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isiiad - isiiad, Jeannette Davison, warrandyte, art, design, blog, photography, painting, Nillumbik, Yarra Valley, artist's trail, artist open studio, art

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Isiiad (I saw it in a dream) is an arts and design blog. It is centred in Warrandyte and the surrounding Yarra Valley but will go where ever my creative spirit takes me… so Warrandyte to the world. Creator and blog owner is Jeannette Davison.


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John Derian Company Inc.

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This was a must see shop on my New York list.  I got onto it from Sibella Court's book "Etcetera" which I thoroughly recommend. Sibella lived and worked in New York before returning to Australia and includes some New York shopping destinations which are congruent with her eclectic style.  John Derian Company Inc. is one of them.

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If you know Sibella's work you will understand the attraction.  She loves layer on layer of treasured objects arranged in little vignettes. As these photos will attest, John Derian has a similar aesthetic.

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He collects furniture and objects from around the world, from different eras and a variety of styles.  His decoupage plates, trays and paperweights may be of interest.

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There are two shops. One full to bursting with homewares (above) and the other with furniture and textiles(below).

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This is a destination store as it sits in a tiny street with no other shops around it. So put the address into your New York Itinerary and make a B line for it.  

6&8 East 2nd Street  

New York. Ph. (212) 677 8406

P.S. I managed to walk the whole length of Bleeker Street (no hardship) to get there.  Just when I thought it was safe to go out of the house without seeing a pumpkin.......

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For more info about John Derian Company Inc.  go to;    http://www.johnderian.com/index_home.html

For a quick look into Sibella's style click here;       http://www.thesocietyinc.com.au/

Parent Category: Design

The American Folk Art Museum

 This is a relatively small gallery by New York public gallery standards.  It sits next door to the MOMA at 45 W 53rd Street. Here's a little taste of what's currently on offer there.

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I made three attempts to get up to the American Folk Art Museum to take these photos.  First time I overextended myself and walked from the West Village intending to get all of the way up to the Museum on 53rd street. I nearly passed out with exhaustion and sore feet by the time I got to Saks between 48th and 49th Streets, so abandoned the Museum until another day.  The second try I took a taxi and was all ready to photograph every quilt when my camera ran out of battery.  Third time lucky.  I mastered the subway (go me) and spent the best part of an afternoon soaking up this great museum and these quilts in particular.

The exhibition "Year of the Quilt" showcases the Museums extensive collection of quilts.  Here is just a small selection of them. For more detailed information see if you can get your hands on a copy of "Quilts. Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum" by Elizabeth Warren. Foreword by Martha Stewart.

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This quilt reminded me a bit of the Gee's Bend Quilts.

 

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This one was called the 'Freedom Quilt' for obvious reasons.

 

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Double Wedding Ring Quilt.

 

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Slashed Star Quilt.

 

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This tiny display shows doll's quilts, no larger than about 30cm x 30cm. Delightful.

 

 

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This magnificent quilt,made from a whole piece of white fabric, showed the technique of trapunto quilting or stuffed quilting.  The fabric is stuffed from the underside to create raised areas and thus gives the quilt beautiful textures. This technique was first used in Italy before the 14th Century.  As you can see this is only a small section of the quilt. The amount of work in a quilt like this is mind boggling. Obviously this 1796 quilter was not suffering from the 2010 'time poor' syndrome.

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Reiter Family Album Quilt

Being an old quilter from way back it was wonderful to see so many gorgeous examples of this craft all in the one place. I appreciate the dedication required to see projects like these through to completion. These exhibitions serve to motivate communities of quilters to keep the skills alive. 

 

The Interior Spaces

The building is less than ten years old. Designers Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects incorporated lovely voids and enough space around the staircase to display individual, large and small  works from the collection.  Moving from one gallery to another is as much of a feast for the eyes as the exhibitions in the gallery spaces themselves.

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Forming the Figure. 

I've been an avid fan of Monty Don's series "Around the World in 80 Gardens" since it went to air on ABC TV last year.  It features the "Rock Garden" at Chandigarh in India, a favourite of mine.  It’s 24 acres is host to more than two thousand hand made cement figures decorated with broken bits of china and glass and other found objects.  It is all the work of one man, Nek Chand.  He travelled the countryside as a road inspector on his bike and while about his job, he collected rocks, glass and china discarded along the roadside.  The figures were first formed in concrete over metal armatures and then decorated with these found objects.

Imagine my excitement when I found four figures from the garden tucked away in a corner of this exhibition.

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Nek Chand worked away in secret for many years before his project was discovered by the government in 1970.  It is a testament to the humanity of the Indian people that their support ensured that the garden would not be destroyed.  "Rock Garden" is now the second most visited tourist site in India.

 

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These little wooden painted figures just cracked me up.  They are all members of the Webb Family (date unknown) made in Kentucky in the Twentieth Century,

 

I hope that you make time to visit The American Folk Art Museum if you're in New York.  Just make sure that when you leave this little gem of a museum, you take a backward glance at the facade. This description from the Museum website says it all.

"The lustrous, sculptural facade is the product of a manual fabrication process evocative of the hands-oriented approach characteristic of folk art; its panels are cast by pouring molten metal directly into gated forms on the concrete floor of the foundry. The faceted panels, which appear stonelike and metallic at the same time, create different visual effects catching the light of the sun as it rises and sets, east and west along 53rd Street."    http://www.folkartmuseum.org/   

Parent Category: Arts

 

Pumpkins

 

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I'm obsessed with pumpkins.  I know I know...in Melbourne a pumpkin is a pumpkin is a pumpkin.  But in New York, these are pumpkins!

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On my very first day in New York these pumpkins began my obsession.  The Chelsea Market is a must see stop for any traveller and a favorite stop for locals. Within its exposed brick walls (it was once the home of Oreo biscuits) sits The Manhattan Fruit Exchange and the most amazing array of pumpkins I have ever seen.

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This great fruiterer sits amongst a fish shop, numerous bakeries, clothing stores, a soup kitchen, a book shop and arguably the best coffee makers in New York( and quite frankly good coffee is hard to find in New York). Following this pumpkin experience I saw pumpkins everywhere.  True, halloween took place well before I got here, but then the focus of pumpkin attention turns to pumpkin pie, a favourite choice on any self respecting Thanksgiving dinner menu.

So the proprietor of the children's clothing shop, "Pumpkin" (more on that later) directed me to Roccos on Bleeker Street to order my Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving.  That little task happily out of the way I walked across the street to Murray's.  Oh My God.  It's cheese heaven.   Those of you who know me even just a little bit will be aware that I'm quite fond of nice piece of brie or in the right company a good blue vein...I have never seen anything like this.  Cheeses from all over the world. Every sort of texture and age and wrapped in things that your mother probably warned about.  Where to start and what to buy or leave behind, that was the hardest part.  I'm told by those who would know- that their cheese straws are just short of orgasmic.  Looks like another visit is essential.  I did try on the eve of Thanksgiving but the lines were out the door and I decided that Thanksgiving would be enough overindulgence for one week. (Turns out that was a good life choice!)

Then it was off to the Chelsea Market armed with my new you- bute camera to get the shots at the Chelsea Market.  True, the cheese experience had peaked my appetite. I had seen a great little cafe with lots of pumpkins around the exterior which just happened to be on the way to the Market.  So thought that I might combine some pumpkin hunting with lunch.  Little did I know that said cafe was "The Spotted Pig".  The current favourite haunt of New Yorkers in the know. Oh happy accident!!!

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Later research revealed that no less than Mario Batali is a partner here and his trademark and attention to detail was in every morsel that passed my lips.  The minute I looked at the menu I knew  I was on a winner. Here's just a little sample;

Apple Salad with Mrs Quickes Cheddar and Walnuts

Roasted Sunchokes with Escarole and Goats Cheese

Buffalo Mozzarella with Cranberry Beans and Chilli

Their wine list is enormous so they also serve wonderful bar snacks of marinated olives, roasted almonds and devilled eggs.  I really lucked out here as they took more than five minutes to serve my chosen lunch so the waiter hurried out with a complimentary plate of devilled eggs to keep me going. Oh bliss oh joy.  I took my time with these two little beauties to make the experience last and last.  Shortly after that my Prosciutto and Ricotta Tart with Marjoram arrived accompanied by a kale and bacon salad.  I decided not to tell them that I would have happily waited for twice as long -without the devilled eggs- for this memorable lunch.  The tart had clearly just emerged from the oven and the bacon with the kale was big and fat and moreish. 

Time to head off to the Market but not without powdering my nose.  Yes you guessed it...more pumpkins in the restroom.  A bit of an awkward moment getting this photo as I hadn't realised that the toilet was actually ladies and gents all in one tiny space.  I was just about to click when a man came into the wash basin area.  I was momentarily put off my game and left the toilet red faced. I waited outside long enough for him to enter the toilet and snuck back in to get this photo for your enjoyment.

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More about the shop "Pumpkin".   It's quite likely that if you had a cute little four year old and dressed him or her from Pumpkin you might just attract the attention of The Sartorialist (see Sartorial Splendour). This little cutey is at 334 Bleeker Street.  

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They also stock kids room decor like these African inspired beaded table lamps made by Grass Roots Beadworks

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Clearly my obsession had not yet resolved itself as on another day altogether I happened upon The Little Owl and wandered in hoping to get a coffee.  No luck with the coffee but these pumpkins just happened to be outside their front door.  Is there no end to the variety of pumpkins?

 

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I'm on a promise from my daughter to sample the delights of this restaurant, so named as a sculptured little owl looks down on it from atop the building across the street.  It is on the corner of  Bedford and Groves streets in the West Village.   Every self respecting Friends fan is aware of this building as it's the apartment 'frequented' by Friends. Research for The Little Owl  revealed this review;

"Thirteen Dollars buys several plump grilled scallops served over a green, cheesy risotto mixed with fresh spinach and nuggets of lobster."   Adam Platt, New York Restaurants

Mmmm... lunch anyone?

Thanksgiving was yesterday and I think I might be able to finally lay my pumpkin obsession to rest.  The Roccos pumpkin pie was a triumph.  Thing is, there were three other desserts which all had to be sampled (its a Thanksgiving tradition).  I have since tried to conjure up the taste and discern the ingredients...I know there was nutmeg and cinammon in there somewhere but eventually succumbed to a recipe featured in the New York Times on Thanksgiving for information.  I include it below for readers to do their own bit of research and experience at first hand (and in the best possible way) a little bit of New York on Thanksgiving. I have substituted the sweet potato with pumpkin...naturally. 

Coconut Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Crust

Approx. 500 grams pumpkin (or the equivalent of two sweet potatoes) cut into 1 inch chunks 

1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs ( ginger nut snaps would work here)

1/4 cup of shredded coconut

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons butter melted

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

Large pinch of salt

1 cup coconut milk

 

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the pumpkin in a medium saucepan, add water to cover by about an inch, and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the pumpkin is tender.  Drain and process the pumpkin.

2.  While the pumpkins are cooking, put the biscuits in a food processor and pulse several times until they are finely ground. Add the shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and 1/4 teaspoons each of the ginger and cinnamon and pulse once or twice.  Add the melted butter and pulse just to combine. Press the mixture into a 9 inch pie dish and bake for about 7 minutes.  Remove the crust from the oven and cool.

3. In a food procesor, combine the eggs with the remaining sugar, ginger ad cinnamon, along with the nutmeg, cloves and salt, pulse until well combined.  Add the coconut milk and pulse to combine, then add the pumpkin and pulse until just smooth.

4. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake until the mixture is set on top but still quite moist, 40 to 45 minutes.  Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

I recommend you accompany it with a mixture of marscapone, plain yoghurt, vanilla and a little caster sugar.  Some raspberries wouldn't go astray.

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