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Torans-HEADER1

prov-e-nance \ˈpräv-nən(t)s, ˈprä-və-ˌnän(t)s\
noun. the place of origin or earliest known history of something.

My obsession with ethnic textiles continues, this time in a new Provenance post over at Cloth & Kind on toran, the embroidered and embellished door hangings from Northwest India. There is nothing I like better than a little repurposing and they are ripe for it. Why confine them to the entrance doorway? What about a window valence…

Toran as window valence

…or a divine bed canopy?

photo via tumblr

Please head over to Cloth & Kind to read the full details – I know this is a column you won’t want to miss! Leave a comment there if you are so inspired!

On the same note, if we are talking obsession or inspiration, I realize I have not mentioned Australian stylist, author and self-proclaimed bowerbird Sibella Court enough. Her books and her Sydney atelier, The Society Inc, so vividly encapsulate everything I love about life as a global nomad and collector. In these last weeks, every time I think of an image or an item I want to talk or write about, I turn to her and she has it! Toran as bed canopy? Yes. Giant abacus? Yes. Unlike many, she has spent time trolling the markets of Japan and never ceases to amaze me with what she picks up and how she uses it. Can we just stop and ogle this photo for a moment?

sibella court from Nomad

Copper rain chain, Sori Yanagi’s Butterfly Stool, temple book and old black and white photo portrait (this one Chinese though) all set against a faded bamboo fence. Sigh…

Related Posts:
Provenance…My New Guest Column on Cloth & Kind

Image credits: 1-2. Pinterest, 3. Sibella Court, Nomad: A Global Approach to Interior Style

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prov-e-nance \ˈpräv-nən(t)s, ˈprä-və-ˌnän(t)s\
noun. the place of origin or earliest known history of something.

I am so excited to announce my new gig as a monthly guest columnist on Krista Nye Schwartz‘s blog Cloth & Kind. I’ll be penning the Provenance column and it’s a match made in heaven. Krista and I had long been admiring each others aesthetic – she describes herself as a “self-diagnosed textile addict”  - and I basically stopped bothering to Pin once I discovered her Textile Files on Pinterest. I’ll be joining forces with two other talented bloggers, Tami Ramsay, an interior and floral designer from Athens, GA and Bonnie Berry, a wedding and food photographer from Austin, TX, who will also be writing new columns on art, flowers and you guessed it, food! Although the internet knows no geographic boundaries, I often toil away here in Japan feeling a little bit isolated, so I am so thrilled to have a team of great women to work with.

kasuri banner

My post this week is on the origins and techniques of Japanese kasuri. For my readers, it would mean the world to me if you would head over to Cloth & Kind and read the post and leave a comment to show you’d been there – here’s the link straight to it. I know it’s just the kind of post you would like. For those coming to my blog via Cloth & Kind, welcome! I think you’ll find lots of content here to enjoy and I’d love to hear from you. I have category tabs down the right side of the blog and I use tags pretty freely as well. Search away!

One photo that didn’t make it into the post is these kasuri work pants. I am constantly tempted to buy some of these old work clothes with an eye towards wearing them and then the voice of my 13, soon to be 14-year-old daughter pops into my head. So unfortunately (perhaps fortunately), I left these as the market last week.

kasuri workpantskasuri workpants detail

In addition to Krista herself and her content on Cloth & Kind, I just adore the physical design of her blog.  She takes such care with the art direction and this has confirmed for me what I have long known and talked about before. I need to get out of my standard blog platform and move to a design that matches the quality of my content.  So if you know of any great graphic designers with wordpress.org skill (or are one yourself), please let me know. And if you want, instead of the usual currency, there is the opportunity to be paid in antique textiles, porcelain or whatever else!

It truly has been an indigo trifecta over the last week or so, with the long-awaited post on the amazing Amy Katoh and her treasure filled shop Blue & White. The giveaway for the LuRu Home pillow was a huge success with 83 entrant spaces. I am excited to announce that Loi Thai, proprietor of Tone on Tone Antiques in Bethesda, MD is the winner. Loi also writes a beautiful blog, he’s a dear and his taste is impeccable so I can’t wait to see what he does with the pillow as it is a little bit outside of his usual palette.

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Once I knew he had won I made a bet with myself – I was sure he’d choose the pillow in Babyteeth – and he did!

babyteeth pillow luru home

Please join me over at Cloth & Kind today!

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For my first ever guest post, Dalia Gold reports on a shopping excursion to the famous Japanese pottery town of Mashiko. The destruction of the kilns after the Great East Japan Earthquake was featured earlier on the blog here and updates on the situation here

The forecast called for and delivered clear, sunny skies for my first trip to the legendary Mashiko pottery festival. I’d been waiting almost a year for the day to arrive, having heard stories about rows upon rows of pottery stands.

Originating in 1966, the fair is now held twice a year – in the fall and spring – and draws approximately 150,000 people and 400,000 people, respectively. Last spring, the Great East Earthquake destroyed the ancient kilns used for generations to bake the clay works. Donations and support came from around the world to help rebuild the kilns and November 4, 2011 marked the second pottery fair after the devastation. More than 500 artisans displayed their work, including many from Mashiko and areas beyond, as well.

Much more information about the history of Mashiko pottery can be found at: www.mta.mashiko.tochigi.jp

I expected to be overwhelmed and had brought a small, wheelie suitcase, as I’d been advised, to store my purchases as I strolled. I had no particular agenda nor strategy for the expedition. I only knew that I didn’t want to leave thinking, “Why didn’t I buy that when I had the chance?”

The vendors at the beginning of the fair had mostly functional, primitive pieces. I bought these small bowls, finished in Nuka White (rice husk ash) glaze and paired them with these funky, unfinished green chargers.

As I moved deeper into the stalls, I found myself drawn to pieces featuring spouts, irregular shapes and almost anything white.

I think these oval pieces may be intended for ikebana, but I bought one to use as an everyday fruit plate.


Loved the simplicity of, and so purchased, both of these, which look great with the fruit bowl.

Though I didn’t buy one, I love the utilitarian grater featured in these spouted works.

As with so many things I’ve seen in Japan, the elegant simplicity of some displays rivaled the artistry of some of the goods being sold.

Other collections for sale besides pottery included glass, incense and shoes.

Given the huge piles of rubble within, I think these warehouses may be the sites of some of the kilns which were destroyed, although they had certainly been cleaned up from last spring,

After exhausting myself among the stalls, I finally arrived at the main street, where many finer pieces of art were for sale. The glaze on this vase looks as if there are layers of mosaic tiles beneath the smooth surface. The photo doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous tones of blue, grey and green held within.

My wheelie bag was full, and I had a couple of shopping bags draped over my arms as I returned to the parking lot before heading home. I’d been true to aim – not to leave any beloveds behind – and yet, I already knew I would need to return next year.

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