12/19/12 4:44pm

Collectors and artsy-crafty types will have to head to East Downtown for their muse-feeding materials when Texas Art Asylum, a 18-month-old venture in the First Ward’s art district (top), packs it all up and moves its various shop-classroom-warehouse operations from several sites to one consolidated locale at 1719 Live Oak St. (above and left). The new space, about 6,000 sq. ft., is the former home of pedicab vendor Space City Bike Cabs.


06/01/12 8:43pm

Do you miss the old Galerie Mado Chalvet building at 1706 Westheimer? And, um . . . another question: Do you need a backpack? Designer Julia Gabriel has just the thing for you, then: Your very own handmade 1706 Westheimer Rd. backpack, modeled after photos she took of the hulking duplex-turned-antique-store after it burned last July. It’s since been torn down — along with the neighboring structures on the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer — for a new development. The HSPVA grad watched the building’s demolition from across the street at Domy Books, but she’d already decided to memorialize the building as a backpack. Yeah, she does that sort of thing: “My backpacks are what I imagine these abandoned buildings were like in their prime: fresh and new with a dash of color,” she writes. “They include a stitched map that shows the buildings original location so it can always find its way home.”


12/18/07 12:16pm

Firevase by Plodes Studio

Here’s another fine item sure to light up the interior of any sophisticated home, but also certain to warm the hearts of patriotic Houstonians as well. It’s the Firevase, a beautiful ceramic container for flowers or flames from Plodes Studio.

The Firevase is another original decorative piece from the mind of John Paul Plauché, a local designer with a remarkable ability to work images of the Houston landscape into his creations.

Plauché calls the Firevase an “indoor or dense-city version of a firepit.” So much nicer than that mock or simply unused fireplace, no? According to Plauché, the firevase runs on a nontoxic clean-burning alcohol gel-fuel can called Sunjel:

The Firevase attempts to bring everything you enjoy about an outdoor firepit to your tabletop or somewhere where you can’t have a firepit. It’s another thing I enjoyed growing up in a small town just east of Houston. It’s about scale [and] my past experiences of living in dense apartment buildings [where you] simply cannot have such amenities . . .

The vase’s tripod shape is inspired by two kinds of plants: the kind that grow in the ground, and the kind that sprout near Pasadena and on Houston’s scenic eastern reaches:

It can be a seasonal affair if you’d like. Fire in the winter and flowers in the summer. Its shape is inspired by root branching systems, and the stark nature of chemical plant structures that can found off hwy 225.

Refineries, chemical plants, flares, and flowers: at last, interior designers discover Houston’s true local style! Below the fold: more photos of this hot item, plus how you can light up your own home with one for the holidays.


12/12/07 9:58am

Mon Petit Chandelle by Plodes Studio

Looking for a holiday gift for that special someone who’s in love with the Houston landscape? Local designer John Paul Plauché of Plodes Studio comes to the rescue with Mon Petit Chandelle, a lovingly handcrafted wax casting of a Houston-area crawfish chimney.

Crayfish Chimney and Burrow DiagramWhat exactly is a crawfish chimney? It’s the pile of small mudballs that accumulates at the entrance to a crawfish burrow, as the critters excavate their homes from our native muddy soil, the artist explains:

In and around Houston you can find them in wet situations like in ditches, near bayous, and fields or lawns that may not drain as well and/or hold water after a rain. I’m sure you could go to memorial park and find them . . . I used to live in the heights off 26th st. and specifically remember seeing one or two around my mailbox /ditch area….

Plauché says he found the chimney he used for Mon Petit Chandelle in a ditch off Sheldon Rd. between I-10 and Beltway 8. It’s hard to imagine finding a gift with more uh . . . local flavor. Plus, there’s the artist’s statement:

The design was instigated from childhood memories of being more directly in tune with “outside”, the frequency of seeing these little towers and kicking them over . . . it became just a playful memory, and the shape of the mud chimney just seemed to mimic a candle to me in proportion, shape, and texture.

And as the candle burns it returns the associative favor by burning what would resemble the hole through the center of the chimney. Its definitely a local or regional thing. I’m sure a lot of people on other areas of the US wouldn’t have any idea what it is just because the type of crawfish that make these chimneys simply aren’t there.

Below the fold: More crayfish-candle craziness, plus where-to-buy information.