Thursday, December 30, 2010


How would you specify the furniture and objects created by Oriel Harwood? Art furniture, designer furniture, functional art? No matter how you are going to name it her creations are inspirational and definitely eccentric and beautiful eyecatchers.
"Oriel Harwood's audacious pieces - neither furniture nor ornamentation, but something in between - are not made for meek persons or clinically Noughties interiors. They are heroic, flamboyant, unashamedly ostentatious outpourings from the creative mind..." (from her website)
What struck me most at first sight were Oriel's chandeliers which reminded me of those wonderful decorations you can find in the backdrops of films featuring fairly tales and other phantasy epics. The more I was astonished when I found out that these art furnishings were meant to be in a "normal" home.
The  art pieces are reminiscent of nature's eccentric formations as you can find them especially in winter time, when the ice is forming incredible sculptures. 

Being a great fan of fairy tales since my childhood I started to do some research and what I found were these wonderfully eccentric pieces:

(all images courtesy of Oriel Harwood)

Finally I found this marvellous mirrored paravent on the website of 1stdibs under furniture. Whether it is still available there I don't know:

(image source:

The New York Times wrote 1989 :
"Most people have a limited view of pottery, says Oriel Harwood, a ceramics artist. ''They think you either make things like mugs and ashtrays or you do sculpture.'' Ms. Harwood, 28 years old, makes large freestanding pottery pieces that are designed to be decorative. If they prove functional or sculptural, it is just a happy coincidence...."

"Ms. Harwood has incorporated extravagant baroque and mannerist elements into her ceramics since her days at Middlesex Polytechnic, where she graduated in 1982. Ms. Harwood's objects have been shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Orangery in Holland Park here, the Chelsea Flower Show, the National Garden Festival at Stoke-on-Trent and in exhibitions sponsored by England's Crafts Council."

''If you have a very straightforward interior, I think you need some quirky objects breaking it,'' she said. ''My work will probably become even weirder in the future.'' (from the New York Times)

Best you view this little video with Oriel made by the Media Center of the Deutsche Welle in November 2010. Oriel is talking about her art and how she feels about making her art. In Britain she is called the Queen of the Baroque which says it all...

Oriel's work is currently represented exclusively by the David Gill Galleries in London.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and some Winter Impressions

Peace to everybody
and a

May you all have wonderful holidays
in peace and harmony with
your family and/or friends

And here are some winter impressions - if only winter would always look like that it would be more tolerable...

(all images ©Petra Voegtle)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bedroom under the Roof and a Winter Landscape

There is nothing spectacular in this bedroom and it does not even look similar yet it reminds me of my childhood just because it is directly beneath the roof with slanting walls.

My bedroom at my parents house was the highest beneath the roof, it had 2 slanting walls, 2 small windows with a breathtaking view over the valley towards the mountains and my father had made a built-in bed just beneath one of those slanting walls. The room was small but for a child it was heavenly and cozy. In the early morning I was awakened by the singing blackbirds which had their nests beneath the roof and I could hear their scratching on the wood when they climbed into their nest. Funny how seeing a totally different room can recall such memories...

As usual I virtually added some art to the wall which I would certainly do if this room were mine - this time I added a photo with a winter landscape which is very appropriate at this time of the year. I decided to introduce also my photography. I tend to forget that photos can add a lot of charme to a room not only paintings. I have quite a stock of wonderful photographs in the meanwhile and it would be a shame not to take this opportunity to share them with you.

Here is the original photo with a blank wall. It looks a bit impersonal at this stage:

Below is the photograph with the winter landscape that I thought to be perfect for this room:

©Petra Voegtle

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hornets in the Doorway

Do you like hornets? I do and I can tell you why.

You will soon understand why I try to break a stone for these wonderful insects. The silk scroll (see below) is an hommage to an insect which has a very bad reputation due to many myths which need to be rectified. Exaggerated stories of hornet attacks and the effect of their stings such as "Seven hornet stings kill a horse, three an adult and two a child" simply belong to that world of fairy tales. Such myths which exist for generations have led to the hornet becoming an endangered species in many areas of Central Europe, due to merciless human pursuit.

43" x 24", silk scroll

©Petra Voegtle

Hornets belong to the most useful insects at all. While most people seem to be afraid of them because of misinformation there is absolutely not need for this. Bees and wasps can be much more dangerous and aggressive. Hornets are peaceful insects as long as one doesn't behave like an idiot and tries to remove their nests. When you have a hornet nest in your garden you should call yourself a lucky person because then you won't have any problems with wasps and other stinging insects such as moskitos and gadflies.

They buzz - this is probably making people nervous. But you should not be. It's a sound that is much more peaceful than the angry barking of your neighbour's dog. Hornets will not attack you and try to eat the jam on your roll or dirsturb your coffee party - they do not eat sugar or other artificial sweets.

Hornets are incredible architects. They build their little palaces with a craftmanship and esthetics that hardly can be compared to anything else from the world of insects. They are real interior designers.

(image source:

(image source:

Some time ago some rare wood wasps built a nest outside the window of my mom's house. It was at a place that was not a problem. So I had the opportunity to take the wonderful material they created for the nest into my hands after they had all left. It is very similar to the one hornets are creating. I have added some photos I made from pieces of a wasp nest, photographed against light so that you can admire the structures and patterns of these incredible architects:

photography ©Petra Voegtle

And where would I hang the scroll? This doorway would be perfect for hanging this scroll although the original piece of art looks marvellous too. I especially like the connection to wood...

But wouldn't it bring even more luck to you to have this scroll hanging in your house?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Itsy bitsy Flower Power Hippy Memories or what...?

From time to time these memories come back and then I realize it has been a long long time ago as if in another life. People normally grow out of this but sometimes I feel that little tugging at my you remember?

This is what I felt when I saw this sweet little bedroom. Not that it really looks so much flower power loaden but it somehow reminds me. What does it remind YOU of?

I wanted to give this room a bit more art so I placed that painting virtually on the wall. Contemplation on a Feather it is called and it certainly reminds me of philosophical discussions through many nights, with many glasses of cheap red wine and many many cigarettes. It reminds me of so many subjects we discussed and which had so much importance that somehow got lost in the decades passing by. When did they actually get lost? I cannot remember...

 original image source and with courtesy of 

The painting is acrylic on cotton and belongs to my pigeon series. As you may know I am writing a documentary and diary about a feral pigeon family who lives on my balcony since nearly 3 years now. This diary contains many stories and photos about pigeons, who are extremely underestimated and misjudged. These birds are highly intelligent, make very funny companions and are absolutely amiable. If only more people would realize how special these birds are. Maybe you will change your mind too if you start reading my blog Pigeon Tales. You will learn a lot of things you probably did not know before.

"Contemplation on a Feather"
(from the Pigeons series)

18" x 26" acrylic
©Petra Voegtle
 If you would like to know more about this series please check this link.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beautiful Silk Art for large Bedroom Walls

In tropical climates you need to build large open spaces in order to be able to abandon the airconditioning. And if you want to decorate large empty walls - who would not - you will need large art pieces (according to one of the interior design rules: proportion and scale).

Just like this one: a silk art quilt with a theme that depicts some of the most beautiful mystic figures of southeast Asian epics: Apsaras.

I think you would agree that this wall looks a bit too blank and empty and without any decor one could feel a bit lost.

The art quilt has been entirely handstitched. The motif shows 3 apsaras placed in a fantasy forest. It is an hommage to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and its ancient art with hundreds of apsara sculptures, which have been carved into the stone walls of the temples. Ancient cultures, where silks were common in clothing and the interior of houses...
52" x 69", silk art quilt
©Petra Voegtle

Btw - you can find more detailed pics under this link.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rhythm in Interior Design and the Bedroom

The columns of classic interior design are defined by 6 major rules:
  1. proportion and scale
  2. balance
  3. contrast
  4. colours and textures
  5. rhythm
  6. harmony
These are more or less the same rules which also apply to the composition of a painting. So for me the design of a room is comparable with a painting in 3d format. Either you feel good in it or not.

In this room vignette clearly the rule of rythm is followed by the silk painting on the wall repeating the pattern of the rug, not to speak of the colours which can be found in the art as well. Additionally I virtually placed the painting into a large golden frame in order to repeat the gilded chair. As everything else is kept rather simple the frame would add a focal point to this room without being too dominant. Without the artwork though the room would look a bit gloomy...

 original image source and with courtesy of 
The painting is created on silk. Inspired by the rice terraces of southeast Asia it recalls memories of mystical landscapes in the early morning hours when the damp air from the night rises with the first sunbeams.

"Ricefields at Dawn"
(from the Magic Landscapes series) 
40" x 21", silk (without frame)
©Petra Voegtle
You can see other room examples with this painting here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LUXURY FANTASIES: Ornaments which make you drool

I was not quite sure whether I should put this really under LUXURY FANTASIES because normally the objects I describe here, are hardly accessible for "normal people" with an average income - but this time I use it in a different sense, the LUXURY of FANTASY. I am talking about the work of Melanie Royals from  the Royal Design Studio and her crew and some ways to turn your home into a luxury accomodation.

Melanie is the highly talented artist who makes this luxury accessible to anyone who has a bit of artistic talent and - if not - at least supplies you with the necessary resources i.e. materials and potentially the professionally trained artisan in your area to fulfill your dreams of a luxury home.

I can show you only a very small collection of images from her work and I recommend you to check her official website of the Royal Design Studio and scroll though hundreds of images and let your fantasy go bonkers.

For example there are
Allover Production Stencils: "Production pattern stencils allow you to complete allover wall stencil patterns quickly. Each Production stencil pattern contains multiple repeats of the allover pattern, meaning that you will not have to reposition your allover wall stencil as frequently" 

Ceiling Motif Stencils: "These ceiling stencils are the perfect way to add stenciled color and pattern to the "fifth wall"."

Nature Harvest Stencils:  "This stencil collection features classic fruit and foliage stencils that are ideal for adding stenciled accents to kichen and dining room walls, as well as stenciling on fabric and furniture."

And various ethnic collections - which I love specifically - such as the
Moroccan Stencils: "This collection of Moroccan stencils was created for, and inspired by, three painting trips to Marrakech, Morocco."

But this is not all. There are stencils you could use for slipcovers - imagine how to give your old chairs a complete renovation with just a stenciled slipcover.

And what about stenciling some simple boxes - they could be turned into some precious vessels for your little secrets...pretty little Christmas presents that do not cost you a fortune but are handmade with love.

(all images with courtesy and copyright of Melanie Royals)

But this is still not all: Melanie also offers various books and videos, on-line workshops as well as DVD's where you can train and explore your own artistic talents including several free How-To's about the basic techniques.

Melanie Royals is a self-taught artist and entrepreneur who re-discovered and updated decorative arts stenciling beginning in 1984 and founded Royal Design Studio in San Diego, California in 1991. The first catalogue of pre-cut designer stencils was released in 1994. In it, the studio introduced an entirely new concept, "free-form" stenciling, which is now a much-copied, industry staple. Melanie and her crew continue to create new looks and inspirational techniques.

And if you would like to know more about Melanie's personal views and experiences - she also writes a wonderful blog: Designamour that says it all...

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