Saturday, April 16, 2011

Timorous Beasties

Indulge me. I know that this is at least the third time I've addressed the topic of toile (and insects for that matter) but I promise this will be different.

In this morning's Financial Times there is a wonderful how to spend it Special Interiors Section that had a sidebar on the Glasgow design firm Timorous Beasties. Founded in 1990 by Alistair McCauley and Paul Simmons who studied textile design at Glasgow School of Art, Timorous Beasties was once described as, "William Morris on acid." The name TB comes from the Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse" (pronounced 'moose") and edgy in their creations. From their website:

At first glance it looks like one of the magnificent vistas portrayed on early 1800s Toile de Jouy wallpaper, but closer inspection reveals a nightmarish vision of contemporary Glasgow where crack addicts, prostitutes and the homeless are depicted against a forbidding backdrop of dilapidated tower blocks and scavenging seagulls.

The Glasgow Toile above and the London Toile below.

Which brings me to their insects. Insects have long been used in traditional design. Here are two from the TB line of fabrics: the Napoleon Bee and The Moth.

Check out Nice Legs, below. Wouldn't you love to have a duvet covered in this pattern? Maybe not a table cloth.

And finally Stripey Legs.

The image at top is Leaf.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Gleena -- Wedding Season is Upon Us . . . .

Recently I stumbled upon this delicate looking line of hand-made porcelain called Gleena.

Gleena (which means clay in Russian) is the work of Asya Palatova a graphic designer turned ceramicist with an MFA from RISD. The graphic designer is present in certain types of pieces such as the wedding bowls below. You can also ask for similar set as baby gifts. There are also objects with great calligraphy. You can see more on her Etsy shop here. Palatova works out of her studio in Pawtucket, RI.

It's her nature motifs that I am most drawn to. I would love to see more insects.

While the porcelain looks and feels delicate, it's actually extremely durable. I love her palette. These are colors I could look at every day. Actually, I already do.


Monday, January 10, 2011

"The King's Speech" -- via The New Victorian Ruralist

One blog I check at least once a week is The New Victorian Ruralist written by James Snowden of Lexington, KY.

He recently wrote about a post about the movie "The King's Speech" and it expresses my feelings exactly. Do check it out and tell him what you think. I will see it again just to savor the colors and textures.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sol LeWitt still gives -- The Shul print

December immediately brings to mind giving.

The late Sol LeWitt was an active member of the Chester community. He was extremely generous to so many people. When I visited the Chester Gallery recently (one day they will have a website) owner Sosse Baker showed me the "Shul print." The Chester Gallery is selling a limited edition (175) print framed or un-framed. Proceeds will benefit Congregation Beth Shalom the synagogue in Chester that Sol was instrument in designing. Please note that the photograph doesn't quite do it justice.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Dalton Ghetti -- Graphite Guy

On a recent visit to the New Britain Museum of American Art I came upon three framed pieces of Dalton Ghetti's amazing carved pencils.

The focus of the visit was to see the Escher exhibit (which was fascinating) after which we decided to look at the contemporary art galleries. Poking around, I was surprised to see Ghetti's work. I ran to my friend all most yelling. "He's here, the pencil guy!" Fortunately good friends usually understand my distinctly ridiculous stringing together of words when I am excited. My friend Sosse Baker of the Chester Gallery loves all things pencil and in August she sent me a bunch of his images. They are literally mind-bending. You'll see what I mean when you get to the final image.

Brazilian born Dalton Ghetti is a Bridgeport (CT) artist who has spent years carving magnificent miniature masterpieces on graphite pencils. His tools consist of a razor blade, sewing needle and a sculpting knife. The process is extremely slow; pieces can take years to complete, but they can also break while being worked. In the event a piece must be scrapped Ghetti keeps it and places it in a sort of broken object cemetery. What struck me when viewing the life-size framed pieces -- having only seen images on the computer -- was that they are really small. The "Alphabet" below gives you a hint of the actual size.

They are not for sale. But . . .

He would love to do a gallery show in London if his travel expenses were included.

Love it.

This last one demands serious consideration.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vittorio Constantini -- Glass Artista

Departures Magazine most recent issue is devoted to the city of Venice and gives a shout out to one of the most amazing glass artists, Vittorio Constantini.

I visited his studio a few years ago. It's tiny and not easy to find, but it is heaven. If you ask for direction from Piazza San Marco, you will be told to take a vaporetto, but don't. Look at Googlemaps; it's really a very short walk. And you probably will get lost. If your heart is set on seeing him, call ahead. He's busy, he travels. I think he visits the States at least once a year. Some of his work is at Harvard with their magnificent
Blaschka glass flowers.

He had been represented by a gallery in Nantucket, but I do not recall its name. My love of bugs and fish brought me to him. Here is a link to a bunch of great videos.


Bees and honey are glass.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paper Artist -- Anna-Wili Highfield

For the past few days I've been making repeat visits to the website of artist Anna-Wili Highfield.

Anna is a young Australian artist who, while pregnant with her first child, took paper, watercolors and thread and began making decorations for the nursery. She paints archival cotton paper, tears it and gets to work sewing. The piece above is "Budgerigar in a Bell Jar".

Love the shadow of the "Magpie" above. If you visit her website you can expand the images. When you do, you'll be able to see the actual stitching. "Turtle" really shows some large basting sort of stitches.

I wonder if the (presumably heavy) watercolor paper moves when there is a draft? It could be very dramatic if the owl's wings began to move!