19 July 2010


She was used up. She had laid dormant and still for thirty years, no tune, no touch. She was stationed in the "winery," rumor has it at one time the "casbah." The place she sat was sold and the "winery" became the "studio." She remained and was unperturbed. The artist worked alongside her for three years. Sure, he stacked things upon her. She seemed invisible. He even stripped some of the ivory from her fingers. He did not see her insides. Until one day it was time.....Too much debris, all those pieces and scraps that he would someday use had instead become an obstacle to progress. She got caught up in the storm. He actually took a sledge hammer to her. She wailed in deep vibrating tones. Not so much protest, but a release of stored passion. Then she showed him her insides and he was thrilled, he had rediscovered her. Each finger a work in and of itself. Some ivory left, her small lead counterweights could still swing. Her fierce red felt lining still seared. He made a light of her. Her soundboard still intact, he chopped that free with his hatchet and he hung it on the wall. She beamed.......and so did he.

13 July 2010

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Architect Visit: Daniel Hale in Saint Helena

From Sarah

Daniel Hale studied architecture on the East Coast, lived and worked in St. Remy de Provence, France, for two years, and in 2002 moved to the Napa Valley, where he's worked on projects with notable designers such as Erin Martin, Mariette Himes-Gomez, and Stephen Shubel.

His own house in St. Helena is a work in progress, featuring an organic use of repurposed materials and layered with texure and handcrafted detail. Every piece and surface tells a story: "My inspiration comes from a variety of sources, including ancient art and architecture and modern works—a synthesis of old and new. I like the idea of taking objects and letting the materials shine for what they are, so that the end result is something greater than the sum of its parts."

For more information on Hale's work, go to Daniel Hale (to read his ongoing diary of his house, visit his blog Serendipity Rising). Photographs by Douglas Sterling, copyright 2010.

Above: The travertine floor features pits and natural variation.

Above: Traditional stucco concrete walls and a chair made by Hale.

Above: The sofa is made from the wood crates (which contained the kitchen tiles).

Above: The kitchen cupboard on the right is made from salvaged window panes.

Above: Four poster bed made by Hale with candle holders atop each post.

Above: The light fixture, cupboard, and sliding window panels are all by Hale.

Above: View onto neighboring vineyards from the pigonnier.

Photographs by Douglas Sterling, copyright 2010.

Pictures taken by Douglas Sterling

Copyright 2010 Douglas Sterling

04 July 2010


The most amazing experiment, that was born on the fourth of July 1776, is still a work in progress as it was intended to be. Thank you to those brave and strong and clever men that had laid such fertile ground for us all, and let us not forget those that have suffered to maintain that shining idea.