O is for…
An osler was a bird catcher of old. I could wax lyrical about my birds & feathers for days, and to think that you could spend your days tracking and catching birds makes me think that perhaps there are echoes of an osler in me. The details surrounding oslers are a little hazy, so let’s use our imaginations. I imagine a solitary character, who had a very inconspicuous manner. Always dressed in earthy tones, this trader always carried a satchel with a stale loaf of bread inside – just the sort of fodder to entice a starling. He was hard to pin down and often you wouldn’t see him for months at a time as he meandered over the countryside on the trail of flighty friends. Definitely an early-riser.
This still depicts my aversion to things being displayed flat on walls. Domes are a great solution- they come in lots of sizes, make it easy to change content & are a sculptural form in themselves. Glass has a beautiful refractive & reflective nature. It instantly adds focus to an object & often creates a new context for items within a still-life by framing them in new ways. It is intriguing & speaks preservation. Create small dioramas with your finds that are 3D & best viewed from all angles.
Glass structures & what to pair with them- showcase a few special treasures from your travels. Or fill them brim high with old world utilitarian objects to store on display. Our Tall, wide dome with base & Large apothecary jar are perfect vessels for storing bits n’bobs. Whilst our cowrie shells, zeolite stones, vintage lock & thin fair trade hemp twine are the right scale for featuring in them!
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Objet Trouvé – noun
an ordinary object, found; a strand of sequins, a beaded flower, thread&buttons etc that is treated as an object of art by the one who finds it.
Origin: France, found object.
Objet Trouvé is one of my 10-colour-palettes found in Gypsy inspired by Transylvania; a region in Romania, a country of its own at another time in history, and an example of the fluid maps and ever changing boarders of the world.
My romantic vision of Transylvania is filled with gypsies in colourfully painted caravans, layered skirts, horse whispering and music. I visited at the beginning of spring with my great friend James Merell, when it was as if the whole world was about to bloom. The days were warm and cloudless, crisp in the morning and fresh. The landscape was a vision of soft, muted colours. I can only imagine how different my colour palette would have been if I had come just two weeks later.
Wooden limed houses with terracotta roofs are washed in a variety of pastels: azure blue, yellow Monday, sienna, tangerine, magenta, pinks, salmon, soft mustard, dirty green, mint, lichen, skye blue, grey, maroon and lilac.
This softness spoke throughout our travels and influenced this colourful & fresh palette. In Transylvania, the Objet Trouvé palette unknowingly surrounded me wherever I cast my eyes. Now you can take the beautiful hues of Transylvania and include them in your interior space. Bring the hues of the mountains & Transylvanian sunset into your space with a splash of faded & frayed or pre-loved and treasured. Need to add some colour to your plain white walls? Paint the skirting boards or front door with a subtle & soft threadbare.
N is for…
Ribbons were one of my first collections and I have never grown out of them. Although I do not sport them in my pigtails anymore, I use them for colour inspiration, making a package special, tying a placecard on a napkin, or have them simply because they’re beautiful. A narrow weaver was tasked with the creation of narrow cloth or goods, so in essence, ribbons were their life. Imagine a life filled with ribbons! You’d assume that these arcane traders would have dainty fingers and very sharp vision to insure that every stitch fell exactly where needed. And while you can imagine that it was very finicky work, the world of possibility wrapping in grosgrain, picot edge, jacquard and more, as well as the spectrum of colours is just the sort of creative pursuit that I could live happily with.
A bit of loose change can bring so much to an interior. I love pieces with humble origins. Lots of things I use are easy to find and mostly practical. You don’t need a whopping cheque book or an educated eye for art & architecture to begin creating an interior style for your home. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities.
Prints I love adorn this wall. Find your favourite image and have it printed larger at the local office supply shop for a few dollars to pin to the wall. Look for images in antique shops and market while you’re away and play with them when you return. No need to wait for framing.
Chalkboards and chalkboard paint (which comes in many colours) splashed on a wall offer transient and thoughtful design opportunities. write your favourite quotes or just make a things-to-do list.
Trade secret: I always have a stash of Blu-Tack (or other brand of adhesive putty) on styling jobs or when I’m doing some redecoration as it allows me to quickly stick things up – postcards, old theatre tickets, anything on paper – and remove them without a trace when the mood takes me.
History is such a core element in my design philosophy, and an excellent source of inspiration. When beginning an interiors project the first thing I do is dig up the past to find out as much as I can about the building or local area, as well as looking for historical characters to draw on and create a personality that encapsulates the project. So it’s no surprise that one of my favourite resources on the bookshelf is Crooks Like Us by Peter Doyle. An absorbing and striking look at the underside of Sydney, the book features an extensive collection of portraits of crooks, scoundrels and rogues.
The book ties in with the City of Shadows exhibition at the Justice & Police Museum, also curated by author Peter Doyle. The raw and mysterious photo collection from the 1920s didn’t resurface until the 1980s, which meant that the original accompanying paper work was long lost. But with clues in annotations, old police records, newspaper articles and court cases, the stories and characters have been colourfully brought back to life.
The personalities in the portraits give the reader a direct gaze, a cocky smile, a relaxed stance. From light-fingered thieves to sweet-talking conmen to mob-style razor-men, from first offenders in their teens to well-rehearsed seniors. It’s the most haunting, diverse and extraordinary bunch to ever be pulled into the police station.
The stories range from the colourful and chilling reputation of Guido Calletti, to the somewhat amusing ‘Duchess’ Ellen Bell who had all the airs and graces of a Jane Austen grande dame. ‘Pretty Billy’, a pickpocket and international con man, is noted to have dressed very well and was exceptionally fond of horse racing. Thief Olga Solomon kept up a loud commentary throughout her court case proceedings, leading to a bottle of brandy being removed from her person. The stories are vivid and paint a fascinating picture of Sydney’s early crooks.
The rogues in Crooks Like Us also formed a large part in the concocting of the interiors at Palmer & Co, a location inspired by the underground bootlegging of the prohibition era. I lined its walls with photographs of the small time crooks, petty thieves & peoples of interest found in this book and at the Police & Justice Museum, who were often very well dressed & quite good looking.