Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Phillip Maberry & Scott Walker - Decorative Style Infused With Optimistic Spirit

Welcome to the home and studio of ceramic artists extraordinaire Phillip Maberry and Scott Walker in Santa Monica, California.

Philip was a Texas transplant to New York, and Scott a California transplant, when I met them there years ago. I worked as the maitresse 'd at The Soho Charcuterie. Besides being a trend setting hot restaurant of it's day introducing French Nouvelle Cuisine to the USA, it was a magnet for artists and musicians. This is where I met "the boys".

I spy strands of ribbons used as draperies
Phillip and Scott have been doing this for eons
I used their idea to decorate tons of events

For over twenty-five years they have created one-of-a kind ceramic sculpture, reliefs and objects for gallery and museum installations as well having fulfilled numerous residential and commercial commissions. Their emphasis has always been on modern interpretations of past decorative styles, infused with an optimistic spirit.

The tiles they make are hand glazed. The pallet is varied, from clear jewel tones to metallics, utilizing the dryline technique to create a textural finish. Although they work in the time-honored ceramic tradition, they are continually expanding the focus of their work to include new technologies, such as digital transfer processes, glow-in-the-dark glaze and other new materials.

I am very fortunate to the beneficiary of their fabulous friendship. I have three large platters they made for me years ago.

Our guest room is ready for Phillip and Scott
I spy the fab platter

They even painted panels for a wall in my old New York apartment in The Chillage, a block on West 15th St that bordered Chelsea and The Village.

They always lived in the country, upstate New York. They rented a fabulous house from another friend, Annie Wright, whose father was Russell Wright. Annie was a chef at The Soho Charcuterie, and Philip and Scott were her friends and tenants.

Dragon Rock is the house Annie grew up in. It was so cool! Built into the rock of a hillside, it had stone floors, and huge boulders in the house, a stairway made of slabs of stone, and a tree trunk coming up through the dining room.
When Phillip and Scott bought a house elsewhere, I rented Dragon Rock as a summer getaway from New York City. I felt like Wilma Flintstone when I vacuumed the rocks in the house!

It was such a cool place. The words "mid century modern" were becoming meaningful, and all of a sudden the run down furniture and old Russell Wright pottery became important.
We celebrated many happy weekends at Dragon Rock, cooking in the vintage kitchen, swimming in the pond, hiking around the property.
Anne Wright and Adam Anik were even were married there, and I did the flowers and decor.

It was so cool to use all the Russell Wright pitchers we could find for the table centerpieces.
Annie spent many happy years in Berkeley, California, and she loved California poppies because they reminded her of those times. Of course we used lots of them! I even chose the marquee (tent) stripe to match the color of the poppy.

The wedding was meant to be a country wedding, informal and fun. We agreed to let the estate called Manitoga be the star decor attraction. It made a ravishing backdrop for the buffet table with stacks of Russell Wright plates.

Philip and Scott bought a 40 acre parcel of land in Platekill, New York. It was dirt cheap because it was swamp, and had an ugly run down hippie log cabin on it that had no utilities. They immediately christened the property "Hey Swampy" with a reference to Elizabeth's Taylor character calling her husband, played by Richard Burton, that in the movie "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".
The boys were always working artists, which meant they lived on next to nothing. But they were very handy, and they made the hippie log cabin a very special home. Electricity, running water, heat - all the luxuries were installed by them.
They built a new shed for their kiln.
And they painted every log in that cabin with wonderful vibrant colors.
They collected great mid century furniture - it was the first place I ever swivelled in an orange Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair!
Their home became a destination for all of us city mice. Their next door neighbor, an artist named Virgil was great friends with Tim Burton. I introduced them to my great friend Danilo Dixon who was the hair stylist for an up and coming rock group called The B52s (Danilo also did the hair for the rock band I was in called Raven).

Interior of The Love Shack - Philip on the left,
Danilo seated a on a cool couch,

Bruce (another chef from The Soho Charcuterie) in the kitchen

Danilo introduced the Bs to the boys, and history was made at "Hey Swampy" when the music video of the B52's song "Love Shack" was filmed there.

Danilo still does all the wigs for the B girls

Flower power vamp top left
Top right Danilo & me in winter - check out how the boys painted the ends of the firewood!

Lower left - a group of city mice enjoying a weekend at "Hey Swampy"

Scotty is seated behind the red head vamp in front

A whole pig we brought for dinner from Chinatown in New York City

The last time I was at 'Hey Swampy" must be nearly 8 or 9 years ago! We had just moved to New Orleans. We were upstate New York in the Hudson Valley teaching tango, when I decided to look up my old friends. We spent a magical afternoon together, and Alberto got to peek into my past ha ha.

I'm glad Philip and Scott have a great new home and studio in California. The winters in upstate New York are brutal.
They have had regular exhibitions at the Garth Clark Gallery in New York City, Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica, Ca. as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art (1983 Biennial). Their work is included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Newark Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Modern interpretations of past decorative styles, infused with an optimistic spirit

Attention interiors designers, decorators, and architects:
Mayberry and Walker are currently developing a line of products for the home utilizing their tiles and glazes, including tables, functional objects, lamps and accessories.

Go HERE to see their site.


pve design said...

What fun and colorful people you know!
They certainly know how to make things look happy.
Fun site to look around and see such a plethora of color and creativity.

Tomarie said...

You have the most amazing blog! I love it!
I wanted to come here and thank you for the kind things you said about our cabin over at Laurie's! And I'm so glad I did so I could get to see your blog! I remember your name too from the old days of RMS! Thank you again! L~

Annabelle said...

What a lovely story of old friends and past experiences... Love all the images too! Esp "the boys'" kitchen!!

Cote de Texas said...

Just when I think I've heard all you have to tell, you bring out another one - you never, ever cease to amaze me. ever!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

This is a note that was left on my blog for Visual Vamp:

Linda/ :Mom..." said...
Sweetie~ I went to Visual Vamp's blog you mentione here, & saw/read her write-up & pics about Ms. Wilson. Left her (well, THEM, actually!) a long note, only to realize VV has that "Google Only" way of commenting, & I can NEVER get on there, no matter WHAT!!! ANYHOOOO, what a GREAT READ about a TALENTED photographer AND a gal with a great sense of personal style! Would you mind telling VV I said THANKS? Appreciate it!!! Love, Linda


Angela Henrie said...

I would like a "love shack" for myself!

Carey said...

What a fascinating post! If I commented on everything I loved about it, I would have to start my own blog. But you already know I'm riveted anytime you're in that "New York State of Mind." You Rock Miz V!