Recent Post -  Patmos Garden From the Archives Desert Island Discs

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Brontë

I have never read Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Brontë, and only yesterday did I watch a DVD of the movie with Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven and Flora Robson, directed by the gifted, award-winning William Wyler [nicknamed 90 takes!]...a great, iconic romance - I shall not read the book!  

Friday, 24 February 2012

TRAVEL: Genova [Part II]


Views in Via Garibaldi
Buildings of splendid grandeur interspersed with narrow alleyways that plunge up and down – all built very close together, there is little room between the mountains and the sea. Wondrous, suspended gardens are accessed from the second floors of huge houses with stuccoed or painted facades; courtyards with majestic staircases; huge, tall windows and, particularly on the corners of the palazzi, light pours in from everywhere, filtered by the tallest, louvered shutters I have ever seen, often painted in pale grey or yellow umber.  French windows lead onto vast terraces from which one could see the port, the sea and the horizon that led to Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America...





Between tall, narrow tenement streets is the Museo di Palazzo Spinola, lived in by a branch of the Spinolas until the 1960’s [above].



Left - Genova was so cold in February...a fountain with icicles extending from the stalactites! 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

POETRY: Immigrant Wife by Theodore Deppe

He lures her from her skin and then hides it,
like in the stories, so she can never go back home.
He makes her learn English and bear him children, insists
that she sing to them in his tongue.  And yet,

even in English, the dark vowels of her songs
echo in the children's ears like the voice in a shell
heard miles from sea.  She folds them into beds of waves
and whispers her curse on the land.  Sometimes

the children wake to a gale of Irish and the sound
of the man roaring back at the sea.  And once, they wake
to the thin line of sunrise she traces in her wrist,
the still waters of her bath clouding like poppies

She does not die.  She lives to be rock hard, the bitter
old Yankee who buys the house above the lake, but still,
near dawn, she dreams she might slip down to the black rocks
and swim in the skin her husband left behind at his death.  

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

John Stefanidis Crockery


Left: One of my Αντώνης [Andonis] plates can come in any of these colours – at present only available as a set, including serving plates, soup bowls, jugs, etc.  We are working on a formula so they can be sold in smaller numbers which would be affordable.




Right: Other parts of the service, with an example in red on
fabric designed by Christopher Portet for table cloths and napkins – we hope to have these made very soon!




Monday, 20 February 2012

FABRICS: John Stefanidis Checks

Useful coordinate fabric; informal check featuring a 
checkerboard design overlaid with a loosely drawn line plaid 
in a darker complementary tone.
Available in 5 colours
Available from:

London, UK - Tissus d'Helene
Showroom: Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10 0XF
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7352 9977

Miami, USA - Monica James
Showroom: 40 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137
Phone: + 1 305-576-6222
Website: monicajames.com

Los Angeles, USA – Harbinger
Showroom: 752 North La Cienega Blvd,West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: +1 310 858 6884
Website: harbingerla.com

Melbourne, Australia – Tigger Hall
Showroom: 720 High Street Armadale Vic 3143
Phone: +61 (0) 3 9509 6456
Website: tigger hall.com

John Stefanidis Fabrics Website

Friday, 17 February 2012

POETRY: Anna Akhmatova


Alexander at Thebes

Surely the young King must have been blind to pity
As he spoke the order: ‘Destroy Thebes utterly’.
The old general gazed and knew this place to be
No better than he remembered it, a haughty city.
Put it all to the fire!  There were wonders – gate
And tower and temple everywhere the King searched,
But suddenly his face brightened with a thought:
‘Be sure that the house of the Poet is not touched’.

Anna Akhmatova, Leningrad, October 1961 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

TRAVEL: Genova [Part I]

Collage: including Palazzo Senarega Universita & Palazzo Stefano Balbi-Durazzo-Reale

GENOVA IN ITALY, also known as La Superba and La Dominante del Mare has a glorious history. A secret city known for the discretion of its citizens, its past is ever present with ‘new streets’, meaning new four hundred years ago.

At Palazzo del Principe Andrea Doria:


Remarkable tapestries of the Battle of Lepanto [in the gulf of Patras in Greece] one of the most important battles in European history was the Holy League’s great victory over the Ottoman fleet in 1571 [Members of the Holy League: Spanish Empire, Republic of Venice, Knights of Malta, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Duchy of Savoy.




During the Habsburg-Ottoman wars, Sultan Suleiman besieged and almost conquered Vienna in 1529.  It is this war that introduced Europeans to orientalism and …. coffee!

FABRICS: John Stefanidis Lucy

Subtle design featuring jaspe stripe with lilies.
Available in 3 colours
Soft Blue, Dove Grey & Blush
Available from:

LondonUK - Tissus d'Helene
Showroom: Chelsea HarbourLondonSW10 0XF
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7352 9977

MiamiUSA - Monica James
Showroom: 40 NE 40th StreetMiamiFL 33137
Phone: + 1 305-576-6222
Website: monicajames.com

Los AngelesUSA – Harbinger
Showroom: 752 North La Cienega Blvd,West HollywoodCA 90069
Phone: +1 310 858 6884
Website: harbingerla.com

MelbourneAustralia – Tigger Hall
Showroom: 720 High Street Armadale Vic 3143
Phone: +61 (0) 3 9509 6456
Website: tigger hall.com

John Stefanidis Fabrics Website

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

POETRY: The Tang Dynasty


The Tang Dynasty [618-907] was the golden age of Chinese poetry

Palace Song by Gu Kuang

From the jade tower up in
the sky comes the sound
of pipes and songs,

Sent down by the breeze
to mingle with the palace
women’s banter.

Shadows part for the
Moon palace – I heard a
Water clock drip in the night.

Rolling up my crystal
curtain I draw close to the Milky Way

...NOT LIKE WINTER IN LONDON!

Friday, 10 February 2012

BOOKS: Malaparte


I have read Malaparte’s ‘La Pelle’ [The Skin] in the language it was written – very good for my Italian!  A Fascist, a writer and a journalist, later a Communist, Malaparte built [with the architect Adalberto Libera] Casa Malaparte on the island of Capri – a modernist icon perched on sheer rock with spectacular views.


One of the best books about war is ‘Naples ’44’ by Norman Lewis, an English writer who lived on Capri and was very much influenced by ‘La Pelle’.


Malaparte also wrote Kaput’ which was put on the Vatican’s list of prohibited books – about WWII and pre-war Rome.  He tells how the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden, on visit to the city for talks with Mussolini, caused a sensation in Roman Society after being seen in the Vatican museum sitting on a sarcophagus reading ‘Horace’.    

Thursday, 9 February 2012

FABRICS: John Stefanidis Hong Kong Netherton




Chinese-style floral damask on silk
- an interpretation of a design found in the Brighton Pavilion.




Available in Celadon  Oyster

Available from:

London, UK - Tissus d'Helene
Showroom: Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10 0XF
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7352 9977

Miami, USA - Monica James
Showroom: 40 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137
Phone: + 1 305-576-6222
Website: monicajames.com

Los Angeles, USA – Harbinger
Showroom: 752 North La Cienega Blvd,West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: +1 310 858 6884
Website: harbingerla.com

Melbourne, Australia – Tigger Hall
Showroom: 720 High Street Armadale Vic 3143
Phone: +61 (0) 3 9509 6456
Website: tigger hall.com

John Stefanidis Fabrics Website

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Design: BATHROOMS by John Stefanidis


A BATHROOM can be vaporous or fun 

        




The same type of design as above but light-hearted









A BATHROOM designed for LE RICHEMOND HOTEL in GENEVA, which could easily be replicated.  At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, it is so comfortable!  Please note the clock inset into the mirror – all bathrooms need a time piece.
  A.rustic bathroom  for an island house
 [Image taken from my first book Rooms]












MARBLE IN A BATHROOM IS ALWAYS GOOD... even better is granite which, when subjected to the lipstick test, never marks 

.



OLD-FASHIONED IN FEEL, the ‘tiles’ are painted – almost Downton Abbey – no marble here! 
Above - a bathroom in a house on the beach in Florida 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

ART: Cheer up your mantle

From my friend Betty Stokes - how about this for cheering up your mantle!


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

DESIGN: Paisley

There are many variations in paisley patterns used in Persian and Indian designs for centuries - and as in embroidered on fine, woollen shawls – as can be seen in the portraits by David and Ingres. 


Ingres c. 1805
Paisley Jacquard woven shawls [a technique invented in the 19th Century by Monsieur Jacquard in Lyons] and manufactured in great quantities in the Scottish town of Paisley [hence its English name from 1800 onwards] became an affordable alternative to the embroidered shawls of Indian Rajahs and Maharanis hand woven and embroidered in Kashmir. These were first imported by the British East India Company in the 17th Century. when the pattern proliferated in France and the Netherlands.

Paisley patterns have remained firm favourites in haberdashery, silk scarves, ties of every kind, and bandana  cotton handkerchiefs. Now printed in the USA, but mostly in China and India.







Above: Paisley patterns designed for table and cushions by John Stefanidis, emboidered in London by Hand & Lock 
& an 
Indian 19th Century Embroidery on a shawl

Below: Two examples of French 19th Century Paisley Embroidery



Finally, Udaiphur is my own take on a "Paisley" style
 which is available in six colours ways.

BOOKS: Summer Reading