Monday, November 2, 2009

In Praise Of A Cluttered Mind

My brain is like a rambling old wood-panelled library crammed with a life's worth of images, references and words that have seeped in and left their mark on my soul. There's no claim to any principle of organization in this strange room of collections -- the memory of a candlelit party in Brooklyn is firmly lodged next to a favorite passage from George Eliot which, in turn, is stacked on top of a vision of a midsummer's night in Iceland -- but the haphazard arrangement of all these memories is what makes it so delightful.

Random connections proliferate.

Curious relationships form.

And every impression tattooed on my mind's eye gives me an opportunity to glimpse my world through an extra rose-colored layer of meaning.

Thus, the bracing memory of an August afternoon on a Scottish field...
(Outside Stirling, Scotland, 2008)

...inspired me to tell Luca and his friend Ethan, "So what if the badminton net is broken. Who needs a net as a divider when you have a sheep?"
(Summer, Hollywood, 2009)

The vibrant image of a suzani tablecloth paired with green curtains in an old Elle Decor...
(photograph by Simon Upton)

...prompted me to experiment with the same mix of color and pattern outside.
(September, Hollywood, 2009)

The remembrance of a favorite childhood novel in which enchanted brambles were the passageway into another world...
(Original frontispiece, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett)

...motivated me to create an enchanted forest inside the walls of my house so that my son could feel inspired by the same imagery.
(May, 2009)

Lastly, the haunting image of two young English artists (Mark Gertler and Julian Morrell) "hard at it" in the drawing room of a country house...
'Hard at it' (Mark Gertler; Julian Ottoline Vinogradoff (née Morrell)), by Lady Ottoline Morrell, 1923 - NPG Ax141481 - © National Portrait Gallery, London
(Photograph by Ottoline Morrell, 1923, via here)

...made me see the similarities between a quiet weekend in the English countryside and one in urban Hollywood nearly ninety years later.
(October, 2009)

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you do get to Dennis Severs' house in Spitalfields, take a quick look around the corner and you'll find a plaque on Gertler's house (Elder Street, I think) ... the shutters were closed when I was there so couldn't peep in!

LPC said...

Absolutely beautiful. I have to show you some pictures. Did you ever see a copy of The Princess and the Goblin? http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com/2009/05/goblins-and-other-modern-phenomena.html. These were the children's illustrations that have stuck with me. Very similar style to you Secret Garden frontispiece.

Kim said...

Love the comparison pics. And where on earth do you purchase your amazing textiles? That blanket is spectacular.

Helena Halme said...

I used to copy and paint book covers when a lonely teenager in Stockholm. Long story behind that one, but I do adore these images and pictures of your home. The Secret Garden was such a favourite of mine too.

I've just found your blog and am so glad, will now read more and sign up to follow. xx

Jane said...

Yes the mind and memory are incredible, it is what makes us all so different and yet all the same in so many ways. That is why to lose one's memory is just the worst thing that could happen. Secret Garden was one of my favourite books when I was little. Agneiska Holland made a film version of it in the 80s or 90s and unlike most such version it was very good and very evocative of the Yorkshire moors and repressive childhoods...xoxo

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Anonymous: How incredible. I will ABSOLUTELY check out the plaque...thank you so much for alerting me! xx

LPC: I love your post. Those little goblins are so wonderful. Apparently we all harbor our own little creatures of myth and memory...!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Kim: Ebay. Type in "Uzbek suzani" and go to town.

Helena: Those book covers sound incredible. So glad you made it here! xx

Jane: I just made my son watch "The Secret Garden" (Agnieszka's version) a couple of months ago. I was shocked that he loved it (no superheroes, no violence). The art direction in that movie seeps into one's brain cells like a misty Yorkshire fog...

Alix said...

What is the company that makes that wallpaper? its quite enchanting.

TERI REES WANG said...

Yes.
A home is a home, no matter how far we roam, and our mind will always follow.

jezebel said...

What a lucky, lucky boy. The Secret Garden is so important to me- I wedged it into my undergraduate thesis, where it probably did not belong, though in the spirit of this post, it was bound to be.

skirmishofwit said...

What a gorgeous post! I adore the sheep and am in awe of your enchanting staircase - such a marvelous idea!

Love the Home You're With said...

wow lisa, how evocative!
very proust's madeleine in "remembrance of things past"
a lovely post.....robin

katiedid said...

Lovely lovely! Your descriptions are poetic.

Thomas said...

I didn't read The Secret Garden until I was about 34. I was in a bookstore in Cambridge (UK) and saw it sitting next to Heidi. Since I hadn't read either of them I bought them both. And loved them both.

I'm not much for pursuing antiquarian books, but the frontispiece for the original TSG has me reconsidering...

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, I've never seen this black and white picture of Mark Gertler and Julian Morrell. I believe they came from a photo album by Ottoline Morrell which is now a rare book. I think the place you live is more English than England.

Scott Fazzini said...

I can't help but smile when I read your posts. I much prefer to think of the mind as a cavernous old wood paneled library complete with creaking floorboards, bronze cage covered cabinet doors, low golden lights, a cracking fireplace, and the smell of soot and old books in the air. Anatomy made romantic, as only you can conjure. Your posts are always great not only because they teach us new things, or inspire us with beautiful pictures and witty prose , but they enable us to pause and imagine life as a arresting pleasure. Thank you.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You best post ever!
The creative process illustrated!

A Super Dilettante said...

A book you might be interested, my dear -


Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939by Katy Roiphe

Here is a review about this book

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jun/07/biography2

scjoseph said...

This is just lovely, as all of your posts are. You have made a true home that is both gorgeous and welcoming.

Ana Maria Linhares Giesbrecht said...

How lovely the way you compare things that to others might have no similarity at all… Indeed your wallpaper sent me to “The Secret Garden”. Unlike you I read the book when I was already a mother, after seeing the movie with my daughter. I was so charmed by it that I wanted to read the original story.
Your son is lucky to have a mom with such a great imagination.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Alix: Wallpaper is "Flowering Quince" from Clarence House.

Jezebel: What an interesting thesis...I am utterly intrigued.

ASD: You make me laugh. Yes, my little patch of Hollywood is a rose-colored "Sceptr'd Isle." And darling, I've read that book...and loved it. Have you read "Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939"? It's full of scandal, loose love and outrageous behavior -- and you won't be able to put it down.

Scott: Such beautiful prose! You are quite the writer...I send a massive heaping of admiration back to you...xx

SCJoseph, Ana Maria, Skirmish of Wit, Love The Home You're With, Katiedid, Pamela Terry and Thomas: Thank you for your kind words. I write my posts not knowing if they will resonate with people...and it is so lovely to realize that there are kindred souls everywhere. xx

Lizzie said...

Wow...LOVE your blog. So glad that I stumbled across it. I absolutely LOVE what you did for your son. :)

Say...There is a London expat getting ready to throw a virtual English Christmas Tea Party. I'm most certain you would love it. You can visit here to read about it and sign up to attend:

http://goodteatoo.blogspot.com/2009/11/official-invitation-your-chance-to-rsvp.html

A Super Dilettante said...

Yes, I've read "Among the Bohemians", it's such a good book!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Beautiful post. Love those green curtains.

Angie Muresan said...

Love this post! I'd love to be in your 'strange room of collections' and take a peek around.

Kitty said...

wow. just found you on chinoiserie chic. i'll be following. i'm enchanted! thanks, kitty.

Anonymous said...

argh, don't you just love (good) wallpaper? it gets me. it really does.

Dave said...

Good Point!

I found some interesting products on https://www.premieredesigners.com/.

One category that particularly caught my eye was Garden Elements,

https://www.premieredesigners.com/index.php?uid=160&user_room=16&Itemid=88&vmcchk=1&option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&search=true&category_id=500

Thought you might want to check it out.

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kanishk said...

Long story behind that one, but I do adore these images and pictures of your home.
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