Category: Artisans

Magnificent Brazilian Sculptures from Hugo Franca

By , October 19, 2011

 

Hugo Franca : New Work

 

Recently, I was looking for a very organic wooden bowl for a client’s coffee table on the screened in porch.  I came across an amazing artist that made me forget all about wooden bowls.  I saw a couple of his sofa-style root carvings and fell in love.  I contacted the  R20th Century Gallery  in New York which represents him. It turns out that they are having a show of his work right now.

The extraordinary artist is  Hugo França  from Brazil, and his new exhibit is a series of carved Casulos, or “cocoons,” from Pequi and Imbuia coarse woody debris and roots that he scavenges from the felled trees of the  Brazilian forest.

Hugo França’s sculptures showcase his deep connection with the organic, fluid shapes of the tree. This admiration undoubtedly stems from the fifteen years he spent in the jungles of northeastern Brazil, where he learned woodworking techniques from the indigenous people of Bahia.

 

Casulo Cariru" in pequi wood.
“Casulo Cariru” in pequi wood.
"Casulo Cariru" in pequi wood.
The inside view of “Casulo Cariru” in pequi wood.

 

“For me, it is an exercise of directing my eye,” França says, “trying to recognize and work with the forms already outlined there, and finding a functionality in those forms.”

His work reveals a powerful appreciation for the cycles of nature, by uniting the natural elements of the tree with his creative process, and presenting it back into the human environment. Take a look at this video of the progression from tree to organic sculpture.

 

 

 

França’s pieces encompass the observer, forcing us to experience the aliveness and natural energy of Brazil’s exquisite natural resource. França brings the viewer inside these intriguing massive “cocoons” so we may experience directly the textures and natural designs of the tree, to “create an organic space of retreat and contemplation.”

 

 

“The temperature is different, the sounds are different, the smell and texture are unique,” says França. “This direct contact generates empathy and encourages a bonding experience between man and nature.”

 

 

 

If you are in New York,  visit his exhibition where it will be featured from October 5th – November 5th.  Until then, I will curb my craving with these pictures of his striking furniture. I can just imagine the gorgeous natural colors and contours of the wood bringing warmth and texture into a scenic lakeside cabin.

And more good news about Franca, he still makes very large (36″ across)  and wonderful wooden bowls.

 

D & G Fall 2011 {Ready to Wear }

By , March 1, 2011

Artistic expression arrives in a variety of mediums and continues to inspire.  One place I get inspiration is from fashion and at Style.com , where I can follow all the shows.  I appreciate the unending flow of new ideas, and occasionally, there is something I would even like to wear.  The D & G Fall 2011 Ready to Wear show qualifies.  The clothes had a strong 80’s feel, with the longer skirts, big belts, leggings and big tops.  I love the lines.   The “alphabet” patterns made it feel very fresh, but still strongly graphical and bold.

Stretch tube skirts worn over a chiffon skirt were prevalent and charming

Dresses were worn over skirts, over chiffon. How fun that would be to wear?

The shoes were sneakers wedges , so the look was casual

Who doesn’t love a black and white print?

Very sheer skirt would need to be “modified” , but this pattern feels like a fresh spring day. Now if only I were 6’ tall, I could wear this.

The D & G Couture Show was much more rigid, with a lot of menswear.  The RTW  line looks like a lot more fun.  Come fall,  I am ready to wear this RTW line!

Designers Secret Source for Great Values:

By , January 7, 2010

As a professional designer who is hired to design and  furnish an entire estate, top to bottom, draperies to dishes, I have to have a very wide variety of sources to be able to come up with that perfect item to fit that perfect location in that perfect home.  So I am always on the lookout for new and sustainable sources to add to my mental menu of great resources. After so many years in the industry, my mental menu is a very busy place.

There is a place that is very often filled with fabulous pieces at amazing prices, available immediately.  This place took me years and years to master, as it was initially intimidating.  I needed to know exactly what I wanted, be able to recognize the good deal, make sure my client would be happy with it (often sight unseen!), recognize if it was real or fake,  calculate what the price should be,  estimate what repairs might be required and make a very quick decision.  What obscure resource is this??

AUCTIONS!

Auctions are frequented primarily by dealers, designers and private collectors. All those great things in your favorite antique store?  Probably came primarily from auctions.   Local, national and international auctions are available to everyone today.  But unless you are an expert, do not buy that item in the Milan auction sight unseen!

As your blogger, slavishly dedicated to providing expertise in every area of interior design, I will periodically be bringing you information on special pieces that will be available and keep you informed of the upcoming auctions.  Over the course of small posts, you can learn to take advantage of this sustainable resource, too.

But first, a few rules to remember:

1.  Know the source.   The auctions I follow are with auction houses that have, over the years, been consistently reliable with their descriptions, authentications, and valuations.  There are many different houses out there.  Do not be fooled.  Check in to the process they use to determine value and do lots of research before you raise that paddle!

2. Don’t be fooled.  Ask your private, trusted,  expert advisor to evaluate a piece for authentication, repairs required, etc so you know what you are buying. This could be your interior designer, antiques dealer, rug dealer for antique carpets, furniture repair expert, etc.

3.  Understand the terminology.  Attend auctions when you are not planning to bid to get a feel for how they work.

4.  Understand all the fees that will be levied on the piece.   Especially the “Hammer price”.  That is the last price that is bid before the auctioneer says “sold”.  That is NOT the price you will be paying.  Fees will be added for the “house”, the expertise provided, taxes if applicable, storage if required, etc.  Know the terms and conditions.  If your bid is accepted, you are bound to those terms.

5.  Do your Homework.   Discover everything you can about the period, the artist, the production house, etc.  so that you really know what you are buying.

6.  Set your maximum Hammer Price and stick to it.  Sometimes the excitement of the auction gets to a buyer and they keep bidding, especially if they are trying to beat that annoying bidder up in front who already bought everything!

With all of that out of the way, I will bring you items from the auctions I follow so that you can follow them too.

The first sale of the year here in the United States for Bonhams & Butterfields (www.bonhams.com), our top local auction house, is the Sunset Estate Auction in Los Angeles.  This particular auction is for their least expensive items.  A couple of items worth considering are:

A sterling covered box in the form of an apple Tiffany & Co., London, 1991  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The expected Hammer price is listed at $600-800.  So if it sells for that, what would your price be?   Between $732-1176, plus tax, depending on the hammer price, taxes in the state purchased, expert’s fee, etc.  My guess on what this will go for?  Around $550, all inclusive.  My guess is based on my accumulated knowledge from years of auction shopping, plus a sense of today’s market.

But I could be wrong!  Most auctions are now international, with bidders online, on the phone, etc.  You never know who you are bidding against, because they are often not in the room.  Part of the fun of the auction is that you never know what it is going to go for.  When the bid is accepted, I often feel like I WON something for my client!  It is thrilling, because I KNOW I got a good deal and my client will think I am brilliant.

Check out these chairs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A set of six Art Deco mahogany and suede upholstered dining chairs

These look very stylish and the finish looks like it was good at one time.  If these were available new and perfect, the set would run about $9000 and up. But with a hammer price of $500-700 for all six, they probably are pretty beat up.  If they are really “Art Deco” they may be diminutive in scale.   If they are Art Deco-Style  from the recent past, they will be more of a size we are use to.  If you are planning to use these regularly, you definitely want to have your advisor sit in them and examine them.  They probably need a lot of repair.  On the other hand, they cost next t0 nothing here, so go ahead and buy them for your daughter’s first apartment and have your carpenter slap some glue on them.  She will be thrilled and her friends will think she is very sophisticated. And you got a steal!

My favorite property in this auction is this pair of lamps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pair of Art Deco Palisandre lamps: $1,500 – 2,000. 

Now these look interesting and like they are in good condition.  Palisandre wood was usually from Brazil rainforests, so isn’t a good idea to specify today.  But finding it in a vintage piece, at a great price for a pair of 50” high lamps with shades  really is a good deal.  These would look great either as floor/reading lamps at the end of a sofa, of in a grand entry  table with high ceilings.  If we could find these new, they would run about $8500 for the pair. My guess on what these would cost you from your advisor?  About $1700.   Are you convinced about the value?

Since I read the catalogues regularly and they seem to arrive in the mail every week, I will be bringing you highlights of the auctions.  If you are able to make quick decisions and have an advisor that you can trust, you can get a tremendous value at auction.  Stayed tuned……

The Top Ten Interior Design Books of 2009

By , December 11, 2009

It has been a remarkable year for interior design books. It was hard to pick just ten books, as every month produces beautiful tomes that require hours of lingering. I based my results on the books that inspired and influenced me to grow as a designer, and to dream the dreams of love, beauty and art!

A few of the books are from the archives of designers who are no longer living. Still, their work resonates across the years and seems possibly more relevant than when it was first done. Or perhaps it is just me being too young to catch on!

So here they are, in alphabetical order:

1. An Affair with a House; by Bunny Williams- A Charming story of her 30 year affair with a farmhouse, a barn and 12 acres in a New England village.

2. David Hicks-A life of Design; by Ashley Hicks. This is a book written by Hicks son, Ashley. It is chock full of dishy stories about Hicks glamourous, celebrity filled life, but also contains hundreds of illustrations showing the most chic applications of the 70’s asthetic.

3. Defining Luxury; by Jeffrey Bilhuber. Jeffrey’s style is one of courageous color and highly customized furnishings mixed with flea market finds. He defines luxury as finding joy in the ever present abundance of life. Beautiful, fun and very livable rooms.

 4.  Glamour: Making it Modern; by Michael Lassell.  This is a collection from the archives of Metropolitan Home magazine.  Since the magazine has closed and December 2009 will be their last issue, this book showcases a collection of some of their most sophisticated designs and shows how glamour has nothing to do with the size of a home and everything to do with the style in which it was created.

5. Glamorous Rooms; by Jan Showers and Michael Kors. Showers is a designer from Dallas with a showroom and a product line. Check out her great lamps at janshowers.com. She also goes elegant classical interiors with a fresh look for today.

6. Michael Taylor Interior Design; by Stephen M. Salny. This wonderful book showcases the work of San Francisco designer Michael Taylor. His work began in the 1950’s and continued through his death in 1986. Looking at the photos throughout his career, it is a reminder how classic interiors never look dated because they are not trendy. These could be shown in magazines today and receive rave reviews! His work is always inspiring.

7. More is More—Tony Duquette; by Hutton Wilkinson. This is the second book about Duquette, the California interior designer, that was written by Wilkinson. The first book was filled with wonderful photographs of Duquette work and this one is also. He was a designer of jewelry, fashion, stage sets, interiors, lighting, fabrics, and the list goes on and on. As an extraordinary artist with a unique vision, inspiration comes with every page. He is the man who would use egg cartons and plastic nursery pots and make them look fabulous, architectural and DIVINE!


8. The Private world of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge; by Robert Murphy. The photos in this book are enough to make you slip into a dream for a week! These gentlemen shared 8 different homes and filled each of them with the finest of art and antiques. Every piece in the collection is amazing for its rarity and for the quality of the execution of the artist. Although the rooms are overfilled with objects and drama, each piece in each room is exquisite and worth examining. Too bad most of it was sold at auction this year and not kept together in a museum that we all could visit.


9. Style and Substance: the Best of Elle Decor; by Margaret Russell, editor. Gleaned from the archives of the sophisticated magazine, this is a beautiful book that spans the 20 years the magazine has been in business. Since it is probably my favorite magazine, I adore every page.


10. Villa; by John Saladino. Alphabetically last, but not the least of my favorites, this is the story of Saladino’s love affair with a classic Santa Barbara house. He found and purchased the home in 2001 and painstakingly restored and renovated it. A gorgeous home of classic style, Saladino, who is both an acclaimed architect and an interior designer, has created a home of impossible beauty and has filled it with a profound collection of antiques, artifacts and his own line of custom furnishings. He is definitely on the short list of architects who I will consider to build my dream home in my next life!

Love and Succulents

By , November 10, 2009

To me, a home isn’t complete unless it has some greenery. Interesting containers filled with even more interesting plants and/or floral arrangements softens a look and brings an organic element into any room. Few plants are as varied and well-suited  for multiple environments as succulents are. They are also exceptionally hardy, which is wonderful if you don’t consider yourself of the green thumbed variety.

In every gorgeous, glossy magazine I am seeing images or articles about succulents. It’s for good reason! They are so versatile and can inhabit just about anything they are planted in, allowing you to stretch your imagination and get creative. Most people think of them only as outdoor plants but look at how beautiful  and modern they are nestled amongst crystals in this giant clam shell!

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Here is another view:

shell2

Embellishing your plants with a few well-chosen stones, shells or gems gives them an elegant edge. I can always find  gorgeous and unique crystals, containers and accessories for my plants at the Living Green Showroom in San Francisco.

 What I love most about succulents is their many shades of green and amazing textures. When combined together, the sweep of texture and colors adds a remarkable sense of the lusciousness of nature that you can use indoors.

pots2

They also make  thoughtful gifts. With so much going on in everyone’s lives, many people are returning to the art of giving gifts from the heart instead of from the mall. Potted succulent gardens are such a great way to let someone know you are thinking of them. They add a hint of drama that will grow and change for many years.

 pots3

Their frequent use in high end and contemporary homes shows that they hold their own in luxury minimalist enviroments as easily as they do in eccentric, colorful interiors. As they require such minimal care, they are also perfect for eco-friendly homeowners!

pots5

 

And last but not least, here is the wonderful use of succulents as wall art! 

 flora2

Above, Flora Grubb of Flora Grubb Gardens, has created a vertical garden of a variety of succulents that can, when properly conceived, resemble a remarkable painting.  Way to grow, Flora!

I’m hoping that you may be inspired to create your own little indoor succulents gardens.

Warm Regards,

Jane

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We Now Offer Soule Stoneware!

By , September 29, 2009

Here is something completely new for us –  I am  pleased to announce that JAID was chosen as a certified dealer of Soule Studio pottery.  It is an honor to be able to represent this line as only the finest retail establishments – and a very select few designers – are certified to offer these elegant yet organic pieces. Continue reading 'We Now Offer Soule Stoneware!'»

Sausalito Art Festival

By , September 21, 2009

This past Labor Day I went to Sausalito for the annual Sausalito Art Festival. This festival takes place every year over labor day and is one of the more sophisticated art festivals in the country. Sausalito is a lovely little village enclave with bungalows whose roofs sit – quite literally – in the clouds! With gorgeous blue skies, warm breezes and booth after booth of art, what better way to spend the day? Continue reading 'Sausalito Art Festival'»

Art Underfoot

By , September 8, 2009

I am interested in products that are created using new technologies but that still have strong ties to the traditional origins of the craft. I love it when the product has a contemporary edge, yet still retains the warmth and refined sensibility of the classics. Looking at the latest Italian Architectural Digest, I noticed an unusual hardwood floor inlaid with marble.  Continue reading 'Art Underfoot'»

The Beauty and Wonder of Rainforest Baskets

By , August 18, 2009

I first read about Wounaan handmade Hösig Di™ basketry from Panama, in ARTNews. I was immediately taken with the beauty and geometry of their graphic patterns. I had been looking for something unique for a project I was finishing and I felt that the baskets could be perfect. Overall, the home was very traditional but the media room was to be a more contemporary space. I had the opportunity to bring in something more rustic and handmade. We had already done the entire estate with refined decorative arts and had used almost every type of beautiful accessory imaginable.  I was searching for something truly unique that worked well with the color scheme of red, olive and pale gold. Continue reading 'The Beauty and Wonder of Rainforest Baskets'»

Heaven just might be in Puerto Vallarta….

By , February 2, 2009

I just returned from a magical holiday in Puerto Vallarta. Although I’ve been to several other places in Mexico, this was my first trip to Vallarta. As always, I wanted to stay in a well designed hotel, one that would allow me to experience one of the best designs of the region I am visiting. I found this at the Hacienda San Angel in the Centro region of Puerto Vallarta. Continue reading 'Heaven just might be in Puerto Vallarta….'»

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