My favorite materials to work with right now are Tagua nuts and Acai seeds. There are so many reasons why I'm drawn to these materials. I love that they are natural elements, each one with it's own organic shape, size and markings. The fact that they are eco-friendly materials is all the more reason to make use of this wonderful resource. These seeds and nuts come from the Amazon rain forest of South America, I brought my supply back with me on my last trip to Peru. In a previous post I went into how they are harvested and why they are eco-friendly but in this post I want to explain the design process behind a particular necklace from my Acai & Tagua Collection.
The entire collection was designed with the idea of showing the beauty and elegance of these materials. The combination of the shiny and modern look of Sterling silver with the natural and organic qualities of the seeds is what makes the style timeless. The necklace design pictured here started with the color palette. Warm shades of brown, from a reddish honey brown to a dark chocolate and the cotton cord is a perfect in between neutral shade. A cluster of four, one larger Tagua nut and three smaller Acai seeds, each one attached to a sterling silver ring by a knotted cotton cord with sterling silver at the end. The smallest seed is simply attached by sterling silver making it more like a charm. The cotton cord has a special wax coating giving it durability and a nice sheen. The entire necklace is finished off with sterling silver hardware. With it's simplicity and modern elegance this necklace is perfect for everyday and a nice conversation starter, when I wear mine I'm always getting asked whats it made of. for more info click on any of the photos or highlighted words. To read the previous post on Acai and Tagua click HERE
I'm not a big flower aficionado but I fell in love with this rose on our recent trip to Portland Oregon. When we visited the International Rose Test Garden the colors of this rose just mesmerized me. A dream like pale soft blue lavender hue or it has also been described as silvery grayish lavender and with a perfume just as alluring it's hard not be smitten with it's unique beauty. This a Lagerfeld grandiflora rose named after Karl Lagerfeld the fashion designer and is also known as the Starlight Rose. These are just a couple of the many photos I took of this beautiful rose. There were other eye-catching roses in the garden that I'll share in a future post.
Today I'm featuring an artisan from Lisbon Portugal. The above title " Nem Tudo O Que Luz É Ouro " is Portuguese for not all that glitters is gold which is the title for Susana's blog and the inspiration for her Etsy shop where she displays her creative and colorful designs. When Susana is not restoring antique art pieces or working on her illustrations she's expressing her creativity with her colorful and whimsical jewelry and accessories.
I particularly am attracted to the ceramic pieces in Susana's shop. One of my favorites is her Coral Ceramic Pin pictured at right. I love the bright red color, texture and depth of the glaze.
Another is the Ceramic Leaf Ring, pictured to the left, with it's warm orange and yellow colors and leaves which seem to be swaying in the summer breeze.
But the most charming piece is the necklace titled " Today I feel like a King " pictured below. The ceramic pendant has an adorable portrait of a happy little bird with a tiny crown on his head and clouds in the background. The description in her shop explains that the little bird had his head in the clouds that day.
Susana's blog Nem Tudo O Que Luz É Ouro
The Peruvian purple potato is very popular today but what about purple corn? Purple corn is now said to have many beneficial properties. This may be something new to a lot of people but the purple corn dessert Mazamorra Morada has always been a favorite traditional dessert in Lima Peru. It has a pudding like texture and a mesmerizing deep purple color. It is thickened with potato flour or sweet potato flour but corn starch can be used as well. Filled with dried and fresh fruit like cherries, plums, apple, pineapple, quince and spiced with clove and cinnamon. When it's served along side arroz con leche or rice pudding it's called Mazamorra Morada Classico. If you'd like to try and make this unique purple dessert there are several recipes available on the internet or try the recipe pictured above from Peru-recipe.com . click on any of the colored links or the picture above for more info and recipes.
“I remember playing under a tall, heavy, black, magical sculpture that I pretended was a castle, I later recognized it was a Victorian Singer sewing machine.” I love this quote from Isabel Toledo about her childhood. It's a wonderful insight into her creative imagination and to why she's still evolving as designer.
You may not have heard of Isabel Toledo though she is much celebrated with in the fashion world. For this very reason she has been referred to as a designer's designer or a cult figure in fashion. I first came across her in the 80's when she was just starting out. Her whimsical yet avant garde style and the fact that she was hispanic caught my eye immediately and I have been an admirer ever since.
Isabel was born in Cuba and moved to New York as a child. From a young age she became an avid seamstress and was quoted saying, "I never thought of myself as a designer, I’m a seamstress. I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else. The seamstress is the one who views fashion from the inside! That’s the art form, really—the technique of how it’s done."
In high school she met Ruben Toledo and there began an exceptional story of love and collaboration. Ruben is an artist and fashion illustrator, they both seem to be a constant source of inspiration to each other. They are rarely photographed apart. Isabel doesn't sketch her designs instead she begins by working with the fabric she says, "I think of it as fashion from the inside out, I can describe an idea or even a feeling to Ruben, and he’ll sketch it." Isabel was honored with a mid-career retrospective in 2009 Isabel Toledo : Fashion from the Inside Out at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.