background, just like a parent allows the child to express himself…”

concrete dream

October 12, 2021

I love the contrast of lines and curves in this beautifully sculptural house in Melbourne. It’s designed by architect, Susi Leeton and shows how versatile and free flowing concrete can be. Soft, pillowy furnishings, and a neutral, earthy palette add to the feeling of warmth. The facade is stunning, especially as the Birch trees cast shadows against it.

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