Our Local Blogging Community

You know, so many people have so many opinions to give when it comes to social media and our involvement in it.  I am sure that you must often encounter the same conflicting takes from your friends and family members that I do.  Some love it, enjoy the interaction, the connectedness, deriving a great deal of pleasure from portals such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Blogs.  Others just find it far to invasive – probably speaking more about Facebook. Then, there are those of my generation who just simply think that this stuff is gobbledegook – something that was foisted upon us by alien invaders.  Just too out there!!  I must say, just thinking about all the various reactions, cracks a smile on my face.  I mean, why on earth are we still having so many varied reactions to the Social Media.  It is well and truly entrenched into the fibre of our societal interaction.  It should not even be a topic of discussion any more.  Think about it – do we still discuss the pros and cons of a microwave, a computer or any other tech apparatus that has become part and parcel of modern living?

Having said of that – my take is obvious.  I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the social media communities that are out there.  Yes, I am selective in the ones I am actively busy with, but that I feel is how we should manage our social media profiles.  And when I think of the friendship that I have made online with those within our blogging community, I cannot help but smile.

The Design Tabloid was launched properly and actively in 2011.  During the course of the last three years, I have come to know a few regulars via our online presence – connecting with bloggers even one step further via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  Even though we may only have encountered each other once or twice in person, some closely, some in passing at an event –  I know that I have developed a friendship with them.  One that I feel safe in – could be due to the fact that it is from a distance and has a certain safety factor coded into it as such.  But, we have walked along side each other over the years and I have enjoyed watching their lives unfold.  Much like I would enjoy watching the life of a personal friend, or colleague, or network member unfold.  I think they rock as much as their blogs rock.

The  few  local (die-hard) bloggers I am referring to are the likes of Vicki Sleet of “I Want That“; Kim Gray of “Kim Gray Lifestyle“; Lana of “Lanalou Style“; lovely Leila Fanner of “Leila Fanner Studio“; Lelanie Slater with her “Of Beauty and Love” blog and, as of today, the proud owner of Ampersand Social Stationery an online stationary shop (whoop whoop) and Kathryn Rossiter of “Becoming You“.

Then there were some other really lovely people that we encountered in the early stages as well, who for reasons of their own have had to reduce their blogging activity.  Such a pity because they were  awesome people, but family and work commitment did not afford them the opportunity of staying online as bloggers. Gals such as Idonette, Kim Stephens and to a lesser degree Bianca Packam. Miss you gals and hope that once your lives and families have settled a bit, that you will make a comeback into the blogger-sphere.

My question here to other bloggers is this:  have you too developed friendships within your blogging communities?  Have you managed to find friendships via social media online avenues?  Hope so.

Lana of Lanalou Style visits The Tabloid

“Today we have the absolute pleasure of featuring as our guest blogger, none other than Cape Town’s own talented Lana Kenney. When we here at the Design Monarchy decided that we want to include a blog into our daily life as an interior design company, we naturally jumped onto the net to begin following other bloggers just to become part of this community. Lanalou Style was one of the first blogs that really caught our eye. I remember both Marica and I were so taken with this blog. And being “Proudly South African” – the fact that she is a Cape Townian was a bonus. Over the months of following her regular posts, I have so come to appreciate her talent as a photographer as well – all the images below are her own. Also, I am not known for my fashion sense, but thanks to Lana’s fashion posts, I have developed a better understanding of what it takes to put clothes together.

So, lets hear the drum roll folks – here’s Lana…”

Hi there, this is Lana from Lanalou Style and I’m delighted to be here on The Design Tabloid today. Thanks so much for inviting me over, Rose and Marica!

I started blogging as a way to keep busy during quiet times at work and as a creative outlet. Very quickly though, blogging became rather addictive and a way of life! The inspiration available online and blogging community is just incredible.

These days what I enjoy most about blogging is being able to discover great places in Cape Town and share these with my readers. I love taking photos of places and things that catch my eye whether it be a boutique, café, garden or Cape Town’s eccentricities. Being able to inspire my readers, both local and international, to discover Cape Town’s beauty makes me happy!

These are just a few pics from some of my travels around and about Cape Town, I hope you enjoy and that they inspire you to discover more of our amazing city!

Be sure to visit & subscribe to Lana’s AWESOME blog: Lanalou Style

The Talented Mr. Chandler

By Marica

Please spare me a moment or two of your afternoon to share the remarkable works of Michael Chandler with you – it will be well worth your time. Do you have your coffee in hand… mmm, and a rusk maybe? Ready? Okay…

Browsing through the Chandler House website, Rose and I had to agree that Michael is one clever young man. Most of his pieces have an unique play of old and new – taking an artefact and reworking it into a contemporary interpretation is simply brilliant. He finds inspiration for new designs in South African history & heritage and then uses modern materials and methods to craft it. I also find it admirable how he utilizes otherwise damages & useless objects (like the shards of an old blue & white Dutch plate) to create something beautiful with it – with a completely different use.

Fridge magnets made from shards of blue & white porcelain plates. Clever, hey!

Rose and I were rather interested to find out how Michael’s seemingly contrasting interests came to be…

It seems Michael spend school holidays on family farms that resulted in an early introduction to nature, antiques, gardening and needlework. After leaving school, he enrolled at UCT where he studied one of his most passionate interests – Art History. While undertaking his post grad Michael started working for Stephan Welz & Sothebys, a prestigious fine and decorative arts auction house. Spending every day examining and cataloguing beautiful things, he learnt an enormous amount about the past 400 years of design and was snapped up as a research assistant to Deon Viljoen – a leading expert on 18th, 19th and 20th Cape Visual and Domestic History. Deon’s passion for early Cape furniture and Dutch trade pieces quickly seeded itself in Michael and this is easily recognisable in the work that Michael does today. In July 2010, Michael started a small design studio – Chandler House – and his work is largely associated with the above-mentioned interests.

Beautiful embroidery - the white and blue combination remains stunning!

Deon Viljoen approached Michael in 2010 to find an upholstering solution for these fabulous set of Cape Stinkwood Dining Chairs, circa 1810. Georgian English in design, but made in the Cape. By some happy accident, Michael found shards of discarded English blue and white porcelain and decided to embroider the different porcelain shards patterns on the chair seats – brilliant blue on off-white cotton.

The Kraak Mirror

Based on the rim pattern of a 17th Century Japanese Blue & White Ceramic Plate, the Kraak Mirror, above, is a 21st Century Cape take on the Regency Butler’s Mirror.

Striking Red Embroidered Coral Scatters

I absolutely love these beautiful bold red embroidered Coral scatter cushions Michael designed. Quite striking, hey? They’re available at Pezula Interiors. (I believe  the talented Lanalou took this lovely photo)

Love those busts. So funky!

The beautiful black & white Houdiniware is quite… well… hypnotizing and the quirky busts you see at the top are slip-casts of a phrenology head by Lorenzo Niles Fowler. Michael, viewing the heads as blank canvases started experimenting by painting different features on the various heads – the result is uniquely funky.

The Madam-Style Mirror and Nyanga Mirror = what an unique translation

Based on a Robert Adam Neo-Classical design from the late 18th Century, the Madame-style mirror is made entirely out of white beads. Whereas the Nyanga Mirror has a more simplistic tribal feel – “nyanga” being the Xhosa word for “moon” and ultimately the inspiration for this beaded piece.

On the bottom, from left to right: The Cape Spitoon; Phrenology Vase & the Enlightenment stack of books.

The Cape Spittoon is Michael’s 21st Century interpretation of an old Cape Icon – although traditionally it would have been heavy brass, so unlike this dainty ceramic version.

Here again you find the Fowler’s Phrenology head but now used as a vase – imagine planting some herbs in it – that would be one funky head of hair!

I adore the stack of plaster books! It can be used as a decorative object and Michael designed a lamp base version of it as well.

VOC-Inspired Plate

Fabric man, David Bellamy kindly asked Michael to create an unique piece for an exhibition which aims to raise awareness and funds for the protection and survival of the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Michael came up with this VOC-inspired piece, only replacing the traditional Ho-ho birds with a pair of Cape Parrots.

The beautiful Cape Pendant Collection

Michael says he has several things in the pipeline. He’s working on a revised smaller Cape Pendant Collection – for those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a jewellery range based on the key-plates found on old pieces of Cape Furniture (and it’s freaking beautiful). Lanalou also did a beautiful post about it here. Michael is also currently focusing on a range of Kitchen Linens – Aprons, Tea towels, Dishcloths and Napkins inspired by china patterns, 18th century etchings of the Cape and esoterica. So, keep your eyes peeled people and check out his website for more beautiful thingies.

So, what do you guys think? Which item appeals to you most? I have to say I would love to own one of those Cape Pendants, how about you? Give us your opinions please!