Friday Favorites 3/23/2012

Jared Ainscough, Assistant Art Director
We have featured John Derian and his decoupage work in a New England Home interview, and he is known for his beautiful graphic housewares. This plate caught my eye because it’s a great example of his work, but it’s a little different from the graphic decoupage that has brought him so much attention and moves into the realm of pure pattern. If this piece weren’t named Sea Urchin Platter you might never know that is was created from an antique print. Available from Lekker Home, Boston.

Photo courtesy of John Derian

Stacy Kunstel, Homes Editor
While browsing the new online boutique Market 27, I spotted this spring green side table/nightstand that just jolted me into the springtime thinking. Thanks to founder Ken Dietz, I’m loving being able to browse goods from New England–based designers without leaving the comfort of my own bed. There’s a mix of antiques and new, one-of-a-kind and well-known, giving the site a good range of periods and styles. As for this green table, there are two! Perfect for that guest room or as a pick-me-up in the family room.

Photo courtesy of Market 27

Debbie Hagan, Managing Editor
With this warmer weather, my mind keeps wandering off to the garden, and at the AD 20/21 show last weekend I found what has to be the ultimate in garden ornaments: the garden telescope. It’s made of bronze, a beautiful copper color with hints of turquoise-green, as if it’s beginning to oxidize. One of the great things about bronze is that it tolerates the weather quite well, and the more you handle and rub its finish, the richer it becomes.

More than just an art object, though, this telescope actually works…and amazingly well.

Photos courtesy of Telescopes of Vermont

Originally designed in 1923 by Russell Porter of MIT, the Porter Garden Telescope was conceived as an Art Nouveau botanical sculpture and an optical instrument. In fact, its magnification qualities were so precise that it’s said to have inspired the 200-inch Hale telescope. An original is housed at the Smithsonian Institution.

Fred Schleipman, an inventor and engineer from Norwich, Vermont, became so enchanted with its beauty that he wanted to copy it. However, it took a lot of persuasion on Fred’s part–some twenty-five years. Finally, he convinced the museum he had the design and fabrication skills to pull the feat off. Another five years were spent engineering and refining it.

At age ninety-two, Fred still makes these telescopes (with the help of skilled artisans) through his own family-run business, Telescopes of Vermont.  It’s a beautiful garden ornament and a great way to gaze out at the great beyond.

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