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Lisa’s Luxurious Christmas List, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:54am

Good morning, all!

I have in years past done a “Friendsmas” list, and today I do so again. This year we are using the term “friend,” somewhat broadly, but hey ho. The intent is to offer ideas for gift shopping (Christmas, Hanukkah, the Lunar New Year), while also supporting artisans,  and, let’s face it, people I just plain like. We’re starting early because things will take longer these days.

We’ll kick it off with a bang. I am pretty sure by now you are all familiar with the photography of my stepmother, Brigitte Carnochan. Well, she has a new project, Still Beauty. Behold.


Bowl of Cherries

We’re immediately reminded of European still lives from past centuries. She says,

“In the past year I’ve been fascinated by the lighting effects possible using a small flashlight in a dark room to illuminate my still life arrangements. Like the Dutch, Spanish, and Italian Old Master painters, using brushes and oils to create light, my small flashlight allows me to paint light onto my still lifes with precise control.*  It was an especially fortunate time to discover this technique—in the time of Covid, it was a balm and has given me joy. ” (Full artist’s statement here)

Birthday Flowers II (we gave her flowers on her birthday. she made art)

Gallery Flowers (the night of the opening she brought this flower arrangement and displayed it next to her piece)



The photos are really extraordinary in person. For one thing, they’re big. For example, Bowl of Cherries? 39 x 30 inches. For another, they are printed on glossy paper and then mounted on diebond with a UV laminate to allow for dusting, which added what I can only call an additional dimension, deepening the play of reality vs. captured image.

Here’s Gitta, as we call her, in process and for scale.

No frame, no mat, no glass. Again, her site is here, and she is represented here.

Wait, have I mentioned that Brigitte turned 80 in June? Happy birthday, Gitta!

A Few Additional Suggestions

Of course I have to include my son’s knitwear in any list with a remote chance it belongs. This cashmere sweater tee, Missoni-like but neutral, in his online shop now. The text says Doubt, leading us to wonder what may happen, When in Doubt.

He also launched a line of custom scarves–having been heavily subscribed, he’s closed to orders, but may reopen before the holidays. Always announced on Instagram.

Next, as you may know, I’m a huge fan of Lily Stockman and own a couple of her pieces–from the oil, Her Favorite Time of Day, to a block print. She and her sisters are now offering block printing kits at Block Shop Textiles. Below, the Holiday Block Printing Kit. It’s what to do with all our brown paper grocery bags. Always here to answer the burning questions of our era. I especially like that ornament pattern, quite chiaroscuro.

Finally, please consider Saipua goods of all sorts. My favorite so far is Black Soap with Charcoal and Patchouli, but they have lots of choices, including really cool soap dishes that I may own in lavender. The glaze is somewhere between matte and shine; an ineluctable sign of craft.

Nobody must shop, nobody must give presents, but I find it can be truly happy-making. To consider someone’s being and life, then find something thought-provoking, beautiful, useful, funny or necessary to match, has been one of my greatest pleasures.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I am always grateful for the privilege of your attention.


12 Responses

  1. These are all such beautiful things! Bridgette’s photography is amazing. I am so happy that I got to see it in person (different photos of course) in Santa Fe.

    Your son is SO handsome! And talented.

    I love the block printing!! Fun, useful, and timely!

    1. Thank you! So happy that this all resonates with you. I just love that you went to Obscura in Santa Fe and saw her pieces.

  2. I have always loved the Dutch Masters school of paining. Your step-mom has captured the feel of them perfectly. She is so very talented.

  3. As you know, I’ve adored the work of your stepmom since before I met you. Her latest work looks extraordinary. Your son’s work is also wonderful. I’m in love with his rich mix of intention, creation, and use of his body as part of his art. And, of course, you know I’m in love with the use of text in art. Also yes to Saipua soaps. Mine were initially from The Gardener in Berkeley, and more recently from the Saipua website. The soaps make wonderful drawer sachets. My favorites for that are Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Rose Geranium. An added suggestion for a manner of gift-giving my family began using once everyone was an adult? Choose names at Thanksgiving, and give an agreed-upon monetary donation to an organization you know matters to the recipient: ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, The Nature Conservancy, The American Indian College Fund, The Equal Justice Initiative, Planned Parenthood… It’s fun to match the person and an organization, and these last years have shown how much we need to support what we value. Happy giving. xo.

    1. Katherine, yes, that’s a great idea, to donate to family causes. You’ve been such a supporter of Gitta’s work, and now of Patrick’s. Thank you. I agree, the body as canvas amazes me.

  4. Thank you so much, Lisa, for your most generous comments about my new photographs–for showing up at the opening–and general rah rah encouragement along the way. I appreciate all your generous insights about the artists you mention above.

  5. Wow! So much creative talent in your family. Am blown away by the photos. Amazed by your talented son.

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