By HEATHER MALLICK
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Oh, those mad people at Toronto's Teatro Verde. They sell insane things, such as fake cakes and a lovely baskety blankety thing that I wanted until I realized it was intended for dogs. I worry about people whose fur kids sleep in better accommodations than some humans do.
They sell ersatz stuff. Normally I love this. After I got back from Paris last time, I filled a shadow box with weird little food-related things I had purchased, including a Limoges porcelain banana. I labelled it Leçon des choses. Lessons from Things.
I had photographs and restaurant bills as a backdrop for little straw hens from Belle Epoque and tiny tuna cans from Venice. I even had undersized cutlery and a brooch from Butler & Wilson, the British junk jewellers, in the shape of a champagne bottle. But the thing wasn't finished until I had a fake tarte tatin with gleaming glass fruit from Teatro Verde, with its own pleated paper cup.
It is what it is.
I use Teatro Verde as an oppositional store. In summer, I buy icy silver things. When winter approaches, I buy the item pictured here. It is a grey concrete-looking vase with a half-dozen fake lemon tree branches (for $103). Other people may grow real lemons and orange trees in conservatories, and that is admirable, but it won't happen for me.
I want to come into my home, cold, dripping and licking road salt off my teeth, and see a fruit festival. I have on the mantelpiece a long garland of preserved lemons and leaves. I have peaches made of stone. With the spray of fake lemon tree branches, I might as well be living in Greece. Until you feel the leaves, that is.
I like vernacular architecture using materials native to the area. But I still say Canadian homes could use colour in a long winter marked by grey light, brown snowbanks and dog droppings waiting months to disintegrate. That's why I like the CBC headquarters in Toronto so much. It's red.
We can't grow lemons in Canada at the best of times. That's why we should pretend. How I hate Canadian interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg for its blank spaces, its endless browns (and they won't even melt in spring). Colour is the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.