Handmade Porcelain Painted With Brooklyn Blossoms

Handmade Porcelain Painted With Brooklyn Blossoms

For over 20 years, Melissa Goldstein worked as a magazine photo editor. While researching imagery, she developed a fascination with Scandinavian ceramics, 17th-century botanical illustrations and Japanese woodblock prints dating back to the 1500s. It wasn’t until she moved to Brooklyn and began rehabilitating the overgrown garden behind her brownstone that she began combining her interests: “[My brand MG by Hand] was the merging of my research, the garden and making things for my family,” Goldstein says of the fine English porcelain ceramics she now sells in select shops and online. In 2008, the artist began hand-making everyday dinnerware in her home studio in Carroll Gardens, decorating the pieces with floral motifs in a cobalt stain. Black irises, poppies and flowering quince from her garden adorned vases, shallow banchan dishes and scalloped serving trays. Her new Poppy and Cherry collections, which were fired in a gas kiln for 12 to 15 hours, channel Dutch Delftware while depicting local flora. “I have a wall that separates my garden from my neighbor’s, and I’ve interwoven quince in it,” Goldstein says. “I’m very into blooming trees.” From $65, mgbyhand.com.

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Dorothy Dean, the writer, socialite and Warhol Factory regular, was a central figure of bohemian New York in the ’60s and ’70s. But despite her circle of famed confidants, she died in relative obscurity in Boulder, Colo., in 1987. Nearly a decade later, the writer Hilton Als recounted Dean’s life story for The New Yorker: She was the first Black high school valedictorian at White Plains High School in New York, a graduate of both Radcliffe College and Harvard, the first female fact checker at The New Yorker, part of a clique of white gay men she called “the Lavender Brotherhood” and a tough-as-nails bouncer at the nightclub Max’s Kansas City. Now, a new book compiles a selection of Dean’s unpublished writing and letters along with her newsletter of biting film reviews called the “All-Lavender Cinema Courier.” Titled “Who Are You Dorothy Dean?,” the book is edited by the Paris-based filmmaker Anaïs Ngbanzo and published by the press she founded in 2020, Éditions 1989, which focuses on biographical books and artists’ writings. On March 19 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Ngbanzo will also bring Dean’s acerbic humor to the stage with “Dorothy,” a play adapted from her correspondences with the artist Rene Ricard, the model Edie Sedgwick and the music journalist Lisa Robinson. “Who Are You Dorothy Dean?,” about $23, editions1989.com.

For nearly 100 years, the linen company Matouk has focused on making Egyptian cotton bedding. Today, the company will launch its first clothing line with a collection of pajama sets made in Italy. Available in silky sateen and percale cotton, the long-sleeved sets will come in a selection of prints from the interiors company Schumacher, like the graphic, almost floral Levi, the polka-dot Celine and the botanical Pomegranate as well as solid colors and crisp white. All can be customized at the cuff or pocket with 20 monogram styles in 45 colors embroidered at Matouk’s factory in Fall River, Mass. You can also mix and match patterns, colors and trims; virtually any bedding fabric seen on their website can be turned into pajamas. “If there’s a special combination that a customer wants, we’ll happily make it,” says the creative director Mindy Matouk. “Some of my favorite moments have happened walking the factory floor and spotting a design that someone else dreamed up.” The collection is online now, and starting April 4 it will also be available at the brand’s newly opened House of Matouk on New York’s Upper East Side. From $475, matouk.com.

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When the British sound artist Oliver Beer was preparing for his first solo show in the United States in 2019, the Metropolitan Museum of Art allowed him to test the acoustic quality of thousands of vessels in its collection. Beer had been placing microphones inside hollow objects and amplifying the sound within to make them “sing.” While at the Met, he became fascinated by an ancient Egyptian cosmetic jar in the shape of a cat. This discovery led to a feline obsession that culminated in a new exhibition opening this month at Almine Rech’s TriBeCa gallery. Beer has created a “cat orchestra” from 37 of the hundreds of jugs, teapots and vases he has collected. The figures range from the elegant (a floral ceramic from Cornwall) to the kitschy (an absinthe pitcher in the shape of a cat playing the mandolin), and were sourced from places as disparate as France and Thailand, with a few replicas of historical artifacts found in places like Benin or pre-Columbian Mexico. Viewers can take part in the performance by pressing the keys on a custom-built keyboard that activates the individually tuned containers whenever it’s not playing an original composition by the artist. For the exhibit, Beer also created 12 “resonance paintings” using another of his signature techniques: The artist lays a flat canvas over a speaker (in this case, hooked up to a microphone-rigged cat), whose vibrations shake ultrafine pigment into intricate shapes. “These are more complex than any of the ones I’ve done in the past,” says Beer. “I’ve got so much control now: I choose a different cat and change the note.” “Resonance Paintings – Cat Orchestra” is on view at Almine Rech in TriBeCa, New York, from Mar. 14 through Apr. 27, alminerech.com.

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“Athletes and clergy members have a lot in common,” says Louis Charles Aka, a Paris-based political adviser turned creative director. “They share a strong discipline and a mostly ascetic way of life, and they both wear distinctive uniforms.” Aka’s affinity for the clothes of both professions has influenced his brand, Clerica, which launched in December with a collection of T-shirts and tracksuits. Aka, who grew up in Ivory Coast before attending Catholic schools in Paris and Provence, France, recalls going to church with his grandmother and admiring the priests’ cassocks. His father, a financier, passed on to him a love of soccer, and the athletic uniforms of the ’80s and ’90s had an impact on Aka’s personal style. “All the key figures around whom I grew up, many of them politicians, spent their lives in suits from Monday to Friday and wore tailor-made tracksuits on the weekends,” he says. These inspirations came together in Clerica’s first release, which includes three styles of hand-painted T-shirts. One features an imaginary sports water called Liberia; another, a bowl of ginger-and-spinach soup (said to enhance an athlete’s performance); and a third, a woman’s face with a running track reflected in her sunglasses. The top and bottoms of a tracksuit are made of a silk blend with a white and navy colorway that nods to a clerical collar. From about $82, clerica-paris.com.

New York’s Hudson Valley is known for charming main streets jammed with cute shops, but in the northern reaches of the Catskills, some of the most compelling design stores are well off the beaten track. A.Therien, in Cairo, is a design studio sitting at a remote crossroad in a whitewashed barn next door to a butcher shop. Inside, the creative director Stephen Ellwood, the shop’s owner, offers a mix of vintage textiles, recently unearthed George Platt Lynes photographs, 19th-century stoneware and art books.

About an eight-minute drive away in Freehold, there’s the by-appointment-only Hort and Pott (short for Horticulture and Pottery), the live/work space of Todd Carr and Carter Harrington, where the décor changes dramatically by the season. In spring, that means an indoor-outdoor storefront filled with daffodils, fritillaria and branches of quince, forsythia and cherry to take home, as well as faux-bois concrete planters, slipware dishes and Easter-table-ready bud vases. Pidgin, in the teeny rural town of Oak Hill (population: 324), is home to the poet and collector Kostas Anagnopoulos and his shop stocked with globally sourced antiques and new finds. Among Anagnopoulos’s favorite items: a mother-of-pearl-encrusted bento box, pillows sewn from 100-year-old Portuguese grain sacks and olive oil from his family’s orchards in Greece.

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