Until last month, I had been a proud but distant observer of the small citrus tree in my apartment. The three-foot-tall semi-dwarf calamondin — a plant native to the Philippines that produces sour, compact orange fruit thought to be a hybrid of a kumquat and a mandarin — has always thrived despite, rather than because of, my attempts at care. But on my first day of working from home, the small white buds that had spread slowly along its wispy green branches throughout February suddenly burst into constellations of white, star-shaped flowers — and its success became the focus of my newly confined existence. In return for more regular waterings, it has filled my apartment with the sweet, subtle, powdery scent of orange blossom for a month. And last week, when its petals finally began to fall, they left behind small green orbs that will soon become new fruit, making it not only the perfect houseplant — colorful, fragrant and forgivingly resilient — but an ideal houseguest. From $29, fourwindsgrowers.com
In our 2020 Culture issue, out April 19, T celebrates various groups of creative people who, whether united by outlook or identity, happenstance or choice, built communities that have shaped the larger cultural landscape — including the now renowned black artists who showed at one or all of three black-owned galleries in the ’70s and ’80s, the butches and studs whose identity is both its own aesthetic and a repudiation of the male gaze, and the foreign correspondents explaining America to the world. Here, an excerpt from the editor’s letter by Hanya Yanagihara: Every magazine is by its nature retrospective, a time capsule from the near past. A magazine such as this takes months to photograph, write, edit and research, and a few weeks to print; this means that the things that were true at its conception are sometimes no longer so when it’s published. Yet while the world around us has changed in ways that were — just a few weeks ago — once reserved for the realm of fiction, the spirit and thesis of this issue has not. One of the things that has defined our age has been the rise and dominance of what we can colloquially call tribes, groups of people bound not by blood or genetics or law, but by something more profound and just as durable — call it an affinity, if you will. Sometimes that affinity has its roots in race, or gender, or sexuality, but it’s just as often based in something not innate, but developed: taste, say, or sensibility, or experience, or history. These are assemblages of people not born unto one another, but who find one another, and as a result, their bond is more charged, more powerful, more intimate. To see the issue come alive, head to tmagazine.com.
Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffery met in 2011, when she was 19 and he was 23, while skiing in Canada; when she returned to Brisbane, Australia, and he to London, they started a long-distance romance. On Sundays, they would Skype. Because of the time difference, “one of us would always be in pajamas,” Jeffery says. Thus, the seed was planted for their now five-year-old brand, Desmond & Dempsey, which sells women’s, men’s and children’s cotton pajamas that are joyfully splashed with brightly colored, vaguely nostalgic prints and retail for $180 a set. The two, who married in 2016, now often eat breakfast together at their Brixton apartment before walking to work. Goddard usually oversees the cooking, favoring a recipe she inherited from her mother, which she has lovingly called “spiffy eggs.” She makes it regularly on Sunday mornings, and would occasionally make it at the Desmond & Dempsey offices for lunch with their 10-person team. Not long after starting the company, “when we didn’t know what the rules were,” Goddard says, the couple invited an interested buyer from the department store Fortnum & Mason to their apartment and served her Goddard’s special eggs. It was an unconventional approach, but it worked — the buyer picked up the brand. For Goddard, the baked egg dish — which includes pumpkin, Parma ham and crumbled feta — is appealing not only because it is delicious and filling but also because it’s made in a single pot and easy to clean up. For the recipe, visit tmagazine.com.
Like many of you, I’ve been spending a lot more time on my couch, a dark gray chenille-tweed settee that was my first big furniture purchase. This fact, along with increased scrolling through design-minded Instagram accounts, has left me wanting a cozy, colorful throw to can get me through spring’s brisker days and refresh my living room. The Hudson Valley-based brand Alicia Adams Alpaca, which makes ready-to-wear and home goods using wool from its own Alpaca farm, just released a super-soft rainbow-hued throw to celebrate its 10 years in business; 10 percent of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to Glsen, a nonprofit organization that supports the L.G.B.T.Q. community. The Spanish fashion house Loewe offers a vibrantly striped blanket in fuzzy mohair that’s also available in solid colors, like this bright pink; one could also turn to Missoni, whose home collection includes an array of throws in the Italian fashion house’s familiar chevron motif, like this lightweight polyester version, which is perfect for warmer temperatures. And for a more affordable option, check out Mantas Ezcaray, a small, family-owned business that offers a range of textiles made from luscious mohair in La Rioja, Spain; or these cotton blankets from the lifestyle brand VISO that feature abstract, arty shapes.
Last fall, Sara Gernsbacher and Patrick Walsh accidentally started a candle company: The Los Angeles-based artist couple — both are painters and sculptors — had been experimenting with folding colorful oil-pastel paintings into rectangular molds, pouring in wax from melted-down thrift-store candles, sticking in wicks and giving the results away to friends. “I liked the idea of making sculpture for everyone and stepping outside the commerce of the gallery system,” Gernsbacher told me. Then, thanks to Instagram (which is where I spotted their creations), the pair started getting proper sales requests from stores like the women’s wear boutique Scout in Los Angeles and the cafe-slash-design-shop Relationships in Brooklyn; thus, Crying Clover Candles was born. Named for a dream Walsh had that featured a tattoo of a sad four-leaf clover, the project has continued to gain momentum, and made an appearance at last month’s Object & Thing show in New York, which is part of the Independent Art Fair. The allure is no doubt thanks to the candles’ eye-catching patterns — imperfect checkerboards that Gernsbacher likens to skyscraper windows — and only heightened now that most of us are stuck inside and in need of calming energy. From $36, cryingclovercandles.org