Posted tagged ‘1960s’

The Saturday Book Shop

December 12, 2020

Welcome back to The Saturday Bookshop!

This first book I want to show you today is near and dear to my heart because it is by my dear friend and internationally-acclaimed artist, Chantal Bethel. I had the honor of getting to design and handle the graphic layout for Beyond the Surface: Art, Discovery, Healing and Transformation—a coffee table treasure filled with 112 full color pages of her beautiful and powerful paintings, mixed media installations, and sculptures, along with a selection of essays, quotes, and poems by various writers, art historians, curators, artists, and art critics. Born in Haiti, schooled in Belgium, and ultimately finding her home in The Bahamas, Chantal Bethel’s work reflects her complex and multi-layered story. Chantal Bethel’s art continually delves “beyond the surface” connecting pieces of her own life with the fullness of humanity’s tragedies and triumphs. To see a flip-through of the hardcover book, click here. The book is available in Nassau at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) Mixed Media Gift Shop, or in the U.S. and Canada by writing to me here.

NEXT UP IS A GREAT READ & NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSIC

Smelling Roses: A Tale of Connection and Transformation is a debut novel by another dear friend and celebrated multi-talented painter and mixed media artist, Claudette Dean, who also writes poetry and now: brilliant books as well! I was honored and delighted to get to put together the cover design for this new Christmas classic—a tale of different dimensions of tide and time coming together to channel light during the tumultuous era of the 1960s. Sparkling with wit and mystical wonder, the story is amazingly in synch with today’s changing world and the challenges of trusting the growing waves of love rising against huge opposition. This novel is available via Amazon, or check with Claudette Dean via her website. It’s a Christmas page-turner and heart warmer all at once.

AND SPEAKING OF CHANGING TIMES …

With the votes finally counted and President-elect Joe Biden and VP-Elect Kamala Harris bringing new leadership to the United States, it’s important to remember the work that yet needs to be done and to say: Black Lives STILL Matter. Works by gifted new talent, like the marvelous writer/artist Morgan Harper Nichols, and a dynamic collection of black voices curated by conceptual artist Natasha Marin, share life experience alongside longtime greats, such as the legendary writers Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. And I’m enjoying President Barack Obama‘s memoir so much. Those of you reading this who’ve known me for any length of time know how enthusiastically I campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Reading A Promised Land reminds me of his intelligence, cool head, solid strength, and passion for a fair playing field that he brought to bear—all while rebuilding a crashed economy into a thriving one while battling unprecedented political obstruction. I’m cheering now for the election of Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Even a very small donation to their campaigns at this moment would be a huge gift to a smoother path toward helping us all build back better. Here are links to the titles pictured above:

All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols

Black Imagination curated by Natasha Marin

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

..AND A BIG GRATEFUL SHOUT OUT to my longtime dear friend and bookshop connoisseur and mentor, Vanessa Hammill, who specializes in designing books about the history of her family’s native North Carolina, while also handling special orders and classroom recommendations for teachers and professional groups. She has a wide depth of book knowledge about all sorts of books, and first introduced me to classic children’s books, way before my now-just-graduated-from-college-daughter was born. These classics were well-worn with happy repeated readings. I dusted them off here from the storage box of childhood keepsakes. Well worn and well loved. Such wisdom in children’s books. And I am especially enchanted with the vibrant and joyful art and illustrations of Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, and Ashley Bryan.

… well, I see the clock has just ticked past midnight as I type this, so here’s hoping you’ll enjoy this chapter of The Saturday Bookshop even if you’re not seeing it until Sunday morning! I forgot how long it sometimes takes to link things up on blogs! (smiles) The wonderfully self-fluent writer Havi Brooks says “All timing is right timing.”  I love that. And I’m very much enjoying sharing about my love of books here, and it would be wonderful to hear what you’re reading, or looking forward to reading, or any longtime book favorites. See you next week & happy reading!

“Books are a present you can open again and again.” 

Famous Blueprints: Our Humble Historic Home

October 7, 2010



A few years ago we were delighted to discover that our unassuming little home in Grand Bahama was born from famous blueprints—designed by Alfred Browning Parker, whose post-World War II contemporary modernist work in and around Miami made him one of the most sought-after architects in the U.S., garnering high praise even from Frank Lloyd Wright—a guiding influence in Parker’s organic architecture philosophies.


Originally constructed for a former chief executive of The Grand Bahama Development Company, our modest two-bedroom home shares architectural roots with a much grander home, built by one of Freeport’s founding families on Sea Shell Lane. This property was recently sold by Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty and photographed by fine art photographer Christine Matthäi. Matthäi’s artful images capture the home’s classic oceanfront elegance and the timeless organic nature of Parker’s work.

Sea Shell Lane residence photographed by Christine Matthäi

Parker shared a passion with Frank Lloyd Wright for designs that worked with local climate and natural materials. In tropical climes that meant louvered shutters and windows that allowed prevailing ocean breezes to cool things down in the days before air conditioning became commonplace. Parker’s sensitivity and commitment to use of indigenous materials is also evident in the limestone rock that is incorporated into both our humble abode and the Sea Shell Lane residence.

Beautifully blending local materials, recycled materials with then-modern techniques like poured concrete was part of Parker’s modernist mission. His designs are still relevant today in the way they seamlessly merge the interior with the exterior—blurring the boundaries between building and landscape in classic organic architecture.

Sea Shell Lane photos by Christine Matthäi. 2010 ChristineMatthai.com

In our little part of paradise, the grand old trees that surround the property are visible everywhere and bring a particular kind of contentment and sense of well being found only in the shade of their longevity. Our stands of mature trees were planted by Lila Gonsalves—the first President of the Freeport Garden Club—and I send her quiet thanks on an ongoing basis for the green goodness we regularly enjoy in the garden.  Sir Jack Hayward also had a hand in our arbor abundance, having given the now towering 40-foot tall Royal Poinciana tree that graces the front entry, to the original home owners in a coffee can—a tiny sapling housewarming present that bursts out in dazzling splendour every May & June.

Royal Poinciana entryway tree in full bloom

A kiss of the sun for pardon

The song of the birds for mirth

One is nearer God’s heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth.

— Dorothy Frances Gurney


Our small home and the Sea Shell Lane property are the only two known surviving residential works of Alfred Browning Parker on Grand Bahama—a tie to modern day Freeport’s history that still smiles on the ideal of harmony between human habitation and the natural world—an essential element in preserving our island’s inherent beauty and grace as we make our way into the future.

Related Alfred Browning Parker Links:

Alfred Browning Parker: The Master of Coconut Grove:

Modernism Magazine (Volume 11, No. 2 | Summer 2008)

House Beautiful Magazine

The legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright commented on a home Alfred Browning Parker built for himself in the Coral Ridge area of Miami, featured as House Beautiful Magazine’s 1954 Pace Setter House:

“This Florida house aims at the highest goal to which architecture may aspire: organic architecture. Along this new but ancient way a home where the enlightened mind can flower, where people can develop their fullest potentials, is still a possibility.”

Slide Show: More of Christine Matthäi’s photographic images of Sea Shell Lane residence, click here.


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