Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Design Gone To Pot

DESIGN PROBLEM:  A three-sided fireplace juts into a master bedroom, separating the bedroom proper and a seating area.  Is there something special that could be put on top of the marble fireplace that would help "fill" the empty space?  


A.  sculptural art piece
B.  found architectural  object
C.  decorative accessory or artifact 
D.  something from nature

"Before" photo of Master Bedroom

Hmm...to find the right art piece, contemporary or antique,  might take forever and a day, plus cost a whopper.  How about a large amphorae?  I perused many a pot and found the perfect one in New Orleans.  Now, the only problem was how to get it up here.  To save on shipping,  I considered putting it in the back seat of Emily's Honda, strapped in with a seat belt.  But even if we got it in, what if for some reason we couldn't get it out?  We're talking 32" high and 25" diameter.  Yes, it's big enough to hold a little kid, but might not be very highly regarded  as a legal child seat if pulled over by the police.

"Hey man, this pot ain't no good." 

We decided to opt for the traditional freight delivery.  But instead of coming directly north to St. Louis (11 hours), it was  shipped to Atlanta and sat for a few weeks as routing schedules were reconfigured.  Finally the happy word came that it would be arriving, albeit on a Sunday morning.  Never mind...let's close the deal and take possession!

As it was hoisted to its new home on top of the fireplace, my clients stood back, and thought, "Man, that is a big pot!"  I got the dreaded call of "You might want to check this out".  When I arrived,  my jaw dropped a bit; the big jar seemed ajar.  My clients like to laugh at how I'll react with  "Wow!" when I see a new delivery that really pleases me.  It  usually comes out loud.  In this case, a "Whoa!" was exclaimed that could be heard a block away. The scale and color of the jar was equivalent to someone in the chorus singing off key.  Did we get burned?

It just didn't look quite right. It was too big and where were the perfect color tonalities that I had specifically labored over?  We pulled out the IPad  and  found this crock was still on the website, but disturbingly, ours was gone.  Holy crap!  What if ours got delivered to someone else?  What if ours got lost or damaged somehow? Was this case all that it was cracked up to be? Finally things were sorted out between the  shop and the shipper,  and our pot was found, safe, sound and secure.

Amphorae, 19c Greek

This looks much better, don't you think? The coming of the second pot was eagerly anticipated as it journeyed from New Orleans to Los Angeles and finally eastward back to St. Louis.  Its itinerary was starting to look like Homer's Odyssey.  Once again, an inconvenient week-end delivery.  And this time, the White Glove Service got lost in  translation.  We got White Sox in Shower Shoes Service.  Must have been a menu choice that I missed.  Amusingly, an errant shower shoe got lost in the driveway.  

I arrived just seconds after this second deal and happily my response was the classic "Wow!" of approval.  Wonderful ingredients such as this are the makings for a spectacular room.  And man, this is some good pot!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Where's Flanders?

Where in the world have I been this summer? I wish I could say that I was vacationing in Belgium, but in truth, I have just  returned to the land of the living after a seven month labor resulting in a beautiful baby! The baby is a pro bono project named The Garden Apartments and was conceived last February the 1st with Marcia Smith Design Group.  Installation and delays resulted in my time-punching 12 hour days in recent weeks.   Tonight is the grand opening party for donors and subcontractors and tomorrow will be a public viewing. I will without a doubt be kicking back with a glass or two of wine. Post partem amnesia, too, should be kicking in, and I'll only remember the fun parts and how well it turned out. Stay tuned for Garden Apartment details!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Now I Can Die

There have been a few times in my life when I have completed some creative effort, and the thought has popped into my head that "Now I can die".  It's not really morbid, I don't think, but a practical response to knowing that I have used the gifts that I have been born with and cultivated.  I've had this thought in response to things that I have done in art and interior design, and now in music.  I never imagined that I would play Beethoven's Sonata no. 17 in d minor, otherwise known as "The Tempest".  But tackle it I did, after my piano teacher Kathi Kurtzman made the suggestion. I may as well have tried to climb Everest, but with her as my sherpa, I was bound to succeed.

It was a great accomplishment for me, because when I hear beautiful music, I want to participate more actively than a spectator, or passive audience.  If I can play even a semblance of the magic of music, I feel fulfilled.

Kathi Kurtzman, has been my piano teacher for many years.  I started my daughter Emily with her when Emily was 5.  I didn't think that we could afford for both of us to take lessons, so I dutifully sat in on her lessons, fingers itching.  When Emily broke her arm at the age of 8, I couldn't help but think of who would take her place at her lessons?  Obviously, I happily filled the spot.  When Emily's arm recovered, I decided we could afford NOT for us both to take lessons.  The rest is history.

A very influential artist of my youth, Kathi Kollwitz, said,

"I do not want to die...until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown".

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Song Singing

A few years ago, I attended a Fetes de la Musique event hosted by the Alliance Francaise.  It was inspired by the annual  "day of music" when anyone and everyone who can sing or play an instrument takes to the streets all across France.  Our St. Louis contingent enjoyed an evening of piano, violin and voice.  I was enthralled by the sopranos and recalled how I loved to sing as a young girl.  After the concert, over wine and cheese, I asked one of the singers if it was too late for me to study voice.  She replied, not at all, but that a woman's voice matures at the age of 65...so there was time after all!   

My piano teacher Kathi Kurtzman and I always like to joke that playing the piano is far more difficult than voice, and that singers don't have to practice nearly as hard and long.  However, a great artist always makes anything appear easier than it actually is. Evenso,  I like this quote by Jerome Hines:

"Opera is an excessive art form populated by excessive people.  We make it more excessive than necessary.  Singing is really a very simple thing". 

And that is what makes it so darn hard.  My teacher Merry Keller says that it should take no more effort than talking.  I'm trying and looking forward to trilling like a bird one of these days, if I stick with it!

My father, a professional musician and long deceased, said that I was a coloratura soprano.  I guess that I have a childlike desire to want to please him and have him be proud of me.  And you never know when you might need to belt out an aria.

 Merry Keller et moi.

My teacher Merry lives on Tulane Avenue, which seems coincidental given that I used to have an apartment on Tulane, and my daughter Emily went to Tulane.  When I arrived for my first lesson with her,  I was amused that we both had on shirts like the staphs on a sheet of music; the notes were only waiting to be sung!  Lieder lovers, unite!  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh Daddy!

Dedication program for Chuck Berry statue

All I gotta say, is, if you don't know about Chuck Berry, just Google his name.  You're in for a treat and a surprise!  Last Friday, a statue was dedicated to him on Delmar in the Loop before a large crowd that gathered despite withering heat. Accolades from around the world poured in to pay tribute to the Father of Rock and Roll.  I was hoping that Keith Richards would show up, but didn't see him.

Joe Edwards

Joe Edwards, owner of the local tavern Blueberry Hill, spawned and implemented the stars on the Walk of Fame in the Loop, of  and helped facilitate the dream into reality.  

Chuck Berry in trademark sailor cap

Born in St. Louis, Chuck continues to give frequent performances in the Duck Room, located in Blueberry Hill.  At 84, he enjoys  having his children as part of his band.  

Harry Weber, sculptor friend, et moi

The bronze statue by renowned sculptor Harry Weber, is larger than life-size, at 8 feet.  As all of Harry's works that I have seen, it is an exciting and vibrant tribute. Surrounding the statue are six of Berry's song lyrics engraved into the surrounding stone.  You can see them coming up or down the street,  just in case you forget the words of the songs written by the first person inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.