Delightful Derian

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John Derian Company Storefront New York

John Derian Company Inc. was established in 1989 to house Derian’s designs which are handmade in his studio in New York, that employs a small staff of artists to assist with production. The retail shop carries an artful assortment of antiques, imports, quilts, table linens and a line of stationery, alongside his now-iconic decoupage wares -sourced from old and rare books, a process that credited him with elevating the decoupage technique into fine art, and collections from artisans The Artful Blog admires most like Coral & Tusk & Astier de Villatte. An ever-growing business, the John Derian Company empire reaches far and wide -in addition to the four stores he owns in New York and Massachusetts, his products are sold by more than 600 retailers worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, ABC, and Gump’s in the United States; Conran and Liberty in the UK; and the fabulous Astier de Villatte in Paris.

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Pergola Home New Preston Connecticut

The artist, designer, and avid collector of things, is releasing his first book, the John Derian Picture Book and will launch it with a signing event October 1st 2016, at one of The Artful Blog’s favorite New England boutiques, Pergola in New Preston. With its picturesque location, Pergola focuses its lens on the wilds of nature in a cultivated environment of home. The artfully displayed combination of uncommon plant material, aged terra-cotta planters, weathered antiques, botanical books & prints, Derain wares of course, and a variety of natural curiosities, offers a highly sensual shopping experience for home & garden, while product collections shift with the seasons. Relationships with the region’s premier specialty growers and greenhouses and a network of local artisans, and antique sources from around the world, adds texture and interest to the harmonious product and plant mix therein. The signing will be from 2-5 pm followed by an invitation-only cocktail reception in the garden behind Pergola, the front room of which will be filled with Derian’s products, including some signature works.

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John Derian Company New York

Derian is America’s leading practitioner of decoupage, the art of cutting and pasting paper images, combining painting & collage, beauty & utility. The designer uses color reprints of 18th and 19th-century images and pieces them together under glass, often in combination with reproductions of antique calligraphy. The result is a growing product line over the last 25 years that includes plates, vases, trays, paperweights, cachepots, wall hangings, desk accessories and more. Derian’s enigmatic works and artistry have been featured in national and international publications, such as The New York Times, The World of Interiors, Elle Décor, House & Garden, Country Living, House Beautiful, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Victoria, Garden Design, Martha Stewart Living, O (Oprah), O at Home, The New York Observer, Time Out and New York.

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John Derian Picture Book by John Derian, Published by Artisan Books, 2016.  Now, for the first time, comes the book John Derian fans have been waiting for. Culled from the thousands of images that have appeared in his biannual collections, here is an astoundingly beautiful assortment of more than 400 full-bleed images in their original form. From intensely colored flowers and birds to curious portraits, hand-drawn letters, and breathtaking landscapes, the best of John Derian is here. The result is an oversized object of desire, a work of art in and of itself, that brilliantly walks the line between commerce and art, and that is destined to become the gift book of the season.

Perennially Precious

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Piet Oudolf Lurie Garden Millennium Park Chicago

Piet Oudolf the most influential garden designer in a generation, has radically redefined what gardens can be, moving them well into the realm of art. In the new immersive documentary, Fall Winter Spring Summer Fall: Five Seasons With Piet Oudolf, viewers gain a rare and poetic look at the creative process of this revolutionary figure, including intimate discussions across all fours seasons in his own private garden, and on visits to his signature public works in New York, Chicago, and the Netherlands, as well as to the far-flung locations that inspire his genius, including desert wildflowers in West Texas and post-industrial forests in Pennsylvania. Threaded throughout the film, Oudolf designs, installs and then opens a major new garden at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a work Piet himself calls his best yet.

Fall Winter Spring Summer Fall: Five Seasons With Piet Oudolf Documentary Trailer 2016, A film by Thomas Piper. One of the films that will premiere in the 8th edition of the New York Architecture & Design Film Festival which runs 28th September through 2nd October, 2016 at Cinépolis Chelsea. The nation’s largest film festival devoted to celebrating the unique creative spirit that drives architecture and design. For an A-Z list of selected films see here. With a curated selection of films, events and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to entertain, engage and educate all types of people who are excited about architecture and design.

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Piet Oudolf’s artful garden landscapes throughout the world, all of which are designed with a low-maintenance philosophy, are simply magical, in every season.

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Oudolf believes that his work has intellectual depth, which it does in that it is beautifully thought through all of these levels, but it is also about a feeling. And this is why his landscape designs touch so many people. He also believes it is important to use plants that have an “afterlife” and are good once they are over, which in turn makes the plantings better for ecology and insect life.

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Mother Nature may make meadows, but Oudolf perfects them with seasonal sweeps of vegetation, including Sicilian Honey Garlic, Rudbeckia, Coneflowers, Joe-Pye Weed, and ‘Shenandoah’ Red Switchgrass. “Structure is the basis of all planting combinations, but traditional gardening has a lot of dogmas. I prefer to let things go their own way,” Oudolf says.

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Best known for establishing enchanting, inspiring and resilient landscapes utilizing bold movements of perennial plants and grasses, Oudolf’s style is one of texture, fragrance, and color, with a particular interest in seasonal variation, plant life cycle, and transformation over time.

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Piet Oudolf has done for perennial gardening what artist Leonard Koren did for the concept of wabi-sabi: popularized and modernized an under-the-radar movement. Oudolf’s approach to planting extends beyond the technical to concepts of composition, time and temporality, repetition, and contrast. His goal is to create “dreamscapes.”

About

Piet Oudolf, the influential Dutch garden designer, nurseryman and author, is the leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement, known for using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower color. Working primarily with perennial plant varieties, Oudolf practices a naturalistic approach to gardening. Taking a cue from architectural design, Oudolf prioritizes the seasonal life cycle of a plant over decorative considerations like flower or colour, focusing primarily on structural characteristics, such as leaf or seed pod shape, present before and after a plant has flowered. He explains: “A garden is exciting for me when it looks good through the year, not just at one particular time. I want to go outside and for it to be interesting in all weather, in early Spring and late Autumn.”

The stability of perennials after planting are key to Oudolf’s designs. Unlike self-seeding or bulb-based plants that spread and require division each season, perennials remain in established formations. The result is gardens that persist in their planned state years after being planted with little deviation from Oudolf’s hand drawn maps. An overall approach to planting with a painter’s perspective informed by ecology.

Of the eight books the designer has co-authored these three are The Artful Blog’s favorites to date:

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Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf (Author), Noel Kingsbury (Author), Timber Press, 1999. Trained as an architect, Oudolf values plants as much for their form and texture as for their color. He is the founder of New Wave Planting, a spectacular naturalistic style of landscape design. Oudolf stresses the importance of choosing plants that “live well and die well,” so that from birth in the spring through the crescendo of Summer to the stark beauty of Autumn and Winter the garden presents continuing drama and interest.

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Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf (Author), Noel Kingsbury (Author), Timber Press, 2013. Essential resource for designers and gardeners looking to create plant-rich, beautiful gardens that support biodiversity and nourish the human spirit. An intimate knowledge of plants is essential to the success of modern landscape design, and Planting makes Oudolf’s considerable understanding of plant ecology and performance accessible, explaining how plants behave in different situations, what goes on underground, and which species make good neighbors. Extensive plant charts and planting plans will help you choose plants for their structure, color, and texture as well as the way they perform in the landscape. A detailed directory with details like each plant’s life expectancy, the persistence of its seedheads, its tendency to spread, and propensity to self-seed, this book is a beautiful and invaluable resource.

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Hummelo: A Journey Through a Plantsman’s Life by Piet Oudolf (Author), Noel Kingsbury (Author), The Monacelli Press, 2015. An intimate look at the personal garden of the Dutch landscape designer. Hummelo -near the village of the same name in Gelderland in the Eastern Netherlands, is visited by thousands of gardeners seeking inspiration each year. It is Piet Oudolf’s home, his personal garden laboratory, a former nursery run by his wife Anja, and the place where he first tested new designs and created the new varieties of perennials that are now widely available.

Hummelo tells the story of how the garden has evolved over the past three decades since Oudolf and his family moved onto the property, with its loamy sand and derelict, wood stove-heated farmhouse, in 1982. Text by noted garden author and longtime personal friend Noel Kingsbury places Hummelo in context within gardening history, from The Netherlands’ counterculture and nascent green movement of the 1960s, to prairie restoration in the American Midwest, and shows how its development has mirrored that of Oudolf’s own outstanding career and unique naturalistic aesthetic.

Autumn Ambience

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Fall Equinox, in mid-to late September, is known as “mid-harvest,” which marks a shift in the Earth’s energy. It’s a time when there is an equal amount of light and dark present in a day -it’s all about balance, so it’s a powerful time to rebalance, restore, and refocus your energy. And to reap what you’ve been putting your life force toward these past nine months. Also, because the harvest is not over yet, it’s a time to pause and look forward, to see where to best flow your life force during the last three months of the year. There are many things you could do during these months, and many you want to do, but what really matters most? What will yield the highest returns, and the most nourishing harvest? #attuningbobymindspirit

Sacred Scripts

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Sacred Scripts: A Meditative Journey Through Tibetan Calligraphy by  Tashi Mannox (Calligrapher) & Robin Kyte-Coles (Photographer), Mandala Publications, Available Fall 2016.

After nearly two years of dedicated work, this long-awaited book from master artisan Tashi Mannox is now ready for release. Insightful quotes written in Tibetan calligraphy are paired with photos of Buddhas from around the world, and an introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to create this collection of timeless iconography. Calligraphy has held an honored place in the spiritual traditions of Tibet. Monks dedicate their lives to mastering the many subtleties of the art, often spending years transcribing sacred Buddhist manuscripts. The carefully composed lines and deliberate spatial awareness in each work of calligraphy within Sacred Scripts encourages reflection, mindfulness, and meditation.

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Tashi Mannox At Work In The Studio~Pages From Sacred Scripts 

“With its exquisite calligraphy and magnificent photographs of Buddhist imagery, Sacred Scripts presents the refined and varied artistry of Tibetan calligraphers and artists of the past. The work portrayed in this fine volume reflects the great heights of aesthetic achievement attained by master artisans who considered their accomplishments to be offerings to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.” ~His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Within these pages, sacred mantras, seed syllables, and Buddhist quotes are presented in authentic Tibetan scripts. Photos of Buddha statues from around the world complement the calligraphy and create an ethereal mood of serenity. Addressing the stresses of our modern world and the demise of spiritual languages, Sacred Scripts provides insight and inspiration for attaining inner peace and well-being.

About

Tashi Mannox, an Englishman, and for many years an ordained Buddhist monk, has trained for decades in the arts of Tibetan calligraphy. Today he preserves this tradition as a vehicle to communicate and transmit dharma, all the while adapting and updating his approach within and for contemporary contexts. He identifies three streams in his work: Contemporary and Traditional, Contemporary Black on Black, and Illuminated Iconography.

In all cases Tashi’s art is an expression of his long and devoted meditative practice and spiritual realization, such that his art energetically transmits the Tibetan Buddhist View. Grounded thoroughly in the pre-modern Tibetan tradition, incorporating modernist visual schemes, and being multicultural and postmodern in drawing on other calligraphic lineages such as the spatial awareness proper to Zen calligraphic practice -while preserving the Tibetan core of style, Tashi Mannox’s art is an authentic and exemplary instance of an integral calligraphy for our age. Recognized as one of the world’s foremost contemporary Tibetan calligraphy artists, he exhibits in New York, Moscow, London & Los Angeles.

To learn more about the work of Tashi Mannox & to view a short film see previous post Planetary Collective.

Ultimate Crayon Box

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Karl Lagerfeld amongst his massive three-story floor-to-ceiling library of design books arranged horizontally in his minimalist Paris Studio. #aweinspiringarrangement

German fashion designer, artist, and photographer based in Paris, Karl Otto Lagerfeld is also the head designer and creative director of the fashion house Chanel as well as the Italian house Fendi and his own fashion label. Furthering his love for art and design, the iconic Lagerfeld has now added another notch to his visionary belt, in collaboration with Faber-Castell he’s launched an exquisite range of drawing and painting tools.

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Karl Lagerfeld & Faber Castell Collaboration, Stacked up in pyramid-style, this designer set has been named the ‘Karlbox.’ Limited to only 2,500 pieces each boasts its own unique serial number as well as a certificate of authenticity. The Karlbox treasure chest is functionally elegant, and collectible as a sleek Black Beech Wood cabinet with sections that open to resemble a vintage Chinese wedding chest. Lagerfeld says that Faber-Castell‘s drawing tools are a reminder of his childhood, that he has relied on their products throughout his career. “Since I was a little child in Germany, Faber-Castell has been the most famous brand known for its especially good quality. That reputation remains just as true today, particularly for artist pencils. “To me, drawing is like breathing and writing. These are things that almost relax me” says Lagerfeld. #farfromcrayolafare

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Displaying 350 hand-picked by the couturier watercolours, crayons, color pencils, including all 120 shades of his favorite Albrecht Dürer water-soluble color pencils, India ink pens and accessories. With colors ranging from pastels to bold and primary to secondary tonal shades, coordinated by color, while each color family is thoughtfully etched along the side spelled out in three different languages: English, French, and German. The limited-edition set went on sale Sept. 1st at Faber-Castell stores and Karl Lagerfeld boutiques, rolling out to select department and specialty stores like Gumps in San Francisco & Harrods in London on Sept 19th. Priced at nearly $3,000 current exchange rates. #rainbowofcolors

Karlbox Trailer, Think In Motion Production, The Karlbox unites the traditional values of the family-owned company Faber-Castell with the modern, unique and innovative spirit and style of Karl Lagerfeld. A symbol for the long-term relationship of both brands and represents the symbiosis of the fashion, art and design worlds. More details here.

About

Founded in 1761 by a cabinet-maker and headquartered in Stein, Germany, Faber-Castell is one of the world’s largest and oldest global manufacturers of pens, pencils, and art supplies, as well as high-end writing instruments. A multi-generational family owned firm that generates annual revenues of about $652 million. Other famous users of its colored pencils from the past include Vincent van Gogh and Paul Klee.

To see The Artful Blog’s favorite Faber-Castell Fountain Pen works of art visit previous posts Art From The Oak & The Great Pen.

Savor Summer

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Enjoying warm sunny days in the mountains, parks, tall grass & the garden, wandering around town & the farmer’s market, enjoying a picnic on the lawn & outdoor music festivals, reading a good book under a favorite shady tree, hikes, bikes, tennis and treehouses, sunrise & sunset walks, patio brunches & barbeques, chilling poolside & lakeside, strolling along sandy beaches. Soaking up some vitamin D and fresh air is a daily requirement and a gift from nature for the next couple months. Self-care should include ample amounts of relaxation and replenishment. And a languid sensibility. Here are The Artful Blog’s curated Summer essentials to make all of the above that much more enjoyable. This is Summer.

Theory

Theory Light Crepe Jacket, Crisp whites + faded denim + strappy neutral heels = instant Summer chic. Sleek pieces with clean silhouettes that can be worked into any woman’s existing wardrobe, defines Theory. The American company founded in New York, that first launched the visionary principle of designing classic styles with the finest stretch fabrics like lycra, creating comfortable fluid shapes with great definition and retention. Perennially cool collections with a point of view and a nod to bygone eras fine couture techniquesfor the modern fashion-savvy woman. #lookingsmartinwhite

Nuxe

NUXE Prodigieux le Parfum, Relaxed and exotic, this sensuous fragrance is born from the legendary appeal of Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse, the bestselling divinely scented multipurpose dry oil. This fragranced concentrate from the Parisian natural beauty brand NUXE, offers delicious notes faithful to those found in the oil, a feminine blend of sunshine and warm sand. A joyful opening of plush White Orange Blossom creates the first impression, its petals tinged with zesty Bergamot and Tangerine. In the heart, a delightful solar bouquet reigns, before a subtle dry down of Vanilla and Coconut Milk that lingers seductively on the skin. Similar in some respects to the now iconic summery scent ‘Beach’ from Bobbie Brown, which I adore. While Beach is more California and Cape Cod, Prodigieux has an Almani Coast and the South of France allure. #smellslikesunshine

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Nava Zahavi Calypso Bracelet, An artful statement piece is best worn with simple classic clothing in terms of balance, and for Summer, I’m a true fan of unique, mixed gemstone bracelets dressed up or down. They absorb and reflect light, promote good vibes, and create a soulful sparkle and point of interest. This beautifully crafted bracelet by one of my favorite jewelry artists, Nava Zahavi  -whose designs reinterpret the adornments of ancient civilizations with a contemporary feel, weaves a vibrant gathering of mixed gemstones, Chrysoprase, Iolite, Aquamarine, Ruby, Peridot, Prehnite, Green Onyx and Gold, that evokes sea, sky and sand, brilliantly. Handcrafted exclusively for Sundance -the place to discover custom artisan jewelry at its finest. #artfulgems

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Infusion Fibers Mountain Day Sack, Larger than it seems, this day sack was made to easily carry the day’s necessities without feeling huge and bulky. Made with sturdy, mid-weight Cinnamon Brown cotton canvas, and lined with Khaki organic cotton canvas, with hand cut, hand stained leather details, it’s the perfect Summer accessory for day trips and travel. It’s got a place for everything with zipper pockets and a full width pouch under the flap. The Infusion Fibers collection of hand designed, hand sewn, high quality, natural fiber, textile work is carefully constructed, from start to finish by artist Abby Meadow in her home studio on the Oregon coast. Durable and long-lasting items that are both functional and beautiful, using natural, organic, sustainable and recycled fibers and fabrics. #havebagwilltravel

Skinfood

Honey Girl Organics Super Skin Food, Honey Girl Organics are made with USDA Certified Organic Honey of Bees fed on the sun-kissed tropical flowers on the north shore of Oahu. This rich and nourishing Super Skin Food is the purest formula for soothing and repairing Summer skin issues such as irritation, dryness, burns, eczema and psoriasis. An incredibly healing and potent cream that includes Pollen & PropolisRoyal Jelly and Vitamin E to deeply penetrate and become usable nutrition for the skin, for the best regeneration possible. Handmade in small batches in Hawaii Honey Girl Organics products are non-GMO, cruelty free, gluten free and Bee-Friendly! They contain no artificial preservatives, fragrances, additives or fillers, no parabens, petroleum products, hormones, silicons, or chemicals of any kind. Hive ingredients are harvested from holistically managed beehives. #givebeesachance

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Baskets by Debi Wood Market Basket, Simply fabulous way to tote produce for two reasons: First, it’s deep and sturdy and second, it conjures up images of farms and picnics and gardens brimming with plants. This woven basket is cut on a scroll saw from a ¾ inch Maple board and sealed with food safe linseed oil to protect the wood, and lined. The cutting technique yields an unusual design, as each basket is handmade, no two are exactly alike in shape and color. Baskets by Debi started down in a humble basement in Pennsylvania doing some casual woodworking and crafts. Her friends immediately loved them and encouraged her to make more and, over time, her household hobby turned into a small family business that produces baskets lovely enough to carry everywhere for that Summer in the country feel. #oldschoolstyle

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Living Libations Everybody Loves The Sunshine, Every Summer protecting my skin from sunburn, premature wrinkles and skin cancer is always a huge concern because I have sensitive fair skin. But just as I have to play it smart with sun exposure, I also have to be smart about what sunscreen I use. This nourishing and protective, organic & wildcrafted, Living Libations formula uses the rich oils of the desert Jojoba plant, virgin Coco-Creme, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Tamanu Berry & essential oils of Schizandra Berry, Immortelle, Carrot Seed, Rose Otto, Cape-Chamomile, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Ginger, Lavender, Turmeric, Calendula and Palmarosa as a cooling canopy. Formula also available with un-coated Zinc Oxide to reflect the sun’s rays, rather than absorb them. Finally a really pure option for those sunny days of play! Living Libations is an exquisite line for those seeking the purest of the pure botanical health & beauty products on the planet. One of the best things about their philosophy, is to practice legitimate labeling by putting the ingredients list right on the front of the bottle as an invitation to be read. #knowyoursource

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Rebecca May Verrill Ceramics, Handcrafted small-batch ceramics are everywhere these days. And for good reason. There is beauty in imperfection and having something made of the hand is so special, it inherently adds soul and dimension within a space. The giant of the new ceramics movement is of course Heath Ceramics of Sausalito. The husband-and-wife designer team who in 2003 built upon the brand by editing collections of dinnerware, decorative objects and tile, and introduced artist collaborations while maintaining a focus on handcrafted production. Currently I am entirely smitten with the botanically-inspired work of MFA ceramicist Rebecca May Verrill who oversees the design process from start to finish in her Maine studio. Crafting pieces formed on the potters wheel with earthenware, often altered and low fired in an electric kiln. Contemporary ceramics inspired by organic plant life that employ a variety of layered surface design techniques, beautifully. Wonderful complement to any Summer garden table in celebration of the elegance and simplicity of the natural landscape. #nothinglikehandmade

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Lacoste LT12 Tennis Racket, It’s just not Summer in New England without the phrase “tennis anyone.” Inspired by René Lacoste and the musketeers, who believed that true victory was to remain elegant whatever the effort. Calling on both the brand’s historical know-how and specialised expertise, the iconic French founder of the polo shirt, Lacoste launches the LT12 reinventing the traditional racket by combining wood and graphite for the first time. With this rare object, engineered by aeronautics researchers, merging the qualities of wood with the technology of graphite for comfort and power, Lacoste shares a unique vision of tennis and sport. #artoftennis

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Faber-Castell 9000 Limited Edition Set, Great time of year to purchase a brand new set of pencils to take along as travel companion to make any journey artworthy and write on! A genuinely classic pencil, launched by Count Alexander von Faber-Castell in 1905, Castell 9000 is a first-class pencil in highest artists’ quality. Its quality and finely graduated degrees of hardness have made it a firm favorite with artists and illustrators. Its lead is fully bonded with the wood surround and is therefore particularly break-resistant. Available in 16 different degrees of hardness, making it the ideal pencil for all technical and artistic applications. The Faber-Castell 9000 Limited Edition Set includes all 16 degrees of hardness of Castell 9000 pencils, 5 degrees of hardness of Castell 9000 Jumbo pencils (HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B) and some essential accessories. #documentthejourney

Gillerman

Essential Oils Every Day by Hope Gillerman, Recently released from Hope Gillerman, founder of H. Gillerman Organics, comes the ultimate guide to the fundamentals of one of our most ancient and aromatic healing tools, essential oils -nature’s most concentrated plant medicines. Fragrant and wonderfully sensual, one hundred times more concentrated than dried herbs, essential oils are the ultimate in luxurious natural self-care. Pairing pleasure with potent healing, essential oils have been a therapeutic treatment of choice for thousands of years, from ancient Egyptian rituals to Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic treatments, and Aromatherapy. With passion and unparalleled expertise, Hope takes readers on a lively tour through the science and history of essential oils. Carefully culling the hundreds of oils out there to introduce readers to the forty truly must-have oils for home use, from Lavender to Jasmine and Eucalyptus, she provides clear, quick, and easy-to-follow techniques for integrating them into daily life. #healingmentorship

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Outdoor Art: Extraordinary Sculpture Parks and Art In Nature, by Silvia Langen, From Edward James’s surreal sculpture garden Las Pozas in Mexico to Anselm Kiefer’s sprawling studio complex in the French countryside, artists and art collectors are creating outdoor spaces in order to display sculpture and art that is both transformative and powerful. This book is filled with breathtaking photographs of 25 of these spaces from throughout the world to explore. Captured in brilliant color, these spaces are populated by works that both enhance and are enhanced by the landscape: rolling hills, mountain lakes, shaded canyons, and empty deserts. Each park’s concept is based on a unique theme or idea, and some of these spaces invite contemplation both spiritual and scientific, while others blend horticultural elements with manmade objects, like the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley. As large-scale works grow in popularity, these collections -built and designed by entrepreneurs, landscape architects, environmentalists, artists, and garden experts, demonstrate the endless possibilities of displaying art in nature’s realm. Lovers of art, landscape design, and travel will treasure this enchanting excursion into the world’s most impressive outdoor museums. #artmeetssky

Florence

The Cognoscenti’s Guide to Florence, by Louise Fili & Apatoff, Daydreams of romantic encounters, unparalleled cuisine and remnants of ancient history continue to attract tourists to Italy, one of Europe’s most inviting travel destinations, especially in the Summer. Whether it’s about the art, food or architecture, each one of Italy’s most visited places has its own story of rich culture and history. My personal favorite is Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region, one of Italy’s most important Renaissance architectural and art centers. This is the ultimate pocket-sized guide to the best of the magnificent Tuscan city known for its art, culture, and cuisine. Shop and eat like a Florentine. Here celebrated graphic designer and self-described Italophile Louise Fili, with connoisseur of all things Lisa Apatoff, takes you on eight walks through Florence, discussing more than seventy of the city’s most alluring shops -some run by the same families for generations, others offering young entrepreneurs’ fresh interpretations of traditional techniques. Discerning travelers will discover rare books and charming hats, vintage Pucci and handmade shoes, bolts of rich silk fabric, and the best chocolates in town, in this enchanting introduction to makers and purveyors of clothing, home decor, accessories, specialty foods, and much more. For each shop, there is a full-color photo, description of specialties, and information on location and hours of operation. #bravissima

Winvian

Winvian Farm, One of my favorite escapes at the base of the Berkshires in Litchfield County, is the choose your own adventure 113-acre wooded resort Winvian Farm. Where a gracious 1775 manor stands at the heart surrounded by 18 luxury cottages created by 15 well-known architects, each inspired by a different theme. Curl up by a roaring fire in rustic Beaver Lodge. Stargaze through the aluminum-and-glass skylights of modern Greenhouse. Climb the 35-foot staircase into throwback Treehouse, a childhood fantasy writ large. Enjoy state-of-the-art facilities at the luxury spa, a quiet sanctuary of light and space. Winvian also recently added a working organic farm onsite, tightening the distance between seed-to-table at their award-winning restaurant. The expansive grounds are primed for lawn games such as bocce and croquet, and mountain biking, kayaking and horseback riding adventures. Another perk, pets welcome. A place where simplicity and indulgence artfully converge. #trulyuniquegetaway

Girly

So bring on the sun, functional fare and fashionable summer wear, and fun! The Artful Blog is taking a Savor Summer blogcation till Fall. Enjoy the season whether it involves an adventurous trek through greener pastures or a relaxing staycation. And if still in need of some good Summer reading material, you can always read the archives. #flowerpower

Let Love Rule

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I’m with Lenny Kravitz who performed at the Democratic National Convention. Let Love Rule. I’m with Hillary Clinton the first woman nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. Stronger Together. #americaisalreadygreat #lovetrumpshate

Literary Wilderness

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Had I not seen the Sun
I could have borne the shade
But Light a newer Wilderness
My Wilderness has made ~Emily Dickinson

LITERARY: (adj.) of, relating to, or having the characteristics of humane learning or literature; bookish; of or relating to books. WILDERNESS: (n.) an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community; an empty or pathless area or region obsolete; wild or uncultivated state; a confusing multitude or mass: an indefinitely great number or quantity; a bewildering situation.

Aging Creatively

CameronIt’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond by Julia Cameron, 2016.

Twenty-five years ago Julia Cameron wrote the now iconic book on creativity that inspired millions called “The Artist’s Way.” It spelled out, in a step-by-step fashion, what a person could do to recover and exercise their creativity. Often referred to as the bridge because it allowed people to move from the shore of their constrictions and fears to the promised land of deeply fulfilling creativity. The Artist’s Way has been used by people of all ages, and her newest book, “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again” -the distillate of a quarter century’s teaching, is an attempt to answer, “What next?” for students who are embarking on their “second act'” Cameron suggests that retirement can, in fact, be the most rich, fulfilling, and creative time in life.

Addressing the common problems facing the newly retired: too much time, lack of structure, excitement about the future coupled with a palpable fear of the unknown, and ironically, while they have more time to be creative, they are often reluctant or intimidated by the creative process. Cameron shows readers how cultivating their creative selves can help them navigate this new terrain. Within these pages readers will discover new artistic pursuits and passions to fill their days and nurture their souls, through the practice of a simple set of tools -like Morning Pages, Artist Dates & Solo Walks, that, used in combination, will trigger a creative rebirth. In this fun, step-by-step, 12-week course you can create a more inspired and authentic life by exploring your creative dreams, wishes, and desires, because it’s never too late to begin again.