Saturday, 29 May 2010
Followers of The Curious Eye will know that I have spent quite some time in India over the past year. I have been developing a collection of home textile products with an association of women embroiderers based in Gujerat. Now the results are going to be launched in a public sale in Paris from 5th to 13th June. I have been invited to take part in the annual Heartwear sale in the offices of Li Edelkoort. Anyone who is in Paris should come and have a look, also on sale will be other products from like minded projects. Heatwears' new indigo collection from Benin, and other textile items from India, Tunisia and Columbia.
5 to 14 June 10hrs to 19hrs weekends and 13hrs to 19hrs weekdays, L'Usine 30 Bvd. St. Jacques, Paris, 75014.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
When is a sculpture not a sculpture?
When it's also a wooden coat hanger from Porte de Vanves 'Puces' in Paris.
Or a test-tube holder from the Jeu de Balle Flea Market Brussels.
Or an amazing kid's chair from the ever-excellent Steve and Edele Sorrell at Spitalfields Antique Market.
I'll never know the anonymous designers who created these beauties, but each of them give me the same thrill that I get from modernist sculpture. Who needs a Brancusi with finds like these?
Friday, 21 May 2010
And the collections begat collections...
I was in Paris a few weeks ago, and came across this classic needlepoint picture of a salty sea tar. How do I know that it's a classic? Well, because about five years ago, I bought exactly the same image as a needlepoint cushion in a flea market in New York.
This was a perfect addition to my bearded men collection (remember this?) - or so I thought.
However, the longer I spent in Paris (and then later in Brussels) - the more I noticed exciting examples of needlepoint, and came to realize how fantastic and underutilised they are. The use of colour and texture combined with the graphic quality can look very stylish, without any of the fusty echoes of 'handicrafts'. Best of all, they're so out of fashion, you can pick them up at flea markets for next to nothing.
So - now there's a new collection in town - and I'm aiming to fill a full wall of the studio entrance with needlepoint.
Wish me luck!
Monday, 10 May 2010
Much of what was fresh and exciting at the Milan Furniture fair revolved around food and the shared experience that eating and cooking together involves. Public Pie was one of the first exhibits I saw in Milan, prominently placed out side the main exhibition spaces at the new Ventura Lambrate area. The idea is pretty simple, Maaike Bertens and Marieke van der Bruggen have created a transportable wooden bench with an oven underneath, around the bench is an area on which to make Apple Pies. while you pie is baking you can sit on the bench and warm your buns !
Check out their website for a diary of their next appearances www.publicpie.nl
Monday, 3 May 2010
It's all getting very Bauhaus at my house.
I've always liked De Stijl, but it was probably the amazing van Doesberg show at the Tate Modern that pushed me over the edge into loving it. Eleven rooms of modernist graphic masterpieces will do that to a person.
I think it's the highly refined simplicity of the work that appeals. An elevated take on the functional, pared-down industrial style that I like so much.
Which is why, more than ever I'm becoming interested in objects and furniture that combine simplicity, graphic elements and elegance.
Take this stool for example. Probably my favorite buy of the last six months, it originally came from an old mill (via Jamie at Fish Island Antiques). The proportions and the construction are as simple as you get, but it works completely harmoniously. It's the sort of object that an industrial designer could spend months trying to get completely right, so the fact that it was probably just knocked up in a few hours by a local joiner only adds to its beauty.
(in case you're wondering - it was originally lacquered brown, but I've given it a few licks of blackboard paint to emphasise its fantastic graphic quality)
My other Stijl-ish buy of recent weeks are these enamel bowls from Merci in Paris.
I've been buying enamel for over a decade now - mostly old pieces that end up being well used in the kitchen. Modern enamel rarely does it for me, it's usually too badly made or it looks like a pastiche of the original vintage style. But these bowls really give me a thrill. Everything about them is right - the depth of colour, the shape and size, the quality of the materials. They're just about perfect.
I'm sure Theo and Piet would approve.
Van Doesberg and The International Avant Garde show is at Tate Modern for two more weeks (ends May 16th).
Highly, highly recommended!
Saturday, 1 May 2010
It's amazing to me that after over a year of blogging we still haven't featured our old mate Stella Blunt. A shocking oversight!
Regular readers of The Curious Eye will know that there's nothing we like more than people with taste. It may not be exactly the same taste that we have, but that doesn't matter - if we walk into a place and it expresses a singular point of view, it immediately piques our interest.
Stella certainly has a particular taste, and very interesting it is too. Extremely feminine, without ever becoming frilly; modern but not hard-edged; charming but never cloying - it's a fine balancing act that she achieves brilliantly.
The other marvellous thing about the lovely Ms Blunt is that she's something of a bellwether for future trends. She moved into her home near Columbia Rd when it was still an obscure East End market. She opened her shop in Broadway Market just before it became the ultimate nexus of all things hip in London. She's always one step ahead of the rest of us.
So, it's always stimulating to see what Stella is selling in her shop. And right now it's all about colour.. Painted vintage furniture, objects from the 40's, 50's and 60's, even the shop walls - they're all singing with saturated hues.
It's a very unusual palate, and I'm finding it hard to describe. Deep Citruses? A More Muted Miami? However you look at it, all that rich colour is inspiring. And, knowing Stella, will probably end up filtering through to the mainstream in a few years time.
Always worth a visit - Stella's shop can be found at 75 Broadway Market E8 4PH
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