Friday, November 30, 2007

Precious Mettle

"Merchant's daughter" earrings

Brigitte Adolph (b. 1975, Fulda, Germany) is a goldsmith not only by training, but by genetic disposition. Adolph spent much of her childhood at her father's atelier and became familiar with the tools and processes of the trade long before her formal studies in jewelry design. She enrolled in programs that took her to Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Switzerland, before finally settling in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Shown here are two examples from Adolph's "Spitzen-Schmuck" collection, which grew out of her longtime fascination with antique lace and embroidery. In 2002, she began transforming fragments of family heirlooms into elaborate gold "lace" jewels. Although primarily based on historic designs, a number of her pieces have a remarkably modern quality - an almost 60s, Pucci-esque appeal. But what I find most fascinating about Adolph's designs, is the element of surprise - their delicacy belies their strength.

"Orient" earrings

Toil in the Soil in Style

Gardener's tool set, £24.00

Leave it to the folks at the V&A to apply one of William Morris's most celebrated fabric designs to gardening tools. Cray, designed in 1884, was the most expensive pattern produced by Morris & Company as it required 34 different printing blocks. Most designs required only a fraction of that -- many of them as little as two. But despite its high price, Cray became one of the firm's best-sellers and was produced in numerous colorways.

Secateurs, £18.00

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All Features Great and Small

Monet, Marilyn, Hitchcock and Winston... anyone who was anyone. Or for that matter, anyone who just wanted to feel like someone, all stayed at the Savoy, one of London's most famous hotels. On the eve of a monumental - $200 million, plus - renovation project, Bonhams will auction off nearly every bit and bob to be found in the rooms, restaurants and corridors. Being the very last person to take a spin on Perino's dancefloor in situ at the famous Los Angeles restaurant, I adore this kind of sale. Practical, enchanting memorabilia.

A few of the highlights:

Lot No: 67†
The Thames Foyer
A five panel specimen wood marquetry screen made by David Linley, inlaid with architectural designs, the timbers including thuya, oak, burr oak, Maccaser ebony, maple, yew, sycamore and stained fruitwood, each panel 61cm wide x 213cm high
Estimate: £3,000 - 5,000

Lot No: 68†
The Thames Foyer
(Detail) A pair of large mid 20th century painted tole and ceramic twenty four light tent and bag chandeliers applied with green painted tole leaves and white painted ceramic wild roses
Estimate: £10,000 - 15,00

Lot No: 145†
Stairs outside River Room
A pair of Art Deco circular birch and satinwood wall mirrors
Diameter 121cm (2)
Estimate: £600 - 800

Lot No: 152†
Lancaster Room
A large oak parquet dancefloor consisting of hundred sections, each section 92cm wide x 92cm deep
Estimate: £400 - 600

Lot No: 240†
Room 209
A bronze model of a dog signed V. Cremia, on black marble oval base, 17cm high
Estimate: £300 - 400

Lot No: 245†
Room 209
A beech side chair in the Regency style
Estimate: £40 - 60

Lot No: 252†
210 The Royal Opera House Suite
A pair of gilt metal and glass Corinthian column form table lamp bases together with a lacquered brass table lamp base 53cm high (3)
Estimate: £200 - 300

Lot No: 1325†
3rd Floor Corridors Hotel Side
A walnut, burr walnut and ebony strung breakfront bookcase
the ogee moulded cornice above a fluted dentil frieze and open shelves, the lower section build as a radiator cover with gilt metal grilled panels; made by David Linley in 1996 235cm wide x 265cm high
Estimate: £2,000 - 3,000

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tactile Twist

With each uniquely-designed vase or bowl, London-based artist Ian McIntyre tells both sides of a material's story: the material as manipulated by man and the material left to its own natural tendencies. "Process led design," as he calls it, allows the chosen material (either pewter or clay) to permanently reflect a choice made in an instant. By changing the force with which a mould is spun, or by shattering the mould altogether, McIntyre takes control by releasing it. The resulting designs, whilst complex in creation, are, in the artist's words, "simple... with little pretence."

The Slush Cast Bowl is made of recycled pewter. While molten, the material is swirled around a bowl-form mould to create a thin layer of metal, smooth on the exterior and left rough on the interior. Bowls are produced in a series, but no two are alike.

The Broken Vase is made of porcelain, with a clear glaze on the interior. The cylindrical moulds, made of plaster, are each broken around the pour hole by McIntyre, then cast and glazed at a local manufacturer.