Rome, Piazzetta San Simeone, August 2014
With outdoor space being a pretty rare luxury in Hong Kong indoor swinging seems an appealing alternative. In theory at least. Would that work in reality is a totally different matter that I am not sure I am willing to actually investigate. Anyhow indoor swings make for a playful, design-friendly addition to a big living room.
seen on Handmade Charlotte
Seen on Remodelista
seen on lala lovely
seen on Remodelista
seen on Emma’s design blog
seen on Design Milk
Two years ago I held an exhibition at a small coffee shop/art Gallery in Shenzhen, China.It was my very first time and I did know nothing about exhibitions and how to best showcase your work. I really just did it to put some of my photos out there for friends to see and to recover from a tough time I had been through. My main concern wasn’t about how many people would actually like my work, I was actually more afraid of not being able to even spark interest in people and that I was very worried that eventually nobody would show up at the vernissage. But , in spite of the insecurities, I did it and for me it was huge. Not in terms of sales (this wasn’t my goal to begin with) but many people showed up that night and this was already a success for me. Also, it was the first time I worked on a theme for my photos and although the pictures in the show weren’t really coherent with the intention this exhibition marked the beginning of a project that I still hope to develop. You see I have always been fascinated by the concept of home. First, as a homebody myself, I have an insane passion for everything home, interiors, home life and so on and secondly this is a concept , an idea that has always permeated my whole life. So far in my life I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and live in several different countries. But at the same time, I don’t know if I would have been able to stand it if I hadn’t had the childhood I had, a stable upbringing in a safe place that gave me strong roots, a place I could always come back to. In my several homes away from home I have always tried to recreate that feeling of groundness. I would carry around objects, stuff that would remind me of my own home, my personal link to a place that has always been special to me and dear to my heart. My parents’ house. No place in this world has inspired me, nurtured me, welcomed me as much as this big house in a small town in the middle of nowhere, south of Italy. It is always been my haven.Whenever I felt that living outside had already started to change me, to dry my fertile imagination this is where I would come back to recharge and find myself again. This is the place I have always come back to every summer with my children to let them play in that same garden I played every summer of my childhood.But this year was different. Our home will become my brother’s home, a new home for him and his family and while I am delighted that my nephew and niece will get to run among those same walls, part of me could not stand the shock of the change and found hard to accept my kids will not be able to experience part of their life here just like I did. I had to mourn it somehow and at times felt very guilty about my emotions.Only to understand that there is nothing to feel guilty about, this is all part of a process and is all very normal.This is the place that for longtime has meant happiness to me. The place where I sat next to my mum during long winter nights watching old movies, the place where I stood so many times by the window looking at the fog wrapping the streets up in autumn, the place where I used to collect stones and leaves and play endlessly in the summer months. the place where I would inhale the smell of the rain after a thunderstorm. The place where I experienced all the the Christmas of my life and the excitement they would bring.The place where we all would gather to chat and laugh and tell each other stories over a cup of coffee,in the kitchen.This is the place that more than anywhere else embodied the deep contradiction of being so painfully attached to my roots while all the time longing for somewhere. The place where I would hide to read and where the dreams of travels and see the world that have shaped so much of my life , first took place.
One of the nightmares of my childhood was to come back to that very same house only to found out that it was abandoned, its mirrors shattered , its walls eaten up by wild weed. I still remember very vividly the anguish that this dream would cause me. Luckily and hopefully for us all, we won’t have to experience that. This house will be a house bustling with laughter and joy and above all, Life. Just like it should be. And as far as me, it’s about time to say good bye. Not because I won’t come anymore, after all in my heart this place will always stay mine and nobody can change that, just because it’s time to acknowledge that my home is indeed not a physical place, but rather a feeling. it’s where my family is, where my memories are, in a place that will be untouched and unspoiled by space or time or people.
Home is here, and there and everywhere in between.
How do you cope with change? where is your home?
Among the summer months, July is my favorite. I am sure part of it has to do with the fact that my (and my husband’s) birthday is in July (the 4th!) but I have always been fond of this month. It doesn’t have the acerbity of June or the melancholy of August. July is summer at its peak, the month when as children we finally moved to the seaside with all the family ready for a summer’s worth of adventures.
July is like a ripe fruit, sweet and ready to be enjoyed.
Summer for children is a special time indeed, for years I used to count the time of my life by using summers as metrics. It’s a time that for a child or for a teenager seems to be almost eternal. To me summer has essentially meant only one thing for years: the sea.The books and all the time in the world to read them. The salt on my skin and the bushes along the coast.And even to this day, when I see photos, or smell something that vaguely reminds me of the seaside in the South of Italy I become extremely, almost painfully nostalgic. I wasn’t raised by the sea, but the sea was part of me every summer of my life and this is still something I carry with me everywhere. Now that I have my own children I made a point of making their summer the most memorable I can, and in between it is my goal to document that spirit of childhood that during summer becomes even more raw and authentic.
Enjoy your July, wherever you are.
Italian seaside on the Adriatic coast.Pictures I took a couple of years ago
Recently I read somewhere that if you live in a world of dreams and have unrealistic expectation then you are an artist.I would never dare to call myself as such out loud (out of my respect for artists in general) but if are the characteristics that define an artist then at the core I probably am one. Many years ago I read a drug addict saying that drugs are what keep you young. and I am pretty sure many people agree. We are obsessed with youth, we are obsess in chasing what is no more. I am not. It’s with a sign of relief that I welcome yet another birthday (in a week or so), a step forward into making a bit more sense of my life and my place in it. I no longer long for the granted beauty of youth. I am more into a well deserved maturity. Because I tell you what keeps you young in my opinion. It’s our ability to desire, to have dreams even when making them happen seems impossible. Because making them happen is not actually the point. Today I spent my day between urgent errands, play dates and playing spidermen vs Ninja, made up a story about lions and tigers eating a buffalo in the shape of a burger, I challenged myself to drive the car, every day a little further away. And just now, exhausted I am ready to bed but not before I put these thoughts down. Many times I catch myself thinking that these dreams of mine, taking photos, writing these words, seeing them in print one day, are so unrealistic and far fetched, almost inappropriate due to my current situation of a mother with three small children. But then I think they are not because thats’ what keeps me going. That’s what always kept me going: the possibility of it. Chasing dreams, is what fills my days between a nappy change and a feeding. And all I know is that, I maybe won’t become a famous photographer, but I can be a good one. I can tell my stories in a way nobody else can. You can tell your stories in a way nobody can. Because all it takes to be good at something it’s making that first small step followed by many others. Tiny steps put together will give you enough confidence to finally take a leap.“Talent is only a long meditation”In photography and in driving. In whatever you want actually. I want to put my mind and heart into it because when my children will be old enough to understand they won’t only remember the stuff I cooked for them or the hours of playing. They will also have something else, something hopefully tangible. My pictures. My words.My thoughts expressed in some way.The way I see the world.The pictures I took of them, the other side of me.And they will know that they can do whatever they want as long as they continue to take those tiny steps.
Thinking of my mum tonight, and linking up with Jodi (better later than never)
My two older sons have just discovered superheroes. Big deal you might think. Well it kind of is, at least for me. With this superhero discovery a whole new world opened up, a new way of behaving that looks absolutely foreign to me.I sometimes catch them in their playing and I see a new kind of aggressiveness in their looks the way they speak, how they interact with each other and other boys that makes me realize I am suddenly the mother of two proper boys. My first son in particular , I can see it clearly he’s going through a phase in which he is trying to assert the strong part of himself as opposed to the sweet part we all love to see . He talks about shooting (something he never did before), and being fast and rough and honestly I am sometimes kind of worried. I know time would have come eventually for him to receive a certain kind of influence from his peers, and part of me understands his need to set himself free from the good boy image we want to project on him through our education and teaching good manners. On the other hand, can’t help but wonder if he is setting the course of a new kind of behaviour that will turn him from sweet little boy to “just another annoying little kid”. I loathe stereotypes and I never wanted for my children to be “manly” or engage in rough games just “because boys will be boys”. Mostly I am confused, should I let him experience freely this phase of his life and this side of his personality or should I stop the rough games altogether? How do you deal with your superheroes?
And now, the cheesy bit
Come sleep time, I usually go check on him while he is asleep and I am overwhelmed by tenderness.I sit next to him for a few moments , and sometimes I secretly hope he wakes up so that he’d know I am there. I feel this is one moment I can truly, deeply connect with him. My little boy who is growing up way too fast leaving behind a mother who can’t help but feeling guilty for being too distracted, guilty for giving too much, or for giving too little, for not paying attention, for raising her voice or just for seeking a moment of peace and quite. Anyway being the nerd that I am I did some research on the topic and came up with a few interesting articles if you fancy reading.
Linking with Jodi
A collection of latest Instagrams.
But not enough time I am afraid. There is however a thought that has been crossing my mind lately and that I’d like to share. The past days somehow have not been easy for me, lots of going on in and outside my head, lots of self doubt and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and exhaustion have been lingering around. But then I read a passage of this book I am reading that goes like this:
“Whatever beings there are may they be free from suffering. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from enmity. Whatever beings there are, may they be free from hurtfulness.Whatever beings there are, may they be free from ill health. Whatever beings there are may they be able to protect their own happiness.”-The end of your life book club, Will Schwalbe
So this week I have learned that bad moments come and go, but we stay in the middle and while in the middle we need to protect and honour our own happiness.
Have a good week end!
What does a family of five do,on a hot Sunday in Hong Kong? You would think takes the kids to the beach or to a park. We took them to visit the newly opened Pmq site instead. And they happily tagged along I must say while we browsed the various stalls of the Pmq market and the shops upstairs. The idea was to go visit the market which was rather small and not extremely interesting, but let me tell you this whole Pmq place and concept is wonderful.
First of all the premises, even the bathrooms were nice in their old school charm. Housed in the former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarter, the architecture of the buildings is just an example of stunning conservation. True Hong Kong old school style that meets contemporary design, I would compare it to another amazing project in Hk, the one that restored the old North Kowloon Magistracy building and became home of the Savannah College of Art and design. A building I had the pleasure to visit and I still remembered it impressed me with the perfect balance of historical heritage and cutting edge modern design.
But back to Pmq. The whole area is conceived as a place to experience design and local artisanship. It’s such a refreshing idea for shopping mall obsessed, big brands-centric Hong Kong that I just could not turn a blind eye and had to go visit. Of course, I’d like to go back and explore more at my pace maybe take more interesting photos and know more about the people behind the shops but for now, I already think it is amazing that Hong Kong is discovering its own “indie-handmade movement” and that pairs very well with the idea of making Hong Kong the biggest Asia art hub.At Pmq all sorts of design shops have found a home. From boutique paints to artisanal soap shops with some Japanese “good design” in the middle, Pmq is bringing to the people the best of local crafts, finally giving the designers a place to showcase their work and most importantly to connect.There is no city without culture and no culture is possible if nothing comes from the roots and creativity of its people.
While we were at it we also enjoyed an exhibition of French designer Andree Putman’s work. I will post more about the shops we visited in a series of posts dedicated especially to this.
All pictures taken with my Iphone.
The other day, after dropping the kids to school, I took a few minutes to walk towards Silverstrand beach and take a picture at the sea. It was a sunny day, a welcome visit after weeks of rain and the sea was sparkling in a distant blue. After the craziness of this past month, this moment of quiet, stillness and solitude came to me as a surprise reminding me how much I need this , every once in a while. I took this picture to show my appreciation.
p.s. this was the only good picture in a first roll of the Olympus OM1 that I have been meaning to finish since last year! The internal meter is not working so it’s quite challenging to use, but the fact that this picture came out well made me smile.
When we start going back and forth between thunderstorm warnings and hot weather warning, you know It’s that time of the year again. When rain pours down and the air becomes hot sticky and humid, at least around here.And then suddenly the sun comes out to give you a break from all the water, and the air conditioning becomes your best friend.But also, It’s that time of the year when skin becomes tanned, the fields are golden , you can drive with windows open and can enjoy the evening breeze (well, in some places at least). Can’t believe it’s summer again and another year has passed. This has been such a full, crazy, exhausting year. And the best has yet to come. Some of my favorites in the summer include: blooming Hydrengea in my parents’ garden, sweet and beautiful mangosteen, and now , my little, luscious balcony/garden! Not big but so so lovely, especially after the rain.