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.

she persisted

May 4, 2021

Here is how Parisian potter, Marion Graux describes the many steps to making a bowl. Draw a bowl. Choose a clay. Prepare the clay. Weigh the clay. Turn the bowl. Allow to dry. Spin the bowl. Sign. Allow to dry. Cook the cookie at 980 degrees. Turn off after about 48 hours. Choose a glaze. Prepare the glaze bath. Glaze. Allow to dry. Clean the glaze drips. Cook at 1240° C. Turn off after about 48 hours. Her bowls –– earth pink, amber, blue and grey –– are beautiful. As are her ultra fine plates. They’re expensive, roughly $70 per plate, but that’s 18 steps. 18 steps over ten days or so. And chances are, for every ten plates she makes, there are at least two casualties. The ones that warp or crack. Potters are a persistent lot. We have to be. I used to watch my studio mate, Katherine return to her wheel day after day, one failed bowl after another, a smile on her face. She sent me a perfect Cappuccino cup today. Persistence pays off. I made two large platters last month, and both cracked in the second firing. I can’t say that I’m not deflated. But we have no choice but to begin again. To roll out a fresh slab. Smooth out the bubbles. Wrap it well. Be patient. Cross our fingers. And our toes. This one is a winner.

pasxa

April 30, 2021

Had my Mum not mentioned that she was dying eggs today, I wouldn’t have realized that it’s Greek Easter this weekend. Some of my most pronounced childhood memories are from Greek Easter; fasting on lentils and french fries, a sea of candles flickering at the water’s edge, lamb on the spit, incense, flames, tsoureki smothered in butter and honey. Here, Nikos Economopoulos photographs a man carrying a large icon of the Virgin Mary while a dog looks down from a white-washed roof.

floor to ceiling

April 30, 2021

What a beautiful colour this room is. It takes a certain character to paint her walls (and ceiling) in such a bold hue. My guess is that we’re in Morocco, where aqua, rose and lapis are the norm. There’s something in the light, in the vegetation, in the overall mood and energy that welcomes bright colour. That pop of coral in the tufted love seat is the perfect companion to those duck egg blue walls.

Parade Pimlico Pearl

April 29, 2021

Sean Sullivan is one of those artists whose work defies classification. He is an illustrator, sculptor, book designer, printmaker, painter and sound poet. Regardless of his medium –– oil paint, graphite, salt sough –– music is central to his process. And as with anything hand-made, there is a surrendering to his materials, and to the unpredictability of the human hand. What strikes me most about his work is the sheer variety, so many styles, each one as confident as the next. He’s like five artists in one. Sullivan’s mantra Parade, Pimlico, Pearl weaves its way through his work. “This phrase or poem was originally “parade.pentimento.pimlico.pearl,” and it served as a secular prayer of sorts…” he says. “Parade: a reminder to enjoy, celebrate, and commemorate; pentimento: a reminder to value history, my own and our collective history; pimlico: a nod to luck, good and bad, and named after the racetrack; pearl: a nod to the creative process—to remember that beautiful things can be made from things found around you, are made over a long period of time, and are often a reaction to adversity.”

what’s in a name?

April 28, 2021

Picasso, Cocteau, Di Chirico and Matisse; I see all these great artists’ influence in Florence Bamberger‘s work. Let’s begin with her name, because it’s fantastic. FLORENCE BAMBERGER. And the whimsical illustrations she’s produced for fashion titans like Hermès and Givenchy. She designs rugs and wallpaper, and most recently, has discovered ceramics. Her vases are truly fabulous, and just the kind of colourful, eccentric approach I am drawn to. It’s hard to imagine that these were ever lumps of mud.

around and around

April 27, 2021

Kings of British jellies, BOMPAS & PARR.

The extraordinary home of AXEL VERVOORDT.

AGNES VARDA dressed as an ivy bush.

Summer florals by CHRISTIAN WIJNANTS.

JESSIE FRENCH’s algae based bioplasic vessels.

CECIL TOUCHON’s abstract collages.

CHARLES-ANTOINE CHAPPUIS’ vases made from reclaimed linens and yarns. (They can be turned upside down and hold water at both ends!)

hands down

April 26, 2021

While browsing through garden designer, Jinny Blom‘s website today, I came across a most unusual, and quite lovely page of hands. Instead of traditional staff portraits, like most companies provide, Blom has invited her team to share images of their hands. Designer, Laura Diggens holds on to a climbing vine, while landscape architect, Daniel Ridgway places a single hand on a giant palm. Blom’s is my favourite; an antique solitaire shimmers against the veins of a huge leaf.

Full of Grace

April 23, 2021

“I’ve always loved redheads” wrote the flame haired Vogue veteran, Grace Coddington on the eve of her 80th Birthday this week. “Hair is my thing. I like it big. Very big and very red.” On that raw instinct that’s kept her at the top of her game for over six decades, “I’m sure the reason some of those Vogue shoots from the 1970s and ’80s still have something modern about them is that, despite the romance or fantasy in them, they are all rooted in human reality.” I’ve always loved her Alice in Wonderland themed shoot with Natalia Vodianova, and anything she creates with Tim Walker blows my mind. Shoots with her fellow red, Karen Elson are pitch perfect. “Never underestimate how much an editor loves to see herself in her photographs.” What advice would Coddington like to give: “To be patient, to be tolerant and to not fritter away your creativity by looking at a screen. A screen can open your eyes to a lot of wonderful things that you wouldn’t normally have access to, but mostly it’s not real. Look out of your window, because that is reality. When it comes to making an important photograph, reality is the greatest place to start.”

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