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Welcome to my online hangout space! I'm Chi - mother, childrenswear designer, founder of 106, blogger ..... Phew! I think I need to lie down. Read more.



 

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Monday
Feb242014

Sabbatical

It crept up on me as these things often do.

I have always wanted to get better acquainted with my soul in the deepest possible manner and to finally figure out its true purpose. I honestly thought I was doing just that until I had an indescribably wonderful awakening earlier this month.

Since then, I've been getting to know my Self anew and it has been the most exhilarating experience of my entire life.

I don't know where this journey inward will take me and, for the first time, I know what it really means to be okay with that.

I'm taking time out from my twice weekly blogging routine until further notice. I will, however, pop up from time to time on Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading this blog, leaving such lovely comments/lending your support and helping me reach this exciting phase in my life. You each had a hand in it somehow and for that, I am so grateful to you and the forces that brought us all together.

Love, Chi x

Thursday
Feb202014

The Shays

I recently came across an article on the story behind an exhibition in Chicago, entitled My Florence. Part art - no pun intended - part memorial to the wife of renowned American photographer Art Shay, it features photographs spanning the 67 years of their blissfully happy marriage.

By all accounts, she was quite a character - warm, witty and with a wicked sense of humour that remained intact even as she battled ovarian cancer. Alongside raising a family of five, she ran a reputable book store specialising in rare and valuable books and it was soon a favourite of the great, the good and the cultural elite. Maurice Sendak once visited for reference material whilst designing the set for The Magic Flute, no less. Once a month, Florence also hosted a pun club created to keep its senior citizen members mentally stimulated in the most facetious way possible.

 

 

She loved to write, too and kept a blog about her many adventures. Below is an excerpt from her last entry:

"Finally the Club House. Many in attendance already. We were greeted by a lovely lady who introduced herself as the birthday celebrant. This is what 95 looks like today?  This is the old lady I was going to burnish my appearance on? This handsome woman who had joined into the melee of dancers at the end of the party? God Bless Her.

We joined the party and Art pushed my chair as we looked for a familiar face. None. So we rolled around again looking at all the food on tables circling the huge room. I was looking for anything that couldn’t drip. From of the many circuiting trays I chose a tiny crispy cone with salmon, and an enclosed wrap, crab? Big drink bar. We drifted then settled at the periphery to watch the passing show.

What a show. Red Carpet at the Oscars? Forget it. One dress after the other of gorgeousness. Sitting in a wheelchair the perspective is different. Although you see the dress, more attention is on the skirt and shoes. Dresses with hemlines covering the crotch dropping in the back sometimes to the floor, sometime to the calf, but in various shapes, sharp point off center and varieties of that. One dress took considerable attention to figure out – long to the floor sheer scarf with tall, loose swaying fronds coming back to the waist.  Mostly black with a sprinkling of white dresses, silver. A little color. Bare shoulders, bare backs. Oh yes, my dress had come with bare shoulders, but I had the tailor put on chiffon sleeves.  And the shoes! You see them in the mag ads, staggeringly stunning, but nobody staggered, and all with the fragile ankles required.

Intermittently someone would come up to distract me by being socially gracious. My hearing aids were exploding with sound so I had to remove them which left me practically deaf. I was “chatting” with a lady, nodding when she nodded, shaking my head sadly with some commiseration in response to her expression at that moment and smiling and nodding as she parted. I turned to Art, offering up my ear for translation. He reported. She said her husband died and they have a houseful of books she wants to sell you. O M G  Did you get her name? He nodded."

My Florence is at The Museum Of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (mocp.org) until the 24th of May 2014.

Monday
Feb172014

Fashion|Conscious: Honest by

I created Fashion|Conscious for the express purpose of showcasing ethical brands and, hopefully, disabusing the notion that they are not as of-the-moment as their unethical counterparts. It will now be a regular feature on the blog and published once a month.

Honest by is a collaborative fashion brand that takes transparency to a whole new level. Everything you always wanted to know about your purchases - but were afraid to ask - is available on their site. Nothing is off limits, including the retail mark-up of each piece in store.

Founded by Bruno Pieters after a life-changing sabbatical in Southern India, Honest by prides itself on providing a platform for like-minded designers to sell ethically made products which just so happen to be effortlessly chic.

 

/Images: 1. Printed organic cotton canvas caban coat with belt 2. Navy blue recycled wool caban coat 3. Printed organic cotton short sleeved shirt dress 4. Sand-coloured linen trousers all by Bruno Pieters for Honest by/

 

 

/Images: 5. Pale olive chunky knit cardigan by Muriée for Honest by 6. Sand-coloured linen adjustable wrap skirt by Bruno Pieters for Honest by 7. Organic cotton printed satin shirt and organic cotton twill printed trousers by Calla for Honest by 8. Sand-coloured asymmetrical organic linen jersey top by Bruno Pieters for Honest by/

 

Oh, and 20% of the profits made on every item sold goes to the charity of each designer's choosing, too. What's not to love?

Thursday
Feb132014

Joe Tilson

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see the work of a pioneering artist up close.

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the Pop Art movement but very few are aware that one of its founding fathers was Joe Tilson.

His background in carpentry and cabinet-making stood him in good stead as a student, first at London's St. Martin’s School of Art - where he experimented with two- and three-dimensional forms - and then at the Royal College of Art, winning the Rome Prize in 1955. He refused to be pigeon-holed and wilfully broke all the rules, resulting in the diverse and visually stimulating body of work you see below.

 

/A close up of San Torvaso 2012 - carborundum etching with screenprint; edition of 25/

 

/Finestra Veneziana Ca d'Oro 2011 - gold leaf on wood relief, edition of 25/

 

/Sky Two 1967 - screenprint with torn paper elements; edition of 70/

 

Tilson prefers to create as many of his pieces by hand, eschewing technology unless absolutely necessary. Meticulously hand-painted and produced in limited editions, his work is characterized by inscriptions, bold motifs and vibrant colour.

I love the casual yet glamorous air of it all - fragments of paper here, a handful of amulets there and a smattering of stardust and gold. I have so many favourites but if I had a thousand and a bit to spare, I'd start wth this one.

 

/Taste 1999 - screenprint from the Five Senses series; edition of 50/

 

If you are in the vicinity, you can visit the Joe Tilson RA exhibition at The Bohun Gallery on 15 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1AB. It runs until the 22nd of February, 2014.

Monday
Feb102014

The Stack Review| Very Nearly Almost

The Stack Review is inspired by one of my favourite Christmas presents last year - a year's subscription to Stack. Its mission - a truly noble one, if you ask me - is to spread the word about little-known, independent print publications. I first heard about them in this post and I may (or may not) have left it on the computer for a certain someone to find.

Here's the magical bit. Each magazine delivery is a complete surprise so the chances of receiving something you would never pick out yourself are very high and therefore, so is the potential to expand your horizons.

Each month I will review the contents of my latest brown paper package. Let's dive right in, shall we?

Very Nearly Almost (or VNA, as it is more commonly known) is a publication dedicated to that most divisive of arts - street art. What started out as a hand-folded zine, is now a triumphant and full-fledged magazine having just published its 25th issue.

 

 

It begins with this message from Team VNA:

"Going out to all the can rattlers, stencil slicers, pic snappers, pencil lickers and graffiti geeks, this one is dedicated to everyone who's come with us this far on the journey. We're quietly proud to have hit a bit of a landmark with issue 25."

Featuring work by Kevin Lyons - whose toothy creatures brighten my day whenever I browse in Colette's online store - Nelly Duff, and a hair-raising inside look at the lengths many go to make their mark on trains, it is quite a compelling read.

 

 

Despite its inviting cover, I must admit that when I slipped it out of its envelope, I was unsure of what to expect but I am actually really looking forward to reading more as soon as I possibly can!

Most of all, though, I cannot help but allow myself a little shiver of pleasure at the thought of The Little Guy - VNA - holding its own rather admirably in a very competitive industry. Here's to another 25 issues!

 

/Video from verynearlyalmost.com/