Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Grief!

When I was traveling through France at the age of 21, I had stopped in Dijon hoping to see the tomb of John  the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy (1404 - 1419).   Alas, the museum was closed.  Nowadays, there is an ap that will warn of such things.  Fast forward to now, and I had another opportunity to see the funeral sculptures that I'd wanted to see many years ago, right in my back yard!  While the Duke's tomb is being restored, the sculptures will travel to seven museums. The St. Louis Art Museum has hosted a joint exhibition, The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy and Bill Viola: Visitation. I thought assistant curator of modern and contemporary art Tricia Paik's choice of the Viola was a perfect pairing for spanning five centuries and finding commonalities in the most basic of  human emotions.

40 alabaster sculptures that adorned the tomb of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy (1404 - 1419) are displayed in the order in which they encircled the duke's tomb.  One might expect from the photographs, that the sculptures would be life size, but they are all less than 18 inches tall. The sculptures are realistically carved by Jean de La Huerta and Antoine Le Moiturier. To disguise class distinctions in clothing, mourners were issued anonymous cloaks with cowls.

Visitation, a 12 minute video, was created in 2008 as one of Viola's Transfiguration series. The piece shows two ghost-like women exhibiting intense emotions, while moving forward and back through a sheet of water, then fading into the dark. "Art is, for me, the process of trying to wake up the soul," says Viola. "Because we live in an industrialized, fast-paced world that prefers that the soul remain asleep."

Bill Viola

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rubbing Shoulders with the R & F

Well, there I was, at the Grand Opening of a new store that I knew nothing about. I was amazed to be part of a mob scene, where the crowd was even spilling out onto the street.  They may have been fans of Vern Yip, who was making a special guest appearance.

I know that Vern is a wonderful designer and was only there for the money.....ah, but would you sell your soul to the devil?  Presented are formulaic recipes for "rooms-to-go" in a choice of teal, orange, or brown.  Here's the teal plate special, and don't ask for substitutes!

I don't many HGTV fans, so little taste!

YOWZA!  Just in time for Halloween decorations, I guess.

Here we are in the Chamber of Horrors, or rather the "art" on exhibit.  You could get a 3' x 4' for $399.  Talk about visual torture!  I've always wondered in what factory conditions these things were fabricated.  Or maybe it's some sort of cottage industry...I don't know; just curious.  It's just sad that so many people don't know what it is like to have real, authentic art.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Queen for a Day

A container arrival at R. Ege's Antiques is always an event not to miss or be late for!  Rick has a far and wide following of individuals who share his taste.  I, for one, like everything that he collects, with all its whimsy and character.  I'm always looking for my clients, but occasionally there are little pieces that call out to me "take me home, take me home with you!"

 First I needed a crown to feel fully in charge and put the personal fairy godmother mode into effect.

For some time, I had been wanting a mannequin to put in my dressing room.  This is a curious papier-mache model, rather lumpy but still a nice sculptural form.  I liked the color, too.  Funny, it looks just like my size!

Blown glass always fascinates me.  Here is an apothecary bottle, pretty all by itself.  There are probably millions just like it scattered hither and yon, but at least I've got one now!

This death mask was a steal and definitely had my name on it.  Whose ever it was, there is no identification.  Do you see a bit of a resemblance?  Whatever, I promise I'll take good care of it so the poor soul can rest in peace.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pennies From Heaven

While walking Alice and Chewy, I came across a treasure trove of pennies.  It's not unusual to come across a single penny, and I have to admit that I've been pocketing them since childhood, as a token of good luck.  In this case, however, there were at least fifty pennies.  What to do?!

Well, I decided that for a child to come across this cache would seem nothing short of a miracle and put a large smile on their little face.  So, I let them lie.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Staircase to Heaven

So I was driving down the street to my piano lesson when off to my left was an enormous assemblage of ladders that took my breath away.  Excitedly I told my teacher about what I has seen, and on my way back was able to pull over and see what it was all about.

To my amazement, ladders of all sorts were zip-tied together in a secure and sturdy structure.  It was all done so carefully, that I could see that the ladders were not damaged in any way. Here is the portal of ladders. 

The ladders had identifying tags of area neighbors and businesses, as if they had loaned them for this installation piece and would get them back when it was dismantled.

It was an inspiring and uplifting (pun intended) experience.  I was impressed with the sheer simplicity of it all.

This website explains it all.  The artist is Charlie Brouwer.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hog Heaven

This weekend, the St. Louis Art Fair took place with gorgeous weather, and when nothing but rain had been forecast.  In addition to gorging on a visual feast, there were numerous restaurant booths with delicacies to sample and savor.  There is always a nice turn-out at this event, and one can't help but encounter numerous friends in the course of searching for that elusive piece of art that you can't live without.

One of the most exciting parts of the interior design collaboration is when a client makes their first contemporary art purchase. In practically one of the first booths that I entered, I spotted an artist's work that I knew would be perfect for a current project.  Upon installation in my client's hearth room, the painting immediately imparted warmth and soul to the room.  It was as if a really interesting person had just arrived and was agreeing to stay forever!  This piece, by Carolyn Reynolds, composed of oil glazes over gold leaf, has magical effects of a shimmering surface and mysterious depths that change with the light.

It was a busy weekend...6 gallery openings on Friday night, including an initial foray into the St. Louis Art Fair.  Saturday began with a stop at the Outsider Art Fair, which features local artists exclusively.  The evening wrapped up with another thorough visit to the St. Louis Art Fair.  Sunday afternoon the purchase was made and the painting installed. It was a weekend of back-to-back art inundation, and I was in hog heaven!  It always feels good to purchase at least one art piece from a fair to do my part in supporting the artists and all the hard work of those who made it happen. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Remember Etch-a-Sketch?  Well, this is Rub-A-Rug! You may remember from earlier in July, a client and I began the search for the perfect water manhole cover to use as a design for his bathroom rug.  We did rubbings of a couple of covers.  This cover below was right under my nose,  revealing itself on a typical dog walk.  I excitedly called my client for Phase 2. 

Having been installed in 1999 over the River Des Peres, the cover was nearly pristine.  A couple of pieces of cement were easily dislodged with a chisel.  Added features were the options of a round or square size.  The cover was IMPOSSIBLE to move (we tried), but we decided that perhaps we liked the circle cover off kilter rather  than straight.   Also, note that we have the choice of  the word "Private" versus "St. Louis".  Hey, this is a custom rug, and choices are what it's all about!

So here we are again, my client and I, on a beautiful, balmy day of 76 degrees.  Being on the sidewalk, we didn't have to worry about being in the middle of the road and getting killed in the line of duty!  The paper was like a sail flapping in the gentle breeze.  What could be a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?  All that we needed were a couple of Pina Coladas.

The finished product.  Now to request color poms and ready the rubbing to ship off to New York.  Once color poms, design, and size are approved, we will receive a strike-off for final sign-off.  If all goes well, the new rug should be here in time for the holidays!  All this because my client couldn't say no to rugs! 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On Becoming Unglued

After our neighborhood yard sale, I went on a rampage to clean and organize the basement workroom.  There were several items that had languished for years, waiting to be glued after having suffered some mishap or other.  Something snapped...I thought, why not glue the poor things and put them out of their misery of being in Limbo!

This is Gorilla Glue.  It used to be called Super Glue in the old days.  Here are some of the treasures that needed attention:

Horse Jawbone
This horse mandible had been attacked by my new dog, Alice, who does not yet know how to respect my things.  I found it in a country field years ago while bassetting.

Driftwood that is usually on my dining table amidst the candlesticks.  A piece had broken off.

My beloved turtle shell, again a casualty of the dog Alice.  This was hard to glue, as the shell has flexibility!

A marble and steel sculpture.

Toys from my daughter's childhood: a pull toy and a puppet.

From the left, clockwise, you see a cigarette dish that I got in the Bahamas 25 years ago, a little carpetbag of my daughter's American Girl doll Samantha, a print of puttis, a ceramic hand, a glazed ceramic tray, a bamboo handled grapefruit spoon, a bone handled knife, a magnifying glass, and finally, a wooden comb that my cousin gave me.  I like to use it after I wash my hair. 

The only problem was that in the midst of all this flurry of activity, I found that my index and third fingers were glued!  This was a horror, as I had know idea of how to rectify the situation.  I rushed to the hot water and gradually, happily, my fingers were once again free.  Reminded me of a conductor friend of mine who glued his fingers while gluing a baton.  It was a pretty funny story, until it happened to me!  Later, I learned that acetone (or fingernail polish remover) would be the antidote.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rags to Riches

Our neighborhood has an annual yard sale.  I view it as an opportunity to purge my home of clutter in preparation of new items that will inevitably arrive in the coming year.  It's funny how we all have an inner Mom and Pop shopkeeper inside our psyche.  Pricing and haggling, it's all part of the fun.

The only problem is that my neighbor's cast-offs look attractive to me and vice versa.  Then we end up just trading our own stuff year after year! 

Taking a break during the sale, I took off on my bike and found two things I couldn't live without:  a book and a bowl.  Here's the book about cadavers that should make amusing bedtime reading.

And the bowl for my animals. 

At the end of the day, as I was walking my dogs down an alley, I came across these items that I had resisted buying earlier.  There they were for the taking and free!

Doesn't everybody need a blood pressure cuff, a single wooden shoe, a wallpaper brush, an old photograph, and pressed dry flowers?