Projects: New Chinoiserie For A New Era
Sick of Chinoiserie yet? It may be everywhere these days, but if you are sick of it, brace yoursef, as it has been around for a long time and looks like it will be here longer still. When I read about interiors, I see the term chinoiserie applied to everything from lamps to wallpapers to decorative boxes. What gives? I ask myself, in the manner of someone who speaks in 1950s slang. Well, unlike someone from the 1950s, I have the great gift of looking for answers using Wikipedia. And here, my equally lazy and uneducated friends, is the answer to your chinoiserie puzzlement:
Chinoiserie, a French term, signifying “Chinese-esque”, refers to a recurring theme in European artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflect Chinese artistic influences.It is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale, and by the attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain and the use of lacquerlike materials and decoration. Chinoiserie is a mixture of Eastern and Western stylistic elements for both the decoration and shape.
I love certain aspects of east-west hybrid design. And chinoiserie panels and wallpapers are one of them. The ubiquitous Buddha heads? Not quite as much. Especially as they’re usually owned by materialistic high blood-pressure types. But that’s a post for another day (I feel a Trend Alert coming on…). Besides, I don’t think Western design is served by taking Asian motifs too literally, which is why the de Gournay-style decorative wallpapers are so timeless — they interpret the Asian stylized approach to nature through European sensibilities. The best of both worlds.
All this to say that I am taking chinoiserie one step further — or backwards, depending on your perspective — by a new item I’m adding to the shop this week. Chinoiserie chalkboard panels. I can practically hear your disgust. But really, interpreting the vaunted chinoiserie elements through the eyes of an ironic hipster (whose Chinese Mecca is Brooklyn, to mix my cultural references) seems just about right for this place and time, combining the current craze for the low-tech joys of drawing on a chalkboard with the ancient art of decorative painting.
Events: The Roving Home at Todd Farm
Stay tuned, readers, for more news about TRH at TF. We’re setting up shop on Sunday, July 17th from 8 to 1pm (git yer alarm set now!). We’ll have treats to eat and to look at and to buy. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for at our booth, chances are pretty good that you’ll find it at one of the dozens and dozens of other booths at this North Shore classic. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to stay apprised of the details. This will be a fun event for all of us, vintage sellers and browsers and buyers alike!