I’m crazy for basketry, it’s a practical artistic tradition I love; all the more so with the jaunty tassels and tufts shown above! Considering African arts, I can’t help but think of the incredible inspiration the sculptural arts, in particular were, for many European artists early in the 20th century. Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, on and on, found awesome expression and freshness in the arts of non-western cultures. They filled their studios with art from around the world. Shown here, at the Pompidou Center, is a display of objet from Andre Breton’s studio, which included oceanic art. Outside the Pompidou, is Atelier Brancusi, given to the State of France with the condition the studio be re-created as found the day the artist died. Look at his magnificent work and you’ll see the influence of African art as well.
Located in the Engadine Valley, Pontresina is a charming mountain resort town in south eastern Switzerland,10 minutes from it’s better known neighbor St. Moritz. Many of the old village homes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, are decorated with an incised decoration called “sgraffito” (the Italian term to scratch, and where the term graffiti comes from). Motifs include vines, (pictured left), geometric forms, floral designs and animals, the most
predominant being the “capricorn” (the latin term for Ibex) or Alpine Ibex. These fascinating homes share the streets with elegant Belle Epoque hotels in a sunny, sheltered surround of grand mountains. Pontresina is en route of the Bernina Express, a glorious train ride that goes up and over the highest railway pass in Europe with sweeping views of mountains and valleys all the way into northern Italy, a most enchanting trip.
Just home from a holiday in Switzerland with National Geographic Expeditions — an amazing trip, predominantly by train. One of the highlights was the magnificent sight of the Matterhorn, (instilled in my mind since the “bobsled ride” on “The Matterhorn” at Disneyland circa 1967.) The peak is the beloved symbol of Switzerland, the land of the sportiest people I have ever seen. We passed couples with strollers on high mountain trails, followed by their great grandparents. At the end of a long day we would cozy into chairs indoor or out lined with sheepskins; the warmth, cush and chicness embodying the perfect Alpine experience. That said, here in SB for al fresco dinners, we set pelts in dining chairs as well, so company can linger out under the stars.
This is the view from Room 301 at Relais Santa Croce in Florence. This site, along with the ringing of the evening bells brought visions of “A Room with a View” (a personal favorite) to mind. The art, architecture, the textiles, the food, pasticceria, and gelateria so much, an endless delight. There is such an elegance to life there like nowhere else.
I was last in Florence 15 years ago buying candles for a large company I used to work for. This time, I was looking for very different products for MAISON K and, as you can imagine, there is a plethora of gorgeous product.
Ubiquitous mint, found in gorgeous heaps throughout the medina in Marrakech, always delights. The glorious scent wafts down the alleyways as people carry bunches home to prepare fresh tea. Mint tea is not just a refreshing beverage, but as importantly, a ritual and art form,; it represents friendship and hospitality. Go to any home, any shop, any restaurant and you will be served this freshest of teas – loads of mint, a tiny bit of green tea and heaps of sugar. Served in a beautiful pot, poured into a tiny glass from above, and served on beautiful trays, this tradition is alive and well, one we can incorporate into our busy lives too!
Several years ago I had the pleasure of celebrating a friend’s birthday in Mexico at Costa Careyes, located on the Pacific between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The resort was created by an Italian entrepenur who envisioned a grand, other worldly, eco-friendly resort utilizing a traditional yet contemporary Mexican architecture and design vernacular. Left is the fabulous palapa style villa I stayed in with a stunning lap pool. Outdoor yoga, fish tacos, sunset walks and magnificent parties with people from around the world are de rigueur here. Viva la Mexico!