JOURNAL — Bowls RSS



The Perfect Summer

I love visiting the Mediterranean during the Summer.  Greece, Italy, Spain or the South of France—it doesn't matter—I love the warm, dry weather and the sapphire blue waters of that ancient sea (and the cultures which surround it).  Summer is always that much better when it includes a bit of time on (or near) the Mediterranean Sea.   In the handsome city of Monte Carlo, they built a large pier—to both protect the small (expensive) boats inside the harbor and to allow large ships to dock on the outer side.  On the sea-facing side of the pier, a large cement structure (called "Solarium Beach") has been designed as a series of gigantic "steps" leading to the water.  They allow bathers...

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Will Little Nell Live?

Charles Dickens published The Old Curiosity Shoppe as a weekly series in 1840 and 1841.  It proved so successful—on both sides of the Atlantic—that frantic New Yorkers stormed the pier when the final installment arrived by ship from England.  They all wanted to know: "Will Little Nell Live?" The story concerns 13 year old Nell, a kind and loving girl who was orphaned after her parents died in poverty.  She is taken-in by her grandfather and they live in an antiques shop. She is a lonely girl; her only friend is Kit, a good boy who works in the shop, whom Nell teaches to write.  Kit secretly falls in love with Nell and commits himself to keeping her safe.  But...

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Rustic Character

Yesterday, we shared one of the finest trays in our collection. If one might call that one "Beauty," the shallow bowl, shown above, might be called "The Beast."   But a beast is not without its usefulness—or its charm.  Rustically hand-hammered copper is fashioned into a shallow bowl.  Set upon a refectory table, it would be perfect for holding fruit, bread or a collection of decorative objects—pinecones, wine corks, seashells or glass balls.

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Snowball

I have always liked matte white pottery and keep a personal collection myself—on the wide windowsill over my kitchen sink. The simplicity of color contributes a fresh and clean look without appearing industrial or sterile. And the form of each piece can be appreciated clearly, without the optical effects (or distraction) which darker colors sometimes contribute. When assembling a white ceramics grouping, some people are sticklers for maintaining the purity of one particular shade of white—be it cool, warm, bluish, pinkish, or yellowish. I appreciate this discipline, but am a little more relaxed about my personal grouping.  I find that, once you have enough pieces, a "palette" of whites can look wonderful together (within a controlled range). For example, if you...

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A Peach of a Bowl

Occasionally, I'll uncover something which I have never seen before. I will know nothing about its age, maker, or place of origin. I'll have no intellectual reference by which to value it.  But I will recognize something of quality—and a little voice which says, "Don't put this back."  This bowl is just such an item.  I found it at a house auction in nearby Ohio. It is clearly Modernist in design. The weight of the crystal and the quality of the hand-cutting are superb. And the peach colored crystal is sublime.  Is it something from the Modernist Period?  Or is it something made—indeed, well made—recently (or even today)?  I'm not a glass expert, nevertheless, I acquired the piece. Whether it's recent or vintage,...

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The Sea in Siena

Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, is known for many things: Saint Catherine (Doctor of the Church), the annual Palio horserace (in the city's expansive square), the grand Cathedral (completed in 1263), and, of course, the coveted honey-caramel Siena marble, used to make the bowl shown here. Siena marble is hand-carved into this handsome (and heavy) Italian bowl—fashioned in the shape of a scalloped seashell (often an attribute which identifies Saint James).  Use it as a handsome solution for holding business cards, clips, candies, cigarette ashes, or even the contents of an emptied pocket. 

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Welcome, October!

Welcome, October, and your birthstone the Tourmaline.  Today we know October as the tenth month of the "modern" Julian and Gregorian calendars. But it wasn't always this way.  In the period of the Roman Empire (which straddled the lifetime of Christ), October was the eighth month—made apparent by October's root word, "Octo" (which means "Eight").  Interestingly, in France, Octobre is sometimes abbreviated as "8bre." October's birthstone, the Tourmaline, is a semi-precious gemstone, a "crystalline boron silicate mineral."  It can be infused with traces of a wide variety of different metallic elements—each of which results in a different color possibility.  Thus, tourmaline can be mined in many different colors: black, brown, and every color of the rainbow (red through violet) and even bi-colored variations....

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Hand-Raised Copper - part III

Here's something a little different: a "Lotus Bowl" with nicely-scalloped sides. Raised from a single ingot of copper—just like the vases we've shown—it was made "freeform" with just a pair of tongs, hammers and an anvil. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   More hand-hammered copper items in the days to come.     Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).  We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only)....

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