Monday, April 29, 2013

There's a chair in there...

As I'm a hopeless sucker for all things retro (actually not true... I'd like to think I was discerning but that's just my opinion) but I have a fixation for really great seating. Scouring the pages in Etsy I happened upon the above vintage vinyl chairs by B Brody Seating Company from Chicago (IL) They had unfortunately been sold but I then decided to look closer to home.

Anyone who has grown up in Australia within the last 50 years (or even longer) will be familiar with the pressed-metal, stackable chairs by Sebel. I have recently purchased ten and have had them re-painted in beautiful pairs. Some of you will have seen my red and pale grey versions in my Canberra store. They hold a particular appeal to me as when I was little and we sat in Sunday School I'd trace the pattern in the metal with my fingers, wishing the sermon would wind up quickly so my father would buy me Donald Duck comics. This fusion of nostalgia and good design is something I've tried to bring to my ceramic forms as well. There's nothing like a sense of comfortable familiarity to give an object justification to be in your home. I say that every time I make another purchase... now... repeat after me!

For those of you wondering how good these can look after a restoration have a peek at the first two slideshow images on my website. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

There's no place like (bison)home....

There's no place like bisonhome!
After several weeks of pulling together photography; my random styling efforts, scattered text to go under headings, and the occasional crisis with editing... it finally looks like bisonhome's online store and website will be open for business. It's quite a challenge striking the balance between a website that showcases your designs, yet straddles the omnipresent world of the internet. We'd like to think that our blog (The Daily Bison) will highlight aspects of design or spike an interest in the simple visual beauty of the creative process. That being said it may also just be a vehicle for me to rave about a particular photographer or to espouse the virtues of some obscure artist living on sprouts in a garrett somewhere.

Maybe I should have gone a little lighter with the foundation!

For those of you who are new to bison... welcome! We hope that you'll drop by regularly to look at either our blog entries, or those on our Bison Australia Facebook page. I'll have discussions with stylists and foodies who can add another dimension to the way we view a space... or even a colour. One of our greatest passions has been the tones within our glazes. As we all have such varied tastes it's quite often challenging to add a new shade to your home... we'd like to help and make that process easier. (and a whole lot more enjoyable than therapy!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Out on a Lim

Phillip Lim is a phenomenal designer based in New York. While I'm not a fan of silver-trimmed white shorts or suits he manages to convey an amazing sense of wearability meets beauty in his 'Trickers Spring 2013' video. This rich visual offering blurs the boundaries between fashion as a retail item and modern dance. One of the privileges of creating objects is the ability to market them in increasingly left-of-centre ways. His video captures the essence of 'modernity' yet would not look out of place with 'Chunky Moves' or The New York Ballet. 

Born in Bangkok of Chinese parents he illustrates that hybrid form of talent where fashion and form combine with cultural nuances that transport the viewer. Hopefully, I'm sure, to one of his stores... but less cynically perhaps to reflect on the beauty of human movement. I'd need a lifetime supply of Voltaren to negotiate one of those manoeuvres!  

Just a hint... let the video download and then play in its entirety.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013. A Plate Odyssey

OK... so my headline is a bit cheesy but as with most things there's a bit of truth behind the sentiment it contains. 2013 is promising to be a year with many changes to Bison... least of all our name. Henceforth our stores will be known as bisonhome. This signifies a change on direction for us that extends far beyond our namesake ceramics but also includes the development of a lifestyle range to complement the collection. 

After 14 years plus I felt it was time to make our design journey   more three-dimensional. Every room benefits from beautiful ceramics, be they decorative or functional, but a wooden tray and fabric napkins or runners give a context. Having emerged out from the spray-booth I'm now free to develop these aspects of the company and from your comments, both on Facebook and to me personally, I can clearly see this change has been welcomed. 

Far from deleting our past collection I felt it imperative to include some of our iconic pieces in the new range. Layering pieces and motifs gives a texture and depth to Bison and allows us to evolve and refresh the colour palette. As for the above cover shot... Gourmet Traveller January issue features our limestone 'curve' side plate. These, along with both milk and sage, will be available in side, entree and main plates in-store from approximately January 9th.   

Monday, December 17, 2012

Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895 -1989) is without a doubt one of my favourite photographers. Her images were infused with historical references (as with Horst) and her use of natural light was legendary. Originally her work leaned more towards portraiture but in time she became the house photographer for Harpers-Bazaar in New York (1936 - 1958). Her discovery of a young Lauren Bacall is the stuff of fashion and movie legend... so much so that she even placed her on the cover.

She was referred to as an 'environmental' fashion photographer in the sense that she'd use exotic locations as her backdrops for styled shots. To me she represents one of the group of photographers whose work in the 1950's, in particular, shed light on a rapidly changing world. A world in which women were joining the workforce in ever increasing numbers and where 'cruise collections' were making an appearance. Her window in to the rarified hothouse of haute couture and extensive work in advertising lends her work a very personal touch. People on a beach casually looking over their shoulders, unaware of her lens, or Diana Vreeland sitting imperiously in profile as if engaged in a conversation with friends. Whatever the desired effect was it certainly makes the vapid 'selfies' of Facebook look more meaningless than we can imagine. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When in Rio

Last week we lost a great architect with the passing of Oscar Niemeyer. Assuming we last to 104, as he did, this Brazilian architect has left an amazing legacy of modernist structures throughout South America and the world. From the United Nations Secretariat in New York to the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Brasilia (pictured above) his work captured the zeitgeist of architectural evolution in the 20th Century. His soaring buttresses and graceful arches have embodied his public buildings with a sense of freedom in a world still scarred from the deprivations of the Second World War.

His later works (such as the Niteroi Museum of Contemporary Art in Rio c1996) still resonate with his modernist approach but feel more in harmony with the landscape. This is in stark contrast to his masterpiece in Brasilia in the 1960's. Some would call his work brutalist, others 'retro', but to me he represents a pinnacle in design evolution. A bridge between the 50's and a global culture in flux in the 60's and 70's. His close ties to Fidel Castro and membership of the communist party may have hurt his commissions with his more conservative clients, but talk about giving you street cred!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Heavy Wreathing!

Photo: Brian Tunks

Once upon a time Christmas decorations came out from musty boxes at the beginning of December. The scent of pine (ruthlessly cut down by a father on a mission) would waft throughout the house until the needles turned stiff and brown. The tree would then be unceremoniously dumped in a ute and ferried out of sight. Similarly, in our department stores we'd be tempted by amazing windows with animated characters and winter wonderlands while eating ice-cream in 30 degree heat. The one thing that is consistent about Australian Christmas is how surreal images of reindeers and a man in thermals and a red costume find a place in our hybrid culture. 

One decoration that works in any part of the world, or climate for that matter, is the traditional juletide wreath. My ever-creative friend Belinda came up with the idea of using raw and textural fabrics for my Christmas windows this year. The result (after several hours of dying fragments in a vat at home) is the beautiful material and vinyl (complete with selvage) wreath in our store windows. I love it because of the pared-back simplicity of the design. I also asked for a single peace logo to be placed on one of the grey pieces to give some detail to the otherwise clean fabric pieces. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!