My Mum was fascinated with things made of horsehair. She was intrigued & studied the hand-woven horsehair veil found through Central Asia. You don’t see it much anymore, it was from older times. I think it was called the Paranja.
Oh, the versatility of horsehair! Traditionally used in upholstery, lining in clothing, woven for Paranjas, fly swats in Africa, plaited for jewellery, used in headdresses from exotic steppe nomads, paintbrushes & even fishing line. My Mum kept lengths of braid, horsetail & various other things under a glass dome at home & she has embedded me with the same attraction. I am not often without the braided bracelets of horsehair (creams & caramels for me) that I bought in Wyoming whilst horse riding in the Honeycomb Badlands- the stomping grounds of infamous American outlaws like Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.
I called one of my paint ranges ‘Tender is the Night’. The colours in the theme are based on all those old fashioned flowers one might have found in the rambling cliff gardens above the French Mediterranean in the Divers’ Garden (they were the couple from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book). Nasturtium, geranium & rosa rugosa with the noisy background of Summer cicadas. I have persevered with nasturtiums outside the The Society inc. since the opening & this Spring they have finally taken & are a joy. People forget to bring them inside, but I love to cut them & trail them up the side of frames or walls. They are hardy & continue to grow once cut.
I was staying at my friend, Sally’s house and she has a garden full of wild ones that I decorated her house with as a welcome home. Her artist sister, Cressida, woodblocks them, beautiful in all their ramble. Check out her amazing, lovely thick book called ‘The Woodblock Painting of Cressida Campbell.’
The Caroline Simpson Library, although not a collection museum in theory, always has an interesting array of related things from journals, guides, souvenir & scrap albums as well as other ephemera & furniture. Their collection always seems so personal, a real importance is placed on the hand touched & the individual- here, handwritten notes in a margin or personal references are embraced.
The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection is open to anyone with an interest in the history of house & garden design & interior furnishing in New South Wales. The collection supports the Historic Houses Trust’s work of interpreting & managing places of cultural significance in NSW and provides a specialist research resource for scholars, heritage & conservation practitioners & museum professionals- & me!
It includes material across a wide range of formats: architectural pattern books; architectural fragments; wall coverings; floor coverings; manufactuirers’ trade catalogues & sample books; garden ornament; fittings (including curtain & blind hardware, door & window furniture); soft furnishings & trimmings; personal papers & manuscripts; pictures; photographs; books & periodicals. The scope of the collections is broad, covering houses & gardens of all kinds and ranging from the 19th Century to the present day. They also record significant houses, interiors and gardens in situ, usually on the point of change, through photographic survey & sometimes through oral history.
The fern book photographed here, is housed at this resourceful library where I enjoy the treasures that unfold with the help of librarians, Matthew, Megan, Annie & Michael.
Laura Baxter is my A-MAZ-ING web designer & friend. We meet over my website & she is not just an inspiration but illustrator & bottomless box of innovation & ideas. I love that I could let her own the project of building my website to represent me, my brand & my shop in the best, most beautiful way.
I let her have her freedom when developing my site which has made not only the most amazing site EVER but built a respected relationship that I cherish. Here’s to you lovely Laura.
P.S. Look out for our revamp of www.thesocietyinc.com.au launching on October 1st (my birthday!!).
Long legged wetland wading birds fascinate me. Flamingos for examples, other than they are pink because they eat so much shrimp (cool fact or is it fiction?) are the most amazing looking creatures & they can fly. I have felted ones at the shop at present, along with a menagerie of other creatures & critters from an American artist.
I recently viewed this beautiful wetland, full of crazy long-legged birds to be transfixed by (yes, I am on sabbatical at present). It is time to incorporate wading birds into your interiors, through the wish listed Meret Oppenheim’s 1939 table, Chicago’s Jayson Home new range of candlesticks or a Fiona Hall piece that I first saw exhibited at the Museum of Sydney forever ago! Or just some random cast feet from Swallow, Brooklyn. Go check out the wading birds in the Louis Vuitton windows in Sydney CBD!