Forget fussy flower arrangements. For a centerpiece with a contemporary flair, place this slim ceramic fruit bowl ($210) by Nashville artist Helen Hooper Hirst center stage on the dining room table. Add some ripe red apples and tawny gourds, or let the little nude figure have the spotlight all to herself. From Fusion Gifts and Gallery, 2108 Eighth Ave. S. 297-7977.
Function doesn’t always follow form, but these painted iron canisters ($33 each) look to us like the perfect place to stow old love letters, etchings, or blueprints for a dream house. Of course, arranged in an old teak chest ($250), the exotic touch they bring to a room may be treasure enough. Imported from India and available at Merridian, 2711 Franklin Pike. 463-0555.
Nights in shining armor
There’s something about this metal floor vase/candle holder ($340) that appeals to our medieval instincts. The antiqued surface recalls a knight’s armor, while the fringed edge with those playful bell shapes resembles the cap of a court jester. Place an oversized candle on the hidden base inside, and create a torch light ambiance in your own castle. Available at Bennett Galleries, 2104 Crestmoor Dr. 297-3201.
Even the most neutral decorating scheme can sometimes use a jolt of pure color. The jewel tones of these mouth-blown glass vases ($80-$120) from Baja, Mexico, are guaranteed to energize even the most sedate room. From Odyssey, 2304 12th Ave. S. 279-9900.
As you enter the little village of Santa Clara del Cobre in central Mexico, you can feel the heat of a hundred forges and hear the ring of a thousand tiny hammers beating a rhythm in metal. Everyone here, it seems, is a copper artisan, and these hand-forged and hammered vessels ($85-$240) are but three examples of the town’s creative output. Displayed singly or in groups, the copper and silver-plated copper vessels will impart a creative touch to your own home. From Odyssey, 2304 12th Ave. S. 279-9900.
When embellishing your special space with objects that feed the soul as well as the eye, don’t neglect the walls. Like books, films, and music, art does more than just decorate our lives; it spins a web in our imaginations and entangles us there. Take this untitled painting ($375) by Nashville artist Emily Miller, for example. The decor in it whispers of Tahiti. The empty chaise lounge waits for someonebut who? Gaze long enough, and maybe you’ll find the answer. From Fusion Gifts and Gallery, 2108 Eighth Ave. S. 297-7977.
The early autumn twilight falls, catching itself between purple shadows and russet leaves. Day is done, gone the sun. Time to pour yourself a glass of wine, snuggle into a favorite old sweater, and retreat into your own little world, or at least a comfortable corner of it. Light up that corner with this floor lamp with bamboo base and floral fabric shade ($435). Rest the glass of Merlot on a mahogany wine table ($126) next to an old stoneware Turkish pot ($65) filled with wooden roses ($3 each) that reflect the color of the wine. Lose yourself in the soothing feel and shape of the rattan charm basket from India ($126)a perfect hiding place for embroidery or a private journalthat rests at your feet. There now, doesn’t work seem a million miles away? All items from Carissa’s Armoires & Antiques, 1801 21st Ave. S., in Hillsboro Village. 292-6994.
Bowl 'em over
Sometimes all it takes to define a room is one striking piece. For sheer impact, try this freeform copper bowl ($125) by Nashville’s Twisted Sisters (Debbie Graham and Linda Levy). It’s over two feet in diameter but light as a feather and looks stunning as is or filled with a sheaf of dried wheat or miniature roses. From Fusion Gifts and Gallery, 2108 Eighth Ave. S. 297-7977.
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