Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Art is Long, Life is Short (Daniela Kamiliotis on Giving)

[Photos copyright ©Daniela Kamiliotis. Posted courtesy the artist.]

I have a couple of artistic friends who are very, very good at playing Santa. Late on Christmas Eve they make their rounds, quietly depositing packages on back porches or steps. The wrappings are always enticing and thoughtful -- maybe fragrant evergreens, painted twigs, seashells or glass ornaments tucked on top within the cord. In fact, I tend to remember the experience of receiving the gift more than the present itself. So that's why, whenever I get the opportunity, I now ask other creatives how they wrap.

For a previous post, I asked Mary Randolph Carter if she has any colleagues or friends in design who wrap with flair. When she described the 'calligraphy presents' of one anonymous artist friend, I wondered if the giver was Ralph Lauren VP, Daniela Kamiliotis. Sure enough, she was.

by Mary Randolph Carter, Rizzoli New York, 2010.]

This weekend while she was in her studio, Daniela kindly took time to do a little impromptu wrapping and share more about the range of materials she uses.

"I never use formulas or any kind of rules; for me the process is spontaneous. I just go around the object that needs to be wrapped and add a bit of its own aura," she says.

 [Pictured above, Daniela's own handmade pottery. She loves working in clay.]

Daniela adds, “Usually I choose cheesecloth or any raw, transparent material (organza, tulle, transparent paper,) but my favorite is always the roughest, most primal and textural material -- a ‘fiber wrap.’ And I always use rope -- thick or thin, it doesn't matter. Again, a raw material, but it is so nice to seal this with a monogrammed stamp in red or gold wax. Years ago, I bought my own stamp at Kate's Paperie...Also, in my whimsical studio you can always find some feathers from angels or coral from the bottom of the sea.”

[Image via Kate's Paperie.]

 [Red wax seal image via Bell'occhio.] 

Since the presents shown here were improvised in a relatively short period of time, Daniela added a small touch of her beautiful calligraphy to fragments of paper with some patina, rather than writing directly on the fabric. She uses a pen and ink the old fashion way, dipping the pen into the ink well.

"Even a drop of ink, what could be considered a mistake, can add some charm to the present," she notes.

Using calligraphy, she inscribes favorite verses from love poems or sometimes Latin phrases that she describes as "My most precious treasures -- so poetic, with such a powerful meaning."

For the book, she wrote: Ars longa, vita brevis (Art is long, life is short). And for the pottery: Ars est celare artem (It is true art to conceal art, or art should appear natural rather than contrived).

[Photos copyright ©Daniela Kamiliotis. Posted courtesy the artist.]

Below, double portraits: Daniela seated in her studio, photographed by Carter Berg; the painted portrait is of Carter. (Catch the Pollock-like floor?)

[Photo courtesy Carter Berg .]

Update 12.7.10
See Daniela's window displays for Foley & Cox Home here.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Daniela, your packages are always a gift from your heart! Thanks for sharing!
Your imperfect friend,

PS And thanks to Court Style for asking!!!

Style Court said...

Gossamer gifts! And love how Daniela styled them against the Pollock-like floor.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant Style Court!
I have this thing about reversing words!!!

Style Court said...

I'll answer to any configuration!


Karena said...

How wonderful to use natural products for wrapping and then add such personal touches!


Art by Karena

quintessence said...

How beautiful. I would certainly remember and cherish any gift I received that looked like these! And what a lovely book jacket!

Emile de Bruijn said...

These wrappings remind me of the way people in Heian-period Japan would send poems to each other, with branches of flowering blossom or suchlike stuck through the knotted paper. They had this great custom of communicating by way of poetry - hard work, presumably, but really treating life as art. By 'people' I obviously mean a tiny minority of idle aristrocrats, not 'we, the people' :)

Janet said...

The feather is just ravishing. I am now inspired to go home and get to work.

Style Court said...

Ah, the image of flowering quince atop a package. Thank you for that, Emile.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

The wrapping is beautiful and you can tell it is heart felt. I would love the experience of receiving one as well. Mrs. Claus is taking notes.

Monica Suma said...

This is wonderful, Daniela is so talented and her wrapping style is so whimsical!

EWightman said...

I have always wanted to give gifts that look as beautiful as these! I will need to remember this ideas for Christmas this year