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Dutch Design #6 – Chris Kabel

January is a great month for flowers. Not so much because there’s a wide range of choice – because there isn’t – it brings new life in any dull post-festive home. So I love my flowers, but have a troubled relationship with vases. My ‘wardrobe’ for blooms consists of all-round compatible black and transparent options with one striking vase to spice up carnations. Chris Kabel undresses flowers with his different perspective on vases displaying flowers in the nude. It looks like the flowers are growing right from the tabletop. Chris on how to make a vase disappear:

“[…]Hidden Vase started as a research, based on the way a chicken waterer works. With the help of Frank Bruggeman this concluded in a photographic registration of my initial research for the Plant Journal, a Spanish magazine about plants. Then a small collection of one-off vases was produced, based on the initial research. The flowers are placed around the water container so that it seems as if they are growing directly from the plate.”

Dutch Design #5 – Lucas Maassen & Sons Furniture Factory






Lucas Maassen has employed his 3 sons, Thijme (9), Julian (7) and Maris (7). His Sons are responsible for the paint job of the furniture which is build in the factory. They get paid 1 Euro for every piece of furniture they paint. As agreed by the contract they signed.

Due to Dutch child labour laws it is only possible for Thijme, Julian and Maris to work for 3 hours a week. As a result of this the production speed has became a crucial factor in the process. Time limitations are set, they contribute to the typical LM&S aesthetics.

All furniture is build by hand and painted by hand.


Cotton Farmers – Kathleen Robbins & Mary Carol Miller

Cotton is no longer King of the Mississippi Delta. Farmers are switching to other crops like soya beans and corn, or to a whole new life all together. Photographer Katleen Robbins and writer Mary Carol Miller – both born and raised in the Mississippi Delta – have documented the vanishing trade of cotton farming: desolate & stripped of Southern nostalgia. Mary Carol on the farmers:

“Each spring, they weigh the odds and walk the land, recognizing every turnrow and low point and subtle rise over a thousand or two thousand or even eleven thousand acres. And, once again, as their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents did, they will buy the seed and the fertilizer and service the tractors and the combines and hire the cropdusters and begin the daily prayers for more rain or no rain and sunshine and cool nights and no tropical storms in September and no frost in early October. And their children, muttering about the social challenges of being way out there and never having a next-door neighbor, will slowly, slowly find their own souls tied to that dirt.”

via Design Observer

Dutch Design #4 – Shelter

Shelter is a collection of space dividers composed of Bute fabrics, meticulously unthreaded in to new geometrical patterns. I recently upholstered my ’66 modernist chair with the an adorable tweed by Bute fabrics and love how Henny van Nistelrooy dissects their woven patterns into these works of art.

In response to the brief “Shelter” by JJAM Curators Collective for London Design Festival, Henny van Nistelrooy started to developed a collection of space dividers. The collection makes original use of the fabrics supported by renowned Scottish textile manufacturer Bute Fabrics. In reaction to the machine woven structures Henny has been unthreading the fabrics by hand in order to create new geometrical designs within the fabric. By doing this the tightly woven, opaque textile become translucent and the relation between the different threads that make up the fabrics becomes clear. Henny responds to the weave by creating design within the structure of the fabric.

The project has been inspired by a recent journey Henny made to China. Here the beautiful architectural features appearing in many Ming/Qing imperial palaces and gardens have been of influence in the use of color and shape. These space-dividing screens reflect the geometrical shapes of some of the many windows that can be found in the many historic buildings Henny visited during his trips to Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou.

The space dividers are exhibited at Hayward’s of Mount Street, London until January 5 2012 which has inspired Henny to expand his collection with more dividers in the coming months.

via design.nl

Scottish Craft #2: Bird Table (ware), Teahouse

Kevin Andrew Morris’ recent project Bird table (ware), Teahouse consists of a series of ceramic objects – Teapots, Bowls and Birdhouses – and their relevant counterparts – Birds and Teabags. Kevin takes the conventional functionality away from the domestic object by placing it out of its ordinary context. With other words, he let’s us decide how to make use of it. A bit like a 180° turn from Jetske Visser’s Forgotten Memory – a teapot with dementia… Kevin on his project:

“The idea of object, material and environment is central to my current work, be the objects found (or placed) in a natural environment or with in our own man made habitats. How we interact within nature and our attempts to contain, harness or even contribute to it though objects is very interesting to me, I try to translate this in the work I do at the moment.”

And there’s a trans-North Sea link (good ideas always are communal!): poreclain tea caddies made their rise during Britain’s imperial era, resulting in a rich history of canister craftmanship similar to Dutch Delftware tea caddies around the same time. Kevin’s decorative birds do echo imperial times and remind me of nature-themed decorative paintings on china. I would love to see a pie bird / funnel added to the collection if Kevin is planning to extend his domestic home ware to other kitchen utensils…

Kevin’s ceramics can be bought online at Papa Stour.

Kevin Andrew Morris is a recent ceramics graduate from the Glasgow School of Art and GCS Graduate Award winner, granting him a studio at Glasgow Ceramics Studio.