Favourite Things Chosen By Tiwa Select
This week's round-up is brought to us by Alex Tieghi-Walker, founder of Tiwa Select. I was over the moon that Alex agreed to do the round-up; firstly because he sent over the copy in a matter of days, which to a person like me seems like an act of magic, but secondly (and more importantly) because I adore his style Unlike me, Alex leaves his home; he travels to meet the makers & artisans featured on his shop. You can feel his passion for the pieces that he comes across on his travels, which clearly enriches his eye and, in turn, from afar, mine (here's hoping). He currently lives in the US, so this round-up has a little bit of an American twang, which I am all for!
Carmen makes things with her hands that have depth and playfulness. Her lamps look like they come from another universe. When I moved into my house in Los Angeles, she gave me one of her lollipop lights with a vivid yellow shade. It reminds me of Olafur Eliasson’s indoor sun at the Tate and makes me feel warm every time I walk past.
My friend Fanny created this piece for her shop Permanent Collection. You crack a seasoned egg into the forged dish and poke the whole thing into a fire, and the eggs come out all fluffy and soufflé-y. Practical use aside, it’s just such a beautiful object. Each spoon is made by blacksmith Shawn Lovell on Alameda Island, California, and feels like a family heirloom. Mine hangs on a wall in the dining room.
Vince carves megaliths from wood found in his native Oregon; Megumi hand-dyes fabrics and stitches them together using traditional Japanese boro (meaning “tatters” or “scraps”) techniques. The product of the two artists joining forces is the Hinata (which means “place where the light hits”) stool. I have been selling these stools through my shop and it’s always so hard to let them go. Each is carved from the same tree trunk, with cracks where the wood has split held together by butterfly joins and pegs. I love it when talented artists collaborate on something like this together to create something that sits in its own special world.
My wonderful friend Su Wu established Casa Ahorita in the garage of her house in Mexico City during the pandemic. Ahorita means ‘little now’ or ‘newish’ - the not yet and ever-imminent future. Fitting for this past year. Anyway, she sells pieces by Mexican artisans and makers, and I am here for all of it. Literally.. all. of. it.
Minjae fiddles around with unconventional design materials and has been making really interesting pieces lately. Obsessed with his oyster lamp—“a plaster shell with a little light and no smell”—and the Lola chair, a featherlight artwork for sitting on made of fiberglass.
When I lived in the Bay Area, I fell in love with the art coming out of Creative Growth, an organization working with artists with developmental disabilities. The artists from Creative Growth remind us that creativity is a universal, human impulse—not one dictated by ability or education. Each year, the organization hosts a fashion event where artists model their own clothes. It’s fantastic and expressive, and so, so deeply dignified. But I also love the annual ceramics sale. Last year, I picked up a series of works by Charles Nagle, who creates vessels that look like stalagmites.
Face jugs have a long history, going back to generations of enslaved people who created pottery with a spiritual purpose. Jim McDowell continues this tradition with his own work, often writing on his face jugs to honor the bravery of the slave and potter David Drake, who was not only literate but signed his name on the pottery he created. Jim’s jugs are powerful, often depicting black heroes, martyrs, and victims of the injustices Black people face in the USA. A recent jug depicts the mother of George Floyd, engraved with words that George cried out during his murder.
This beautiful gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is rooted in the rich artistry, cultures and traditions of the Navajo and other Native American cultures. It’s the rug room for me: hundreds of pieces new and old, mostly created with vegetable-dyed wools in lush pinks and oranges and reds and browns. I have fantasies about walking out of the gallery with one in the future.
Carson Terry makes curious little objects from iron. I collect little spoons made from wood and horn, then I discovered Carson’s work and now I collect little metal spoons too, and forks that fold, and forks that are also toothpicks. I love how playful their work is. I’m hoping to work with Carson on some items for my shop, and I’m curious to see which playful direction they head in...
I use the word ‘folk art’ gingerly, but the pieces created by Najim and Othman, who grew up as shepherds in Morocco, seem to exist outside of any formal design definitions. Branches of the arbutus tree native to Morocco are bound together in free-form shapes and painted in bright pop-y tones. I love art and design objects that exist outside of traditional practices, and the objects created by Now on the Ocean are very much living their best life in their own way.
The women of Gee’s Bend—a small, remote Black community in Alabama—have created hundreds of quilts over the past hundred years. The visual language here is so rich, and extends the expressive boundaries of the quilt genre, and represents such an important chapter in the history of African American art. Seeing how these quilts have opened up a world where non-Black people are learning about African American art has been really important, as well as the fact that for the first time, really, folk art has been placed on the same pedestal as fine art.
If I’m ever missing, this is where I will be. Aeon is an underground bookish den in New York’s Chinatown. Owner Josiah sources books from estate sales and flea markets and has a particularly wide range of books about philosophy, art, design, folk art, nature, the avant & esoteric.. all the good things.