Category: Thing of Beauty

Paper Moon x

Christmas is coming and this is the antidote to everything glittery, commercialised and over fed: White paper art – originally designed for weddings, but the perfect inspiration for drama without fuss.


(All pics Pinterest)

 

Simple, cheap and without damage to the planet. What’s not to love?

Laters, Kate x

Revelation x

There are many things that science can still not explain so maybe I have died and gone to heaven, such is my delight at discovering the designer and maker of this wallpaper and her treasure trove of work.


Marthe Armitage graduated from Chelsea School of Art after World War 11. Faced with the problem of juggling young children, she started designing and lino-cutting her own wallpapers. After sketching the design she uses the hand-cut lino blacks and a century-old offset lithographic printing press that she has owned for over 40 years to created custom-printed rolls of wallpaper.

Not only does she create an object of desire but a lifestyle, a passion and a calling.

Maybe she’ll adopt me?

(Link here, all pics Pinterest)

 

Before my idol was William Morris, but it’s the seductive meanderings of Marthe’s work that pull at the heart strings and make eyes glow.

 

When my boat comes in, this is the wallpaper that will adorn my walls.

Laters. Kate x

A Birthday x

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This post was edited from two previous posts to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday and tenth birthday. I decided I couldn’t improve on the sentiment contained, except to say, you never think it possible, but the words grow more concentrated with each passing year x

Today is my daughter Bella’s eleventh birthday.  She was my IVF baby, born after six years of heartache, seven miscarriages and 2 years of no pregnancies (which I am sure was psychological. But it really didn’t help).  With her birth on this day all those years ago, I finally became a Mummy.

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I still carry the scar tissue..infertility is a time I wouldn’t wish on anyone –  you beat yourself up for the futility of hoping, nose permanently pressed against the glass, it becomes personal;  A retina searing pain that makes you disappear under the burden of inner reflection..the only person to blame being you.  Something so simple, so natural…so unachievable.

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We literally threw everything we had at it..and we were oh so lucky.  The tides finally turned and she arrived..the most beautiful baby I had ever seen..a fairy child.

And she remains the most beautiful inside and out child to this day, the rarest and most delicate of gifts.  And now we celebrate her eleventh birthday..it’s hard to believe – it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital.  I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you – you have your experience and that need to guide and help, but it’s just not true.  Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother.  There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all your imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?

I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail.  I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – resilience has to be one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow.  To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence  – far more important in real life than examination certificates.  I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation.  I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong.  I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.

Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..

Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them the world and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….

I celebrate and raise a glass to you our wonderful, amazing, incredible, magical daughter!

Laters, Kate x

 

Write out x

If approaching September means anything it means stocking up on stationary. Which underlines the enigma…why do we need to buy it every September? There’s the normal losses down the back of the sofa, chewed by the children, eaten by the dog.  But the real reason is usually simply the lack of quality and that stationary belongs to the class of products blighted by the modern disease of built in obsolescence.  They just want you to buy it again.  So why not think outside the pencil box?

Tools to Liveby is a dreamy online shop that has done the hardwork upfront, sourcing beautiful stationary products from around the world that have stood the test of time.

The emphasis is on quality and the joy is in the detail, from products like these – brass pencil protectors from Germany.

To memorable packaging.

(All pics Tools to Liveby)

It puts the quality back into quantity.

Laters, Kate x

Sculpted x

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I’m re-cycling this post because I love it x

Great Art is like a chemical reaction in the blood, sparking signals to swell the brain and heart with waves of love and wonder.  So it is with the ceramics of Fenella Elms.

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Another feather in her talented cap: She never started her professional life as a Potter, working instead in mental health as an occupational therapist.

‘I’d always joked that one day I would become a potter.  And then ten years ago, for my 40th birthday, my husband bought me a wheel.’

 

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She did an art foundation at Swindon College follwed a year later by a part-time HNC-level course in ceramics. Who knows what would’ve happened to a fledgling Fenella and whether she needed to treat down her other path first: She’d always enjoyed pottery at school but couldn’t see how to make a career out of it.  But the mature, newly graduated Fenella immediately started winning awards including  the Ceramic Review Award for Exceptional, Innovation and Challenging work at the Ceramic Art London exhibition.

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Organic, living, breathing  her work crosses the boundary between manmade and nature.

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‘The approach I make to porcelain isn’t so different to my psychoanalytic practice; It’s all about the subconscious , where things aren’t forced or contrived.  I do masses of preparation and drawing, then I put it all aside and wait to see what emerges.’

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Her studio is based in Wiltshire, in  a converted milking parlour, which speaks of beauty, age, space and peace: ‘I enjoy looking at the world around me.  It’s nice realising that all the time I spent staring at the details of plants or ripples in water was for a reason.’

 

Laters, Kate x

Jason deCaires Taylor..

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A true global and renaissance man, Jason deCaires Taylor was born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother.  He then grew up with one foot in Europe, the other in Asia with regular diving trips in Malaysia.  In 1998 he graduated from the London Institute of Arts with a BA honours in Sculpture….before becoming a fully qualified diving instructor, underwater naturalist (Note to friends: That’s not a naked diver) and award winning photographer.

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Then in 2006, off the West Coast of Grenada, he created his first underwater sculpture park and a life blood of creativity was unleashed.

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His work explores the slipstream where Art and Nature collide, the grey area between man’s exploitation of nature for industrial means and the acknowledgement of the fundamental power of the earth: As time begins to colonize the forms it creates it’s own architecture, dramatic pulse and language.

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This pulls on something deep within – the mystery of Atlantis, Pompeii, fairytales..even gothic Victoriana.  They’re a dark presence, yet awe-inspiring at the same time.

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Under the water is a world Jason knows, and through his art he aims to highlight the living beauty of the under world to encourage environmental awareness and instigate social change.

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For anyone who’s heart sank at the news this week that 90% of sea birds have plastic in their stomachs, he’s a crusader you want to stand up and applaud.

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His work isn’t limited to the turquoise depths of Cancun and the Bahamas..this mystical beauty can be found in Canterbury…

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And now, from Sept 1 – 30, on the Thames foreshore at Vauxhall, London, adjacent to Camelford House and 87-90 Albert Embankment, is a new example of his work: The Rising Tide, commissioned by Totally Thames.

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It highlights the role the river has played in the shaping of London’s history.  And how easy it’s been for us to abuse it.

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(All pictures from here and Jason deCaires Taylor’s Facebook page)

These could be horses, but they’re oil pumps..animals of industry, draining the land.

A theme as strong and compelling as any story ever told.

Laters, Kate x

Jason deCaires Taylor..

117076515708854f2e64ce323054a3d7

A true global and renaissance man, Jason deCaires Taylor was born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother.  He then grew up with one foot in Europe, the other in Asia with regular diving trips in Malaysia.  In 1998 he graduated from the London Institute of Arts with a BA honours in Sculpture….before becoming a fully qualified diving instructor, underwater naturalist (Note to friends: That’s not a naked diver) and award winning photographer.

5ccf858e595f297436a978d1626f22a8

Then in 2006, off the West Coast of Grenada, he created his first underwater sculpture park and a life blood of creativity was unleashed.

ffb7cd20523edf0393ca0d35ce4ef9d2

His work explores the slipstream where Art and Nature collide, the grey area between man’s exploitation of nature for industrial means and the acknowledgement of the fundamental power of the earth: As time begins to colonize the forms it creates it’s own architecture, dramatic pulse and language.

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This pulls on something deep within – the mystery of Atlantis, Pompeii, fairytales..even gothic Victoriana.  They’re a dark presence, yet awe-inspiring at the same time.

f57cf23bc1a041922cf26d2adc1693d2 48d3f4c0249da9bb2609f10fc7f14383

Under the water is a world Jason knows, and through his art he aims to highlight the living beauty of the under world to encourage environmental awareness and instigate social change.

71947af4e24b68a989d71da14afdbe73 3e1078f3f8e8cf006f70db309a7b6602

For anyone who’s heart sank at the news this week that 90% of sea birds have plastic in their stomachs, he’s a crusader you want to stand up and applaud.

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His work isn’t limited to the turquoise depths of Cancun and the Bahamas..this mystical beauty can be found in Canterbury…

11988491_649333901769747_2799381493575552963_n

And now, from Sept 1 – 30, on the Thames foreshore at Vauxhall, London, adjacent to Camelford House and 87-90 Albert Embankment, is a new example of his work: The Rising Tide, commissioned by Totally Thames.

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It highlights the role the river has played in the shaping of London’s history.  And how easy it’s been for us to abuse it.

11144422_649333848436419_6455122005294458346_n

(All pictures from here and Jason deCaires Taylor’s Facebook page)

These could be horses, but they’re oil pumps..animals of industry, draining the land.

A theme as strong and compelling as any story ever told.

Laters, Kate x

Black Beauty.. x

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Welcome to my unexpected night of bacchanalian revelry with it’s feast for the eyes and over-flowing platters of deliciousness.

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Unexpected because it was a Corporate night out with The Husband and his suits…

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But then strange things can happen when you mix the dark arts with a private viewing of the McQueen exhibition..

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Pure alchemy..

Laters, Kate x

Ray of Sunshine x

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The end of term is creeping up and, as ever, it can’t come soon enough – I’ve got both mine off school today with sore throats – they’re really just knackered.  And I can relate – I’m still feeling like I’m living underwater since last week.  Which is why it’s rather lovely to find (thank you cousin Claire) humorous, supercool art like Rainworks!

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Invented by Peregrine Church in Seattle, these street art pieces are the proverbial silver lining only appearing when it’s wet.
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The designs are stencilled onto concrete using hydrophobic, environmentally friendly spray (for details check out the website – it’s literally stuff you can pick up yourself) which last for up to 4 months, depending on weight of traffic.  Effectively, the spray keeps the concrete dry.

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Genius.  Now….where’s my nearest piece of concrete??

Laters, Kate x