Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Modernism Week, 2017

 Event banner

Tim and I returned home today from Palm Springs, where we spent three solid days enjoying Modernism Week, the wonderful annual celebration of all things "mid-century." We toured desert homes built in the 1950s/early 1960s, danced to a rockabilly band at a poolside Tiki-a-Go-Go party, attended presentations about vintage cars, Los Angeles neon, and mid-century design's influence on Walt Disney, and ate at our favorite Palm Springs restaurants. Here are just a few of fabulous things we did and saw:

Our fave "histo-tainer," Charles Phoenix, showed slides of
and gushed over something we all love: 1950s cars!  

 All dressed-up in our finest tiki to
tour homes at the Royal Hawaiian
Estates and dance the night away

We also toured the Green Fairway Estates, Twin Palms, and the Ocotillo Lodge. Lots of color—predominantly turquoise, orange and yellow—and fabulous vintage furniture and art. Ah, to be rich enough to afford a second home in Palm Springs . . .

Turquoise-colored Twin Palms home (loved it!)

Vintage car outside a fabulous vintage home in Twin Palms

I'm ready to move in!

 Amazing stone walls everywhere!

 Yellow living room in Green Fairway Estates

 Orange living room in Green Fairway Estates

 A little more sedate, but note the orange door in back

 Blue and brown in Twin Palms

More orange at Royal Hawaiian

Amazing fireplaces, kitchens and bathrooms . . .

Orange fireplace at Green Fairway Estates

Same fireplace, different house

Festive kitchen

Remodeled kitchen back to its original turquoise color (yay!) at
former hotel, and now condos, Ocotillo Lodge

Love this dining room at Royal Hawaiian

Orange and turquoise bathroom at Royal Hawaiian

We also went to a designer showcase house, which was way over the top,
but did enjoy this bathroom: the ever-stylish Audrey Hepburn,
flowers, cupcakes, and champagne on ice in the bathtub!

Tiki wallpaper in a Royal Hawaiian bathroom
(of course)

Attention to detail is soooo important in a mid-century home . . .

Fashion ads as art

Go-going dancers (must find me one!)

And I thought we were the only ones to decorate our home
in album covers

What I like to call a "suite" of decorative items

Dishware as art

And, of course, beautiful Franciscan Starburst pieces

And speaking of starbursts, check out this light fixture!

More traditional lamp


Simple yet beautiful bathroom lamp

Even the doorknobs are spectacular

And this one, too

Lots of old TVs (and Eames chairs, too!)

Tim swooning over this TV

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Pasadena History Museum: Tile and Ceramic Exhibit

Clay peacock by Ernest A. Batchelder
The Pasadena Museum of History is a hidden gem, located on the eastern side of L.A. County. Although it can seem like it's a million miles away, especially during rush hour, the handful of exhibits I've seen there have been wonderful—small and intimate, without all the extraneous trappings of larger museums. Currently showing are two fabulous exhibits: Batchelder: Tilemaker and Cast & Fired: Pasadena's Mid-Century Ceramics Industry. Both exhibits have been extended till March 12 by popular demand.


Born in New Hampshire in 1875, Ernest A Batchelder was appointed head of the art department at Throop Polytechnic Institute (later CalTech) in the early 20th century. In 1910, he started producing clay tiles in the backyard of his craft-style home at 626 S. Arroyo Blvd. in Pasadena. The rest is design history, as Batchelder became one of the premier tilemakers in the country. His work was very much informed by the local Arts & Crafts Movement and is seen prominently in Southern California bungalows. Unlike his contemporaries, who used glossy finishes, Batchelder preferred a matte surface, called engobe. As you can see, he specialized in fireplaces, fountains, and other architectural adornments.

 Batchelder's emblem: a rabbit (like the rabbit
on the moon) and his initials, EAB 

Various tiles


Large tile

Later, more colorful tiles


Tiles (my favorites)

Latin American influence

Little Jack Horner and other children's tales

Tile flooring--too beautiful to walk on!

Pasadena Ceramics

Karen, in particular, loves Batchelder, but we both just about swooned over the mid-century ceramics exhibit in the next room. Who knew that Pasadena was home to over 100 potteries, ceramics producers and china manufacturers before and directly after WWII? All the pieces exhibited were handmade by various artists.

 Stylized bowl

 Delicate swan figurine

And matching vase

Lovely lady with parasol


Ashtray and matching finger bowl

Stylized cat by Roselane (my favorite)

Roselane dinnerware (love the colors!)

Other dinnerware pieces


Cat by Twin Winton


P.S. While we were in the neighborhood, Karen and I also stopped by the Pasadena Museum of California Art to see its current exhibit, In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast Culture.  Highly recommended if you're interested in surf culture or have ever lived near a California beach. Ends February 19.