Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Still Intrigued by Paper

Recently, I wrote about Molly Peacock's latest book and the awe inspiring works of Mrs. Delany. I have now read the book and become even more intrigued by the scholarship and the author's unique approach. I think it proves that one can become possessed by the beauty of the past and find a way to make it part of one's life.

And then comes this from a friend--a reference to the current exhibit of the work of Isabelle de Borchgrave at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Isabelle was once a designer in residence at Victoria and has since gone on to dazzle us with her painted paper creations of costume. I have several of her books and when I take them out I am always truly amazed that human hands can create such beauty from a simple material like paper.

In Isabelle's first such venture, she worked with Rita Brown, then the costume director of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada. I had previously met Rita when we did a story on the theater. It made me so pleased to see two such talents involved in a unique project.

Do not miss going to the site to see what Isabelle has now wrought. It is called Pulp Fashion. I'm not sure I love the title because it seems too simple a word for such miraculous transformations. Isabelle fashions the paper and paints the defining details. The exhibit is a history of costume design relying on the dress depicted in paintings from museums around the world, as well as the more contemporary classics of Dior and Chanel.

One could wish for a meeting between Mrs. Delany and Isabelle. Intricacy is their stock in trade. Isabelle's vision brings to our day the spirit of Mrs. Delany. How fortunate we are.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

Enjoy some springtime inspiration with sugar Easter eggs.

Happy spring, everyone!

Photo ©Wendi Schneider for Lindemeyer Productions Inc.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Many Thanks, Lynn Goldberg

What a total treat this morning to find a book from a publicist in my mail. I am always happy to receive a book, but this one takes me "over the moon," as one of my young staffers at Victoria used to exclaim.

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72. I have not really read a word yet, but the cover, the cover line, and the subject matter having me hastening to my reading chair and settling in for a good long spell. It's not a very pretty day, although I see just the first brush of yellow on the forsythia bushes and the magnolia outside my window is promising blossoms soon. So read on I will.

I know the words "Mrs. Delany" will gladden many hearts among you. How we have reveled in her paper garden--floral collages of such delicacy and beauty that they have lasted for centuries. As I open the book, on one page there is a simple black and white graphic of a pair of scissors. Divine.

A small selection reads:

After making that vital imaginative connection between paper and petal, she lifted the eighteenth-century equivalent of an X-acto blade ...or a pair of filigree-handled scissors--the kind that must have had a nose so sharp and delicate you could almost imagine it picking up a scent. With the instrument alive in her still rather smooth-skinned hand, she began to maneuver, carefully cutting the exact geranium petal shape from the scarlet paper.

Then she snipped out another....commencing the most remarkable work of her life.

I do wish that the floral illustrations had a bit of gloss, but it is a small desire. I cannot wait to tear into the story of a life whose lasting work began in the third quarter of her life.

Poet Molly Peacock is the author of this tome of almost 400 pages. You can visit her website to learn more about her. Or look at the British Museum's collection of Mrs. Delany's work online. And, of course, do look at the website for the book.

Oh, and again, thanks to a publicist who put the right book in the right hands. How did you know, Lynn?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adventures in Living Part II

If you've ever dreamed about creating a beach house, be sure to read my latest blog entry for Hooker Furniture's Adventures in Living: The New England Beach House.