So! It’s the weekend and I’m officially signing off as I have an illustration exhibition to attend and a very messy china cabinet and closet to organize tomorrow! I also have tons of material to read – my subscription to Australian design magazine Real Living just arrived today, and the gorgeous German magazines Living & More and Living & More Country are here too. I can’t forget VTWonen from Yvonne, which she so nicely included in my order as a housewarming present. Combined, these mags really nail my aesthetic and I think many of yours too — cozy, nature-inspired, relaxed decor. I also have a pile of design books to consider for possible review, friends to visit, and I need to prep a few things for the arrival of our 82 boxes this coming week. Yup. All that stuff that I can’t remember packing…
I’ll be taking off a day or two next week to unpack and organize, so I’ll meet you back here on Monday and in the morning on Tuesday (for Etsy Take Five) but on Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be consumed in the task of unpacking and organizing my flat. If I find any of it at all blog worthy or inspiring in some way, I’ll certainly share it with you as I go. I can’t believe that between this post and today, my relocation is finally about to wrap up. I’m so, so happy and I can’t wait to get my printer, computer and everything else back – it took three months but I think having that time allowed me to settle in here with ease – I can’t imagine landing on fresh turf and having all that stuff arrive the same day or even the same month. There is so much to take in when you leave your country for a new one. And though I love it here and plan to stay for quite some time, I still have so many adjustments to make.
And on another topic… gee thanks you guys for opening up in the post about blog content. As a result, over 100 of you poured out your thoughts and feelings on the topic and it left me feeling really proud of all of us in this community of bloggers who so passionately and openly share bits of our world with one another. As a result, I will have a weekly column starting on Thursday, November 5th called, “Talk It Out” and each week I’ll take a question via email (send your question to me and I’ll try to answer as many as I can in the weeks to come) and I will post it on decor8 and we’ll talk it out. I’ll share my views and then, all of you can participate and hopefully we can continue to inspire, build, motivate and encourage our community of men and women online who are blogging and sharing. Sound good? When you send me a question, make sure it is one that you think would benefit not only you, but the community involved in the discussion.
What my weekend looks like. :)
For instance, questions pertaining to your blog specifically (like, “What should I change about my blog?”) won’t really work – but a question about an issue you’ve had, or a concern or anything else having to do with authoring a blog or having a small business may work. Perhaps you’ve wondered how bloggers find their material. Or maybe you’ve wondered how to get out of a creative rut. Maybe you need to know how to market your new shop, or anything else. Perhaps it’s related to an idea you had for your brick and mortar store and you wonder if it would work. Or you want to learn how to approach store owners with the things that you make. The questions can be on a variety of topics, I don’t mind, as long as they fit the overall theme of decor8: creative living, decorating (no room design tips will be given, however, so please do not send in photos) independent design, small business, blogging and community. I won’t assign the column to anyone else, nor will I ask anyone to participate in advance — it will be more of a community approach where we all are equals. We’ll ALL toss out our ideas and such to see where they land. I know other blogs have these kinds of columns in place but Talk It Out will be different because I’m going to personally answer each question and post it here so that you can answer it too and it will be our column.
See you on Monday! And send in your questions for Talk It Out, okay?
It’s always fun to hear from my peeps back home so when Jill Rosenwald told me about her studio and recent open gallery event, I was excited for her and to see her space. It’s very inspiring, often I find the process of something more fascinating than the end result though in this case, both process and finished product are equally lovely. Jill is a ceramicist, one I’ve told you about a few times before, who not only creates and sells to stores but also maintains an etsy shop. Here is a glimpse of her world, a day in the life of Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio located at 369 Congress Street in Boston — a studio for both Jill Rosenwald and her husband, Lawrence McRae.
Doesn’t this environment inspire you to make something? How about this weekend… if you can set aside time to make just one thing, why not give it a whirl? A cake, a small painting, a sketch, anything really…
(images: jill rosenwald)
I recently had a chat with Ioanna Paraskeva from the newly opened design shop in Cologne, CONTAIN Gallery, and thought I’d share our conversation with you since my goal is to spotlight more unique, independent and small galleries and stores out there. If you don’t know Ionnna, she is the wife of Markus Gogolin who is the founder of online design portal, DESIGNSPOTTER, also based in Germany. (Yes, they clearly have a thing for uppercase!) She has worked with him for three years thus far and was responsible for communications and marketing and co-organized three large shows at the International Furniture Fair imm cologne. Wow! These two live and breathe design!
Holly: Hello Ioanna and congrats on your new store. Quick first question to get us started today… how did you decide on the name?
Ioanna: I like the association of containing/comprehension/accommodation; at the same time a container protects precious goods and transports them from one place to another. That’s what I liked most: The idea that I wanted to form a physical location to show international pieces of design and transport their message and meta-ideas to the people around.
Holly: Okay, I get it. It’s part shop, part gallery. How do you define it?
Ioanna: A forum for young and modern design – this is CONTAIN Gallery’s mission statement. Alternating topical exhibitions, presenting international up-and-coming artists and their exclusive prototypes, progressive design concepts and limited editions. Carefully selected pieces will also be available in the Gallery Shop.
Holly: What gave you the idea to open a shop?
Ioanna: A step back is a step forward – Digitally dealing with design on a day-to-day basis led me to desire to give design talents and their products an opportunity to become permanently touchable and come alive in sophisticated surroundings. I took a conscious leap from a breathless digital world right into the decelerated, clear spaces in Cologne’s Aachener Str 29.
Holly: What goals do you have there (shows, workshops, etc.)?
Ioanna: My ultimate ambition is to discover young international design talents and newcomers who have big creative potential. I want to give them advance and claim them simultaneously. My main work as a curator is to cultivate contacts, to communicate in a target-orientated way and to multiply media attendance for the designers I represent. Also, I plan to participate in some exciting international art/design shows – but first of all I have to establish my location here in Cologne.
Holly: How do you plan to market your shop so that word gets around?
Ioanna: As I have a lot of experience in public relations and marketing and furthermore collected a huge amount of designer and press contacts within my work for DESIGNSPOTTER, I already started the PR tsunami :-)
Holly: Who are some of the designers that you currently feature?
Ioanna: Frank Plant (USA/Spain), Bram Geenen (The Netherlands), Zeitgeist Toys for KPM (Germany), Platform/Iker (UK/Poland), Design Apparat (Belgium), Stephan Roller (Germany) and Per Emanuelsson/Bastian Bischoff (Sweden). You can view them all here and read their profiles.
Holly: Why did you select these designers, what spoke to you about their work?
Ioanna: The current exhibition’s theme is „Utopie jetzt! or in English, utopia now!“ and is reflected in the creations of young international designers. Utopia is an idea of an allegedly refined society – contradicted by a cross-section of modern urban lifestyle and it occasionally collides with a constantly growing examination of one’s sensitivities and responsibilities. The scope of exhibited products reaches from Barcelona to Bulgaria, from vehement weapons to enlightened surveillance. What these products have in common are the juxtapositioning of realities. Manga figurines in golden and platinum hand-painted porcelain clothes; a super-sized Kalashnikov in admonishing red; a floor lamp with surveillance cameras as shiners. All these and lots of other exciting designs formulate an international interpretation of meaning, value and use. Objects and their meta-concepts float free, sometimes provocatively, sometimes ironically. In any case they animate the viewer to give some thought to own ideas on how to improve the world we live in.
Holly: Are you accepting new product submissions or do you prefer to approach artists and designers personally?
Ioanna: I am very open minded so anyone can feel free to contact me!
So nice to meet with you today Ioanna and to see your space – thank you for sharing it with us here on decor8!
(images: contain gallery)
Interior designer Maha recently talked about creative director and shop owner Niki Jones on her blog (here) and I fell instantly in love with this online store in Scotland. I love the ethnic prints and patterns and the strong contrasts, especially all of the white and black. Does white and black ever go out of style? It doesn’t seem to be the case, it’s such a classy, seductive palette. It’s good and evil brought together to form a passionate dance, one trying to lead, but neither succeeding because the balance is the beauty of their dance. That is why I think that the collection of Niki Jones is so stunning. And it’s not all about white and black, there are other colors brought in to add spice like purple and red. Those strong jewel tones that are so popular this time of the year.
So, who is Niki Jones you ask? Niki trained at the Scottish College of Textiles and the Royal College of Art in London before working at Habitat as textile designer and style coordinator. She then got into ceramics and worked as a design director at Wedgwood. Moving out of London, she went to Scotland where she started her own brand of household goods because she couldn’t find well designed and well crafted pieces that were special, online or even in London as she says that she, “became aware that there was a real lack of choice (in London) if you were looking for something a bit different and special.”
In her line, you can find Uzbek textiles, knitted and felted goods from countries like Iceland, furniture with bone inlay, mirrors, rugs, French antiques, optical patterns, embroidery and hand knotting – details she insists on and that give the home personality and style. I love that black silhouette chair, is that not stunning?
Okay and the kitty… I wish I could order that sweet little creature! :) Meowwww!
(images: niki jones)