Right at Home: Mother Nature meets modern decor - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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Right at Home: Mother Nature meets modern decor

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013 11:45 am

Moth-wing light fixtures? Thunderhead wallpaper? If you’re an armchair naturalist, you’ll love one of this year’s big home decor trends.

Artists and artisans have captured flora, fauna and even meteorology in media such as photography, illustration, metal and clay. The designs, translated into wall decor and furnishings, range from startling to serene.

Clinton Friedman’s garden in Durban, South Africa, is home to more than 250 trees and 150 succulent species. Desiccated leaves, freshly pulled roots and labyrinthine flower heads all serve as material for his close-up photographs. West Elm has previously collaborated with Friedman on a pillow collection; this season they’ve got his 28-inch, square, white-framed prints of aloe plants. The oversize spiky succulents look like flora — or perhaps even fauna — from another planet (www.westelm.com).

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Christine Facella has used her experience as an illustrator and model maker at New York’s Museum of Natural History to inform her collection of porcelain animal skulls. The accuracy and intricacy of her work results from sculpting up to 20 molds for each piece.

Facella portrays many denizens of the North American wilderness, including coyotes, bobcats and beavers. The skulls are a compelling meld of antiquarian curiosity and contemporary objet d’art. The teeth on some gleam with 14-karat-gold luster (www.beetleandflor.com).

Lighting sculptor David D’Imperio finds his inspiration in nature’s structures: The organic geometry of moth wings, honeycombs and crystals gets turned into elegant and unusual lighting in the old post office in Stony Run, Pa., that D’Imperio has turned into a studio.

Pendants and chandeliers, as well as suspended linear fixtures, are crafted out of materials such as stainless steel and aluminum. D’Imperio’s Ozone light is a 5-foot length of shimmering circles, like fizzy bubbles lit from within (www.daviddimperio.com).

At this spring’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City, local designer Barbara Barran’s showed her Ice rug, inspired by the surface of frozen water. The piece’s striations and cool, watery tones gave the slightly unsettling but wholly intriguing sense of standing on actual ice. That she’s rendered this illusion in hand-tufted wool is even more remarkable (www.classicrug.com).

British designer Abigail Edwards showed her nature-inspired wallpaper at the fair. She’s launched a new design called Storm Clouds — ominous thunderheads printed on a gray or blue background, with white or copper metallic lightning bolts. Her Brambleweb paper depicts an Art Nouveau-meets-Gothic swirl of brambles tipped with tiny metallic thorns. And Wilson’s Crystals are inspired by the work of Wilson Bentley, who spent half a century photographing snowflakes. The wallpaper features an intricate print of 30 snowflakes.

Edwards also does a mural consisting of 18 ceramic tiles digitally printed with dragonflies darting or sitting on lithe, curling branches (www.abigailedwards.com).

Parisian designer Gilles Caffier uses ceramics as the medium for pieces like the Turtle Lamp, whose earthen-hued base evokes the plump, ridged profile of a turtle shell. He makes textured stools and vases in matte ivory or graphite that resemble coral reefs, or perhaps barnacle-laden pier posts, or maybe octopi tentacles. That’s the wonderful thing about nature: so much scope for imagination (www.gillescaffier.com).

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing laura@keystonemontessori.com.

For more information, visit keystonemontessori.com.

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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