Jacqueline Surdell

by Joanna on March 3, 2015

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Weavings are definitely having an “in” moment right now and I can’t lie: I love it. The idea of covering a wall with something 3-dimensional appeals to my industrial-designer-in-a-past-life side in a big way. So you can see why the work of fiber artist and painter Jacqueline Surdell caught my attention.

Los Angeles-based Surdell’s pieces are gorgeously oversized and incredibly textural. She employs macramé knotting techniques and uses thick rope to achieve the creations shown here. With her work, she seeks to explore “a combination of industrial versus domestic and tradition versus modern.”

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{ Images from Jacqueline Surdell; found via Design Milk }

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Rebecca Mock

by Joanna on March 2, 2015

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I feel like I can say this without hyperbole: When a friend sent me a link to this illustrative work by Rebecca Mock, my jaw dropped. While many of us are well-versed in animated gifs—thanks to a world of memes and cat videos—rarely do we see the medium used as a true art form such as this.

With clients such as Nordstrom, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, I have high hopes that we will see even more of Mock’s work in the future. And you can purchase prints of the New York-based illustrator/comic artist’s work here. More good news: Mock is also currently working on a graphic novel entitled Four Points, due to be published this year.

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{ Images by Rebecca Mock }

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In her line of work, Los Angeles-based photographer Amy Dickerson meets plenty of interesting people. She shares her images and interviews with some of them in an ongoing series for Anthology called “One on One.”

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Betty Fussell

Betty Fussell is a food historian, author, and world traveler, not to mention a hip and stylish intellectual. And she’s 87. We met on a New York Times shoot and the moment I saw her round the corner—dressed in bright orange—I knew I’d found a kindred spirit.

She had just gotten back from a trip to Mexico and had a multitude of stories to share involving food and art. There are many things I love about Betty: her interest in the arts (you should here her talk about music), her stories of traveling around Tibet talking to Tibetan elders with her friend Sandy, her love of mezcal, and the way she welcomes all things sensual in life—with a focus on food (James Beard and Julia Child were friends, and Alice Waters is one). To watch her talk about food is fascinating. She can take one bite and detect even the most subtle of details.

She is striking, too—tall and elegant, with long silver hair. I once watched her walk through a dining room in Los Angeles full of beautiful people and Betty was like a rare bird gracing all in her sight.

Recently, Betty and I took a trip to the LACMA. We had a sip of mezcal before we walked the grounds enjoying the art of Richard Serra, Barbara Kruger, and James Turrell, as well as Chris Burden’s Urban Light. She was in her element. I realized while watching her take it all in that I think what I like best about Betty is how she embraces the world with knowledge, acceptance, and exuberance. You can see it all over her face—we should all be so lucky!

Betty Fussell

How did food and writing become interesting to you?

As a little kid, I always wrote doggerel verse for table celebrations like birthdays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Those were the only times we celebrated “at table.”  When we began to travel to Europe in the 1950s and onwards, I began to write about food as a focus, instead of scholarly stuff on Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot.

I was an English lit major, trained in the academy: Pomona College for B.A., Radcliffe College for M.A. (This was back when Harvard’s grad school accepted women only through the Radcliffe entrance. Harvard scared the shit out of me because I had to learn to write good expository prose for the first time in my life). I went to Rutgers University for my PhD—after my kids were old enough for me to leave the house on a regular basis to attend more grad classes and write the bloody thesis.

From 1952 on, I was teaching English courses at Conn College, Douglass College, then Rutgers: basic English lit and writing classes but also always some class in something else, principally Shakespeare. I later taught a course in Comedy to combine movies and lit, and wrote about that, too. My first scholarly articles were on were T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, Oscar Wilde’s Comedy.

Betty Fussell

And how did get into travel writing?

My first travel piece was for Holiday mag on “The Beautiful Birds of Bresse,” since I had enough French at that point—in the ’60s—to hunt out a farmer in that area, who was delighted to show me around his farm and to show off his chickens, which I had seen in a local market that morning. Europe was not yet flooded by the American tourist trade. So I could easily set up interviews with chefs who later became big stars but at that early point were pleased to have publicity in American magazines/newspapers.

In what way are food and travel connected?

During the 1950s to ’70s, we traveled all over Europe with our children. The quickest way to find the heart of a place if you’re traveling from Ireland to Greece to Italy to France is to concentrate on its stomach. You don’t need the local verbal language to share body language about the food you’re eating, whether in a taverna or a Michelin 3-star. All you need is to point, smile, and gesture. Eventually you attract the curiosity of someone with kitchen English and then you learn kitchen French or whatever. The body language in each place is as distinct as the food itself.

Betty Fussell

These days, what does your favorite day look like?

At 6:30 am, greet the morning, greet my liver (see Prometheus myth), join my breakfast club in the dining room “The Casa,” answer email, do errands, write, improvise lunch on patio, read, water plants, watch
hummingbirds, write, improvise light supper, and eat it in bed while watching a movie on TCM or Netflix. It’s lights out by 11:30 pm.

[Editor’s Note: Betty lives in a beautiful high-end retirement community in Montecito called Casa Dorinda that she often refers to as, "The Casa." She moved there about 2 1/2 years ago from NYC.]

What do you love doing that you aren’t doing?

Walking rapidly along the Hudson River Park in Manhattan or along Butterfly Beach in Montecito.

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Words to live by?

All that is—is now.

What have you accomplished that you are most proud of?

Birthing two extraordinary human beings, my daughter and my son.

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What has been your favorite age?

Before now? Mid-40s: union of bodily energy with psychic energy. Top of the world feeling.

What is your strongest sense?

I’m wired for visual. That’s why I love theater, opera, movies. I grew up on moving pictures. I have to see words before I can hear them. I have to see people’s faces before I can remember them. I have to see food before I eat it.

Betty Fussell

Favorite place to take an out of town guests?

In Montecito, Butterfly Beach and the Biltmore (now Four Seasons)—especially at sunset, especially on the Biltmore terrace with a blood-orange margarita in hand.

What’s on your to-do list?

Finish current writing project. Live long enough to do it.

Betty Fussell

{ Images and Interview by Amy Dickerson for Anthology Magazine }

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Lena Wolff x Erica Tanov Fabric

by Anh-Minh on February 26, 2015

ericatanov_openerIn our 4+ years of producing Anthology, designer Erica Tanov‘s home remains one of my all-time favorites. We featured it waaay back in Issue No. 8, and then posted some outtakes from our shoot. (The image above, taken by Kelly Ishikawa, is from the published story.)

I’ve been familiar with Erica, her work, and her Bay Area shops for years—I remember working on Fourth Street in Berkeley when I was in grad school and popping into the outpost there during my lunch breaks and just marveling at all of the beautiful things she purveyed. Right now, I’m coveting the fabrics in her collaboration with artist Lena Wolff.

My mom taught me how to sew when I was a kid, and it’s one of the crafts that I’d like to take up again. And this line of graphic fabrics just might be what finally motivates me to bust out the (no doubt dusty) sewing machine!

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{ Top image by Kelly Ishikawa for Anthology. Remaining images via Erica Tanov. }

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Paula Greif

by Joanna on February 25, 2015

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Drawing on her background in graphic design, Paula Greif has created a gorgeous line of ceramics. Actually, her background is extremely diverse and includes art direction at Condé Nast and Avedon Studio, a Super 8 rock video for The Smiths, and directing TV commercials.

Most of Greif’s pieces are made of porcelain glazed in white and featuring her visually interesting wobbly-line artwork. She pulls inspiration from 20th-century potters such as Lucie Rie, Beatrice Wood, and Rosanjin-Kitajoi, as well as traditional Mexican folk pottery and American stoneware. Personally, I’m just excited to see a potter who embraces the cat form!

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{ Images via Paula Greif }

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