Wednesday
Mar042015

Issue 54 is Now Live!

After taking February off to brainstorm future plans, this month's Covet Garden is coming in like a lionl! March’s featured homeowners Matt and Emilie have a strong sense of personal style. And they believe firmly in investing energy into things they believe in and it shows in their fun, unfussy space!

 Matt and Emilie love to travel, looking for one-of-a-kind vintage finds as well as discovering local craftspeople. And they share their treasure through their store, GoodFolk. In fact, finding a building where they could mix business with home was instrumental in finding their East End space.

Both Matt and Emilie come from a graphics background so they also like to share their talents. Check out Emilie's gorgeous tea towel, pictured below. And discover more visual delights in the new issue of Covet Garden!

Friday
Feb272015

Lynda in Mexico: Oaxaca Street Art

After spending some time in Oaxaca I've grown to not only love but also truly appreciate the street art that has taken root here. Much like revolution-era muralists, Diego Rivera and Jose Orozco, today’s Oaxacan street artists are attempting to reintegrate art into everyday life while sharing with the public some of the problems facing their people right now. 

The range of expression and the beauty of the messages are quite breathtaking. These murals are respected by the people and are enjoyed and contemplated on as the works of art not painted over like graffiti. Last year the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca paid homage to street artists with their exhibition entitled, "Made In Oaxaca" which featured a line-up of internationally known street and mural artists. Since then, the street art scene continues to grow with some restaurants and other local businesses have hired local artists to create work for their exterior and/or interiors. The feeling amongst street artists appears to be mutual: art should be free to view and the street is the largest free gallery there is. 

Friday
Feb202015

Rhonda's Thrift Trip To Dresden

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Covet Garden readers know that I love thrifting. Second-hand shops, yard sales and flea markets are my happy place. And it was one such flea market find that took me to Dresden, Germany last December. You see, I found a 1970s-era watch at the St. Lawrence Antique Market. It was made in Glasütte, a small town near Dresden that fell on the Communist side of the Iron Curtain until 1985. I was always curious about how my Cold War-era watch made its way to Toronto and I decided to take it back to its homeland.

Of course, I couldn't resist exploring Dresden's cheap and cheerful markets!

My best finds came from the weekly Flohmarkt (Flea Market) on the banks of the Elbe River. This weekly Saturday (and Saturday and Sunday in the spring and summer) market begins under the Albertbrücke bridge and stretches for blocks and blocks. Dresden has a long history of cultivating arts and culture, so the Flohmarkt had everything from fine jewellery to Soviet kitsch. Because I was travelling light, I had to limit purchases to a small leather box from the late 1800s and this cool kids book that was originally printed in East Berlin.

Dresden's Äußere Neustadt (Outer New Town) district is the city's more Bohemian neighbourhood. Full of coffee shops, old school photobooths and second-hand shops (sorry, no pictures). But there is also a chain of thrift shops called Humana scattered throughout Dresden. They best deals were on folksy embroidered linens and German art pottery — The vase pictured above was selling for under three euros!

If vintage isn't your thing, the city is also home to weekly outdoor farmers and craft markets in just about every neighbourhood square. In the winter, the locals like to hang out and savour a glass of warm wine and a sausage or a bowl of potato soup.

Whatever you treasure, it's important that it gives you joy. My finds may be small, but they will always remind me of Dresden! And since I'm a research nerd, I also wanted to thank Glashütte Original for opening up their archives and introducing me to the Watch Museum in Glashütte. IF you want to learn more about my watch's homecoming, click here.

 

Friday
Feb132015

Best of Etsy: When We Were Kids

1. Bonhomme by Laurent de Brunhoff, 2. Mira Brugmann Yellow Wolf Planter, 3. Design Atelier Article Bear Bookends, 4. Vintage Fisher Price Happy Apple, 5. Sketch Inc. Frida Kahlo Kokeshi Doll.

Covet Garden loves kids' stuff. So much so that we have devoted a whole Etsy treasury to handmade finds and vintage treasures that appeal to the inner child in all of us! Having once been children ourselves, we believe that kids want to express their creativity through their rooms just as much as adults do. As parents (or aunts) we also believe that kids contribute to the energy of the whole home—not just the confined limits of their bedrooms. And there's a part of us that loves the same colourful, playful and graphic objects that appeal to children.

And finally, because we believe in surrounding ourselves with meaningful things, the objects that we've selected for our Kids' Spaces treasury are pieces that will grow up with us—things of beauty that can be used as a toy but also a decorative item when the kids become adults themselves.

 

Friday
Feb062015

We Covet: Massimo Vignelli

[Tracey Shumate's self portrait with the Massimo Vignelli designed Stendig calendar from Issue 6]

Designer Massimo Vignelli (1931 to 2014) was a man for the masses. Primarily a graphic designer, he made modernity functional. And he extended this idea of making everyday things beautiful to kitchenware, signage, book covers and home interiors. His best-known creation—the signage for the New York City subway—has been in use since 1966. But our adoration is more than Eames-era nostalgia: Vignelli's take on modernist principles still feels new today.

Vignelli was born in Italy. He studied art and architecture in Milan and Venice. He was an admirer of the modernist work of architects Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. In Italy he made a splash with his clean, colourful designs for glassmakers Venini.

Vignelli moved to Chicago in the 1960s, attracted by the opportunity to take his ideas to a larger audience. He joined ad agency Unimark, at the time, one of the world’s largest design firms. In Chicago, he worked on designing corporate identities for clients such as American Airlines, Ford, IBM, Xerox, Knoll and Gillette.

[Vignelli's work for Knoll seen in Knoll: A Modernist Universe]

Although he had an unerring sense of wit and beauty, he saw himself as a problem solver, not an artist. “We have to make a distinction between design and art,” said Vignelli in an interview in Print magazine in 1991. “If you are an artist, you can do anything you want. Design serves a different purpose. If in the process of solving a problem you create a problem, obviously, you did not design.”

At this time he also branched out into industrial design, most famously for the crayon-coloured plastic dinnerware sets for the furniture company Heller in 1964.

[Heller Dinnerware set in White]

In 1971, he and his wife Lella left Unimark to start their own design firm. Their work had a sense of permanence as well as playfulness. Case in point: Bloomingdales’ iconic Big Brown Bag. “You can reach timelessness if you look for the essence of things and not the appearance,” Vignelli once said. The appearance is transitory—the appearance is fashion, the appearance is trendiness—but the essence is timeless.”

[Vignelli's Max 365 perpetual calendar]

The couple felt that permanance was important to sucessful design. Which explains why Vignelli’s work never went out of fashion. And Lella still runs the companycarrying the torch for the firm's principles, a.k.a the “The Five Vignelli-isms:”