Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves

Betsy Walton

July 27, 2007

I’m really drawn towards the work of Betsy WaltonBetsy lives in Portland, OR and has a most impressive portfolio online that you may really enjoy browsing. Here’s a snapshot. Look at these colors, don’t they make you happy?

Betsy WaltonHere’s one that I ordered last night titled Hopeful. I couldn’t resist. I feel like this is my little house in the countryside where I live, and the red swirls represent the apple trees all around my home since I live on an orchard. And the word hopeful, well it means many things to me right now. All very personal, of course. Let’s just say that having hope is the only way to endure things that appear to offer no alternate roads to take, no escape route. Hope gets us through. And that’s what I have a lot of this week since some sad news came my way.

Betsy Walton
When this print arrives, I’ll look at it for years to come recalling this period in my life. This is what I think we should do when we purchase art. Look at a piece and try to figure out why it appeals to us, pinpoint something exact, so that when you bring it home and frame it, you’ll forever me reminded of that moment and you can better bond with the item. Make sense? Then it’s no longer Betsy’s art, it’s also a very special and personal piece of you.

(images from betsy walton)






Shopping + Products

Pieces in Atlanta

July 27, 2007

Ever since spotting Victoria’s new dining room (lovely!) and reading how she’s dying to replace her current dining room chairs, I can’t stop thinking about how I wish I lived closer to San Francisco because the second she sells them on Craigslist I’d be there with a truck. Imagine them in yellow with cushions in a bright, happy print?

Pieces in AtlantaYou don’t have to imagine. Pieces in Atlanta already has them for $285 each. This is the paint job I’m talking about. Dislike the stripe cushion, so those would need to change. But look at how fresh and pretty these are?

Pieces in Atlanta
Pieces has some of the best chairs I’ve seen, very girly, and regardless of whether or not cane remains a trend, I love love love these chairs. I want one for my desk, but they’re only offered only as a set of 4. Boo Hoo.

Pieces in AtlantaHere are some more beautiful finds at Pieces. A curved back side chair, an antique french table, a geometric folding screen, and a darling yellow and white chandelier.

Pieces in AtlantaOne can dream, right? But when you look at these items consider your current inventory and how you may be able to give something you already own a fresh new look simply by painting it, switching out the fabric, or swapping hardware. Victoria is the queen of this which is why we are all inspired by her home. This lady is tops!

Pieces in AtlantaFor those of you not watching your budget, then by all means shop at Pieces because they are waiting to absolutely spoil you to death with a selection that is undeniably gorgeous.

(images: top: sfgirlbybay and all others from pieces)






Trends

Globes as Decor

July 27, 2007

I’ve been scouting for globes for a few months now because I’ve always loved having a quick view of the world to keep things in perspective plus I love to travel and they remind me of how excited I felt as a child when I first saw one in school, fascinated to find out that America was not the world, just a very small part of it (I think some adults still need this reminder). So I’ve been looking for the perfect blue sphere to add my credenza at home, but not a brand new one… Something vintage and a bit worn. And it must be blue. Like the one in this photo.

Globes as Decor
So I went where everyone heads when they need a blast from the past, eBay. And get this, I won a tin globe last night, it’s from the 30’s in excellent condition, measuring only 10 x 7 so it’s perfect for the spot I’m looking to place it. I was up against 25 others biddings on it so I was scared to lose because eBay collectors can be a bit psycho. Then along comes a non-collector like me and I won. That’s the beauty of the auction. I can’t wait until it arrives, do you like it?

Globes as Decor
I like that the stand appears to be a gorgeous saffron yellow. I’m really excited to see it in person. Here are some globes on eBay if you’d fancy owning one yourself.

Globes as Decor
Look at all the globes in this collection, aren’t they gorgeous? I found this photo on Happy Mundane where stylish Jon mentioned that globes may very well be the next trend. That image above is a picture from BH&G magazines taken in the beach home of a Boston couple (Aug 07). Maybe he’s right, because I’ve been looking for globes since Spring and now I’m starting to see them popping up more and more, but not large old school globes, I’m finding smaller ones and even those without stands to pile in a bowl.

Globes as Decor
Here’s a few I found just in case you’ve been looking to add a nice globe to your decor. But I’m not so sure about these, I’m way more interested in the vintage ones with the blue spheres. Here’s some Parisian globes from Anthropologie (in black or cream), and a set of three globe spheres and a tabletop globe from Ballard Designs. If you find any blue reproductions, let me know. Otherwise, I think we all need to hit eBay for the vintage gems. They’re so pretty!

And if you aren’t into globes, vintage maps make for beautiful art or use several to collage onto a wall to mimic wallpaper. I’d love to see someone wallpaper an entire wall with blue vintage maps.

(top image: art.com, others from ebay, happy mundane, ballard designs, and anthropologie.)






Bloggers

Reader Q: Italian Design Blogs?

July 26, 2007

An email came arrived from a reader in Italy and I wonder if you can help her because I don’t read Italian design blogs, so I can’t point her to one that I’d suggest. I find a lot written about Italian design at MocoLoco, Cool Hunting, Design Spotter, and Core77, but none of these blogs focus solely on Italian design. Hmmm…

Reader Q: Italian Design Blogs?
“My name is Silvia and I’m writing from Italy (Venice). I really love your blog and I read you every day. I appreciated so much the post about Swedish blogs and I was wondering if you could do the same for Italian blogs. I did some search but I haven’t found anything. Thanks for your help and for your work. Ciao, Silvia”

Can you help? Any suggestions for Silvia? I’m thinking that once I have a good amount of design blogs gathered, I’ll categorize them on a separate page under “International Design Blogs” because I think it would be fun to be able to locate them all in one place.

(image from Oliver Wide-Swensson)






Stationery

Blue Ribbon Stationery

July 26, 2007

Kimberly owns Blue Ribbon and wrote to me today about her oh-so-feminine letterpressed cards. I thought you’d like to see them and since I feel like sharing her pretty papers… Here you go! :)

Blue Ribbon Stationery
Psst: Don’t miss some of her new designs for Fall ’07.

Thanks Kimberly for saying hello!

(images from blue ribbon)






Objects

Nora de Rudder Lighting (Belgium)

July 26, 2007

I read the BBC news online along with my other daily reads, the Brisbane Times, Boston.com, and the The New York Times (House Stalkers?). They expose me to news that I may not find in my daily hop around the blogs I enjoy, like this article about a kitty in Providence that can accurately predict the death of patients in the nursing home where he lives. I mean, these are things we need to know about (smiling). So I’m reading the BBC today and was very excited to find Nora de Rudder, a Belgian artist that uses natural objects in new and exciting ways, taking birds wings and oyster shells to create chandeliers and table lamps, for instance.

Nora de Rudder Lighting (Belgium)
I find this fascinating, as I think many are afraid to explore other mediums, scared of the results or that if they aren’t mainstream, they won’t be able to earn a living through their work. I have so much to say on this subject, hours of conversation really, but I believe that we all need to design from the heart, not for the mart. I know we need to sell what we create, but you know what, money or function or popularity just can’t be the driving force behind all design because we need to leave something behind for our great grandchilden someday.

Imagine a world filled with dollar store plastic everything and McMansions, what will they think of our generation? That we were gluttons for filling our lives with sale items and poorly made garbage? Whenever I visit flea markets, I think about this. What are we creating now that will leave a positive impression in 100 years on the kind of generation we are today? Will they be inspired by our work in the way that we are inspired by Charles and Ray Eames?

Nora de Rudder Lighting (Belgium)
This is precisely why designers like Nora de Rudder stand out from the rest for me. Her lighting is impressive, expressive, unique, and skillfully made. I may not own it because the wings do freak me out just a little bit, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. And is her lighting being sold by the millions and marketed all over the world? No. Is she a household name? No. But did you know that the design museum in Gent, Belgium purchased 2 Wings table lamps for their permanent collection? Or that Philippe Starck ordered 6 Mussel chandeliers and 3 Wings chandeliers for the interior of the VIP lounge in a Beijing business club? So she is making a living. She didn’t go after the mainstream market, she is targeting the luxury and to the trade only markets since her collections are more couture than common. That’s what designers need to take a chance at and decide early on, which market they want to compete in and for what reason and of course, consider all the risks.

Rudder’s lighting is available via Cameron Peters in the UK if you are interested in learning more, but think for a moment about what Rudder will leave behind. Isn’t that something important to consider when we design – the impact is has on others?

I know, all this after posting about Martha Stewart products at Macy’s. But it shows you that I’m torn like so many of you are about what to support through my purchases and what not to support. And it’s hard. So for me, I try to live as balanced I can within the constraints of my budget. Yes, I can bring a canvas bag to the grocery store for food, I’ve been doing it since 1999, it’s no big deal. And yes, I can shop indie or for one of a kind products, which is why I find the affordable goods at Etsy so appealing. And I buy paintings from galleries to support artists that I’m fond of. And when I have extra money set aside, I’ll splurge on something like a Rudder light or something created by my artists friends in Germany. It’s all about balance and making sure that at least half of what I own could be passed on and appreciated by others. Make sense?

What are your thoughts on all of this?

(images from nora de rudder)






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