Fine Art Focus: Nadine Ijewere

Fine Art Focus: Nadine Ijewere

Ayesha
I don’t know if I’ve ever fallen as hard — or as quickly — for an artist’s work as I did with photographer Nadine Ijewere. Nadine’s mother and father were Jamaican and Nigerian, but Nadine always struggled to feel as connected to her roots as she wanted, because she was raised in London. In an interview with I-D, she said she, “remembers being jealous of friends who were more connected to their traditions.” So Nadine studied at the London College of Fashion and focused on fashion photography, which led her to create incredibly lush and expertly styled shoots that explored different world cultures through identity and fashion.

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Her series “The Misrepresentation of Representation” explores “beauty” and the way it’s affected, and in some ways defined, by culture. She also set out to create a stunning series of portraits that use flowers to explore cultural diversity and “the relationship between identifying oneself and the meaning of beauty.” I could look at these photos and examine their intricate details for hours. There is so much said in each woman’s face and there’s such a rich history told in the set-styling as well. If you haven’t checked out Nadine’s work before, please stop everything and go check out her website and Instagram feed now. I promise you’ll be glad you did. xo, grace

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Artist: Nadine Ijewere
About: Nadine is a London-based fashion and portrait photographer. She graduated from London College of Fashion with a BA in Fashion Photography.
More: You can follow Nadine on Instagram, check out her website and read her interviews in I-D, Lazy Oaf and Indie Magazine.

All photography (c) Nadine Ijewere. Images via NadineIjewere.com

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10 Indian Ceramic Brands

10 Indian Ceramics on Design Sponge

10 Indian Ceramic Brands

During my holidays as a child, I would travel to a small village called Santiniketan on the outskirts of Calcutta, where my grandparents had an idyllic holiday home (bouganvillia, vegetable patches, paddy fields and meandering cows abounded). The town was established by iconic Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and built around his ideals of learning through nature. Santiniketan now thrives with a literary past, bohemian allure and lauded craft community.  

Each trip to Santiniketan, I eagerly looked forward to the Poush Mela, a huge fair which marked the harvest season by celebrating folk traditions, including the town’s many cottage industries specializing in folk craft. Businesses who could afford it would have covered stalls, but I was always drawn to the smallest rural crafters who exhibited their wares simply on the ground.

I recall a strong visual of the Mela from my childlike view — an expanse of blue sky, blanket after blanket of clay wares dotted with brick red terracotta figures, earthy glazed vessels, tiny tactile stoneware sculptures and the red earth underneath that they were made from. For me, there 
is something that is so inherently raw and linked to the land with Indian pottery, something in its weight, tactility and texture that compares to no other — perhaps we all feel that way when we possess something that is made from the same soil as us? Here I share 10 Indian Ceramic brands —Rohini

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10 Fun Kiddos to Follow on Instagram

10 Instagramming Kiddos You've Gotta Follow, Design*Sponge

10 Fun Kiddos to Follow on Instagram

My favorite thing about Instagram is how it brings people from different backgrounds together to celebrate storytelling. That’s what Instagram feeds really are, right? They’re sets of squares that capture the story of how you’re feeling and what you’re liking at any given moment. When taken one square at a time, they seem fleeting, but if you look back through your last year’s worth (or more) of posts, you’ll quickly realize your page tells a much larger narrative than you imagined.

My generation started telling our stories through Instagram in our mid 20s, but nowadays, children of all ages are beginning to use the platform. The 10 kiddos we’ve rounded up for you today are just a sampling of Instagram’s many inspiring and creative youngsters. Through their feeds — and with the help of their parents — each tells their own unique story, and each one had me grinning as I scrolled through their photos. Enjoy! —Garrett

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Creativity, Storytelling, and Rolling With The Punches with Bessie Akuba

Creativity, Storytelling, and Rolling With The Punches with Bessie Akuba

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Growing and changing is a part of life, but for Bessie Akuba Winn-Afeku, it quickly became evident that evolving was not only a natural progression in business, but a vital and helpful one. As a photographer, creative consultant, creative director and lifestyle blogger, every experience she’s had — from traveling to dealing with clients — has taught her things about both herself and business, and things she has learned in one area of business have informed others in ways she never expected.

Stepping outside of her comfort zone still scares her, but she always does so willingly knowing that a valuable lesson lies on the other side of fear, and today, she’s sharing more about her past, the stumbles she’s made along her path, where she gets her love for storytelling, and rolling with life’s punches. –Sabrina

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Feminism and Photography with Carly Romeo

Feminism and Photography with Carly Romeo

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Carly Romeo is one busy lady. She not only runs Two Spoons Photography, is the co-founder of Catalyst Wedding Company — which publishes the feminist wedding magazine Catalyst — and produces (un)convention, an event for wedding professionals, but she also works at a feminist speakers’ bureau and runs Feminist Camp.

Hailing from a rich feminist background — from her academics, to her activism, to her career-path which included working at Planned Parenthood and as Gloria Steinem’s personal assistant –, Carly is passionate about equality and celebrating the love and union of all couples, not matter their age, sex or gender. Today, she’s joining us to chat about how she discovered her niche, her dreams and beliefs, how she balances her myriad roles, and the simple but profound thing Gloria Steinem said to her that changed it all. –Sabrina

Portrait photo by Jen Siomacco, Office photography by Meredith Hill

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Peterborough, ON City Guide

Peterborough, ON City Guide

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A charming, hidden gem of a city located in southern Ontario in Canada, Peterborough is most noted for Trent University, the Quaker Oat Factory, the impressive lift locks and the General Electric Factory — but as today’s city guide writer, Melissa Wilson says, “this city has a lot more to offer than a Tim Hortons off the highway.”

Just two hours east of Toronto — at the tip of the Kawarthas — it’s chock-full of great amenities for the perfect weekend destination, but is also the proud home of many locals who enjoy its many walking and cycling trails, parks, ski clubs, cottage country, farmers’ markets, artisan shops and lakeside cafés. With snowier winters and cooler summers, it’s not for everyone, Melissa says, “I’ve seen neighbors cross-country ski to work,” but the laid-back attitude and charm of its people (and their love for wool socks) make up for it.

Melissa is proud to call Peterborough, Ontario home, saying, “Three years, two apartments, a yoga teaching certification and a pile of new friends later, I’ve narrowed down my top places to eat, shop, drink and go,” which is still a pretty generous, all-encompassing list. Enjoy! –Sabrina

Photography by Melissa Wilson

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Moody Blues: 11 Blues for the Home

Moody Blues: 11 Blues for the Home

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All week I’ve been drawn towards ocean-inspired colors. Maybe it’s the idea of summer creeping closer and trips to the beach, but all I want to do is move the winter whites out of the way and bring in some deep blues that remind me of the sound of waves. From prints and scarves to wall hangings and cutting boards, this quick roundup has a little something for everyone. My favorite is that beautiful print — it’s the perfect piece for friends, colleagues, loved ones and kids alike. xo, grace

Image above, clockwise from top left: Emily Isabella Wallpaper $140, Taos Scarf $120, Candle $48, Tealights $8+, Cheese Board $62, The Pot Book $49.95. 

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Image above: We Are So Good Together by Dylan Fareed, $60 at 20×200

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Image above, clockwise from top left: Rebecca Atwood Marbled Wallpaper $5 for sample swatch, Shibori Stripe by Milton and King $160, Azilal Rug $675

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Image above: Blue basket $48, Marbled Paper Napkins $8

BLUESCARF
Image above: Alma Scarf, $75 from Block Shop Textiles

Art Meets Recycling with Anna Church’s Sculptural Photographs

Art Meets Recycling with Anna Church’s Sculptural Photographs

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I first discovered New Zealand-born sculptographer Anna Church on Instagram where her attention-grabbing photographs caught my eye while browsing my explore feed. Totally unique, her arrangement approach to fine art not only creates beautiful pieces, but speaks to her passion for the environment by transforming garbage and forgotten items into art, giving a new meaning to the word recycling. Using whatever she can get her hands on — be it forgotten plasterwork moldings or a Victorian sconce — she elevates found pieces into something extraordinary.

And just as her work tells a story and invites you in to experience the meaning for yourself, today we’re inviting her aboard to chat more about her career path. Anna shares with us how she funded her dreams, the challenges of being a full-time mom and artist, and the wonderfully difficult game of defining what it is you do. –Sabrina

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The San Francisco Victorian of Restoration Hardware’s Creative Force

The San Francisco Victorian of RH Chief Creative Officer on Design*Sponge

The San Francisco Victorian of Restoration Hardware’s Creative Force

Celia Tejada bought her home in the 1990s, about 100 years after it was originally built. This San Francisco Victorian had fallen into major disrepair – the ceilings in some rooms had fallen in, and the attic had no floor – but Celia was up for the challenge. She fixed it up while retaining as many original details as possible, salvaging crown moldings and keeping the original marble sinks in many of the bathrooms. Although the space is always evolving, its clean, black-and-white palette represents the classic and modern elements infused into the home’s style. And as I discussed in my ode to dark walls, the dark ceilings and walls in Celia’s home make the rooms feel as expansive as the night sky. This home was built for entertaining, with intimate and personal settings for friendly gatherings. In fact, every week, Celia has a group of friends over for tertulia, a bohemian Spanish-style culinary and literary gathering.

Celia grew up in Valderredible, Spain, in a small, rural community of just over 100 people. When she was encouraged to seek a more rigorous education in the city, she took the opportunity, eventually attending an Italian design school in Bilbao on scholarship at age 15. After graduating, she worked for a luxury kitchen design showroom for several years before moving to San Francisco, CA. Despite her background in interior architecture, Celia started channeling her creativity into fashion, and launched the Celia Tejada fashion house. After her first fashion show in the fall of 1987, the label took off and she was soon selling in boutiques and department stores like Barney’s, Bloomingale’s, and Neiman Marcus. But after the economic downturn of the 1990s, the fashion line proved too young to survive. As she closed the fashion business, she started a new journey that took her back to her roots in interior design.

When Celia’s friend — who worked at Pottery Barn — realized Celia was looking for a new job, she thought of how much the brand needed her leadership, and insisted that she meet Gary Friedman (CEO at that time). After a long lunch with Gary, Celia was hired into the Williams-Sonoma Group. As Chief Design Officer at Pottery Barn, she led the home decor brand and now she serves as Chief Creative Officer at Restoration Hardware.

Celia’s passion is not just for design, but rather for life. Her home is a testament to this belief – it’s always full of art and often full of people, with a focus on comfort and easy entertaining. Her home is about  gracious, relaxed spaces where people can feel welcome and relaxed. Each vignette in her home tells a story – whether it’s a photograph she took herself, or a message sitting in a typewriter. It’s a mix of high and low that always ends up looking chic- with a coat of black paint. –Kevin

To see how Celia’s home has evolved, check out this tour from 2004 on Oprah.com and her kitchen renovation on ElleDecor.com.

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Geometric Patterns Perk Up a Mid-Century Home in Oregon

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Geometric Patterns Perk Up a Mid-Century Home in Oregon

I have always had a soft spot for intricate, bold patterns. The more offbeat the color combination and the wackier the style, the better. Lately, though, I’ve found myself in the minority as art directors, fashion designers and interior decorators alike continue to scale back on the bigness and detail of the patterns they use. These forward thinkers seem to be favoring more streamlined looks based in simple squares, rectangles, and what I call “squiggles.” Their more basic designs not only stand out when compared to overly-saturated looks, but they creep up and surprise you with how impactful – yet simple – they are.

The stunning paint jobs in the Portland, OR home of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.’s Marketing Project Manager Summer Wick and her husband Brandon are a perfect example of how simple shapes can leave a lasting impression. Their bedrooms’ walls are decked out in basic triangles, and bold-and-black stripes add drama to the dining nook. The crisp shapes they’ve used in the patterns look easy enough to create. But as with most fundamental designs, there was more to it than meets the eye. It was a tedious, tiring and careful process. Using a stencil and a steady brush, the couple carefully spaced out each element and hand-painted every single one themselves.

These pretty wall treatments truly are the house’s pièce de résistance, but look past them and you’ll find a mid-century modern fan’s dream home. It didn’t land in Summer and Brandon’s lap this way, though. Left untouched for 60 years, the home had avocado walls, shag carpeting and pink tile when they moved in. Swapping out all of these outdated quirks may seem daunting to some, but not for this DIY pair. Huge fans of modern design themselves, the couple saw this as an opportunity to fully express their affinity for the era. Each tweak they’ve made to the space, from new appliances to lighting, has been carefully considered in order to fit seamlessly with the home’s original details. Click through to see just how Summer and Brandon have merged today and yesterday into one cohesive, memorable and gorgeous home. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography courtesy of Jack Wineinger & Summer Wick

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Monday Mood: 2016 Home Trends

Monday Mood: 2016 Home Trends

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Interior trends are constantly changing and evolving, and many are ditching conventions and instead investing in items once worth skimping on, from handcrafted designer tiles to philodendrons. With inspiration coming at us from every which direction, it can be hard to distill what’s in and what’s out — but the great news is, stuffy interior design rules are a thing of the past!

Comprising a collection of the things and people that make you happy, home is what you make it. It’s all about knowing the rules, but also knowing when to break them. My own home has changed dramatically over the past few months thanks to Pinterest, Instagram and blogs everywhere. This Monday morning, I’m hoping to inspire you guys to give your home some tender love, care and attention — and allow the way you live to dictate your design. Whether you love them or hate them, these home design trends are hot, hot, hot. —Sabrina

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Techies + Best of The Web

Techies + Best of The Web

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Earlier this year, Helena Price set out to discover and shed light on those underrepresented individuals (people of color, women, people aged 50+, LGBT, disabled, working parents, etc.) working in the technology space. In an effort to celebrate the triumphs, illuminate the hardships, and showcase a more comprehensive picture of the industry, this week she launched Techies, a portrait project that shares the stories of these Silicon Valley tech employees. Seriously impressive!

Inspired by this project, today’s roundup features the best links from the web this week surrounding storytelling, technology and underrepresented individuals — along with this week’s awesome D*S posts. –Sabrina

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In the Kitchen With: The Salted Table’s Espresso Buttermilk Cake

In the Kitchen With: The Salted Table’s Espresso Buttermilk Cake

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Over the past few months, we have been wooed by the delicious images on Charles Hunter III’s Instagram feed under the name of The Salted Table. The Sunday breakfast pictures of biscuits, pancakes, sticky buns and more are my favorite. This week, Charles is sharing his recipe for a Triple Layer Espresso Buttermilk Cake with Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream. This cake is a show-stopper — try it the next time you’re baking a cake for a friend’s birthday! —Kristina

Why Charles loves this recipe: If a dessert involves coffee, it is usually a win for me. I love desserts with unlikely subtle flavor pairings that surprise you after the first bite, and I feel like this is one of those desserts. I also try to incorporate a little southern influence into my creations because I was born and raised in the south, and I love foods that feel like a warm hug from someone who loves you. This cake is perfect for autumn and winter, but I wouldn’t blame you for making it in the spring or summer… because, dessert.

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Photography by Charles Hunter III | Portrait by Michele Ann Photography

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Cobalt Blue Hues and Playful Style Rule This Canton, MA Apartment

Cobalt Blue Hues and Playful Style Rule This Canton, MA Apartment

Cobalt Blue Hues and Playful Style Rule This Canton, MA Apartment

Twenty miles south of Boston in the town of Canton, you’ll find two programers, Vinaya and her husband Arun. Originally from India, the couple wed five years ago, and since then, they’ve lived in five different homes — a new one each year. Although Vinaya says, “we will be celebrating our sixth anniversary later this year, and I joke we are due for a move soon,” their current apartment has definitely found its way into their hearts. “It’s so close to everything we want, and we have come to love the town we are in.” She adds, “As far as the actual apartment is concerned, we absolutely love the open floor plan and, at the end of the day, this really does feel like home.”

Modern, but comfortable, the couple initially chose the home for its convenient location, but over time, as they’ve styled the space, the interior has become an increasingly bigger plus. “Starting over, again, meant getting a lot of budget furniture,” Vinaya explains, but since moving in, they’ve been slowly swapping their big-box store items with more unique finds that speak to their personalities. Though Vinaya admits she’s no expert when it comes to decorating, the process of filling this apartment has been an exciting learning experience which she shares on her blog. “When I started decorating, I had no idea what my style was. I have gone through several design styles by now — which explains our farmhouse-style dining table and cottage-style bed! I slowly started with little projects at home, and soon fell in love with cozy but modern interiors.”

But for all of the feel-good achievements made in decorating, there are always a few hurdles. Because they’re just renting the space, Vinaya has had to hold back from making more permanent changes — and another sacrifice has come in the form of the train that runs to Boston behind the building. “The first few mornings after we moved in, we used to jump out of bed, startled by the unexplained sounds and vibrations,” Vinaya says. “Although we have gotten used to it, we always warn our overnight guests for what’s to come in the morning!”

Even though the couple’s home still brings a learning curve, having a space to share with friends — and one that allows Vinaya to experiment and have fun discovering her style — is priceless. –Sabrina

Photography by Vinaya George

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15 Pieces of Artwork at $25 and Under

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15 Pieces of Artwork at $25 and Under

With spring cleaning comes spring redecorating, and one way that I like to spruce things up is with new artwork. I love picking up small pieces at maker fairs and vintage shops, but every now and then it’s nice to just make a few clicks and find some great artwork online that won’t break the bank. So today I decided to round up some beautiful artwork that’s all $25 and under. From photos of rabbits and modern graphic prints to floral paintings and intricate illustrations, there’s something here for everyone. Happy art shopping! xo, grace

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