Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh those swedes!/ Stig Linberg

I have never owned a Stig Linberg! There I said it, It makes me a bit sad. The number of times I have been outbid on a “Stig” on E-Bay is staggering. His work is incredibly collectable, Out of all the Swedish ceramic artists, He is probably the best known, although he also in his time became renowned for his designs in china, enamel and textiles and also achieved prominence as an illustrator, sculptor and even furniture designer.

Born in 1916, Stig Lindberg was one of the most prolific designers in Scandinavia. For many Swedes, he is representative of the playful design of the 1950’s. In Swedish homes you can often find various objects which he created, Lindberg studied at the Swedish State School of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, hoping to become a painter. After graduating in 1937 he accepted an employment as a faience painter at Gustavsberg Pottery where he mainly contributed up until 2 years before his death in 1982.

I love his textiles, but it is his ceramics that I find truly amazing, The organic shapes are like no other and his use of color is after a palette of my own heart, I just love his play on color and the combinations he uses, He has influenced me a lot that way as a Stylist.

Don’t you worry, my collection of Stig will happen, of that I am certain, I just need to be even more E-Bay savvy. Either that or a trip to Sweden will be on the cards.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Good Housekeeping/ One Skillet Meals

First off I have to say where I come from you call a "skillet" a "frying pan", It took me a long time when I came to the States to get used to this. Now it's hard to remember it is the other way around, although sometimes if I am not thinking, my native tongue will slip back in, Not only with skillets but a whole lots of words. When I worked in the corporate world and in serious meetings, it was not seen as amusing to "go global" on your vocabulary, but now I have a more casual existence I just have a laugh about it. 

When "Good Housekeeping" approached me to style a one meal skillet story, I knew that the search had to be on for the right skillet/s for them, My assistants and I probably hired every skillet in the story's colors available in the prop houses of Manhattan. On the shoot we had tables of them. The colors chosen by the magazine were largely red and yellow and a lot of the dishes had an "international" flavor, so I was able to source interesting fabrics to represent different cultures with the use of backgrounds. We were also able to incorporate some "rustic" textures and so I sued a lot of vintage napkins, cutting boards and surfaces with wear and patina. 

"Speedy One Dish Dinners" was shot once again by the talented Con Poulos http://www.conpoulos.com/home.php  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One for the kids!

For the August issue of Better Homes & Gardens I got the opportunity through the Style/ Fashion section of the magazine to meet and work with Karen Kimmel who is a L.A based Artist and also Teacher. Karen has had a prolific career as a conceptual and installation artist, yet she is also a mother of two which may have inspired her to start a new venture — Kimmel Kids, a line of educational tools and toys aimed at getting children and their parents involved in making art. The Exchange Collection, one of her first efforts, is a set of laser-cut plastic stencils, neon pencils and a coloring book, all packaged in a stylish zippered canvas case that you can buy to make a start, see www.karenkimmel.com

Karen has been stressing the importance of creating art and helping kids make "some sick stuff" from California to New York, setting up workshops in which the kids and parents can create.

For our shoot we wanted to emphasize the marriage of art meets kids, Karen kindly shipped over some the rugs she had been working on for an exhibition, collaboration with kids that acted as colorful islands on a very white backdrop. Using her stencils I had the idea of adhering them to the wall in a graphic and simple way, we also used an all white easel, that we had painted white and white chairs, stools and a saw horse table with the materials Karen uses to create in her workshops. 

The story was shot once again by Fashion Photographer, Perry Hagopian, www.perryhagopian.com. You can see him pictured here on set. Mykl Cummins my assistant seen packing up here along with Jeanne Lurvey (not shown) did a fantastic job of helping me. You can also see my sketch created to help the team at Better Homes & Gardens’ understand my initial vision for the set, Usually I stick pretty close to the sketch allowing some wiggle room for things to change, as they always do! : ) 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Colorways/ The Green Machine

What is it about green? It's so fresh, so alive! Green really does take you head first into the natural world, Nature comes in all colors but green seems to dominate. Wikipedia says: “Animals such as frogs, lizards, and other reptiles and amphibians, fish, insects, and birds, appear green because of a mixture of layers of blue and green coloring on their skin. Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage”

Green sometimes can also be described as someone who is inexperienced, jealous, or sick, depending on where you are from; green can have broad and sometimes contradictory meanings. In some cultures, green symbolizes hope and growth, while in others; it is associated with death, sickness, envy, or even the devil.

We all know that political groups have put their stamp on green as symbol of environmental protection and social justice, and thus consider themselves part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. And of course the advertising industry and business not far behind any influential movement means many companies are marketing green/ environmentally friendly products.

I love crisp greens, like that in a rainforest, crisp, dewy and succulent, like a sugar snap pea that makes that sound and smell when broken. I also think of green glass, green grass and the green that effects the copper used on our older buildings.

In terms of green influences in my other green world, I think of green leaf motif wallpaper, Here in New York, the Martinique Banana Leaf Wallpaper at Indochine, www.indochinenyc.com is famous since the 1970’s, If interested you can source it on www.designerwallcoverings.com, A recent design classic is the Leaf series by Lievore Altherr Molina for Arper, www.arper.com and at ICFF 2010 in New York a few months ago I spotted the relaunch of Acapulco chair which is made from powder coated steel frames and vinyl cord, handcrafted using a Mayan weaving technique. INNIT, www.innitdesigns.com, a contemporary furniture producer from Mexico are now producing it again, Of course I love it in green. Lastly I always think of those amazing green fabrics at Marrimekko (amongst others), www.finnstyle.com/marrimekko.htm with their large range of designs influenced by the natural world, a clique I know but often our best source of inspiration.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Small Space Feature/ The Nest

It was back in April, At the end of a day, Lost in some back streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the dark I was looking for an apartment to view. The Nest Magazine, a magazine for newly weds had sent me to meet the couple we were photographing and their apartment. Mariana Keyes and Glenn Tuma greeted me at the door. A bit frazzled from being misdirected on my IPhone, the place actually ended up being directly across the road from some friends! Isn't it always the way! One could say I was in need of a drink, and a drink I had!, Mariana and Glenn had prepared the sweetest cheese plate and a big glass of red wine and made me feel very at home.

Glenn who works for J Crew as a set designer and Mariana who works as an Art Director at Allure ended up knowing quite a few of the same people in the industry so it was nice to chat, they also knew being creative people what they liked and what they didn't, which does help! What I recognized first and foremost was that they liked red! They also did not like too many colors, The walls were gray. In essence their apartment was very sweet, but when it comes to photographing a place, sometimes you need to inject a boost of energy. Some of the space was on the darker side so I wanted to amp up some pattern and color without straying too much from their aesthetic. They had a wall in the living room that had one star burst mirror, for impact I added 2 more, bringing in a colored, patterned rug, I replaced their very nice gray one with more color (A gray room can photograph a bit drab even though quite lovely in real life) Color coding their books also helped and tidying up their media area with a vintage Paul McCobb cabinet that tied into some other Paul McCobb they owned. I also styled up their shelves with personal items so you could read a little more into the type of interests they have, For example Glenn has a great collection of vintage cameras that were on a shelf you could hardly see.

In the kitchen I installed window treatments in the way of bamboo blinds, We swapped out some of the chairs, rugs and artwork that belonged to Glenn and Mariana. I added pops of color with a red Kitchen Aid Mixer and Dansk vintage pots.

I won't lie it was a lot of work, My wonderful assistant Kaitlyn DuRoss and I packed and put back into place their apartment till 11.30pm, It was a long day but Glenn and Mariana were great sports and I think they were happy with the results as was I so it was all worth it! Thanks also to my other assistants Cory Brunwasser and Jeanne Lurvey for helping out!

The product boards you see here are examples of the products I suggested to them and the editors at the magazine to include, Many stockists helped us out like Design Within Reach, John Robshaw and Madeline Weinrib. The story was photographed by the very patient David A. Land, www.davidaland.com who did and amazing job.