Category Archives: BEAUTIFUL LIFE

A BUREAU OF FRIENDS

As I sit in my winter living room and look out the window, I think about what an amazingly full, rich, intense year it has been. I recently made the joke that I sometimes I feel like Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) in Blade Runner… when I am lying on my death bed, I will say, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain….”

I feel lucky, blessed, and grounded to have recently met so many new acquaintances to add to the dear old friends who fill my cup with inspiration. While sitting on a couch late one afternoon in South Africa, I decided that I want to take a moment each month to talk about one of these rich, rich souls who has enriched my life.
From painter Judith Eisler, woman extraordinaire Marsha Guerrero, documentarian Davia Nelson, woman of style Julie Gilhart, film maker Jennifer Venditti, writer/stylist/foodie Angie Mosier, and hero Alice Waters, to designer Christina Kim, I want to highlight work that I find world changing, heartfelt and inspirational.
So is born “A Bureau of Friends.” Stay tuned for monthly stories.
Here’s a wish that 2009 may continue to be a great adventure…

VIEW ON COLOR

“As we abandon long-established notions of the past and truly embrace this young century, the agricultural community will become the planet’s new elite, dominating our essential needs and inspiring years of farmer styles. After all, the farmers of the future will clothe us, house us, feed us, fuel us and hopefully even heal us. Ultimately they will be able to engineer design and grow furniture in a symbiosis of technology and biology, and therefore rural and urban lifestyles will merge and become one; resulting in an inversed social landscape with a greener city and a more contemporary countryside.

We will see vertical farming in the inner cities and the return of smaller luxury farms in the countryside to handle the market for fresh niche products, while arid areas of the globe will be used to power solar plants and farm new kinds of bio fuels. The farm will even become a destination for beauty and learning as well as a cradle for new retail strategies and marketplaces for the future.

This rural revival will sustain far into the future, influencing our habitations and interiors….” Li Edelkoort – an excerpt from View on Color – A World of Folk, page 67

Copies of The World of Folk issue can be purchased by contacting Tel: 212 420 7622  Edelkoort, Inc.- $95.00 + $ 7 shipping

 

CHEZ PANISSE FOUNDATION

On Saturday afternoon, I had the honor of touring the Edible Schoolyard and having lunch in the new Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School Dining Commons. Alice Waters, the Chez Panisse Foundation and a team of others are working towards changing the way we see the school lunch program in America.

The program was inspiring, delicious and beautiful and I am committed to bringing this philosophy into the life of my own daughter.

Here is an overview of the work being accomplished by the Chez Panisse Foundation:

Continue reading

THE COLORS OF SOUTH AFRICA

Blue skies, rolling lands, rich fabrics and faces, recycling – using what you have available to the best advantage. Ingenious.   Colorful. Respectful and full of joy…

These beautiful photographs from Shack Chic by Craig Fraser and a lovely collection of books by Quivertree Publications from a collection of South African artists, foodies and designers.

THE MOTH

“The Moth, a not-for-profit storytelling organization, was founded in New York in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings on his native St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, where he and a small circle of friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales on his friend Wanda’s porch.”

I am not a great sports fan but I am a lover of storytelling; this weeks podcast from The Moth is a fantastic tale. Don’t miss Matthew McCaughey telling, “My First Day with the Yankees.”

Subscribe to The Moth weekly podcast through iTunes.

And visit their website: www.themoth.org

Enjoy!

UPDATE

Thanks to all of you who have sent letters and words of encouragement for my father.

We finally got him moved to the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham and are hoping for a complete recovery.

Birmingham has become world renowned for their work in stroke recovery and the study of the brain and the concept of “plasticity.”

The Birmingham News ran an article yesterday about the revolutionary CI Therapy and Dr. Taub:

Patients make Pilgrimage to Birmingham for Brain Growth

My father is not so far along yet, but we are looking forward to the process of healing.

Thanks again to you all…

**I ran the picture above earlier in the year but thought appropriate to include it in this post. This picture was taken on my Brownie camera in 1964. My father holds me on our family horse – “Queenie” – while my grandfather pushes the button. I can smell hay, saddles and the wood of the barn when I look at this picture.

INTERNATIONAL DESIGN SEMINAR – FOLK FUTURES

A WORLD OF FOLK

I am very excited to be included in this seminar and looking forward to visiting Stavanger and seeing The World of Folk exhibition:

International Design Seminar – Folk Futures With: Li Edelkoort, Tord Boontje, Natalie Chanin, Dick van Hoff, Hella Jongerius, Peter Marigold, Mike Meiré, Fernando & Humberto Campana.

As part of this summer’s A World of Folk exhibition, Folk Futures will discuss the future of unique design in a day-long symposium featuring presentations by distinguished international designers: Tord Boontje, Natalie Chanin, Dick van Hoff, Hella Jongerius, Peter Marigold, Mike Meiré and the Campanas brothers.

The seminar will examine how craft and design will provide an important and continued stimulus in this new century and analyze the implications of commercial production on uniquely made objects. Exhibition curator and trend forecaster, Li Edelkoort, will introduce a dynamic line-up of speakers, illustrating the importance of telling stories through the creative process and previewing how craft and technology will merge in symbiosis in the coming years.

The Alabama-born designer Natalie Chanin will explain how soul can be ingrained into a product through the handmade, while Dick van Hoff will talk about the challenges facing industrial production when maintaining craftsmanship principles. London-based Peter Marigold will discuss how chance and performance can influence the design of a product and Hella Jongerius will be interviewed by Li Edelkoort in an interesting conversation about the integration of local folklores in contemporary design. German art director Mike Meiré will discuss local food and its integration into the design field. Tord Boontje will revisit his journey through decoration and embellishment while joining Fernando and Humberto Campana to also describe their recent collaborations with artisans in Africa and South America.

MYELOMA SUCKS

MYELOMA SUCKS

As you will have noted, I had taken a small break from posting here while we were working on our new collection.

However, during this time, my father suffered a stroke following his third treatment for Multiple Myeloma. I am bleary-eyed.

This has been a scary, trying, and intense time filled also with compassion, caring, and the strength of human commitment to heal my father.

We are thankful to the staff at University of Arkansas Medical Sciences for their support and expertise.

My father received a positive report this morning and he has a wonderful chance for complete recovery. I am extremely grateful and know that my life is filled with HEROES.

And visit Multiple Musicians Against Multiple Myeloma – An event to benefit the International Myeloma Foundation. I received this lovely “Myeloma Sucks” pin while on the Myeloma station at UAMS with my father.

When you are thinking about giving this year, consider the Multiple Myeloma Foundation.

I am sending a wish of health, happiness, peace and thanks to everyone who has helped us through this time.

May we remember to live our lives to the fullest each and every day.
xoNatalie

HOMAGE TO A TEACHER

Occasionally in our lives, a person comes along who changes the course of our destiny and makes us a better person, simply by having touched our lives. One such person in my life was a teacher who believed in me before I knew that one could believe.

I came to his studio as a naive, wounded young woman and his quiet guidance opened a path for me that I never knew could have existed. I am the designer, business owner, manufacturer, and person I am today because of the commitment of a teacher/professor and friend: Michael Pause.

Here is a portion of an email that I received from him today:

… Speaking of which, on 30 June I resigned from the faculty, after 33 years. Cleaned the office, put my keys in an envelope, put the years in a box, ribboned it and put it up on a shelf. It was a fantastic run; every student was a gift in some way.

I mourn for the legions of students who will miss his quiet guidance, commitment to pure design, and his struggle to keep a sliver of Bauhaus alive in education today.

Let’s take a moment today to thank all of those teachers along our way who have helped to shape us into men and women we are proud to be, walking paths we are proud to walk.

Thank you Michael. May your days be filled with family, joy, good work, and laughter.