Tag

wall art

in Arts+ Crafts, DIY, Interiors, Ispiration, People

Alfhild Külper’s deep work

There are some books that have the power to ignite awareness. When you finish reading them, a seed has been planted and a new awareness has been introduced . These books become part of what you ultimately are.

At the moment I am reading “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. I don’t know yet if it is going to be part of the books that make me but I can tell you that it has already given me food for thought.

Deep work is what we do when we focus and concentrate for a stretch of time. It is quality, on-task work produced in a state of total focus. It is what artisans do all the time: they devout their attention to what they are creating, every step is important, every distraction could compromise the final result. It is what Alfhild Külper does when she makes her beautiful wool creations. With a busy, frenetic job as a head of design at a luxury fashion house, Alfhid was looking forward to engage in something more hands on and felt the urge to make something intricate and soft.

She has started creating beautiful, hand knotted rugs inspired by nature. Each piece require many hours of patient attention, many hours of deep work.

Alfhid Külper rugs are pieces that last forever, that combine tactile and visual emotions.

(Photographies courtesy of the artist)
in Arts+ Crafts, Interiors, Ispiration

Jason Chambers’ metaphysical drawings

jason chambers art. jason chambers, plus deco blog, ink drawings, surreal drawings, black and white art, picasso inspiration

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned that the background of +DECO homepage was drawn by me. Since I was a kid, I have enjoyed filling pages and pages of scribbles and doodles, mini forms that interlock and form patterns. The inspiration came from my cousin who used to write beautiful notes to me, with elegant hand-writing and similar patterns to those on my homepage.

Jason Chambers plays with shapes as well but in a more complex way. His world is clearly inspired by Picasso, by Surrealism but also by Cubism; it reveals many surprises. His drawings are fun and dreamy at the same time, they are an expression of a stream of consciousness, almost made by an inevitable necessity from the pen. If you look properly, between the interlinking of shapes and lines, eyes appear (many eyes), faces, mouths, letters, birds, butterflies, flowers, ears and limbs.

I hope that soon someone will ask Jason Chambers to do a massive mural in a city, it would look incredible and different and it would be a perfect-fit because his drawings represent the tingling city existence so well, which is a bit surreal and a bit ironic.

(Images courtesy of Jason Chambers)

in Arts+ Crafts, DIY, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration, People

The spirit of macramè

Behind these beautiful macramè creations, there is a young woman called Carla Rak with a lot to say and a very promising brand Aprile Textiles, just launched.

We have interviewed her to find out a bit more about her story, her inspiration and her designs.

You have years of experience as a photo-editor.  How did you switch from working with images to designing?

For years my main job was photography. I worked as a Photo-Editor for Contrasto while I was studying for my degree in Sociology and my PHD in Communication and carrying on my visual research; I have received awards from the Italian Institute of Philosophy and the Benetton Foundation. Since 2011 I have taught Editing and photojournalism at the ISFCI of Rome.

After I finished my studies, I left the agency and I have followed a more artistic path, exploring themes that are important to me and using various techniques and instruments that I have chosen and learnt according to the content that I wanted to express.

In my work I mainly use photographs, collage, texts and textiles. A few months ago, my book “Eyes as Oars” was published in where I experiment with archive images.

My involvement with textiles started when I taught myself embroidery and crochet: I have never considered these two techniques as instruments for making useful things like jumpers or similar things. In fact, I have always used them to express concepts and states of mind.

For instance, I made some textiles masks, a huge crochet hand that was shown in Milan in 2015, some textiles collages, embroidered or filet crochet objects; they are all an expression of my vision.

I have taught myself macramé at the beginning of 2019 and soon after I launched Aprile Textiles.

I like techniques that allow me to create an almost infinite number of different possibilities. A needle, a hook or, like for the macramé, just my hands. Compared to some of the others, this is an easy and quick to learn technique; the challenge though is finding a coherent and versatile language.

The home is an important place to me, a symbolic space where you can surround yourself with intimate and durable objects rather than industrially made and short-term things. Macramé tapestry has a simplicity to it, but it can make a statement and become the main feature of the room. Above all, thanks to the complexity of its knots and the pattern of the cords, they can make a space more intimate straight away.  

Your creations revisit the macramé technique, which is part of the Mediterranean tradition, in a very elegant and contemporary key. Where does the inspiration for your pieces come from?

When I work with images, for instance when I make collages, I realize that I move day by day towards the abstract and towards a geometric purity. Macramè can be a very decorative technique and it can be used to create complex and lavish patterns. My goal is to respect this fact but also to create more linear, more minimal and cold designs. Find a balance. It is a never-ending experimentation: I often use different cords for different projects and I have to get to know each cord, each cord reacts differently when knotted and often this means that the project can take a new route  and develop into something different during the creative process.

Each job is the result of a clash between what you had in mind and the technique that you are using. In other countries Macramè is really trendy, especially for fans of boho look which is far from my aesthetics. My references are geometry and a harmonic coexistence between shapes. I get a lot of inspiration from my city (Rome), there are so many historic gates, balconies, palaces entryways, public pavements that were decorated for the sake of making something beautiful.

Today it isn’t considered necessary and it is not budgeted for, but I believe we need beauty around us. I have a inspirational sketchbook that includes photographs of patterns and features I see on the streets.

The Aprile tapestries are handmade and their shapes and knot designs can be totally customized; they are perfect for decorating a space in many different ways. How are they mainly used by your clients?

Up to now they have mainly been used as wall tapestries. Macramè though is a very versatile technique and it can be used to make seats, lampshades, room dividers, rugs and much more. In these cases, a certain level of customization is required to meet the clients needs.

Your creations are mainly black and white. Have you ever thought about using another colour or more colours?

In the last piece I made I introduced a hint of colour. We will see. I would like to experiment in so many different ways that I would need numerous lifetimes to do it all. I am planning to make other designs with different techniques as well, as a part of Aprile. These new projects (at least in my head) have plenty of color.

(Photo courtesy Aprile)

in Arts+ Crafts, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration

Umasqu wall art, a present you won’t return.

Every year Christmas starts earlier.

This year, at the end of November, shop windows were already decorated with Christmas trees and stuff, and the city was already infested with advertisements for Christmas.

If we carry on like this, considering climate change, in a little while we will only have two seasons:  Summer and Winter/Christmas plus dozens of commercial anniversaries like Halloween, Mother’s day or Black Friday.

As you probably know by now, I am not a romantic at heart when we speak about Christmas, there is too much fuss for nothing in my book, if it wasn’t for the fact that Christmas allows me to have a little holiday and the fact that I love culinary traditions, I would be the reincarnation of Mister Scrooge.

I dislike waste as well and Christmas is the time where people buy things just because they feel obliged to give presents to people.

When I say that, I often have someone like Alex telling me that receiving and buying presents can be a pleasure, it is an act of love. Ok, but it doesn’t sound like that when you hear people huffing and puffing because they don’t know what to get for their relatives or people waiting for their friends to leave so they can comment on the awful presents or the amount of unwanted stuff taken to charities shops or simply the general choice of verbs used when referring to their Christmas shopping: “I have to buy a present for..” (I never say “I have to” when it is an act of love, you see).

The good news is that there are a few things around that almost everybody would like to receive, like the Umasqu wall art. The bad news is that people rarely buy these sort of things.

The amazing Umasqu masks and wall art in wood, formica, MDF  are available at www.umasqu.com with free delivery shipping.

in Color Inspiration, Interiors, Ispiration

Less doesn’t always mean more

Less doesn’t always mean more and this townhouse in Brentford, designed by Doris Lee, proves it. It is a blast of colours, patterns and surreal wall art.

This is probably Doris’s, a self-taught Australian born interior designer now based in London, most extravagant project.

She picked a deep blue for the kitchen and living area and brightened it up with accents of emerald green. Some walls are covered in cork, a material largely used in the Eighties in some Mediterranean countries and now back in fashion.

There are numerous types of cork wallpaper available on the market but unfortunately I can’t recommend any particular supplier because I have not used it yet; maybe one of my readers could point out a good place where to get some from.

Doris then used some fun, colourful, fairy-tale wallpaper and plenty of playful, retro wall-art and objects. The textiles are not predictable, they even add to the project.

A fun space for sure.

in Furniture, Interiors, Outdoor

Add some fun with a cactus

Cactus has always been perceived as a fun plant. It must be their shape (and I am not going into that) or the fact that they so resilient and primitive looking or just because of their peculiar name.

As a matter of fact,  I have noticed that only fun people decide to decorate with cactus shaped objects or textiles represented cacti.

So if you also want to join the clan and you are looking for some inspiration, here is a selection of ideas to make your life a bit more…pricky!

If you like the tropical trend in general, check out my post with some advice or discover some amazing wallpapers here.

A 170 cm high cactus by Gufram.

White porceilan set of cactai from I Love Retro.

Cactus juicer from Red Candy

Cuilko textile by Pierre Frey

Serving dish by Hallmark.

Cactai candles from Not On The High Street

 

A colourful pencil holder from Red Candy

Cactus framed art by Houzz.

 

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in Interiors, Ispiration

Wallpaper: new alternatives to tropical

I don’t know about you but I have had enough of tropical wallpapers with their palm leaves and exotic birds sprawled all over lush vegetation.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the classic or new tropical designs, I just get bored of a look when I see it everywhere.

I have therefore selected some new different wallpapers for those of you who are wondering what the alternatives are to the natural look.

The first one from at the top is Circus from Wall&Decò, a very glamorous alternative to a simple faded wall.

Wall&Decò always manage to come up with something different, I have to say. The Italian brand, famous also for its outdoor wallpaper (see my post), is becoming more and more successful.

The most tropical one in my selection is the second from the top, Miami from the collection Icon by Cole& Son.  It is available also in black and white but I like this variation best, it’s less visually aggressive.

The third one from top is again from Wall&Decò and it is called 17130EWC. I have picked it for those who like a more timeless, elegant look.

The dark red wallpaper matching the fabric of the sofa is Mey Meh by House of Hackney and it is for those who like to dare. Such a busy, unique wallpaper probably suits period houses best and it definitely needs a lot of thought in matching the rest of the decorative elements. In a few words, don’t choose a wallpaper like that if the rest of the furniture doesn’t go with it: for instance a white Ikea piece against such a background would stick out like a sore thumb.

Carrying on, we have Hornbeam by Farrow & Ball, in an unusual and very pretty combination of the colors divided by a frame painted in the common shade of green. Hornbeam is not a new design from the British brand probably better known for its paints, but it is a graceful option in every shade available.

The wallpaper in the bathroom (second image from the bottom) is designed by Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild and it is called Bain the Minuit-Mediterranee.

I have to say that Christian Lacroix is one of the main reason why I still follow Designers Guild that used to appeal to me more in the past.

Last but not least a striking wallpaper by Pierre Frey called Soccorro, inspired by the Maya geometrics. I am a big fan of Pierre Frey fabrics these day so I couldn’t not include one of his wallpapers even if I wished more set photos were available on their website.

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in Arts+ Crafts, Furniture, Interiors, Ispiration, People

Les coléopterès

 

It is incredible how situations, things, people and intentions intertwine and intersect.

One Saturday morning in September, I found myself at the Gatsby Cafè drinking a coffee with a perfect stranger, plucked from the internet. I had seen his creations on Instagram and I wanted to write a post about Les Coléopterès, the beautiful bugs made in ceramic that he designs.

When I got up to leave, I had the impression that I had found a new friend and an interesting and engaging interlocutor (a rare commodity nowadays). This is the beauty of the net, the possibility to build a net of people, virtual or not, who share your interests.

Maurizio Minerva is a gentleman with sweet eyes who lives between Rome and Tel Aviv and works as a free-lance art-director and graphic designer, after years spent in a big communication agency.

With the intention of putting his bubbly creativity at use in different forms, he studied ceramics in Paris with the idea of developing a collection of hand-painted beetles in limited edition.

Les Coléopterès arrive in pinewood frames measuring 19 x 26 x 5 cm, wrapped accurately in beautiful paper and identified by the cool logo obviously designed by Maurizio. A perfect present, I would add. Take note, friends!

 

 

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in Arts+ Crafts, Interiors, Ispiration, People

Lucas Lamenha’s art

I have been following Lucas Lamenha for a while now.

I love his art and the fantastic worlds that he manages to fit onto a canvas.

He also includes encouraging messages in his artwork so that his art becomes somehow a manifesto of his world.

I grew up amongst my father’s paintings and Lucas’s abstract, geometrical faces somehow remind me of the mysterious silver figures my father used to paint everywhere, only in a street-art, 2.0, pop version.

Lucas Lamenha is a Brazilian, now living in his home town Maceiò, not too far from Recife.

He has just had his first international exhibition in June and July at the DSArts Viva Gallery in London, in the cool area of Dalston and he will also show his art in New York in September at a collective exhibition called The Growing Culture.

One of my new New Year resolutions (see my past but still valid resolutions here) was to read at least one of the books that  inspire the people who I inspire me so I asked Lucas to recommend a book. He said  “The boy in the striped pyjamas from John Boyne because it shows us that it is possible to have humanity even in an inhuman time in history like this. Also because it shows innocence as one of the most precious things in the world.”

Thank you Lucas, I will definitely follow your advice!

in Arts+ Crafts, Interiors, Ispiration, People

Kids are not perfect thankfully

I was thinking yesterday that kids grow up in such a competitive world nowadays, it is scary. To be honest they probably don’t understand it just yet, if it wasn’t for us parents, who put so much pressure on them to be perfect without realising the consequences of it. We have all the best intentions, we want our kids to be happy and successful so we try to bring them up as complete as possible according to the modern standard of this competitive society. Since an early age, they have to learn to socialise, to swim, to play an instrument, sometimes to learn a language, to be cool, to be confident and competitive, independent and intelligent, sweet but strong, creative and studious. Even if we would never admit it, we want them to be perfect and perfectly ‘sellable’ in this big market that is today’s society.

Last Saturday I went with Giulio to his friend’s party and Giulio, as he sometimes does, spent the first 20 minutes playing by himself. I had at least 3 adults asking me what was wrong with him. I like to think of myself as a logical person but I started to ponder if Giulio might have a problem.

But is it not normal, when you go to a party where you don’t know anyone, to keep to yourself for a little while? Giulio wasn’t sad, or upset, or anyhow troubled or intimidated, he was just playing by himself. He wasn’t doing what we think a successful kid should do, as simple as that.

It wasn’t him with a problem, it was me and the other adults who had asked what was wrong with him.

We love them because they are spontaneous and at the same time we do everything we can to fit them into a structure.

Kids are not perfect and if we want to raise them happy, confident and able to deal with life’s sudden twist and turns, emotions, pain and competition, we need to learn to let them live at their own pace, without trying to increase their level of perfection all the time.

Maiko Nagao seems to have figured out what makes her happy, scribbling away and creating beautiful prints that she now sells through her online shop that delivers worldwide.

To get you into the right mood to discover Maiko Nagao‘s beautiful handwritten world, I have published some of the free printables she has kindly shared on her blog; also check out her shop for the pretty baby gift boxes, funky wall art or cards or for personal customized work contact her directly.

Free print by Maiko Nagao

Free print by Maiko Nagao

Free print by Maiko Nagao

 

Free print by Maiko Nagao

 

Free print by Maiko Nagao

Free print by Maiko Nagao

Available at Maiko Nagao

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