Shopping Trip: Diseno

There are a few really wonderful home decor boutiques here in Boston, many in the artsy SoWa district of the South End. Diseño is one of my favorites. Frank Campanale was inspired to open the boutique  after an extended trip to South America back in 2001, during which he stayed for a week each in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile. Moved by the contrast of daily life in Third World countries and the richness of the culture, he travels there often to source treasures for the shop.

His most recent expedition was to Guatemala just two weeks ago. Intrigued by my recent spurt of Instagram photos (glad to know somebody out there loves them!), he invited me over, curious to see how his products, which range from delicious blankets to earthy pots to cowhide rugs in cutting edge colors, would translate with the app. Here are the results. I like them; he did too. What do you think?



Event Alert: South End Open Studios This Weekend

This weekend is South End Open Studios in Boston.  All the major art buildings in the South End are open to the public – including the Boston Center for the Arts, Laconia Lofts, the SOWA buildings, the studios on Wareham and Albany Streets, the newly opened Art Block, and the Piano Factory.

A couple of my favorites:

Albertine Press

Shelley Barandes of Albertine Press, a small letterpress print studio, will be at Michelle Willey at 8 Union Park Street (between Shawmut and Washington) on Saturday, 11a.m. to 5p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5p.m.

Next door, Aunt Sadies and Gracie Finn will be featuring dog art. And the Greek Church on the corner is having their annual festival. And on the next block, there’s Patch NYC.


Don and John of PATCH NYC will be in the courtyard at their studio building at 46 Waltham Street (at Washington) on Saturday and Sunday selling  jewelry, scarves, candles, home accessories, and exclusive pieces, plus a random selection of their favorite things including beautiful books, Indian textiles, Bulgarian jars, ceramic sculptures, and bobble head squirrels (because seriously, every well-decorated home needs one).

Isabelle Abramson String Tied Vase

All the artists T 450 Harrison will be welcoming visitors into their studios, including one of my favorite local ceramists, Isabelle Abramson, who’s in Studio 411a. (I posted about her work here.)

And lots of other photographers, painters, printmakers,  jewelry makers, and more

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ARTmonday: The Art Bus

Now you’ve pretty much got no excuse for not checking out the art scene.

This past weekend, the Boston Art Dealers Association launched The Art Bus, a free shuttle between the Newbury Street and South End art districts.

The bus goes between the Back Bay and South End free of charge from noon to 4pm on the first Saturday of the month from through June, and will start up again in September.

The bus  runs a continuous loop making stops at:
• Thayer Street at Harrison Avenue
• Newbury Street at Berkeley Street (in front of the Church of the Covenant)
• Newbury Street at Dartmouth Street (in front of Fitz Inn parking lot)

Each ride requires a pass. Passes are free and are available at all BADA member galleries.

All aboard!

ARTmonday: Gurari Collections

This winter when I was checking out the galleries and shops in the newly converted 1880 mill building now known as 460 Harrison Ave. in SoWa, I wandered into  Gurari Collections, which bills itself as a gallery for antiquarian contemporary arts. An intriguing label and fitting.

Its focus is at the intersection of art and science, featuring etchings, engravings, drawings, watercolors, paintings, and interesting objects borne from architecture and design, urbanism, the human figure, fantasies and follies, and science and the allied arts. The gallery is basically a walk-in curio cabinet.

A few days ago, gallery owner Russ Gerard contacted me, inviting me back for a visit. I shall certainly go sometime soon, and take photos, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share images from his website.

Column Capital Frontal – Wendy Artin

Cetaceous – Mollie Goldstrom

Calderum Motorim – Vico Fabbris

Perspective 39 – Jan Vredeman de Vries

Fountain 31 –  Georg Andrea Bockler
copperplate etching-engraving

Plan De Paris, 1739 – M.E. Turgot, Louis Bretez, Claude Lucas and Aubin
20 copperplate engravings

English Victorian Adjustable Zograscope

Crookes Tubes and Radiomete

Deal Alert: Diseño Anniversary Sale

Diseño, the SoWa home furnishings boutique stocked with earthy, trendy treasures from South America, is celebrating their third anniversary with a great big sale. Yay, we love home accessory sales. All in stock merchandise is 20% to 50% off through April 10th. This includes furniture,  lighting, throws, pillows, and all sorts of rugs – woven leather, suede shag, cowhide, and shearling. Look at all the excellent stuff.