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Aug 23, 2014

A Little Less Conversation

Lots and Lots of Custom WorkHi Folks!

This song pretty much sums it up. I’ve been crazy busy completing a bunch of really cool projects and haven’t managed to find the time to post since March. That also explains the brevity of this post!

I completed four more conference tables for the IU Creative Service, multiple pieces for the Hospice House’s North Wing addition including signage for the rooms, donor wall, and wing entrance, lots and lots of custom work from clients all over, and, one of the most exciting things, I’m finally doing a hotel!

The hotel is in the Pocono Mountains and is called Mount Airy. I’m doing 36 coffee tables and 188 C-tables. The project will not be completed until January and I’ll make sure to post plenty of pictures. I’ve been wanting a project like this for a long time and am bursting with excitement!

And, in keeping with the message and at risk of being long winded, the rumors are true! I’m finally moving the studio out West! (It feels so good to say that out loud, which is funny because I’m so tired of talking about my love affair with the West.) I don’t have it all worked out yet and will have more details soon.

With that said, I’m throwing a final Bloomington Seconds Sale from Thursday, August 28 through Saturday, August 30. We’ll be open 10-6pm each day and we’re selling everything but the cats! (Well, almost everything anyways.) This includes all of our remaining Bella Bella pieces as well as tools, show props, work tables, a refrigerator, a washer and dryer, and so much more! So come on by, say your farewells, and buy some Bella Bella!

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Mar 28, 2014

Great Show, Good Times, Long Drive, and It Stinks Being Sick

Beautiful Views Out WestBella Bella In Galleries And The Great OutdoorsI am back in Indiana with a folder full of orders and a couple of big projects coming due (more on those later). My van is cleaned out including all the stray French fries I sustained myself on during my travels. (They ARE gluten and dairy free.)

That being said, there’s nothing like an ear infection/swollen throat, combined with a throbbing headache, to deter one from social media in a normal setting. It downright made it impossible to get on social media while driving home from out west. My silence has been a result of feeling terrible and yet knowing that I had to drive by myself home in time to complete orders and projects. I had to focus on the drive for the day, all 4-5 days of it, and then get myself to bed to start again in the morning. I’m pretty tough but an ear infection can bring you to your knees and it is really hard to drive like that. Especially when you combine the elevation changes with the ear infection and have your sense of balance also on the fritz. I’m happy to say, I made it home and was greeted by a clean house, 3 cats, and a little dog who made me feel most welcome and very missed. Thank you sweet housemate!

This show and trip was different for me in a couple of ways. After being out of the show circuit for a few months in a literal polar vortex, I felt exhilarated to be back and as the clients came and bought my new work… Lordy, that’s an awesome high! I had almost forgotten the feeling and was glad to be back.

One difference was that I had my brother there to help set up and run around for me when I was super busy with clients and needed food, sunscreen, an iced coffee, or to be my date at the artist party. Speaking of which, it’s a totally great party that La Quinta puts on. Piles of food, music, and wine! It’s a cool thing for your family to actually see what you do. How it all comes out of the van, goes together, and ends up being pretty great looking. I think he is proud of me and respects me more. Not that he didn’t before, but having a hand in it explained why I almost always have a bruise somewhere or a pulled muscle. It’s a very physically demanding job… and I love it! He did too, I think.

Another difference was that I stayed with clients instead of getting a hotel. I’ve only done that once or twice before so I was a little nervous going in. Normally, to be honest, I’m totally fried at the end of a show day and need to be alone. This time, I stayed with two different clients in the Palm Springs area. I am touched by their generosity and feel like we will be friends forever. Even when I felt like I could barely hold my head up, we talked and shared into the night and I will never forget those times. It’s so neat to get to know people first as customers and then as friends. We took it to a new level. Thank you, Bea and Kathy! As I drove home, I stopped to see and stay with the folks at the Bed and Breakfast I stayed at the last 2 years in Cave Creek, AZ. Despite being sick, it was a fantastic time! They are forever my family.

I had a few appointments in Southern California before I headed for home. One was a gallery who wants to represent me starting October. On the way home, while in Cave Creek, I also stopped by a gallery where I installed several pieces. I’ll have more to share about both of those later.

As much fun as I had, I’m thankful to be home and on the mend. French fries are getting less stabby moment by moment! And while it sucks to wear a coat again, it’s by law Spring! Lets go!

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Mar 7, 2014

Finally Made It

Getting Booth ReadyI Spy Some Bella BellaHello Friends!

I am glad to finally get a chance to tell you all that I’ve made it. I am now officially here and set up at the Annual La Quinta Arts Festival in Booth #325. I hope that everyone in the area is able to stop in and say hi. The show runs from today through March 9th and is open 10am to 5pm each day.

This past week has been quite the adventure. Leaving Bloomington, I made the mistake of assuming that the polar vortex would stay put. If only I had known! I must have annoyed the weather because it decided to follow me for the first two days of the drive down I-70. I must have paid my dues because things started to clear up in Southern Kansas and I was able to make some good driving time.

The drive has also been notable because of the dietary restrictions. I have been trying a gluten- and dairy-free diet for a while now that has really helped me a lot. As anyone who’s traveled across the US can tell you, everything available on the road is full of either gluten or dairy. It’s been tough but somehow I’ve managed to keep the gluten to a minimum without having any dairy. Now that I’m in La Quinta, I can finally find all the gluten- and dairy-free goodies I want!

Some other notable highlights from the trip:

  • I only locked myself out of the van once.
  • I only drove past my exit off the interstate once (for an extra 37 miles).
  • I managed to avoid having any accidents through two days of blizzard driving.
  • I arrived to the most perfect weather ever!

The timing of the trip and the delays caused by the blizzards meant that I didn’t get to La Quinta until yesterday afternoon. This caused me to be way late in getting my booth set up. Thankfully my brother drove in from LA to help and he is now my good-luck charm. I only have minor bruising from setting up the show! Everyone who knows me can appreciate how great this is!

I’m very pleased to be staying at a friend’s house in Palm Springs. She has some of my pieces scattered around her house – which is the most amazing house! I am very thankful for the great place to stay and am looking forward to spending time with her and her family. Thanks Bea!

After the show, I’m off to LA for some client appointments and networking with some new friends. Remember, if you live in the LA area and are interested in getting some Bella Bella in your life, come see me at the La Quinta show or contact me about setting up an appointment while I’m there.

I’ll be continuing to update my adventures on my Facebook page! Feel free to check it out and like Bella Bella while you’re there.

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Feb 28, 2014

Heading West

Placing DesignsWorking In The Resin RoomHello Friends!

It sure has been a long time since I last reached out to everyone. Sorry for the radio silence but I feel like I’m finally coming out of hibernation! This has been my first winter here in the Midwest in 5 years and I was not ready for the polar vortex that settled over the area… or the hundreds that followed the first! It has been really hard to keep the resin room heated this winter and there have been days when I had to focus on designing rather than creating because of it.

Despite the weather, it has felt good to be back home for a while. My last show was at the beginning of December and it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been in my studio for this long! I’ve been really busy cooking up new designs and spending time with my parents. Both recently have had bouts with poor health but they’re on the upswing now and I’m feeling really good! With everything that’s been going on, I unfortunately had to cancel two shows I had planned on doing in February. Everything has finally fallen into place and I’m ready to hit the road for a big show out in La Quinta, California.

This is my fourth year attending the Annual La Quinta Arts Festival (http://www.lqaf.com/) and I love every chance I have to be there. La Quinta is like a dream. I consider it what a movie set of paradise must look like! Everyone’s always happy, the skies are always blue, and the air is always fresh. The scenery is so invigorating with a turquoise blue sky separated from emerald green lawns by rust red mountains. It’s why I want to come back year after year.

I’m just about ready to hit the road and am getting excited. I’ll pick up the truck tomorrow, get everything loaded, and then say goodbye to my pets – which is the hardest part. Every time I go to a show, I get really sad having to say farewell to my dog and three cats. I hate feeling like a negligent parent! Thankfully, my new housemate is super reliable and gets along great with the pets. They really like her and she has brought a lot of joy to my life. She’s like a little sister and I love having her around. Even better, I can leave town knowing that my pets are going to be well taken care of.

Once on the road, I’ll head through Joplin and Amarillo enroute to Scottsdale where I have two deliveries. Then it’s on to Palm Springs for a third delivery and the show. After the show, I’ve got appointments lined up in Palm Springs and Pasadena and am ready to make some new friends. If you live in the LA area and are interested in getting some Bella Bella in your life, feel free to come see me at the La Quinta show or contact me about setting up an appointment while I’m there. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone and making new friends!

I’ll be keeping track of my road trip on my Facebook page so that everyone can follow my adventures. While there, make sure to like Bella Bella!

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Dec 13, 2013

Holiday Seconds Sale


#1

26″x60″ mirror with deep cobalt top, black with red blossom branch, coco-stain bottom pearl detail

$500Email to purchase


#2

16″x38″ crescent table, 30″ straight legs, celery with olive spiral, cream with olive branch, pearl detail

$450Email to purchase


#3

16″x38″ crescent table, 30″ straight legs, French blue with diamond detail, cream center with Williamsburg blossom branch

$450Email to purchase


#4

16″x38″ crescent table, 30″ straight legs, plum-stain with back strip in lavender with plum circles, mother of pearl checked edge

$450Email to purchase


#5

16″x38″ crescent table, 30″ straight legs, cream with parchment spiral, bird, and bumblebee, mother of pearl checked edge

$450Email to purchase


#6

14″x42″ coffee table, 16″ straight legs, sienna-stain center, cream with olive grass, cream with 6-petal rust flower, desert tan with coco spiral

$400Email to purchase


#7

28″ max Amoeba table, 16″ original curved legs with ball, brick, red-stain, and camel colored panels

$300Email to purchase


#8

30″x30″x2″ wall art, wired back, oatmeal with sage lollies, black and gold centers

$175Email to purchase


#9

14″x40″ box-style console with 10″ apron, 30″ straight legs, rust-stain with band of khaki with olive branch, original prototype

$500Email to purchase


#10

16″x48″ table, 30″ angled frame legs, pear with rust-stain bands and copper Lacey circles

$500Email to purchase


#11

30″x30″x2″ wall art, wired back, rust-stain, tan with olive offset branch, pale teal strip on left, pearl detail

$200Email to purchase

Hi Folks!

It’s that time of year when I’m working long days and nights trying to complete everyone’s custom piece. So far so good. I’m on track and am confident that I’ll be able to ship in time for the holidays. That being said, I’m still get asked about making something for the holidays and I am 100% confident that there’s not enough time to start a piece for pre-holiday arrival. Fortunately, I have a solution to help if you find yourself wanting to give some Bella Bella pieces to loved ones or just want to treat yourself and are running out of time. I have 11 items available that are ready to ship immediately and are priced super-amazingly low!

Introducing the First Ever Holiday Virtual Bella Bella Seconds Sale! Or the Second Ever Virtual Bella Bella Seconds Sale! Or the umpteen millionth Bella Bella Seconds Sale! (I have definitely lost count.)

This is a perfect opporunity to give or get a piece of Bella Bella for the holidays while staying within your budget. As these are all finished pieces, if you get an order through to me by noon on Wednesday, December 18, I can ship it out in time for a December 24, delivery. Of course, we can also do expedited shipping if necessary. For the locals, if there’s something you see that you’ve gotta have, let us know and we’ll mark it sold and then you can come pick it up in person. Call my cell at 812-327-3807 to arrange a viewing.

As before, we are posting photos to the right of the eleven pieces. For those folks not familiar with our seconds sales – I travel all around the country showing my work and the pieces available in a seconds sale are what I call “show worn.” This means they’ve been loaded in and out of my trailer multiple times and may have scratches or slight imperfections. Occasionally, we also make pieces that don’t turn out exactly right due to color issues or assembly mistakes and these are also sold during the second’s sales. In both cases, everything that we can fix has already been fixed so everything available is sold as is. All of these pieces are sold at the sale for 50-75% off their retail price. Basically, if you’ve always wanted some Bella Bella but it hasn’t been in your budget, now it is!

Everything listed below is first come, first serve and will only be marked as sold when it is actually purchased (ie we can’t hold anything just because someone wants to see it in person first). Give us a call (812-323-1637) or send me an email and we’ll make it happen.

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Dec 5, 2013

One of a Kind Experience

Setting Up In Chicago


#1

36″x24″x1″ oval mirror, tan with dark olive Greek palm leaves

The only mirror. This not only is retro now, it was from its birth. I was super into vintage barkcloth fabric patterns at the time and this was heavily influenced by that. I wanted this to look like fabric from the 40’s only Bella-fied.

$400Email to purchase


#2

50″x26″x1″ table, 29″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, dusty-purple center, black with olive grass, rust-stain with slate spiral panels, French blue stain with rust six petal flower (the first one ever!), sage and rust stripe detail

This piece is indicative of the time that I first starting using the Panel Layout. I was starting to lean towards solid areas of color and less patterns. Of course, people were wanting to see more patterns so this was a method of combining patterned panels with a sold center of velvety color, without seeming too busy. Plus, I used to say, “it provides more Bella for yer buck!” I’m still trying to explain that simple is often better – “that a good poet doesn’t include every metaphor they know in one poem.” My friend Gretchen taught me that.

$500Email to purchase


#5

50″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, rust-stain center, rust and brick sawtooth pattern, French blue stain with rust six petal flower, lavender and coco-stain panels, black with mother of pearl checks on the edge

Guess what I call this layout? Double Panel Layout… Get it? There were only three table designs ever made like this. Clearly I just wanted to get jiggy with the Panel Layout back when the Fresh Prince was still the Fresh Prince.

$500Email to purchase

Hi Friends,

As anyone who really knows me can attest, I have many superstitions about shows. I have special socks and underpants that I think will bring me good luck. (Don’t worry, I have enough lucky pairs to have clean laundry throughout the whole show!) If I book my hotel too far in advance, it usually ends up being really crappy even though I get a much better price. If I’m not compulsively vacuuming the studio before a show, it means that I’m not connected enough to the work I intend to show. They all sound silly but for me, they all work.

The biggest superstition of them all however is that the harder my set-up goes, the better the show goes. (Of course, I still have to try hard to make everything go smoothly or else the magic doesn’t work right. In other words, I can’t sabotage myself!) Sooooooo…… I’m pretty sure this week’s One of a Kind show in Chicago is going to be outstanding!

After arriving timely, getting into the loading docks easily, having no car trouble, no lost credit cards – basically no problems of any sort – I began setting up my booth in high spirits. I felt like a complete pro knowing that anyone who was watching could tell this definitely wasn’t my first rodeo. I smugly listened to my neighbors bickering about how to set things up as I jetted through my set-up. I had laid out a plan and all was going along just like I intended.

Then, in a moment, it all changed. I don’t even know what to say. I was moving a tiny piece of packing foam and all of a sudden, the two walls I had just built, walls that held two giant mirrors, began to collapse! I screamed, “Help Me Help Me Help Me!” and jumped into action. Out my peripheral vision I saw the eyes of my neighbors widen and their mouths drop open but there was no way they could get to me in time – there was just too many boxes and things in the aisle. Acting out of instinct, I used all my strength and body surface area to break the fall of the mirrors and wall that were collapsing in the direction of my benches and other work already set-up.

The great news is that the mirrors didn’t break and no work was damaged.

The bad news is that the paramedics had to come because I got whacked in the head and the 4’x8′ plywood sheets that make up my walls scraped down my legs and wrists leaving an accordion of skin, though no blood, and two huge lemon sized hematomas on my inner calves. You can see pics on my Instagram!

All my friends will really laugh at this – I was speechless. I could not make words. I didn’t feel anything. It all seemed so surreal and all I could focus on was making sure that my work was ok. Looking back, I’m pretty sure that I was in shock. After getting everything fixed at the booth, I spent all night marinating myself in ice and am now confident that it’s going to be a great show!

I’ll be hobbling around Booth #3136C from today through Sunday (December 5-8, 2013) and I’d love for you to stop in and see my new designs and my war wounds!

Also, we have a few Retro Bella Bella pieces left. I’ve included the remaining three here. Let me know if you see anything you like.

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Nov 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun

Posie ThanksgivingSimone At The StudioHello Friends,

I usually have a less than traditional holiday season. Typically, I’m traveling from a show or to a show. I’ve spent a number of Thanksgivings driving and expressing holiday thoughtfulness at gas stations with strangers I probably won’t ever see again. Last year I left Arizona to drive home the day before Thanksgiving. It was going to be the first year in many that I actually spent with my family. To make it work for all of us, we had to switch the date and celebrate on Friday instead. 

This wasn’t always the case. As a child, we went over the river and through the woods to my grandparents house. All of the family that was able to come would sit around a big oval table covered with all of the Thanksgiving fixings. We always said a prayer and when I was old enough, I insisted on leading it. My prayer always started like this: “God is great, God is good, and we thank you for this food…”

Pretty normal so far but then I would begin to list everything that I was thankful for and when I say everything, I mean Everything. “…and thank you for the forks, and the spoons, and the table cloth, and the windows, and the corn, and thank you for the stove top stuffing, and for my mom, and for my dad, and thank you for my aunt, and…”

This would go on for quite a while. My family delighted in my attention to detail. Honestly, I dragged it on and on not just because of the silence of everyone and their total attention on me, but because I really felt like I didn’t want to leave anything out. I felt sorry if I neglected to mention the lamps or the oven or even the tooth picks on the relish tray! I wanted to truly recognize everything that I was thankful for.

Inevitably, someone would urge me to wrap it up. To this, I would switch to rapid fire mode and start spouting off any last minute items I wanted to include before my chance was over. To this day, whenever a prayer is said, I take a moment and to myself add all of the tiny things I’m grateful for.

These days my family is all spread out and we rarely have the opportunity to get together like last year. So for Thanksgiving 2013, I worked at my studio and the prayer I said was way more simple. “God is great, God is good. and I thank you for my job.” Very simple words for a huge feeling.

I am phenomenally grateful to be doing work that I love – making beautiful things that make me and others so happy. How awesome is it that I wanted to go to the studio and do my work. And I can. And I did. And no one was making me! Yesterday was a perfect day with my studio cat Simone working on projects that will arrive in peoples’ homes later this holiday season. I hope that I can always do this sort of work and I want to thank all of my friends and family and clients for supporting me and inspiring me to keep doing what I love for these past 24 years!

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Nov 19, 2013

Madison Holiday Art Fair

Design Lazy Susans and Wall Art


#1

36″x24″x1″ oval mirror, tan with dark olive Greek palm leaves

The only mirror. This not only is retro now, it was from its birth. I was super into vintage barkcloth fabric patterns at the time and this was heavily influenced by that. I wanted this to look like fabric from the 40’s only Bella-fied.

$400Email to purchase


#2

50″x26″x1″ table, 29″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, dusty-purple center, black with olive grass, rust-stain with slate spiral panels, French blue stain with rust six petal flower (the first one ever!), sage and rust stripe detail

This piece is indicative of the time that I first starting using the Panel Layout. I was starting to lean towards solid areas of color and less patterns. Of course, people were wanting to see more patterns so this was a method of combining patterned panels with a sold center of velvety color, without seeming too busy. Plus, I used to say, “it provides more Bella for yer buck!” I’m still trying to explain that simple is often better – “that a good poet doesn’t include every metaphor they know in one poem.” My friend Gretchen taught me that.

$500Email to purchase


#3

50″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, cobalt blue center, sienna brown panels with black and oasis grass that has rust flowers in it

This was a first attempt at using the Panel Layout but with more of my solid colors. They aren’t really solid, because they visually have so much texture to them. The pattern is in the texture.

This could also be put on taller legs to use as a small dining table or laptop desk… Just saying…

$500Email to purchase


#4

59″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, dusty purple center, tan with camel spirals, khaki with olive grass, khaki with brick six petal flower, tan with camel stripe detail, black with mother of pearl checks on the edge

This is so classic! I had hit my Panel Layout stride! I started doing the panel in a lighter pallet combined with the same rich center color and I knew that I was on to something. Instantly I can see it’s an old design because I used thorns on my spiral and flower then. I thought it made it seem more Corinthian – an ancientness that combined with the contemporary for a different look. Now, I don’t usually use the thorns on the spiral and the flower petals have a softer feel, which in my mind is more contemporary and now what I call Nubs (seen here).

$500Email to purchase


#5

50″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, rust-stain center, rust and brick sawtooth pattern, French blue stain with rust six petal flower, lavender and coco-stain panels, black with mother of pearl checks on the edge

Guess what I call this layout? Double Panel Layout… Get it? There were only three table designs ever made like this. Clearly I just wanted to get jiggy with the Panel Layout back when the Fresh Prince was still the Fresh Prince.

$500Email to purchase


#6

36″x36″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, slate-stain with rust detail, cool grey with slate fern, black with olive grass.

This table dated from 2003 shows a pivot. I had figured out a new layout style which I called the Sassy. Seriously. To this day we still call it the Sassy Layout. You can see here how the grass pattern is more elegant. It’s thinner blades (harder to cut :( but worth it) and there’s only two areas of pattern. This is the piece I keep thinking I should take home. Don’t worry – even if I do, I’ll bring it back just for you!

$500Email to purchase

This past July, I was up in Madison for the Art Fair on the Square and had a blast. I sold just about everything I had brought with me and made lots of new friends – which is how I spell success! With such a great experience, it seemed the next logical step was to head back up to Madison for the Holiday Art Fair at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The fair runs from the 22nd through 24th of November (this upcoming weekend) and gives the folks in Madison another opportunity to purchase some of my work in person or speak with me about design ideas and custom pieces. I’ll be at booth PH711 located in the Promenade Hall so grab your fabric swatches, color palettes, and good cheer and swing on by.

I’ll be bringing tons of lazy susans and beloved 6×6 wall art pieces that you can take home with you right then. These are super fantastic gift items that can go just about anywhere. Also, I’m going to be offering a design-your-own-lazy-susan-and-have-it-shipped-before-Christmas party there at the booth! And if you tell me the secret word (shhh… it’s Bella Bella… don’t tell anyone… it’s a secret…) I’ll give you the same offer on 6×6’s. What a deal!

Don’t forget to take a look at the Retro Bella Bella I recently put up for sale. I’ve included all of the pieces here again. If you’re in the Madison area and are interested in one of these beauties from a bygone era, send me an email or give me a call – I can bring your piece with me when I head up that way. Better hurry because I’ll be leaving for Madison on Thursday!

With Bella Love,

Lara

Individual Post for Sharing & Printing

Nov 14, 2013

Retro Bella Bella


#1

36″x24″x1″ oval mirror, tan with dark olive Greek palm leaves

The only mirror. This not only is retro now, it was from its birth. I was super into vintage barkcloth fabric patterns at the time and this was heavily influenced by that. I wanted this to look like fabric from the 40’s only Bella-fied.

$400Email to purchase


#2

50″x26″x1″ table, 29″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, dusty-purple center, black with olive grass, rust-stain with slate spiral panels, French blue stain with rust six petal flower (the first one ever!), sage and rust stripe detail

This piece is indicative of the time that I first starting using the Panel Layout. I was starting to lean towards solid areas of color and less patterns. Of course, people were wanting to see more patterns so this was a method of combining patterned panels with a sold center of velvety color, without seeming too busy. Plus, I used to say, “it provides more Bella for yer buck!” I’m still trying to explain that simple is often better – “that a good poet doesn’t include every metaphor they know in one poem.” My friend Gretchen taught me that.

$500Email to purchase


#3

50″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, cobalt blue center, sienna brown panels with black and oasis grass that has rust flowers in it

This was a first attempt at using the Panel Layout but with more of my solid colors. They aren’t really solid, because they visually have so much texture to them. The pattern is in the texture.

This could also be put on taller legs to use as a small dining table or laptop desk… Just saying…

$500Email to purchase


#4

59″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, dusty purple center, tan with camel spirals, khaki with olive grass, khaki with brick six petal flower, tan with camel stripe detail, black with mother of pearl checks on the edge

This is so classic! I had hit my Panel Layout stride! I started doing the panel in a lighter pallet combined with the same rich center color and I knew that I was on to something. Instantly I can see it’s an old design because I used thorns on my spiral and flower then. I thought it made it seem more Corinthian – an ancientness that combined with the contemporary for a different look. Now, I don’t usually use the thorns on the spiral and the flower petals have a softer feel, which in my mind is more contemporary and now what I call Nubs (seen here).

$500Email to purchase


#5

50″x26″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, rust-stain center, rust and brick sawtooth pattern, French blue stain with rust six petal flower, lavender and coco-stain panels, black with mother of pearl checks on the edge

Guess what I call this layout? Double Panel Layout… Get it? There were only three table designs ever made like this. Clearly I just wanted to get jiggy with the Panel Layout back when the Fresh Prince was still the Fresh Prince.

$500Email to purchase


#6

36″x36″x1″ coffee table, 16″ original Bella Bella double legs with the ball, slate-stain with rust detail, cool grey with slate fern, black with olive grass.

This table dated from 2003 shows a pivot. I had figured out a new layout style which I called the Sassy. Seriously. To this day we still call it the Sassy Layout. You can see here how the grass pattern is more elegant. It’s thinner blades (harder to cut :( but worth it) and there’s only two areas of pattern. This is the piece I keep thinking I should take home. Don’t worry – even if I do, I’ll bring it back just for you!

$500Email to purchase

Retro Bella Bella you ask. Yes, retro. I know that it used to be called “Vintage” but I started thinking about it and felt that “Retro” was a much better moniker. Besides, vintage is so yesterday!

As far as names go, I decided to go ahead and do a Google search to see what came up. (See how hip I’m becoming with all this crazy new technology.) I looked up three variations and here’s what came up.

  • Antique – Something that’s really old, musty, dusty, mold, unstylish, and probably made of wood.
  • Vintage – Something that’s too old to be used but not as old as Grandma. And like Grandma, vintage often implies blatant imperfections.
  • Retro – Something that’s just enough out of vogue to be back in vogue.

So when I looked at those definitions, I just knew that the pieces I brought home from Sense of Wonder fall into the Retro category. They are all immaculate and are designs that are just old enough for me to want to start using some of them again.

Anyways, take a look at them below and let me know what you think they should be called on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email. Also, let me know if you’d like to purchase any of these pieces.

With Bella Love,

Lara

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Nov 8, 2013

Did Somebody Here Order a Table?

Table Delivery 1 width=Table Delivery 2Table Delivery 3Table Delivery 4And now for the next installment of Lara’s Larks and Labors! My last post ended with James and I pulling away from Sense of Wonder en route to deliver the giant 8 foot table about 4 hours behind schedule. In an attempt to get things back under control, I preemptively called the rental company there in Massachusetts to find out the absolute latest we could bring the truck in to drop it off. We had been told previously that we had to be there by 5pm but we were keeping our fingers crossed. We shouldn’t have had any problem getting the truck back in time but our planned early morning rendezvous at Sense of Wonder had become a lunchtime affair and our late morning table delivery had turned into a later afternoon affair!

Once I finally got someone on the phone, not only was the latest return time 5pm, but the rental company there told me they had no record of our rental or the fact we we would be trading in this humongous truck for a station wagon! I didn’t even know where to begin in processing that crazy screw-up. Luckily, we were pulling in to Michelle’s beautiful neighborhood and I had to focus on the woman running helter-skelter towards the truck waving her arms excitedly in the air. It took a few beats before I realized that here was Michelle! What a relief.

Like a scene from Leave it to Beaver, Michelle had gone next door to borrow a cup a sugar and had just happened to notice a giant truck driving slowly through the neighborhood (us trying to find the correct house). She guided us back to the right house and we gathered quite an entourage on the way including some of Michelle’s four kids and their dog, Sugarloaf! Once there, we commenced with the hugs and handshakes, officially met everyone in the family (and some neighbors), and got to survey the scene. Michelle and Greg, her husband, gave us a first class tour of their awesome home.

For me, it was like a trip down memory lane because Michelle has been collecting pieces of my work for years. Seeing all these pieces was like chatting with old friends because I really do remember making each one of those pieces. At the time, I didn’t have a person to put with the piece (like a face with a name) and so finally making the connection with where these pieces ended up felt really good. Seeing those pieces had the same sort of feeling like remembering a dream that you once had or a book you once read or a move you once saw while dozing off. If you had asked me to describe Michelle’s Bella Bella pieces before I walked into her house, I wouldn’t have had a clue. But once I saw each piece, I could tell you what I had for lunch the day I made it and exactly when I added the final coat of resin. It’s amazing how the mind works!

With the tour finished and Sugarloaf distracted by the kids, James, Greg, and I got to work unpacking the table and bringing it in. At first glance, we all had been nervous that it wouldn’t even fit in the dining room much less fit through the front door! By turning it on end at an angle, we were able to carry it through the front door and position it on the base as gracefully as a ballet. Greg sent Michelle to get a celebratory bottle of wine and James and I worked to connect the base and the table. To give you a sense of how big and heavy this table is, to attach the base, I had to sit on the top because otherwise the edges would cause the table to bow up in the middle! We got finished just in time to cover everything up with a tarp so that Michelle wouldn’t see the table in place until it was time for the big reveal. Everyone gathered round – neighbors, kids, and Sugarloaf all – and James and I dramatically unveiled the table to big cheers.

The best part had to be how excited the four kids were. This is a family that knows and loves their Bella Bella! Within 30 minutes of the big reveal, the kids were already using the lovely large table like any other. This is what Bella Bella was meant for – shiny happy furniture that’s used everyday and loved!

As earlier in the day, our time was up way too quick and James and I had to get back on the road. Holding my breath, I tried calling the rental company, even though it was already past 5pm, just to see if someone decided to work late that night. No such luck. James and I were now so far behind schedule that we had to scramble for a hotel for the night. We figured that we’d just find something on our way back towards the rental company’s location so that we could switch out the vehicles first thing in the morning and then head to my next client’s house but that was not meant to be. It seemed like every single hotel, motel, and bed n’ breakfast was booked solid. Finally, we managed to find room at the Indigo Hotel which definitely left a lasting impression on James!

Sunday morning started rough as the rental company made complaint after complaint about everything. They were supposed to be open from 9am until noon on Sundays and even though we got there a little after 9, they needed us to hurry up and leave so that they could close up early for the day! To speed things up, they decided to “help us” unload the pieces that we had picked up from Sense of Wonder. I nearly lost it when the guy almost threw one of tables and again when they decided to just pile things on the gravel! Before things got crazy, James took charge with the unloading and I went to figure out the deal with the station wagon. The guy told me that there was no record of us arranging to rent a car after we returned the truck… and then proceeded to tell me that we wouldn’t get a station wagon because they’ve had a car set aside for us as arranged previously! Thankfully, everything somehow worked itself out, we got a station wagon, we got everything loaded up without any damage, and we got back on the road.

Unfortunately, while a timing miscommunication allowed James and I to have a nice scenic tour of Massachusetts, it also prevented us from meeting with one of my other clients in the area. We took this as a sign and decided to ride off into the sunset. Of course, it was early afternoon when we made this decision so the timing would be wrong for that, and that in itself was only fitting considering the timing shenanigans this whole trip. Big thanks go to James who was a trooper the whole way and whose help ensured the success of this trip!

With Bella Love,

Lara

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Nov 1, 2013

A Sense of Wonder (That Everything Went As Well As It Did)

On The WayFancy Pants Conveyor BeltFor my latest adventure, we left off just as I was on my way to pick up the humongous truck for my crazy road trip out east. The rental company here was great and we got the truck without any hitches. Ominously, one of the last things I remember from the rental guy was that I had to have the truck to the lot in Massachusetts by 5pm on Saturday. (More on this to come.)

As a refresher, the overall plan was to:
Load the truck and leave for Massachusetts on Thursday afternoon;
Drive all day on Friday;
Wake up Saturday morning in Massachusetts;
Go to Sense of Wonder and switch out some Bella Bella pieces;
Deliver the 8 foot diameter table;
Switch the truck for a car;
Meet with another client; and
Wake up Sunday morning and head for home.

My good friend James had agreed to help me make this all happen so he was right on hand Thursday to help get things started. Loading the truck went great. James devised an ingenious set-up that locked the table into place flat in the back of the truck. Yay! Looking to get going on a good vibe, we started the trip with a cooler full of yummy food and high spirits. How quickly those two things emptied!

Now, normally on my epic road trips across the country I listen to NPR podcasts non-stop. I absolutely love This American Life. Hours can go by in the blink of an eye as the stories unfold. The timing is oh so perfect because the end of every other story is a good time to stop, stretch my legs, recharge for a minute, and then get back on the road with the next story in the series all queued up.

Fast forward to this trip. One thing that I always forget about these huge rental trucks is the lack of a radio/tape player/cd player/etc. Here we are, at the first conversation lull of the 16 hour drive, and no radio. What about This American Life? What’s going to happen to those people in those stories? Suddenly, I needed to know as if my life depended on it and I knew that this feeling would only get worse. Hence, the first detour of our trip was to a box-store to buy a little boom box. If only every problem was so easily solved!

I mentioned that the trip was going to take 16 hours. And it should have. But something about it just made everything drag along. No matter how often I checked the GPS, we never seemed to get closer. It was always so far away. It felt like one of those gag birthday candles – no matter how often you blow out the candle, it just keeps coming back. That was this trip! In the end, we logged 26 hours of driving time. Needless to say, we were still driving on Saturday morning when we were supposed to be at the gallery but we finally managed to get there.

Sense of Wonder, owned and operated by Jean Smith and her husband, is a great little gallery in North Andover, Massachusetts that I have worked with for many years. Jean has been one of my all-time favorite clients ever since I started working directly with galleries. Jean and I have always had a connection. The kind where you know that you’d be best friends forever and that no matter how much time has passed, you’re able to just pick right back up where you left off as if nothing ever happened. I hadn’t seen Jean in 5 or 6 years and seeing her and her beautiful store warmed my heart. Sadly, the 26 hour drive meant that we only had 1 hour together if we had any hope of getting the truck back in time. (1 hour!?! 26 hours of driving for just 1 hour!?!) But we made the most of it.

After an insane amount of hugging, we got started switching out some of her beautiful vintage Bella Bella tables for new wall art and mirrors. (I’ll have more to say about the vintage Bella Bella in a later post.) The most entertaining part of the process was Jean’s fancy pants conveyor belt. If you imagine Laverne and Shirley in the bottling plant, you’ll get a pretty good idea of how absolutely ridiculous we looked and how much fun we had!

With our 60 minutes up way too quick, Jean and I hugged tightly and promised that we’d drink together in Baltimore again just like the good old days. James and I loaded back up and headed to our next stop which I’ll share in the next installment of Lara’s Larks and Labors.

With Bella Love,

Lara

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Oct 23, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thank YouThank you to the Bella Bella family for a great birthday! While the weather has turned cold here, you all make me feel warm inside.

With Bella Love,

Lara

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