Just back from another inspiring Peruvian buying trip. No altitude sickness this time, leaving me with plenty of energy to check out the beautiful colors, monumental scenery, and artful tribal elements…
The first thing we were told when we arrived at our shoot location and four-day-home this past October was; “Check your shoes for scorpions. Oh yeah, and check under the sheets, too!” The next thing that happened was grilling under the stars and a delicious bottle of red. We spent that first evening in Yucca Valley chatting with our host, Tracey Fischer, in her mid-century modern, high desert house. (www.highdeserthouse.com)
We spent the next three days up at dawn and down at midnight, working every hour in the sublime desert landscape. Our usual two-person crew had grown to three. Michael Stratton joined us as photographer.
Yikes! Joshua Tree National Park was closed due to the government shutdown… Miraculously, the neighbors have acres of precisely the same desert terrain, filled with our prickly J-tree friends, and elegant, massive boulders.
We had sunburns and giggles, cracked lips and gallons of water, but no scorpion ambushes in the end.
Here are some behind the scenes shots…
That’s what the locals call Guatemala.
This past September, I attended a trade show in Antigua – a jewel of a colonial town, all
cobblestones polished with age, giant wooden doors, lush hidden courtyards, and very antique churches looking poetic in total ruins. Antigua has a live volcano for a neighbor: Pacaya regularly puffs small bursts of ash into the air, a phenomenon which in rainy season is best observed in the morning, when there are a few hours of visible sky.. completely enchanting.
The show was held at a beautiful hotel, a refurbished monastery with magical historic grounds and luxuriant spaces. Artisans and small producers from all over central America were present. I met with 5 different opportunities to collaborate in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and I have already begun with elegant, hand carved, wooden bead necklaces, hand woven rugs and belts featuring a smart contemporary sensibility, and hand woven blankets from brightly colored, artful typical textiles..
I will go back.
And I will certainly make time to return to lake Atitlan, where I enjoyed my traveler’s day off! I hung out at a secluded lakeside boutique hotel all morning, chilling and occasionally hurling myself into “the bellybutton of the world,” as the native Mayans sometimes refer to the lake. A truly peaceful, majestic landscape and rich piece of culture to dip into.
On location in Tulum, Mexico in January 2013…
With a team of two happy, beach going, every-hat-wearing, Nomadic ladies!
The team consists of Nicole Gulotta and Jessi Highet; Nicole behind the camera and Jessi on camera. We handled absolutely everything; pre-production, location scouting, prepping, styling, shooting, modeling, editing, etc, etc, etc.. We absolutely had a lot of fun…
Next time we hope to head down with a full, proper crew!
We stayed at Yoga Shala, hung out at Uno Astrolodge, ate at El Tabano, and drank at Casa Jaguar. On our last day, after passing out accidentally on the beach next to a pile of towels, we were able to score a private yoga lesson with the loveliest and lightest of yoga teachers. We were guided to dance like Indian goddesses, in poses we’d never done before, in the windswept, oceanfront, yoga palapa at Shambala Petit Hotel— the perfect end to our adventure!
The new collection is arriving next week !! From Africa, Turkey, India…
It all needs to get sorted and tagged and entered and stored…
And then, it needs to be photographed. I’m still taking the pictures myself, and luckily my years as a stylist are helping in this creative aspect of the Nomadic endeavor.
One of the perks is spending time in a beautiful location…. and which will it be?!!
Here are some pictures from past trips which show landscapes and colors I’m always on the look out for..
This time, Vieques, PR, and Sardegna, Italy, are highest on the list of possibilities.. with Northern California and Montauk, NY in the running, too.
Factors towards decision making involve the obvious natural beauty quotient, current weather, cost of travel+sojourn, and often,
the manifestation of special boons..
I have been graciously hosted and generously aided on countless occasions by dear friends and their families in this whole Nomadic adventure..
They have offered their kids and themselves as models, their homes as both bases and locations, and infinite support and council.
They’ve helped to schlepp, steam, primp, and fold, and have stood struggling to hold many a textile furiously blowing in the wind.. one or two may have even been poked in the eye by unruly driftwood!
Here’s to all those lovely and loving helpers, THANK YOU!
While visiting a dear friend in Tuscany just now, I was lucky to bump into a fountain of textile chic. We had spied these bright and elegant striped fabrics in several shops around Arezzo last winter, and this time we came upon the source. Busatti, in nearby Anghiari, was founded in 1842 by Giuseppe Busatti and remains a family run business based on centuries of expertise and artisanship. Their colors are sublime, their workmanship impeccable. Michelangelo Formica of Busatti was kind enough to give us a thoroughly fascinating tour of the venerable Anghiari mill, explaining the workings of the antique machinery and sharing their line of beautiful fabrics.
I was most attracted to the cotton and linen blend striped fabrics, and to the blue cotton oxford-like cloth. I conjured up chic+eclectic bedding in my mind’s eye; fantastically striped duvet covers for big beds, finely striped duvet covers piped in bright hues for kids and babies. And of course lots of shams and pillows.
Samples will be under way soon!
Some pictures of the incredible machinery:
Although finding such beauty in my mother country was not really surprising, coming upon it in such a fortuitous manner and being received so graciously by the Busatti company was a real joy. In case you’re wondering, lunch after the visit was had at a nearby family run trattoria and was comprised of 5 kinds of crostini, bigoli with ragu, a splash of local wine, and an espresso!
This past summer I spent some truly charming time in England.
I made it to a few brilliant music festivals, visited with great old friends, and made some lovely new ones, too. While in Brighton, I came across an eye-catching blanket in an antiques shop – bright, eclectic, and full of story. The sales person told me a bit about it.. it was a Welsh Tapestry Blanket, likely from the area of Herefordshire. As luck would have it, I was on my way to exactly that part of the country for the Big Chill festival, so I took some days to explore Wales and to find some more of these treasured heirlooms.
I picked up this blanket during a very lovely visit to Hay-on-Wye, an adorable town on the river Wye filled to the rafters with books of all kinds. The Great English Outdoors had a great selection of the Welsh blankets I was after. I picked out the purple and green 70’s design blanket above and learned a thing or two about the blanket’s tradition. Many designs reflect the workmanship of a particular mill in Wales. Traditional motifs and patterns are repeated and are often specific to certain periods, as are the combinations of colors. My eye always seemed to be attracted to the blankets from the 70’s, brighter, bolder, and more eccentric than their antique counterparts. Each blanket certainly has a personality. Like many heirlooms, these heavy, beautiful blankets tell the story of the countryside homes they have passed through and the many people whom they have kept warm. They were often given as wedding gifts, a bit of folklore which I find particularly sweet.
Is an incredibly intricate and time intensive craft.
The majority of hand loom fabrics is entirely woven by hand, thread by thread, on a wooden loom, with no electricity. The design on this Jamdani fabric is inserted by hand with a needle during the weaving process.
We decided to visit the village in Bengal where the Nomadic Thread Society ♥ ‘Aish scarves and shawls are made. It was an adventure making our way to this remote spot – with no paved roads, no electricity, and hidden in a little jungle. The whole village came out to greet us!
I’m enjoying a sort of visual and cultural sustenance through my travels. It happens that the colors I see in the landscapes and cities I visit quite literally infuse my visual perception – they have a permeating effect on my visual system. I’ve noticed that I choose certain textiles based on specific colors and textures I’ve seen in my surroundings – in sunsets, skies, seas, flowers, rocks, spices, architectural motifs, and on and on..
The softer hues can be relaxing, romantic, and evocative in dozens of subtle ways.
The effects of the more spectacular colors can actually be mood elevating, stimulating. For example, the bright crazy green of the sea color in a cove in Capri makes me instantly elated and gratified.
Often I’ve felt a “brain-washing” effect from such incredibly strong sea colors – an erasing of all thought and clutter – what I experience as color therapy. I’m thinking this effect may carry over into the textiles in some ways..