Letter from Villa Lena: diary entry one
The PICHULIK brand began on 36 hours of train rides through India. Trousseaus of found precious objects were wrapped and connected to form what would become part of our first collection, SS13, launched at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Travel and the aesthetics of religion and cultural heritage inspires our design process and narrative for each collection. Istanbul was the city that inspired our Baraka SS15 PICHULIK Collection. Last year June I ventured both sides of the Bospherous in search of components, colourways and materials. The SS15 Double Urchin neckpiece mimicked the arabesque curves of the roof mosaic of Sultanahmet; the Gold Queen Crown the gold embellishment from an antique hamam.
We want to take our community to the places that inspire us, take you on journeys, stimulate the imagination and instill the possibility to be inspired by anything we see.
AW15 anticipated my journey to Florence for an Italian art residency. Inspired by the heritage of Santa Maria Novella, Italian cinema and Renaissance art and architecture, this collection oozed 70s Italian vintage car racing in the Nostalgia necklace, Catherina de Medici’s heritage in Catherina's Ruff and the blue starry skies of Giotto in Angelo's wing.
SS16 is in incubation presently, as I roam the Tuscan countryside at the beautiful Villa Lena, just an hour outside Pisa and Firenze. Living in a commune of multidisciplinary artists from across the world, we get to unravel and experiment with new mediums and materials amongst the jasmine-scented air of the countryside. Cypress trees, wild fennel and a lazy pink dusk sets the backdrop for hours of listening to Fred Buscaglione in my converted stable turned ceramic studio.
Follow me as this collection manifests over the next two months. Along the way,expect some recipes, an introduction to the artists with whom I drink prossecchio with at night, the decadent decaying beauty of the Villa and process shots as I design, make and mold SS16.
This last week has been a wonderful ease into the rhythm of Tuscany. We live such busy lives, and I feel honoured to be able to slow down. To have this space to create makes me overflow with gratitude for my wonderful PICHULIK team.
When the sound of crickets and birds replace the hustle of the city, when long walks with vistas and collecting wild poppies become your daily outing- something in oneself starts to unbutton. Your thoughts begin by being in overdrive, trying to fill the languid time- they too, ease up and make way to finer observations. Colours present in Rosemary bushes are given moments for analysis, and the smells of wild mint carry ideas of colour palettes and shapes.
Slowing down, I have discovered can lead to greater productivity. Last night I was caught in my studio by an electric thunderstorm. As the olive branches danced to the rain and the Italian earth drank its waters - I wrapped and crafted a wall piece. These wall pieces and masks I am making here seem to be opening further investigation into my medium –rope. They continue to challenge and entice me to negotiate the same medium each season- forcing innovation and trust in the creative process.
See below some of the moments of the last week.
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It is beautiful to share this journey, and hopefully shows that creation and life is about seeing and perspective. Today I heard some heartbreaking news, and as the hurt lodged in my body, I sent my awareness out into the abundant beauty around me. It lifted the loss, and amplified that our viewpoint determines how we see and experience ourselves.
Hope you find beauty today, however small.
Beyond fear lies your greatness.
Take courage, dear heart
Love Katherine-Mary Pichulik