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I Have a Wee Crush on John Derian


I wasn’t going to say anything, but it’s true. Don’t get too excited, though. I met him (briefly) last year, expressed my love for his beautiful work, and when it was clear he didn’t feel the same way about me, I picked myself up and under the guise of ‘retail therapy’ proceeded to spend a small fortune in his two, to-die-for shops in the East Village (and then tried to work out how to get my loot home to Sydney). I could have gone back every day of our visit to New York.

Are you getting the picture? I am a h u g e fan of John Derian’s work. HUGE.*

Here’s my favourite John Derian purchase (so far)…

Image of John Derian's Cache Pot 'Frogs'
John Derian’s ‘Frogs’ Cache Pot 
(Image © John Derian)

If you are not yet familiar with John Derian’s work, it is absolutely gorgeous. Truly. John (and his wonderful team) have been making découpage homewares since 1989. His production studio is neatly tucked away on 2nd street in New York’s East Village. He collects 18th century imagery, which he then lovingly transforms into beautiful découpage pieces. When you visit his gorgeous découpage shop, the sheer number of options suggests that this old craft is easy to create. It isn’t. Trust me, I have tried it!

Now that we’ve determined that John Derian is a legend in his own lunch-box, I feel I need to let you know that découpage does have one major down-side. Because it’s a paper-based craft, water is the enemy of any découpaged piece. So, pretty to look at, but at times, not the most practical…

Now I’m learning that John Derian has teamed up with the almost-as-fabulous people at Astier de Villatte, the French company known for their beautifully imperfect white ceramic tableware. Together, they have created a 29-piece range of tableware with illustrations drawn from antique book-plates and ephemera.

Have a look at these (it’s ok to drool. I did)…

Image of John Derian's Knife & Fork Saucer for Astier de Villatte
John Derian ‘Knife & Fork Saucer’ for Astier de Villatte
(Image © Astier de Villatte)
Image of John Derian 'Blue Butterfly' Dinner Plate for Astier de Villatte
John Derian ‘Blue Butterfly’ Dinner Plate for Astier de Villatte
(Image © Astier de Villatte)
Image of John Derian 'Ladybird' Soup Plate for Astier de Villatte
John Derian ‘Ladybird Soup Plate’ for Astier de Villatte
(Image © Astier de Villatte)
Image of John Derian 'Round Chair Platter' for Astier de Villatte
John Derian ‘Round Chair Platter’ for Astier de Villatte
(Image © Astier de Villatte)
Image of John Derian 'Large Flower Plate' for Astier de Villatte
John Derian ‘Large Flower Plate’ for Astier de Villatte
(Image © Astier de Villatte)
Image of John Derian Mug for Astier de Villatte
John Derian Mug for Astier de Villatte
(Image © Astier de Villatte)

I think if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would buy myself a whole dinner set of these. [swoon]

John Derian’s original (découpage & imported goods) shop is located at 6 East Second Street in New York. Bookmark it for next time you visit. It is so gorgeous. Alternatively, check out the beautiful and comprehensive website here. It is frightfully expensive to ship his work to Australia, but it can be done.

Astier de Villatte also have a seriously impressive website here.

*Just in case you’re wondering, LM has a man-crush on Adriano Zumbo. That’s why I get away with having a crush on John Derian. If you don’t know who Adriano Zumbo is, please check him out here before you plan any trips to Sydney!

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Comments (29)

OMG! This stuff is right down my alley. I think youve converted me! : )

Anarty – do go and check out the John Derian website. It’s just beautiful. The photographs really don’t do it justice, but it’s a lovely place to spend some time! 🙂

Girl….this is your best post yet! I have a GIANT crush on John Derian and have a few pieces already and continue to covet even more!! He did a collection or two for Target but I am one of those people that can’t do anything but the real thing….
Love it!

Of course we share a crush on the lovely John Derian… How else would we have met and become buddies over this giant inter-web thingy…? It just makes the whole thing more perfect!

…and, thank you. 🙂

Yes it sure does my friend!! Isn’t it all just coming together so nicely? PS – my fave plate today is the chair – it’s just too precious!

Mine, too 🙂 (if I must choose, that is. We’ve already established I’d like the whole caboodle!)

Yes he does lovely work, I love the plates the best, very nice. 😀

He does beautiful work, Mags. 🙂

A good excuse for a trip to New York. They are great, I love the knife and fork and the Frog bowl ( very Beatrix Potter) 🙂

Actually BCD, I imagine you would love the John Derian shops (I know what you like after following you and your gorgeous posts like the blog stalker that I am!) 🙂

I would love to see the way you decorate your home. You have such cool taste!

Awww – that’s a lovely thing to say. I rather think you would be disappointed, WIM2S! Much of these things I blog about are aspirational for me. And I have a dog living with me. And a teenager. 🙂

I love your use of the word découpage in this post; maybe a case of what your bro has with haberdashery? 🙂 Your header is such a winner too – a ‘wee crush’. Lovely stuff Syders – you sound like you have some lovely memories of the East Village… and a certain someone. 🙂

Marina, my love for découpage began before I discovered John Derian, but I can’t seem to move past his work now. I think it is amazing. It is helped by the fact that the East Village is a part of New York I really enjoy, but that’s incidental, really.

As a matter of interest, my Dad told me today that I might use ‘wee’ a wee bit too often in my blog posts…! 🙂

I love love the East Village, especially the cafes. Dad’s pick up on that stuff don’t they? I am sure he’s heard you say it a wee bit too often – but that is you!

I shall keep being me, then 🙂 Thanks!

Yes J! And I think he might just love any ‘wee’ excuse to be what he is (and must love too!) – what is sounding more and more like a rather adorable dad!

He is a GREAT Dad, S 🙂

You must have a very interesting home 🙂 Love the pot.

Thanks J. I love it, too 🙂

Obsessed with John Derian, I’ve been lusting over the goldfish cache pot for so long, but alas, I can’t reason spending that much on it (just yet) when I don’t even have matching dishes! Well, it is art though, it will be mine soon enough. Have you even seen his powder room, the one papered in book pages? OMG it’s amazing. Genius! Great post 🙂

Who needs matching dishes? A goldfish cache pot is so much more interesting, Thiara! 🙂

I wouldn’t mind to have a few pieces

I wouldn’t mind a few more! 🙂

Oui! Oui!! Now I have not just a wee crush on this dashing John Derian fellow. I’m now smitten. My word, have you seen Derian’s cats? Astier de Villatte and Derian? What a dream team. Great tip. Thanks for including the address. Meow!! t.

Poor John… I have unleashed a beast! 🙂

You lucky girl, that frog cache pot is to die for! Oh how I wish I found his shop when I was in NY last year … I’ll have to start a new list and make sure I get there next time I go to to NY (note that I’m sending out very good and positive thoughts to the universe to make sure it happens!).

I am a lucky girl and I love my frog cache, too! Orson & Blake (in Syders) stock a few, limited pieces of John Derian’s work (but not nearly enough, I say!)

LOL. I’ll have to put a visit to them on my list next time I’m in the big smoke!

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