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Time and Circles

Earlier this week, we invited you to explore the world of spiked gifts but today we're leveling things out and sharing a collection of annular objects from topographic time pieces to telephone wire baskets. These infinite perimeters offer an endless aesthetic allure that will certainly appeal to those in your inner circle of gift giving.

We want to begin with wall clocks. When we think of timepieces, we think of Cuban-born American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. At the end of the 20th century, shortly after his partner, Ross Laycock, received the life-shattering diagnosis of AIDS—a disease that would ultimately claim both of their lives—Gonzalez-Torres conceived one of his most famous works, "Untitled (Perfect Lovers)". The piece is incredibly simple in its design: two identical clocks are set to the same time and are hung beside one another, their edges just touching. As time elapses, batteries fade, mechanisms wind down, and the clocks fall out of sync or stop entirely. Gonzalez-Torres specifies that when the clocks no longer run in harmony, they are to be reset, "thereby resuming perfect synchrony" (MoMA), but it's the brief moments of asynchrony that hold a powerful reminder of absence and loss.

This work uses everyday objects to track and measure the inevitable flow of time... In 1991, Gonzalez-Torres reflected, “Time is something that scares me. . . or used to. This piece I made with the two clocks was the scariest thing I have ever done. I wanted to face it. I wanted those two clocks right in front of me, ticking.” MoMA

You may be thinking, "this hardly seems festive!", and we can understand why you feel that way. Grief and absence aren't emotions we seek out during the holidays and a clock, serving as a continuous reminder of the ceaseless passing of time, feels like something to be avoided rather than gifted. But, as the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" insinuates, we come to appreciate, cherish, and value our loved ones all the more when we are reminded of what life may be like without them. As Feliz Gonzalez-Torres wrote to Laycock,

"Don’t be afraid of the clocks, they are our time, the time has been so generous to us. We imprinted time with the sweet taste of victory. We conquered fate by meeting at a certain TIME in a certain space. We are a product of the time, therefore we give back credit where it is due: time. We are synchronized, now forever.

I love you."- Felix Gonzalez-Torres

It is this unconditional and unwavering love in the face of hardship, this impassioned conquering of the limits of time, this treasured spotlight on the defining memories we've sculpted together that we want to gift to our loved ones this holiday. A reminder of our unending, unrelenting, and defiant love for them. We can't imaging a more meaningful gift! So here are just a few clocks to inspire your holiday shopping.


The bark clock from Asymmetree Design is a uniquely symbolic temporal sculpture. Irregular languid wood shapes, each "precisely cut and engraved"(x), are stacked atop one another and engraved with trailing, shallow streams to create a tiered topographic face onto which the modern clock hands are affixed at the summit. The concentric bands and shadows cast from the seven steps and carved outlines recall the internal chronological map drawn by the growth rings of trees. The clock continuously spirals as time elapses, against a backdrop that resembles a map of history. This clock is a magnificent wall piece and a beautiful depiction of time.


While the bark clock invites a meditative journey through the past, the Curvo Wall Clock from Beyond Object is a door to the possibilities of the future. With a modern flexible form, the clock can curve inward to fit against an internal corner or outward to wrap around the edges of walls and doorframes. When set against the face of a passageway, the curved clock guides us into the future, smoothing any obstructing edges and marking the time as we cross the threshold in search of things to come.


Also inspiring us to move forward are the Bike Wheel Clocks from Virginia-based Pixel This. Handmade in the US from recycled aluminum bicycle wheels, the clocks are contemporary stationary wall decor pieces that evoke a sense of motion. Spokes extend from an origin of wound bicycle chains out to the time-worn rim, providing a hypnotic linearity behind two striking red hands, each with hollow loupes that offer glimpses of the spikes and the future as the hands trace the circular face. With ample geometry and whimsical pops of color, the clocks are works of art your gift recipients will be proud and eager to hang on their walls.


For more recycled timepieces we travel to the United Kingdom to Natural Clocks. Handmade by decoupaging dizzying abstract splattered fabric discovered at a second-hand shop onto a repurposed 10" vinyl record, the Black and White clock is one of our favorites. Rather than ticking, the aircraft-wing-like hands sweep over the surface, pointing to new constellating white patterns between the patches of abyssal black. This clock will keep you thinking of both the time and the stars as you gaze upon its astronomically beautiful face.


Or maybe your loved ones would prefer to stay grounded on Earth while meditating about time. If so, the handmade, emerald Moss Wall Clock from Moss Time is the perfected timepiece. A thin black frame holds a dense cloud of natural moss that creates rolling hills of texture spanning the face of the clock. Soaring above this miniature canopy, two contemporary, omnipotent hands glide over the mossy landscape and cast the shadows of time onto the world below.


The Cork Clock designed by Dutch artist, Ilias Ernst, and made available by Puik Design, is a midcentury masterpiece. Four indented circles at the cardinal points define 12, 3, 6, and 9 that are introduced to the modern tapered hands as the hours elapse and the hands tour the stark white circular face. But the most striking element of the design is the cork boarder; a thin band of cork circles the face and forms a rounded, triangular foot, offering a juxtaposing stippling of warmth and natural texture against the cold modernity of the other materials and a geometric accent beside the round face. The result is a clock that is truly timeless, an effortless marriage of modernity and texture.


Now we want to transition away from clocks and introduce you to a few more

circular showstoppers.

Starting with the Favino Stool/Table from Only Design. Made in Germany, a dense netted ribbon of honeycomb cardboard is capped at both ends by blackened sheets that hold small magnetic disks. When collapsed, the cardboard condenses into a flat, inconspicuous book. The magic unfolds when the cardboard is expanded. When the magnetic disks on the front and back of the flattened block are brought together, the cardboard blooms, forming a cylindrical structure covered in the ridges and valleys of the pleated of cardboard. Not only is the cardboard an incredibly handsome, industrialized piece of sculpture, it's also sturdy enough to be used as a functional stool/table. Perfect for those on your list who could benefit from the collapsibility as well as those who'd love a gorgeous piece of art.


If you're looking for circular wall accents without moving hands, try pairing these stunning prints for statement art installation with a geometric gravity. In Philadelphia, we enter Paradigm Gallery + Studio and revel in the glorious wreckage made elegant in Seth Clark's Mass XXII. A numbered edition of 20, the archival giclée print prints capture a mass of fragmented wooden boards. One ARCANISA team member's sibling described this piece as "an extraterrestrial assemblage, a trove of the remnants of previous worlds, pulled by their own gravity into a webbed, surging swarm of things lost". But we look at the circular structure and travel back through space and time to Doris Salcedo's Chairs installation at the 8th International Istanbul Biennale. Whether you see chairs or the skeletons of societies, Seth Clark has created a masterful, evocative piece that pulls all viewers in with an inescapable captivation, uncertainty, and promise. A visionary satellite where one can submit to the depths of curiosity and wonder. It's a treasure planet.


The pairing planetary pieces can be found in Birmingham, UK. Artist Suzie Elizabeth Hunt transforms every day environmental structures into profound planetary prints that come together to form a Universe of Oddities. Rusted lichen-like forms burrow into the crevices of a textured white surface, perhaps the scars of concrete or the creases of tree bark, in Lye 006. Rivers and canyons scribe through rippled, heathered continents, flattered by tuffets of vegetation that had turned at the hands of autumn. Hunt offers us a universe of newness and comfort. "When one is lost in an unknown land, individuals try to make sense of it and create their own world, a place of which only they have. The work was about sharing the the hidden lying in the space and showing it in a new light, showing the poetics of the space someone can reside in." (x) . Each print is a palm print of the unexposed world, the under-appreciated nuance of space, the quiet moments unraveling in the corners of our surroundings that too often go unnoticed. They're love letters to a sense of presentness and belonging. A universe of awareness that we want our loved ones to find home in.


We transition back to Earth with a collection of woven pieces that bring the circles to your table.

Ilala palms are intricately woven by awe-inspiringly talented women in Northern Zimbabwe to create Champagne Woven Palm Baskets that are so delicate we'd venture so far as to call them tapestries.


Staying in Zimbabwe we swoon at the sight of the statement baskets from Zienzele Foundation. Warm velvety cocoa browns frame rays of goldenrod and petals of honey that arrange themselves like mandalas on the surface of the shona sisal baskets. Handmade by Zimbabwean women caregivers of HIV positive orphans in rural regions of Zimbabwe, each basket is an expression of profound love and artistry, and that love is shared far beyond the curves of the baskets as 100% of all basket sale proceeds pay school fees for the orphans cared for by these amazing basket weavers.


We jump now to South Africa to unveil the unquestionably chic decorative woven plates from Eve and Nico. Each plate is a work of art, a traditional handmade Zulu masterpiece. Artisans define the shape of each bowl using a solid metal core, then, with the thoughtful, unwavering hand of a painter, weave coils of telephone wire into whirlpools of color that swirl within the frames. Textured woven patterns form waves that crest and crash against one another, grains interrupted, forming intricate patterns within the weave itself while the surrounding pattern is pulled into its spiraled form. They're incredibly hypnotic rings that will leave your loved ones entranced.


While the previous woven circles hold unfilled central spaces, the black annular vessels from Japanese artist Kamei Norihiko are filled with hand-placed streams of flowers that occupy every inch of the resin, ring-framed surface. Each bowl is a self-contained field of wildflowers, "an ideal landscape that does not exist, with meadows, flower fields, and mountains"(x), a three dimensional painting capturing the nuances of translucent petals and the density and texture of a forest canopy as viewed from the sky. Every bud is placed with focused attention and breathtaking precision as Norihiko uses tweezers to nestle each delicate flower into place without disturbing the surrounding flora. Deep emerald greens meet the edges of the bowl while a gradient of vibrant flowers flows gracefully through the center of the piece. One has the choice of fresh or dried flowers so you can offer your guest a naturally fleeting moment of supple magic or an enduring paperesque bouquet. In addition to staggeringly beautiful arrangements, Norihiko has created four fragrance oil blends so you can share a corresponding scent journey in addition to the scenic tour of a hand-held floral terrain by simply sprinkling a few drops of the blended oil onto the surface of the flowers.

Color wind : Yoshino hinoki, yuzu, rose, sandalwood, sweet geranium, green leaf alcohol, etc. Pale wind : Perilla, patchouli, clary sage, tonka beans, black currant, sweet geranium, sweet flag, etc. Green wind : Kuromoji, vetiver, orange blossom, kaffir lime, camphor leaves, sandalwood Nostalgic wind : Mandarin orange, osmanthus, coriander, bergamot, cedar, ginger, camphor, lavender (1)


Supplement holiday window candles and strands of twinkling lights with these Hanging Diya Lights from Heritage Kosh. Traditionally made of clay, diyas are small, circular lamps that hold oil dipped wicks which are lit during a variety of ceremonial and religious events. During the Hindu holiday of Diwali, "...the warm, bright glow emitted from a diya is considered auspicious - it represents enlightenment, prosperity, knowledge...[and] the triumph of light over dark, good over evil" (1) . Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains all treasure the light of diyas but we believe the magic of these holy lamps can be enjoyed by everyone. Making things even easier this holiday, the Hanging Diya Lights are electric, each tier holding seven small bulbs that cast an authentically warm glow. Offer your loved ones brilliance, decoration, and ceremony with a strand of these mystical lights.

Find joy in the infinite allure of circles and gift any of these incredible pieces to the loved ones in your orbit for an extraordinary holiday.

And don't forget to discover even more annular gift ideas by browsing the full 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.



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