Sunday
Jul282013

See You In September

[photo of Lynda's dog, Lily by Ashley Capp]

Just a reminder: Covet Garden is taking August off to work on our print-only edition, Covet Garden Home. The online magazine will be back with our third-anniversary issue in September. In the meantime, catch up on some back issues, read weekly blog posts or check out daily updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday
Jul262013

We Covet: Aarikka

[Jenn's whitewashed floors from Covet Garden #36, image by Jodi Pudge]

We love all the wonderful kinds of wood surfaces in Jenn’s house in the current issue of Covet Garden. We love the painted plywood floors in the living room and the rich teak of the bookcase in the den. We just love how Jenn plays with different wood treatments to create something new and exciting.

This playful approach very much reminded us of the Finnish design concern Aarikka.

[Keisarinna Table, Aarika.com]

The company was founded in 1954 applied arts student Kaija Aarikka. Aarikka was working on a dress for her master’s thesis and could not source any buttons that suited it. So she designed her own wooden buttons. Orders came pouring in from across her native Finland. To grow her business, she attended a trade fair in Germany, where she also displayed some wooden jewellery. And things just exploded from there.

[Wooden rams via Nordic Thoughts]

[Vintage mobile via Wee Wonderfuls]

While the company’s output grew to include house wares and decorative objects (a classic Pässi Ram from 1973 resides in the Emperor’s Palace in Japan), they have always stayed true to Aarikka’s guiding principles: To use natural materials, such as pine, birch and silver, and bright and happy colours. To create her coloured pieces, Aarikka and her husband developed a dyeing process that allows the natural wood grain to through.

[current designer Pauliina Aarikka via Good News Finland]

Wednesday
Jul172013

2Gether 4Ever With 2Life

The folks that brought you 2 for Couples, the cool Canadian relationships site, has just launched an exciting new app called 2life—and we here at Covet Garden are pleased as punch to announce that we are a part of this cool new social networking tool!

The 2Life app is like a Facebook built for two. It's a private, secure network that lets you chat, share, collaborate and coordinate with your partner, in one place. And it's free worldwide in 14 languages on the App Store (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad).

"In a hyper-connected world, the relationship that matters most to you can get lost amidst cluttered inboxes and social media newsfeeds," says 2life founder, Diane Hall. "Once you create a free 2life joint account with your partner, you can easily stay connected in real time and share with the person you care most about." 
2life gives you and your partner a private space to chat and make, manage and share calendars, photos and lists You can also use it to  bookmark links in the in-app browser. The Covet Garden team is most excited about the ability to store info such as room dimensions, budgets, DIY ideas or any other information you need for you home improvement projects so that next time you find the perfect credenza at a yard sale, you'll know if it will fit through the front door (and you can send a picture of it to your partner so they can visualize where it will go)!

Which brings us to our own partnership with 2life. Every day, 2life offers music, news, beauty, fashion, gardening and other lifestyle stories. And Covet Garden is bringing decor to the party.

"(2life) is more than a communication tool," says 2life editorial director, Neil Morton, "It offers inspiring and carefully curated lifestyle content that will help you get the most out of your relationship.” 

"By downloading the app, you’ll help make a difference for others, through our Power of 2 fundraising campaign," says Morton. For Covet Garden readers that create a free 2life joint account with the promo code #covet2life, 2life will donate $1 to Dare to Wear Love (daretowearlove.com) in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation's commitment to turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The goal for this launch campaign is $25,000.

Like we said, the 2life app is available for FREE worldwide in 14 languages on the App Store (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad). You can also check out 2life Premium, which gives you unlimited usage for an annual fee of $9.99. Upgrade before August 1, 2013 to take advantage of the special $1.99 launch offer.

For more info, go to http://2life.io, follow and tweet @life on twitter.com/2lifeapp and "Like" 2life on facebook.com/2life
Wednesday
Jul102013

Covet Garden Indiegogo Thank You Page: Week 7

[photo: Tracy Shumate from Issue 11]

Even though we had already reached our goal, the following contributors to the Covet Garden Home Indiegogo campaign helped us push past the $20,000 mark. And for that, we are eternally grateful to:

Katja Bay, Colleen Davey, William Denton, Down South Vintage, Roberta Gunn, Andrew Kines, Cindy Krikawa, Ashlie Meigh, Alison Peters, Carey Sookocheff.

Plus: those modest anonymous contributors (you know who you are).

In the end, 363 folks from almost every corner of the earth contributed $20,230. 12,526 people visited our campaign page and 5,770 supporters kicked in and helped spread the word about Covet Garden Home.

We’ll continue to keep you posted on the progress of Covet Garden Home as we prepare for our December delivery date. And if you missed your chance to pre-order a copy through an Indiegogo contribution, keep an eye on our blog for update on how you can buy your own copy of the Mook. Or “Like” us on Facebook, subscribe to our free newsletter, or follow us on Twitter for more news.

Wednesday
Jul102013

We Covet: Collier Campbell

We discovered the work of designing sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell whilst researching the design of a vintage Liberty scarf we found at a thrift shop. It had an abstract pattern of checks and swirling stripes which seemed unusual for Liberty. A few hours spent chasing rabbits down an internet hole later, we learned that this pattern (see the cushion pictured above), called "Bauhaus," appeared on silks and cottons and is the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert museum in London. And that it was created by was created by the siblings in 1972. (A tapestry entitled “5 Choirs” by Gunta Stolzl, who worked at the Bauhaus in the 1920s and 1930s, inspired it.)

Although the mystery of its maker was solved, we delved deeper into the history of the partnership, intrigued by the working relationship between the two sisters. Born in Manchester, their love of color and line came from their somewhat bohemian parents, who encouraged their daughters' love of painting and also fostered a deep appreciation of nature.

It was Collier who first got into the textile design business. In interviews she said her greatest inspiration was Matisse, and when she realized that she was never going to be a painter, she decided to cheer up drab post war fabrics by becoming a "Matisse for the masses."

After apprenticing for various designers, Collier decided to take her portfolio to the famous Liberty of London. The company immediately purchased six designs and commissioned more. Collier then took her younger sister on as a trainee to help deal with the demand. Campbell went on to art school, and then rejoined her sibling at Liberty in 1968.

The designs represented a big break from most printed textiles at the time, which aimed for precision reproduction. Collier Campbell lines looked more like brushstrokes than prints. They made bespoke fabrics for Yves Saint Laurent's first ready-to-wear collection. They also produced textiles for designers such as Jean Muir and Cacharel and furniture collections for Marks & Spencer. Eventually, they left Liberty and started their own concern, Collier Campbell.

The designs represented a big break from most printed textiles at the time, which aimed for precision reproduction. Collier Campbell lines looked more like brushstrokes than prints. They made bespoke fabrics for Yves Saint Laurent's first ready-to-wear collection. They also produced textiles for designers such as Jean Muir and Cacharel and furniture collections for Marks &Spencer. Eventually, they left Liberty and started their own concern, Collier Campbell.

While most folks may not recognize the name (at the time, Liberty did not credit designers) if you grew up in England (or in Canada with Anglophile parents) in the 1970s, you would immediately remember the patterns. Intense and painterly, they represented a bold break from the ditsy florals of Laura Ashley and Liberty itself. And ironically, while they left Liberty to get some recognition, they never shared which sister was behind which design (though speculation is that Collier was behing the more angular graphics like  Bauhaus while Campbell was responsible for flowing images of birds and flowers such as the iconic Egyptian Bird pattern pictured on the cosmetic purse pictured at the top of the page)).

Collier died in 2011, on the eve of a huge retrospective exhibition of their work and the publication of a book The Collier Campbell Archive. Campbell continues to work as a textile designer. The Collier Campbell London brand offers a selection of scarves, cushions, ceramics and stationery.

[images, colliercampbell.com]