Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fiber Art VIII: International Biennial Fiber Arts Exhibition – Sebastopol, CA

Vernissage Frédérique Hervet

iImage invitation Frédérique Hervet
Image invitation Frédérique Hervet

Christine Loriaux, Maire adjoint en charge de la culture
a le plaisir de vous inviter au vernissage

de Frédérique Hervet

Vernissage le mardi 10 Janvier 2017 à 18h
Exposition du 9 Janvier au 24 Février 2017

Entrée libre du lundi au vendredi de 9h à 17h

« J’ai toujours aimé marcher pour découvrir les lieux et y flâner. Depuis quelques années je marche en questionnant d’une part le rapport du temps au lieu, d’autre part ma mémoire et mes souvenirs de ces parcours, des gens croisés ou de microcosmes révélateurs.
J’aime installer des dialogues avec le public lors d’ateliers en général autour de leurs lieux quotidiens, par essence par usure invisibles à leurs yeux. Je présenterai ceux commencés et en cours avec des habitants de Villeneuve-la-Garenne et une partie de l’espace d’exposition servira d’atelier.

Mes travaux et dialogues font généralement appel à des techniques autour de l’empreinte avec une transformation permanente des images, une métamorphose qui se nourrit de l’aléatoire et de la surprise. » Frédérique Hervet, juin 2016

Accès : Centre Culturel – 23 Quai d’Asnières, 92390 Villeneuve-la-Garenne
Renseignements : 01 47 98 11 10

Autoroute A86, direction Nanterre – Sortie : Villeneuve-la-Garenne
RER D : arrêt Gare de Saint-Denis, puis TRAM T1, direction Asnières-Les Courtilles, arrêt Mairie de Villeneuve-la-Garenne


Secession in San Francisco: 9 years!

Secession SF storefront
Secession SF storefront

Walking down Mission Street, in May, I noticed a wonderfully original dress in a store window. The store was Secession, and the owner, Eden Stein, explained to me that she mainly represented local designers, along with other US designers. We purchased a t-shirt by Amos Goldbaum, a local artist, depicting the Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks; later, we realized that the mural of the same scene was 2 blocks away from home.

Eden Stein
Eden Stein, owner of the Secession store

To complete the mix, there is art, mainly paintings, also from local artists; jewelry, and a few other decorative items.

Encouragement at the cash register comes in the form of peanut M&Ms…

On August 12, 2016, Secession celebrated its ninth birthday – no small feat in a city where rent has been going upwards at an exponential rate for the past years. The good news, however, would be that the local client base is also increasing for higher-end fashion and art, and the demand for locally sourced is not limited to food.

Two artists exhibited, and were present at the anniversary celebration: Amy Ahlstrom and Heather Robinson. Two very different styles, both accomplished artists.

Amy Ahlstrom calls herself an “urban quilter.” She takes snapshots of urban scenes, and transforms them into pieces of art, using quilting techniques she learned from her grandmother. Ancestral knowledge: revisited. In her own words, Amy “re-invent(s) quilting as a pop art medium.” She works with silk and cotton fabric.

Heather Robinson has her own workspace at Secession. She works in soft colors, with stencil techniques, and her paintings have a wonderfully whimsical feel to them.

If you don’t want a cookie-cutter wardrobe or decor in your home, and your accessories are one of a kind, Secession is the place to go.

Amos Goldbaum t-shirts and mural
Uncle and nephew wearing Amos Goldbaum t-shirts in front of the mural at Day Street.
Contact information:
Secession SF: 3235 Mission St, SF CA 94110
tel. 415-279-3058
Amy Ahlstrom: - email: - tel. 415-336-8151
Heather Robinson: - email: - tel. 415-860-4283





“the Fanciful World” via HamletHub

transFORM GALLERY held the Opening Reception of  ‘the Fanciful World’, February 4th, from 5-8pm at the New York Design Center’s 7th HEAVEN DESIGN PARTY, sponsored by the Interior Design Society, NY Chapter, in conjunction with 200 LEX’s 7th Floor Showrooms. The evening included a performance by Jessica DiMauro Dance Company.
Artists, Bella Kotak and Catherine Latson, draw their inspiration from the natural world creating mystical and breathtaking environments, fanciful garments and sculpture – drawing the viewer into an enchanting land via sight and touch.


transFORM – storage in style

The IDS (Interior Design Society) recently held an event at the transFORM showroom in New York City, at 200 Lexington Avenue, at the NY Design Center. The presentation was “Little Spaces in the Big City.”
Most people living in New York City make do with very little space and it is worth investing in stylish and most importantly astute storage… which is transFORM’s specialty.
The company is based in New Rochelle, NY, where all manufacturing takes place. Not only is it based in the United States – it’s a true New York company.
TransFORM also uses both its Manhattan and its New Rochelle space to showcase artists’ work. The next art opening will be on June 13, 6 to 9 pm, at the New Rochelle showroom and gallery, 20 Jones Street. The featured artist will be Alexander Rutsch.

TransFORM was founded in 2005 by Stuart Reisch and Andreas Messis. I had a long talk on May 18 with Mr. Messis, who is American-born, of Cypriot descent; who started out studying engineering, moved into design, and designed Broad way theater sets for many years before entering the high-end storage industry.
The products are wonderful and it is a one-stop shop: there are no distributors. Clients work directly with transFORM, whose design team designs according to each client’s needs, manufactures the equipment and installs it. There are solutions for bedrooms, pantries, living rooms, offices… and combinations thereof. The space saving ideas are perfect for our day and age, especially in cities like New York, where space is at a premium.
The best way to show the solutions would be by video, as there are so many moving parts and “tricks.” Below is a portion of a closet with an incorporated ironing board. No need to drag the board out of storage, set it up, and later close it again and store away!

Nowadays most people use laptops rather than desktop computers. A flexible desk can be used either for work, or for dinner.

The pantry has many features. Just a couple are shown below.

As you can tell by now–I am smitten.

BX200 launch at the Bronx Museum of the Arts

Bronx Museum of the Arts
Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Bronx was not known for the arts for several decades. However, this has been changing in the past years, and since several years the wonderful Bronx Museum of the Arts on the Grand Concourse has been the symbol of this renaissance.
On March 26, the Museum hosted an event to launch a new website, Bronx200, which showcases 200 Bronx-based artists. The Bronx is experiencing a revival, with both native Bronx artists and those who have been moving in and establishing studios. John “Crash” Matos, who founded the Wall Works New York gallery in Mott Haven, was the guest speaker at the event.

The Museum building is very contemporary and easy to navigate, a great place to visit at any time.

You can donate here to help BX200 flourish.

Asia Society: Naim June Paik exhibition, New York

The Asia Society hosted a holiday party last week, that included a curated tour of the exhibition: “Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot,” on display through January 4, 2015.
It was fascinating to discover this artist, who unfortunately passed away in 2006. He was ahead of his time, and reminded me of what Jules Verne was in the last century, when  his novels depicted interstellar travel and so much more.
In his art, Naim June Paic foresaw the Internet and our current technological advances.

Vilcek Foundation Design Awards panel discussion: Neri Oxman, Mansour Ourasanah, and Quilian Riano

2014 Vilcek Prizes booklet
2014 Vilcek Prizes booklet

The Vilcek Foundation was created to highlight the achievements of the many talented immigrants who made their life in the United States.
Marica and Jan Vilcek are themselves originally from Slovakia, Jan Vilcek, a microbiologist, has 45 patents in his name and was the co-inventor of the blockbuster drug, Remicade. Marica is an art historian. They married in 1962 and lived in the United States for 50 years, after fleeing Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia. They used the wealth earned thanks to the medical patents to create the Vilcek Foundation in 2000. Every year, they give out rewards in different categories. This year’s focus was excellence and innovation in design.
Vilcek_7045On June 19, 3 of the award recipients came together for a panel discussion at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City. The designers spoke about their creations, and topics covered were material ecology, and how can industrial design improve society? The discussion was moderated by Glenn Adamson, Director at the Museum of Arts and Design. Featured designers were Neri Oxman, Mansour Ourasanah, and Quilian Riano.

Neri Oxman, originally from Israel, studied medicine in Jerusalem, before changing her focus to architecture.  Medecine, however, provides her with insight into biological structures that other architects and designers don’t have. She came to the United States in xxx and currently is a professor and member of a multidisciplinary team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her specialty is “Material Ecology.” She told us about the dome they created using silkworms.

Mansour Ourasanah, originally from Togo (West Africa) came to the United States at the age of sixteen. His plan was to study engineering, but he discovered industrial design and changed his major. In many African countries, this is not a profession that many have heard of. Knowing that raising cattle for meat is extremely unsustainable, and that many in a variety of countries eat insects and in particulars grasshoppers, he invented (among other items) a mini-farm to raise crickets in your own kitchen. Very recently, the New York Times addressed this new type of protein in an article about companies manufacturing cookies and other baked goods. Here is a video explaining the premise (courtesy of Mansour Ourasanah).

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about another “non-traditional protein”. mealworms: “Celebrity Chefs Tout Bug Cuisine.”

Quilian Riano, born in Bogota, Colombia, was raised in Miami, Florida. He is an architect, trained at the University of Florida and Harvard University, now practicing in Brooklyn, NY. as principal of the DSGNAGNC_logo4 bnwDSGN AGNC (Design Agency), a collaborative design/research studio exploring political engagement through architecture, urbanism, art, and activism. His focus is on making the urban setting more human-centric and on the various forces which influence the urban environment. One of DSGN AGNCs projects is in Corona, Queens in New York City.
His work reminded me of my own architecture studies, when under the mentorship of our professor, the architect Denis Valode, we studied how spaces were to be used from the inside out, mapping out the activities to be carried out within the space. This did not have a political aspect but did delve into the way a space is utilized in a more organic way.

All three designers gave us, the audience, hope that the planet may not be destroyed by humankind after all, if we follow their lead towards a sustainable and gentler built environment. The panel discussion provided us with a very inspiring evening.



In Mount Vernon, NY: artisanal tile makers from Cuba

Blue and grey tile

Cement tiles have been used in many countries, in France, Lebanon, Morocco, Mexico… for centuries, and also more recently in the United States, mostly in the South, including Florida.
We discovered a new company almost next door, here in the Northeast, in the industrial neighborhood within Mount Vernon, New York.
Two brothers, Seniel and Sergio Pena, originally from Cuba, along with a third partner, Aine Sanchez,  brought their skills and know-how to the United States. Seniel was the last to immigrate from Havana, about five years ago. In Havana, they already had founded a cement tile company in 1999. However, the situation became difficult, and they closed shop in 2008.
New immigrants to the United States often find that the reality is different from their expectations, and the first years in the United States were difficult for the two brothers. However, when they realized that all the cement tiles sold here were imported, they decided to return to their original business: manufacturing cement tiles.
Their workshop is in Mount Vernon, in Westchester County, NY.  They offer a variety of styles and color combinations. The company is named, appropriately, Brothers Cement Tile. They made many of the machines themselves, elaborated the mixes for the raw material, and created designs.

Pena Brothers
The Pena brothers

It is a labor of love. For the moment, they sell mainly locally, especially to Brooklyn, where there is a lot of  both new construction and renovations. People appreciate the close-to-handmade quality of the tiles. Orders come in along with color samples to be matched.
At the moment, Seniel prefers to install the tiles himself, to ensure that the work is done correctly. 

Tiles made to order to match color swatches
Tiles made to order to match color swatches

They sometimes receive orders from across the country, but at the moment, transportation costs make such jobs extremely expensive. They are keeping busy with the New York area, and with the website, they are easily discovered by homeowners and contractors interested in this beautiful type of flooring.

Daniel Castillo, glass artist


IMG_1689We noticed some very interesting “paintings” made in glass while in Montreal for a short stay. We enquired about the artist behind them, and were given the name of Daniel Castillo. Daniel Castillo is an artist born in Bucamaranga, Colombia, now Colombian-Canadian.

After studying to be an engineer, he became interested in art, both painting and sculpture. Upon discovering stained glass, he fell in love with the technique, which he pursued for many years. He then added on the challenge of fused glass. As he explains the difference: “Fused glass is a technique where you have to fire your pieces within a kiln at temperatures between 1,300 and 1,500 degrees; stained glass is made by joining the pieces through lead.  With fused glass you can make sculptural pieces and follow your imagination further.” Below is a series of smaller pieces.

He moved to Canada with his family, and after learning a new language (they were in the English-speaking part of Canada), he delved into the traditions and music of his community, joined a choir and found much inspiration in Celtic music. In his work, he started blending Colombian/Latin American and Celtic influences.

His portfolio of work in Canada includes:
– The Charley Fox Memorial Overpass Public Sculpture, in London, Canada (33 ft. high)
– The Banting House National Historic Site of Canada, Banting Museum, London, Canada (12 ft high)
– The Memorial Wall for the Holocaust For the Jewish Community, London, Canada.
He also has had commissions for private homes and hotels in various cities, both in Canada and in the United States.
A few large commissions:

As he describes it: “My biggest inspiration is the mystery of the sea; some of my pieces are based on it. I feel great respect for something huge, and unknown underneath. Some pieces are very organic and other pieces are the result of my work on kinetic art with glass (…) “

In recent years he returned to Colombia to work on a few large commissions, such as a large sculpture for a hotel lobby, and a mural, both around 60 square meters, as well as preparing sculptures for a couple of exhibitions.  He already had many pieces both in Colombia and in Venezuela, and has taught and lectured at Colombian universities and museums.

He plans to return to Canada soon to work on new commissions. His website is and his work can also be seen on Pinterest.