“Life loves me.” – Louise Hay
Because of Louise Hay, Hay House exists, and because of the Hay House publishing contest, this blog exists.
A couple years ago, my older brother suggested that I transition my writing onto a blog, but I didn’t have the money at the time. He mentioned something about monetizing the site, which I attempted to do recently, but those ads looked so terrible that I couldn’t do that to my readers or myself. Even on welfare, though it may not have appeared as such, I did have standards.
Sustainability has been the latest theme song of my life, and with that in mind, I intended to post bi-weekly in coordination with the moon cycles when I first started this blog back in February. I’ve already deleted the first blog post, because it sucked, which is the thing about deadlines: without them, we might never release crap; with deadlines, however, we at least release something.
Failing the bi-weekly schedule, I’d like to post a minimum of twice per month. I found out on August 11 that I would be moving by August 27, so that is where my efforts have been. Capricorn can’t fail herself, though, so below is an article I published in the Winter 2011 issue of Homes & Living Magazine—right, of course, in the nick of time.
I love mirrors, and I never thought to call it “mirror work,” but several years ago I started smoking weed and having loving, appreciative conversations with myself in the mirror. Somebody needed to tell that babe with the quasi-mullet and emaciated face that she was beautiful. Then I find out last year sometime that the queen of affirmations herself had adeptly coined the activity “mirror work”? Of course!
Since you’d been stashing mirrors in your bras for as long as I’ve been alive, this one is for you Louise.
P.s. I am surrounded by mirrors.
H&L’s Galleria: Mid Century Art & Décor is clean and shiny (H&L magazine, Winter 2011)
Victoria may have been slow on the uptake with Emily Carr, but we’re on the fringe of mid-century modern furniture, accessories and artwork, which is making a huge comeback on Vancouver Island. I’m particularly elated by the resurgence of mirror and crystal glass creations
I think what I like most about living spaces decorated mostly with crystal and mirrored glass is not a lot of homeowners do it anymore, which makes it somewhat elusive to collect. [2017 Addendum: I will talk another day about my aversion to mass appeal. It’s something I’m working on.] Too much of anything can be obnoxious, sure, but when chosen and displayed with minimalist intention in mind, glass can be tasteful and elegant. Let glass be the anchor for furniture and minimal décor in the room. Enhance the experience with appropriate and inviting shades of colour. Glass décor options are clean, shiny and perfectly modern.
Mirrors and decorative glass notwithstanding, post-war architecture makes sense on the West Coast landscape, as does the mid-century art and design found blossoming in West Coast homes. Perhaps the comeback is not the art form but Vancouver Island getting back to its roots. [2017 Addendum: Canada’s roots are Indigenous. Decorate your homes mid-century modern, sure, but include Indigenous art. Also give credit to the unceded territories on which you live and conduct business.]
The early modern décor mantra, “form follows function,” applies, yes, but Vancouver Islanders have been hit with Big Shiny Ball syndrome; [2017 Addendum: Okay, me.] art reflects not only the honesty of the work but also a legitimate part of function: delight. Clean spaces in the home make room for rare finds that delight your heart and express your flair.
The modern art movement in Canada alone is appealing for so many reasons, and then you open your home up to Italy and the rest of the world, and a true human being of the earth would not grow bored of honest and classy décor options. Danish teak furniture and accessories designed and produced mid-century, for instance, are becoming functional art for the home, and contemporary pieces make this practical Scandinavian art form affordable for most homeowners. Vintage furniture, lighting, ceramics and glass can be found in showrooms, as well as reproductions of classic mid-century designs. Jazz up a Hans J. Wegner sofa table with a Florence Knoll sofa. Make your home a classy yet minimalist melting pot.
Also hot in the market is furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames, late American design duo well known for the Eames Lounge and Ottoman, which has been in production continuously since its creation by the Herman Miller furniture company in 1956. The original /vintage chairs used Brazilian rosewood veneers (which have been on a worldwide embargo since 1992) and were constructed of five layers of plywood and leather. The chair is an icon of modern style and design and was called “the chair of the century” by influential architectural critic Esther McCoy.
The Eames Lounge and Ottoman have appeared on both House and Frasier and tout an impressive acting career in television. The chair is stylish and comfortable, and satisfies the refined retail therapist’s need for conspicuous consumption. Although, I guess that depends on your idea of chump change. If I had $9,000 to spare, I’d like to think I’d pare down some debt; instead, I’d probably buy art to dress my body when I get back from reviving my suntan in the tropics. Perhaps I should start saving for a Coach to go with my Eames.
If you’re up for taking risks, Italy will blow your mind with its unconventional and cutting edge art décor and design. Italian design is vanilla. [2017 Addendum: This line may have fallen flat, but I meant it’s like vanilla as in an aphrodisiac. I borrowed the line from a Starsky and Cox astrology book (Cosmic Coupling). The authors were discussing the sex life of a Scorpio and Capricorn.] The smell of the Pininfarina chairs adorning an expandable glass table will enrapture your guests more than the food you serve. Don’t forget the mirrors.
In the spirit of supporting Canadian artists and designers, you can always opt for ceramics and art and copper enamels from Quebec, or other rare Canadian finds, including radios and stereos from the 60s and 70s, as well as salt and pepper shakers, to name a few. Modern or not, I wouldn’t scoff at a wooden chest, but that’s just me.
Much of what’s being collected is vintage, but retro pieces and reproductions are popular in furniture showrooms as well. The M3 Chair by Thomas Feichtnerby of Vienna, for example, boasts an open, wooden cantilever construction and makes creative and honest use of oak wood. The chair is said to be comfortable, too. And then, up close and local, Walter Dexter, one of the great fathers of design in Canada, lives in Oak Bay and is still producing pottery and ceramics. [2017 Addendum: Walter Dexter died on June 2, 2015.]
Jettison mid-century modern art and design into the future, and you’ve encountered post war meets shiny ball. Contemporary furniture design, accessories and artwork accompany sleek curves, honest use of materials and creative use of colour. Throw in a brick wall and a Mexican quartz donkey, and you may be the next style icon for your postal code. Oh, and don’t forget the decorative mirrors.