I've just discovered the extremely talented ceramicist Helen Beard via Homes & Antiques and I can't get enough of her whimsical work. Each pot is thrown in Limoges porcelain and hand-painted. Her freehand line drawing is transferred onto the pot and colour is then painted over using a series of ceramic stain washes. The pots are then dip-glazed and smoothed down ready for the final stages of firing (thank you helenbeard.com for the technical description!) Helen describes her work as "drawing on pots" and I love that while they are most definitely works of art, they are also very practical pieces that can be used all over the home.
After being told by another artist in 2005 about the Serpentine swimmers, Helen went to observe their rituals in London's Hyde Park. Finding herself intrigued by their eccentricities they were among the first characters she began drawing on her pots.
Her character pots. as she calls them, have gone on to immortalise over 300 people, some of them even cropping up more than once. Counting people observing as her favourite pastime, it is no surprise she is able to capture their idiosyncrasies so perfectly.
Next on the agenda for Helen is a collection of pots that placed together tell a story. This is inspired by the 51-piece cityscape of Edinburgh she showed at the city's Art Centre last year. Something I would love to see! To see more of her work pop over to www.helenbeard.com or read a short interview with her on The Beat That My Heart Skipped.
In the UK you can purchase her work at the Oxford Ceramics (they post worldwide too) and in the US, some of her pieces are available at Ashes & Milk. I am yet to find anywhere in the Land Down Under that sells her pieces so Oxford Ceramics is probably our best bet.
As I have said before here, the females in my family have a long history of royal romance reverence and it's starting to reach fever pitch. OK it's not at all - I am starting to reach fever pitch. The others, well they're indulging me I think. Perhaps it's the promise of sumptuous viewing snacks (chips and mixed lollies will never do) but the men seem relatively happy to be dragged along for the ride. Either that, or they're used to me and know it's just easier for everyone if they go along with it. Don't fight it fellas.
The decorations have started arriving and my union jack bunting is clashing terribly with all the Easter decorations. But I care not. I love a good do. If only more people were interested in this thousands-of-miles-away-event-that-has-nothing-to-do-with-us we could have a street party, which would be a very British way to celebrate. As it turns out the northern and southern hemispheres are being quite cooperative and the London Saturday 11am ceremony is an 8pm Friday night in for the antipodeans.
So there you have it, while I'm actually not a monarchist (despite all evidence to the contrary) I am most definitely a 'pomp-and-ceromonist' and it doesn't get much bigger than this. I am looking forward to the countdown and for the next week First House on the Right will be paying particular attention to all things British. So if you hate the idea and can't bear the nonsense, you best look away for the next 7 days...
My latest DIY project (more on that another time) involves wallpaper so it's on my mind a lot at the moment. Some of the following examples I love for the pattern, some for the colour, some for the feel they create in the room and some just for their boldness and how they lure me to be a bit braver in my wall covering choices.
Well, it's official, 37 is the new 27. You're talking to someone who knows because she just turned it! Celebrations all very low key as Mr. B & I are forgoing the usual hoopla this year in lieu of o'seas holiday. Supreme sacrifice if you ask me as there's very little I love more than a par-tay at our place but they tell me NY will be worth it ;)
Phew, I've been meaning to get to this for almost a fortnight now - the current issue of Home Beautiful. It's great. Go buy it. So much goodness it's hard to know where to begin. House mags (or any mags for that matter) can be a bit hit and miss sometimes but if ever there were a month to grab Home Beautiful, this is it.
Four reasons why I think you should grab a copy:
1. Catherine McCormack's wall power!
(pp 57 - 62)
2. Jorge and Veronica's Buenos Aires home in seeing red.
(pp 70 - 77)
3. Add some colour with spice up your kitchen.
(pp 125 - 130)
4. An amazing before & after (I am a fool for these as we know) transformation in Sydney's inner west in art meets life.
I've finally had a chance to flick through the virtual pages of Lonny/Traditional Home's new collaboration, TradHome. The first issue is an absolute treat and there are numerous reasons to add it to your "must subscribe" list. Oodles and oodles of images to take in and new designers to be inspired by!
Velvet tub chairs and tall bookcases. Wallpaper.
Brass occasional table.
Drum stool. Lamp base. Picture wall hallway.
Cosy reading nook.
Back to back sofas.
Of the 20 new traditional designers they name to watch, the one I was most interested in was Erika Powell. I've been reading her blog Urban Grace Interiors for some time now and was excited to see her work featured. One of the things she remarks on while talking about her current project is that themes make her cringe. I thought how true that was and what a great point to remember when planning a room. Not too matchy matchy (very technical term). Along with the other 19 designers Erika had 5 tips from the trade for we civilians :) I've collated my favourite 12 here:
Declutter, declutter, declutter!
Go to estate sales and flea markets and go early. When you're there know the manufacturers name on a piece and do your RESEARCH. Know the difference between real and fake.
To make retro work - allow the house to breathe by not having EVERYTHING vintage.
Invest in one or two pieces of well-designed, well-made furniture. They will stand the test of time.
If you see something interesting on your travels take it home and incorporate it.
Don't be afraid to use bold wallpaper (or wallpaper for that matter),
Don't upstage good architecture with ornate furniture.
Frame great windows with simple and elegant window furnishings.
Don't buy something just because it's a trend. Buy what you truly love.
Art makes a home.
Mix mass-retail furnishings with antiques and mix finishes. Include at least one patterned fabric and antique piece in the design of each room.
Consider real life (boisterous kids, pets, red wine), upholstery should be durable!