Oyster Shells and Meninas

We still need light. No, not electricity as in the “luz” that we waited a month for back in August. We simply need lamps. So, I’m always on the lookout. Jerry and I found one together some weeks ago. A charming little silver lamp with a silk shade. Every lamp in the store appeared to be on sale. Ours was, too. But what we hadn’t noticed was that our lamp had two separate prices — one for the base and one for the handmade silk shade. It was one of only two in the store with individual prices. It was still on sale and the price wasn’t bad, but it ended up costing us 20 euros more than the marked price of the base alone… because the shade was handmade and hand-embroidered. Oh well.

Friday, I was out shopping with Linda (it would be a gross understatement to say that Linda loves to shop) and we came upon my new favorite store. It’s called El Jardín, and is on Calle Francos, 61, not far from the Cathedral. It’s an unusual little shop filled with small ceramic pieces, handmade jewelry and gift items, plants and flowers, and a couple of small lamps (which is what caught my eye). I took a picture of one of the lamps to see if Jerry liked it. He did. So he and I walked over Saturday for a second look and it came home with us.


Sunday we went back and bought two house plants. It’s a tiny, beautiful store and the owner, Gonzalo, couldn’t be nicer. Gonzalo told me the lampshade is made of oyster shells. It makes magic on the walls and ceiling of the living room. Linda and Tom insisted on paying for the lamp as a house-warming present (because somehow they think standing by us, spending time with us, supporting us, worrying about us, having fun with us, being the best friends in the world, and enriching our lives… just isn’t enough).


Sunday morning, I walked over to the Museum of Fine Arts with Linda and Tom to browse the artworks for sale in the plaza. Jerry and I bought our “menina” (the ceramic figure imitating those in the Valezquez painting by that name) back in December. The artist, José Fombella, was there again and I fell in love with a smaller menina and brought her home. Our first piece is 18 inches (46 cm) tall. This one is about 10 inches (25 cm).


So, it’s been a few days of shopping. Linda is a bad influence. And I love her for it.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

43 thoughts on “Oyster Shells and Meninas”

  1. Love the lamps.
    Carlos and I decided a long time ago that we cannot lamp shop together as it gets ugly fast.
    We each have to buy one and then present our case to the other.
    Bipartisan, we are not when it comes to lighting.

    1. Bob:
      Lighting is one of the very easy things for us, but most things are. We have very similar taste (except for the little fringe edge of NY style and the fringe edge of South Dakota style that remains).

  2. Love the oyster lamp and the new 'menina'. If only I had space to put it all. Now I look in shops like that and think "Do I really need that?"

    1. Peter:
      Having downsized and gotten rid of just about everything, we now have loads of room (but we have no intention of filling up the space). We used to fill every square inch.

  3. P.S. My last big purchase I didn't need but is a conversation piece, so I'm glad I bought it. It's a one-of-a-kind vase.

  4. Hello Mitch:
    How lovely to have discovered a shop with such interesting and highly individual pieces. That does make shopping more of a pleasure…with or without Linda we imagine! Your new home is really taking shape now, you must be delighted with it and, as far as we are concerned, one can never have enough lamps.

    1. J&L:
      Jerry and I never seem to have enough lamps, but I think we've now got it covered. (We just came home with another floor lamp for the living room.)

  5. My goodness me Mitch, if I ever strayed into your home I'd have to stand on bits of newspaper and keep my hands in my pockets! You're oozing style, Sir, oozing it!

  6. Goodness gracious! It is all priceless and nice…but you know what…if it was me it would have gone over my head as I hate shopping. Hell, I don't even like Judy Garland…my partner says they are going to take my gay card away.

    Still enjoying Sevilla, aren't you…and you will for years to come…then, what will you do with all your acquisitions?


    1. Trickle Down BS:
      And I don't dance, nor have I ever liked the smell of Lagerfeld. I think we still qualify.

      We don't plan to acquire a lot. And, trust me, nothing is priceless. "Cheap" is much more appropriate.

  7. Your new oyster-shell lamp reminds me of a 1950's TV lamp my mom had. When TVs came on the scene, many people thought you had to watch them in the dark like at a movie theater. In the flush of entrepreneurship generated by TVs, there were a lot of TV lamps, TV chairs, TV trays, TV dinners etc. on the market. You truly have a classic design in your new acquisition!

    1. Ms Sparrow:
      The lamp definitely has a retro look. I remember watching TV in the dark (um… from old movies, I mean. I'm not nearly old enough to remember… really…)

  8. Beautiful choices…the lamp and the rusty red colour…mmmm…Jerry is talented(all gays are, aren't they..smile)..any other pieces to brag about of Jerry's?! Loving the bronze balancing act..really like that…and the alabaster has to be loved if it belonged to D.D.! Lady in Black is stunning of course. What a great day of spending with your super friends…thanks for sharing!

    1. Sophie/Ron:
      Jerry has completed two pillows so far (another about to be started). The bronze was from a series (called "Guys with Balls") by a California artist. The alabaster was the first sculpture the Dowager Duchess ever made.

  9. First off, I love Jerry's pillow!
    These are great lamps you have….very distinct and artistic. Really like the red shade.
    Nice that you have a shop where you know you will find something you like.
    Good little 'spree' you've had this weekend.

    1. Ur-spo:
      My favorite is cheap and beautiful. I used to call it inexpensive, but my English brother-in-law said that was just like an American to be polite at the wrong time.

  10. It must be so fun to shop in Seville! I like your lamps, but I love Jerri's pillow and wish I could see it all…The colors are gorgeous….Is it an Erhman design? I've been tempted but I'm a little afraid I would never get it finished……

    1. Kristi:
      Yes, the pillow is an Erhman. Jerry has made two and has another about to start. I'll share those in an upcoming post. They, as you know, are beautiful, and Jerry's work is exceptional. (He also does wiring and can repair plumbing and install toilets. A man of many talents.)

  11. Hi !
    The lamp looks brilliant. Pun intended.
    I wrote down the shop address and I'll visit it when I get there.
    My wife and I plan to move to Seville this summer. I've been investigating Seville blogs etc and the city sounds absolutely magnificent.

    1. I am gathering as much info as I can, from various blogs. I was hoping we'd be able to visit before we move. I hear summers are scorchers, but I'd love to experience that nevertheless.
      We don't know anybody there, but we're drawn to the prospect of a lively, vibrant city.
      I have lots of questions, obviously, starting with the price of a bottle of milk, a very good indicator of price levels. 🙂
      Perhaps you'll join us for a glass/cup and a chat when we get there.

    2. Adrian:
      65 centimos for one liter of milk at El Corté Ingles supermarket. Would love to meet you for a glass or cup when you're here. Email me with any other questions and I'll tell you what we've learned. We spent three weeks here in January 2011 before making our move in July.

    1. John:
      That bronze was a MAJOR splurge purchase. My mother gave us cash as a house-warming present in San Francisco in 1998 and, since it was burning a whole in our pocket, we quickly spent it in a fancy shop in the Castro. Sometimes I still kick myself, but you just made me feel better again about it.

    1. Jean:
      Linda is the best friend/family to have for so many reasons.

      Yes, Jerry really made that cushion (and another… and there's another on the way). He has so many talents. I mentioned in an earlier comment that he also does wiring and installs toilets. (But don't ask him to send a text message.)

  12. I covet that oyster shell lamp. And I adore finding bargains. Bing and I go to thrift stores frequently and about once or twice a year, we are rewarded. We have a stunning set of Japanese dinnerware that we bought at a thrift store for 45 dollars. When we googled it, we found that it was worth over 900 bucks!

    1. Maria:
      Wow! We have never been so successful in our thrifty purchases (or even our so-called retirement "investments"). We are really happy with the oyster shell lamp.

  13. I love the eclectic pieces you guys buy, I think we could have some fun shopping. And certainly put a dent in our bank accounts. I bet that lamp gives off a beautiful aura at night time


    1. Scott:
      Jerry and I have a ball doing this since we both love eclectic style and have very little we don't agree on. We now try really hard to do it all on the cheap… and have been very successful lately. The shell lamp does create a bit of magic.

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