Accidental Art Tour

July 14th, 2014 / by Lori / no comments / permalink

For my Mother’s 70th birthday our family took her to Italy. She’s Italian and had never been there, so it was an important trip for us. I decided that taking an organized tour would be the best way to ensure family bliss and proceeded to walk through hour upon hour of our tour guide informing us about Roman history. We made our way through every church and castle, but once we got to Florence thankfully art become the focus. The incredible statues in Piazza della Signoria date back to the 16th century, although the square has been a gathering place since the 1300′s. In the Uffuzi Gallery a permanent exhibition of the dynastic collection of the Medici family houses the largest group of Renaissance masterpieces including works by Botticelli, Raphael and Michelangelo.

Artemis from the year 160AD, the goddess of childbirth and the protector of young girls, in the Vatican Museum.

Artemis from the year 160AD, the goddess of childbirth and the protector of young girls, in the Vatican Museum.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, 1545 AD. At the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini, 1545 AD. At the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence.

Madonna of the Milk by Giuliano Bugiardini, 1518 AD. At the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Madonna of the Milk by Giuliano Bugiardini, 1518 AD. At the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Then on to Venice, where the first thing I noticed from my water taxi speeding down the Grand Canal was a Forever Bicycles sculpture by Ai Weiwei! Turns out that I was there just in time for the Biennale Architettura, an Irving Penn Retrospective and THREE different Ai Weiwei pieces.
#luckyme

Forever Bicycles by Ai Weiwei, at the Venice Biennial in the gardens of Palazzo Franchetti.

Forever Bicycles by Ai Weiwei, at the Venice Biennial in the gardens of Palazzo Franchetti.

Alternative View

Alternative View

Escalator/Rainbow Rain by Vidya Gastaldon at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. The sculpture is made from string and yarn and hung from wooden lime tree sticks.

Escalator/Rainbow Rain by Vidya Gastaldon at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. The sculpture is made from string and yarn and hung from wooden lime tree sticks.

Cuzco Peru Children by Irving Penn, 1948. At the Irving Penn retrospective at Palazzo Grassi.

Cuzco Peru Children by Irving Penn, 1948. At the Irving Penn retrospective at Palazzo Grassi.

Two Guedras by Irving Penn, 1971. At the Irving Penn retrospective at Palazzo Grassi.

Two Guedras by Irving Penn, 1971. At the Irving Penn retrospective at Palazzo Grassi.

Street Art in Rome

Street Art in Rome

Lori's selfie in front of Non-Object a 4 sided stainless steel by Anish Kapoor.

Selfie in front of Non-Object a 4 sided stainless steel by Anish Kapoor.

Bobby Dazzler

February 22nd, 2014 / by Kali Hays / no comments / permalink

We are pretty excited to be making room for some new friends from the UK, so come by Elizabeth St. to welcome our own selection of Bobby Dazzler dolls.

Every one has their own story

Ballerinas, pirates and tattooed men; every one has their own story.

All of the dolls from Bobby Dazzler are made by hand in south London by Rosie Short & Fumie Kamijo with reclaimed fabrics. They’re available in human and animal varieties, but we stuck with humans for now. Each one is unique in its own quirky, special way and can make you wonder how you didn’t know you wanted a stuffed pirate.

The doll-makers, Rosie and Fumie (photo courtesy of The Guardian)

The doll-makers, Rosie and Fumie (photo courtesy of The Guardian)

 

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Spiritual Skin

February 17th, 2014 / by Kali Hays / no comments / permalink

Tattoo’s may seem ubiquitous amongst the cool kids now, especially if you live in a city like New York or Los Angeles, but they are far from a recent trend. In Spiritual Skin: Magical Tattoos and Scarification anthropologist and photographer Lars Krutak takes a serious look into the ancient rituals of tattooing and scarification in tribal communities from Papua New Guinea to Sub Saharan Africa.

Spiritual Skin $200

Spiritual Skin $200

 

In his work that began about a decade ago, Krutak explains that tattoos and scarification are not merely for looks or to demonstrate status or accomplishments. For these cultures they are imbued with magic that provides strength, protection, and power with the universe. The Author gives a brief explanation here:

Whether or not you think tattoos are magical the photos are stunning and give a peek into worlds that, while they seem far away, are filled with people that have hopes and fears.

 Photos by Lars Krutak

 

 

 

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Hasami Porcelain

February 3rd, 2014 / by Kali Hays / no comments / permalink

Hasami bowls and trays as dinner service

Hasami bowls and trays as dinner service.

Sometimes utility can be dull, cold, uninteresting, synonymous with boring. But being functional and classic shouldn’t mean any of those things, something Hasami Porcelain understands.

Oak wood lids or trays or serving plates

Oak wood lids or trays or serving plates.

Hasami’s colors are neutral but warm and all of their pieces are simple in design but executed to perfection. Each ceramic piece and oak lid or tray is crafted by hand in Japan, but from a fixed model, creating stacks that look good enough to show off.

Open shelves never looked so good

Hasami cups, mugs, bowls and lids out and proud. Open shelves never looked so good.

Bringing up the function level another notch, all of the porcelain is safe to put in the dishwasher or microwave. So, beautiful as they are, these pieces were made to be used.

Hasami medium bowl, $50

Hasami medium bowl, $50

Hasami mug, $40

Hasami mug, $40

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Heavenly Bodies

January 19th, 2014 / by Kali Hays / no comments / permalink

If you just happened upon a mass of skeletons hidden away in an underground tunnel, what would you decide they were there for? If you said Christian martyrs, you’re right in line with the thinking of Roman Catholics in 1578.

Heavenly Bodies $29.95

Heavenly Bodies $29.95

Left: St Valentinus in Waldsassen, Germany wearing a jeweled version of a deacon's cassock. Right: Hand of St Valentin in Bad Schussenreid, Germany. Many of the catacomb saints were name for the popular Italian saint.

Left: St Valentinus in Waldsassen, Germany wearing a jeweled version of a deacon’s cassock. Right: Hand of St Valentin in Bad Schussenreid, Germany. Many of the catacomb saints were name for the popular Italian saint.

In Heavenly Bodies, a book of photographs and amended research by Paul Koudounaris, these martyrs or “catacomb saints” are photographed in some of oldest religious establishments in Europe. Many are seeing light through his lens after decades of being hidden away by embarrassed churches when modernity swept in and cast serious doubt on the authenticity of these lavishly adorned skeletons.

St Munditia at the church of St Peter in Munich

St Munditia at the church of St Peter in Munich

Imagine the draw a supposed martyr who looked this glorious would have had for those in a church service at a time when most people were illiterate and any sort of schooling was reserved for the wealthiest citizens or members of the priesthood. Worshipped and adorned with crowns and armor made from pearls, rubies, emeralds, gold; all of the most precious materials the Catholic church had to offer, the beautified remains were sent to churches and put on public display throughout German-speaking Europe, praised as miracle workers and protectors of believers.

Painted skulls of nuns who were members of the convent in Eschenbach, Germany and devoted to their catacomb saint Symphorosa

Painted skulls of nuns who were members of the convent in Eschenbach, Germany and devoted to their catacomb saint Symphorosa

St Luciana at a convent in Heiligkreuztal, Germany

St Luciana at a convent in Heiligkreuztal, Germany

Though these saints have been proven fictitious creations of the Catholic church, ordered to replace relics that were lost in the Protestant Reformation, obviously the artisanal excellence displayed should not be de-valued. Nuns and monks painstakingly prepared and bejeweled these skeletons and the time between transport and final display was often several years.  Gold lattice, pearls and sapphires were made to replace eyes and gold armor dripping with precious stones and pearls covers each from head to toe. They may not have died for their religious beliefs, but a visual representation of death this alluring is easy to worship.

St Benedictus in the church of St Michael in Munich

St Benedictus in the church of St Michael in Munich

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Indigofera x Wes Lang

November 18th, 2013 / by Kali Hays / no comments / permalink

     Yes, you may have blankets already but allow us to present a likely superior option: Indigofera’s handwoven, 100% Norwegian wool blanket designed by Brooklyn artist, Wes Lang.

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wesskelart

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     Lang, who has shown his work across the US and showcased at MoMA, is known for heavy use of American tropes in a classic Americana style. Think grim reapers, tattoo roses, American Indian iconography, eagles, pin-ups, The Grateful Dead lyrics and skulls, skulls, skulls. But, in a twist of irony, it was at a gallery in Copenhagen that Indigofera co-founder Mats Andersson discovered Lang’s work. It didn’t take long for the two men to meet and discover a shared love of craftsmanship and detail that led to these incredible blankets.

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     Indigofera blankets are made to be used and loved as their finely combed wool ages without wearing out. They will only become softer and more comforting over years of netflix watching, but they are also stunning as wall hangings or draped over a couch. And considering these are seriously limited in supply (only 200 were made) a bit of hustle is in order if you don’t want to find yourself, or a loved one, in the midst of winter without the coolest blanket on the market.

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From Cosmic Dust: A Conversation with the Artist behind Kria

March 3rd, 2013 / by Lily / no comments / permalink

Kria_Elisabet_Davids

The artist on her vision and inspiration. In her own words:
“The genesis for Kria came upon discovering an Arctic Tern skeleton, named the Kria in Icelandic, on a black lava beach east of Reykjavik where I am from. But, I continue to cultivate my inspiration from my friends and my family and where we all live in relation to Nature. My vision for Kria has been of the essence I see in the natural form, and what those forms remind me of when taken out of their natural context. I want to create jewelry that enhances beauty in compliment with other designs, and which creates beauty on it’s own in a sculptural sense.”

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“Jewelry and adornment are the oldest of human traditions dating back 100,00 years with shells and beads. I hope to nurture a natural kinship with those instincts for people who wear my jewelry, I want them to feel like it is a part of them. It might sound pretentious, but the intimate relationship people have always had with what they choose to adorn themselves with seems to cultivate mysticism, and I hope somehow my designs can be a tangible reflection of that.”

Kria at Love Adorned

Kria Jewlery at Love Adorned & loveadorned.com

“I continue this path of discovery and find shapes whether they be in Nature formally or otherwise. For if anything comes from nowhere, it comes from the same cosmic dust and therefore the same nowhere as everything else.”

Shop for Kria Jewelry at Love Adorned, 269 Elizabeth street and online at loveadorned.com.

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Last Minute Gift Guide

December 23rd, 2012 / by Vincent / no comments / permalink

Ok, so you procrastinated. Don’t get down on yourself, let’s focus on the solution. The solution is, you better get in gear, no hand drawn coupon for a massage is going to cut it! We put together a few last minute ideas to make it look like you’ve been mapping this out for months…

Russian Criminal Tattoo Volumes 1-3, $100

Russian Criminal Tattoo Volumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: Good luck trying to find Volume 2 anywhere, finding all three volumes together is a mega score!

Con: All three volumes are chock full of cons and criminals.

 

Uncle Goose presidential block set, $130

Uncle Goose Block Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: Heirloom quality blocks that can be passed down generation to generation and they might learn something.

Con: They included both Bushs’ in the set, nothings perfect.

 

Handmade wooden play den, $145

Handmade Wooden Play Den

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: Once they start roughhousing, everything holding the blanket in place on the dresser won’t come tumbling down.

Con: They can’t really live in it, so you still have however long until they’re 18 or so.

 

Poler Nap Sack, $160

Poler Nap Sack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: It’s like the Snuggie 3.0; hooded, zips down the front, side zips for your arms and a drawstring at the base to free your hooves.

Con: So awesome, they may end up wearing it all the time, even in public.

 

Pendleton National Park Blankets, $230

Pendleton National Park Blankets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: One made up word, SNUGGLETIMES.

Con: They’ll probably hate having to put it away come summer, but they’ll live.

 

Faliero Sarti Scarves, $280-$770

Faliero Sarti Scarves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: You will look like a fashion pro with these beautifully knit accessories from a family run business that’s been flexing since 1949.

Con: N/A

 

Assorted Vintage gold rings, $200-$3000

Assorted Vintage gold rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro: You will definitely ‘lock it in’ for the year to come with these precious estate finds.

Con: You will have to outdo yourself next year.

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Kapital Love

November 25th, 2012 / by Lori / no comments / permalink

I might say that I’m a bit aloof. When I get excited about something, it often doesn’t take me very long to turn my head and start looking for something else..

But I have been having an ongoing love affair with Kapital Gara Mufflers.

Kapital is a father and son run company specializing in high quality denim, that has expanded over the years to include several stores across Japan and full clothing and accessories lines for both men and women. Kapital was started in Okayama Japan nearly 30 years ago by Toshikiyo Hirata. In 2001 his son, Kazuhiro, came to the business as head designer, after a design stint at the formidable 45RPM.

With a very small distribution Stateside, Kapital a has a hungry cult following in the USA. I’m excited and proud to one of the few stores in America to carry these incredible pieces.

Come to see them yourself because pictures don’t do them justice. The designs are clever and timely and the hand is super luxurious. They are made from compressed wool, which is a process of binding several layers of material together with high pressure and steam. Kapital’s interpretation using this method makes for areas  thick with texture with others nearly sheer! The compression technique also makes them highly water resistant, and I can say with confident experience that they are damn near indestructible. They make for beautiful shawls, wraps and travel blankets.

Take it from this scarf junky.. You’ll fall in love too.

 

 

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Wood Carving As A Sculptural Sketch

October 31st, 2012 / by Lily / no comments / permalink


Longtime fans of Blackcreek Mercantile, we’ve carried handicrafts from Josh Vogel since we first opened our doors in 2010. Artisanal cutting boards – more works of art than pure culinary utility, complete with delicious smelling cutting board oils. Next in line, we have a limited edition of hand turned wooden skull sculptures. No two are alike.

In the artists own words:

I have carved skulls of one sort or another for as long as i can remember.  As a “mediation” or a sculptural sketch, wood carving is a great process for this kind of self reflection. Unlike a lot of other sculpture, it creates its own sort of universal individuality, each an infinite variation of the same basic shape, each having its own intrinsically unique personality. At an early age,  I was enthralled with the graphic imagery of Jose Guadalupe Posada’s “Calaveras” & the sharp contrast of the Dia de los Muertos Festival & Marigold Parades.  There is a very different perspective & commentary that weaves itself into this type of imagery & folk art.  At once it can be scary, humorous, sad & beautiful. The skulls are especially fun to make as they begin to become self aware.  I am always surprised at the moment of transformation, the moment that the work makes them more than just a piece of wood.

 

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