Daily Rituals, How Artists Work, by Mason Currey
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to reach out for this book, I have had it, as well as its sequel – Daily Rituals, Women at Work, on my radar for quite some time. I was finally prompted to download the audiobook by Ryan Holiday’s latest Reading List Email.
It is a collection of short chapters (think 1-4 minutes long) on the daily rituals of over 150 writers, artists, architects, scientists and more iconic figures from across the centuries. There is an underlying focus on the quirks and the slightly unusual habits, and it makes for an entertaining listen. I would struggle to remember details about more than a dozen or so of the people mentioned, but that actually helps draw some general conclusions – in most cases, it is about consistency and daily work, with a touch of peculiarity. For some it is truly a pleasure, for others, it is a nightmare, but all seem to be magically tied to doing it, be it writing, painting, designing or any of the other creative pursuits.
I think it is not a book you sit down and read, but rather one you keep around and open at random every once in a while. I am going to make sure I get the sequel in print for this specific purpose and I hope to see among the entries some more women with children and maybe even day jobs as well, trying to also pursue their creative endeavours? That’s totally crazy, right?
Interview with a Victorian Woman
Hear Florence Pannell talk about how ‘shockingly difficult’ it was for women in her time to have their own business, as she did, or life outside marriage. Yet, despite having done it herself, she thinks at 108 she should like to go on an aeroplane for the first time because she is more ‘adventuresome’ than when they first came out. When in the end she is asked what is the biggest change she’s witnessed she wastes no second to say ‘Everything! Nothing is the same! Everything is changed!’
And that is not an exaggeration if one considers she has lived through both World Wars, the invention of the electric lightbulb, the telephone and the television and much more. You can read a bit more about this remarkable woman here, a certified supercentenarian who was the oldest documented living person in Europe at the time of her death in 1980 (at almost 112!). I wish there were more recordings of her…
The Etsy Market Lookbook
This week I discovered that under The Etsy Market umbrella, which are virtual events run either by sellers or by Etsy that pop up around different cities in the world, they also publish a lookbook showcasing some of the makers and objects available. It looks like a curated seasonal selection and considering how limitless Etsy can feel sometimes, I welcome any effort to highlight some of the best things that can be found on the platform.
For me, it’s always about discovering things I never even thought existed, like the stained glass flowers I featured a few weeks ago, or beautiful objects with a design twist. From the latest edit, I loved the above vases, as well as the personalised cutting boards below, but there is so much more to discover. I plan on checking the old issues of the edit available (only 13 in total from the past 9 months) as I am sure to discover more gems and to share these with you in future letters.
You might have noticed this too, but it seems scallops are everywhere at the moment, from clothes and accessories to interior design and decor. In the past few months, I’ve come across countless examples – bathing suits, tops, dresses and skirts, as well as tables, napkins, trays, planters – you name it, there is a variation that includes scallops for sure.
For decor, I find Camilla Hampton’s edgings or mouldings particularly clever, as you can buy these by the meter and there is no end to the options of using them around the house, inside or out. She has four designs available and you can see on her Instagram these used to adorn shelves, door frames, windows frames, side tables and more. I think that if it’s not overdone, it can look fun and playful, it doesn’t have to be overly feminine or romantic. It depends a lot on the colours used as well.
What scalloped object(s) do you own or are coveting?
In the Name of Luxury
I was delighted by this article in the Telegraph on how to pronounce certain fashion and luxury brand names. It’s so tongue in cheek British, educational but without missing the irony. It would have helped more to record someone actually saying these out loud, but it wouldn’t have been half as funny!
Prepare for some tongue twisters and to laugh at yourself if you, like me, will attempt to follow the instructions and give all these names a go! These gifs from WhoWhatWear might also come in handy, because irony aside, I dread mispronunciation of common words on a daily basis, speaking most of the time in a language that is not my native one. It can truly make you feel like you don’t belong or are out of your element.
For brand names and the like though, one could always raise the argument that fewer people will know the right way than those who don’t and you might end up being perceived as a non-connoisseur, even if you know better. I guess you need to read the room first…
Ivy Covered Buildings
I have a fascination with buildings covered in ivy. I simply think it instantly adds to the character and aesthetic appeal of any home, storefront, hotel – you name it.
I had an idea that despite my declared love, ivy is not great for buildings and this week I looked more into it. Apparently, the trouble is it can actually be very damaging to the walls it attaches to if these are quite old and in a slight state of decay, as its roots find their way between cracks, widening fissures and bringing moisture in.
All is not lost though, because for walls that are in top shape, ivy can actually provide some unexpected benefits, by acting as a thermal blanket and boosting warmth levels and protecting from frost in winter and having a cooling effect in summer. It can also protect from moisture damage and absorption of some environmental pollutants.
I am reassured in my admiration for ivy-covered buildings as well as in my dreaming of an ivy-covered house!
Art is Better in Museums
If you needed persuading that you should go to museums in general, and to admire art in particular, I am here to do the job. Science says that you appreciate and remember art better in a museum than if you view it on a screen, in a ‘virtual’ tour (full paper here).
Specifically, artworks were found more arousing, positive, interesting and liked more in the museum than in the laboratory. Moreover, participants who saw the exhibition in the museum later recalled more artworks and used spatial layout cues for retrieval. Thus, encountering real art in the museum enhances cognitive and affective processes involved in the appreciation of art and enriches information encoded in long-term memory.
Source – Jannis Kounellis, untitled installation, 1980
I am off planning a visit for the weekend, I hope you will feel inspired to do the same!
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