Inspiration

basket case

May 17, 2021

In this lovely short film, we watch Annemarie O’Sullivan cut down rods of willow and turn them into baskets. O’Sullivan pays homage to her craft’s roots, by infusing ancient techniques into contemporary designs. “When I made a willow basket –– that very first evening –– I went to bed and was dreaming of the willow, moving in arches and tight turns. It reminded me of how I feel when I swim, which is the same kind of movement. It’s a really lovely fluid feeling, one I experience deep in my body.” O’Sullivan’s studio is in the South East of England where she grows and harvests local materials to make pieces ranging from functional bowls and linen baskets to large scale woven sculptures. “Our work is shaped by a strong design sensibility and a desire to live lightly on the land.”

sunday best

May 14, 2021

If you’re trying to figure out what to wear this weekend, you know, to that garden party of five, consider a cinched waist and a boater à la Kim Novak in Paris. I have a collared agnès b shirt that I haven’t worn in years that would work well with a full skirt. The boater may be harder to locate, but anything with a brim will do. And I’m wearing flats. Maybe it’s the change in weather, but all of a sudden, I’m ready to get dressed again.

glass act

May 13, 2021

Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s glass pitchers bring just the right amount of playfulness to the table. Her colour combinations –– pale pink and amber, teal and lilac –– are great, and the snake like handle adds pure whimsy. Beyond manners, which I think are serious business, a table should be light, fun and irreverent. Jacobsen’s designs are all three is droves.

the green ray

May 12, 2021

Sunsets, like first snowfalls, and newborn babies, never seize to amaze us, no matter how many times we see them. I owe my love of sunsets to my Dad, who observes them with a reverence that is nothing short of holy. When I came across Tacita Dean’s The Green Ray this morning, I thought of the hundreds of sunsets we’ve watched together. I thought about the beach on Ana Maria Island, where a little over a year ago, under a sky of uncertainty, my family and I watched a giant, golden orb melt into the ocean. It’s the last time I can remember watching the full passage of the sun as it descends from the sky into the water. The green ray is a rarely-seen visual phenomenon, where the slowest setting ray of sun passes over the horizon and turns green. Too ‘elusive for the digital world,” Dean captures the moment by analogue recording. The passing of time, and light, are both central to her work. “Digital is so known, and film is all about the unknown,” says Dean of her choice to record on 16 mm film. If you have a moment today, watch The Green Ray. It’s quite exquisite. “Looking for the green ray became about the act of looking itself, about faith and belief in what you see.”

cena

May 12, 2021

My husband and I have always loved eating, but neither of us were much for cooking. In our twenties, we lived on take-out Pad Thai, Peek Freans and the pasta recipes Jason picked up while living in Italy. The odd chicken thigh landed in our oven when we had children, (the oven was previously storage for shoes) and we both became a dab hand at eggy bread and smashed bananas. In the last few years, we could always count on a flavourless filet of salmon and a floret or two par-cooked broccoli if I was cooking. Occasionally, I’d knock it out of the park with, no, I can’t finish that sentence. Everything I made was dull as dishwater. The good food, the food that excited us, came from eating out; Giulietta’s polpe e fagioli, Bar Raval’s serrano and shishitos, Donna’s rice and shrimp, Sakai Bar’s Oshinko pickles. And then Covid came into our lives, and well, our lives got turned upside down, and Jason started to cook. And when I say cook, I mean bake bread. Stuff and grill whole fish. Make bone broth and Bolognese from scratch. Homemade Tahini, coming up. Jason has cooked a meal everyday (minus the odd take-out Sunday) since last March. A good meal. A balanced meal. A meal with colour and imagination. He follows recipes, some passed down by his grandmothers, and others that he’s found online. Feeding his family has been centering, purposeful. As Julia Child put it, “I think careful cooking is love, don’t you?”

Cerulean Blue

May 7, 2021

I emptied my wallet today for the first time in well over a year and I felt like I was sifting through another woman’s things. A receipt for cornbread, steamed greens and a ginger tea at Fresh reminded me of another life, one where I lunched alone after making pots and swimming laps, a quiet pit stop before launching into pickups and programs. Beck Taxi. Dinner at Brother’s. A bright green coat check ticket from the Windsor Arms Hotel. I found my JCC entrance card and a black and white stamp with the Queen on it. The Queen, she still makes sense. And my bank cards. And a Brunello Cucinelli pencil. That also makes sense, even if it’s poncy. And a passage on Cerulean Blue from The Secret Lives of Colour. So much has changed, and much remains the same.

throw down

May 6, 2021

I have a bit of a thing for decorative throw cushions. I’ve amassed about twenty of them that I rotate every few months when I think a room needs a revamp. Some of them, I’ve had for 15-years or so. I try and buy good ones that last. This week, I’ve got my eye on a couple of velvet cushions from Aussie company, Sage & Clare. I like this woven one, too, and I go soft for anything with tassels. The fabrics are colourful and zany, two things I’m very fond of. And they’d spruce up any old sofa in a second.

circle line

May 5, 2021

I came across the work of John Zabawa this morning, and instantly fell for his simple, playful shapes and bold colour waves. The L.A. based artist/graphic designer’s work is reminiscent of the bright cutouts Matisse made in his last decade. Jean Arp is an influence, too. Negative space –– the Japanese aesthetic principle of ma –– is central to Zabawa’s approach. “I love thinking of negative space as a tool when composing. I experience blank canvas fear all the time; approaching a new painting is always an exciting, scary feeling, and thinking about negative space in this way is very freeing.”

pretty as punch

May 5, 2021

Is it rattan, cane, wicker? No matter, I love this chair. It’s a Southern version of a throne. This wallpaper, designed by Lulie Wallace (great name) is lovely, too. The whole aesthetic is what a Southern belle might describe as “darling.” Too darling for some, perhaps, but not for me.

Around and around

May 4, 2021

Facade decoration of a house in Kano, Northern Nigeria from PAUL OLIVER‘s book Dwellings: the house across the world.

A beautiful Gee’s Bend Quilt.

Hats at the Kentucky Derby, 1945.

Ornamental bells by ceramic artist, AYAME BULLOCK.

The colour rich zig zags of LARRY ZOX.

Designer INDIA MAHDAVI‘s jelly pea sofa.

A whitewashed home by Egyptian architect, HASSAN FATHY.

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