The humble bowl takes center stage in the kitchen cabinet this season, with a cold-weather emphasis on fragrant homemade chicken soup, hearty stews, spicy chili, and comforting hot cereals. And these handcrafted ceramic bowls in a classic blue-and-white color scheme and cheery floral pattern not only look charming, they also help spread a little cheer all year long. The bowls are offered by Ten Thousand Villages, one of the world’s largest fair-trade organizations, with products that originate from more than 35 countries. Purchasing this global marketplace’s products directly benefits underprivileged artisans, with sales helping pay for their food, education, healthcare, and housing. These assorted blue-petal bowls are handcrafted at the Kinh family workshop in the famous pottery village of Bát Tràng, Vietnam, according to a centuries-old tradition. Offered in three complementary patterns—a single bloom, tiny petals, and flowering vines—they are painted and glazed by hand, and then high-fired for strength and durability. Measuring 4.75 inches in diameter and priced at $16 each, the bowls are available at The Silk Road in Bronxville (914-337-2177; www.thesilkroadny.com). For more info: www.tenthousandvillages.com
Designing in the Next Dimension
When Janet Sikirica, a certified milliner, avid knitter since age 7, and “lover of all things wool,” discovered the wet-felting process four years ago, she started out like most fiber artists: creating flat designs such as scarves, hats, and wall hangings. The Dobbs Ferry resident, who works from a home studio, says that wet-felting uses unspun wool fiber—merino, alpaca, and llama, among others—laid out on silk fabric. It is “massaged” in a liquid mixture until fully felted, and then it is dyed. Once Sikirica learned the characteristics of felt, she became more comfortable with three-dimensional felting and began creating stunning, one-of-a-kind vessels. “Bringing depth to my felting work was just a natural next step,” Sikirica says. “I get bored easily doing the same thing.”
Inject some pizzazz into a powder room with this striking Flower Petal Sink from Hastings Tile & Bath. Marrying a graceful, floral-inspired form with such distinctive hues as Ferrari red, this exquisite sink is created by Italian artisanal glassmakers in durable but lightweight fiberglass. It’s available through the Hastings showroom in Manhattan’s A&D building; pricing is $4,795 in white, $6,795 in red or black, and $7,395 in gold leaf or silver. For more info: www.hastingstilebath.com
The vessels start out flat, she says. Sikirica works with layers of wool with a resist—like plastic or bubble wrap—in the middle to prevent the fibers from connecting to each other. Once she feels a solid fiber forming, she removes the resist to reveal a hollow form that requires continued felting while she shapes the vessel. It’s “very much like working with clay—rubbing, kneading, and shaping.” The results are striking; interior designers like Lisa Baglieri, also of Dobbs Ferry, have been scooping up the works of art for clients’ homes. Prices range from $90 to $200; custom orders are welcome. For more info: (646) 263-6052; www.facebook.com/janetsikiricamillineryfiberarts
Yonkers resident Sam Spano, who drove an oil truck during his former four-decade career, had always appreciated the beautiful copper rooflines and architectural details of New York City’s buildings. But it was only seven years ago that he created his first work in the metal, an installation of large copper planters on top of a stone wall to screen the view of a neighbor’s less-than-lovely satellite dish. “I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands,” says Spano. “I realized then I had a talent and passion that began to reveal itself.” That epiphany led to his launching Copper Fields Design in 2012.
So what about copper does Spano, who is primarily self-taught, find so compelling? “It’s a very forgiving material—and it’s uniquely reactive, allowing for an array of patinas. I can create an amazingly beautiful blue-green patina in a fraction of the time that it takes nature to do it.” His other custom-created patinas include red, black, purple, and a lush chocolate brown.
Spano’s workshop is a converted garage at his home. Spano uses copper he finds in the scrapyard, gets from contractor friends, and purchases online, and is not interested in mass-production. In fact, with the exception of one drill, there are no power tools in his studio and he uses only his hands, hammers, and rivets. The Copper Fields collection includes planters, sculptures, tables, chairs, trellises, screens, as well as chuppahs or wedding canopies, priced from $65 for a 5-inch cube planter to $10,000 for an elaborate wedding canopy. All work is custom, and clients—who include Paul Simon—are invited to be as involved in the collaborative design process as they wish. For more info: www.copperfieldsdesign.com
Bijoux for the Bath
Just as jewelry can transform a basic LBD into an ultra-stylish look, the stunning Pétale de Cristal series of fittings by THG-Paris elevates the bathroom to a new level of elegance. Created by THG designer Pierre-Yves Rochon in collaboration with Baccarat Crystal, this jewel-like collection is inspired by the delicate lotus blossom. The THG Pétale de Cristal widespread lavatory faucet starts at $12,657 in clear crystal—gold accent detailing is optional—and $16,755 in red, blue, and black. Available at Central Plumbing Specialties in Yonkers (914-968-9200; www.centralplumbingspec.com) and Klaff’s of Scarsdale (914-740-1800; www.klaffs.com). For more info: www.thgus.com