Sunday, September 30, 2018

An Abundant Life - Sustainable Inspiration

When I first started writing the section of this blog that is titled "An Abundant Life", the first post was about Neeta King and her store Aaraa in Hoboken. Neeta shared the space with Sharon Florio of Sixth Street Antiques, another favorite store that I have also written about, and both of their lovely spaces were places I visited on a regular basis. When I heard last year that Neeta was moving and closing her storefront I was very sad to hear it, though I was happy for her that she was moving into what I was sure would be a wonderful new life. I still kept visiting with Sharon because her store has long been a favorite destination, and one afternoon a little over a month ago I heard that she would have a new designer moving in to share the space with her. The way that she described the clothing sounded as if it would be a place I'd like to visit, and so I put the opening day in my calendar and made sure to stop by. There was a lovely party going on, full of exuberant life and lots of delicious pizza and Prosecco, and I met the designer Carla Mota who welcomed me warmly and shared that she had been meeting so many friendly and welcoming people that afternoon that she was feeling very much at home in the space. I was glad to hear it and glad to meet her, because Carla and her store, The Art Of Utility, are delightful. There is a whimsy about her, but also an eye for detail that is not found everywhere. Her designs are lovely and inspiring and she is using excellent materials and vintage clothing that she refashions into something completely her own. Mud cloths have long been favorite textiles of mine, and Carla is turning them into clothing that not only is comfortable but is beautiful. Hand stitching and cutting the fabrics and clothing, she creates one of a kind designs that can become signature pieces for the wearer. Her store is one of those places that feels comfortable too - it's lovely and light and she has made the most of the already charming space by designing places to relax and live in while exploring her designs.

Sustainable fashion is a beautiful way to encourage and educate people on the ways that they can live every day in beauty and comfort and elegance without creating heavy footprints. And Carla Mota's art and dedication to her craft shine through in the way each piece is chosen and identified and created uniquely into something special. Formerly the Design Director for the Champion Sportswear brand, the aesthetic of her designs is influenced by military, workwear and athletic classics combined with her own unique touches of comfort and beauty that bring out the best of each garment and create a lasting style. The lived-in quality of the pieces is enhanced by the couture attention to detail that makes each piece unique, wearable, enduring and endearing. A visit with Carla Mota is a visit to a much more peaceful planet, one where you can find that special something, be inspired, and simply just be.   

Carla Mota
At The Art Of Utility
408 East 6th Street
Hoboken, New Jersey

A Lovely Opening Party
And Some Behind The Scenes Preparation
For Opening Day
Video Courtesy Of Carla Mota


Jannie Susan

Sunday, September 23, 2018

An Abundant Life - A Luxurious History Of Beauty

I met the amazing Rolando Iglesias in 2015 in Hoboken, New Jersey where he had a store that I happily wandered into one day. It is no secret to me now that he has an amazing eye for choosing the most beautiful home furnishings and decorative arts, but at the time I had never seen so many beautiful objects of art in one store. There are places I like to visit for inspiration, and after I met Rolando that first day, I kept stopping by whenever I had the chance. Over time we got to talking and I was telling him about some furniture that a very generous friend who is an interior desiger had given me, and after having a conversation about it, we realized that at least one of the pieces was quite possibly the same table that he'd sold to my friend in Manhattan several years before. It's a classically beautiful piece, and Rolando only deals in the most beautiful and elegant furnishings. Every piece in his store is something I could be happy having in my own home.

His store in Hoboken was so beautiful and luxurious that I asked if I could write a blog post about him which I did, and now that he is a part of the 1st Dibs Gallery at New York Design Center in Manhattan I asked if I could write about him again in his new location. Being a 1st Dibs dealer is not easy - the requirements are rigorous and there is an ongoing need for verifying provenance that only the most selective and committed dealers can achieve. But Rolando is extraordinary - he has the most amazing eye for discovering hidden gems and bringing them to their best light. Every piece that I've found at his store since I've known him has been only the best - solid, eye catching, and indescribably and perfectly delightfully gorgeous in the truest sense of a vintage lover's dreams. His honesty and integrity are backed by his prodigious knowledge and hard work. He knows so much about the pieces he sells that visiting with him is like visiting a museum that has an excellent curator. And a curator he is, with every piece in his store placed with care so that it shines to perfection, while complimenting the other pieces around it. As your eye is drawn from one place to another, you find yourself naturally seeing the beauty of each piece in a way that is organic and brings everything to life. He is so young for one who has so much knowledge and experience, and so hard working. But as he moves through his pieces, discussing them expertly, giving their history and describing their provenance, there is a seriousness and maturity that only comes with someone who has spent time with the best of vintage and antique pieces, bringing their beauty alive so that they can grace a new home.

Rolando Iglesias is a treasure among treasures. His knowledge alone is worth a trip to his store, and the beauty you'll see there will inspire and uplift you. And when you begin to choose pieces for your own home, they will fill your surroundings with comfortable elegance. The pieces Rolando finds are stunning, and their history and pedigree the best. They are pieces that were made to last when they were first designed, and their timeless beauty and integrity of form and function will outlast any trend and bring the pleasure of a purchase that is made as an investment for the future. When I wrote about Rolando before, I said that he has the keys to a kingdom, and with his help and guidance, your home can be a castle.

Rolando Iglesias
At Modern Retro Finds
1st Dibs At New York Design Center
200 Lexington Avenue


Jannie Susan

Sunday, September 16, 2018

An Abundant Life - Interconnectedness And Continuity

I met Tassa Theocharis Ganidou in person after being introduced to her gorgeous wearable art through her posts on Instagram. She lives in Greece, and had shown her work at Papatzikou Gallery, a gallery there that is owned by Vicky Papatzikou, and when I commented on how beautiful the photos in the post were, she responded with a lovely thank you and we began following each other. Then early last spring I saw in one of her posts that she would be in New York City at the Museum of Art and Design, also known as MAD, for their annual art and design exhibition and sale "LOOT, MAD About Jewelry." I had walked by the museum many times, and I had visited their lovely gift shop when I was holiday and birthday shopping for myself and special friends and family members, and it was so exciting to know that this amazing artist would be showing her work in such a wonderful space that I sent her a message to ask if there was a way I could meet her when she was in town. She responded with a link for me to contact the organizers of LOOT, and one lovely afternoon I found myself at the Press Preview for one of the most fabulously creative and gorgeous art and design shows in town. There were so many lovely artists and artisans showing incredibly creative and beautiful work that day, but I have to say that I kept coming back to visit with Tassa at her table because she and her work are simply extraordinary. She introduced me to some of the other artists and designers, and I took photographs of her work and theirs for future posts. I was hoping that we'd be able to meet again for a more in depth discussion while she was in Manhattan because I wanted to write a blog post about her, but her schedule and mine were busy and she was only in town for a short time, most of which would be focused around the wonderful wearable art and jewelry design show.  I have kept the photos I took that day in a place where I would be constantly reminded, because I wanted to write the blog post about this extraordinary artist even if we did not meet again in person.

I contacted her recently to see if she could send me some information about her life and work, and I'll add that here so you can get to know a little bit more about her:

"Having spent all my summers close to Greek nature from an early age, I have felt the need to capture a part of it. Images, sounds, material, wood, stones, fruit, fish and birds and the sun started taking substance in the form of jewels, early creations which I was able to wear and feel incredibly strong while wearing. I do not recall the manufacturing - part improvisation and part of the moment. What I do recall is a sense of fulfillment coming out of the process.

"Eventually I studied Design and Manufacturing of handmade and cast jewelry at MOKUME Silversmithing and Jewelry Design Academy in Thessaloniki and modern art jewelry in Florence at Le Arti Orafe Jewelry School Academy. I attended courses at the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and at Act's Education Center. still use those natural materials of the past combined with silver, gold, and precious stones. 

"Sun, fish and birds have become symbols through a different conceptual approach.This time I placed them inside the "womb" and they denote in three different units, the Conception, Incubation and Birth of anything material or immaterial we are surrounded by. About two years ago I was invited to move jewelry away from the body into space through the view of pieces of non-wearable jewelry using formative techniques of jewelry making. As a result, by playing with the scale and the materials, I have been creating a series of jewelry sculptures of a bigger scale which can stand as objects in space."

In the words of Curator Kostis Spanopoulos, "The art work of creator Tassa Theocharis Ganidou is characterized by a unique rendering of contemporary handcrafted jewelry that goes beyond the ordinary and stands biomorphically in the present. This mixed media jewelry with skillfully crafted naturalism combines the characteristics of modern art with jewelry making. The original model is completed as the outcome of experience. Different materials seem to fall in love in the cycle of life creating a conceptual identification with a dual meaning where soft textures interact with solid materials leading to the fruitful, interesting and unprecedented coexistence of materials and manufacturing techniques."

When I contacted Tassa, she told me that she was recently asked to take part in an exhibition in Milan for Fashion Week in February of 2019, "Artistar Jewels 2019," where she will be one of 100 artists who were selected from all over the world. Each work of art she makes is one of a kind, and she also designs special pieces in consultation with people who contact her to discuss custom designs. If you're in Greece, you can visit her studio, and throughout the rest of the world people can contact her through Instagram @__tassa___t2g or by email. Her designs reach into the realm of myth and legend and hover in dreamspace, taking us on a journey through the cycles of life. There is a feeling of watery depths and stones washed up on the beach combined with images of nature, conception, birth and life, and continuity. She seems so young to have a sensibility so deeply carved in history and time and space. The art of Tassa Theocharis Ganidou is timeless as the artist is herself.

Tassa Theocharis Ganidou
At "LOOT, MAD About Jewelry 2018"
Museum Of Art And Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York City

Photos Courtesy Of Tassa Theocharis Ganidou

On Astypalaia Island
Aegean Sea

In The Volcano Of Nisyros Island
Aegean Sea

At Papatzikou Art Gallery

In Xirolivado Village In The Vermio Mountains
Northern Greece


Jannie Susan