Monthly Archives: March 2010

Setting the scene

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I wander around the web a lot. Things catch my eye. Sometimes I post them here and/or there, sometimes they collect in my browser tabs. When that happens, sometimes a few of them linger in my mind and start to form a little story in my head. Set a little scene. And today I swooned over these, and imagined a moment where they would all exist harmoniously in the same place.

I’d be lounging around in this gorgeous dress, the “Elizabeth”, by talented textile artist Jemma Sykes. It’s deliciously decadent in style, lovely in a charming peachy-pink hue, and, though fancy, manages to look like it’d be kind of cozy at the very same time.

Then there’s this swell sea urchin installation by Patricia Brown which I came across on Lost Bird Found this afternoon. A lovely array of colors, visual and actual texture, and the organic hint of sea urchiness. I adore that random pop of blue. They’d be pretty all together on the wall. Or they’d be fun as a bunch of pillow-y, seat-y poofs strewn about the room. Oh, that’d be quite colorful and cozy.

This amazzzzing “pixel” rug from Tufted of the Portuguese Piado Group set to be shown at the Zona Tortona during this year’s Milan Design Week and sneak-peaked on Design-Milk literally make me squeek in audible delight. See this is where this whole started. I was going to just post it to my Facebook blog page, because this is gorgeous and I really want it, but the picture wouldn’t thumbsize itself correctly, and linking to this would be worthless without the pic. So, I left it in my browser, and I spotted everything else and then thought that they’d all go kind of swell-ly together. At least in my head.

Anyway. This rug gets love for evoking pixels and paint swatches at the same time. And the sweeping array of color, whoosh, that just fills me with happiness.

Yes, this scene would call for a nice glass of scotch and require some vintage flapper-age jazzy music winding around the room from a crackly old record player. A few good friends sprawled out on the rug and on those lovely urchins talking about anything and everything.

Oh, it’d be divine.

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You can close your eyes

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I saw this illustration and thought it lovely. It would make a quite lovely quilt, don’t you think? Turns out, it’s a drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal of the retina.

Still think it would be a pretty quilt, embroidered bedding of some sort. There are such a lovely array of colors here, and I love how easily our internal structures resemble abstract art. It would be perfectly apropos and cheeky at the same time, in my opinion, to have this covering you while you close your eyes and dream.

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Wishes on leaves

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That’s a mighty fine looking bench there. This looks like the perfect spot to curl up for a while and read, or think, or stare out into the beautiful peacefulness and just be. Of course, it looks like there’s some room behind that bench for some running around and frolicking.  And that tree looks lovely for climbing and perching in for a while…

i remember when i was a child
and used to climb trees
(hesitantly);
we had a little wooden plank
nook and we’d nestle in there
and talk-a talk talk
of small childish dreams
back when everything was
possible
(they were wishes on leaves)

photo via

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Over the Moon

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You may recall, how, a few posts ago I boldly stated that I hadn’t bought a magazine in positively ages. Well. That changed. Because I fell in love with the premiere issue of Glass Magazine. The whole thing had my heart thumping an exuberant yes (seriously. It was like a crush, I swear). And I had to have it. So I scooped up the British magazine and carried it home with me, purchased with a random puny commission check from my last job. (I totally accepted that blow with grace).

Anyway, it’s the photograph above by Sarah Moon that very well may’ve sold me (which says a lot because there are lots of amazing words and interviews and even ballerinas and Grace Kelly in there). In the magazine it’s huge. It smacks you (or at least me) in the face like the gust of wind it looks as though that little girl is holding her head up to with reverence. Standing on a somewhat dilapidated city street, with a backdrop of the forest and a smattering of leaves and dirt sprinkled at her feet it’s as though she closing her eyes trying to smell the fresh air, feel the wind sprouted from the rustling leaves of trees, defiantly willing herself to be there. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers clanking her heels together and willing herself home. But maybe all she has is a backdrop. She doesn’t necessarily get there. Maybe imagination is okay, though. Because it can take you absolutely anywhere. But, you know, this picture of a girl almost makes me think, too, of that moment when you’re a kid and you take your last grasps of your favorite unrealities and hold onto them for dear life. For just another moment. Defiantly. Here, it’s perfectly captured. So that its never given up. You can look at that picture and always feel that moment of that’s a strange mixture of peace and defiance.

“When I photograph, it is just a reaction. I need to be there a bit more.” -Sarah Moon (Glass Magazine)

Naturally, there were other pictures of hers in the magazine itself, and I scoured the web for some for you as well. And, what I found interesting, is a commonality between many of them (besides stunning color use). See if you can see what I mean:

Are these pretty ladies shy?

Are they embarrassed?

Maybe, they’re the little girl grown up. Hiding from realities. Contently daydreaming away.

Maybe it’s like one of those situations when you stick out and people are looking at you (because you look oh so fabulous?), and at first you feel amazing, you feel like a rockstar. But then they just keep looking.

And you start to feel on display. You start to wonder if maybe they’re looking at you because you’ve got something stuck in your teeth. Or, you’re trailing toilet paper on your shoes. Or you’ve spilt something all over yourself and haven’t realized it yet.

Tired of the spotlight. Tired of being looked at. Maybe you just want to go back to make-believe. It’s easier when you’re in your pretty dress and your eyes are closed, when you’re not really looking. Because you can be anywhere. You don’t even have to (pretend to) be a grown up.

But eyes open isn’t so bad either, really. Sometimes reality is better than make believe.

I take pictures even if I don’t have a camera. I love many, many, many things. I love music. I love what I do. I live! Hobbies? I mean I am interested by many things so I can’t really say. I mean it is living. It’s having friends. It’s having love. I do not have a specific hobby. It’s difficult to distinguish one thing from another. It’s true that I take pictures but sometimes I take them without taking them. I see something and think ‘that’s a picture’. It’s a way of looking a bit more. -Sarah Moon (Glass Magazine)


(Look a bit more)((while imaging, too!))((what do you think their stories are?)))

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Between

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I kind of live on craigslist. Sometimes more than others, but it’s somewhat the nature of the beast of living in the city. Roommates, jobs, apartments, and so on and so forth. You really never know what you’ll find, which is especially the case when clicking upon links in the artist section where people sometimes promote their work. (Hey, I’ve done it. Especially after my early serious dress post, because that took me a while to photograph and put together and all and I was proud of it). So, yes, you never know what you’ll find, and usually I find myself frowning or cringing at what I see. But. One day I was game, and clicked on the link to Steven Ketchum‘s page, and I found myself pleasantly surprised.

As I scrolled through his work, I found myself thinking hmm… I like this. I do.

I like the parts of intricate detail, combined with the blurred inky watercolors.

The simplicity, but that it’s not.

To me, it’s like memories. The way we remember things. Some things call out in detail. Some things are blurred. Some things fade away with time. Some are amplified, and some we recall wistfully.

It reminds me of something, but I don’t know what. I like them, but it’s hard to describe why. But. I feel like that’s kind of the feeling that these capture. Lack of understanding; the feelings between feelings; the thoughts between thoughts.

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Double double toil and trouble

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I’m not really a sunglasses girl. At all. Mostly because my head/face is really small and I feel like they all look awkward on me (and I lose and/or break them). Especially when that whole massive sunglasses trend was happening and my jewelry designing spot at Bendel’s was right across from the sunglasses; and so, when things were slow, naturally we’d all be trying on the glasses. And I swear even the one’s I thought looked pretty good everyone told me were too big. Sheesh. Not that sunglasses have ever really, truly captured my interest with the gusto that many women (and some men) experience (seriously, I had to watch people try on and obsess over sunglasses ALL DAY). But. These lovelies by Dolce and Gabbana tickled my fancy pretty immediately. Because I do enjoy layering things, and mixing modern and vintage – and these have a nice almost cat-eyed detail (yeah, I really don’t know how to describe sunglasses very well).

I actually think it’d be really interesting if they weren’t sunglasses at all, but regular ones. At least, something with a similar idea. I wonder how that would look. Because it can be hard to know what kind of regular glasses to go with when your style can change day to day. This way you could be retro and modern and offbeat/quirky (unless it really catches on, and then you’d just be *sigh* trendy) all at the same time. Double the frames, double the fun!

Also, these remind me of when you wear glasses and you go to see a 3-D movie, and you have to wear glasses on top of glasses. Haha. Just sayin’.

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Pulling threads

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While scouring the web for fabulous finds for the Pattern Pulp weekly roundup, I came across some amazing works by husband and wife designers Sally and Peter Nencini. I included them, but still found myself particularly smitten with a few certain pieces of work. Such as the chair above, a truly collaborative effort: the poem is written by their daughter, Sadie (at age 8), Peter designed the layout and design of the words, and Sally hand-embroidered the type onto a vintage hemp sack. I really love everything about it. The poem, the lively design and layout of the words, the rough elegance of the hemp. Just the fact that a poem was embroidered onto a piece of furniture makes my heart beat. The way it comes to life makes it sing. And, hey! They’ve done more collaborative furniture. All of which I think are awesome.

The set of chairs on the left are entitled Calligraphic, with a motif that reads horizontally and represents “A funny amalgam of not-so-esoteric and long-loved and digested visual matter feeding the language used. The consistent is something of a space between images and words.” (For more clues to the meaning of the motifs click here.) The stool on the right was commissioned with the intention of it being a place for one to sit whilst taking off or putting on one’s shoes. The Nencini’s used text from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, and created a design that is reminiscent of the combined oddity of Alice when she grows so large her legs poke out the windows and of Struwwelpeter illustrations. (For more background and info about the process click here, and here.)

I do quite enjoy all of these works and others done by the couple, both independently and together. It’s a lot of exploring old crafts with a new eye and giving them new life and language.

So, yes, with these wonderful and imaginative functional works of art in mind, I fell next upon Keisuke Fujiwara‘s “Spool 214 Thool Chair, which pays homage to iconic Thonet chair.

The chair is wrapped painstakingly by hand in 12 different colors of thread to achieve the “fire” and “ice” color schemes. I was immediately amused by the comparison of the processes of the Nencini’s work and Fujiwara’s. One which updates classic furniture by embroidering new things into fabric, and other which gives a new look to an iconic chair by wrapping it in threads. I enjoy the gradation of colors and the softness that the layers of thread give this work. Also, I’m simply amused by the use of thread for something other than cut and dry sewing. Looking at a selection of thread in a store is almost as gleeful as looking at a wall full of paint swatches. The array of color is astounding and your mind is swept up in possibility. Fujiwara’s chairs also called to mind another project I spotted a few months ago and also always intended to use. Dominic Wilcox‘s “By a thread” walking sticks, employ a similar concept of wrapping a walking stick with spools of thread:

Of course, then I remembered what I had been saving along with Mr. Wilcox’s canes!

Voila! Mark Kaplan‘s spool of thread inspired earrings.

So there you have it. A spun tale of of thread in it’s many uses and forms. In it’s natural on a spool habitat, wound decadently around objects, and stitched in a new old school kind of way into some seriously awesome furniture.

Happy Monday to you (I know, *groan*), and get creative!

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Lost Things

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Absolutely beautiful. I kind of want to live inside this whimsical stop-motion adventure by Angela Kohler and Ithyle with Alison Sudol, singer of A Fine Frenzy, staring and providing the music. The song is “Sleepwaking”, crafted to fit the film.

If interested, here’s a little Q+A with Angela about the making of “Lost Things”

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A Third Aesthetic

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Wow. I never would have thought about mixing together African textiles with the Japanese kimono, but the result is absolutely stunning. I stumbled upon Serge Mouangue’s collection Wafrica last month, and was immediately awe-struck, first with the unexpected combination and then with how well it worked. As I was putting this together, I realized why I loved it so much: it manages to combine strength (the bold and bright African textiles) and delicate grace (the traditional kimono form) to create a wholly cohesive look. Strength and grace. Two contrasts united in women. I remembered this quote:

“Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” – Alice MacKenzie Swaim

Ah, yes!

The rest in Serge’s own words, from this lovely article:

“They may appear different on the surface but they do share some cultural similarities. Both societies are very tribal and have a respect for hierarchy and an appreciation of the power of silence.”

“And then there are the differences. In Japan there is no improvisation. Here, improvisation can mean trouble, shame, difficulties. But in Africa, it means life, renewal, health and spirit.”

“The kimono is an icon of Japan. I’m fascinated by the cut and the attitude and poise it creates among women when they wear them. Putting on a kimono is an immensely complex process. It is like a building, with layer after layer. But the complexity disappears when it is put together, and the end result is pure beauty and timelessness.”

“African women are supposed to show their bodies.The cut of their traditional babu dress may be from loose cotton, but when they move it is designed to show all their curves. In African dress, womanly lines are celebrated. In Japan, the shape is different; it is more like a tube.”

“The connection between two different worlds such as Africa and Japan may be hidden. There may be a sea that seems to separate the two places. But we are all connected. There is earth under the sea that links us all, but we can’t always see it. This is a project that tries to show that connection.”

“I am hoping to expand this to include other aspects of Japanese culture. This is just the start. It is about finding a third aesthetic. Telling a familiar story a different way. The end result? It’s about hope, and it’s about the future.”

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