peace offering

October 1, 2021

I came across this beautiful piece of carved stone this morning, showing King Akhenaten offering an olive branch to Aton. Aton, an Ancient Egyptian sun god, was depicted as the radiant disk of the sun. Here, Aton’s sun rays are shown as hands reaching our to accept the fruit. It is currently at the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung in Berlin. “In this fragment only the beautifully carved left hand of Akhenaten remains, holding a heavily laden branch of olives that appears to be caressed by the hands of the sun’s rays. The entire scene would have shown the king standing directly beneath the sun disk, facing what appears to be the olive tree from which he may have cut the branch. The upper boughs of the tree are to the right along the lower edge of the block. The text in the upper right has been intentionally destroyed, leaving only a few traces of the hieroglyphs.”

on the upside

September 30, 2021

This is the beautiful home of London based architect, Barbara Weiss, aptly called Upside Down House with bedrooms on the ground floor and living spaces upstairs. I love this idea of turning traditional norms on their head, and creating a design that makes sense for the people living in the home. Worried about losing the ground floor garden, Weiss created one, and now grows plants on the roof. “It’s quite difficult to define what modern living is about,” says Weiss in this lovely film about the Westminster home she shares with her husband. “It is really more about the individual, whereas previous house building was all to do with social mores. Today, I think people are not prepared to be living in the same way as other people are living.” Weiss is of Italian descent and her husband is South African; the house is filled with objects that reference both cultures. “Good interior design is a mixture of accommodating how you use the house and bringing in character and memories and objects that have some sort of connection to you.”

head case

September 29, 2021

Everything I know about the brain, I learned from my seven-year-old daughter, Luma. The prefrontal cortex, our wise leader, helps us make decisions, plan and focus. The amygdala, our security guard, protects us, and when faced with danger, tells us to fight, flight, or freeze. The brain is extraordinary, and Luma’s simple explanations resonate with one like mine that is overwhelmed by too much information. “The hippo campus is where our memories are stored,” she says on our walk home. “Your hippo campus is huge.” Immediately, I picture a university library inside my head (complete with mahogany wainscotting and soaring shelves) filled with hundreds of thousands of memories. Luma’s short summary on the brain hangs in her room; a gentle reminder to check in with her wise leader from time to time. These works by Rose Sanderson are inspired by the marine life growing on the rocks around the rugged Welsh coast; they also make me think of the brain. I find them quite captivating.

Around and around

September 28, 2021

Ryosuke Yazaki’s clay, terracotta and wood sculptures.

John Hogan’s iridescent glass art.

Jade Paton’s wonderfully lumpy espresso cups.

Jean Cortot’s beautiful scribbles.

A pair of chairs.

mug shot

September 27, 2021

Sarah Steininger Leroux‘s mugs are terrific. I love her shapes and whimsical surface designs. These stoneware ones feel earthy, and yet modern, and I love the colourful patterns and playful handle on this chunky one. Steininger Leroux is the owner of a gallery/studio in Seattle that represents a number of local ceramicists. Have a look around. There’s a lot more than mugs.

stripe effect

September 24, 2021

I couldn’t decide between the pink on red stripes or the green on blue ones, and so I bought both. There’s something a little thrilling about buying a sweater in September; with it comes flashes of steaming hot tea, bangers and mash, and chilly walks on leaf littered streets. It won’t be long before my sweaters are bobbling from too much wear and I’m desperate for caftan weather. But today, on this most chilly September day, I’m embracing my new jumper. I may just wear both.

portrait of a woman

September 23, 2021

With nods to Gauguin, Rousseau and Manet, Stefania Tejada’s portraits are rich, beautiful and arresting. It’s the piercing gaze of her sitters that inhales our attention. And with backdrops so lush and exotic, it’s hard to look away. Tejada draws on her Colombian heritage, and delves deeply into themes of womanhood, nature and identity.

paper chase

September 22, 2021

One of the reasons why I’m drawn to collage is because I loved it so much as child. Paper scraps, plastic glue spreaders, glitter and paint; it was my favourite thing to do in art class. In my late teens, I studied the work of papier collé greats such as Picasso and Braque, and fell in love with Matisse’s exuberant cutouts. I have dozens of scrap books and photo albums filled with old photographs, letters, and other ephemera all collaged together with tape and Pritt Stick. “There seems to be a connection between childhood and collagist practice…collage is a realm of play,” writes artist, John Stezaker in an article on British collagist, Lauri Hopkins. As a child in Bognor Regis, Hopkins didn’t have toys or traditional art materials to play with, so collaging with discarded papers, pencils and home made glue was how she passed her time. Vintage book sleeves, candy wrappers and old cardboard are all used in the brightly coloured abstract collages she creates today. There is a beautiful childlikeness to her simple forms and expressive palette. Have a look at her work –– you may feel whisked back to your elementary art class, too.

around and around

September 21, 2021

Aubergines on pedestals; Lynn Karlin elevates the lowly vegetable to high art.

The joyous colour of Ana Prata.

Maren Kloppmann‘s porcelain wall sculptures.

Fall Suppers; oven baked lentil soup with greens.

Tessa Traeger’s beautiful photographs of eggs.

18th century Dutch Delft tiles.

everyday

September 20, 2021

Every now and then, I come across a project that resonates with me and Mary Jo Hoffman‘s daily photo blog, STILL is one such project. For almost a decade, the aerospace engineer-cum-artist has posted an image everyday of something she’s found –– a gingko leaf, a pine cone, branches, feathers, and dried flowers –– in and around her Minneapolis home. The accompanying text is thoughtful and poetic. The photographs caught my attention, yes, but it was Hoffman’s daily discipline that I found equally compelling. “When you’re doing it every day like that, some days are very pedestrian,” she says. “Not every day is artful, and that’s kind of the fun of it. It’s like doing scales. But then on some days magic happens.” As someone who blogs everyday, and has done for years, Hoffman’s words were a helpful reminder that when you’re in anything for the long haul, there are good days, bad ones, and once in a while, an amazing one.

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