The current project has been inspired by an extraordinary gallery in San Francisco introduced to me by a friend. The Zentner Collection specialising in Asian and Oriental Art and Antiques is an amazing place to find oriental inspiration.
Another source of inspiration is from a study of the origins of Liberty’s in London.
For an interior designer who has such a theme then these pieces that we have created will act as a sumptuous foil for exotic oriental antiques and art.
So to help me gather my thoughts I have wandered around our home and taken photographs of bits and pieces. The antiques are either originally from China and Japan, or like the tea-chest something that is inspired by oriental furniture. A number of years ago we went to Hong Kong and bought some interesting artefacts. And Georgina, our daughter, visited China when she was just 18. With our credit card in her pocket she bought some fabulous things that now adorn our home. The crates arrived carrying the carved wooden Tang horse in those lovely faded beaten up colours, the fine cloisonné jars, the carved dogs. Most of all she brought back some enduring memories.
Shown with this Chinese carved wood ‘Tang’ horse is a wall hanging created out of pleated silk. The fabric has been painted and pleated by hand. It is then intricately stitched into abstract swirls of rich gold autumn colours. The same pleated silk fabric has been turned into luxurious cushions.
This group has an extraordinary picture of a veined hydrangea flower – one of Charles’s photographs that is so beautiful in its simplicity.
One idea for this project was to focus on the colours of autumn. These leaves were just outside our back door and they just looked incredibly beautiful so I took a photograph. I then went into the studio to look for colour and texture partners. I was excited to find ones that had textures that would work well with different aspects of Oriental luxury furniture and artefacts. The lower left hand piece of fabric is a new experiment which is crushed evenly, not randomly to give it an interesting dimension. The muted sheen on the fabric works well with unpolished wood. It is not easy to achieve, so there will not be many pieces like these but this piece worked so well with the tones and texture of the leaves.
This is another experiment – however I might never do again because it took many weeks of hand work because all the quilting and beading was done by hand. I have two pieces like this which will be turned into very decadent luxury throws. The little Japanese cabinet is a delight – inlaid with egg-shells, unexpectedly we found this in New Zealand and just had to bring it home.
Choosing the autumn colours as a theme I realised that the ‘Sun’ doll from the opera Iris, that we costumed for Opera Holland Park a few years ago, would make a perfect centre piece for this tableau of gold textiles.
When the sun has almost set it leaves a touch of sunshine on the tops of the grasses that is quite magical.
Interior art inspiration in rocks
The colours in the rocks on the cliffs in Newport West Wales inspired Charles to do a series of photographs. What a wonderful resource of inspiration for our interior art textiles. An echo of colours of tarnished bronze and distressed painted furniture.
Super-yacht interior luxury
For a gentle calm atmosphere – soft weak tea colours and willow leaves echo the delicate colours that a bright pink rose turns as it fades into crumpled petals – so beautiful.
Choosing the screen for this colour theme – the darker shades of celadon – merging into seaweed, old bronze and tarnished silver.
Oriental inspiration – carved jade
Another of Charles’s photographs has the perfect tones of colour for the story of oriental inspiration in carved jade – those delicate tones of celadon with echoes of deeper shadows highlighting the softness of the colour.
Velvet is the most sensual fabric for luxurious throws and pillows – luxury to curl up in.
What exactly is the colour ‘greiges’ – I designed a group of colours a few years ago and in searching for a name I decided on ‘British rail coffee’ – a nasty brew that was a greyish beige colour. The background for this cushion is one of Georgina’s amazing rugs made out of velvet using the traditional rag rug technique. These really are a decadent luxury – delicious for bare feet!
Oriental inspiration – work in progress
When doing the research for costuming the opera ‘Iris’ I found that the Buddhist monks and nuns, who had given up all worldly goods, had nothing to wear other than rags donated by their patrons. If their patron was an ordinary working man – his patched ‘kesa’ would be a patchwork of heavily worn and stressed textiles. However if the patron was a wealthy person, then the kesa would be made, still in patches, but of lavish silk brocades. So our laughing Buddha is wearing a luxurious patchwork of printed silk velvets. I need to study the form again because I seem to remember that the symbolism and order of the patches have special significance. When my memory is refreshed I will add the details to the blog.
I love the richness that a background of black gives to painted lacquer furniture and ornaments.