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Caroline Swift

The other day I showed some fantastic painted spoons and many of you loved the idea to paint stainless steel with matte paint to use as  decorative objects in the home. Then, reader Leigha from Elle Oh commented about Caroline Swift and her gorgeous bone china spoons and of course, I had to learn more. Caroline studied industrial design in Scotland and spent nearly twenty years designing knitwear as head of knitwear design for Benetton which took her to England, Italy and New York City. During her travels and work there, she became curious about design in other areas such as ceramics and interiors. She was also interested in further exploring her culinary passions. What was she to do with all of this curiosity as an accomplished knitwear designer? While most wouldn’t take a risk after so many years in a secure role Caroline felt she was being called to explore her interests further… and she did.

caroline swift

Taking time off can help one to decide whether or not a newfound interest is fleeting or more grounded, so Caroline did just that. She paused and listened to what her authentic voice, the one we all have inside that you can only hear if you listen beyond the noise of the day-to-day. After her break, she went to England to develop concepts and ideas for a food book that she decided to take on. Then a challenge arose. She felt frustrated that she was unable to source the props she needed for her images, the ones she imagined in her mind’s eye and she thought more about this. Caroline spotted what she refers to as an, “intriguing relationship between food and tableware and how they influenced each other.” This led her to design her own line of tableware that is natural, pure, beautiful and that has integrity.

As you can see, one thing often leads to another. What you set out to do can change along the way. Allow the lack of something out there be a catalyst for you to drive change – perhaps if you don’t see something you can create it. Frustration, if channeled in a positive way, can lead to your next great adventure.

Caroline is now creating gorgeous ceramics, most of the work is unglazed to highlight the beauty of the bone china. About the process Caroline explains, “This is an uncompromising and time consuming choice as the pieces must be dry-sanded, at a very delicate stage, to an egg shell finish before being placed in the kiln for the final firing. Bone china is without exception the most challenging ceramic material to work with but it’s colour, beauty and strength after the final firing is unprecedented and allows it to be worked so thinly, whilst still retaining its strength.” Heart and soul clearly goes into her creations.

Clearly, her career change was a good one for her. Today she is producing her gorgeous work by hand out of her studio in Barcelona, Spain. I imagine that many stylists inquire about these gorgeous pieces because they would be perfect for magazines and books as props. Displaying and using them at home would be equally nice, I imagine them in my dining room and when I do, I smile. Not only because they are beautiful but because one women took a chance on her passions.

Owning a piece of Caroline’s work would inspire me to push ahead because I know her background and feel inspired by it. Shouldn’t some of the things in our home inspire us somehow? We cannot afford to buy everything handmade with a unique story, I know, but even a few pieces can go a long, long way. Isn’t this why we buy handmade in the first place, or at least from businesses that were started by people with traits we esteem – like good old-fashioned gumption — to inspire us? A beautiful home doesn’t mean simply aesthetically pleasing but should mean emotionally fulfilling as well. The objects we display can be so much more than pretty, they can be visual reminders of the values and dreams we hold most dear.

(images: caroline swift)

Posted in ceramics on January 19, 2011

Photographer Emily Anderson

I found some lovely interiors that have clean lines and are quite organized to inspire you today. Or perhaps I’m hoping to become inspired by them after spending 6 hours organizing the front four rooms of our apartment and it feels like the mess has only just begun! These gorgeous photographs are from the portfolio of photographer Emily Anderson, who specializes in weddings, and is based in New York City and will travel the world for her clients. I invite you to visit her site and see her many photos for yourself.

Photographer Emily Anderson

We have a floor-through unit in the city, it is around 2,300 square feet, with four rooms in the front, two in the middle along with two bathrooms and two small rooms for storage (one is my laundry closet), and three rooms in the back but that’s not all, there are also two wintergartens (three season porches you would call them in the states) and a balcony. I haven’t lived in a place this large since I was with my parents so I don’t know what to do exactly with all of this space yet but I’m sure I’ll get my groove on and figure it all out soon enough. I’m an expert at organizing small spaces and 1 bedroom apartments but I feel a bit like a goldfish in the ocean in here and I’m not sure exactly where to begin because there are so many rooms and options for storing things. But so far, so good — I am doing well and making progress. My new sofa arrived today after waiting for three months. Now I have to hunt for a sofa table. The sofa is a lovely color, it’s grey-brown and a very modern with slim metal legs — I’m happy with it. My husband and I selected it together, which was important to me that we make design decisions together in this space just as we did before in our New Hampshire home.

My white IKEA sofa is now in my sitting room, but I will retire it altogether when I find another to replace it because it was never meant to be with us for long and it isn’t good for my back. It was only used in our vacation apartment three months per year. I’m ready to let it go, it’s been good to us for three years but I’m ready to let someone else love it now. :)

Photographer Emily Anderson

What about you? Are you decorating or organizing your home lately? Are you seeing any changes in your color choices? I’m still a big fan of white, but I’m getting bored with my home looking like everyone else’s that I see these days so I want to be different and try some new ideas. I am feeling creative and ready to take on some new looks for my home while still being true to myself. And you? Where do you stand with your interiors lately? I believe that we evolve, and as we evolve, we have to allow our homes to evolve with us. Sure, you aren’t going to toss all of your furniture for a complete redux but you can work in some new pieces to reflect who you are today and that is often a good thing.

Remember to check out Emily Anderson’s site and I nearly forgot to tell you… she authors a lovely blog that you may enjoy browsing, too.
(images: emily anderson)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 18, 2011

Etsy Take Five Tuesdays

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means! It’s Etsy time! For the picks of this week, I’ve decided to link you to many stores versus only five since I was in Hamburg last week and missed writing this column — so double your pleasure with 10+ shops today. I’ve grouped my finds into five sets: bold moves, striking black, je t’aime, lady like and mother nature — so there is a little something for every taste. I hope you find something to love…

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

peggy wolf design | love sugar | twoemas | poppopportraits

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

vintage jane | sukan | amy blackwell | and o design
Etsy Take Five Tuesday

sarah ogren | alona freeman | late night drawing | clare owen illustration

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

clare owen illustration | the pin pals | the haunted hollow tree

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

golly bard | valentina ramos | judy kaufmann | geninne

Spot any favorites this week?

(images: linked to their sources above.)

Posted in etsy, Etsy Take 5 Tuesday on January 18, 2011

Stylist Rebecca Newport

I love the idea of painted spoons on display and found these by stylist Rebecca Newport and thought I’d show you what I’m referring to. I’ve noticed painted spoons (in chalky matte paint) a few times in magazines lately and wonder if this is the beginning of a new styling trend in photography? How about painted bowls too? If so, great, because there is a lot you can do with this idea!

Rebecca Newport Stylist

Rebecca Newport Stylist

Rebecca Newport Stylist

Rebecca Newport Stylist

Rebecca Newport is a still life, food, interiors and props stylist in the UK who has a textiles degree from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and most recently worked as a buyer at Marks & Spencer before turning her attention to photography.

Lovely work, Rebecca and best of luck with your new career as a stylist– you are clearly very talented! :)

(images: ania warzkowicz)

Posted in inspiration on January 17, 2011

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Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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