Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Birgit Amadori and her Hotel Fox Designs

About a week or so ago, I was doing a random keyword Google image search for "fairy tale wall mural."  After scrolling through a few hundred images of the same pink castles and crowned frogs, an image fully caught my attention.  It was a room in a Copenhagen, Denmark hotel called Hotel Fox.  And it was a beautiful and very mythic space done in a minimalist style I'd never before seen or shared on this blog.  I had to know more, so I looked up the artist, Birgit Amadori.

I found her Facebook fan page, and sent her a message on the off chance that she'd be willing to talk a bit further about her room designs.  And a day or so later I heard back from her! 

Can you tell us a little bit about how your designs for Hotel Fox came to be? How many spaces did you design for them, and what was your inspiration for the mood and style?

For Hotel Fox, one of the editors from a publisher I previously had worked with asked me if I wanted to pitch some ideas for the project. The great thing was that I was free to submit anything that came to my mind. I liked the idea of an enchanted room. A room that would include symbolism from mythology, things that could help make the room magical. I did get 2 rooms, some hallway carpeting and a large hallway mural. 

I saw on your Facebook page that you referenced the gorgeous and intricate fairy tale artwork of Ivan Bilibin as an inspiration to you. Are there any other illustrative artists, mythic-subject artists, or artists of any genre who especially inspire your work?

Good question. I think Bilibin, Klimt and Mucha are my biggest inspiration. Countless other artists from the Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau era inspire me, too. But I do like to look and Expressionism, too, to remind me to stay weird and not get too decorative, only.

Ivan Bilibin

Ivan Bilibin

Ivan Bilibin
Klimt wall installation on stucco

Klimt wall installation on stucco
Mucha mural in Prague

I am personally a big aficionado of the work of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris was known for his phenomenal interior patterns, but also for helping to transform entire spaces in a home through artisan works on all surfaces: tiles, wallpaper, furniture, floor coverings, murals…all was included in his process of creative expression. Was his work, or a similar inspiration, at work in your creation of the spaces at Hotel Fox?

 Unfortunately, no. Morris' pattern is a little too much for me I prefer geometric patterns with less detail. For the room King's Court for example, I had much simpler guidance: I was reading the book "The Buddenbrooks" by Thomas Mann, and there, he describes a salon room in blue and white - I thought that might look interesting, so I used that for one of my rooms at Hotel Fox.


While searching for more images of your art online, I came across a different wall pattern created apparently as a wallpaper. Can you tell us about this design? Do you plan to create more large scale works for interior use in the future? 
 What are you currently working on?

 These large wallpaper designs were created for a print-on-demand wallpaper company. I had been working on a series of angels. Again, I wanted to use positive symbology to create a positive space through the wallpaper.

I am not sure, I am currently not working on wallpaper. The wallpaper thing was more something where one thing led to another. My biggest passion is book illustration. I wrote and published several ebooks that can be found on amazon etc, which feature my illustrations. One of these series from a book was awarded with the How Design Magazine award for this year. I also do book covers. In painting, I do mostly paint scenes from mythology. I just finished a large painting of the Goddess Freya. As a hobby, I draw dream art now and then, whenever an interesting dream comes to me.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mythic March 2014 - Start Thinking!

By Renee Needham

It's almost that time again, ladies and gents!  And I don't know about you, but I need it this year more than ever.

Well, okay yes I could be talking about spring, but what I'm really talking about is....

Mythic March 

If you recall, last year was the first year we started this fun tradition in the same vein as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, held every November.  But instead of being in November, we hold ours in the month of new beginnings, when spring's delicate tendrils of green start to wrap around our hearts.

Last year's summary post is here, and I highly recommend you read it, but the concept is simple: just create.  It doesn't matter if you're writing a song, planting a garden, creating art, etc. etc.  Just get off your bums that have been so cozily cradled by the couch all of this freezing snowy winter long, and CREATE something.

By Joel Robison

Every Monday in March, we will have Mythic March Monday Makings, where I'll talk about what I've been working on, and share anything that any of you share with me as far as progress on your own projects.  You can email me here, leave a comment on a blog post, or contact me over on Facebook via our Domythic Bliss group or my personal page (Grace Nuth) to let me know what you're doing.

So now is the time to start thinking about it.  What do you want to work on for Mythic March?  And feel free to tell me your ideas below!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Whimsy: A Very Silly and Very Important Word

the other day, while doing my semi-regular check of Amazon for new and interesting books in interior decorating, I came across a new title called Decorate Fearlessly: Using Whimsy, Confidence and a Dash of Surprise to Create Deeply Personal Spaces.

Looking through a few sample pages from the book, I started thinking more about the word "whimsy" and how it's a word that I don't use often.  Yet it's one that expresses really nicely an aspect of Domythic decor that I don't think I've entirely covered yet in the blog!

Whimsy is defined as a playful or amusing quality : a sense of humor or playfulness.  And the more I perused Pinterest for boards and pins based around the concept of whimsical decor, the more I realized that's a magnificent word for describing the "certain something" I try to make sure to have in my own home.  It also describes well the "something lacking" that makes me dislike the interiors found in so many interior design magazines.  Yes, it's true, I'm also looking for a personal touch in those cold and perfectly designed spaces found in magazines, but I'm also looking for a touch of whimsy.

A Domythic home does not have to incorporate whimsy in order to be Domythic.  Not at all.  I've seen stunning fairy tale inspired interiors that take themselves entirely seriously.  They look like exact reproductions of a castle, a witch's cottage, and they are seriously amazing.  But adding a touch of whimsy to every room of your house is a great way to show the world in a subtle (or not so subtle) way that imagination and wonder are important to you.

But what about the thin line where whimsical decorating crosses over into the dreaded kitsch?  Well, quite frankly, I think no one should judge for someone else where that line is.  I've seen the most filled-to-the-brim decorated spaces that thrilled me, and I've seen some austere spaces that somehow still seem warm.

When I'm looking at a room or a house, I will ask myself a simple question, and it's one I find so important...that the second post of this entire blog was devoted to it.  I ask myself "would a child think this room/house/space was cool?" Adding a touch of whimsy practically guarantees that.

An entire antique porch piece on your living room wall?  Definitely whimsical.



My friend, the artist Merle Pace, has the most wonderfully whimsical home.  Take note of the old radio cabinet painted a fun color...she calls it "cat theater" and her kitties love to play inside and put on shows for her! 

From Anthropologie

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How To Fall In Love Again (With Your House)

This Friday is a very special holiday, Valentine's Day, created for the purpose of celebrating romantic love and wherever an individual may be on their journey with their significant other.

With this in mind, and because it's a topic of special interest to me right now, I wanted to do a post on rekindling  love in a different relationship: between you and your home.

As I was outlining this post, I found myself quite amused at how much of the language I was using was the same as if I were writing a post about how to rekindle one's feelings in a romantic relationship.  Really, many of the rules are the same or similar enough to be used in both situations.

So what are some of the reasons why a person might find themselves falling out of love with their house, or at least stuck in a stagnant spot in their relationship?

I can think of a few...

1. We're going through a rough patch.  Sometimes every home will surprise you, and it's not always in a good way.  Hidden leaks, surprise expenses, rodent or insect damage, broken systems or appliances...the list could go on and on, it ain't pretty, and often times when it rains it pours.   

2.  The "Pinterest Effect."  I'm sure anyone who has spent any time on Pinterest is familiar with this one.  And I find it's an especially dangerous possibility to those of us who prefer Domythic decorating.  Many of us mythically minded folks are not only swayed by a meticulously decorated room in antiques or farmyard accoutrements, but even more so the elaborate and one-of-a-kind items, like a sculpted tree bannister, a hand-forged gothic mirror, a chandelier that casts shadows on the wall that look like a forest (yes, I think all of us have seen and want that one!!)  When we spend too much time on Pinterest looking at all of these incredible items, sometimes we can break away to look at our house and see our attempts at magical decor with a soured opinion.

3. The Five Year Itch.  I've heard it said before that marriages and relationships are at their happiest in the first five years, and then after that it's common to have a period of distraction or unhappiness.  Whether or not you've found this to be true, (side note: I sure haven't) perhaps it can also happen with our homes, where familiarity can breed discontent for no real reason besides just feeling restless.  


So what are the solutions to these predicaments of falling out of love and into discontent with your home?  Well, once again like the language used when describing romantic relationships, each will be a different journey.  But here are a few ideas I've thought of to try that might help.

1. Find old posts/messages about your home.  In this digital age, likelihood is when you decided to move into your home you left a message trail.  Go back in time and try to find some information from when you first discovered your home.  For me this was a post I did to my LiveJournal account in 2010, talking about how smitten I was with this new home on the market we'd already named Catty-Corner Cottage.  You might not have a whole blog to look back at, but I'm betting you probably sent an email or a message to someone talking about how excited you were for this new home.  Even if not, just close your eyes and try to put yourself back into that moment.  Remember when it was all new and exciting, full of possibilities?

2. Think of all the ways your home has been there for you.  Yes, perhaps you're going through a rough patch at the moment, but think of all the times your home has been there for you...the nights you've curled up under a blanket with the smell of a candle burning as you read your books, a gentle spring rain that fell on your garden just when you needed that extra burst of growth, the stove that helped you bake that perfect cherry pie for your husband's birthday.  Truly there's so much for which to be thankful.

3. Reminisce about your home in other seasons.  This one is somewhat related.  If, like me, one of the sources of your discontent is just that you're going a little stir-crazy being shut up in your home for winter, it can help to remember what your home is like in other seasons too.  Remember how good that cold wood floor felt under your feet in summer time, how exciting it was last spring to see the small buds and shoots of your garden peek up through the ground.  Remember raking up all of those crunchy autumn leaves, sipping hot cider.

4. Get away for a little while.  It can take as little as a few hours or a single night away from your home to see it with new eyes when you return.  I'll find corners I forgot to clean, and funky smells I didn't notice, but I'll also get a reminder of how pretty certain rooms look.

5. Remember...Pinterest shows every option.  Remember when you were a little girl or boy and you decided every week you wanted to be something different when you grew up?  You were going to be a rock star astronaut veterinarian fashion designer, and no one would tell you different.  But as you got older, you understood that although it's good to have dreams, it's also important to remember that you're only one person, and you can't put too much pressure on yourself to do and accomplish absolutely everything that comes into your mind.

Pinterest triggers that little child tendency again.  We create gorgeous boards called "Someday" and "My dream home" that couldn't possibly exist in the real world.  You can't simultaneously live in a caravan, mansion, cottage and Hobbit hole.  And any one house that included every piece of stained glass, tree sculpture, gothic carvings, etc. etc that you may pin would be...well it would be amazing, wouldn't it?  But it would also be overkill, and often an eclectic mess.  Your senses would be constantly overloaded. 

The process of decorating one's home is by its very nature the antithesis of Pinterest.  Instead of choosing five lamps for that corner, one to represent each side of your personality, you are forced to choose one.  And frankly I think that makes each of our homes, and the narrowing down of what items we choose to display and decorate it with, even more special than any Pinterest board could ever be.

Remember...eating every flavor of ice cream eventually makes you sick.  Choose your favorite and eat it mindfully.  And then walk around your house and see each favorite you chose.  Remember the stories behind each item...the strange iron doorstop you found at a flea market, the candle you were so excited to see on clearance at Target, the portrait a friend from Australia drew and sent to you as a total surprise.  Remember how exciting it was when those items were new.  And feel that excitement all over again.  See what a wonderful story your home tells about you.  And don't scoff at that story or reject it for a bunch of disjointed narratives, just because they're pretty.