Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Porcelain, Books, Hotels, and Science Fiction!

We just returned from a terrific mini-holiday in New York, visiting with friends here for the summer from Florida. Yesterday we saw the lovely new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Royal Porcelain from the Twinight Collection. It's a small exhibit, but just breathtaking. The porcelain factories of Berlin, Sévres, and Vienna achieved an extraordinary level of both artistic and technical skill in the first half of the nineteenth century, and the quality of painted decoration practiced at these three factories at that time has never been surpassed. This exhibition brings together approximately seventy-five superb examples from these three European porcelain factories and illustrates the exchange of ideas and styles between the factories that resulted in some of the most remarkable porcelain ever produced.

This gorgeous 1818 cup and saucer from the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory in Vienna is decorated with finely detailed paintings of birds - in a gilded birdcage! Just enchanting, it was one of my favorites in the collection.
I also found two books in the Met gift shop that I'm sure a few of you would enjoy. "Versailles" by Jean-Marie Perouse De Montclos, which is just stuffed with photos of the spectacular palace, and lot of information. Frankly, I was recently gifted with a copy of the wonderful book, "Versailles: A Biography of a Palace" by Tony Spawforth and I prefer that text. But the myriad photos in this one are brilliant. Hours of perusing details of the most beautiful building I've ever been in. (Well, the Paris Opera House is pretty fab, too - but, after all, Versailles is Versailles!)
... and, for anybody interested in mid 19th century fashion, "Dangerous Liasons." During the reigns of Louis XV and XVI, fashion and furniture in France were not designed simply to be beautiful—they were also intended to arouse, attract, and seduce. This alluring book considers the interplay of French clothing and interior design in the eighteenth century and features full-color photographs from the Met exhibition. Knock out book!

When we got home, le roi de la maison, Dusty, had a little surprise for us. In my entire life, I have had one (count it - ONE) set of Pratisi sheets. And, to be honest, I'll probably never have another. Now, even though I love these sheets, I do not love ironing them. Face it - I don't want to iron any king-size's like ironing a lawn cover. So, when they come out of the dryer, I promptly lay them out so that they will cool without wrinkles. Which is exactly what I did before we left. It seems that the entire time we were gone, le roi de la maison had rooted, and shuffled, and nested in them and spent his hours laying in luxury. It's a good thing I love him. I want this exterior sign! Don't ask me what I would do with it - I have no idea. But I think anybody and everybody deserves an eight foot tall martini glass, decorated with dozens of light bulbs! How could you pass by a cocktail lounge with this sign and not stop in for a nip?

Speaking of fabulous objects from the past....aren't these art deco wall sconces awesome?! Now, I do know what I would do with these. I'd have them put beside the windows in the living room - and then totally redesign the whole place in art deco to go with them!
And, I'm pretty sure this seven foot tall Eiffel Tower sculpture would have to find its way into the design. I think this is the best of all the Eiffel Tower tributes/merchandising I've seen ... so intricate and finely wrought. I want!And while on the subject of beautiful things and traveling - we were talking about traveling and seeing beautiful things, right? - I found this at Perfect Bound and thought it was both a practical and attractive solution to luggage storage. Now - for those of you who have spacious suburban or country homes, this will perhaps seem silly. But, for those of us who live in the city and don't have words like 'basement,' 'attic,' 'spare room,' etc. in our vocabularies, finding clever and pleasing storage solutions are always appreciated. Now, you suburban/country folks can make fun of us for settling for such small spaces to live in - but, don't forget - we city folk are also always able to get those gorgeous white tulips within a two block walk of anywhere!
One last lovely image before I close. A piece of my work was recently acquired to be used in the decoration of the new ballroom at The Banker's Suite in Astoria Oregon. Here is a photo of the bed - I could definitely relax here for a night or two! Isn't it peaceful and lovely? I particularly enchanted with that embellished dress form!
For more photos of this gorgeous spot, click here ... and be sure to click on "gallery."

Well, I really have to get Dusty walked and dinner over with so I can totally veg out for the third night of "Torchwood: Children of Earth." Are you watching this fun mini-series on BBCAmerica? It's so terrific! The NYTimes called it "perfect popcorn tv watching" and I completely agree. It's silly as all get out - and still suspenseful.

Oh. Remember those pieces I was going to finish last weekend. Well. It's Wednesday - and I haven't touched them. Summer fun keeps getting in the way of studio fun!

Okay, I'm off. I hope everybody is having a wonderful week - and that you've spent some time making something beautiful!
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