Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week Away

Hello all,

Just wanted to let you know that due to work commitments I will be unable to post this week.  However, I'll be back again next week with more objets d'art!

Have a relaxing week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kari Herer Photography: Romance is Everywhere

When I first moved into my apartment, I went on a hunt for some interesting artwork for my newly painted kitchen.  While trolling Etsy (if you haven't noticed by now, it's something I do regularly) I discovered the photography of Kari Herer.  I was smitten.  Kari sees romance in everything she photographs.  The purity in her imagery transmits an aura of ease and innocence.  It's not naivete.  It is an ability to view ordinary objects with grace, whether by honing in on their color, form, or texture.  I find it so uplifting.

I purchased the three prints above for the kitchen- The fork with Protea, knife with Protea, and ladle with robin's eggs.  Kari printed them on a really lovely, lightly textured, acid-free paper.  They are perfect in small, black frames.
When I visited the official Kari Herer Photography website, I learned that Kari doesn't only photograph still life.  She shoots weddings, Parisian streetscapes, and animals, and photographs lots of kids, including her own whom she features regularly on her blog.  Nevertheless, her still life remains the magnetic attraction for me.  This Magnolia Bug no.6657, pictured above, has been captivating me for months.  I love this mixed-media concept of a botanical illustration.  The soft white background allows the textures to tell the story.  The bug's body comes to life under the velvety magnolia petals.
Above:  Fairy-tale-like rabbits made from roses and ranunculus.
Below:  Rich colors and deep textures make this botanical piece feel simultaneously vivid and elegantly decadent.
I can't get enough of Kari's work.  I could literally fill an entire room with it and still never get tired of it.  Why?  Because I love romance, and because Kari's photos find romance in everything her lens settles upon.  It's contagious in the best possible way.  Bravo.
All images in this post were by Kari Herer.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Everyone's a Glamourpuss

I'll tell you one thing.  There is no shortage of gorgeous jewelry in this world.  Nevertheless, I can't help, but give a special nod to Lisa O'Neil, the artist behind the fantastic, vintage-made pieces of Glamourpuss Creations.  Over the last couple of years, I've fallen victim many times to the allure of what Lisa calls her line's, "modern fare with vintage flair."  All the jewelry is made from authentic vintage components, which gives many pieces a distinct air of Art Deco, and others a sexy, 70s edge.  All the pieces are tastefully modern and extremely wearable.
A couple of months ago, I was shopping for Christmas gifts at a winter craft fair in Brooklyn, when I ran into Lisa who was down from Massachusetts to sell her wares.  Considering I had been following her on Etsy for some time, I couldn't believe my luck.  It seemed only right to gift myself a pair of bracelets from her traveling collection.  One can't very well buck fate, can she?  One of the bracelets was very similar to the one above.   
Then, it happened again.  After having spent the last couple of months since my fateful run-in"favorite-ing" more Glamourpuss things here and there on Etsy, I once more took the bait.  Earlier this week I went for this Spinning Pendant Necklace pictured above.  I think it's pretty spectacular with its shiny, ginger bauble and contrasting metals.
I'm hard pressed to find anything in Lisa's shop I don't like.  It seems any piece you can shake a finger at is the sort of thing you could throw on and make whatever you were wearing suddenly sparkle.  Part of me wishes I would keep Lisa's work a secret all to myself, but I know she deserves the attention.  Besides, I know that as long as there is Glamourpuss Creations there will always be new things for me to love and admire.  Maybe this Snake Chain Tassel Necklace?!
To keep up with Lisa's constantly expanding jewelry line, check out her Glamourpuss Creations blog here!  

*All the photos from this post are from Glamourpuss Creations' Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Parliaments: I Wanna Testify/I Can Feel the Ice Melting

I was recently gifted an awesome 45: The Parliaments' 1967 7-inch release, "I Wanna Testify."  As a soul/funk aficionado (and singer), it's hard not to love this song that put The Parliaments on the hit map.  It's been covered many times by many folks, most notably by George Clinton himself in 1974 after re-christening both the band and the song on Casablanca Records.  The band became Parliament, the song "Testify," and the LP was Up From the Down Stroke.  Depending on my mood, I can favor the funkier 70s vibe punctuated by Bootsy Collins' badass bass lines from the latter recording.
I have to say, among the other recorded versions of the song, not too many stand out for me, except that I do actually like Johnnie Taylor's bluesy Stax cover from The Johnnie Taylor Philosophy Continues (1969).  I like a man who can sing the blues.
The real discovery in receiving this Parliaments' 45 has been the sleeper (they often are I suppose...) B-side, "I Can Feel the Ice Melting."  I was previously unfamiliar with this tune, but boy was I was missing out.  If you can listen to this dreamy walk-about and not swoon, well... I guess I can hear the ice melting in my water.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saipua: A Flower Grows in Red Hook

My younger sister got engaged over the weekend.  (Congratulations Ale!)  And as part of her engagement, her fiance bought her flowers from her very favorite flower shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn- Saipua.  As my sister was once a professional florist herself, she knows a bit on the topic.  But you don't have to take her word for it.  You can see from Ale's engagement arrangement above that Saipua flower arranger and co-owner, Sarah Rhyanen, does a beautiful job of creating bouquets that feel precious and wild all at once.

At Saipua they have such a knack for picking the most enchanting blooms.  Anytime I have a little extra pocket change, I make sure to splurge on a few to breathe life into my little room.  If you don't have pocket change, don't fret.  Saipua has recently revived their Free Flower Fridays, which means you can actually win a free bloom delivery in Brooklyn or Manhattan by commenting on their gorgeous blog.  Doesn't get much better than that!
Besides lovely flower arrangements, Saipua also sells handmade soaps by Susan Rhyanen.  I personally thought the Winter Citrus bar looked particularly refreshing.  At $10 it is rather pricey, but I think once in awhile it's nice to treat yourself to a decadent pleasure such as a hand-crafted soap.  Think of how energizing a great shower can be!  Sometimes it's the little things that make the daily grind bearable.
If you don't live in Brooklyn or Manhattan and can't get to Saipua for a singular arrangement of your own, never fear.  Their soaps are available for sale on their website, so you can have a little taste of Saipua yet.

Is there a beautiful flower shop near you?  Feel free to share!

*Except for the first photo on the page, photos from this post were taken from Saipua's stunningly photographed blog and website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Suffolk Crossed Heels

Anytime I mention Anthropologie in front of any group of guys I'm inevitably told, "Man, girls are so obsessed with that store."  Well, fellas, there's no denying it.  They got the goods, and the key to my heart.  My latest obsession within the Anthro obsession has been a pair of heels: The Suffolk Crossed Heels by Schuler & Sons.  I've been shopping around for a comfy and stylish pair of heels for a few months, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been eyeing this pair for some time.
They aren't the cheapest pair of shoes you'll find, but at $168.00 they aren't the most expensive either.  Personally, I was won over by the handmade look, the clean, but still interesting silhouette, and the earthy, grey twill played against the camel-colored leather.  They look effortless and casual, but sophisticated enough for a formal outing.  I debated whether or not to go for the undeniably cute flats as they might be more practical, and flats tend to be my modus operandi.  However, I thought a great pair of heels is tougher to come by, so I ultimately opted for the extra inches.
I tried to find out more about Schuler & Sons which based in Pennsylvania.  The shoes have proven to be so well made and comfortable with their flexible soles and quality fabric and leather, that I had visions of taking a road-trip to S&S's PA headquarters to learn about their design process and manufacturing techniques.  However, I wasn't able to discern much from basic internet searching, so I'll have to investigate more in depth.  For now I'm taking my new heels for a spin.  Look to see me in them at my next Del-Reys show!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sean Qualls Brings Moments to Life

Several years ago at a street fair in Park Slope, I had the pleasure of meeting artist Sean Qualls and falling in love with his work.  His use of simply stylized shapes and vibrant color has a visceral way of capturing his many themes- African American history, music history, heritage, empowerment, and youth.  When I first encountered Sean's work, I was drawn to a captivating painting of a young woman singing in a sparse, red room called, "A Precious Moment."  Being a singer myself, I was deeply moved, and I resolved to one day own the piece.  
Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and I finally contacted Sean about purchasing the print I have long-desired to add to my art collection.  However, after some back-and-forth, he persuaded me on an interesting idea.  Why not blow up the print on a large canvas in a way that will really make a statement?  He sent me some photos of two such pieces he had done for other clients and I knew right away he was right.  
The painting has always meant so much to me and I have held it in my heart for so many years, I realized it truly deserves it's proper due.  I had also inquired about a Marian Anderson drawing Sean did last year as part of a Black History Month series.  In the arresting drawing, Anderson's beautifully piercing eyes jump off the simple, almost rugged, black and white background, and convey so much in what feels like a tiny moment.  The drawing is almost photographic in it's fleetingness.  I think this is what Sean Qualls does best: reveal the depths of his subjects, without saying too much.  Thus, after much contemplation, I decided that the Marian Anderson drawing would be my Sean Qualls art purchase.  That is, until I have the money and space to buy "A Precious Moment" in its larger form.  Thinking about the piece arriving, I can't help but listen to Anderson sing my favorite rendition of "My Lord What a Morning."  You can listen too!
If you want to learn more about Sean Qualls, and also his talented wife/writer/illustrator, Selina Alko, click herehere and here!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!: Hope For Women

I received the most beautiful Valentine's card from my mom this morning!  She sent me the gorgeous, handmade, pressed flower card which you see above.  It was made by Hope For Women, a Fair Trade Federation business that provides sustainable employment to economically disadvantaged, women artisans worldwide. This card in particular is from the Portraits of El Salvador collection which features the work of outstanding, female artists from the highlands of El Salvador.
Each card depicts the empowering portrait of a beautiful woman with a sensational hairstyle created from dried leaves and flower petals. Not only are each of these phenomenal cards framable pieces of art, they are also wonderful ways to contribute to talented women across the globe who are working hard to support their families and communities. The way I see it, there's no better way to celebrate an awesome woman in your life than with a conscientious purchase. I am certainly smiling ear to ear. Check out the website and you might find the perfect gift for that special someone. May there be Hope For Women year round! Happy Valentine's Day all!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Art: Capturing Diego Rivera's Colossal Talent

Growing up Mexican I have always been very familiar with and immensely reverential towards the art of the great muralists of Mexico- Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco.  I was, thus, very excited to recently visit MoMa's current exhibit, Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art, which runs through May 14th.  The exhibit features pieces from Rivera's 1931 exhibition at MoMa, and though not extensive, the story that unfolds of Rivera, revolution, industrialization, and New York in 20's and 30's is truly transporting. Standing in front of the emotive Rivera frescoes is absolutely breathtaking.
After letting each piece fully soak in, I felt the need to make the experience last and headed to the gift shop.  Surprisingly, I ended up falling in love with a book not directly related to the murals presented, but rather a compilation of Rivera's many political cartoons and leftist propaganda drawings entitled, "Diego Rivera: Great Illustrator" (Biblioteca de Ilustradores Mexicanos.)  While his murals are clearly worthy of their prominence, this book highlights Rivera's extraordinary and prolific body of illustration beautifully.  The book was too expensive to buy in the design shop, but I did find it at Amazon.com for a much more decent price and decided it will be my next art book purchase as soon as I have the chance.
Still, if bringing Rivera's murals home is what you are really after, I would save up and spring for the mother of all Rivera books, Diego Rivera: The Complete Murals.  Like all Taschen books, it truly captures the magic of Rivera's murals through oversized, fold-out pages.  You're looking at a much higher price-tag, but it's an exhaustive tome that will never cease to wow you, and is guaranteed to always have a home in any art aficionado's collection.  Of course, if you have the chance, don't miss out on the real thing.  I highly recommend visiting the exhibit itself as it is truly an experience never to be forgotten!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Housewares: MoMa Sale Section Finds!

I've been on a dishware collecting kick.  In my younger years I ascribed to the "matching" school of thought.  I believed in sets and order.  But over time I've come to favor having stories behind my pieces instead.  I enjoy the quest of hunting down that perfect cloisonné plate, or stumbling upon a chic Georges Briard cocktail glass.  Last month, I found that the MoMa Design Store (a great place to find pieces for any number of collections) offered some particularly lovely finds, and all in their sale section!  Given that I was on a dishware trek, I honed in on this gorgeous porcelain Cup and Saucer and Dessert Plate set by Lee Chi Wing of Miix Design.
The fine detailing on the handle of the cup and the rim of the dessert plate are infused with a fresh, modern feel thanks to a little punch of avocado.  They are delicate enough to feel antique and noteworthy, but hip enough to use any day of the week.  Plus, at $5.95 and $7.95, respectively, they won't drain your wallet.  I quickly bought a pair of each, and can't wait to use them while drinking tea and snacking on cookies during Sunday night Mad Men watching!
For a more laid-back, but still stylish approach, I thought this Whistler Cork Tea Cup by Raquel Castro was another cute steal at $4.95.  Or, for a more artful, handmade feel these Bisque Drip Tumblers by Kimikazu Ito are spectacularly priced at $16.95 for a set of two.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Etsy Treasury: For the Online Collector

If you are like me, then whenever you are online you constantly open tabs and drag images here and there, all in the hope that somehow this will help you decide if certain pieces look good together in your collections.  Well, Etsy has a nifty way for you to do just that without all the dragging and resizing.  With Etsy Treasury you can create a mash-up of things you find and love on the website, give it a theme, and share it with others.  Today I made an Etsy Treasury of Native Inspirations.  The collection includes an assortment of textures, tones, materials, and colors that pay reverence to Native cultures from across the world.  I would love to own all of these pieces, but I can't.  However, my Etsy Treasury offers the satisfaction of knowing it will always sit on my cyber-shelf no matter who's home it really ends up in.  It's low-stakes collecting for the budget-minded!

How to Collect Your Collection: Music Edition

It's a problem we all face.  No matter what the collection, there comes a time when we all ask ourselves, where do we put it all?  While I strongly advocate for closely curating any collection, I think it makes sense to share tips on how to smartly assemble our collections.  Today's discovery was made while scouring the internet for a cool way to keep my car CDs organized.  Yes, my little Saturn is old and cannot accommodate sexy iPods.  However, that doesn't mean my great music collection can't travel with me!  With Los Angeles-based stripeycity's Handmade Upcycled Album, I can stylishly tote my tunes, and feel good about making an eco-friendly choice.  I went for this Rhapsody in Blue version, but the shop has several cute options including the Palm Springs Suite, the Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and the kid-friendly, Space theme.

Music: "Seven Day Fool" by Etta James

It's no secret that among my obsessions, record collecting is a top priority.  Being a singer I have always had a special admiration for the late Etta James- a woman whose outsized talent left a massive imprint on the world of music and my personal musical DNA.  Moreover, Valentine's Day wouldn't be Valentine's Day without some Etta James love songs.  So, I thought it fitting to share a 45 record that I recently added to my collection: The Etta James single, "Seven Day Fool," which was released by Argo in 1961.  It has quickly become one of my favorite Etta jams, getting lots of play on my turntable.  I always envision it wafting over the speakers at spring's first rooftop barbecue while overlooking the Manhattan skyline... Well, you can never go wrong spinning a great tune from a legendary artist at any party.  Immediate gratification is available as a downloadable mp3, or you can troll eBay for a lovely vinyl find. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Accessories: Valentine's Day Soutache

The fine braiding of Soutache is used in many ornamental ways- to hide seams in clothing, as decoration in tapestries and curtains- but it's not often that you see it in gorgeous jewelry.  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought these Soutache earrings from soStudio on Etsy would make the perfect addition to any jewelry aficionado's collection!  The subtle hearts and touch of pink hit just the right note for a romantic Valentine's date without being kitschy.  Plus, they offer enough versatility and personality to wear in the workplace year-round.  Good luck getting ahold of this pair, as I might have bought them by the time this post is done.  Still, Jovita's collection offers many other beautiful options, so I'm sure you'll find the perfect dash of Soutache to add to yours!