Inspired by the exploration and discovery by such characters as Charles Darwin & William Dampier. Tradewinds is my own fascination with the period from 1750-1850, a critical period of scientific enlightenment when old notions were being challenged by new questions & ideas. In particular, the establishment of The Royal Society and its encouragement of exploration by these individuals as well as the increased fascination with all things curious and exotic.
Picture John Mawe, expert shell collector & collector, scouring for new & exotic shells on the coasts of the countries surrounded by the South Seas, adding to his collection & learning how to best care for them on their long trips back to England (packed securely in a box of sawdust or sand). The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy and its’ members are the most renowned and prestigious of scientists- and they’re called ‘fellows’!
Tradewinds are any of the nearly constant easterly winds that dominate most of the tropics & sub-tropics throughout the world, blowing mainly from the northeast in the Northern hemisphere, and from the southeast in the Southern hemisphere. These men lived in a time when their expeditions were navigated by the tradewinds, into unknown territory, in the name of research & science. This palette can be calm or wild, depending on how you like to sail the seas.
This palette is dedicated to my mother & her love of colour. It is based on two influences. Firstly, Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes in Paris during the early 1900’s. Diaghilev collaborated with modern Artists of the time to create the ground-breaking costumes and set design: never-seen-before paint driven, oversized graphics and colour, both in the use of fabrics paper & paint. I was lucky enough to see the Ballet Russes exhibition in Canberra recently and was overwhelmed to see history in front of my eyes. It transported me to all the different shows over the decades, represented by the huge variety in the costumes. Their never-seen-before paint driven, oversized graphics and colour, both in the use of fabrics, paper & paint.
Secondly, travelling with my Mum in Central Asia and her textile collections. My Mum specialized in Islamic textiles from Central Asia. She traveled the world to find out all she could about textiles and she instilled a similar passion in me. When we were traveling I fell in love with everything that filled the markets along the Silk Road and always imagined the characters you once would have met here: fortune tellers, puppeteers, knife throwers, camel drivers, letter writers & storytellers, caravan menders, tin smiths, gypsies & shamans, gold merchants, dance troupes & acrobats, falconers, & pilgrims.
In my latest book ‘Nomad’, I have created a beautiful photographic collection of travel shots & styled spaces to show how to bring your travels home in the most unexpected of ways. It will sit comfortably beside ‘Etcetera’ and is brimming with decorating tips and inspiring pictures. I globetrot-ed and treasure hunted to Syria, Mexico, Italy, India and Japan. I was influence by everything from door knobs and street signs to roadside shrines and household brooms- many things that often go unnoticed. I use the ideas, photographs and mementos from my travels to inspire room settings in stunning private residences through simple, practical and surprising ways showing that any decorative background can be restyled with travel touches. My philosophy is about adding and subtracting, rearranging and recycling, transforming and rethinking a space to reflect your personality, lifestyle and adventures. Make it organic & sustainable! You do not have to recreate your entire interior for that special reminder of your trip. ‘Nomad’ will help open your eyes to what’s around you and fuel your imagination long after the suitcase is unpacked. Plus there’s a reference list in the back of all my fav shops, books and hotels that I found & used along the way!
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A place that makes me very happy is the American Natural History Museum (ANHM). I have spent many an hour here for special exhibitions or just to discover a new wing or visit my fav diorama. The definition of diorama (from wikipedia) refers to a 19th Century full-size or miniature model, sometimes enclosed in a glass showcase for a museum.
ANHM is broken up into different countries & the animals that inhabit them. I gravitate toward the animal kingdom of Africa (birds are a close second- if not on par): the lions & tigers, elephants, rhinos, zebras, monkeys & many other beasts. The dioramas date back to some other time before technology, when their natural environments were created as a backdrop and the stuffed taxidermy-ed animals were placed in various stages of activity: sleeping, leaping, prowling, nursing, stalking or swooping. Each animal species is encased in its own over-sized glass cabinet in spacious rooms with enough space for 100 children & you. But there’s always a quiet spot to be found as elephants casually wander in the open. Although they are not alive, a few years ago I went to the A-MAZ-ING Darwin exhibit there where Galapagos turtles roamed (live ones!).
I love the old-fashioned-ness of it & hope they stand the test of time & interest for the technically savvy youth of today. I am holding my very own form of diorama workshop that involves the more humble & accessible form of the glass collectibles dome. I hope to see you there July 20th for it. Tickets here!
These Hamman towels are the best!! They are just so lovely, plus they are lightweight & dry super-fast. Perfect for bath, beach or travel (they roll into the smallest ball!). My assistant Hannah, uses one as a throw on her bed. I like to have at least a few, purely so I can arrange and rearrange according to my colour palette of the day.
This workshop is for everyone of course, but would be especially perfect for all you collectors out there. So many beautiful things and no way to show them off! I’ll be talking about & demonstrating my fascination with diaramas & domes, and showing how they can be used to display your treasures & objet trouve. The simple art of creating mini worlds under glass and displaying your odds & ends in 3D forms can be the most simple and perfect way to turn your tucked away collections into beautiful still-lifes.
As usual, the workshop is ‘in conversations with’ so bring some of your treasures (especially ones that are often hidden from view- I’m always up for a challenge!) and a bottle of wine if you please. And of course, an open mind is a prerequisite.
Can’t wait to see you there- 20th July! Buy tickets here & as usual, BYO.