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Of Quartz!

Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust, only after feldspar. This is funny to me because I don’t think I have thought about, or even uttered the word feldspar since my 8th grade Earth Science course. So although quartz might be number two according to the earth, I would definitely rank the semi-precious gemstone higher.

The Walkup

A simple quartz bookend by Pine and Main.

Quartz is varied! Like a middle school mood ring, these rocks range from citrine to smoky grey, from milky white to kitten-nose pink. Because the mineral is so ubiquitous, it has been linked to human history in Irish burials, Pre-Columbian American tools, Australian aboriginal mythology and in East Asian jewelry.

The Walkup

A "wonder-room"-inspired black lucite box // 
Volcanic rock, rainbow-colored and sturdy coasters //
Sculptural crystal on a stand //

Today, yours truly, sits atop the stuff! Under Manhattan Island is a 542 million year old Paleozoic crystalline rock formation that is made up of garnet, silliminate and quartz. Thanks to its strength, the island is still around. Pretty solid (on the Moh’s scale, har har)!

The Walkup

From the office space of Sequins & Stripes.

Just because it’s common doesn’t mean its uncool.




“Sally sells seashells by the seashore.  
The shells Sally sells are surely from the sea.”

Although I cannot say the above tongue twister three-times fast, I can decorate with Sally’s proverbial seashells! The temperatures in NYC have been rising, the mercury has reached a lovely 79 degrees fahrenheit, and I found my thoughts drifting to the tidal patterns of the shoreline. Oh to be on a beach!

Chevron, Seashells, White Sofa, White Glossy Tray, Turquoise

Excerpt from Liz Lange”s Westchester, New York home as designed by the inimiatable Jonathan Adler. The large ottoman is upholstered in Hinson’s Montauk Texture in Aegean. The chevron rug brings a touch of mod, sixties contrast. Image via House Beautiful.

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Baby Blue, White Sofa, Mosaic Mirror, Framed Coral

This beach abode is elegant and pure. The airy, white chairs, mantle and blinds allow the light to flow freely. Many of the textile details have an almost chinoiserie vibe. The framed coral samples on the wall, and drift wood in the fireplace keep this place from looking too polished and cliche. Image via Heather Scott Home & Design.

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Moroccan Pouf, Lilac, Seashells, Purple Velvet

Power couple Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos share their eclectic pad with Elle Decor. Inspired by vintage issues of National Geographic and their world travels, Wentworth’s collection of  lilac sea fans, coral, and shells lines the minimal, cream shelves. If you have ever met met, or gone antiquing with yours truly, you will know that my dream is to live in a room with hundreds of specimen containers, cloches and chemistry sets. All of this is tied together with lilac accents and a purple, moroccan pouf. Photography by Simon Upton. 

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Seashell Prints form a Mural-style Gallery Wall

Create a large eye-catching, mural-style gallery display by grouping smaller prints together. Photography by Nancy Nolan for Tobi Fairley Interior Design.

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Studio Visit

Diana Kurz is a naturalist and figurative painter based in Soho, NYC. She was born in 1936 in Vienna, Austria. Kurz explains, ” My parents and I came to the US via Italy, Switzerland, England (where I learned to speak English) and Ireland. Because of the large body of work I have done on the subject of the Holocaust, I think it is important to mention that we were forced to flee Vienna in 1938, and that although we came to the United States when I was four years old, the events of WW II directly affected my life and childhood. Family history and my parents’ generosity in raising two of my orphaned cousins, survivors of concentration camps, as their own children instilled in me an awareness of the importance of social justice and caring for others.” To read a more in-depth biography, reprinted from Veteran Feminists of America, go HERE.

Diana Kurz and her mother in Europe when she was about 2 1/2 or 3.

Diana with a hip, mod, Sassoon inspired pixie cut in her Paris studio in 1965.

And later in her Soho studio – one of the lucky few to find these hidden Soho loft gems in the 1970s (before the area became the trendy, commerce center it is today).

Like in the Wizard of Oz, we just went from Black & White to Color! This is Diana today standing in front of one of her paintings. Look a that necklace!

She has exhibited her work extensively in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and her work is in many distinguished private and public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Rose Art Museum, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien in Austria; The Jewish Museum of Vienna; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Hudgens Center for the Arts, GA; Savannah College of Art and Design, and Yad Vashem. Among the numerous awards she has received are a Fulbright Grant in Painting to France;  New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant; American Center Residency in Paris; Austrian Federal Ministry of the Arts/VCCA Artist-In-Residence in Vienna;.Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency. Kurz has been on the faculty of distinguished art schools including Pratt Institute, Queens College, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, SUNY at Stony Brook, University of Colorado in Boulder, and Philadelphia College of Art (now known as University of the Arts). She has a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree in Fine Arts from Brandeis University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from ColumbiaUniversity.

John in the Studio, oil on canvas, 57″ x 68″

Ann in Striped Dress, oil on canvas, 72″ x 51 1/2″, Collection of Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts

Women painters were rare in the 1960’s and so the best compliment she would ever receive at the time was “that could have been painted by a man” (How horrible)! Although it might not show at first glance in her works, Kurz studied the compositions of Piet Mondrian at great length. Her canvases are heavily influenced by the the exploration of lines and color composition.

Silver Spring Monkeys, #2, Monotype, 6″ x 8″

The Hudson River Downtown Study #2 ,oil on paper on canvas, 7″ x 10″

I have had the pleasure of meeting Diana on several occasions – we talked over cookies and tea just last week! We first met during my time at Columbia University while I was the Project Manager for an amazing endeavor called “Art Cart: Saving the Legacy”. Enough on the history, now for a present-day studio visit:

Alternate uses for Cento Tomato Paste. 

Not shown in the photo, the other kitty and an adorable lap dog – DIXIE!

A detail. 

What inspires you to succeed and create? What do you need in your office or workspace so that you can be successful?  I have a garden gnome given to me by my friend Sonja that has been in every apartment in which I have ever lived. It travels with me, and is always lurking in the corner, helping me to conjure ideas!