Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In my fantasies...

On this Maine winter day, my dreams are all about warmth...

I'd buy a beautiful dress at 818 South Broadway, 12th Floor...I'd have five courses here...I'd listen to this...brilliant, oh so special, and warm.  Yes, Los Angeles is looking pretty good to me today.

Re: 818   My fantasy installation just happens to have been created by Christina Kim in Bologna in 2008.


And my video fantasy (for Maria Mastori & Filep Motwary Collection F/W '09*10), so atmospheric and luscious...

Tell me your art fantasies!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry and bright...

Hope you had a lovely day, too....

Seeking artists/curators!!  Inviting proposals for future exhibits at "chelliswilson."  I'm open to a wide range of ideas, so if you've enjoyed what you've seen here so far and have a great concept, please drop me a line!  

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Forward thinking...

Yes, I know I'm getting ahead of myself but, for me, 2009 was a year of absolute change---in work, in location, in worldview.  Much of that was gratifying and enlivening, other realities were unsettling at best.  And so, I'm eager to press onward to 2010.  In which I've decided to embrace authenticity, transparency, and the full-throttle search for my own creatively engaged tribe.  And, while "chelliswilson." is already operating on the concept of celebrating honorable provenance and the beautifully crafted object,  I'm more committed than ever to use this venue to explore these ideas more fully through art and events.  I thrive on ideas and exchanging ideas with other like-minded souls.  On the surface of things, I suppose I would be categorized as the "shopkeeper".   But as so many brilliantly creative endeavors have proven (Portland's own "Rogues Gallery" being a stellar example), a truly great brand is, at its core, an extension of the worldview of its creators.  Besides, the title "cultural explorer" is much more fun....

What's been inspiring me...

I have a concept for a video piece about the "chelliswilson." that would feature a local fairytale beauty with an edge named K. (if you're reading this, you know who you are...)   What kicked these thoughts into gear was this.  A campaign that's truly moving. (Walt Whitman!)  So fresh and strong.  I'd love to hear from interested filmmakers...

These performances, coming in January to Whitney Art Works here in Portland.  This is the sort of thing I absolutely love...

"What Matters Now", "the work of more than 60 people with big ideas and something to say".

The reminder that compassion is more important than anything else.

The creative process of two of my heroines.

The fully realized example of Rogues alumni, Jay Carroll, that with enough imagination, chutzpah, intelligence, and hard work, life on one's own terms is truly possible.  In the "board" section of his blog, I found the following, my credo for the year to come:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Apple trees, gold leaf, roses, and antique chandelier crystals...

I had a vision of holiday magic free of cliche...festive but peaceful....and this is the result.  The apple trees and roses are a bit of ancient symbology (and a nod to my mother's Anglican traditions), the gold and the crystal...purely for sparkle.  Add to that the cocktail of scents---roses, a Diptyque Feu de Bois candle burning, gingerbread cookies---and I'd have to say we're in a holiday mood. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A little video on Tuesday...

1) Now this my kind of DIY....

2) Inspired project, lovely people, and another gratuitous opportunity for parental preening (Miss Margaret is here, too...)

Having a quiet day putting up a new inspiration board with a bit of a holiday theme (photos later).  Maria's coming by later to take down "Come Darkness"...I'll miss it so much!

Sunday, November 29, 2009 & revisited

On this post-Thanksgiving weekend,  I've been thinking (amidst the "Black Friday" hype and the consumer spending predictions) about the fact that I'm one of "them".  Retailers, that is.  A group portrayed as woeful and desperate one day, and as marketing fiends trying to abscond with your wallet the next.  And, while I like to think of "chelliswilson." as a place to exchange ideas, find like-minded people, and to surprise and delight with my "finds",  I'm still in business, not only survive, but to profit.  To this end, I feel especially grateful to all the people in the "inspired. in the shop." column to the right. Their work is not only beautiful, but honorable.  No shilling required. Phew.

Maira Kalman & SANS redux:  After finally seeing "Food, Inc." (twice) last week, I've been full of thoughts about what's necessary to reverse the damage done to our planet, our culture, our families, our souls by the consumerized and industrialized culture that's numbed and trivialized us for far too long.  In her Thanksgiving blog post for the New York Times, Maira Kalman (I posted about her previously here) expressed perfectly everything I'd been feeling in a hopeful and charming way.  I originally posted about the visionary work of Lika Volkova in August. When I saw the SANS Spring 2010 collection, I was just blown away by its originality and beauty.


In other news...

This weekend's lovely blog find: Paper Castle Press.

And I'm in love with this marvel of incredible retail perfection.  In my opinion, this is the standard by which the rest of us should be judged.  OK, then, back to work....

But first, I want to go play here.

Last of all,  a little early holiday gift: enter the code "pogo20" in the online shop, and receive 20% off through Friday, December 4th!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pogo and Dad...

This is the seminal holiday text of my childhood.  Between this, and the other rousing family favorite, "Good King Sauerkraut looked out, On his feets un-e-ven...", it's incredible that I'm able to correctly spout the words of any Christmas carol.  My father was a classics scholar and, therefore, singing the Anglicized "O Come All Ye Faithful" was strictly verboten. It was "Adeste Fideles" or nothing.  So, here's to Richard B. who, if he were still here among the living, would be ninety-eight next Thursday.  I raise my glass (preferably with a Gibson in it) to dear old Dad, with his bespoke suit, his old school tie, and his fedora.  A "Mad Men" original. They just don't make 'em like that any more.

Oh, yes, and while you're at it, put this on the stereo, too.

Merry Christmas....1963.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Come and see me!

Here it is...our new online shop for chelliswilson.!  We've started out with a small grouping of garments exclusive to the shop, but I'll be adding more offerings soon.  Hope you see something that pleases! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3 New Reasons to Visit Us...

Thanks to the talent and generosity of Imke Klee, and the able assistance of Drew Wilen at Art House here in Portland, "Le Jeune Fille Rural" was not only seen... Paris @ "Archeology of the Future: 20 of Trend Forecasting with Li Edelkoort" my favorite magazine

But also right here in the shop!!

And on the parental front....

If you stroll past the shop window on any given afternoon, you're likely to see this young writer/artist working away.  Read some of Miss Margaret's work here.  (Seen here with Lisa's (le bouton studio) daughter, Frances, this summer....a formidable pair.)  And, yes, I realize that the purpose of this blog is to further art and commerce and not to shamelessly brag about my sue me.

And the third new reason to visit "chelliswilson." is that, as of Friday, you can pay us a call no matter where you live, 'cause we're going to be online!!  This is especially good news for anyone hoping to snap up one of our "le bouton for chelliswilson." exclusives!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thank you to Maria and our amazing artists!

Attention!  The "Come Darkness" website is now up!  Go to and have the pleasure of seeing each piece individually. 

As the privileged soul spending the month with this beautiful installation,  I want to take the opportunity to thank each artist here, and to provide my readers with links, so they can become better acquainted with these talented creators.

Thank you...

Natalie Abadzis, Rinne Allen, Stephanie Congdon Barnes, Kevin Bauman, Loraine Bergevoet, Yu-I Chan, Lena Corwin, Renilde de Peuter, Stephen Eichhorn, Xavier Encinas, Karin Eriksson, Fog Linen Work, Karen Gelardi, Jim Green, Friederike Hamann, Brigitte Heinsch, Reka Kiraly, Hanna Konola, Caitlin Mociun, Moontree Letterpress, Fanja Ralison, Christopher David Ryan, George Song, Natalie Tweedie, Stephanie Waddell, and Molly Wizenberg.

And, most especially, to Maria.


 photo by Maria Alexandra Vettese

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Come Darkness" is here!

Maria did the install this morning, and it's so lovely!  Please come by tomorrow during the First Friday Art Walk and celebrate the opening with us!  And a "thank you" to the Portland Press Herald for giving us a special mention.

Here's a sneak preview:


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Conceptual brilliance...

These beautifully composed images all document the work of self-described "Eating Designer" Marije Vogelzang and "Proef" the conceptual food studio/restaurant in Amsterdam.  A graduate of the Design Academy in Eindhoven, her work explores the social, personal, and cultural aspects of eating-- as much about art and ritual as it is about cuisine.  I recently discovered Marije while following the incredible "Pop! Tech" conference (held recently in Camden, Maine) where she was a speaker. Her installation "Pasta Sauna" opens tomorrow at Performa in NY.

Friday, October 30, 2009


So incredibly happy for wonderful Lisa of "le bouton studio" for her mention in this profile of Duskin's Stephanie Tran!  Yay!

It's so much fun when the wider world discovers your favorite people...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 Things on a Wednesday...


 I want to live in this room.  In a warmer climate.  And swing...

The following is lowbrow, wince-inducing, and hysterically funny.  Todd Selby posted this on Twitter.  I nearly gave it a post of its own entitled "The Case for Celibacy".   You will never put the words "Eighties" and "style" in the same sentence ever again....

Lastly, a great source of pithy insight.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

le bouton for chelliswilson.

In the first round of "le bouton for chelliswilson.",  we have the "one tuck dress", the "one tuck tunic", and the "side pleats" skirt, all in beautiful charcoal wool suiting. (the skirt and the dress have pockets lined in blue or pink silk!)  We're also offering bespoke service if the piece you love isn't available in your size.  Email me or call the shop for pricing and availability.


  And for anyone curious about what goes on in the shop on those days when I'm "closed" (but still working!),  I'll leave you with a gratuitous family photo : Miss Margaret diligently working on a writing project, while (out of the frame)  I'm doing my best to distract her, dancing around the room....

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I've been dying to tell you....

 This is going to be amazing!

Forgive my computer illiteracy (can't seem to get this to fit into the post without losing the ability to read the names).  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  Please click on the postcard to read the names of these wonderful, generous artists!  And feel free to send me technical advice!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The School of Life...

I always had the sneaking suspicion that I was in need of this, but I never realized there was an actual storefront!  Yes, a tutorial on your own existence, edited into a mere five courses: LOVE, POLITICS, WORK, PLAY, FAMILY.  The syllabi for these courses were invented by writers, artists, actors and academics. (the sanest people I know!)

But the enlightenment doesn't stop there!

The School of Life has an in-house travel agency---endorsed by Alain de Botton, no less!--to help send you off on an expansive holiday.

And to make sure your library is relevant:  "blbliotherapists".

Practice the art of stimulating discourse at Conversation Dinners (and Breakfasts).

Even "Sermons" delivered by "maverick cultural figures" (remember: they're Brits. Probably the word "maverick" doesn't automatically make them think of you-know-who...) on topics like "Loving Your Ego", "Envy", "Seduction", "Risk" and, last but not least, "Good Design".

Attend an Event!  How about "How to be Cool" or "How to Eat".  Or the one that should be mandatory, "How to be a Better Lover".  (Hmmm...wonder what kind of party favors they give out at that one...?)

And, if after all that, you still aren't sufficiently "tweaked-up", The School of Life has a coterie of psychotherapists on hand to help you "tour your own psyche".

OH!  I almost forgot!  Don't forget to sign up for your "Daily Aphorism"!

There.  All our problems are solved.  Wasn't that easy?

Monday, October 12, 2009

You inspire me....

I want to share with you four projects.  Each brings beauty, sheds light, and creates community in honorable and innovative ways.  All these people are using their significant talents to foster good. Two originate close to home, the others from further away.  All are superbly executed and creatively engaging.  Initiatives we can all be proud to support.

From textile artist and environmental strategist Sasha Duerr, the Permacouture Institute, an educational  non-profit for "regenerative design in fashion and textiles",  promoting "healthy integration between nature and culture".  One of Sasha's best ideas is an event she calls (with tongue firmly planted in cheek...) "Dinner to Dye For", an enlightening and fun marriage of the Slow Textiles and Slow Food movements.  I think this is something that could be beautifully replicated here in Portland. 

Anyone one who's been reading this blog knows by now that John Bielenberg (of Belfast, Maine!) is one of my heroes.  His "Project M" is an immersion program that inspires young designers to use their skills and talents to positively impact the culture, one community at a time. PieLab, based in Greensboro, Alabama (home to Sam Mockbee's Rural Studio), is a pop-up experimental pie shop which hopes to foster conversation between neighbors in this rural, southern town "by uncovering the ideas, stories, aspirations, and talents of this underserved community."  They are moving to a new space on the Main Street, and are asking for investment in this worthwhile endeavor.

From Portland, Maine based writer/photographers Peter Smith and Natalie Conn a documentary project called "The Sunday Best", an homage to "ordinary people doing extraordinary things".   Each Sunday (hence the name), they feature a member of this community through narrative and portraiture.  Think multimedia Studs Terkel. An integral part of this project is to find out if the public will support it. Please do.

Lastly, I want to honor my dear friend, artist Sara Lemieux, for her commitment and devotion  to "The Barrio Planta Project" in Managua, Nicaragua. She's teaching art, dance, and English to children in this impoverished region, volunteering her time and myriad talents during the month of October.

Thank you all.  You lift me up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Green Acres is the place to be....

(photo: Valerio Mezzanoti for the New York Times)
Chanel living is the life for me??  If the above isn't the perfect embodiment of an oxymoron, nothing is.  Or perhaps Lagerfeld is as enamored of Li Edelkoort as I am.  When you consider her projects in recent years---"A World of Folk" which suggests a tendency towards a more "unplugged" way of life, highlighting that "many of us want a more "acoustic" lifestyle and believe in a better future with organic food, rainwater, solar energy, biofuel, manually made tools, folk music and modern rural design."; and  the Designhuis (an Edelkoort initiative) exhibit "Farm" by Studio Job, which beautifully elevates the iconography of rural living--- it's not as shocking to think of Chanel going off in this direction (albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way).  I guess we know who's been reading The General Trend Book....

This video gives a fascinating glimpse into her perfectly curated life.  Where do I sign up?

Monday, October 5, 2009

A thing of beauty....

Bright Star movie image Abbie Cornish (1).jpg

Ben Whishaw stars as poet John Keats in a cinematic déjeuner sur l'herbe

Go immediately and see this glorious film.  With "Bright Star", Jane Campion has outdone herself.  For lovers, for lovers of poetry, and lovers of garments.  Costumes by Janet Patterson are beyond perfect.