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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rhode Island Is Famous For Jay Strongwater. We Preview His Impressive New Collection

The great jazz pianist and whispy-voiced chanteuse Blossom Dearie, who died earlier this year, was known for her expert musicianship and casual sophistication.

She often took a nonchalant approach to lyrics with dryly humorous renditions of the two Dave Frishberg tunes "I'm Hip" and "Peel Me a Grape" and a breezy version of the Arthur Schwartz-Howard Dietz number, "Rhode Island Is Famous For You."

That song, a panegyric to the Lower 48, contains one of our favorite verses:

Ol' whiskey comes from ol' Kentucky
Ain't the country lucky?

New Jersey gives us glue

And you, you come from Rhode Island

And little ol' Rhode Island is famous for you!

(You can listen to Blossom Dearie's complete recording here.)

Which brings us to another of that state's celebrities, designer Jay Strongwater.

From his Rhode Island workshops, Strongwater fabricates exquisite picture frames (like the orchid and palm model shown here) that sparkle with crystals and bold colors. He also creates fanciful clocks, vases, figurines, lighting, and other art objects for the home.

Each piece is ornately hand enameled. Strongwater is partial to nature imagery – leaves, flowers, coral, animals, insects, and sea shells.

The other day, we chatted briefly with the designer who gave us a preview of his Fall collection. We were particularly impressed by this desktop clock in the shape of a squirrel with an acorn.

What time is it? Open the top of the acorn to reveal the clock.

This sensational draped table mirror knocked us out...

...as did these chrysanthemum and lacewing picture frames.

Strongwater's Menorah will be available in time for Hanukkah, which starts on December 11. (Be prepared, the Festival of Lights arrives early this year.)

Not new this season but one of our favorites is this gingko vase made of luminous earth-toned Portuguese glass with hand-painted enamel and metal leaves and a dragonfly.

There's certain to be a Strongwater objet that each of your Emmy and Oscar nominees and winners, valued clients, and cherished loved ones will adore. Please ask us to help you select the perfect one. We are at (310) 581-6710.

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