Thursday, March 31, 2011

Origami Influences

This coffee table popped out at me. It is a beautiful combination of geometry and design.

I love the concept of using origami as a design starting point and will see what some searching uncovers for other applications of it in home decor. Stay tuned....

from Etobic Design

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wild and crazy lamp

This lamp made me smile because it reminds me of a bad hair day.

The style works a whole lot better on a lamp than it does on my head. I love the freedom. Not sure I'd want to dust it though!

It is created by Tom Raffield using 80 meters of steam bent strips of ash, woven coiled and twisted together. It comes in a variety of sizes and I expect each one is unique.

Delving a little deeper into Tom's site I discovered other beautiful objects from steam bent wood.  I also love these flower pots.

And this lamp as well....

Creative use of material.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celebrations - Quick Cake Decorating

On Sunday we celebrated a milestone birthday in my family for my sister and I volunteered to bake the cake knowing full well that I would need to squeeze this in between a cross-country flight and the party.  Combining that with my very limited decorating skills let me know this was going to need to be a quick, creative solution. Here is what I did.  She had requested everyone come in bright celebration clothes so I copied the theme for the cake.

I baked a double layer white cake with coconut (birthday girl request) and purchased a couple of bouquets of the brightly colored spring flowers at the grocery store. I simply snipped the blossoms and arranged them around the base. We added matching squiggle candles and voila!

A quick, creative solution that required no advanced skills and yet provided a special solution filled with love.  Happy Birthday Cac!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Monday, March 28, 2011

Owls with Personality

I have regularly referred to my collections in this blog. So often they help me define my decorating and add a cohesiveness to it. Today's post is in honor of my visiting sister-in-law. She collect owls and this design by Matt Pugh of the UK is noteworthy enough to make me want to collect them as well.  

I love the simple lines and the creative use of color along with standard drill holes to define the features. Certainly makes me smile!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chinese Bowl Gradation

Another focal point in our home is the wood stove. Here I again have used the size gradation technique to arrange the Chinese bowls on the mantel.

While visiting NYC I went shopping at Pearl River.  What fun! I came home with a varied collection of blue and white Chinese rice bowls.  I looked for a mix of shapes, sizes and patterns.

I was very excited to find that Pear River is indeed online. Although not the same experience as visiting the store, it pleases me to know that we all have access to this incredible collection without traveling to NYC.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shaker Boxes -Always a Storage Solution

I have always loved the simple elegance of the classic Shaker Box.

Shaker Design philosophy states, "Don't make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful don't hesitate to make it beautiful." While I don't subscribe to the first line of their design philosophy (I'll make just for the joy of making!), I do believe in the second. I have several Shaker boxes scattered around my house serving as storage where needed. I would love to have a tower arranged by size gradation. Not only do I love the style of the boxes, I love the  continuity of shape and form provided by a size gradation.

I use the simple size gradation concept in arrangements all the time.  I have often mentioned my ball collection.  The largest grouping is arranged in a high nook displaying great variation in size, material and texture.

In the living/dining/great room, arranged on a console table crafted by T. Bayley Wharton, are three bowls by Chris Parris. Again I use size gradation as an interest point. 

Both the console table and the bowls were found at craft shows.  We first met up with T. Bayley Whaton at a Paradise City show.  We found Chris Parris at a Guilford Craft show.  Both are inspiring events and great places to add to the contemporary craft collections.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shiny Pebbles?

This item caught my eye.

I only wish they hadn't made it into a candle stick! I would love to see the stack of pebble forms finished in the highly polished aluminum just as a sculpture unto itself.  It gives me ideas for things to do with some of my stone towers.  How about gloss black spray paint for a very different yet possibly striking effect.  Worth some experimenting this summer!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Material Switch - Pipes

I have been known to use pipe fittings as an inspiration for sculpture before and will probably do so again.

There is something so solid and functional about pipes. It is fun to use them in random ways..

This quirky light with personality is available from KOZO and created by two Israeli designers. Industrial strength!


I don't believe I have any photographs to support my claim of early pipe sculptures though. Although my explorations were well before current technology there is no excuse in the digital age. Record all your ideas and projects so years later you can blog! A digital filing system will be helpful as well!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Material Switch

I like the concept of making an object out of a material it normally isn't made out of - and then using it in a different function. Example: Cinder Blocks....

Shown here constructed out of wood. Imagine these as end tables or shelf supports.  

Creating the same object out of ceramics lends a more polished impact.  Either would add an interest factor in a room. Both have multiple and adjustable uses as your interiors change. Imagine I used real cinder blocks in my first apartment as shelf supports!

Both are from Sergio Silva of Brooklyn New York.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Scale Fun

I have used the juxtaposition of scale extremes as an interest factor in decorating. Here I display items that are normally very small created way out of proportion. It is items like these that make my desk an interesting place to be.

The wrist watch normally small and seldom made out of wood is instead handcrafted in a larger scale to serve as a desk clock. It is created by the Michaud family and available from  Canvas to Clay

A ball bearing is a beautifully designed piece of engineering that is seldom displayed as sculpture. MOMA had it produced in larger scale and made available as a desk sculpture.  

Eclectic wrist watches are sometimes made out of wood in actual scale for use on the wrist. Here is a link to one available through Amazon.

Other posts about size and scale that might interest you:

©2011, Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nostalgia • Composition Paper

Two connected items crossed my screen recently. They were spaced a couple of weeks apart but they stirred up a little nostalgia. First came this work by Brock Davis.

There are definitely times that I have felt my lines were becoming unravelled. What a stunning metaphor for that feeling. But I was drawn to the composition paper. When is the last time I have written on it?

Two weeks later these pillows were shown on I again was instantly drawn to them.

My reaction to the second exposure to old fashioned composition paper made me realize a little nostalgia was at play here and incoporating that into decor gives we a warm fuzzy feeling. Interesting new observation. I'll have explore my home to notice other places I might have used this concept to make our home a place we are comfortable in.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Simply a Tulip

Combine a single tulip, a clear glass vase and sunshine.  Spring is on its way.

Happy sunny, Sunday morning.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Paradise City • Show of Fine and Functional Art

On Saturday our daughter Karen, David and I will be going to Marlborough, MA to experience the Paradise City Marlborough show.  I go for two reasons:

1. I just might find the perfect item to add to our ever growing collection of beautiful things and
2. Being around so much creativity and so many beautiful things inspires me.

I have looked over exhibitor websites from links at the show site and here are some things that have me interested.

Garden Sculpture by Dale Rogers

Fiber Hangings by Kathy and John Robinson

Etched Glass by Richard Bond

Baskets by Stephen & Tammy Zeh

The Boston Globe writes the following about this show:

"The work here ranks with the best. Paradise City Marlborough features not only quality crafts like blown glass, hand-crafted jewelry, ceramics, and more, but the festival presents serious paintings and large-scale sculptures as well."

Important Note:  The show is open through Sunday, March 20, 2011. Visit their website before going and print out the $2 off coupon! I am making note of this because my daughter, Amanda has started a blog about coupons. She does amazing things and encourages us all.  Her blog is Coupon Tipster. Check it out.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rebuilding Stone Stacks

I create with stone - stone walls, stone sculptures, stone stacks. Here in New England the material is abundant, free and endlessly variable.

Today the sun is shinning, the chill and snow are nearly gone. I decided to rebuild my stone stacks. These were first created as a solution to hungry deer. Every purchased shrub I planted was food for the deer. My solution was to build ornamental stone trees.

This grouping sits perched on the edge of our garden looking out over the ravine. Rocks gathered from our property were used to construct them. They are all balanced and the heavy snows of winter did indeed topple them but they were quick to rebuild.

I have built little stone towers in assorted nooks around the property. This one, built of river stone,  is nestled into the hillside near the stone steps leading up to David's studio.

And this tower with a decidedly oriental inspiration is created from the rectangular rocks that are so rare in our woods. I save these rocks whenever I discover them because they are precious and can be used in so many creative ways. This stack is perched on an old tree stump and is remarkably the least stable of all.

David and I have been working on our property for 35 years now, collecting stones, stacking stones, and creating landscapes that can be shared with the deer. I took this photo right outside David's studio last fall.  

Deer sightings have been few since the heavy snows of January but David and I did have one bound through the woods on our walk last week.

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drips can be fun!

Here is an age hint.  In my day, drips was the term we used for dorks. Drips were not fun to be around. Terminology changes and now drips can be fun.

These hooks are definitely fun! This set is available through Incredible Things but I look at it and see it as a DIY inspiration with a piece of plywood, a saber saw,  sandpaper and bright glossy paint.  Picture a row of these under a storage shelf in the mudroom.  

Related Posts:

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Truly Big

I love office supplies.  I like little ones but I especially love big ones!!!

This post is especially appropriate because of my recent posts about using size and scale to add whimsey and interest to decor. It would take some creativity to make these applicable to a home but just sharing this and recording here to remember is enough. It is this type of idea that inspires. I am having a hard time deciding which is my favorite. Do you have a favorite?

These super-sized tools are from a London based project which you can read about here. They were designed by Radford Wallis design firm.

Related Posts:

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coat Tree - Simple and Elegant

This caught my eye.  I have a handcrafted coat tree already but if I didn't this would be a candidate.

I love how the hooks pass through and become the supports. It is minimal yet visually interesting.  I can't decide if it reminds me of telephone poles or tall winter saplings.  I like the tree analogy more so I'll stick with that one.  It is designed by Zhao Lei of smartwoodhouse. The website will remind you of what a global village we have become!


©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Fun Size Finds....

Playing the size card in decor is fairly easy. Designers often create nifty products that take everyday objects and apply them differently by changing their size. Here are a few that I have found available on the web.

Paper Clip Coat Hooks from Chiasso

Mini Shopping Cart from Amazon - great on a desk or kitchen counter.

Computer Key Stools at

This would look great in a Geek Chic environment. Giant Bolt

In this area of adding whimsey to design one has to be careful not to over do it.  Just the right accessory in the the right home can add a great accent.  It is easy to cross the line into cornball.  Just look at the giant ketchup bottle or giant sushi at and you'll understand!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Fun with Size...

I have used the size extremes theme in a lot of different areas in our home. There is a gigantic teacup perched on top of a storage unit in the bathroom. It adds a touch of humor and nailed the color theme - not hard to do with all white appliances!

My first introduction to the impact of size and common objects was definitely through the work of sculptor Claes Oldenburg.

Safety Pin, De Young Museum, San Fransico

Clothes Pin, Philadelphia, PA near City Hall

Spoonbridge and Cherry • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

His work, his sense of design, and his compositions always make me smile.  I make a point of checking them out when we travel. It is a different experience to stand next to a huge clothes pin.

© 2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Size Matters....

I like using extreme variations of size.  I like things that are normally large made small and vice versa - I also like things that are normally small made large. If you can combine that with functional design then I am a happy camper! Case in point, my paper clip container....

A common, everyday object that one most often uses at 30" high is reduce to a mere 4" high and it becomes a perfect container with a little humor added in.

An interesting note: David gave me the iPad version of Phaidon Design Classics for Christmas.  It is a collection of 1000 top designs over history. These are defined as: "Industrially manufactured objects of aesthetic value and timeless quality: 
  1. definitive models of lasting influence and enduring significance; 
  2. objects that are innovative in their use of new materials and unite technological advances with beautiful design; 
  3. objects charaterized by simplicity, balance and purity of form; 
  4. objects that are perfect in their design and have remained unchanged since their creation.

Item number 10 is Galvanized Metal Dustbin (c. 1830)

What currently has me excited is the discovery of the Galvanized Pail site.  They have mini trash cans in a variety of sizes.  The design possibilities are endless!

6" mini

8" Mini

Imagine these instead of canisters, or lined on a bathroom shelf for storage?  Fun, affordable and a design classic!

©2011 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy