Monthly Archives

November 2009

Arts + Crafts

Polish Paper Chandeliers

November 6, 2009

Good morning friends! Today I have a few artists to share with you, another fabulous photographer and a shop tour of a favorite blogger of mine who happens to be a seriously talented interior designer with a gorgeous shop in addition to her blog — so stay tuned for that. First up is a little something I’ve been spotting around the web and they’re referred to as Polish paper chandeliers, mobiles, and Pajaki. Have you also noticed these beauties?

Polish Paper Chandeliers

The first time that I heard of them in the online craft community was when Laura Normandin of WREN handmade talked about them on her blog. Above is the photo that she took of one purchased at a Polish Art Center in Michigan made out of tissue paper. In Polish they seem to be called Pajaki Polish Paper Chandelierswhich translated to English means something like spiders of straw and so I’m guessing it has to do with its web-like patterning. Pajaki are typically made out of crepe paper and wool. You can learn more about them below. Want to see a few more?

Polish Paper Chandeliers

Inspired by her find, Laura tapped into her creativity and talent and made her very own paper chandelier since her husband’s family is Polish and she wanted to present one as a present to his aunt. Here is Laura’s translation of what she found above. Isn’t it magical to view such examples of how a creative mind translates what they see into a new creation unique to them? Let’s view another example of this by a second Brooklyn-based designer.

Polish Paper Chandeliers

Inspired by Laura’s modern translation of the Pajaki, Lena Corwin created some for a recent show that she curated. Again, another spin to the Polish paper chandelier that looks and feels uniquely Lena. But wait, I have another to share from one last artist who I found out also makes them.

Polish Paper Chandeliers

This one was made by The Small Object. I’m not sure if she was inspired by the artists above, or if it was simply coincidence, but no matter… hers is stunning and very detailed, too. I especially love how she placed tiny white paper flowers at the end of each strand.

The Polish Art Center website has this to say about these beautiful works of art, “Located 90 kilometers from Warsaw the town of Lowicz and surrounding villages comprise the center of what many consider to be Poland’s most colorful folk region. A typical village house from this area was full of colored flower paintings, fancy paper cut-outs and mobiles made of straw and colored paper. The mobiles or pajaki are delicate creations hand made by the women and girls of the villages as decorations for their homes. The finest examples of this folk art from the 19th and 20th centuries can be found in the local museum located in the town square. As Poland continues on the path to modernize the country the number of folk artists grows smaller. Our selection represents the finest examples of the older generation still practicing their craft.” Here are a few that they sell online below in case you’d like to see more of the traditional styles. Looking up from below, you can clearly see the web-like design which better explains their name.

Polish Paper Chandeliers

Aren’t you feeling a bit inspired now to make one for yourself? Though the traditional ones are stunning (shown above), I feel more drawn to those made by the talented ladies I’ve featured here because they are a bit more modern and less ornate. What do you think? They would be beautiful for a party at home, or in a kids room or even as a window display in a shop? So festive and fun!

If you like folk art, you may also want to research the Polish paper cutout art called Wycinanki primary found in two parts of the country: Lowicz and Kurpie. It’s very intricate and beautiful and much like the intricate German paper cutting design called Scherenschnitte, which I’m learning about currently as I’m fascinated by lots of the Swiss and German art of paper cutting. My aunt, before losing her to illness, was a fine artist and a Waldoff school teacher who also taught at an art school in Denmark. Having lived in Russia, South America, the U.S., Austria and Spain, she not only learned Russian and Spanish fluently, but studied art and design in these countries applying lots of traditional techniques to her work. As a child, she sent me many of her creations as gifts – and they fascinated me because I lived in South Carolina with very little exposure to the outside world in my small coastal community. The boxes that would arrive with her beautiful works inside along with pretty stamps on the packages from foreign destinations, set in me at an early age this desire to see the world and learn more about art and design. I’m saying this because if you are a mother, or an aunt, or anyone who has the chance to influence a child — I strongly encourage you to share things with them things that aren’t necessarily mainstream craft — share what they’re not exposed to on a daily basis because I believe this inspired curiosity in me and helped to develop my own creative mind further and it has made my life so rich. With my mother crafting, decorating, hanging her oil paintings all over the house, and making all of my clothing as a child I was also inspired to explore arts and crafts from a very early age by her as well.

While I’m not sure if learning about art and design and exploring the traditional works of other cultures makes you a better or even happier person, I do believe that it helps to connect us with others and can cause a greater respect and appreciation for their heritage and even their world views through their crafts (as a good part of traditional hand work stems from cultural beliefs, religious and other). This can also create sense of harmony between cultures. There is so much prejudice out there but barriers can be broken through education and understanding. Often prejudices aren’t based on anything real — just a passed down perception from peers and even family members — and if altered somehow and one is taught more about a specific culture then prejudices can be broken. So, I guess in the end, learning about art and design does make us a little happier because when there is harmony and peace, there is joy.

(images: linked to their sources above)

uncategorized

Talk It Out: Should I Remove a Blog Post?

November 5, 2009

After my bloggy blog was down for several hours today, I felt a bit disconnected from you and eager to come back and write since I’m not one to stay away for long! So how is everyone out there in blogland today? As I’m typing this post, I’m watching the MTV EMA music awards live in Berlin, which is a bit surreal to be living so close to Berlin knowing all that is going on so close by — but also that it’s the 20th year now after the wall fell which is why MTV selected Berlin as the host city for the awards this year. I just made a chai latte so I’d have enough sugar in me to blog since it’s 11 pm here now! But I’m energized and ready to write! So… let’s throw out the question of the week for the new decor8 column, Talk It Out…. shall we? This question is rather interesting and was sent in by blogger Trina Brandon from Decor Addict.

Talk It Out: Should I Remove a Blog Post?

“Just over a year ago, I visited a store and met with the owner, interviewed him, and of course blogged about it. I absolutely LOVE the store, and everything in it. But, a problem with the store has arisen in the past 6 months or so, I have been receiving emails from countless amounts of readers saying that they visited the store, and when ordering/buying from the shops custom furniture line, they have yet to receive any of their goods. Many customers of the store are now taking him to court for goods not received/fraud, etc. The store owner is cashing deposit cheques, not returning phone calls, and not following through with any delivery promises either. I have been asked by many of my readers to remove my “glowing” review of the store, which I have now done, as I don’t want to lose readers, or upset them either. I haven’t myself experienced anything negative with this store in the past, fortunately, but I have received enough negative feedback from my reader’s to warrant removal.”

“Just wondering if you have experienced this in the past? And if you think, or the decor8 readers out there think this was the right thing to do? What about other bloggers, what would you do in my shoes? “

(image: holly becker for decor8)


Arts + Crafts

Inspired By: Lobster & Swan

November 5, 2009

There’s a certain calm and curiosity that washes over me whenever I look at the Flickr photo stream of Lobster & Swan. I just love her shop too, maker and photographer Jeska Hearne is such a treasure to have in the independent art & design community. I hope she realizes that, but if not perhaps this post and will your comments of support will remind her. I think it’s important to regularly toot the horn of those who positively impact the way we live and see the world. It’s important because these are the same ones who have a tendency to feel drained at times, like they’re constantly inspiring others but in turn who are inspiring them? And do others care about all they are doing to share intimate parts of their world?

Inspired By: Lobster & Swan

Creative types like Jeska have personally helped me to not be so focused on the pursuit of perfectionism and to take more pride in the little things, which I neglected to do as a young adult and striving to be perfect held me back many years ago. Looking upon that time in my life, I see clearly why this was the case: I was in a crowd of friends that were extremely competitive. The companions we keep as children, but equally important as adults, make a huge impact on how we see our own life and work and how critically (or not) we judge ourselves. Even in the online world, we are associating with so many on a daily basis – it’s important for me to be in circles where I do not feel an undercurrent of jealousy or competition but a feeling of support and encouragement. I’ve had those feelings with some in the past and I had to walk away and pursue other friendships, not because I didn’t like or appreciate the person but because I sensed they were trying to compete with me more than aiming to create something personal and important to them. Many artists and designers who have found supportive circles online tend to thrive and magic happens. And this is the kind of magic that I want to naturally occur in my life and the magic I feel when I visit blogs like Lobster & Swan.

Inspired By: Lobster & Swan

I love her paper garlands, photographs, and pretty inspirational things on a string that you can display in your home on a fireplace mantle or over your desk perhaps. In addition to the pretty things that Jeska makes, I love the things that she takes — in the form of memories captured on film — which she posts on her blog that continuously inspire me and so many of her fans. I enjoy her relaxed and cozy design sensibility – no frills and naturally beautiful. It’s the supermodel without layers of makeup, hanging out in her crumpled t-shirt and worn out jeans with a favorite cardigan and a mug of hot cocoa in hand. Disheveled perfection. :)

Inspired By: Lobster & Swan

Inspired By: Lobster & Swan

Jeska also maintains a second blog, Record The Day, that is equally drool-inducing where she takes clippings from magazines and such and puts them together on small pieces of paper as a collage of inspirations. I do something similar, in the folders that I create, but now I’m thinking I should try creating them weekly in smaller format and posting them online somewhere. Hmmm. Well inspiration should motivate action sometimes, right? What is the point of simply feeling inspired if nothing becomes from at least some of those feelings? Perhaps I’ll give it a go.

(photos: Jeska Hearne)

Shop Tours, Travel

Shop Tour: Lark

November 4, 2009

It is time for another gorgeous shop tour with tons of photos with many little things to study! Ready to take a moment out of your busy day to go on a little shopping trip with me? Today you’ll meet Allison Jones, owner of Lark in Daylesford, a small country town in Australia near Melbourne. Allison opened up shop only one month ago and so this is an exclusive peek at her gorgeous wares. Allison selected her shop name because, “It means joy, fun, a happy song. It’s a very light-hearted word. Also my baby boy was always waking up so early, so I was forced into becoming a Lark even though I am naturally a Night Owl!”, she says.

Shop Tour: Lark

Lark carries their our own range of knitted toys and handmade accessories, plus homewares, stationery, totes, t-shirts and paper products. When I look at her shop it almost reminds me of a blog brought to life because she carries so many independent brands that you wouldn’t typically find if you were out buying at a trade show. This makes the whole Lark experience for someone living in Daylesford so very unique. For example you can find art prints by London’s Belle & Boo. In addition to small companies, Allison carries Japanese zakka and books, picnic sets from Danish label Rice, handmade children’s clothing, craft kits, zines and handcrafted products from Australian designers including Beci Orpin, Victoria Mason, Betty Jo, Little Shop Of and Twiglet. I asked Allison a few questions about her store and I’ve included her comments below with more deicious photographs.

Shop Tour: Lark

Why did you open a storefront? We started with an online shop, but I felt that it was missing something, I really wanted to meet our customers and for them to see how all of the things that we choose could work together in a space. We moved to Daylesford as a young family three years ago and it’s where we live and work so I jumped at the chance to open a shop when an old factory building came up for lease in the centre of town. It looked a bit ugly but I had just returned from a trip to Tokyo and been impressed by these amazing boutiques like the Jeu de Paumes shop and gallery, tucked away in unlikely buildings, so I knew I could make it look pretty. We could have opened our shop in the city rather than the country, but Melbourne already has so many amazing shops whereas here, people are surprised when they come across us, we’re like a huge burst of colour and craftiness, a fresh, young shop that you would not perhaps expect in a small country town. And Daylesford is a favourite weekend destination for people from the city because of its mineral spas and beautiful scenery, so we do get a lot of visitors coming through anyway.

What feelings would you like for your customers to have when they enter Lark? I hope that visitors feel welcome, surprised, a little excited, nostalgic and happy.

Do you have any perks to lure in new customers and to keep current ones? We have a store newsletter, shopping nights and free goodie bags to tempt customers. We also run a fundraising scheme with our local creche. But mostly customers return because we always have fresh new things to entice them!

Ummm a creche? What is that? Oh, it’s a community childcare centre or kindergarten! We have a great one locally, and whenever the parents come into the shop and buy something the centre gets a percentage.

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

What future plans do you have for Lark? I would really love to open a cute tea shop inside Lark, serving classic Australian cakes like lamingtons, yoyos, and lots of different slices inspired by the CWA (Country Women’s Association). But I think we will need bigger premises for this!

Do you also have an online shop? Yes, right here.

How do you find the products that you carry? I organise a local makers’ market, so I have a lot of contact with crafters and makers from our area, there are some very talented people around here. The Australian website Made It is also a great source. When I want to look further afield, my main inspiration comes from blogs, Etsy, and my travels around Europe and Japan.

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

Shop Tour: Lark

Are you accepting new artists and designers and if so, if someone reading has a product that may fit your aesthetic, can they contact you? Certainly! Just this week I received in the mail a gorgeous brooch from a designer in Sydney who had read about our shop on my blog, and we are going to be stocking them very soon.

Thank you so much Allison for touring us of your exquisite and charming shop! All the best in your new business venture, I see a tea room in your future for sure. ;)

(photos: Rohan Anderson)

Books + Magazines

Appliqué Your Way

November 4, 2009

I’m so excited to share this news with you today, in fact I couldn’t wait until my copy of Appliqué Your Way arrived for this very reason! If you flip it over you’ll read my praises on the back of Katie Terry’s beautiful new book. Thank you so much Kayte for asking me to be a part of this, I’m honored. And in addition to the projects, the photography is gorgeous and were taken by the extremely talented Jennifer Causey.

Appliqué Your Way

Appliqué Your Way

Appliqué Your Way

I started following Kayte’s work through her blog years back, then I met her in person at a craft fair in Brooklyn back in ’07 and instantly felt a creative connection — she is talented and very humble about it, which I appreciate so much because even in the craft world there can be snobs.  After meeting, Kayte and I worked on a project for a magazine shoot and so I felt confident in supplying a quote for that reason — I felt like I was in the position to give it since I knew her work a little more personally from that experience. Again Kayte, thank you for including me.

If you want a super inspiring, beautiful book all about the art of appliqué — then this book is for you. There are so many things you can embellish in your home including pillows, tea towels, handbags and clothing that you’ll most likely go on a appliqué spree! I can’t wait to try out a few of her ideas. Yay!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Objects

AphroChic

November 4, 2009

This is one seriously classy line of pillows. I’ve been crushing on the designs of AphroChic lately, and in case you haven’t heard of the collection yet consider today your lucky day! Jeanine Hays is the founder and creative director behind AphroChic and her Dreamland pillow collection is just great — modern and soulful. The colors and patterns are vibrant with tons of personality but also high quality and eco-friendly produced from 100% natural fabrics like Belgian linen, cotton and silk. My favorite: the yellow and white haze pattern – beautiful!

AphroChic

AphroChic

AphroChic

And don’t miss this… Jeanine authors a fantastic blog where she blogs about her life and inspirations, you simply must check it out (it’s blog of the week!).

(photography: Patrick Cline.Model: Maryse Weekes.)

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