26 November 2007

Chinoiserie in Red

The Chinoiserie Powder Room I designed for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase House - David Papas Photography

Here's one of my favorite historic decorating trends: Chinoiserie.
For a number of years now I've been known for painting a certain style of flowering trees Chinoiserie mural using my own spin on the look that was all the rage in late 17th and 18th century French décor.
I adore the wallcoverings of deGournay and Gracie, which are still being produced today in much the same way as the hand-painted wallpapers found in the Royal Pavillion at Brighton, or Lustschloss Hellbrunn, Salzburg. These papers are lush, labor intensive, delicate, and worth every dime they cost.

For this room mural, rather than paint densely covered wallpaper-style panels, I used a light hand, and a more naturalistic approach, to keep this intimate-scaled space airy and uncluttered. Carnelian Red walls help make the room look larger as well as rich and fabulous. And we included California natives such as poppies and monarch butterflies, alongside the lilies, pomegranates, and peonies.

some mentions for this room:
Kafka blog

25 November 2007

The Language of Cloth

I'm so excited about his time of year, because this is when my friend Daniel Gundlach has his annual Asian Textiles sale!

the flowers, birds, sea-life, and the unusual color of this Cirebon sarung, reminds me of the work of Ernst Haeckel.

Daniel is a talented painter with whom I worked back in my salad days, and he now spends 6 months or more every year traveling in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, using his great eye for color and form to collect and design textiles. His company, The Language of Cloth, assists communities in reviving the teaching and making of their local traditional arts while giving them a contemporary spin.

This year's show concentrates on the batik work of Central Java. All of these pieces are one-of-a-kind, hand-made, and spectacular. Many museum-quality contemporary works, as well as antique and tribal pieces are available, and there is a good assortment of scarves and smaller items that make wondrous and affordable gifts as well.

Yes it sounds hippie-dippie, and maybe it is, but you can do some very cool decorating and fashion-ating with this stuff.

My own batik collection is growing! clockwise from top: the red batik cotton tuli "mega mendung" (rain cloud) pattern is destined to become a new window shade; that splendid multicolored scarf I've been wearing all year is a Batak tribal pattern; cotton Cirebon-style sarung super cool in purple; a kain panjang cloth in hand-loomed Garut silk and nautral dyes will become an amazing skirt for me soon; contemporary batik scarf on hand-woven Lao silk; green and grey silk batik sarung I use as a shawl.

Update! read about Dan's work in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Language of Cloth Trunk Show and Sale
Weekends now through December
November 23-25/30th
December 1-2 / 7-9 / 14-16 / 21-24

11 am - 6 pm
650-A Guerrero Street, San Francisco

415.613.9693 www.languageofcloth.com

23 November 2007

Fall Color

Better late than never
my tree dahlia has finally bloomed! Along with the brugmansia, abutelon, and some of the masdevallias. This is what fall looks like in my garden----

yellow flowering brugmansia - night fragrant

dahlia imperialis

04 November 2007

tea towels

kitchen linens by tikoli

tea towels. somewhere along the line i started collecting them.
not the terry-cloth hand-wipers you see everywhere, but nice, smooth lint-free souvenirs with kiwis or scenes from nürnberg on them.
maybe I get the tendency from my grandmother, jane coley, whose fabulous collection of linens i had displayed in my vintage laundry earlier this year during the san francisco decorator showcase house.

maja brugos is my second cousin; the grand-daughter of jane's sister lenore; and it seems she has the linen bug in her as well. she's a talented graphic designer who has created a line of lovely kitchen towels available at her site tikoli.com as well as a number of swell shops across the country.

i'm pretty sure all of these will look great in my wasabi-green kitchen!

02 November 2007

setting the table

I love the work of my friend, artist Marcia Stuermer, who designs acrylic resin furniture and art installations   ia her company Stuermer Studios. Embedded in the resin can be anything from grasses and rice, to computer parts, cds, street trash, rocks, and skeletal leaves, frozen in what can be considered modern fossils.
The surface of these things is lovely- honed, durable, hard but not cold.

I've asked Marcia to make a table for me, an unusual size, round, sort of a dining room library all purpose life table. I am putting a lot of pressure on this table to be everything for me already. For a long time I was not sure what it ought to preserve- my shell collection, single earrings, or any of those other odd bits of old and pretty that I not so secretly collect, but rarely display in a somewhat vain effort to unclutter my life. None of my ideas seem to quite work with the arty-farty eclectic Victoriana gallimaufry that is my décor.

The ideal solution presented itself to us when Marcia and I went to see a show in the gallery of the Intersection for the Arts, where a profound installation by Stephani Martinez reminded me that I have a trunk full of hand made lace doilies made by my great-grandmother.

Today I picked up the fantastic sample Marcia made.

I am very excited to see the results of this. Rather than setting the table with a lace tablecloth... it will be an Embedded Translucent Lace Table.