Monday, January 6, 2014


Back to Business
We are now officially into 2014 with a full work week ahead of us and so.... let's ring in the New Year with passion and design and joy and creativity. 

I designed and my wonderful friend and painter, Sharon Hutchison, painted these pairs of large chinoiserie** pagoda sconces a few years ago. And then the market for all things beautiful came to a screeching halt. Which caused me to put my designing desires on hold until the economy became healthy and vibrant.  As we know, things are better--but not quite where we would like. NEVERTHELESS---I'm putting my design hat back on for the new year. And it feels good.
Michele Nussbaumer used these sconces in her design for the Greystone Manor Design House sponsored by Veranda a few years ago. 

These sconces are quite large with a lot of bells and whistles (those are 2" rough cut rock crystal pendants at the bottom), with a different craftsman creating each elements of the sconces--making them a little pricey. I still love them. I also created a pair in a Chinese cinnabar red that is more subdued in theme--but that red really makes them stand out. And I love red (AND BLACK).

I pulled the Cinnabar pair from storage to take photos for a web client--and thought....I bet that chinoiserie is going to make a come back.....I had noticed that did a write-up of chinoiserie items and had pulled many items from the site to showcase. With a New York inquiry coming through....why not pull these guys out and list them on and go for it. (I also sold a large Chinese black lacquer 20th c. screen just last month)
I have a few more items that qualify as Chinoiserie.... This is a pair of c. 1950-70's Chinese painted and lacquered storage trunks that were made in Hong Kong. I love the fact that they have acquired just the right amount of patina over the years, yet are still in excellent condition. Amazingly, I bought the trunks individually, about 15 months apart and they both have an identical maker's mark in the interior. Serendipity--I love it when that happens.

And then there is this table that just jumps up and down. I bought this highly detailed 1940's Chippendale-style Mahogany pedestal table with the intent of doing a white washed finish, but this little guy seemed to be calling for something more......and here he is

The table was given 12 coats of cinnabar red lacquer.
Saucy. Unfortunately, he has been waiting for just the right time for chinoiserie to make a resurgence....
I'm ready for more richness in design, a little more character and a lot more COLOR.
Check out the 1stdibs' chinoiserie selections--they are varied, providing a good sampling of Chinoiserie decorative elements.
Hmmmmmmm....I just remembered that I have a set of 8 early 19th century hand colored engravings of Chinese architectural views....I'll get those framed this week in pairs and in the vintage gold leaf frames that I just found. 

I think that these will work......Now what color mats?? Ivory with a black liner? 1`09mm------'? Maddy (small hissy cat) just sauntered across my keyboard--oh well, her signature can stay.

Have a great week.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)

** Chinoiserie (also known as Japonisme) is the term given to decorative items designed in the European interpretation of Chinese furniture or other decorative elements. The European decorative art of Chinoiserie dates to the 17th century. During the Baroque period Chinoiserie pieces were in very high favor and demand throughout Europe, with the most refined pieces originating in France and Germany. Chinese Chippendale is one example of the Orientalist influence that has remained in favor through the 20th century and into the 21st. European artists found inspiration in traditional Chinese design elements and lacquered pieces such as coromandel lacquered screens and furniture and the highly desirable painted papers. Often, actual Chinese or Japanese elements would be incorporated into European made furnishings.


  1. What an inspiring way to start the New Year. Happy Designing!

    1. Hi Sharon, Yes, I'm off and running. 2014 is going to be a winner.
      xoxo Mary

  2. Mary I have always loved Chinoiserie! The sconces are gorgeous!
    The Arts by Karena

    1. Hi Karena, HAPPY NEW YEAR. Thank you. Have a super day.
      xoxo Mary

  3. Happy New Year, Mary! What a sassy and stylish way to start 2014. Please share more of your designs. I love Chinoiserie.

    1. Hi Loi,
      Yep, in with the new.
      Cheers & xoxo