Saturday, February 25, 2017


Thursday was just one of those days.......I had been very good over the past month. I truly did not buy anything!! So, when this past Thursday rolled around, I was pumped (which is really when I need to be the most conscious of what I'm bidding on); I knew that I was going to find something 

Setting the Stage: At the beginning of every Thursday auction there is a literal pile of what the auction has deemed to be second rate (could be junk)/low value items. Because everything is stacked--it's impossible to preview; so you have about 15-30 seconds after first seeing the item to bid.
I was standing watching "the show" when all of a sudden out pops a bar cart...a very dirty bar cart, with a ribber wheel falling off. I took one glimpse and thought, hmmmmm, that looks like Aldo Tura hardware on that cart, but the surface was so dirty I couldn't tell if it was lacquered goat skin parchment or just a plain surface. But I decided that the hardware was just too great to pass up. Well, I guess no one else was paying attention, but I bought the cart for only a bit more than a few pennies. The cart was definitely a gift from God. And I listened to that still small voice.
On close inspection, there are few little spots that need some attention and Roberto will spend a considerable about of time polishing the brass hardware. But when all is said and done, the cart will look like this

I'm not going to talk about TT (Times of Trump) today. I've been really active on-line, calling and writing this week........but I have taken a break from The News. But this break is motivating me to pick up the pace in my resistance. More and more action sites are making calling Members of Congress super easy; so there is no reason to reject making calls. What I discovered in my calling this week is that most Southern California Sheriffs departments say "we are focusing our efforts on apprehending criminals" not on regular people. This, to me, amounts to a quiet refusal to do Trump's heartless, stupid detention of Hispanic immigrants. So I'm hopeful that more and more law enforcement agencies and leaders will vote their consciences. This is cause for celebration.

Well, I'm off to bed.
Have a great week--xoxo

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Yesterday, I did a little spiffing up--decided to accessorize the elephant table to show her off a bit. Now that the lacquer has had 10 days to set, it should be OK to set stuff on.
There's a bit of a (tongue in cheek) story going on with the table--it's for explorers--the table top is carved Indian florals and Buddha images; the vintage US Navy telescope is for ocean voyages and, of course, the foot is to carry me on my travels.........I wonder if anyone else will see my subtle hints?
One of my favorite authors is Paulo Coelho. He inspires me to search for my best self. In this TT (time of trump--not my president) I thought I would highlight some of his wisdom taken from "Warrier of the Light"--we need to bring The Light and Love to our daily thoughts and actions. We need to become warriors to protect the rights that have been so hard-won; to protect the environment; social structures and our open, giving national identity. With that goal in mind, I'll be quoting from "Warrior" for the next few months.

    "A responsible Warrior is not someone who takes the weight of the world on his shoulders, but someone who has learned to deal with the challenges of the moment".

This inspires me to focus on what particular action I can take today to move our country in a positive direction--maybe it's only writing one letter to a Representative; maybe it's only "taking action" on 3 or 4 petitions; maybe it's only a moment of prayer. But I'm conscious that this is the step taken in the Moment of Awareness (with no guilt or should-haves attached) that has the power to effect change. Conscious and joyful that I have the power to choose my actions and that I do have the power to effect change.
(I'm leaving the soap box, now)

The Palm Springs Modernism show is in full swing this week. I didn't make it out to the desert this week-end....maybe next year. But a couple of my items were included in dealers' booths. Happy Selling to all of the show dealers!

We are now officially out of the drought--and boy has it rained, with more on the way tomorrow. Thank you!
Must go feed the beasties and get ready to go to Pasadena.

Mary & Jones & Cole 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gampel & Stoll Elephant Table Reveal

And here she is

I picked the table up in LA a week ago and was almost speechless when I saw her. The intricately carved top became so much more beautiful with the ivory lacquer instead of the black surface. The new finisher managed to "get" the tone just right. The best part of this process has been meeting new craftsmen. People of deep integrity and talent. Of course, these wonderful craftsmen are immigrants. These are the people that continue to make Americans (us) the outstanding country that we are. Immigrants bring us their talents, hopes, aspirations and goodness. For anyone to disparage them is to disparage our national identity. 
"Not My President" continues to be my motto.

Anyway.....politics aside.......
And to continue my black and (not too)WHITE theme,
I finally took some respectable photos of a pair of 18th c. Piranesi (Giovanni Battista) engravings  and of a pair of Toko Shinoda Lithographs.
G.B.Piranesi was the most famous engraver of 18th c. Rome (Italy-which still wasn't unified). Most of us are most familiar with his "Ruins" and "Prisons" series which are outstanding and highly detailed, but also a bit depressing. These two engravings represent water elements and include contemporary view of Roman life during the mid-18th c., there is a lot of activity represented and the views are full of life.
The Trevi Fountain, below continues to be a Roman focal point.

I don't think that the Castello dell' Acqua remains, however, this engraving tells us much about mid-18th c. Rome.

I had the folios framed with simple museum black mats and tarnished silver toned frames.

Toko Shinoda is a very well-listed 20th c. Japanese print maker. Shinoda was born in 1913 and continues to work--she is about to be 104!! She is recognized for her abstract her calligraphy works. Shinoda was influenced by Jackson Pollack during her time spent in the United States. Additionally, her pieces are held in many permanent museum collections.

As you can see, I'm having trouble photographing these pieces due to black matting and reflection of the glass--I could have ordered non-reflective glass, but that type of glass distorts the image seen through it...Life is not perfect.
I love the energy in Shinoda's work--it's stark, but perfect. I believe her works would incorporate perfectly into period designed rooms as well as mid-century designed settings.

We are going to get between 5 and 8 inches of rain tomorrow--so I need to hurry to get everything done today. I think we need a few prayers for that broken damn spillway up north. It needs to hold until the rainy season comes to an end.

Jones & Cole say "hi"

Sunday, February 5, 2017



After many years of not applying to be a Dealer on 1stdibs--I finally did and was accepted right off the bat!! Many of my items have been listed on 1stdibs by third parties over the past 11years---but it does feel great to have my own "little" shop. 
So I have been busy loading my items to the 1stdibs site over the past few days--and it is not a quickly executed task--items, photos, descriptions, etc. have to be just right. The MJH Design Arts page should be functional Wednesday afternoon..... please take a look.
Now on to the really important (not) things in life...... I showed this photo to my last post--

I knew that it was a set of tribal necklaces, woven steel wire(?) and perhaps from Africa. But I couldn't find any African pieces that looked like it. So I expanded my search. What I discovered was that the neck pieces were a true gift: they are a set of early 20th c. Miao Hmong SILVER neck ornaments. I've just learned that the Hmong are a minority ethnic tribe located in the southern mountains of China and who have migrated into Southeast Asia. My neck pieces date to the early 20th c. and are woven of silver wire that is 60% silver and 40% alloys of copper, zinc and nickel. Here are some close-ups

I have already had quite a bit of interest in them--we'll see what happens. My joy is the discovery and journey to uncover the unexpected truth of an item.


My dearest Friend-In-Arms, Missy, just sent me this twitter shot.  It's perfection. Alternate facts = lies. How could anyone (let alone a government official) create a MASSACRE?  The only answer is that her/their playbook is taken directly from North Korea. It's too far fetched for even Putin.

Anyway, Jones and I are off to Pasadena. To sell, sell, sell.  I'm doing deals as January was a bit slow and I have tons of new inventory with no room to put it. Wish me luck. Text, email or call me if you see any thing that tickles your fancy..... ('m doing deals just until I make enough room for the new pieces.

Happy Sunday!!

Mary, Jones & Cole

Friday, January 27, 2017


I can't believe that I hesitated to buy this amazing set of corner stacking tables, but I did. I put it on hold; then took the tables off hold. A week later--silly me was still debating.......but I bought them this week. Of course, they were not displayed assembled; so I couldn't really tell how impressive they truly are. And they are in excellent condition with only a small area of rubbing at one corner!! The tables are attributed to Roe Kaisin, a Korean/American designer-artist and date to c. 1975-1980.
Usually, it's "he who hesitates is lost," but not this time--the tables just waited for me. I posted this photo to my instagram account and I had 90 "likes" in under an hour--now the likes are at 100!! That's the most likes that I've had (so far) on Instagram--my instagram account is MJH Design Arts in case you are interested.
I don't have an inch to spare---so instead of furniture (my passion), I'm buying "smalls"... this charming bronze/brass Serengeti tree sculpture showed up and came home

The detail is great and it appears to be in very good condition. I don't know who made it and there aren't any distinguishing marks that I can find, but I love it anyway.
Lately, I've been drawn to tribal or ethnic pieces--perhaps this is simply a facet of my love of rustic 17th and 18th c. European pieces where you can feel the soul of the creator emerging. I bought this beautiful African tribal necklace on stand at "my auction." I love the counterpoint and balancing of energy when pieces like this are placed with more refined pieces--even 18th c. French pieces.

Hmmmmm--I'm looking at the photos carefully. It looks like there are three necklaces, but on one stand. It won't be problem to have three more stands fabricated. Lucky me!!
Last summer, I bought an elephant head table that needed a considerable amount of restoration--but I thought I would take the risk. When I got it home and really studied the table, I realized that the elephant heads were not carved wood, but rather composition--so I immediately poo-pooed (sp?) the table and left it in the garage......... Thank goodness I didn't discard the table--while I was roaming around 1stdibs last week, I found my table and discovered that these tables are selling like hot-cakes right now

This is what the table looked like upside-down in the garage--as you can see, the tusks have been broken off and one leg needs work. The new tusks are being carved & leg fixed; then the table will go to be stripped and a few coats of off-white lacquer applied. This lacquer will not be the piano lacquer of the Robsjohn-gibbings chest, but a matte unpolished surface and the table will look something like this console by the same designer

On another note: I've been busy this week. I discovered that Credo Action--(do a Google search) has a platform where Credo has an automatic dialing system setup to call senators and congressmen. I am able to make about 10 call in only 3 mins. Now that is an easy way to have a voice in government policy. So I've made lots of calls; sent many emails; signed petitions and given $$ to organizations fighting to preserve our rights and stay connected to others.

Sending blessings for the week-end.
Mary & Jones & Cole

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Of course, this was not my first consideration when thinking about yesterday's march---but it is so appropriate for all of us in the design business. What is Trump's decor going to look like??? GOLD PLATED EVERYTHING. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

This is what makes me proud

I wish I could have marched--but am having "band aid" back surgery next month...... not quite in marching form just yet.
The estimates of the massive numbers of walkers just keep going up. With this number of people coming together with the purpose of raising their voices for justness, there will most certainly be a shift in our collective consciousness. We all need to keep focused on the goal of maintaining our hard won freedoms; preventing a narcissistic man and his cronies from having an impact on our rights. I know that it is possible--with discipline, love of country and neighbor and courage.

Thank you for letting me get on my soap box.


Monday, January 16, 2017


Civil rights are our rights. They are God-given. It is our duty to stand up, be counted and not go silently into the night--it is our solemn responsibility to defend our rights--the rights of women, minorities, black Americans, the gay community, the impoverished, the sick and weak, those that differ (but only superficially) from us. Today let's all stand up and say no to bigotry, no to greed, no to discrimination, no to hatred, no to militarism, no to the extreme right. No to the powers that strive to destroy our rights.
...........We will say YES to Dr. King's vision for America.