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Can you Handle This?

I am completely in love with this 2011 prototype called “Handle Me” by Oeyvind Wyller, Christoffer Angell and Simen Aarseth as part of the collective Angell Wyller Aarseth.

Made from cast iron with dowel handles, this set looks stunning in the classic combination of black and white but is also a sturdy, reliable piece of cookware. Cast iron cookware lasts a lifetime, and can take a battering and still maintain its finish.

I look at this design as a perfect mix of aesthetics with practicality, a real “Chefs” tool, that is a serious piece of cookware you could easily present your meal in, from kitchen to table voila!

Minimal, classic, durable. Bravo Angell Wyller Aarseth!

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The Hermitage – Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

You may be thinking, why in the world have I chosen a hotel in the center of Tokyo for Zen week?! Well I’m not crazy! As much as Tokyo is the epitome of hustle and bustle, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is your little oasis in the city.

This 5 star hotel is rather amazing as it includes 66,000 square meters of Japanese gardens as its grounds. The Chinzanso gardens were once the private estate of a Japanese Prime Minister who brought the land in 1878. The name translates to House of Camellia as the area flourishes with wild camellia trees. Within the garden you will find many historic artifacts as well as a sacred tree that is said to be 500 years old. Amazingly the garden was apparently destroyed during World War II by was later returned to its former glory and with the additions of an enormous hotel, plaza and tower.

And just in case the gardens aren’t enough to completely Zen your life, this hotel boasts Tokyo’s largest Hotel Spa facility! See, I’m always looking out for you 🙂

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Shibori

Shibori is a Japanese term for Tie-dyeing fabric. The process involves using twists, stitches or folds to create intricate patterns and designs. Traditionally the Japanese used Indigo dyes to create the Shibori patterns, so generally you will find pieces in these deep inky blues which I just adore (My current colour obsession!)

Australian company Shibori have brought these ancient techniques and applied them to modern homewares, clothing and artworks. The lovely duo, Pepa and Karen, also teach workshops to share the various techniques involved in making a Shibori piece, keeping the tradition alive so to speak!

Below are some examples of this style which may inspire you to get a little creative and try your hand at creating your own original Shibori item.

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Be brave! Experiment with colour too as Little Dandelion did with this stunning collaboration with Shibori.

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Zen

Life can get a little crazy and we all need to step back sometimes, re-focus and revive.

Our homes are our little havens, a place we can retreat and recharge, so why not add a little Zen to your house? The following collection of homewares that echo that Zen vibe, relaxed, serene and calm. They are additions that I think will help create a peaceful environment where you can gather your thoughts, share your philosophies or get a little creative.

Feeling calmer already?

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1. Ofuro Wooden Bath Tub by Rapsel

2. 5 Fish Gold Leaf Kohaku and Tancho Pond by Mabona Origami

3. Sticks and Stone Stool by Ash Allen

4. Low Dining Chair and Bench by Urban Zen Home Furniture Collection

5. Cumulus Pendant by Enoki

6. Less Work More Zen by Gardens of Wendiland

Vintage Bottles

I have always had an unexplained attraction to vintage glass bottles and jars. I love to use them as a vase or display them on a window sill for the sunlight to shine through, illuminating their colours and designs.

Part of the attraction is the irregularities in vintage glass, the wobbly imperfections, the embossed labels and the lovely range of designs they come in. Vintage Coke bottles have always been popular but lately it is all about the Ball Mason jars. Re-purposing has seen these transformed into lighting fixtures, soap dispensers, terrariums and even snow domes! Call me strange, but I actually prefer them just as they are, they aren’t called perfect mason for nuthin!

So if you love coloured glass perhaps consider adding a little vintage in your life, preserve a little piece of history and gain yourself an object of enduring interest.

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Philip Stokes Studio Glass

Philips work is interesting not only for its visual beauty, but for its playful character.

Years of perfecting his skills with hot glass show in each piece where he seems to celebrate the making process, using it as inspiration for the final creation.

His pieces bubble and drip, twirl and twist as if to remind you of the amazing transformation they have been through to reach this point. The result is a static but fluid object that is both beautiful and mesmerizing. Please enjoy the unique creations of Philip Stokes Studio Glass.

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Artist Name: Philip Stokes

Artist Location: 20 Gwynne Street, Cremorne (Richmond) Victoria 3121

Type of Work – Medium: Hot Glass

How would you describe your style of work?

Contemporary Art Glass which embraces the sculptural and optical qualities in glass.

With a broad range of production items and various art export commissions for hotels in the Asia Pacific region, my style has diversified dramatically in the past ten years.

Much of my work has been inspired by the sculptural possibilities of the human form, the organisation of muscularture and the fluity of movement in dance. The continual momentum of physical life is captured in the streamlined contours and shapes.

My glass works are spontaneously created in the highly choreographed process of hot glass. I hope to echo the dance and rhythm of life in the dynamic colours and contours of the glass; creating a dialogue between its viscous and sinuous qualities.

Improvisation and chance are both elements that I enjoy and exploit, both in the hot glass process and in the final installation.

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Are you formally educated or self-taught?

I have a degree with honours from Monash University which I completed in 2000, but really my skills and work have mostly developed through 10 years of working in my own studio. Becoming a master glass blower takes a lifetime of trial and error and a desire to experiment and push the limitations of the material. I am always learning new skills and innovating with process to discover new designs and in the completion of commissioned works.

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Who or what inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

The process of working with hot glass has inspired me tremendously. The need to be engaged with a team of up to 6 to produce large-scale installations has been challenging and exciting; akin to a theatrical performance. The material itself, flowing in front of you at 1100 degrees celsius is an inspiration in itself.

I am also inspired by the American forefathers of the studio glass movement, namely Dale Chihuly and William Morris and Italian master glass blower Lino Tagliapietra, who has shared his comprehensive knowledge of the Venetian technique with contemporary artists.

Ideas come from the influence of my theatrical past but also through working in collaboration with other artists, and through developing concepts for commissions and specific projects. Being forced to work outside ones comfort zone opens up such wonderous opportunities to explore new visual possibilities and to make new work.

Ideas also spring directly from the making process; I may be half way through making a piece and see something which triggers ideas for another. It is a real adventure and important to remain receptive and open to suggestion from those working in the team and from the material itself.

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Where can readers see / buy your work?

My work is available to see and purchase from my studio and gallery at 20 Gwynne Street Cremorne (Richmond) VIC 3121 and from my online shop at www.pssg.com.au

From the 21st to the 25th February I will be at Life Instyle (trade show) in Sydney presenting my work.

My work is also stocked at the following galleries and design retailers.

Melbourne

Veronica George Gallery – Armadale

Glass Plus Gallery – South Melbourne

Modern Times – Fitzroy

Craft Victoria – Melbourne

The Studio @ Flinders Gallery – Flinders

Metroplis Gallery – Geelong

Sydney

Glass Artists Gallery – Glebe

Art at the Bluegum – Balmain

Sturt – Mittagong

Argyle Gallery – The Rocks Sydney

Canberra

Canberra Glassworks – Kingston

Europe

Gallery Sikabonyi – Vienna Austria

Hong Kong

Gaffer Ltd – Hong Kong

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Do you have any words of advice for aspiring artists / creators?

Work hard! Making breeds making. Habit is the parent of all art. Don’t sit around waiting to be inspired as all the inspiration comes in the making process. The reward in a creative career is freedom and the privilege to earn an income from something that you are inspired by and truly enjoy. Making art for people to appreciate is one of my greatest pleasures.

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Glass blowing is such a unique process that I thought you may enjoy this video of Philip in action in his studio. Interested in learning more about glass blowing? Philip also runs workshops in his studio where an intimate group of 4 people learn basic techniques of this fascinating and rather magical art. To book your place in the next class please check his website for further details.

Enjoy!

Cheers

Hermit xoxo

craft tv: Amorphous from Craft on Vimeo.