Lifestyles: Frond objects
Designer Erica Tanov describes herself as a “refined hippie—attracted to the loose, natural, and raw—yet . . . also drawn to articles with a hint of glamour and opulence.” She specializes in adopting the patterns, textures and mysteries of the natural world, letting tree bark, fern fronds and other natural elements inspire her interiors and creations. In Tanov’s exquisite Design by Nature, she illustrates how a vintage lace curtain mirrors a decomposing leaf; exposed denim selvages bring to mind “a foggy day at the beach”; and tassels and fringe summon “the languorous quality of lichen.” For those who love the intricacies, imperfections and ephemerality of the natural world, this book will feel like a familiar, gorgeous friend, and Tanov’s essays are beautifully composed, too.
HOOP! THERE IT IS
There’s no question that hand embroidery is having a moment. Entering the cluster of books that offer a modern take on this craft is Hoop Dreams: Modern Hand Embroidery by Cristin Morgan, a former accessories designer (peep her work on Instagram at @marigoldandmars). This book begins with a focus on designs that are perfect for displaying in the same simple wooden hoop that holds your fabric taut during stitching. (You might think of this as embroidery’s take on industrial-style furnishings, where objects previously considered to be strictly functional take on an aesthetic appeal.) Wildflowers, confetti made from French knots, a rainbow, monograms—each of these projects would make lovely small decorations and gifts for friends. Morgan also includes projects for home goods, like napkins and a plant cozy, and personal belongings like accessory cases. A final chapter explains the stitches for all of the aforementioned projects, and the book comes with a handy set of iron-on pattern sheets.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
I have a love-hate relationship with creativity guides. They can be repetitive and pat at their worst but truly life-changing at their best, sparkling with lightning-bolt ideas and inspiration. Creative Quest is firmly in the second camp, in part because Questlove—Grammy-winning co-founder of the Roots, DJ, culinary entrepreneur, the list goes on—feels a lot like I do. Long interested in but skeptical of books about creativity, he set out to do something different. Powered by the pistons of Questlove’s ever-curious mind and his decades of experience in varied artistic projects with top entertainers, thinkers and creators, this book feels fresh and personal. Credible research is buttressed by “here’s how it played out for me” stories, and his humor and geniality shine through, making this feel a bit more memoir-ish than the typical creativity guide. “I won’t make grand claims,” he says. “But I will make this one: if you use this book properly, you’ll learn something, even if what you learn is that you already believed your own version of many of these insights.” In perfect Questlove fashion, he continues, “That’s one of the secrets that maybe a savvier marketer would save for a bonus track but I’m sequencing first.”