Sunday, July 29, 2012

TECHNOLOGY MANNERS

I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!!! At first I resented the Internet--why did I have to learn how to be computer literate?  Why did I have to learn about digital cameras, shopping on-line, selling on-line, communicating on-line.......But that was quite a while ago and with 4 of my own websites under my belt, I can now look at a website and see what I love about it and what I would fix.  I love digital photos--I'm not a great photographer, not good with lighting, focus, centering, composition, etc. but with my little digital camera and Macbook--I can fix my not so perfect photos!! My cell phone --how did I live without it??? (I do not have a smart phone as I'm afraid that I would become addicted to it)
But I do have some issues with technology....mainly regarding the manners (or lack thereof) surrounding the when and where and how of technology.

First up: Cell phones.
Cell phones are the greatest inventions since the electric light bulb....but I hate it when some one comes into my shop glued to their phone and stays glued to their phone. There is no way in the world that anybody can talk on the phone and digest my inventory; so if you prefer to stay glued to your phone, please do not walk in my door.
Many times I will be having a conversation with a friend or fellow dealer when all of a sudden the phone rings and whatever we were talking about takes a back seat to a phone call that usually could just as easily been returned a bit later (I'm excluding calls regarding URGENT business or family matters). By the time the interrupting call is completed, I've misplaced my train of thought and that moment of connection with a friend is lost. It used to be considered poor manners to simply drop a person in the middle of a conversation to start another conversation with some one else, but not any more.
Many studies have been published regarding the harmful effects of multi-tasking. The human brain is not wired in such a way as to really be able to do more than one thing at a time: 5% of us can multi-task, the rest of us are just wasting a lot of time and really stressing our brains to the point of causing permanent damage. But stress from multi-tasking can also effect most (if not all) cells in our bodies as the fight or flight response is activated under prolonged stressful situations. Also, what does the other person who is involved in the multi-tasking equation feel? How does a child develop proper attachments if he/she is not the focus of a parent's attention. What a child (even an adult) needs is eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart contact with a parent (individual); he needs to have his personhood and importance affirmed by those he loves and with whom he interacts--this cannot happen when a parent is talking on the phone for the majority of time that he is also interacting with the child.
I try to limit personal calls to non-work times and I definitely do not make any business related calls during non-business hours. I just do not like to have to switch gears from one type of interaction to another. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one to respond this way. But because we always have that phone available, it is so hard to set boundaries. This is really true with mothers, we have been conditioned (hooked) to think that we need to respond to "Mommy" the moment we hear that word or the ID of a child pop up on caller ID. Yes, we love them, but our children (husbands, parents, etc.) still need to learn to have a little patience; it builds character and respect.

Next up: Email responses.
I cannot count the number of times I have responded to a business-related email; emailed the requested information/photos, etc. and the person receiving the email and who has requested the information fails to respond. How hard is to to say "Thank you" and hit the send button???
This is true for most types of emails...even to family members: how difficult is it to say "Thank you" and hit send?? I think that it probably takes under 30 seconds.
Next up: Smart phones.
They are great when you need them for important emails on-the-go or during times of absolute boredom. But to check who pinned what on Pinterest 20 times a day? Check in with Twitter 30 times a day?
Please.......the most important goal of our lives is to learn and practice being present in the "moment"--the moment is where everything happens, where creativity arises, where listening happens, where love is experienced and where we are the most human.  With a smart phone, who needs to be creative; to listen to one's inner voice; to grow and to stretch and to learn. In fact, we don't even need to be human because the smart phone can do our interactions for us. My gorgeous, adorable youngest baby grand daughter can work an Iphone--she can find her favorite cartoon on her mom's Iphone and hit all of the right buttons by herself to play it and she was only 15 months when she mastered this feat.   And this really, really scares me.


    


Thanks for letting me rant a bit. Jones had his hair done yesterday and looks really handsome.
Have a wonderful week--hopefully it will start raining in the mid-west.

Mary

PS--I still can't figure out why I get that white highlighting?? It doesn't show up on the compose page?? And I'm afraid to mess with it for fear that I will erase the blog post (I already know how that feels)........see I'm still challenged, but I'm working on it.....Mary










Sunday, July 22, 2012

THE SPACES BETWEEN

I've been pondering  "The Space Between" question quite a bit lately. For me, "The Space Between"  is the freedom for creativity to exist within a beautifully designed interior space--when a room is never perfect; when it leaves open spaces for the person experiencing the room to insert (perhaps only envision)  a piece of themselves, leave a footprint of their creative spirit. 
I used to relish baroque rooms--grand carvings, over-scale furniture, luscious textiles in velvets, silks, brocades--you name it--anything that filled my senses. My first memories are of being in the Cleveland Museum of Art (yes, Cleveland has a small and pretty great museum and symphony), I loved the armor!! And the Egyptian rooms with the mummies. But the paintings were always my favorites....... I still see them vividly--my first introduction to the Impressionists, the Renaissance Masters--but no modern works (no "spaces between").  I used to walk into baroque rooms or paintings (yes, you can walk into a painting) and be completely absorbed by what was given, by what my senses were experiencing. I loved being overwhelmed. (My Mexican and Spanish years)
But gradually, I've shifted. I've come to rest with my neoclassical passions. I love the silence that neoclassical based rooms allow me to have. I love the "spaces between" the given elements. I love how a life-giving abstract expressionist painting (which I may or may not like) becomes the perfect neighbor to a French Empire chest of drawers or an out-scrolled arm daybed (just to let you know: I'm not buying any more daybeds. I still adore them, but they take up a lot of space and they are really a hard-sell in California).
I love walking into a space that lets me breathe, where my eye rests, but is somehow stimulated to create at the same time. This is not to say that I'm enamored with super structured neo-classical: perfect pairs (please--too boring and over-done). Stiff sculptures and bronzes up the wherever--not for me.
Mid-century design was born from Art Deco which derives from Biedermeier; Biedermeier (can you believe that I can spell Biedermeier without spell check?) derives from Regency (Federal) and Empire  and it's predecessor, Louis XVI; Louis XVI/George III derive from Roman and Greek antiquity and there is some Egyptian thrown into the mix. (I guess that we are back to the mummies)
And... what I love most (well, maybe not "most", but it's up there) is the fact that neo-classical furniture lends itself beautifully to "the perfect mix" without loosing its identity.

That's why I'm buying good neo-classical pieces right now.

Early 19th century pieces are currently very accessible and are probably bottoming out in the downside of the inevitable swings in what's in and what's out in design. A  good Federal or Regency sideboard that used sell for $20,000-$25,000 is now fetching about $8,000. (The California market has always been much lower than the East Coast or European markets for neo-classical pieces.) 

Here are some of my recently acquired late 18th c./early 19th c. pieces that are in storage or being restored and will be set to go when the market for neoclassical pieces returns to its upward swing.


This is a gorgeous and almost mint French Empire (c. 1810) Bed (some would call it a daybed)--I bought it for about a third of what I would have had to spend a few years ago. Can you imagine it paired with a beautifully lacquered Tommy Parzinger credenza? A Karl Springer lacquered parchment console?


   
This is a rather large (57" wide) oval English Late George III Breakfast Table (c. 1800). Just look at the swoop of those legs. A sofa table for an Edward Wormley sofa? Between a pair of Papa Bear Chairs?

   

This table is also a late George III Breakfast table--the large diameter (54") makes is highly desirable and I bought it and the oval table for a fraction of what I used to pay for these tables.
I wonder where Mr. Saarinen derived inspiration for his "Tulip" table? Could it be late George III/Regency?

Mochatini Blog

Mochatini Blog
 Yes, the Saarinen "Tulip" tables were inspired by nature, but there is also the obvious reference to neo-classical design.  I can envision a suite of "Tulip" chairs surrounding  my late George III table. Perhaps a Cocteau rug in the same room? For the time-being, when the table comes back from being French-polished (a hand rubbed varnish finish--pricey), I'm going to pair it with my set of 8 mid-century klismos chairs.

   

With "The Spaces Between" left open, there is even an opening for a large Baroque painting.......maybe a Chinese Altar Table.  Would a Jackson Pollack or a Diego Rivera feel out of place? I don't think so.

Thank you, Patricia (PVE blog) for your daily inspiration to create and love. Have a wonderful holiday!

Jones says "HI"--he's busy babysitting his cousin "Luxie" (bichon) while Luxie's parents are in Cancun. Have a wonderful Sunday filled with connections and love.
Mary


Monday, July 16, 2012

I'VE BEEN BAD--MORE CHAIRS




There are times in life when resolutions need to be re-evaluated. I know, I had promised not to buy any more chairs...I have a lot in inventory. But once in a life time chairs are something that I couldn't pass up and shouldn't; so I didn't.

This pair of mid 20th century pull up chairs has all of the details that make for a perfect chair:
----solid and figured veneered mahogany
----KLISMOS form
----excellent condition
----beautifully caned backs in excellent condition
----iconic mid-century form of pull up chair
----attributed (perhaps) to Billy Haines or another designer of equal reputation

I'm sending these guys out to be reupholstered in an ivory w/ chocolate stripe tweedy fabric. (I would love to do them in a bold greek key, but it is too specific and might frighten away buyers....)

    
I'll post new photos when the chairs come back next week.

I hate to brag, but we have been having the most wonderfully cool summer so far. Last week warmed up a little, but then we even had a little rain (unheard of in Southern CA in the summer) and beautiful clouds thanks to a hurricane down south. My heart hurts for those suffering with the drought, fires and storms. I am so thankful to be blessed this year.

Be well and thanks for joining Jones and me.

Mary






Saturday, July 7, 2012

Where to Focus

This morning when I opened my trusty laptop, there were two news items and a wonderful blog post that riveted my attention"

     --JOB Creation Numbers:  Only 80,000 for June.

     --EXIT COMPENSATION for CEO who lasted about 24 hours on his new job:
            up to $44.4 MILLION.

     -- Seth Gobin's Blog (this a a fantastic blog regarding business/life in the 
        21st century): "Thinking About Your Shoes"-July 7, 2012.
        (I don't yet know how to make a link, but you can Google it.) 

       These are the thought that came to mind inspired by Seth's Blog:
Can we even imagine how life would be if everyone put their lives, actions and focus on the things that really mattered: the issues (original meaning here), concepts and people in our lives in order to promote growth and resolution. It is only a small shift, a pivot (actually) and a change in direction that could make this happen. A switch from the negative to the positive and to what gives life.

It is possible to switch from the negative to the positive; it takes a lot of self -discipline. I am proof positive that it is worth the journey.

Thanks for joining me and Jones, the happiest and most positive dog in the decorative arts, on this crazy journey.

Be well and have a super week-end.
Mary


   I almost forgot--------STEVE NASH!!! IS NOW A 
                    LAKER--THAT'S A PIVOT!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Love Klismos Chairs


     




Examples of Grecian Klismos Chairs found on Ceramics


Grecian Klismos Chair
I have a passion for just about everything neoclassical, but neoclassical chairs send me into another realm. And those of you who are addicted to chairs know what I mean. In fact, I have instructed my friends to hold my hand/arm down whenever they see me bidding on more antique chairs... At one point I had over 40 chairs in my smallish shop (and that does not include sofas and benches/stools). I can look at a chair, associate it with the hair style of a certain era and immediately visualize who may have been sitting on it and what she was wearing....just a little distorted (I know).


This a superb example of a Baltimore
painted and gilt  "fancy chair"
The examples of Grecian chairs from the 5th or 4th centuries B.C. are the models from which all subsequent klismos chairs derive. The Grecian chair first appeared in the 4th c. B.C.; was perfected in the 5th c. B.C......and then saw it's first resurrection in Paris of the late 18th c., around 1786-87 and was further developed by the the French Maitre, Georges Jacob. The klismos chair, and Neoclassicism, reached its peak in the early 19th c. with French Empire and English Regency, Swedish Gustavian and German/Austrian Biedermeier.  In the mid-20th century the "Hollywood Regency" style prompted a revival of the neoclassical form.  




Here are a few examples of early 19th c. klismos chairs.


Early 19th c. American Klismos Chairs
Note the beautiful front saber legs terminating in carved paw feet on these gorgeous American chairs that were created in Boston. The swagged backs reference Grecian drape.


Antique Klismos Chairs

Regency c. 1805 Klismos Chair


     
The chair directly above the pair of Gustavian Blue seated klismos chairs is a Michael Smith designed chair that references the best of English neo-classical Regency design. And the Gustavian, early 19th c. Swedish side chairs are also perfection.


Steven Gambrel Klismos

Steven Gambrel Klismos

Robsjohn-Gibbings Klismos Chair c. 1937,  Metropolitan Museum 

 Now, I'm finally getting to the reason I decided to post on Klismos chairs. I was perusing the Derring Hall site the other day and came upon this fantastic NEW Neoclassical klismos chair by Steven Gambrel.......At first glance, this chair appears to be really great: cerused oak, very dramatic Grecian form, definitely a riff (sp?/real word?) on Robsjohn Gibbings mid-century design as shown directly above.


I love the design aesthetic of Steven Gambrel--I have not seen a single room designed by Gambrel that I would add to or subtract from--that said: I really don't think that the design of these chairs is up to his usual high standards. The form is highly stylized and elongated, but comfortable?....not too sure. Take note of the wood projections to the front of the seats---I can only imagine getting hung-up on these square off pieces of wood. Yes, they mimic the Robsjohn-Gibbings chair, but lack the grace and construction details of the earlier chairs. Also, (in my humble opinion) the legs are chunky and clunky rather than anticipated elegance of traditional Klismos chairs. I think that these chairs come off as impressive and stagey rather than patrician. The cerused oak is gorgeous. I think that you'll get a better idea of what I mean by comparing Steven Gambrel's chair with other examples of klismos chairs. Below are examples additional examples of iconic Robsjohn-Gibbings mid-century chairs. The connection of the first klismos chair to the Gambrel chair is clearly evident. I guess I just wish that Steven Gambrel had stayed a little closer to his personal design criteria.








Robsjohn Gibbings Klismos Chair by Saridis








Robsjohn Gibbings Klismos Dining Chair










Mid-Century Stylized Klismos Salon Chairs


These super elegant Klismos-inspired mid-20th c. Salon Chairs are another example of great American design. I have sold several versions of this chair--they always make a room sing--to bring it into 21st century design, the upholstery could be switched out to a high-end Ikat.


And now............


Mary's Mid-Century Klismos Chairs
   



     
Guess where these beauties currently reside? Yep, they are mine. I have a set of 8 of these gorgeous mid-century lacquered and brass inlaid Klismos dining chairs. They date to the late 1940's/early 50's and are in great original condition. Three of the chairs have had their cane seats replaced (you cannot stand on caned seats!!), otherwise they are all original with brass details to the back rail and seat rail.

              AND THEY ARE REDUCED FROM $4800.00 TO $3200.00
                                    FOR MY SUMMER SALE


This is a fantastic price (only $400/each) for a set of eight perfect klismos chairs and in this condition. (Note: I have a period English Regency 54" round solid mahogany table that would be the perfect partner for these great chairs--not listed on my website).


Please check out my website  mjhdesignarts.com  for more neo-classical pieces that are currently reduced.


(PLEASE: forgive the mis-steps in formatting this post---can't quite figure out the ins and outs--stick with me).


Thanks for joining me on this adventure.


Mary and Jones (and Cole)


Sunday, July 1, 2012

ANNUAL SUMMER SALE

I Started My Annual Summer Sale Today...
mjhdesignarts.com


ANNUAL SUMMER SALE

20% to 40% Off

EVERYTHING!!!



Please contact me for pricing, information or additional photos using the link provided on each item page.  mjhdesignarts.com

Jones says "hi"...
















   
ETC., ETC., ETC....


* I can't get the link to my website to work; so you will have to enter the web address--sorry.  Mary
     **************************************

Japanese Imari Love



I have been pondering how to express what I feel when I catch a glimpse of Imari porcelain. I could easily slip into the history, descriptions, references: blah, blah, blah.  But that would not express the immense joy that I feel deep down when I experience beautiful pieces of Imari porcelain. Just a quick note: Imari Porcelain dates to the 17th c.; was/is created in Arita, Japan and exported from the port of Imari. (The Chinese adopted it and created Chinese Imari-a softer color palette-and "Tobacco Leaf". The Dutch used it as inspiration for Delft pottery. The English were inspired by Imari to create the amazing Derby--later Royal Crown Derby and Spode Imari ware). Imari also includes what is commonly referred to as Arita ware, a strictly blue and white decoration. But here I'll stick to traditional Imari patterns--true love.

The pieces that I have date to the Meiji period (1868-1912), but the truly exceptional Imari, the wonderful original abstractions date to the mid-17th to mid-18th century. Please Google Imari for more info and early examples of Imari.

I love how the deep cobalt blue of the patterns brings light, energy and joy to each piece. How the red holds my attention to focus on the intricate details of the patterns--florals, abstracts, dragons, mandalas, various shaped reserves and diapering (not the kind worn by babies) formulas. The variety of design and the creativity encompassed seems to be unique to Imari--there is a primitive artistic expression that is hidden within a refined and defined structure. And all of it calls to me. If I close my eyes I can almost imagine Jackson Pollack painting Imari plates--especially the more intricate examples shown at the end of the post--these are very busy, almost gaudy pieces (in fact, Gaudy Dutch and Gaudy Welch pottery derive from Imari, also) but are full of energy and emotion.

Just a few of the pieces that I have saved for myself:


   
I recently acquired this stunning pair of Imari chargers (12" diam.) that date to the Meiji Period, c. 1870-80. Yes, they are later, but the the energy of creativity is still very present. Note how the top plate was painted by an artist with a freer, more creative hand; the bottom plate is gorgeous, but just a little stiffer. Guess which one I love just a little bit more. My collector friends pooh-pooh these guys, but for my purposes they are perfection. (The early Imari price points can be atmospheric--while Meiji Imari is still within reach.) They are in my shop.

Now, a quick counterpoint to the Meiji pieces are these c. 1960-80 Japanese Imari vases fitted as a lamp (I have a pair of these beauties) in a Chinese Imari color way. Note the softness in the blue and oranges, the design is definitely a departure from traditional Imari, but still beautiful--note the traditional diaper to the rim of the vases. These are big, beefy vases (16.5" h) and note that the integrity of the porcelain has not been compromised (OH! Horrors!!) by drilling for the cord. I love the gold leafed bases--really gaudy, but great.



I acquired these two sets of Imari rice bowls quite a few years ago. And I love both of these examples, but they are quite different. The more simple bowl is earlier, probably Edo Period (c. 1840-1860), has a taller foot rim and a freer, more primitive decoration. The second example is Meiji, late 19th c.; is very refined with gilt detailing and more intricate decoration. The bowl itself is lobed and light in feel.

Late Edo Period
   

Late Meiji Period


























Late Edo Period
Late Meiji Period
       
















Late Edo Period






















Late Meiji Period
     





































Note: the "dragon" decoration to the bottom of the rice bowl of the late Meiji Period--this added detail gives another indication of the quality of the piece.


The next two dishes are much more every day dishes and I use them as under plates for my orchids--their simplicity is charming.




I've download a few Imari pieces from 1stdibs.com (shown below), but you can search further on Google. Every time I go "shopping" on either site, I start drooling.
English Imari



Chinese Imari, Early 18th c.

Green Palette Imari





Spode Imari (English)
(Well, I got rid of the "jump", but came up with the white highlight????--I   guess, I'm convinced, that there is no such thing as perfection.)


Thanks for joining me on this hunt....Be well.


Mary, Jones and Cole