Monday, November 24, 2008

of noodles and squash

One of the nicest things about doing the buying and sourcing for Small Acorns is all the very talented and inspirational people I get to meet along the way. One such very clever person is Wellington ceramic artist Katherine Smyth, whose domestic ware we have stocked at Small Acorns for around eight years now. Katherine currently has a solo exhibition at Avid Gallery in Wellington, entitled Squash - a collection of deliciously rounded pots inspired by Katherine's time spent in the Middle East and old pottery from that region. Of her exhibition, Katherine says "Squash is about people, the things they grow, the food they eat and the rituals and decorations that come with that." Hand built, and tactile, these melons, cucumbers and squash pots are juicy and showy. Katherine's domestic ware is also tactile, and part of the ritual that is good food and friends. From ramekins to pasta bowls & beautiful platters in soft shades of duck egg, sea green, licorice and creamy white. A laksa slurped from one of Katherine's chow noodle bowls is infinitely more delicious because of it, and a salad served in a shallow bowl is perfect to share.
Katherine graduated from the National Art School in Sydney, Australia with a Diploma of Fine Arts - Ceramics. She has traveled extensively. While based in London she also worked part-time as a chef at London's Sugar Club. She worked alongside head chef Peter Gordon to design and produce crockery for the restaurant and for two of Gordon's cookbooks. Luckily for us, since 1998 Katherine has continued to work as a full-time potter selling and exhibiting throughout NZ and continuing to export to the UK for The Sugar Club. I well remember how excited a friend of my brother's was when he carefully carried some of Katherine's pieces all the way back from the UK as a special wedding gift. We didn't have the heart to tell him they were actually made here, and available at the groom's sister's store!

Don't miss Squash! The exhibition finishes this week. Avid Gallery is at 48 Victoria St, Wellington, and is always showcasing beautiful art objects and jewellery from some of NZ's leading contemporary artists.
Squash images courtesy of Avid Gallery.
Click here to buy Katherine's beautiful domestic ware online. Pin It

Monday, November 17, 2008

the christmas countdown

I think I'm in Christmas denial. Despite the fact that I've been preparing for it for months now as far as the store goes, my head still can't quite get used to the idea that it truly is now, just around the corner. The year just seems to speed up from here on in. This week we will put all our decorations up instore, and really get in the mood! I have to say that I do get really excited when all the goodies that I have bought for the store months ago finally arrive, and I love seeing the response from my team. If I have one rule when it comes to buying a range for Small Acorns it is always that I have to love it. Then just like an anxious parent, I always hope that everyone else will love the things I've bought for the store as much as I do. One range that never fails to delight us all is the very special Maileg collection of toys from Denmark. So unique and special.
I have to confess that one of these absolutely gorgeous Advent Calendar Pixies might have to help my girls count down for Christmas at home. This is the sort of sentimental touch that would become a part of Christmas tradition for years to come. Each boy or girl pixy measures nearly as tall as me, and the idea is that they hang on a door handle or hook. He wears overalls and she wears a pinafore, and they each have 24 little pockets or rings to hide little treats in.
I can't wait to see the looks on my girls faces!
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

coffee and me

My fixation with coffee is well known amongst my friends, family and Acorns team. If I am not careful this blog could just become a jaunt around all the Wellington cafes and coffee shops I frequent, not to mention my obsession with my very own Rocket espresso machine at home.

However, today I want to make mention of Cafe L'affare, the iconic Wellington coffee roastery and cafe that has been such a part of the Wellington scene since 1990. Almost every Saturday without fail, at around 9am, my brother, sister and I, together with our families, meet at L'affare for a weekly catchup over a BCC (L'affare speak for big cup of coffee) and breakfast. This cafe has been a regular part of our lives for more years than I care to think about. Suffice to say that when we first started going there were no children, and I was the only one married. L'affare has seen the collective arrival of 4 children between us and played gooseberry to a few of my sisters romances. Our table often expands to fit in family or friends from out of town, and no amount of familial squabbling, or milkshake spilling, or indecisive menu choices ever seems to phase Steven, or Liz (who gives as good as she gets) and the affable L'affare team. Thanks for looking after us so well every week (and I'll be in tomorrow for a cheese scone Liz!)

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

my first post

My name is Amanda, and this is my very first blog post. Can anyone tell that I am a very self-conscious blogger!! It has only taken 50 false starts and 2 glasses of wine to get this far. Anyway, I am the owner and I suppose you could say, creative force behind Small Acorns - a boutique store in Wellington, New Zealand which specialises in homeware, interior design and gorgeous goodies from NZ and around the globe.

I hope through this blog to talk about some of the things which inspire me the most, be they things I have found for the store, inspirational people I come across, or just the niceties of life - fine food, flowers, coffee, friends and family to name but a few of my favourite things.

I am not sure exactly how good I will be at this blogging thing, but it seems to be a popular website past-time, and I must say I am addicted to a few myself - experts in the field such as Absolutely Beautiful Things, The Lark and of course, Design Sponge.

Those that know me, know that one of my greatest weaknesses is fresh flowers, so naturally springtime is the time when I go overboard. I was beside myself when last week, the first of the seasons peonies arrived instore at Moore Wilsons. How could I resist. Like many, I wait all year for these gorgeous blousey blooms. So, attached are a few pictures I snapped here at home today. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me.

This one by my bed captures the diversity of my intelligent reading material!! 'Of Course I Love You, Now Go To Your Room' by Diane Levy - coping with my gorgeous wee girls, 'One Fifth Avenue' by Candace Bushnell, writer of Sex & the City, which I am reading to take my mind off our new store website, and 'Chasing Cool' by Noah Kerner and Gene Pressman - I am always thinking of ways to improve my business.

Anyway, the blossom is so pretty! Pin It
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