Celebrating The British Royal Wedding

We are all obviously aware of the “Royal Wedding Fever” that has gripped most of the world, including a great number of us in South Africa. The anticipation is now reaching fever pitch, with Royals Wedding get-togethers being arranged by most I know, including moi. Snacks – cucumber sandwiches, followed by Bangers and Mash. All things Brit tomorrow. But oh, how I wish I could be there – in London, the place I have a passion for, just to be part of their wedding “gees”.

No matter though, after having watched as many of the Royal Wedding episodes on the BBC Knowledge channel as I could, scoured through the videos on Yahoo, read through the headlines of our counterpart tabloids in Britain, I can now say that I am well and truly prepared for this big event and have enough gees for all.

Although we as Design Monarchy were sadly not included on the guest list as international monarchs, we thought we would nevertheless tip our crown to the British Monarchy in celebration of their Royal Wedding, by displaying cool, quirky, creative British decor goodies.

Now for a titbit of tabloid skinny – (unlike a number of the British tabloids, we pride ourselves in bringing news of a positive nature, inspiring – take a lesson The Sun!)

Princess Diana was responsible for major shifts in the way the British monarchy interact with the public – which we all know and sincerely appreciate that she brought the Crown to the People. Although it came at huge emotional cost to her, she managed to serve the people of Britain with warmth that had been lacking for so long. Thereafter the Windsors managed to shake off their cold, stuffy image by becoming a “welfare monarchy” – dedicated to charitable work.

William in the spirit of his mom, together with his new wife Kate is driving that shift further forward. They are the Modern Monarchs that dare to organise a full disco party for their friends on the night of their wedding in none other than Buckingham Palace. I would say that could be a first. Hats off to the Queen for opening the doors of the Palace for this party and taking herself and the Duke off to Windsor Castle for the night. May she sleep tight while the Royal Wedding rocks on!

According to historian Dominic Sandbrook, price William might have chose his commoner wife for romantic reasons, that is obvious I would think, but he also picked a perfect candidate “to show that the royal family is ready to embrace a more democratic century”. An era that many Brits would welcome I would imagine.

So, in closing, Design Monarchy wishes Prince William and Kate Middleton a wonderful wedding day. And, like we say to each other, “looking forward to see the pics”.

Celebrate and enjoy this wedding in royal style wherever you find yourself.


A Very Etsy Easter

By Marica

Today Mzansi, I would like to share some truly beautiful and ingeniously unique objects with you (all Easter related of course). I do however, not only do this in order for you to have something pretty to look at but also to motivate you to create some Proudly South African pretties of your own…

You see, all the lovely items below are from Etsy. If you are unfamiliar with Etsy: it is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. It is a platform for creatives to sell anything from art, photography and clothing, to jewellery, ceramics and other bric-a-brac. Think of a cross between an amazing flea market and eBay.

I could browse through Etsy for hours and hours. I noticed, unfortunately, that there are only a handful of active South African crafters (Skinny laMinx being one of them, by-the-by) using Etsy to sell their products. So, today I want to implore you, dearest South Africa, to use this amazing platform available to us.

The global trend is towards anything and everything handmade and therefore websites like Etsy are flourishing because of the high demand for unique and quality crafted products.

Now I know for a fact that we as South Africans have a vast amount of really creative individuals – let’s show the world what we are made of. Whether you are a professional fine artist or Polokwane housewife with a needlework hobby there is a spot on Etsy just for you.

Happy crafting Mzansi, and have a blessed Easter.

See you on Etsy!  x x

Featured Etsy Crafters:

Poodlebreathbarbplevan / amberalexander / BootsNGus / collageOrama /

planetmomeko / obsessivecreative  / FuzzyMug / ellynelly / FramesAndNames

SailThouForth / teener1416 / creativesignsbyjenna / PrinceDesignUK / WhiteForestPottery

Misspottery / MayDae / skinnylaminx / KatyRayDesigns / NooneyArt

 uncommon / Christine2011 / kittredgecandles / mengseldesign

Why Decorex CT 2011 is going to be awesome…

Decorex Cape Town 2011 is just around the corner and there are a couple of things Rose and I are rather excited to see. This year’s show, themed ‘Beauty and the Basics’, is said to “express the Mother City’s creative energy through form, function, colour, shapes and textures.”

I’m quite thrilled to see that they are taking a more visitor interactive approach this year. Various workshops, trend discussions and concept stands may steer the show into a more design orientated direction as opposed to previous years.

Catching on to the new-fangled handmade revolution, Decorex will be celebrating the ‘proudly self-made’ phenomenon with free demonstrations, colour advice and new techniques to guide a new generation of ‘make-it-myself’ enthusiasts.

Rose and I are looking forward to the IID Trend Showcase with renowned trend forecaster Dave Nemeth. Said to be a highly visual presentation, it covers seasonal and annual colour direction as well as current decor and interior trend themes.

The Plascon Colour Forecast 2011 will also be on display, giving visitors the opportunity to experience colour in a decor setting.  Plascon asked four “colour connoisseurs” to interpret these new colours in four concept stands, each depicting one of the new colour palettes.

The ‘Dream Rooms & Fabric Area’ should also be interesting view – high-end exhibitors show their signature style and attention to detail in alluring room settings. This is also where you will see what the various fabric houses have been up too – always drool-worthy.

Rose was rather impressed by the new ‘Ask the Experts” corner: a solve-it team consisting of Aidan Bennetts Design and Furnspace 3D Software promising to assist you with your personal decor & design projects. What an awesome and helpful idea for the overwhelmed DIY homeowner. One-on-one slots are available and bookings will open early April, so be sure to book at www.decorex.co.za.

I noticed on Kim Gray’s blog (an awesome SA design blog to subscribe to by the way) that she has 4 sets of double tickets to give away! How generous of her!

To enter simply ‘LIKE’ the Decorex Facebook Page HERE, and leave a comment on their page stating  ’Kim Gray Competition’ and what design item you’d give Will and Kate as a wedding gift. Hurry, hurry before you miss the boat!

Hope to see you all at Decorex CT! Watch this space for our full report after the fact.


Decorex Cape Town

Dates:             29 April – 2 May 2011

Venue:           CTICC, Cape Town

Times:           Doors are open from 10:00- 19:00 daily. The show closes at

18:00 on Monday, May 2nd.

Entrance:    R60. (Pensioners and scholars pay R50 while children under 12 pay R5)

For more information visit www.decorex.co.za

Find them on Facebook , Decorex SA , or follow @decorexSA on twitter

All info and images via Decorex

Gavin Collins – Contemporary Artist

I don’t profess to be an art fundi or even remotely expert in this field, but in all my recent years of being active with interior design and decoration, and more recently through the magazine articles I wrote, my passion for art is on the up and up.

Gavin Collins

So, last Friday, it was with great excitement that I trundled off (mitt hubby) to an exhibition held at the Westlake Gallery of Contemporary Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.  Gavin and I go back about 6 years. During this time, I had been a huge fan of his work, regularly including his work in our projects.

Gavin Collins

Some of those projects include the large number of pieces which we installed in the Irish hotel projects, leaving us all extremely Proudly South Africa being able to display abroad such a fine SA Artist.

Gavin Collins

Over the years I have watched Gavin’s work evolve and what I saw at the Exhibition was really very pleasing to the soul.  He captures contemporary colours and textures, remaining faithful to the Fine Art Genre.  Colours such as silver and hints of that jewel blue we see emerging into our accessories more and more lately.

Gavin Collins

He has that skill of being able to capture horses on canvas, including those in motion. Putting such a touch of reality into those images, that it leaves me feeling a part of the scene so completely.

Gavin Collins

This exhibition delivered his latest “Horse” image. Due to the enormity of its size, the painting holds a very prominent place in the Gallery.  When I approached it, I felt as if I should turn on my heels and run, so realistic looking is this image – I could almost hear the snorting of these horses.

Then, Gavin did something that I have never encountered at an exhibition yet (not that I go to that many mind you). On a big wall there was a huge blank canvas, with a table full of artist’s tools and paints.  Well, was not too long before Gavin whipped up his brushes and his grubby towel to set to work, filling that blank canvas.

Gavin Collins

It was totally awesome and inspiring to watch him go about his work so effortlessly and to be able to watch the image unfold before your very eyes.  Needless to say, we were all total converts thereafter.

Gavin At Work In His Studio

A quickie Bio on Gavin:

He grew up the son of a farmer, not much into the academics of the time, choosing rather to work with his hands, drawing and painting. At age 16 (after already having his first exhibition at 14yrs) his encouraging parents sent him off the Ruth Prowse School of Art.

Gavin who has a passion for past maters of Art, studied their styles and techniques. Over the course of time and much experimentation (like a true master) he achieved a style of his own.  He uses pleasing pastel colours, thinned to create an almost water colour effect.

Words of Wisdom spoken by Gavin:

“If the important elements such as depth, form, contrast, light and space are not present, then call it what u want, but do not call it art”.

Gavin, like all good men, has a truly amazing lady by his side – pop into the Westlake Gallery where you should meet Amanda – his greatest supporter.

Please do yourself a HUGE favour and click on the various images to view the paintings on a bigger scale – the detail is simply amazing!

Visit his website: www. gavincollins.com