I love getting unexpectedly jolted by a spark of creativity that fuels my inspiration for days, weeks, even months to come. In this profession you tend to kind of eat, breathe, and sleep design ... meaning I've got my "design goggles" on at all times (for better or for worse) and can't help mentally editing or completely re-decorating just about every space I enter.
Usually I am eagerly soaking it all in, but sometimes I start to feel a little saturated and a "design malaise" sets it. Then I don't particularly care about seeing another subtle variation on the same basic theme of "pretty." I want innovative, I want edgy, I want to be shaken up a bit.
That's what happened recently when I attended a designer's event at an incredibly creative and inspiring art house in nearby Echo Park, just up Sunset Blvd from my own Silverlake studio in Northeast LA.
Natural Curiosities is a company that's hard to define and impossible to pigeonhole ... founder Christopher Wilcox began as an antiquarian book dealer in England, and upon moving to LA began making art of found objects, his vast collection of antique botanical prints, and a plethora of images, shapes, and patterns plucked from history and nature. This creative maelstrom has evolved into a thriving, living Warhol-esque art studio where a team of 25 artisans apply their mojo to every piece that emerges from it. “California is the most creative environment I’ve ever been in,” Wilcox says. “When I landed here, I literally kissed the earth.”
Though I've hobnobbed with the Natural Curiosities team at other events around LA, including their storefront in the LA design mecca H.D. Buttercup, I'd never been inside their workshop where it all goes down...and it did not disappoint!
Housed in an Egyptian-themed 1920's-era bowling alley complete with original pillars and painted wall murals, soaring ceiling pour diffuse natural light into a space filled with art and objects of curiosity.
Touring this vibrant, living, working art studio was a breath of fresh air to me. And beyond all the visual beauty, there was scintillating lunchtime conversation (shared over the most delicious, fresh, organic meal...another of Chris Wilcox's pet projects) that spanned the topics of intuition, nature, the divine, art, ecology, and creation ... it ran the whole gamut, really, as any scintillating conversation should.
The day definitely served as that inspirational spark I look for to keep the creative juices flowing. I've decided love this company and what they stand for, all summed up perfectly in this pronouncement from their website ... "Let Art Dictate the World!"
(Natural Curiosities is currently sold only to the trade, so contact me or a design professional for any pricing or further info you're after ... happy to help.)