Liv a little

July 15, 2021

I love these prints from Sydney illustrator, Liv Lee. Think Grecian vases filled with Tulips, Chrysanthemums and Cherry Blossom. There are also bananas, raspberries and big white flowers that look like fried eggs. Her style is playful and light. There’s such humour and joy in Lee’s work.

material matters

July 14, 2021

There’s something endlessly exciting to me about the connection between raw material –– wood, clay, stone, metal –– and the maker that inherits it. In the hands of an artist’s imagination, a lump of wood or a slab of clay has the potential to be anything. Some artists, Betty Woodman for example, took a radical approach to the material, turning clay into exuberant multi media murals. Others, create something that bares more of the markings of the material’s original identity, like Eva Jospin’s cardboard forests. Both are an exquisite homage to their chosen material, innovative, original and arresting. We’re drawn to originality as much as we are to the familiar; Nadia Yaron‘s striking wood sculptures are reminiscent of both Brancusi and the tree stumps that they came from. As long as we can see some spark in the work that sets it aside from someone else’s, as long as we can see the artist in the wood, in the clay, in the shimmer of glass, as long as there’s a connection, then something original has been created.

around and around

July 13, 2021

The facade of the spa at Quinta Da Comporta.

Beautifully-crafted, original woodcut prints from Tugboat Printshop.

Tawny Chatmon’s multi-layered portraits.

Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s heavenly Oliveto garden.

The colour rich world of Ghanaian-born artist, Kojo Marfo.

Robert Montgomery’s stunning billboard poems, paintings, light pieces, fire poems and woodcuts.

footie

July 12, 2021

I remember Paul Gascoigne in floods of tears after being booked during England’s iconic semi-final defeat to West Germany in Turin back in 1990. I watched Gareth Southgate hit the post in that semi-final penalty shoot out against Germany in 1996. And I watched a 23-year-old David Beckham get sent off the pitch after lashing out at Diego Simeone in the 1998 World Cup. You can’t grow up in England and not care about football. Football, bangers, the Queen –– they’re British essentials. Penalties are thrilling, agonizing and heartbreaking to watch, and last night’s penalty shoot out between England and Italy was all the above. I’m happy for the Italians, I really am, but I’m gutted for our England boys. Throughout the game, I kept picturing my many English friends, on the edge of their Habitat sofas, or crammed into London pubs, cheering and speechless. I pictured my brother, a devoted fan, holding his head as 19-year-old Bukayo Saka missed England’s final penalty. There are few things more unifying than a big football game. We come together in our joy, in our loss, in regret and hope. I thought about London and how quiet it must have been last night and this morning. International correspondent for Australia’s SBS news, Ben Lewis, tweeted: “Streets of London are strangely quiet and the back of my cab smells like tequila and sausage rolls, so fair to say it was a big night. #itsnotcominghome.”

copper

July 9, 2021

When I think about copper pots I imagine dozens of them lined up against a duck–egg–blue peg board  à la Julia Child. I read that most of Child’s pans came from E. Dehillerin in Paris. Just imagine, an entire set of pots in that opulent pinkish hue. Masami Mizuno handcrafts his copper pots and pans from a single flat sheet of metal. They are gentled hammered for a beautifully textured finish. Each pan has a solid brass handle.

pebble beach

July 8, 2021

It’s not that there aren’t sandy beaches in Greece, there are, but the most beautiful ones are a mass of pebbles. Walking on them feels like an intense hot stone massage for the feet. Most tourists prefer sand –– it’s easier –– so pebble beaches are often empty. And the water is clearer because there’s no silt being whipped up waves, swimmers and jet skiers. As a child, my feet were leather hard at summers end. I always travelled back to England with at least a dozen pebbles in my bag, keepsakes from every beach I explored. Artist, Alan Magee is most famous for his beautiful paintings of pebbles. They’re so detailed that they look like photographs. I look at them and feel hot pebbles underneath my feet as I hop towards the water’s edge.

a sky full

July 7, 2021

I love those summer weeks when we wake to thunder and lightning, only to eat lunch under a bright blue sky. By 5 p.m. the sky is bruised again, and the rain comes down for long enough to wash the chalk art off the pavement. When evening sets in, our gardens are lush and lilac-hued; we breathe in that beautiful petrichor like it’s a prayer. Drizzle, sun, deluge, thunder, drizzle, sun, lightning, deluge, sun. A million moods in a day. A million moods in a week.

around and around

July 6, 2021

Ceramic canvases from artist, Roger Herman.

Protea grower, Diane Roy.

Citrus garden wallpaper from Schumacher.

Beet and celeriac cakes.

Robert Rispoli, “the artist who reinvented the fresco.’

knock on wood

July 5, 2021

I love to see wood in a home, the more varieties the better. If one is ever in doubt about mixing Walnut with Oak and Maple, just walk through a forest. Elise Mclauchlan’s hand-carved pieces –– Maple milk jugs, Walnut cutting boards, and Oak bowls –– are beautifully understated. There’s no piece in this B.C. based maker’s collection that I wouldn’t want to see in my home. Have a peruse of her work; it really is a breath of fresh air.

let’s converse

July 1, 2021

My first pair of Converse weren’t even Converse. I bought my knockoffs at a small, dusty shoe shop in a suburb of Athens and they were the colour of Hubba Bubba. Pink has always been my favourite colour. After that, came red ones. Letterbox red. And they were the real thing. Then came the best ones. The classic canvas. I had at least three pairs of those. I kept them well passed their discard date until the canvas was torn in five places and the eyelets fell off. Come to think of it, I don’t see Converse all that often these days. Which in my book is a cue to buy a new pair.

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