New and Old Traditions

happy monday everyone. it is funny to admit that after an intense and full week, followed by an equally intense weekend, i am actually happy it is monday today. this little piece of routine, knowing i would just get up for work and then head to the market - no surprises - was actually quite calming.

it is nearly april now, and though the cold persists in new york like the unwanted guest who won't take a hint, it really has started to feel like spring time. in addition, easter is just a few moments away. this all having been said, monday turned into a path through nostalgia. it has now been three years since i've moved back to new york from greece, and though we have developed sweet and wonderful new traditions to celebrate easter with our loved ones, i do sometimes miss the breezy, sunny days leading up to easter sunday in greece. i thought it would be fun to share a few of these feelings and traditions with you today.

egg painting and dying aside, which is still a tradition i keep and hold till today, long after the move, my family has a love for decorated bread. my mother will use the last of the year's sour dough to make the bread and save some of the dough for me to fill the top with decorations. we started this in greece after gawking at some northern and central mainland loaves created for other celebrations. you see, it used to be a major aspect of even weddings in certain areas.

another thing i love is setting the table for saturday night. though a moving holiday, the season really provides for fragrant flowers. those sweet smells from whatever we would used to decorate the tabletop, along with the savory ones coming from the food creates a magical atmosphere. in my mind easter is inherently connected with the smell of orange blossoms and wisteria which grew insanely large on yiayia Calypso's fence next door. with the the good thing is that for those of you who don't have a greek relative, you can still make so many of the foods. there are excellent books out there nowadays, like this one.

one of my favorite new traditions however is the incorporation of foreign cooking. every year, we contribute to the table recipes from around the mediterranean, especially italy. last year i made a recipe i saw on "two greedy italians" for a ricotta - lemon tart that was light as a summer cloud. this recipe has a special spot in my heart for another reason. it was part of their episode titled "poor man's food", where gennaro contaldo takes us through his italian hometown and talks about how cooking altered during a period of economic trouble. people would cook with what the land grew and waste practically nothing. this reminded me of my grandma and grandpa a lot. it was also mesmerizing to see what people created with so few ingredients.

finally, one more thing, which is probably not surprising about me, is the love of decorations. like in christmas time, easter is also a holiday i like to decorate for. not just the table or the home, but the cake as well. last year i shared with you my edible floral decoration. this year i think i'll be going for a more rustic, old-fashioned style. truth be told, i am running out of time and have yet to make up my mind. one thing that i can say with certainty is that inspiration has been coming by way of artist cornelia o'donovan, and this unbelievably beautiful cake.

what are your favorite traditions? do you get nostalgic around the holidays too?
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3 Things for the Home

so it is a thing, isn't it? the whole drive for renewal comes with spring and enters pretty much every aspect of your life. admittedly, it is pretty wonderful. in my mind, it is what i picture waking from hibernation to feel like, only in the case of bears and other animals with said natural habit, they probably feel much more rested and refreshed than i currently do (hint - finals are coming up).

nonetheless, it is indeed spring and has actually started to feel like it here in new york. this means many things including splurging more on flowers for the apartment, and a sense of pride for only having killed one of my plants this winter. this is also a time of home renewal and i don't just mean the tedious exchanging of winter for lighter clothing wreaking havoc on all storage space. it also means adding a few new things to the home, that make it feel different while the same, fresher and a bit rejuvenated. granted my time is excruciatingly limited and i have been fighting away a nervous attack for fear of my upcoming deadlines, i'd like to take this lovely albeit short moment to share with you three things i would love to place in my home right this instant. 

this is a poster if the 1970 exhibition at the moma titled information. this is one of those exhibitions that went down to history for its innovativeness and promoting of new ideas and thoughts over more traditional ones in the art world. obviously, the 70's was a pretty ideal period to do this. given the fact that it's a favorite activity to update our gallery wall from time to time - this would look simply sensational next to some sketches and landscape photos, don't you think?

London's Hidden Gems

who else here lacks space for a proper coffee table? 
well for all of you fellows, who like us here, have teeny tiny ones (or none at all) there are little books that are simply fabulous for keeping lying around in your sitting area. one of these books it would be so nice to get my paws on is the above. travel grant application submitted - i am now waiting anxiously for the results hoping to get to go to london for research this summer. this little guy will at least help me deal with the fact that i am mentally, already there, while providing excellent distraction and conversation topics for guests!

speaking of limited space and lack of coffee tables, this vinyl player also bringing back the 70's design dream is just that...dreamy. ahhh...
all right, reality check having set in, it really is a pretty piece, and vinyl players are fantastic. i left my old one in greece after moving back here, but still remember the velvety feel of the sound coming from it when we played records. if you manage to get one for yourself, having fun with its design will only make it a better experience, trust me. in addition, this too is an excellent conversation piece. 

well, i have to leave you all for now, till next week. i wish you all a fantabulous weekend, and since we parted on the subject of music, here's a 70's tune to help you through the day:

by the way? what are your plans for spring renewal? we're curious.
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Magic That Comes in Little Cups

i have always been one for art - as it is obvious for those of you on this blog at the moment. nonetheless, ever since i actually dipped my foot into the industry, and now with the graduate program, life has become a whirlwind of new discoveries. it seems like so much more often i hear and am amazed by people's creativity and how it can make a seemingly unimportant object or mundane moment beautiful and poetic. one such person is gwyneth leech.

you may know her already from a display at the flatiron, or even more so from some very pretty printed cups at anthropologie; gwyneth and her art is a truly exciting story. as you will hear her say herself in the video below, she began to draw on cups during work and meetings. this passion grew and well, you will see her creating a live installation at one of the anthropologie windows.
what sounds even more interesting is the fact that she enjoys working in public, behind the window. in a way, her work illustrated cups and the final installation are not the sole art works here. on the contrary, the whole process is more like a performance art piece that the viewer gets to enjoy after it is finished as well.

it is truly wonderful how something as simple as a paper coffee cup can turn into something so beautiful and create dreamy installations. it sounded like the perfect thing to share with you on a monday morning - and not just any monday, but one starting a rather rough week. enjoy her video and her work. you may also read a whole lot more about her on her website here.

click on to comment and share your thoughts!

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How-to: Spring Candle in a Cup

there are no words to describe the elevation that everyone seems to be feeling with the sunshine these past days. sure it is still bitterly cold outside, but spring truly is here. just two days ago my friend anna and i went to the mobia to see the donatello exhibit. we decided, granted it was st. patrick's day, that it would be best to walk across central park to the museum. well, as we were reaching the other side of town, we discovered wonderful, large patches of snowdrops! needless to say, this smell of flowers and mud has stayed with me and i decided to do another spring diy to share with you all.

Tutorial Poster

to make a lovely spring candle in a cup you really need only a few simple ingredients:
*a wick
*a pretty cup (i got mine from anthropologie)
*essential oils and
*maybe some flower buds or pretty leaves if you want

after melting the wax, remove it from the heat and drop in the essential oils of your preference. the scents that remind me most of spring are sweet orange, lavender, jasmine and basil, all of which are actually affordable.

DIY candle in a cup

fasten the wick to stand in the center of your cup like in the picture. pour a tiny bit of wax and let it cool to fasten it in place. then pour the rest of the wax retaining a small amount. you will need this bit to fill in the center of the candle after the first wax is completely cold.

Final Candle in the Cup

in the meantime you can also add the buds or any leaves you might like, and there you go! you have a beautiful, naturally scented candle you have made all by yourself! in addition, i simply can't help but look at the pretty cup - anthropologies never fails to inspire fun, creative and styilish diys!

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What Not to Miss in New York This Week

first of all, happy week everyone! the weather in new york continues to be on the cloudy side, but spring feels like it is officially here - so there.

i am really excited to report on something art-related to you this monday morning. on saturday, i took myself out for an art run to catch up with things. while the original plan was to go see the artistic collaboration put together by miss, that ended up not happening because well...nobody was there. feeling kind of misled (it was raining too), i left in search of other things that needed to be seen on this little break of mine. everything else ended up being wonderful and exciting, but one case in particular was the most exciting of all!

my online friends, and silent readers, b. is in town with his show "corrupted luxury" at allouche gallery!

granted i was drowning in research and work obligations, this news came in later than what i term acceptable for myself. nonetheless, there is still time. the exhibition will be held at allouche gallery, in soho, on the first floor until march 20th. it is honestly, well worth seeing in person. for those of you who definitely cannot make it, they have a simple exhibition catalogue here.

i first encountered b.'s work when roaming about in athens where his base is. i had an urban design project located in the city's center, where his work at the time could be spotted in many locations brightening up alleys and corners. what was even more intriguing were the strong social messages hidden behind the seemingly cheerful first appearance of his illustrations.

b. was originally trained as an architect and worked as a graphic designer as well. this explains a lot about his work. the synthesis of what at the gallery, appears to be chaotic mounds of random objects is perfectly balanced leading the eye across the surface of his works. the first works i came to know and admire were mostly, like the ones above, human figures in yellow and white with clearly defined black outlines. they appeared to float about, and give a sense of elevation even though they were mounted on heavy, immovable concrete walls.

at allouche, it was really pleasant to see how his work has evolved since then. his inspiration is still drawn by the current social and political situation in greece. while some may think that could lead to exhausting the subject, or becoming banal - this is far from the case with b.. bright colors contrasting against his characteristic black outlines ease the viewer into what at first seems a bright and happy play with images. as one sits and observes each work, he is sucked into the details where all the meaning really lies. the collection of large scale canvases focus on the hoarding of wealth and at the same time, the materialization of values. things are spilling about everywhere, drowning the space, and in some cases appear as though they are about to swallow his whimsical characters. unicorns are placed next to signs proclaiming "death", "love" and "fake". everything is thrown into piles and it is up to the viewer to decide what is surviving and what is in danger of getting drowned in these hoards.

the works' scale and vividness easily draw the viewer in, which in the end, is the actual point - to get him to think of all the matters the artist is concerned with. what is value, and where do we place it today? has love become a commodity, to be placed on the same levels as fraud? where do we go from here? most important i find, is the contrast between the concept and the appearance of the work. the clean, playful graphics contrast with the theory, ideas and questions just posed making another point in and of itself. namely, one comes to wonder whether our prettifying everything - from our values to what haunts us - has made us pile it all into one pile like the ones he draws rendering them nearly indistinguishable.

b. is a young and influential artist working between media to portray social issues, raising thought and questioning. these issues though initially deriving from athens and greece in general, are undoubtedly ones that can concern people across all oceans and borders. allouche gallery put together a beautiful exhibition, designed to bring out all of the exciting elements of the artist's work in a bright, modern "white cube". it was certainly, the best unplanned gallery visit in a long time, which is why i recommend it to you all. in fact, if you're even feeling a bit more cheery today, why not share the article and let more people know!


read more about b. here
exhibition announcement here
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