Inspiration Board: Everything Old is New Again

What follows is a mad cyclone of some of the oddly delectable bits and bobs setting my head and heart on fire this early November, vintage-style.




A Year in Books/Day 178: William Morris by himself

  • Title: William Morris by himself Designs and writings
  • Editor: Gillian Naylor
  • Year Published: This Edition/2004 (Barnes & Noble Books)
  • Year Purchased: 2004/2005
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: This book is a great reminder that William Morris was also a writer, and not just an artist/designer. Although his aesthetic is instantly recognizable, his words are not. That’s a shame. William Morris by himself goes a long way to rectify that, but I hope that his diverse writings somehow find a wider audience. As the title well relates, you’ll find a blend of his art and words (including excerpts from letters, essays and poems) in this pretty little edition. They have also inserted brief biographical paragraphs for the sake of cohesion. If you have ever been drawn to one of his textiles or wallpapers, why not take the opportunity to learn more about the full oeuvre of the man?
  • Motivation: I’ve long been intrigued by Morris.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 83: “We have taken a little place deep down in the country, where my wife and children are to spend some months every year, as they did this-a beautiful and strangely naif house, Elizabethan in appearance, though much later in date, as in that out of the way corner people built in Gothic till the beginning or middle of the last century. It is on the S.W. extremity of Oxfordshire, within a stone’s throw of the baby Thames, in the most beautiful grey little hamlet called Kelmscott.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8 1/2

A Year in Books/Day 103: Art Nouveau

  • Title: Art Nouveau A Fascinating Guide to One of the Most Notable Periods of Decorative Art
  • Year Published: 2002 (A Quantum Book/Published in the United States by TODTRI Book Publishers)
  • Year Purchased: 2004
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: The average level of craftsmanship involved in Art Nouveau creations-from jewelry to illustration, textiles to furniture-is exquisite. This mini coffee table book is one part history, one part design eye candy and one hundred percent stunning. I know that I am tossing out superlatives like they are going out of business but we’re discussing Art Nouveau here. Nothing less than poetic turns of phrase will do! No matter how many times I see the still modern looking periodical illustrations or the sensuous, undulating lines of a Rene Lalique brooch or Georges Fouquet hair comb, I’m gobsmacked. Don’t even get me started on the architecture, where the tiniest detail is impeccable. It’s all covered here.
  • Motivation: It’s Art Nouveau, hello!
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 14: “Nature was to be the ultimate source book of the Art Nouveau artist, particularly the plant world, for many artists had a scientist’s depth of knowledge of botany. Flowers, stems, and leaves were chosen for their curving silhouettes. Naturally, lilies, irises, and orchids were favored, although any and every form, from palm fronds to seaweed, offered potential for development into an animated pattern.”
  • Happiness Scale: 7 1/2

    La Plume, 15 January 1898. Cover composition by Mucha.

    La Plume, 15 January 1898. Cover composition by Mucha.