Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kilmarnock (the jewel of the Northern Neck)

I am torn between keeping the Northern Neck of Virginia and it's jewel, the town of Kilmarnock a secret.    It is selfishness on my part.  I'd like to keep this wonderful slow paced relaxing area all to myself.  That would be selfish.  We have farmer's fields, wide expansive views of the river ( or as the locals say Rivah).  Some how as soon as you cross the Rappahanock River the weight of the world eases off ones shoulders, and you visibly relax.  With this slower pace life takes on another dimension.

You can smell the freshness in the air, and hear the song of the birds.  Maybe relax on the river sailing, crabbing, or fishing.  There are nature walks be taken. Biking,is another option.

We do not lack for amenities.  There are several first class restaurants, Seven Martini Bar, The Town Bistro, The Trick Dog, and the Car Wash Cafe.  Carried away Cuisine, and the River Market provide ready made fare easily taken home for gourmet meals.with little effort.  Then there is the Tri Star Grocery Store, sometimes referred to by certain locals as the center of the Universe. For a  locally owned Grocery Store it is truly amazing  what you can find in that little store.  We also have a natural health food store.  Down the road a piece, as locals would say there is Edmonds Farm where you can get local Bison, and naturally fed pork, as well as fresh eggs. Here the chickens actually have normal fowl lives.

As far as shopping goes we have several first class shops.  Three shops on Main Street are on 1stdibs and sell internationally.  Show Offs is a fine place to grab some swinging clothes and Foxy's name says it all (clothes for the foxy lady).

The area is some what of an artist colony.  The Rappahanock Artist League affords the area residence a place to gather and practice their art.  So many people put off being artist in order to make a living.  As retirees they are now able to be what they want to be and so many follow the arts.

But don't let me convince you  to move here just come to the Tides Inn in Irvington, the Kilmarnock Inn, or one of the many B&B's for a visit.  Take a breath of our fresh air blowing off the Chesapeake Bay and a deep breath or two and completely relax leaving all your cares behind.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Love with Murano Glass

We love Murano glass, and we made our share of mistakes when we started out collecting.  It takes studying and understanding the quality of the Glass.  Glass making began in Venice  in the 9th century under the Romans.  Because Venice was a major Port City there were influences from the near and far East.  In the !3th century because many of the buildings were made of wood and there was a great fear of fire all the Glass making industries were ordered by the Venetian Republic to move to the island of Murano (1291). 
Carlo Scarpa 'battuto' vase, Venini & C., 1940http://kocoma-collection.blogspot.com/2011/03/carlo-scarpa-battuto-vase-venini-amp-c.html

These glass makers became prominent citizens but were not allowed to leave the city.  Some however did manage to leave and set up glass making work shops as far away as England and Holland.  By the end of the 16th century almost half of the Island's population were involved in the Glass making trade.  They produced the standard for glass making.  New techniques such as crystalline glass, aventurine glass ( threads of gold), millefiori.
Pulegoso vase By Martinuzzi

During the Twentieth century some of the better known Murano's glass makers were Venini, Barovier, Toso, Salviati, and Seguso.   These  innovators produced Sommerso , where there are two or more layers of colored glass(deleloped by Seguso) , Battuto (chiseled looking glass), Pulegoso (frothy glass),Scavo, frosted glass and Corroso, glass whose surface is irregular to the touch due to the use of a chemical agent..
Large Red Scavo Vase by Barbini

During the early Modernist period Architects and designers designed pieces in glass. Foremost among these were Gio Ponti, Carlo Scarpa, Archimedes Seguso and Napoleon Martinuzzi.  Their ideas took Murano glass from the frilly Chandelier into the design world of the new modern era.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Raymor Imports 1941-1980

Aldo Londi Vases for Raymor

Raymor Imports founded by Irving Richards started out distributing modern domestic products with designs by noted American designers such as Gilbert Rohde, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson, and Eva Zeisel.  After World War II they started importing designs by some important Europeans.  These included Pottery by Bitossi,  Aldo Londi, Gambone, and not the least Fantoni.
A lot of the pottery by Bitossi  was glazed in  Rimini Blue. 

Examples of Rimini Blue

 Through the distibution of Raymor, these pieces were sold in some of the larger well known department store in the states. Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the designs of these artist along with the revival of the designs of the early modernist. Raymor pieces have become highly valued and collectable.

Fantoni for Raymor


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