artworkBest of the Web

Moments of Beauty in a Dark Week + Best of the Web

by Grace Bonney

This week has shown us moments of such darkness and despair that it’s hard to think about covering design, art, and decorative whatevers. I know that for many this website is a place to find levity and escape from the difficult realities of day-to-day life, but this week I’m struggling to do much other than grieve the losses in Parkland, Florida and the feeling that we’ve also lost hope in so many other areas of our community. But I’m going to do my best to keep moving forward, to support those who are in need right now, and to find ways to capture small moments of beauty, hope, and life.

For me, that bright spot this week belongs to the unveiling of the Obamas’ Presidential Portraits. Painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, these two very different pieces have been the topic of much discussion. I had strong feelings about both, but felt that listening to art criticisms from the perspective of Black critics was more important that anything I would have to say. So today I wanted to share both portraits here so we can end the week with something beautiful, colorful and with connections to such rich histories in art and craft (the dress Michelle Obama is wearing references the quilt work of Gee’s Bend). Here’s wishing you all a safe and happy weekend. Love, Grace.

Photos above by Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press (Sipa via AP Images)

THE most delicious Apple Cider Monkey Bread Recipe + Win a copy of Jerrelle Guy’s first cookbook!

The History and Design Legacy of Gee’s Bend Quilts

A recipe for delicious Raspberry Rose Geranium Cookies from Lori Stern

Before & After: Updating Inherited Pieces with Ariene C. Bethea


A Plush Chelsea Loft Encrusted in Jewel Tones

Marc Jacobs’ latest fashion show makes me want to wear orange and purple (??) on heavy rotation this fall.

Ghee and Cardamom scented upside down Banana Cake? Yes, please.

Before & After: A Charitable Renovation for The Ali Forney Center in NYC

Studio Tour: French Toast Studio

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  • sad you feel you aren’t able to share your opinion merely because of your skin color. what happened to “the content of their character” that MLK Jr. asked us to be judged by?

    • Edie, Grace did not say she felt unable to share her opinion. Rather she said she felt that listening was more important to her in this instance. White voices have and still do drown out the voices of people of color, even on issues that predominantly affect people of color and in moments that have particular significance for them. This is a historic event, the first black artists to paint presidential portraits of the first black president and first lady. Rather than being sad that one white woman chose to listen and elevate the voices of those who are historically marginalized rather than talk herself, maybe ask yourself why this made you upset. I know tone doesn’t translate in comments, but I don’t mean this in a mean way. We all have stuff to unpack. Ask yourself the question, and see where it leads you.

    • Edie

      I’ve had the privilege of sharing my opinion on a daily basis, on a wide range of topics, on our DS platforms for almost 15 years. The world didn’t need to hear more of my voice on this topic. I of course know I “could”, but I think Edie explained it well above why I didn’t feel like it was necessary.


  • Fabulous links. I too am not sure about the Obama portraits but as I know nothing about portrait art I will refrain from giving my amateur opinion.
    We here in the UK were again shocked by events in the US.
    When will it end?

  • Love the portraits, can’t decide which I enjoy more. I wish more Americans were educated about all the bombs President Obama dropped. Not a fan of Trump though. The USA needs to incorporate black lives mattering in other countries, Yemen for example, into our movement here.

  • Grace,

    Levity, escape, solace, and respite are what myself and so many others seek when we open the door to Design Sponge.

    This afternoon, I have opted to spend time with your content, instead of reading of news events that are too often troubling, frustrating, or both.

    What you and your colleagues create just inside the Design Sponge door allows each of us to, for a moment or more, escape our country and our world’s bad and sad, and for that I am grateful.

    Patrick McDonough

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