Patricia van Essche, Kentucky native and former Ralph Lauren designer, is another artist and busy mom who generously took time to answer my question: "If you could be whisked away by private jet, just for a day, no husband or kids or friends, what old haunt would you return to? Inspiration, not shopping, is the purpose of the adventure."
Although she has spent time riding the Concord -- often sent on business for the fashion industry -- Patricia says the place she would most like to revisit is childhood, "For a day experiencing lots of firsts. Seeing things as only a child can be open to. Those are the magical years that cannot be recreated."
"Simple things like clean socks, fresh flowers, crayons, a warm home and a hug really mean more than a trip."
Patricia's thoughts remind me of all the little treasures kids typically find and proudly display in their bedrooms. Adults like the idea of found objects but more and more our "curiosities" seem to come from a gift shop. There's nothing wrong with that, if you love the object. Still, it keeps things interesting to have at least one original piece that truly was discovered (for free) on some sort of adventure.
Years ago I read that artist Elliott Puckette had proudly displayed in her house a sconce found on a sidewalk outside a synagogue. Admittedly, I've never spotted anything so cool on a daily walk.
If you're looking for a compromise between store-bought and found, Gillian Dewberry (formerly at the High) handcrafts leather and paper journals that are made to be used and loved; just waiting to be filled with found papers, sketches, photographs, or thoughts.
The showstopper is 17 by 26 inches with silk-screened leather (front and back) and hand-stitching. Conveniently, it opens flat so you can write or draw all the way into the margins. Gillian's smaller books made of silk-screened paper are also hand-stitched and made using recycled elements, but these are more budget-friendly: $34.
The first image is from Island Life.
The drawing was done by Patricia's daughter, Amelia, when she was little. Patricia says, "To me it captures the imagination of being a child. The first time that you ride a roller coaster, your heart in your stomach and your hair blown back..."
The fourth photograph is by Francois Halard, Vogue, February 2001 (Julia Reed's house again).
Images three, five and six are Puckette's house shot by Anita Calero, Elle Decor, October 2000.