For the last couple of years, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving by taking a trip with family. It’s a surprisingly wonderful time to travel as you don’t encounter many long lines while exploring a city since the bulk of humanity is sitting on their grandmother’s couch watching football. While I absolutely love this new tradition we’ve started, the one thing I miss about Thanksgiving is having the opportunity to design a beautiful Thanksgiving table.
Since I won’t be able to put together a real Thanksgiving table this year, I decided to share with you the Thanksgiving table I’m currently dreaming of. When I started to brainstorm what my ideal Thanksgiving table would look like, two things immediately came to mind dutch tulip vases and Richard Ginori’s Oriente Italiano dinnerware collection. I first fell in love with delftware tulip vases when Tom and I saw the dutch flower pyramid or “Bloempiramide” at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. On a recent trip back, Tom brought me home a kit to build my own flower pyramid. Mine is made of plastic, but it’s still super cool. Ever since, I’ve wanted to design a table with a Bloempiramide as the centerpiece. Now on to those pink plates. I first saw one of Richard Ginori’s Oriente Italiano plates at Forty Five Ten in Dallas. I awkwardly took a picture of the back of the plate in the store because I knew I would want to remember who made it. I think what I love about these plates is that the simultaneously seem traditional and modern at the same time, but in all reality, it was probably just the millennial pink that caught my eye. I built the resulting tablescape around these two pieces and hope it inspires you to make a beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape of your own. Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!
I’ve always loved this image from Veranda – I love the choice of art, the colors, the textures, and especially the mix of styles. I think there are two reasons why mixing styles works so well in this image. The first is that pairing the antique dresser with a bright, colorful piece of contemporary art breathes life into the dresser, which could have a tendency to be overly stodgy or too precious. The second is that there is a tension created by placing two contrasting items next to each other that is much more interesting than if you didn’t.
I have a somewhat similar antique dresser that I absolutely love, and I’m dying to get a great abstract painting to go above it. If I did, this is how I would style it.
The gorgeous painting is by Michael Manning on Artsy, which is a great source of contemporary art, and I paired it with a wonderful occasional chair from Jonathan Adler, a unique lamp, and a simple box.
I also found several other options, below, that offer a similar take on the idea:
As an art history major, I theoretically understand the importance of white space. Almost every work of art has it, and it’s almost always essential to making a beautiful piece. Yet understanding it theoretically is very different from understanding it practically. Practicality is really the realm of the artist. It is the artist that is skilled at saying this painting would be better if I didn’t put something in that space.
The problem with my theoretical understanding is that on some level I’m also an artist. I, like you, have many blank canvases in my life to paint. These include my time, my home, and my wardrobe among other things. I often find that these areas of my life are filled with too many things that I don’t love. One of my favorite authors, Leo Babauta, touched on how to remedy this problem in his article, “Too Much to Do, Not Enough Time.” He writes: “You have too many things to fit into your container, and you’ve decided to only put the important and beautiful things into the container. That means a bunch of things you think you “should” do are not going to fit.” What Leo is essentially instructing each of us to do is to become the artists of our own lives. When you boil it down, essentially the work of an artist is to choose – to choose to only depict what is most relevant and beautiful to the subject matter. And in order to emphasize the subject matter, the artist left out a lot of things he might have felt he “should” incorporate. For instance, think about the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso. What makes this painting truly beautiful and meaningful is really what Picasso chose to leave out. Rather than depicting the women as they actually were (as he probably “should” have done as a highly trained visual artist), he chose to depict only their most basic forms, and it is what he left out that makes this painting a modern masterpiece.
As you think about those blank canvases in your life today, and your hope that they be a little more beautiful and meaningful, I invite you to ask yourself, “what can I leave out?” You might just find that this white space is just the thing your life needs to truly come alive.