Thursday, 27 September 2012

Curiosity Shop #4

Curiouser & Curiouser

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). “Now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!” (for when she looked down at her feet they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off). “Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I’m sure I shan’t be able!”

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 2, by Lewis Carroll

The surprise and appeal of unexpected proportions  has always been an intriguing conundrum for one to ponder. Lewis Carroll’s Alice found her changing height so disconcerting that she wondered “Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” In the interior landscape, a pop of something unexpected can enliven our everyday experience. I came across this disproportionately large, bulb-shaped bottle at Burslem & Co on Stoke Newington Church St and straight away it inspired me to play with porportions in my own home.

Made of clear, transparent glass it's exaggerated form reduces the delicate nature of the material from which it is made, that the bottle becomes more a looming fixture than a vulnerable vessel.

The correct name for my Alice in Wonderland bottle is a demijohn. Demijohn’s were originally encased in wicker and used to transport and store liquid, particularly alcohol, from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. They were imported from Europe to America in the 17th and 18th centuries until America started producing their own from the mid - late 19th century. Many were free blown, others blown into a dip mold, turn molds or on a plate base. The shapes produced are varied and eye catching: ovoid, kidney, cylindrical, round, teardrop, apple and heart shaped. These very large ones are called carboys. Such a brilliant name that adds even more allure to these charming bottles!

Taken out of their functional context and into a decorative setting, the demijohn or carboy becomes a striking interior accessory.

Clustered together in groups they create an interesting focal point in a neutral room.  

Turn your world a little topsy-turvy by adding surrealist touches such as the exaggerated shapes and sizes of the demijohn bottle. The fashion photographer Tim Walker has long since played with surrealist proportions in his fashion shoots for the likes of Vogue. His extraordinary sets take us on an imaginative journey through wonderland. Let him inspire your living space!

Summer Thornton’s Lewis Carroll inspired interior gives the fantastical a real-life twist.

Aside from accessories, large chairs or lighting can add that Alice in Wonderland charm to your home.  

I love the malachite-patterned wallpaper by Cole & Son and the spruce green Tom Dixon chair which blends tradition with modernity.

Certainly worth a mention is the grouping of enchanted forest curiosities featuring petrified wood, a gold plated frog skeleton, glass eggs, and bronze rabbit showcased under glass bell jars. Dreamy!

The huge 1960’s Murano tube-glass chandelier reflected in the mirrored armoire provides a decadent detail.

The black and white harlequin floor, painted with liquid lacquer, creates a sillky effect - it's as if you're standing on water.

“So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.”

Let's Little Black Book it!

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