What colour is your front door?

Last weekend DH and I repainted our front door. 'Green Fog' above from Plascon. The swatch above doesn't really do it justice. It's a sage-like green that complements the 'broken white' walls.  A classic combination chosen for it's simple, inoffensive nature and hopefully enhanced by the lavender bushes in the garden. 

What colour is your front door? Statement red? Chic black? Greige? (love that word) or have you chosen the 'safe' route, like me?

Top image VtWonen moodboards, bottom image Plascon.

Bedroom for a belle.

My gorgeous niece, Nell, has very clever parents. The latest issue of Elle Decoration features the beautiful bedroom that they put together for her. This lucky girl couldn't ask for a more creative, happy place in which to play and sleep. You can see more over at the Elle Deco blog and a bit more about the shelves designed by her artist dad below.
The stencil used on her bedroom wall is also available for download on their site.

More tea with Liesel Trautman

A few weeks ago I posted about Liesel Trautman and her beautiful ceramics. I promised a follow up....

Please tell us a little about your background.... how did you find your niche in ceramics?
I studied textile design, learning about beautiful old things that are all around us just waiting to be noticed. Life drawing, botanical drawing and ornamentation were some of the subjects taught to us.
So when I started working with clay about five years ago learning about its qualities and thinking that I could make a vessel according to my own aesthetic values, completely functional and virtually indestructible (metal rusts, wood decays, but ceramic does not get broken down by any natural process) I became very excited. I went for lessons and read books on ceramics. The technique most suited to achieving the fine hand drawn quality that I use most is called "inlay."

I love the transformation that happens in the material. It completely changes from a soft malleable grey or brown to a hard white shiny functional, material. Like alchemy.
I realise it's a stock-standard question but could you share what inspires your work?
Everything and anything, I am an image junky, always on the look out. I am also a collector, love going to markets and antique shops. I work with anything I find beautiful. I allow it to inspire me, swirl it around inside of me and then see how it flows out. Sometimes even I am surprised.

You can look at things differently; squinting your eyes, blurring the lines and then drawing these new shapes. It's all about doing something that is particular to ones own sense of taste and style. This is what we as individuals own and should respect in ourselves and others.
Growing up in Holland has also played a role in what I find beautiful. One of my inspirations comes from this time, when as a child I used to do cross stitch - something I still enjoy today.
Do you ever feel stuck in a creative rut - if so, how do you overcome it?

In the past, I have sometimes knocked my head against the wall of what I thought creativity to be. Now I find that it's just about doing the right thing, for you - when this happens, there is a very special and gentle flow.
I believe that we are all creative even when we don't think so. Just let go of doing things that don't come naturally. We all have our own very special talents.
Yes, I have struggled to find what it is that I really should be doing, and at the moment everything just works out and I love it.
Since working with clay I have not really experienced a creative rut. There is so much still to do (a learning curve of 80 years!)

I'd love to know more about your process. How do you go about conceptualising a new design? What are the steps you take in making the objects that you do?
I walk in the forest for inspiration. The open spaces give me the place to think and the little paths allow me to weave my thinking process of how I will be making this new thing. Step by step, I go through it and solve the technical hitches I might experience, and then when I get to the studio, it seems easy.

Mistakes are another way of letting the process flow, new ways of how to work become evident just through doing. Clay has taught me to bounce back quickly when it goes wrong, as it so easily does.
My general process would be sourcing inspiration, drawing it and then making it.
Tell us a little more about the babies we've heard you are making?
The ceramic babies are a huge technical challenge and I have really enjoyed this aspect as I like doing difficult things. I love the little fat, rounded arms and fingers and toes. (What biological clock? I have hit the snooze.. )

And everybody has a story when they see one, about themselves or their mothers or their aunts. It brings back their childhood, but mine are the adult version. We are all just playing .

Do you have a most cherished piece that you've created?
I find it difficult to come up with one item. I am lucky to be working with everything I love, so I love what I make and hope this comes through in my work.

I notice you have a red, blue, black and grey range - can we expect any other colours?
The colours I work in are traditionally strong. I love blue and red together. My limited palette is also what keeps my work coherent. New colours... who knows... wait and see.

Finally, often creative people struggle to find balance between work and play (one can so often be the other) what do you do to be more balanced?
My work is play.
Balance - none what so ever. I do like to walk in the forest and would like to take up tight rope walking in the future.

I love the way that Liesel describes her work. I've always considered ceramics so delicate. When I heard they way she described them as virtually indestructible it brought back a childhood memory of discovering different patterned shards of broken ceramic at the bottom of our garden. Aside from being in pieces they were the most beautifully preserved objects that I would save as my precious treasures. I'm sure you'll agree that it has been lovely to find out more about a talent behind these particular precious treasures. Thank you, Liesel - and good luck with the tight rope!

You can contact Liesel on +27732759494 or visit her studio/shop at 114 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town.

A meal without wine...

We had both sunshine and wine this past weekend. Hope yours was good.
Above tea towel one of the new collection at the Keep Calm Gallery.

I love you more than sleep.

Quite a statement. I love to sleep...
Wall sticker by Robert Ryan. Seen at VtWonen.


Sad but funny at the same time... perhaps because I can identify?

See more by illustrator and comic artist Simone Lia. 


Here are a handful of the entries I've received for the Doodle Giveaway.
Winner announced later today...

UPDATE... I've done a draw (thanks to 'Random')...

Congratulations to Lauren! Your doodle will be stuffed. Thanks to all who entered and especially to the talented Lucy for this great giveaway. 

Three, two, one...

Image ffffound.

Countdown to the weekend... Have a happy, happy time. 

And don't forget to enter the 'doodle' giveaway!


I've heard 'nice' described as boring. Nice girls don't get anywhere. Nice is unmemorable. Nice doesn't cut it when the chips are down. Nice people finish last...

But I think 'nice' is underrated. I don't think many people go out of their way to be particularly nasty... but we could all do with more nice in our everyday. That's why Operation Nice is so great. A celebration of being nice. Nice encounters with nice people who do particularly nice things. Wow, I've used the word twelve times in the last two paragraphs...

In the interest of spreading this message: I hope you are having an especially nice day. It's nice to have you visit my blog. 

Update: Thanks to Larry for this link.

Giveaway: Stuff your doodle!

I'm mad about the "Stuffed Doodles" that Lucy Moose does. I posted about them last week and now I am delighted to offer you a giveaway!

If you missed my previous post - What Lucy does is translate a scribbled, doodled drawing into a unique stuffed three dimensional piece. Stuff your doodles. That character that you've been sketching on scraps of paper or a drawing your child has done can now come alive! It's a wonderful novel idea that is above all, fun.  

Lucy is the smart creative person behind "Stuff your doodle" and she is donating a custom, handmade, stuffed doodle (valued at £80) to one of you. Thanks Lucy!

How to enter?

Send me your doodle!
Put "Doodle giveaway" in the subject line and email it to black_katherine[at]
OR Comment below with a link to your blog (and doodle).
Giveaway closes Monday 13th July.

I'll showcase all the entries and announce the winner here next week. The winner will be randomly chosen - you are all in with a chance.
Ensure you Doodle is a good resolution - that way you'll get a great result from Lucy should you win.

Have fun!

Lights, camera...

I had a chance to work with a talented team of people last week. One of the cool things about working in this business is seeing an idea come to life. What was just a sketch last week was carefully transformed into reality. Every make up brush-stroke, set adjustment, lighting check, garment choice, model pose and final 'click' of the camera shutter contributing to the end result. 
I can't show you the finished product - but the above are some great images from the porfolios of the team I worked with.

Tea for two.

Tea for two and two for tea,
Me for you and you for me.

Two tiny lemon tarts, pastel coloured mini macaroons, pretty crockery and my camera. 
Cassis Paris (website under construction) is a newly opened little patisserie in my neighborhood. Tea time never was so pretty.


I came across these cameo tea cups a while ago on this site. They reminded me of how much I love(d) silhouettes. I sought out the above illustrations of DH and I. I've been meaning to have them nicely printed for ages and am now on the hunt for a pair of oval frames... not that easy to find. And yes, unfortunately my nose is really that 'roman'  :)

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