Monday, March 7, 2016

Artful Design

I've been thinking of abstract art lately. It might be because we just visited the Artist Project last month.... I know abstract art isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love the way splashes of colour create a focal point int the room, while picking up or complimenting some of the other colours present. When I was studying at the OCAD, I really didn't like to paint that much. My favourite medium was always coloured pencil, and doing detailed drawings with them. I'm always about complicated and intricate design, but for some reason lately I've been itching to paint and use colour freely. I'll have to try, but in the meantime I looked up some images on the Internet for inspiration.

Carol Finell via Etsy

Sarina Diakos via Etsy
Sarina Diakos via Etsy

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Powerful Powder Rooms

Powder rooms are small spaces, but you can give them a huge visual punch by using eye-catching wallcoverings. There are so many interesting, colourful and playful wallpapers to choose from! It's also less intimidating for those who want to ease into using wallpaper. It's not a large wall space, it feels more manageable than having to commit to covering a whole living room wall with wallpaper, and you can most likely get away with buying just a couple of rolls of wallpaper to cover it.

I chose some of my favourite designs. Enjoy!

Acquario Fornasetti wallpaper from Cole & Son by Ann Lowengart Interiors
Beautiful Tulip wallpaper by Rebecca Loewke Interiors
Gondola wallpaper from Cole & Son in a powder room designed by Ann Lowengart Interiors.
Victorian powder room using Osborne & Little's Derwent wallpaper by Jamie Hempsall Interiors.
Monkey wallpaper from de Gournay by  Brian O'Tuama Architects
Another beautiful de Gournay wallpaper by Ann Lowengart Interiors
Zebra from Scalamandre by Liz Caan Interiors
I couldn't resist... Koi Chinoiserie wallpaper from Judit Gueth by Melody Smith Interiors
 Koi Silver wallpaper from Judit Gueth by Galarasa Interiors
 Koi Lake wallpaper from Judit Gueth by Meredith Heron Interiors

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Beautiful Poisonous Green

Last weekend we took a trip to the Bata Shoe Museum. I love the museum, but there is an exhibit that's even more interesting than the rest. It's called "Fashion Victims". The exhibit detailed all the perils of 19th Century fashion, including being under dressed in pretty short sleeved muslin dresses with Empire waists, wearing arsenic laced green fabric, poisonous children's socks, flammable dresses, and it also talked about poisonous wallpapers from William Morris.

As a wallpaper designer, it was really interesting to see how little attention was paid to the ill health effects of arsenic laced wallcoverings and fabrics in the 19th Century. At this day and age, we make sure, that our wallcoverings are as "green" as possible, but in Victorian England being "green" had quite a different meaning. Scheele's Green and Paris Green were popular pigments, and they were used in wallpapers, fabrics, threads, paper, children's toys, candles, even as food dyes in sweets. No wonder no kid is attracted to green candies nowadays! Toxic greens were also used by many Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters, like Cezanne and Van Gogh. Eeks!

Scheele's green contains copper arsenite. There are two theories on how toxic particles got into the air: in damp and warm rooms, these green wallcoverings might have released arsenic gases into the air poisoning everyone around, or there might have been possible flaking or dusting of the pigments that got into the air.

Funny thing was, when people got sick, they were confined to their poisonous rooms, and most likely were giving arsenic to treat their afflictions.

Wallpaper manufacturers eventually did become aware of the dangers of these deadly shades of green and started to offer arsenic free . Apparently, William Morris' wallcoverings were first manufactured with arsenic pigments (according to a post by the Victoria and Albert Museum, William Morris' father owned large copper and arsenic mines), but were forced to find alternatives by 1875.

Cover of Morris & Co. Stand Book. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Fashion Victims of the 19th Century
Ben freaking out over Elton John's shoes
Peek a Boo
Beautiful arsenic laced dress and William Morris wallpaper (possible arsenic laced as well)
My Little Hobbit