Archive for porcelain

Move Over Grandma, There’s New China in Town

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by rachelohunter

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Do people still pick out china patterns? Silver patterns? Cookware patterns? OK, maybe the cookware pattern was just a trend my mom jumped on in the 70’s, but that’s an awful lot of stuffy department store housewares shopping for my taste. Of course I could go the new traditional route and register for bread makers and juicers, high-end toasters and any other piece of kitchen technology I’ve somehow managed to live my entire life without. Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather have the china- only I’d rather have my kind of china. Usable china, decorative porcelain, ceramics with a sense of humor.

fragiles-smallMore and more I’m realizing I’m not alone in wishing for a china renaissance- the proof is in the ironic porcelain pudding cup. There’s a new wave of artists and designers who look at once stuffy materials like porcelain, glass, and ceramic and see more than just grandma-ware.  They see uncharted territory ripe with opportunity to be the new form of Modernist expression.  Chocked full of ironic depictions of figures, kitsch and the Romantic, this china is more my speed. For an interesting read on the subject check out “Fragiles” a coffee table book on the new school of ceramic, glass, and porcelain (that’s where we located the pictures to the left and below).

fragiles-page1lighten-up-lace-blogThese rebellious young ceramicists aren’t just making trendy mantle pieces to entertain your guests, they’re creating modern heirlooms. By mixing heritage and innovation they create museum quality pieces that are both relevant and functional. Some of my personal favorites are the hodge-podgey porcelain Vika Mitrichenka pieces above. (Note the gorilla head atop the sugar bowl- it reminds me of tea parties spent with Stretch Armstrong and headless Barbies). In keeping with my love of all things boudoir I couldn’t possibly write a post about the new ceramics movement without mentioning this incredible porcelain vase by Lighten Up. They actually cast a cloth corset to make the mold for this piece.

stripFor a cheekier take on the erotic theme there’s anything by Undergrowth (like this tempting little sugar bath with leggy spoon or fun dessert tower) or if subtlty is more your thing check out these lip print teacups by Reiko.

toppersGetting married? Having a hard time finding cake toppers that aren’t entirely hideous? You’re not alone.  Luckily someone with some real talent and a little clay discovered this problem and came up with some charming little solutions in the form of ceramic bunny and poodle couples. Thank God for the good people at Melbo.

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For that Angelina Jolie/Billy Bob Thorton kind of love there’s German ceramicists Kuhn Keramik who make all kinds of declarative pieces like this “Forever” box perfect for storing viles of blood and hair clippings. Or, if you’re  not bizarre beyond belief you could use it to store old photos and postcards.  Or you could let this powerful fist of love from Jonathan Adler Designs declare your feelings for you.

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The guys over at Jonathan Adler, never ones to pass up an opporunity to make a very specific container (the Container Store’s got nothing on them) have created a series of “Vice” containers to keep all your bad habits neat and organized. I’m partial to the Quaaludes container myself- specificity is always funny. It’s that kind of taboo-meets-classic humor that distinguishes so many of today’s ceramics from those lining the walls of Bloomingdales and I think it’s about time. China can be fun too.

rachel oh!

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Barack Obama + Medieval Times + Fall 09 Runway Shows = Knights in Shining Armor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by ekiester

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Heraldry is hot. Heraldry is strangely sexy; it speaks to this chivalrous vision we all had/have about (our) knights in shining armor being the epitome of romance, strength, safety, valor and nobility.  They’re badass, they’re secretive, they’re ready to rock & roll at any minute, these knights we imagine. They’re our protectors, our saviors, our sentries.

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00010fIn the current state of the world, it makes perfect sense to me that suddenly fairy-tale-ish notions of times past seem to take over our everyday thoughts. (Note that many of the Fall/Winter 09 fashion collections featured corsets, velvet, muffs and ruffs galloping down the runways.) We escape into memories—the amorous crescendos from the soundtrack of “Camelot” scratching away on a record player in my parents New York Times strewn living room on a Sunday afternoon circa 1972 comes to mind here—to comfort us, make us feel good and safe and secure. Like our very own knight is looking out for us.

2-1While the idea of wearing a crinoline ruff walking down Broadway makes me think the designer who created it drank one too many pewter cups of grog, little trinkets and nods to this sense of security seems apt and appropriate. I saw in a recent edition of Teen Vogue a colorful spread of coats-of-arms pins cutely attached to a sweater and heraldic belts wrapped around some pretty lady-in-waiting type wearable chiffon dresses. The lion shield brooch on bestowboutique.com looks real enough to be vintage, but without the Sotheby’s price tag. bestow-010webIt’s updated and funny, and I want to wear it attached to my last-year’s Balenciaga purse. I like the idea of shielding my wallet in times like these.

We’ve all been talking about eating at home more now; instead of making reservations, we’re actually making dinner. I think a themed party would be just the thing, using the coat of arms, the ultimate symbol of pomp & ceremony, safety & connection, as a guide. (Although there are some comic/tragic memories of a birthday party long ago at that ridiculously schlocky place The Medievel Times, the Red Knight took my breath away, that could be tapped into for ironic decorations for said dinner party. Everyone’s got those memories, right?)  bestow-143webI saw these coat of arms porcelain trays on bestowboutique.com that I thought would be cool holding oven roasted nuts and dried fruits as centerpieces for the party. I think everyone should wear golden paper crowns, eat a leg of lamb, drink some mulled wine, and celebrate the safety, and the warmth of the family we create. We are safe amongst our very own knights.

Family crests. Shields. Knights. Obama. Safety. Security. Perfect words for imperfect times.