Monday, May 30

le coup de foundre part II: indulgent daydreams

View of our house looking back from the garden.
Original post and rail fence from early 1900's (although the house is actually groovy 1970's mudbrick).

So back to our house again. I never get tired of it. I love visiting it here again and again even though it's so far away. The rental agent just sent through a routine property inspection report - with photos! which started up some serious daydreaming all over again. Like how it might look one day with a different coat of paint. Right now it's painted in a natural ochre, which is a lovely and subdued choice for mudbricks, but I prefer some drama in stark blacks or whites with a bright red or yellow door. Here are some dreamt up before and afters.

More wide open spaces. The oval next door. The corridor of trees behind the goal post forms the border to our garden. Big sky, tall trees, lots of space = no words to describe actually.

Tom surveying the vista outside our house in May last year. These are our incredibly large elm trees.
I picked one of these leaves on first viewing as a kind of hopeful good luck charm that we might one day live here. I still have it squashed between the pages of all the sales paperwork.

The house in May last year on the viewing trip. Beautiful dappled autumnal light. The house is actually three storey, with the third being the attic. It has quite a pitched A-frame roof. I would love to turn the entire front facade into glass like this house. Or failing that add on a spectacular glass viewing box. Actually any of these windows would do. Gee ,I'm really not fussy at all.

 Another saved image {via the little big house}
This is the exact same shape of our house so it is easy to imagine our house painted white............ 

Or painted black........ {via theselby}

....or in white again.... 

Back to black with stark white trimmings at artessen

and with a bright red door too!
 Derek Saunder's barn via abbey via simple lovely

Having it both ways if I can't decide. Black and White looks great here

Or blended into my favorite shade of weathered grey by architect Annabelle Selldorf

A little darker here

Suddenly got all lovey dovey in these last pictures.
But you gotta take inspiration where you find it

here via 100 Layer Cake (thanks Christina and Mark)

However for me, black with stark white trimmings will always win out. Again, don't know why these last images suddenly crossed over into wedding territory but the one above is a great illustration of how a simple black and white contrast can pack a powerful punch. Incidently, this is an amazing wedding that took place in Iceland! (Wondering completely off topic but 100 Layer Cake is a great site. Although it's a DIY wedding planner resource, it's a great place for party planning in general, not to mention getting to look at all sorts of  fantastic places and settings people get married in. If someone was planning a wedding this is where I'd go).

Thursday, May 26

Feeling a little deflated but trying to Love the Future

Back to reality this week. My gorgeous friend Maddy has returned home (and taken back all the holiday cheer she arrived with); work is especially hectic at the moment; I miss my mum (and feel slightly homesick); and I just discovered that this amazing artist has been put in detention for no good reason. 
Three good reasons to feel uninspired and flat this week.

 Detroit based artist Tracey Tilley here

International governments, human rights groups and art institutions (like The Tate Modern, London, above) have called for Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's release. You can read more about Ai here or at ye olde faithful friend (for lazy linkers) here ...........Ai's accountant, studio partner, driver and assistant all disappeared around the time of his arrest and remain missing (all thought to be connected to Ai's detainment).
More here at the official Free Ai Weiwei dot org

Sunflower Seeds sculpture, Ai Weiwei, The Tate Modern, London 12th October, 2010 - 10th May, 2011

Made up of 100 million hand made porcelain sunflower seeds (yes 100 million!), visitors could frolic, play, rest and truly interact with this fantastic installation. Imagine the lovely crunching sounds this incredible porcelain carpet would have made underfoot.

Sunflower Seeds is made up of millions of small works, each apparently identical, but actually unique. However realistic they may seem, these life-sized sunflower seed husks are in fact intricately hand-crafted in porcelain. Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape.  
(taken from The Tate Modern blurb)

Visitors at The Lisson Gallery, London also appeal for his release.

Ai Weiwei was arrested by Chinese authorities on April 3rd, 2011. Police detained him for weeks without laying any official charges. He was finally charged (with tax evasion) 49 days after his arrest, thought to be an unfounded excuse to silence his criticism of the government (which you can read more about here)
The artist had remained uncontactable and his whereabouts unknown, for 6 whole weeks. Finally, on May 15th, Ai's wife, Lu Qing was briefly allowed to meet him, 'for a short while'. Politics aside, what a sad and upsetting story. How desperate, how depressing would it be to endure a forced separation from a loved one with so much uncertainty. For balance, here is one Chinese diplomat's defense of the arrest. See I'm fair!

Ai Weiwei with his Sunflower seeds. Wow! I am in awe of 100,000,000 porcelain kernels.

To rally citizens to protest the detention of Ai Weiwei, online commentators have taken up the slogan "Love the Future," (爱未来) which both resembles and sounds similar to Ai's name (艾未未) (here and here)

Love the Future is a great slogan and while I am feeling a bit like a deflated balloon found at the end of the party (when all the guests have gone home and it's time to clean up), it's a nice phrase to focus on - a slogan of hopefulness.You are in my thoughts, Ai Weiwei.
(You can go here if you would like to petition the Chinese Ministry of Culture)

Monday, May 23

Luminosity and immaculate construction

Neon luminance via here 

 All images Givenchy S/S 2011 Couture here and here
Apparently, one of these outfits alone required 2000 hours of cutting and 4000 hours of sewing.
I guess that's why they call it couture (and also why I can't afford it).
I love the unexpected neon flashes of citrus limes, orange and raspberries.
And I also love the setting, similar(ish) to my favorite room.
Remember when Cate Blanchett wore the dress above to the 2011 Academy Awards?
It caused such a stir she had to defend her choice by saying 'If People Get It, They Get It'.
Cate, I get it! Every single dress is astonishing.

Friday, May 20

Blogging, Gratitude and Mentoring: The Mutual Appreciation Society Part II

Light, bright, stunning and warm. Living room of Marion House Book here

In many ways I feel like I have been blogging for a long time already. I have been filling scrap books and folders full of images and ideas for years, all versions of of my current blog posts.
  Nothing has really changed except the format. 
And the need for glue, scrap books, scissors and plastic envelope sleeves.  

Object no.16 here in 52 Objects Project        

So it was like manna from heaven when all the design and fashion blogs started 
popping up. I got to move some of my operations out of overstuffed folders
 in book shelves and into desktop versions on my laptop.

An epicurean disposition in the Marion Street House here

Of course the other obvious difference, is that these catalogues are now shared with people other than just my mother, some friends and an occasional builder or cabinet maker. While that is incredibly exciting, it’s also quite bewildering and daunting. On the one hand, Catalogued Life felt like the most natural thing in the world, but on the other, I felt a little lost. I could almost hear the choir of chirping crickets as I hit the publish post button. Does anyone else ever feel like this?

Marion Street House Function and Beauty here

I guess I felt alone and in need of some kind of feedback. I knew I wanted to blog, my blog started going but I didn't really know where it was going. So I reached out to other bloggers, blogs I read and admired. I just wanted to touch base, you know? It felt like an act of kind of willing myself to go in the right direction. 

Marion House Book's great anaglypta painted wallpaper here

Every single image here comes from Emma's extraordinarily warm and artistic home which she documents in The Marion House Book. It was wonderful to receive a lovely email back from Emma. She gave me some great practical advice at a time when I felt like I was flailing around in the deep end. I have no idea how much blog mentoring goes on out there, but as a newcomer it was wonderful to receive some constructive feedback (and encouragement!). And thank you also for giving Catalogued Life a vote of confidence last weekend, Emma. It was a lovely way to start the weekend!

Pretty/Perfect here

The Marion House Book is a daily read for me. Everything about it appeals. I love Emma’s informative, methodical, categorical and intellectual approach to art and design (and cooking!). She has put me on to many great things. Emma has a gift for really breaking down and exposing the anatomy and essence of great design. 
She always seems to be asking: just what is it that makes this space work?
 I really urge you go and visit because you will learn a lot.

lovely bedroom here

Here is a quick catalogue of some of my favourite posts:
Check out Emma's helpful guide to buying art  as well as her tips and tricks for hanging it! 
What about decluttering? And have you ever thought about why we keep certain objects and not others?  Or finding your style and then staying true to it? I love this story of an artwork too!

Thursday, May 19

A very lunar landscape: the Krakatoa trip in pictures

West Java Coast looking out to Krakatoa in the distance.

Our agenda mainly consisted of playing (check)

...and slowing down (check check)

...while the agenda for Slowing Down included massages....

 Sand castles...... 

 Beach soccer........

 And lots of sitting and looking......

 The Sitting and Looking Agenda consisted of preparing oneself to consume large amounts of seafood  (and sambal).... a firework and sparkler display.....

 ....and create our very own ring of fire! (courtesy of Leo)

However, this was all really just an entrée to the next day's serious business of volcanoes.

If you look closely at both of the images above you can see a trail in the shape of a V right in the middle.  Somehow, we hiked that trail and made it to the top of that first tier known as the outer rim. 

 Made it! Standing on the outer rim. 

At this moment, I felt frightened, exhilarated, breathless and brave. I couldn't believe I had made it!
I had felt like turning back a few times on the ascent and was glad I had talked myself out of it.
 The landscape up there was what I imagined the surface of the moon to look like. Or some planet that was barren and desolate with not a skerrick of any living thing. Not a blade of grass, not one small weed, not an ant - nothing. As a living being, I suddenly felt out of place. Like I was intruding. Or that I might look up in the sky and not be suprised to see it filled with 3 moons and a planet. I don't really know if it was because of the potent white sulfuric deposits but after a few moments I suddenly became aware that I was breathing very heavily. I was completely out of breath. Was I out of breath from the hike? Or out of breath from the fumes? Then I got hit by fear and suddenly felt really out of breath. All the way up there, on the outer rim, Anak Krakatoa suddenly felt edgy, unpredictable, skittish and strange. 
I felt an overwhelming urge to return to the bottom really quickly.
 This image doesn't really capture the steepness of the climb nor the geothermal heat radiating off the sand but this is where I kind of glided and skated all the way down to the bottom. The sand is incredibly soft so it was actually great fun to take flying leaps and huge strides in a skiing motion all the way down.

I did stop and take a few pictures though. 
This is the view on the way down Anak Krakatoa looking across to the original Krakatoa.
This image really demonstrates just how steep and vertical the climb is.
You can still see the huge crevices carved into the side of Krakatoa where the lava originally flowed in 1883. 
Silent and extinct and lacking in any fury, Krakatoa was happy to provide us with a place to moor, eat a simple lunch and swim & snorkel to our heart's content!

Content Hearts!