In yesterday’s post I mentioned devoting an entire week to summertime posts. It’s Day 2 and we are paying homage to an animal that you typically don’t hear much about: the camel. Yes, that’s right my friends, I am actually dedicating an entire post to the camel and how it has inspired design. You’ll be amazed at how this unassuming animal has turned up in the most unique ways.
Over the long Fourth of July weekend Mr. B and I took a trip to the Julian, California, a small town in the San Diego Mountains. We’ve been to Julian a couple of times before, albeit only for the day, but never noticed the Oasis Camel Dairy along the route up to the town. We drove by the farm so quickly that I was barely lucky enough to capture these two pictures from the passenger seat of the car. Who knew there was a camel farm in California?
Seeing the Oasis Camel Dairy on our drive reminded me of the “camels” I saw during our trip to New England last Fall, which included time in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the many things I enjoy doing in Newport is visiting the mansions that were once summer homes to wealthy families such as the Vanderbilts and Astors. We have been to Newport several times before but have never visited the English Tudor mansion known as Rough Point. Rough Point was owned by Doris Duke, an eccentric and reclusive tobacco heiress and philanthropist, prior to her death in 1993. In fact, much preservation within Newport was due in part to Duke’s interest in architectural heritage and upon her death she left Rough Point to the Newport Restoration Foundation with the caveat that it remain intact as she had lived in it and that it be opened as a public museum. Tours are offered and I highly recommend taking one if you are visiting Newport. The docents are very informative and the property is situated on one of the best coastline locations in town. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
A storm was passing through Newport on the day we visited but luckily there was a very short break while clouds passed enabling me to take a few pictures of the front entrance. Larger than life camel topiaries are located on the front grounds although I had no idea of their significance until we were escorted through on our private tour. Apparently, Doris Duke acquired real pet camels, Baby and Princess, as part of a deal when she bought a jet from a Middle Eastern businessman. The camels “summered” with Doris when she was in Newport but were transported elsewhere at the end of the season. The topiary versions were a way to commemorate her beloved pets. Crazy, huh?!
After reliving the visit of Rough Point in my mind, I thought about the one gift I bought myself after our tour. For some reason the story of Duke’s camels intrigued me so much so that without hesitation I purchased this set of notecards as a souvenir from the Rough Point gift shop. Sorry, vintage stamps and Cartier pen sold separately.
With camels still on the mind, I recalled an email I received a few weeks ago from Gray Malin announcing the introduction of his new embroidered cocktail napkins, inspired by his collection, Gray Malin at the Parker. These cocktail napkins are adorable and would be fun for summer entertaining, as well as the camel themed cookies.
At this point, I started to wonder what other ways the camel has inspired design, which is what ultimately let to this post. I found a few great examples to share with you today.
Isn’t it interesting how literally those few seconds driving by the camel farm in Julian sparked this entire post? I am a firm believer that life experiences often serve as the best inspiration. You just never know when an experience, no matter how short it may be, will trigger something wonderful. —xoxo, v.