Friday Favorites 7/8/2011

July 8, 2011

Cheryl Katz, Contributing Editor
On my can’t-do-without list of small pleasures, right up there with a freshly laundered white shirt and an unscheduled Saturday afternoon, is Carolyn Hillman’s fresh chevre (available at Formaggio Kitchen). Hillman and her husband, Joe, raise forty Alpine and Nubian goats on their farm in Colrain, Massachusetts. While Joe tends to the farm and the goats, Caroline turns their goats’ milk into this creamy, bright cheese. Slathered on a piece of grilled toast and topped with a few slices of avocado and a sprinkle of sea salt, it’s pure bliss.

Hillman Farm Fresh Chevre is available at Formaggio Kitchen in Boston’s South End and Cambridge, Massachusetts; photo courtesy of Formaggio Kitchen

And what better way to showcase the Hillman Farm chevre than on a solid maple cutting board from Simon Pearce? Use one side of the Edward Wohl-designed board for cutting and the other side for displaying this, and a few other local New England cheeses. And that small pleasure just gets bigger.

Photo courtesy of Simon Pearce

Paula M. Bodah, Senior Editor
A ceiling fan is a must in the hot summer months, but I’ve always resisted them because, well, I’ve never seen one I think is actually good-looking. No matter the style, color or finish, those big blades just never manage to look all that attractive.

That has changed, now that I’ve come across this fixture from Meyda Lighting that cleverly disguises the fan blades within the shade. The Chandel-Air comes in a variety of styles from contemporary to Art Deco to Craftsman to rustic. Meyda (which is also the country’s biggest manufacturer and designer of Tiffany lamps) crafts its fixtures in the U.S.–another plus in my book.

I like this basic, contemporary version with faux maplewood on the bottom of the frame, a faux alabaster diffuser and beige fabric around the shade’s perimeter.  The hardware is finished in mahogany bronze and the fan blades are oil-rubbed bronze.

Photos courtesy of Meyda Lighting

This version, called Whispering Pines, has an amber mica shade embellished with pine cones and pine branches in a mahogany bronze color.

Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief
This little paragraph may go a long way toward cementing my reputation as a stuffy old elitist with roots in academia, but too bad. I would like to recommend, for those who have the temperament to enjoy it, a blog called An Aesthete’s Lament.

Image via aestheteslament.blogspot.com

Subjects of recent posts: Charles, Vicomte de Noailles, notable French patron of the arts and creator of gardens (some of you may already have met his wife, Marie-Laure, via the Paris diaries of composer Ned Rorem); an interview with jewelry designer Hanut Singh; a meditation on the ultimately melancholy career of early twentieth-century beauty Gladys Marie Deacon as she cut a well-publicized swath through European and English society and became Duchess of Marlborough.

Goth-style earrings by Hanut Singh, in black onyx, diamonds, pearls, and quartz. Image via aestheteslament.blogspot.com

Updates are not always frequent, but even posts that might at first appear to revolve simply around pithy quotes or grand society generally come at their subject from angles informed by the arts, architecture, design. An example: the Gladys Deacon post not incidentally includes images of such things as Colin Gill’s fresco (recently restored) on the ceiling of the North Portico at Blenheim, showing close-ups of human eyes. (An aside: one wonders if this kind of thing was a family trait–Colin’s cousin Eric Gill is quietly notorious for depictions of less innocent body parts.)

Mural by Colin Gill on the ceiling of the North Portico of Blenheim Palace. Image via aestheteslament.blogspot.com

An Aesthete’s Lament is almost always steeped in design history and tradition; redolent of aspirations toward what we used to be able to call, without irony, “higher things.†A welcome reminder, in a world so often captivated by the new and ephemeral, that it all comes from somewhere, and little is really entirely novel–not even newness and ephemerality themselves.