Thursday, July 2, 2015


I love to study and acquire soulful pieces of furniture and decorative elements.....and I think that is what I'm heading towards bringing in more of. I also dearly love "chic" design, but my heart is now taking me other places. 
I just acquired this beautiful antique African example of tribal art. It is a Kenyan (Awamba ?) incised gourd bottle that dates to the 19th c.

The incising is beautifully elaborated with figures of giraffes, humans, snakes and other symbols. What is most intriguing to me is the braided leather strips that were used to repair the vessel and that were integrated into the overall decoration of the piece--the work of a true artist.
Buying this piece of folk art lead me to go over photos of some items that I had acquired over the last couple of years and to which I am drawn today to see if there were a thread to where I think I want to go-- and sure enough there was--everything that I was drawn to had a underlying "soul" or spirit that seemed to be peeking through and this is just the confirmation that I needed.

This Renzo Rutilli cabinet seems to straddle "chic" and soul-based

It hasn't been restored yet and shows its experiences on the black lacquer surface. The gold leafed doors reference antique Japanese screens like the example shown at top.
This large carved glass sculpture by a listed artist also straddles chic and soulful---but is clearly more soul-base: a very strong Native American woman with presence. The type of strength that I have sought to acquuire for many years.

Of course, 16th and 17th and 18th century pieces go into the soulful category

I did not acquire the Vargueno, but I love these examples of Spanish furniture (maybe someday I will get one)--it has soul stashed in every little drawer. The table beneath the Spanish Colonial painting is 16th century English and the bible box sitting on it is 17th century.........I love these pieces. Their strength of character makes me feel secure. The painting by Miguel Cabrera (or his studio) adds joy to any room and THAT IS WHAT I AM SHOOTING FOR---JOYFUL SPACES. Of course, the little flemish/Dutch 17th c. side table is just bursting with soul and strutting his stuff.
Pieces don't have to have much age to have soul, but age helps. Here are a couple more decorative elements with age and patina:
A 19th c. English Chinoiserie Lantern

And a very early English Regency (c. 1810-1820) wine cooler

And to prove my point, there could be nothing more soulful than these mid-century flame carved alabaster lamps
And last, but not to be ignored, animals in design--I must be the only one that feels this way. Every space needs life. Only things or representations of living things can accomplish this (my humble opinion)--other wise it all become too stuffy and stiff. (Well, color helps, too)
This pair of French Art Deco Bronze Tigers would do the trick (although they are a bit stuffy)

Well, it's late and I've got to get to work tomorrow. Jones says "HI"---he's a little intimidated (ALREADY?) by 4th fireworks that are already going off sporadically. Not to worry, I have the doggy-downers for both Jones and Cole.

HAPPY 4th of July to all--just in case I do not squeeze off another post.

Blessing for our nation. I am so grateful to be able to live here in safety and freedom. Please add some prayers for relief from California's drought.

Mary & Jones & Cole


  1. Thinking of you often Mary and I love this "Soulful" post and all of the pieces you have featured!
    Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

    The Arts by Karena
    Gallery Opening!

    1. Hi Karena, THANK YOU. What's this I see about "Gallery Opening"--yours? I'll get a quick email off to you asap. Happy Week-end! xoxo Mary

  2. It is telling to study the contours and impressions of an art piece, left by the hands of the artist whose soul works with the body to create anything. OH WHAT FUN! And thank you kindly for visiting my post! Enjoy your summer, Anita

    1. Hi Anita--I completely agree. I have some large Chinese pottery pieces that show the "fingering" of the potter--I love to place my fingers where the potter once worked his. Have a super 4th!! xoxo Mary