Komodo Dragons and National Parks: The Majesty of Indonesia

Karole Explores Art Basel Miami Beach

Warm, Plush & Unique Gifts for the Holiday Season!

The Spa Life in Thailand and Spa Gifts for Your Home

Cisco Brothers Furniture: Family, Nature, Happiness

Home | 2013 | December

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Komodo Dragons and National Parks: The Majesty of Indonesia

It was only about one hundred years ago that human beings became aware of their Earthly coexistence with real live dragons. Despite this longstanding ignorance, Komodo dragons have been around for millions of years. It is on the Indonesian Islands of Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, Padar, and of course, Komodo, that these guys lurk, flashing their creepy, death tongues. It is widely said that the saliva of a Komodo is so ridden with toxins and bacteria it will eventually kill you, even with a minor bite.

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Komodo Dragons are the largest lizards on earth, reaching lengths of 10 feet and weighing up to 300 pounds. A popular theory states that their size is due to Island Gigantism. This is when the size of animals isolated on an island increases dramatically in comparison to their mainland relatives. Island gigantism is one aspect of the more general “island rule”, which posits that when mainland animals colonize islands, small species tend to evolve larger bodies, and large species tend to evolve smaller bodies. With the arrival of humans and associated predators (dogs, cats, rats, pigs), many giant island endemics have become extinct.

Contrasting with the Island Gigantism belief, more recent research suggests that Komodo dragons are representative of a population of very large, Varanid lizards, which died out after the Pleistocene. These ancestors lived across Indonesia and Australia, with other giant animals. Fossils similar to Komodo dragons have been found all over Australia, dating to more than 3.8 million years ago.

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Because of their size, Komodo dragons are the dominant predators in their habitat. They often hunt in groups, and prey on both birds and mammals. When a dragon is hatched from its egg, it spends its early years in trees, hiding from possible predators. It takes about 9 years to mature and is estimated to live up to 30 years. Because of increasing human activity, their range of living space has been limited and Komodo dragons are currently listed as a vulnerable species. Indonesian law protects them, and a national park was created to help preserve their existence.

Komodo National Park

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Komodo National Park is made up of three major islands: Rinca, Komodo, and Padar, and many smaller islands as well. These Islands originated from volcanoes, and span a total area of 219,322 hectacres. They exist directly at the juncture of two tectonic plates and are part of the “shatter belt” within the Wallacea biogeographical Region. The land is a global conservation priority area. The climate here is dry and hot, yet there is also a rainforest and monsoon element.

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Although the Komodo dragon is the ham of the animal band in this region, there are other notable species living in the background, such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, the Timor deer, and an endemic rat. Because of the strong sea currents and expansive coral reefs, sea turtles, whales and dolphins also hang around.

Tourism
If you plan to travel to Komodo National Park, you can expect nothing short of paradise with a pretty exhilarating “Journey to the Center of the earth” vibe. Pastimes for tourists include lots of picnic lunches, swimming and snorkeling in the clear as glass water, hiking the fantastic and varied terrains of the islands, learning all about Komodo dragons and observing them close up in their natural habitat. It is also possible to stay in one of those mesh-ceiling huts on stilts in the ocean that seem to cover screen savers everywhere. Tourism here cannot accommodate more that 60,000 people a year, which keeps things reasonably intimate. However the buzz is ever-increasing and tourism jumped by 9,000 people between 2009 and 2010.

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Dragon Lust
Despite people two centuries ago being unaware of the Komodo dragons existence, Indonesian myth and folklore (influenced strongly by and often overlapping with Indian culture) is filled with dragon stories.

This one is called, Biwar Kills a Dragon: http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~cycle/MYdragonE.html

Check out our one of a kind dragon sculptures. These guys are made of Teak Wood, and were carved by hand in Indonesia.

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Karole Explores Art Basel Miami Beach

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Just a couple of weeks ago from December 5 to December 8, art lovers from all over the world gathered in south Florida for the annual Art Basel Miami Beach. This is a festival drawing over 75,000 national and international visitors that showcases work from 250 of the world’s best art galleries. Referenced below is some info from the Official Basel website, explaining how Art Basel began, how it operates, and why it works so well.

History

In 1970 Art Basel was founded by Basel art gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt. At this time there were 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries who exhibited at the inaugural show.This first Basel exhibit drew 16,300 visitors. By the time Art Basel was 6 years old, it had grown to 300 exhibitors, which is where it stands today. In 2002, Art Basil debued in Miami Beach. This spot is considered the “nexus of North America and Latin America.”

“The show reflects the city’s multi cultural identity, presenting a diversity of work from the galleries and artists of the region. It immediately establishes itself as the premier show in the Americas, and ranks among the favorite winter-time events of the international art world”

The Role Of Basel

“The dynamic relationships between art galleries, their artists, private collectors and public institutions play an essential role in today’s art world, and connecting the international art community has been Art Basel’s goal since its beginning.”

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About The Shows

“Three annual shows bring the artworld together in some of the world’s most exciting venues: Basel, in the heart of Europe; Miami Beach at the nexus of North and South America; and Hong Kong, the gateway to Asia”

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Who Runs Basel

“Behind Art Basel stands a team of individuals with a range and depth of experience in the artworld and related disciplines. Each member channels his or her expertise into making Art Basel shows the most prestigious platform for artists, gallerists, and collectors. To learn more about our team, including employment opportunities offered by Art Basel and its parent company, MCH Group.”

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Many SOWA area gallery directors and artists were in attendance this year at Art Basel, including our own store manager and visual artist, Karole Moe. Karole jet-setted to Miami for a two day tour of the winter’s most exciting art festival and some coveted vitamin D… we are jealous! Here are Karole’s thoughts on what she saw, and some of the photos she was able to snap of her favorite pieces.

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Have you ever been to this show before?
It was my first time at Art Basel!

According to the internet, Miami Beach was crammed with around 75,000 spectators. Describe this scene.
The scene was CRAZY!  All kinds of people, artists and buyers alike.  In fact, each building had special “collector’s room” that I peeked into where they were serving dessert and champagne to those who purchased.

I know there were Several SOWA area galleries participating as well. Were you able to see their exhibitions? How do the Boston Galleries compare with what you saw from the rest of the world in Miami? Not better or worse, but were there any aspects that were different?
I did not see any of the SOWA galleries there but I do think that they would compete very well. After being at Basel, I confirmed that Thayer Street has a very good scene here!  Yay, for us!

Advice for anyone participating- anything goes!  The art was really wild.  Some of it may not be right for everyone, but super unusual.

In conclusion I would say that I wished I had gone for a week vs. 2 days.  As an artist and designer, I can never get enough.  Of course my head might have exploded after a certain point!

Favorites:

Yayoi Kusama – she is the polka dot artist from Japan… look her up!

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Markus Linnenbrink – The white art room- see the straws!

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The repros of Basquiat and Rothko made up of small portraits of themselves:

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 Pieces made up of moving parts and lights were also really interesting as well.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAb10bCMLFE]

Warm, Plush & Unique Gifts for the Holiday Season!

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The weather outside is… actually not that bad. But if I know New England, it’s due to get frightful any minute now. Snuggle up this Holiday season with the fluffiest pillows, coziest scarves, and an array of ornate hand woven blankets, Indian fabrics, Indian Poufs, and assorted pillows!

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Hand Embroidered Wool Scarf/Shawl
India, $68
#40140

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Kantha Stitched Scarf, Kimono Fabric Edge
$65
#131106

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Kantha Stitched Blanket
India, 60 x 86, $125
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Embroidered Indian Poufs
$136

#NC39496

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Cotton Pillow with Design
18 inches, Thailand, $65
#40690

Blue Pillow with Feather Insert
18 by 18, $195
#41110

Assorted Pillow, Yellow Flowers
22 by 22, $225
#41071

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Silk Cushions
$19

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The Spa Life in Thailand and Spa Gifts for Your Home

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If money were no object, and you wanted to cleanse your body and spirit at the most innovative, relaxing, beautiful spa in the world, I’d suggest going to Thailand. In the last two decades, Thailand has become a mecca for those in search of luxurious renewal. Here are a couple of my picks for a dream spa retreat.

The Dheva Spa and Wellness Centre, located at the Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai, was modeled after a Mandalay palace. It is 3,100 square meters and the largest spa in Asia.

It is an architectural masterpiece, constructed of Teak wood, and covered with ornate moldings, sculptures, and Buddhist murals. You must climb white marble steps to reach the white marble courtyard. The courtyard is canopied by a seven tiered teak roof, symbolizing the seven steps to Nirvana.

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This place is run by a pair of husband and wife doctors who direct the spa, Ayurvedic Centre, and a soon to come academy. When you book an appointment here, you don’t just get a facial or a massage. You gain knowledge of the changes you can make and the habits you can pick up to enhance your quality of life. Lots of questions about your lifestyle and diet are asked, and remedies are chosen based on your specific body type.

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One treatment you are sure to receive is the “Soothing Foot Ritual”, a traditional Thai practice to show respect to the guests and welcome them.Between treatments you can lounge in the teakwood spa pavilion, sipping on warm ginger and fruit tea, and eating green tea biscuits. I can not believe there is anyway you could leave this place not feeling like the absolute best version of yourself.

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The concept for Oasis Spa is to create an “Oasis in the middle of the city”. This motto has been so successful that it has expanded into eight branches throughout Thailand. Each location is unique and has its own theme, but all incorporate the traditional “Lanna” philosophies to healing, creating an environment that inspires tranquility, serenity and pleasure. The designs include reflective ponds with gold fish, waterfalls, wooden bridges and walkways, private treatment villas and ancient venerable trees.

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The Oasis spa uses a combination of natural ingredients and traditional Thai herbs in its treatments, as well as a blend of ancient and modern techniques. The products are prepared for individual customers by hand, and are made daily. The ingredients are supplied by local villages, and only 5% of the ingredients are imported.

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Check out the spas description of a massage called “The Voyage of Golden Lanna”:

 “We had to take Music Therapy to a higher level to compliment a treatment that guides you on a journey to extreme wellbeing. This unique musical masterpiece was developed solely to enhance each phase of the Signature Golden Lanna Massage experience. This delightful fourhanded dance of twenty skilled fingers choreographed to music, also covers you with fragrant oil infused with pure gold. This unforgettable 90-minute journey of rejuvenation will leave you golden – both inside and out.”

Oasis Spa is one of Thailand’s most prestigious spas and has locations in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket.

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If a trip to Thailand isn’t in the cards this winter, turn your own bathroom into a sanctuary of pampering. Stock up on our favorite supplies at Mohr & McPherson, or create a spa inspired gift for the woman in your life who could use some treasured rest and relaxation.

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Lux Aromatica Vegan Soaps – $12 ea

Lavender, Ice Mint, Crankey Yankee, Spice Island, Old Salty

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Lux Aromatica roll on perfumes – $17.50 ea
Bijou-floral, citrus, amber
Lebu-lemon grass and eucalyptus
Sweet Slumber-clary sage, lavender, frankincense

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Paddy Wax Candles – $26 ea
Cucumber Melon, Rosemary Fennel, Meyer Lemon, Current Rasberry

Soy, Wax, Hand poured

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Reed Diffuser Set – $14 ea
Jasmine, Rainforest, Ocean Sky

SKU: 40094 

 

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Traditional Japanese Incense

Scents-Honoka Silhouette, Oboro Illusions, Kasui gossamer

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Vintage Japanese Kimonos – $84 each

Assorted colors and prints

Cisco Brothers Furniture: Family, Nature, Happiness

The celebrated, Los Angeles based Cisco Brothers has a new catalogue out, filled with exciting, yet timeless pieces. What’s more, every item created at Cisco is 100% organic and chemical free. At Mohr & McPherson, we value the ethics, quality and craftsmanship of the Cisco line, which is why we have been working with the company for 13 years. Here is a little about Cisco Brothers, and a preview of the designs we find irresistible. 

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Since 1990, Cisco Brothers has been using sustainable materials and building methods to create furniture that is as healthy for you as it is for the planet. Each unique item is built with pride by local craftspeople at our headquarters in the heart of Los Angeles. Every piece, big or small, brings timeless style and beauty to your home.

While still in high school, Cisco Pineda discovered his passion for furniture when he started working at a small upholstery shop. By his early twenties he was making custom furniture out of the garage of his home, where he recruited the help of his family to run the thriving business. Cisco’s close ties to family and nature are felt in every design. It’s his belief that health, happiness and one’s home are all closely related – and that his furniture combines these elements in a comfortable and responsible way.

A brief selection of some of our favorites is below. Click here to view a small selection of our Cisco case goods in stock!

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Rotor Tables
19” by 12”, Sizes vary
SKU: 131119-4, $585

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Morse Sconce (Left)
8”w by 7.5”d by 19”h, Hand blown glass and Iron in flat black
SKU: 40440, $960 

Insulator Sconce (Right)
6”w by 4.25”d by 12”h, Recycled Insulator and Iron
SKU: 40441, $555

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Wine Barrel Hanging Mirror
23”diameter by 2”deep, Rusted metal ring, leather strap and walnut knob
SKU: 40417, $675

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Vino Side Table
27”d by 25”h, Mirror top, repurposed wine barrel, reclaimed Douglas fir, oiled
SKU: 41076, $900

Stanford Swivel Chairs
30”w by 34”h by 38”d, Soft fill seat, feather cloud back, Fabric: Guiseppe Blue Grade J
SKU: 131120-4, $3,945

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Wine Box Coffee Table Single
40” by 27” by 16”
SKU: 131119-3, $1,695

Seda Sectional Couch
100”w by 31”h by 110”l, Slip covered, feather cloud seat and black waterfall skirt. Fabric: Vanocur pewter
SKU: 38735, Starts at $7,185