Still Life

Cast Iron


I did a test shoot with food stylist George Dolese recently and I’m really excited about the experience.  We collaborated on an idea to show shrimp in the shell cooked in a cast iron frying pan resting on top of indigo fabric.  

I like the way the rich colors of the fabric stand up to the black frying pan.  Together, they are a perfect backdrop for the shrimp which contrasts in many ways:  pink vs. black, soft vs. hard, curled, round shape vs hard surface with sharp edges, delicate vs. indestructible. This was the perfect set-up for a a new lighting technique I have been experimenting with using more direct sunlight.

George is very pro-cast iron.  He has a collection of pots and pans, including some from other countries.  Here’s what he has to say:

I do love cooking in cast. Besides being beautiful to look at, they lend themselves to slow cooking which is how I relax. I have all shapes and sizes .... Hand forged pots catch my eye and definitely Japanese cast iron.

After the shoot,  I went home, pulled out our old cast iron frying pan from the back of the cupboard and cooked up a great batch of hash browns!



  • 1 pound medium Louisiana Gulf Shrimp, head on if available

  • 1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced

  • Sea Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil



  1. To prepare the shrimp for cooking, cut through the shell along the backside of the prawn and remove the vein by rinsing under water. Leave the shell on the shrimp as it adds flavor when cooked.  Using a paper towel, pat the shrimp dry.

  2. Combine the shrimp in a bowl with the lemon slices and season to taste with the salt and pepper.

  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat until sizzling hot. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat. Cook the shrimp and lemon slices, tossing frequently, until the shrimp are done and the lemon slices begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately directly from the skillet.


Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

Recipe courtesy of George Dolese

David's Indigo

Photo by Pete Wilson

Photo by Pete Wilson

I do a lot of shooting of my own. I find interesting objects or surfaces that spark an idea and soon I’ve captured an image for an email blast or a series of images for one of the z-fold promotions that I send out throughout the year. Over the years, designers or clients have found fascinating things for me on their travels around the world. That’s what happened recently with a richly colored and textured length of Japanese indigo fabric that our friend, designer and client David Grocott found. I started working with it, one image turned into many and soon dozens of photos were born. Thank you, David!  





My passion for textiles was born 30 years ago after purchasing a fragment of an early English stump work dating from the 1500’s, the age, colours, stitch and reverse fascinated me, since then I have used textiles in many ways and they play a huge roll in our design process, from cutting and reworking an 18th century French silk damask, humble peasant sacks from Eastern Europe dyed in Indigo  or Army surplus turn inside out/upside down to expose its workings.

The collection is still growing and spans 6 centuries… The Japanese Kasuri given to Noel dates from the 1920’s and is a beautiful example of this folk technique of using the dying process to help create the design. Found on the west coast of England seemed appropriate to bring here to the west coast of America.

Noel has great taste an exquisite eye and a love of the far east, something obvious to me from his great collection of furniture, objects and materials all crucial to his work, I knew the Kasuri would feel at home and live again in his art!