Sunday, December 20, 2009

Marthe Armitage Hand Printed Wallpapers

A recent article in the BBC's Gardens Illustrated featured the work of Marthe Armitage.

A British treasure, Armitage began making wallpaper after WWII and to this day, cuts the lino blocks and does the printing herself. Her papers are now carried by Hamilton Weston Wallpapers & Design. They render me -- nearly -- speechless. Apparently, if you place an order, you can ask for a color of your choice, but the artist is in charge of the final color she uses. I can imagine some of my pickier friends who love to control all decorating details freaking out at this.

The design above is Tansy. The two below are Hops. Both are courtesy of Hamilton Weston. There are 24 designs in all. The Hops on Gold, is something I never thought I would like, but it is lovely.

My daughter suggested that I go and apprentice with her. I would love to. Marthe is also a member of the Bloomsbury group Art Workers Guild.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NOLA on my mind -- Zeitoun, Hazelnut and Robert Tannen

Sometimes things just come at you all at once. I've been meaning to write about some very cool jewelry designed by New Orleans artist and planner Robert Tannen.

I saw his work at the Lori Warner Gallery earlier this month. AND, he's the father of my friend Erica Tannen who carefully composes the e-list -- which encourages shopping and cultural visits along the CT shoreline. The shape is based on the traditional New Orleans shot gun house. Proceeds from the sale of the wooden shot gun house necklaces go to rebuilding the city. I like (love) the silver "block" necklaces (see below). Thanks to Kim Tyler for the photographs.

Then I heard that Tannen is collaborating with architect Frank Gehry on some new affordable housing for the city. Here is a model of the Modhouse.

Last night I finished reading Zeitoun Dave Eggers magnificent non-fiction account of the lives of Kathy and
Abdulrahman Zeitoun during Katrina. Phew. This afternoon I see in T&C mag that Mad Men's Bryan Batt has a shop in NOLA called Hazelnut where he has a line of toile de Jouy based on the city's scenes. Check out this tray below.
NOLA, we're done for a while. Except I need something from Hazelnut. Anything.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Rebuilding Rawand - Brick (Itafari) by Brick (Itafari)

Leave it to HARO founder Peter Shankman to be involved with a really wonderful foundation working to help Rawanda recover from years of genocide.

There will be an online fundraiser September 25-27 by the Itafari Foundation to help build the Kigali Parents Secondary School. You can sign up here to receive updates. You can buy a brick for $75 and help build the school. You can help others see that this isn't just Africa's problem. You can watch a moving video here.

Ok, no more fundraising for at least a whole week. Back to design stuff.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

September means Charity Water reminder

Last September I wrote about Charity Water here.

This year Scott is 33 and he's asking his friends to make a donation of
$33 in his honor. I continue to be amazed by the wonderful work of this organization. This year I am happy to say that the September Campaign is highlighting their work in Haiti, a place dear to me.

I have made a donation in honor of my friend Peter Olausson (21/9). Happy Birthday Peter!
And happy birthday Scott.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Carrie Gustafson -- Glass Artist

I became acquainted (read: fell in love with) with the work of Carrie Gustafson at My friend Lori Warner's new Studio/Gallery in Chester, CT.

This Boston artist makes by far the most beautiful glass that I have seen anywhere. A graduate of RISD, Gustafson also studied in Murano. According to her website, her patterns are derived from nature. I find her finely textured is glass amazing and I think that I just talked myself into buying a piece. All of her work is at once delicate, yet substantive. She is a regular at the Smithsonian Craft Show. There is an excellent video describing the process here and it is clearly described on her website. Gustafson is also represented by the North Water Gallery on Martha's Vineyard.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

International Garden Photograper of the Year -- Rachel Warne

Well, not exactly. The latest issue of Gardens Illustrated has a short piece on Rachel Warne that caught my eye.

Ms. Warne won the 2nd place in Best Garden Photographer's Association Portfolio Award category for he Autumn Study, part of the IGPOTY -- click on winners, then click on portfolio. The aster, above looks almost hand colored. Here is her artist's statement:

"I wanted to make a study of plants outside their usual environment. The plants were all gathered from my neighbourhood – from the forest, the sides of roads and even someone's front garden. Although they are all dead, photographing them is a way of bringing them back to life."

The back story is that Warne was ill for a time and while she was recovering -- she's fine now -- she collected plant material from East London and brought them indoors and made these wonderful images with a light box. I love the beech, above. Do visit her website, it's quite lovely.
Do you love to put these on your nose in late spring? I do. There's an incredible likeness to a colored pencil botanical in the image above. Reminds me of mouse ears.


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Rambles -- Patrick Dougherty's Stick Art

I recently had the privilege of working on a Patrick Dougherty installation at the Florence Griswold Museum.

"The Rambles" is site specific installation that was so much fun to participate in. There were two shifts per day led by Patrick a self-described "stick artist" from North Carolina and his assistant Mike. Mike had been a volunteer last summer on a piece Pat did in Virginia. I volunteered three days, once at the beginning of the project, in the middle and at the end. I figured that I would get the most out of knowing all of the steps. His website is beautiful and has breathtaking photographs from all over the world. Scotland is a must see.

The photo above is from Day 4, I think. The first day that I was worked, we stripped leaves and made piles while the holes were being dug for the heavier saplings. It was very team oriented at the beginning.

I was quite surprised that they had gotten this far one I worked the second time. Note how the columns are coming together nicely (above). Each day Pat reminds the teams to throw out ideas for a name. This morning googling around, I found a video, produced by the museum, where Pat announces the name of the piece.

I like this little fenestration detail. Toward the end, there is a great deal of neatening-up required.

With one day left, things were definitely coming together. I dropped by afterward and little kids
were running through it gleefully. Grownups react favorably, but sometimes have to ask "what it is". Toward the end of the building the museum was smart enough to ask Patrick to deliver a whoppingly super lecture, but they didn't make a video. I would have loved to have such a remembrance. He showed photographs of not only his art, but the home he built and his garden, where he has benches filled with stick people. Very funny. I'm hoping to obtain some photos of them and will post them. Speaking of photography, I'll be posting some better ones later. These are just Iphone shots.

I cannot wait to see it in snow. Actually I can, I lied. The work above is at the University of Southern Indiana New Harmony Gallery in 2003. (photo by Doyle Dean)


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Urban River Arts -- Portraits of Obama Benefit

My friend DD is on the board of Urban River Arts, a cool organization in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Tonight the 5 month old community art center is holding a benefit from 5-8 pm at Danny Simmons' Corridor Gallery located at 334 Grand Ave between Greene Ave & Gates Ave. There will be music and food (generously donated by local businesses). It sounds like fun -- for kids and grown ups alike. As I poked around the website, successfully avoided getting back to real work, I found that URA has developed relationships with Brooklyn giants (no, not Giants old people) such as the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Children's Museum. BAM, what about you??

Urban River Arts is a community-based, non-profit organization devoted to the artistic, emotional and social development of children and adults, according to each person’s needs. Through individual and group activities that honor creative expression and through partnerships with educational organizations in the neighborhood, students build self-confidence, verbal and social skills, and the ability to express and communicate their deepening understanding of the world through the visual arts.

It looks like fun. Go! It's up through July 25th. Support your neighbors and aspiring artists.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Categorizing PIECES -- Atlanta

I was admiring a very cool chandelier in the "what's hot" section of Elle Decor recently.

The store's url was listed and so I visited the Atlanta store Pieces. (Note: it is also a 1stdibs shop) Yes, the store has lots of cool stuff, but what I like about it is that it categorizes it's wares not just by function, but by color -- which is FUN! Am I obsessed? I'm rather like that with my collections, although I do shapes too. Time to get back to work!
Wonderful hand blown etched glass.
And a raincoat for my imaginary whippet Hermes.


Gotta Do This For Technorati


That's it. We'll see what happens.


Monday, June 8, 2009

The High Line -- Things are Looking Up

The High Line, a new raised park in New York's Meatpacking District opened today.

You know, meat, as in Diane von Furstenberg, Prada, Anya Hindmarch. Section 1 traverses 9 blocks. On the Fact Sheet, it says that this section is .5 miles, but I thought the pr person said that it was a mile. The 1930's raised rail structure, once scheduled for demolition, was rescued by the Friends of High line leaders Joshua David and Robert Hammond. Designed by James Corner of Field Operations with Diller Scofidio & Renfro.

First reaction, it's going to be hot up there in the summer. It wasn't too hot when I visited on June 8th and yet my mind sang "it's hoootttt" (in a high Jon Stewart voice) atop the new paved area.

I am concerned about this little primula. As a gardener, I would tell visitors not to worry about the plant material. It's young. We don't know how it will proceed. But it's designed by Netherlands-based Piet Oudlf who has an excellent reputation and a way with grasses.

There are a couple of different seating options. There's this bench that has an organic connection to the surface of path.

And there are lounge chairs. How will NY'ers stake out this wee bit of real estate?

The Spencer Finch site specific piece, The River That Flows Both Ways, is made up of 700 individual panes of glass, each hued to represent a color of light reflected off the Hudson River. It is one of the highlights of the High Line.

Smartest of all is a water feature that will cool the toes of tourists and residents alike.

See that river beyond? It's celebrating it's discovery by Henry Hudson. Things didn't turn out too well for him, but I think that there are many events related to the 400th anniversary of European discovery of this majestic river.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Whimsical Textile Design -- Coral and Tusk

A friend told me about the wonderful textile designer Stephanie Housley of Coral and Tusk.

Brooklyn-based Housley mostly confines herself to tee shirts and onesies for babies and little children, but she has a couple of pillows that are really fun. She is a RISD grad who spends part of the year in India; in fact she is there right now, so I had to lift images from her Etsy store. She uses organic cotton almost exclusively.
Check out this humorous Hungry Whale pillow. $120.00.

The Baby Goat shirt, below, best exemplifies her talent with thread. Amazing. Cute kid. $46.00.

The whimsical detail in this shirt called Crab Claw Crusher is a story in itself. Note the jellyfish and the charming little crabs. $70.00.

A Circus Tent onesie would be a fabulous baby gift. A cool summer outfit for any wiggley baby. $46.00

Pinchy Whale. Great name. I think I love her sensibility as much as her designs. $46.00.

Finally -- and I would love to have this one in an adult size shirt -- my favorite design (if pressed) is called Leaf Cutter Ants. $46.00.

Prices are a little high for every day, but perfect for a special gift. Coral and Tusk products can also be found at Acorn Toy Shop and Sweet William in Brooklyn as well as John Derian in Manhattan.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward -- culture, technology and the environment

May 15, a new exhibit Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward opens at the Guggenheim in New York.

To celebrate it's 50th anniversary, the Guggenheim is hosting an exhibition co-organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The exhibit opens tomorrow and you have until August 23 to see it. Wright, (1867–1959) who died six months before the opening of this landmark building, was certainly one of the most influential architects of the 20th century and I dare say his legacy lives on. I know I appreciate his "eye" more as I get older. Included in the exhibition will be his civic buildings, religious and performance spaces, as well as unrealized urban mega-structures. And there will be additional tech creations based on un-realized projects. I look forward to walking the spiral of the museum and seeing more than 200 original FLW drawings, many of which are available to the public for the first time. Here's an explanation of the title of the exhibition:

“Rather than a retrospective, this exhibition focuses on the diversity of Wright’s vision and the ways he sought to realize it, conveying fresh perspectives on how the buildings themselves celebrate that vision through spaces that enrich our lives with their transformational power,” said Phil Allsopp, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation . . . “The concept of the exhibition also reflects a growing recognition of the enormous relevance today of Frank Lloyd Wright’s design philosophies, which embrace culture, technology and environment."
Although that quote doesn't quite give me a better sense of the title, perhaps I am more drawn to his work now because of the commingling of ". . . culture, technology and the environment." My kind of stuff.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Say it with Animoto

Animoto is a new, totally affordable service that allows regular non-nerds make videos easily.

Animoto, winner of a prestigious Webby Award this year, has zillions of applications. As the Guys at Animoto (that's really what they like to be called) put it:

The heart of Animoto is its newly developed Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television & film.
Imagine. You're opening a luxury hotel outside of Florence and you want to impress the press. Create an Animoto video. I heard a great story about an Animoto guy proposing to his girlfriend via an Animoto video. Non-profits are encouraged to contact Animoto to make videos and there is a section on the site for making videos for educational purposes.

I'm not too smitten by these guys am I? I created a farewell video with pictures of our local Twitter group for friends moving to Austin. Speaking of Austin, Animoto won an award at SXSW. How to do it? Upload photos and choose a song. Could it be easier than that? While the video is being created, look to the right and there is a list of things to do called "distractions". A little something to busy yourself with while you wait.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Shopping Site -- One King's Lane

There is a new "invitation only" shopping site with which I have a love/hate relationship.

One King's Lane is a sale site not unlike Gilt Groupe, that "partners" with various design companies and sells at substantial discounts. The pillow above is John Robshaw. They have shown Ann Gish and others in the past. It certainly shares many of the glitches that GG had in the beginning such as the outrageous shipping charges. One pillow $16.00. Two pillows twenty plus dollars. Crazy. Their returns policy is not user friendly either. GG slowly overcame many of their weaknesses, so I hope the same occurs with One King's Lane.

That said, if you want an invitation, put your email address in the comments area and I'll send you one. The John Robshaw sale is fabulous. And Gilt Groupe -- which bills itself as having "sample sales" has a fab Bric's luggage sale today. And there is a Caroline Herrara (!) sale later this week.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

River's got High Hopes

River in Essex CT and High Hopes Theraputic Riding Center are partnering in a creative fundraising endeavor.

My friend Joe Marini has been consulting with High Hopes this year for their annual fundraiser which is Symphony in the Barns (every other year it's Symphony in the Meadows, which I love) but as everyone knows the economy having an unfortunate impact on all of our non-profits. So everyone is getting creative out of necessity. The plan, devised by Joe and his partner John Simoudis, along with the folks at High Hopes goes like this; River will host a 2 day event (there will be food!) where shoppers can purchase items and see precisely how the purchase will benefit the people and horses at High Hopes. Below I've included an example. If you purchase the urns, the cost will cover replacement post rails for High Hopes fences. Other businesses are welcome to participate.

Update 4/10. Corrections. Other businesses are welcome to participate, although there is nothing to stop them. The important thing I failed to explain is that local businesses will also benefit because for each purchase made River will by the needed items from a local business. For example, hay or fencing might be bought from nearby Shagbark Lumber.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Christian Faur -- Just Paper

I wrote about artist Christian Faur recently alluding to the fact that I was saving the best for another post.

I was blown away by his series titled "Just Paper". He has taken an iconic photograph of Guantanamo Bay and made a powerful piece of art. As Christian describes on his website:

"made from 12,000 strips of shredded paper. The strips are glued onto a light weight foam backing and assembled in such a way as to make an image that is know in the media to represent the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The entire work is made from shredded versions of the United States Constitution rendered in different font sizes and “kernings” to appear darker or lighter."

Wonderfully powerful. The image below illustrates the scale of the work. Faur is Director of Collaborative Technologies in the Arts at Denison in Granville, OH. His website can be found here and he is represented by the Sherrie Gallerie.

I would love to see an exhibit of his work at, perhaps, Wesleyan or a gallery in NYC. Here's a close up of the project.