This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Jessica Biales and it won’t be the last. (Check out Jessica Biales’ signet rings and slice rings, which have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and the Wall Street Journal and were for a time sold at J.Crew). Jessica is a close friend of mine from college, where she was the most refined, urban girl I had ever met. So many years later and her style hasn’t waned.
Jessica’s latest collection is called “Scissors” and was inspired by the Matisse cut-outs in the exhibit at MoMA that ended earlier this month, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. You can see examples of Matisse’s cut-outs that influenced her new jewelry collection below. As for Matisse, here is a description paraphrased from the MoMA site about the advent of the cut-outs:
Starting in the late 1940s, Henri Matisse turned to paper cut with scissors as his primary medium, which resulted in a new form of art that came to be called a cut-out. Matisse would cut painted sheets into forms of varying shapes and sizes—from the vegetal to the abstract—which he then arranged into lively compositions.
The Jessica Biales Scissors Collection, inspired by Matisse cut-outs, includes bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces in sterling silver and 18-karat gold.
Husband and wife design duo Bob and Cortney Novogratz are at it again. There latest effort is the 9 by Novogratz bedding and bath collection at Walmart. The line includes bedding, beds, and bath accessories in their signature bright, geometric pops of color. The pieces are great for kids—the couple have seven of their own—and extra vibrant grownups.
Bob and Cortney Novogratz masterfully layer pattern and color, but of course the throw pillows, shams, duvets, towels, and shower curtains work perfectly as accents . The collection also includes furniture—painted metal beds, upholstered beds and headboards in stripes and solids, tufted storage ottomans, solid color sofas, and chevron armchairs.
Tilton Fenwick, the New York City interior design firm led by Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham is doing great things. Just four years after hanging out their stylish shingle,this adorable design duo has just debuted a line of upholstered furniture at Target. Known for saturated colors and mixing and matching of patterned fabrics, this pair has fun and it shows.
I first met Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham at a lunch in New York hosted by Traditional Home for the magazine’s 2012 New Trad issue. Last year, when they traveled to Boston to promote their new Tilton Fenwick Fabric Collection for Duralee, I attended a dinner in their honor. I always have such a good time with them; lots of laughing.
When the publicist for Joyo jewelry, a company based nearby in Scituate, Massachusetts, contacted me to see f they could send me a sample, I told them I’d prefer to pass it along to one of you. They were game with the idea of a giveaway.
The designer behind Joyo, Jenn Liddiard, who started the company in 2012, creates wood earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in modern geometric and naturalistic shapes, laser-cut from real walnut and birch. Liddiard laser cuts everything herself, and does all of the design, sanding, oil finishing, and assembly by hand.
Liddiard is inspired by architecture, history, and nature. She likes transforming natural materials into unique, intricate, and unexpected forms. She says, “I have a habit of looking for patterns in ordinary places, like storm drains, sidewalk bricks, window grates, and fences–things that normally blend into our everyday surroundings.
E N T E R t o W I N t h e s e E A R R I N G S
Tell me in the comment section of this post about an interaction with nature you had this summer. Did you climb a tree? Grow tomatoes? Make seashell mobiles? Swim with dolphins? Pick flowers? Gaze at the super moon? The simplest gesture will do.
Deadline to enter is Thursday , August 21 at midnight EST. (Don’t forget to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!)
Earlier this summer, Shelley Simpson, designer and founder of tabletop line Mud Australia, visited Boston for the first time. Natalie van Dijk Carpenter, owner of South End boutique Lekker Home, hosted her for an evening. I was out of town, but was able to catch up with her a few days later by phone.
Shelley Simpson and Natalie van Dijk Carpenter at Lekker Home in Boston.
Mud Australia porcelain is handmade in the company’s Sydney factory by in-house ceramicists, from Limoges porcelain, sourced directly from France. Unlike much tableware, to which the color is applied after the fact, Mud Australia tints the porcelain beforehand, which provides a distinctive depth of color. (It also means if a piece chips, the exposed portion isn’t white.) The interior of each piece has a vitrified stone-like surface that becomes smooth with handling, but the interior is hand-brushed with a clear glaze. The look and feel is organic and the colors neutral, punctuated with a few brights.
When did you first start making pottery?
When I was 28, I moved from Melbourne to Sydney, where I rented a house with a woman named Joy, who had a kick wheel in her back shed. She was always harassing me to have a go with it. One weekend when she was away, I got some clay and played around. She was very cross with me because she said my things were prettier than hers!
So you didn’t start out as a ceramicist?
I’m creative, but I’m not trained in art. I draw now, but nothing like my 13-year-old son, who has a natural gift for it. But I have an eye for color and form. My schooling has been throwing things away.
How did you decide to pursue it as a business?
I had applied to manage a theater, but they looked me over, in part because I was a woman. Joy and I started Mud Australia together in 1994, though she left the business after a few years and I’ve continued on.
Mud Australia has 70 shapes and 18 colors. We’ve been focusing on new shapes lately more than colors. The latest is a series of mixing bowls and baking pans. We’re doing pendant lights in three sizes, and have a mortar & pestle in production. That really shows the durability of porcelain, so you can feel confident you’re not buying something fragile.
Are there pieces that are distinctive to certain regions?
The shapes work for anything. You can eat Yorkshire pudding, sushi or Middle Eastern food from the same bowl comfortably. That said, we have a distributor in Korea with three shapes specific to their market, including a kimchi pickle dish. We also make exclusive pieces, like vases, for restaurants.
Gwen Hanson Pygget, an Australian potter who created art pieces rather than functional ones. They’re absolutely beautiful. We’re in New York City now, and just went to the Judd; his color is exquisite.
What influences you when it comes to creating pieces for Mud Australia?
I love to bake, which is how we came to add the new baking pieces. I make Pavlovas and exotic birthday cakes for my kids and other family members. I once made a snake covered in marshmallows. Almost sculptural stuff. I go all out when it comes to baking a cake. For my daughter’s 16th, I made a cake with eight layers in rainbow colors, covered with white icing. The restaurant we brought it to was very impressed. My husband makes the dinners at home. Food is very important to our family.
What’s your home like?
We live in a top-floor apartment in a four-story building in Sydney that’s an Arts & Crafts style, with an old French lift. There’s loads of trees with a vista to the harbor and a large deck; we do lots of eating al fresco. We’ve never lived in a house or on the ground. We want a garden. We are going to put the house on the market soon and find something new.
And of course you have plenty of Mud Australia dishes?
Yes, everything. And pieces that didn’t work out too.
What do you like most about your line?
Everybody’s Mud Australia dinner set is unique to them, which I think sets us apart from other companies that present full collections. When you go to the store, you can get creative, which is fun. You can buy one piece at a time. Your collection can be a complete rainbow, or blackm white, and gray, or all pastels. Recently, one guy did slate and pink, which I wouldn’t have thought of, but when I was packing it up I thought, “This is amazing.”