Saturday, December 17, 2011

High-Tech vs. Low -Tech...

I received an email a few days after Thanksgiving from Sinopia Pigments. This was just after "black Friday" and their opening line was-
"Now that you have taken care of your high-tech cyber Monday gift shopping, its time for your low-tech artists on your lists..."

This really stuck in my head and I thought about it for several days...I had been struggling over the decision to purchase an iPad or similar tech gadget. I really enjoy my MacBook computer and 4s iPhone and thought it would be nice to add an iPad to the family.  I thought I could justify the purchase to make choices easier for my clients.

But that Sinopia ad kept playing over and over in my mind...."low-tech artists.."
High -tech gadgets or low-tech tools...which direction is best for me?


First things first, I published a new book of updated work for clients to view. I have found that on initial meetings with prospective clients, they can be overwhelmed with the 9000+ photos on my computer! 

They love looking at photos on an electronic screen, but this is like looking at a magazine...there is not always a  personal connection.

They want something they can hold and touch. They respond well to a book! This is the first thing I give someone to look at. It has enough photos that they can see my style and then, if needed, the computer can provide other, more specific shots.

So, for now, no iPad in my future. Just a new self published book through Apple and my three year old MacBook to drag around. High- tech or low- tech...I think artists still lean to a simpler, old- tech style.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Wonderful Collaboration!!

I have a weakness for hand painted ceramics done in true Italian style....
Gina of Art and Alfalfa is my weekly "fix"for photos of beautiful painted ceramics! She is a gifted artist that lives in the middle of an alfalfa field in Utah.

Gina creates beautiful ceramics and conducts workshops for students wanting to learn the ancient craft. She recently had some of her work displayed at the Springville Museum of Art! I was immediately drawn to the large platter she did. Gina sells her work through etsy and I signed up for a platter to be painted.

A design was chosen for inspiration. Several things were" tweeked", a reference to the Medici family, my family initial and some "artistic interpretation".

My armorial  plate was painted, fired and re-fired  again with gold and sent to me! What to put on it? What about my marzipan fruit from Bologna, Italy that was brought back so carefully?

Or maybe some salted caramel cookies with sugared fruit jellies?  What? Did your eagle eye spot some differences in the two photos? There was a flaw from the firing of the first plate, so, I ended up with TWO! How lucky am I?

How does my new Italian serving set look with them? Pretty fantastic, I think! I picked them up at an estate sale this week!

I just love that each time I received a plate, it came with a lovely letter from Gina on her custom stationary!

These plates are the perfect size for entertaining or displaying on a shelf.

And her colophon on the back makes them very special to me! Thank you so much Gina!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Flea Market Finds.....

With the holidays upon us, I hit the road today to attend a nearby flea market. This market is quite large and just as diverse with everything from almost edible potpourri......

to Santa Claus!

Lots of architectural salvage to dig through......

and way too many cute doggies to distract me!

One booth had acres of fauxed wooden plaques that they would personalize on the spot with your name or favorite quote.

But what really caught my eye were these french linen night shirts.

Their detailing with all those pleats and hand stitching! I had seen these at the Alameda flea market in San Francisco and regretted not getting one. This time, I would not let one get away!
These linens are also known for their perfectly stitched initials, always in red; located somewhere on the garment. Here is a little history behind the stitches-

The trousseau was often comprised of numerous sheets (twelve was common for a wealthy family), numerous dish towels, hand towels, napkins and tablecloths patiently and meticulously embroidered. To mark these linens with one’s initials was an inherent part of every young girl’s education. And in fact the sampler, or “abcdaire,” was the pride of each little girl who arrived in the adult world. On a swath of cloth, she embroidered in needlepoint the letters of the alphabet as well as the numbers from zero to nine. The initialled letters of the “marquoir,” or the family stamp, were always “blood red,” a symbolic reference of the young girl’s destiny as a woman. Why red? Because red was also a strong and durable dye, resistant to multiple launderings and one that could be easily seen. Before the era of chemistry the colorant widely used was “common madder,” or “rubia tinctorum.” Common madder belongs to the vast plant world family of rubiaceae, quite a remarkable family in that it also includes the plants that produce coffee beans and quinine. A perennial plant, common madder has evergreen leaves, tiny yellow/white flowers and reddish black pea-sized berries. However, it’s in the roots that the pigment is found that is the source of the dye known today as alizarin. 
Unlike the refined art of embroidered linens, which was realised in white on white, the stitching of these red letters had a purely utilitarian role and was executed in a simple cross-hatched needlepoint. The letters served to organize sheets that were made in pairs of a top and bottom sheet, and next to these letters, small numbers were often also marked. These numbers were a kind of rank that allowed the sheets to be alternated equally between washings but they also served as a kind of accounting as the family linens had a very great value. And very often a young girl marked her linens with her own initials to distinguish these from those of her mother and grandmother. Sometimes too she inscribed the name of her town or village. (source)

Be sure and hit your local flea markets and gift shows this year and support your local craftspeople! Thanks to Tenny Roche' for her passion with antique textiles and her wonderful booth at Canton Trade Days!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where is the Door?

Last year, I had a job on a large the end of one of the many hallways was this bookcase.

After a few days of work, I discovered this was not just a bookcase, but an entrance to the wine cellar!

Sometimes, having an obvious door breaks up a composition or detracts from the overall room atmosphere.

Especially when murals are involved, a door can ruin the flow of the scene.

Continuing the design over the door allows the space to tell a complete story without any distractions...

Sometimes, it adds a little drama and mystery when the door is not obvious at first glance.

Keep this in mind when decorating. Sometimes it is better to hide the door within the room's composition. Hidden doors can be very dramatic! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

When White is Right...

One of my best clients decided to update their master bathroom.

They decided to go with a cleaner look and get rid of the original 1920's pink tile. A palette of classic black and white was chosen.

After the crew finished installing the new floor and half tiled walls, I came in and plastered the upper walls with a finish of smooth, clean white plaster .

The galley space now has an open feel, due to the white walls and ceiling. Using plaster instead of paint added richness to her neo- classical elements.

I love the juxtaposition of the smooth polished plaster against salvaged wood. The architectural pediment was made into a window treatment.

Voila! This bathroom still acknowledges the age and style of the home, but now offers  better use of space and design.

Sometimes, white is right! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's all in the fold!

In the chateau de Versailles, there is the salon of the Grand Couvert, part of the Queen's grand apartment(dining area for Marie Antoinette).

The rooms are very ornate , but those folded napkins are just amazing!

The lotus blossom is so exquisite....representing a time when meals were a ritual with much attention to detail.

No fast food foam cartons here! Just the lovely details of a formal dinner....tines down, of course! I urge you to slow down this week and enjoy a special meal. Buy some flowers, light a candle and fold your linen napkins in a clever shape! Remember, it is the celebration of the small things in daily life that really matter!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pillars of the Earth...

To quote Ken Follet, author of Pillars of the Earth-"...when things are simple, fewer mistakes are made. The most expensive part of a building is the mistakes"
The Minoan columns at Knossos were fairly simple in design, they did, however, reject tradition and reversed the equation making them smaller at the bottom and wider at the top to create the illusion of height.

The beautiful marble columns adorning St. Mark's Basilica in Venice were still fairly simple, they brought in variety by using marbles from all over the eastern Mediterranean and added elaborately carved capitols.


Throw some artisans into the equation and Ornamentation began to enter the scene.
The Duomo di Orvieto is an exuberant example of motif and carved ornamentation including the use of  rococo  based solomonic columns.


These carved columns from the Monreale Cathedral in Sicily are reminiscent of the moorish columns at Alhambra.

The next evolution of the column came through the introduction of caryatids.  Caryatid is defined as a support taking the place of a column. They began as female figures but later evolved to mythological supports.

"Proportion is the heart of beauty"-another quote from Pillars of the Earth and caryatids provided pleasing proportion to the exteriors of buildings.

Michael Hansmeyer has done some modern tweeks on the simple column using math to create beauty.


"Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural form. He is currently based in the CAAD group at ETH's architecture department in Zurich. He holds a MBA degree from Insead Fontainbleau as well as a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University. He previously worked with McKinsey & Company, J.P Morgan, and at Herzog & de Meuron architects."(source)

Math and art once again, provide the pleasing proportion that Follet wrote about. Simple or adorned, these pillars of the earth are all works of art!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Macabre Art...Revisited

Last year for Halloween, I did a post on ossuary art-macabre at  its best! During the plague, there were so many dead, they could not all be buried and the bones became an issue.

Near Prague, the Sedlec ossuary is a macabre display of human bones in decorative use.

Bones from the bubonic plague and later wars now decorate the walls of the ossuary.

...and ceilings

...and niches of the Sedlec chapel.

I think it was a dignified way to handle the situation. There is beauty and symmetry in the human form and the skeletal system.

Beauty...and art, can be found in many unexpected places! Happy Halloween!

Related Posts with Thumbnails