Sunday, January 31, 2010

Note perfect

Beautiful writing...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Art towel

Yoshitomo Nara beach towel

It's hard to find 100% cotton, machine washable art. The new artist towel series from Artware Editions combine beauty with absorbency.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cat people

Lauren Bacall
Simone Signoret
Terence Stamp

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Free spirit

Some Navajo weavers create a 'spirit line', a tiny line near the border of the rug that enables the spirit of the artisan to remain free. One of my former painting instructors shared some great advise: "Don't surround yourself with your work. Keep producing. Keep going. When artwork becomes 'precious', it's immobilizing."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Old Town

Old Town is a UK clothing manufacturer producing carefully crafted garments (about 50 per week) using British cottons, woollens and linens. Their designs pay homage to 1930's-1940's work wear: modest, sensible and made to last.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


From the painter Linda Nilsson. The text above the painting reads (in Swedish) "Sometimes I turn into a dangerous panther."

Monday, January 25, 2010


Grace Kelly: photograph by Howell Conant

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

According to their website, The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, California is "an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic."

As I walked through the tiny rooms, many had displays that required looking into a microscope, magnifying glass or through these hand-held lenses...

I was delighted. When was the last time you saw a portrait of a flea?

Or reverent devotion for Cat's Cradle?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eartha Kitt

No one looks or sounds like her.

Mink Schmink

(Careful, you may be tempted to talk like this for the rest of the day!)

Mink, Shmink
Words & music: Sid Cutner & Leo Shuken

Mink Schmink, Money Schmoney
Think you're hot now don't ya honey.
What have you got if you haven't got love

Silk Schmilk, Satin Schmatin
A penthouse high in old Manhattan
That's not enough if you haven't got love

Happiness is not a thing that you can buy
It takes loving, lotsa loving, from the right guy

Pearls Schmearls, Nermen Shmermen
From Jim or Jack or Joe or Herman
That's not enough if you haven't got love

Ring Schming, Jewellery Schmellery
Don't you know that's just Tom Foolery
What have you got if you haven't got love

Cars Schmars and Princes Schminces
With caviar and chicken blintzes
Don't mean a thing if you haven't got love

Love is just a simple thing that you can't buy
You can't get it wholesale darlin', why try?

Tips Schmips, Angle Schmangle
Play around and get entangled
What have you got if you haven't got, haven't got love?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Labour and Wait

Functional products for every day life, or every day still life, from Labour and Wait.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lampe Gras

Lampe Gras, the original French architect's lamp favored by Le Corbusier, currently sold at Brook Farm General Store.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More than meets the eye

Marc Chagall

Mrs. Lash had the sort of exuberance that in a relative would be scary, or in a salesperson would be grating. Fortunately, as my fifth grade teacher, that excitement and interest made her pretty wonderful.

She'd read our essays out loud, compare our poetry and fiction to that of famous writers, notice our attempts at metaphor and symbolism and always finish with encouraging words like, "Wasn't that great? I think so!"

I had probably seen the work of Marc Chagall, like any ten year-old that had been dragged through an art museum, but I credit Mrs. Lash for bringing him to life. "Look at those gorgeous colors! What do you think is the story of this painting? Close your eyes, what do you remember?"

I love this painting. Forget all the times you may have seen it on a poster, t-shirt or coffee mug. If you're standing in front of the original (which puts you in New York, at the Museum of Modern Art), it is unmistakably joyful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Alternative reading

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Iassen Ghiuselev

Sir John Tenniel's illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland may be the most popular interpretation of the story, although there are many other versions available. In his edition, Iassen Ghiuselev's drawings are extraordinary.

Shakespeare's Othello
David Hughes

Othello, as seen by David Hughes, is wild with energy, surreal imagery and inky violence.

Monday, January 18, 2010

If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do

The use of fractional prices for gasoline dates back to the early 1900's. During the depression of the 1930's and the oil crisis of the 1970's, consumers responded to fractional pricing and the concept of pinching every particle of their pennies. Today, 9/10 appears at the tail of every gas price no matter the brand. We're so accustomed to that 9/10, it's become invisible; all eyes are on the dollar figure.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

10 List: Not starring

Ebsen...NOT the tin woodsman

Stoltz...NOT Marty McFly

Truman Capote, the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's, wanted Marilyn Monroe to portray Holly Golightly in the film adaptation, but Paramount chose Audrey Hepburn instead. Monroe had the vulnerable, childlike nature of Golightly, but it's difficult to imagine anyone besides Hepburn as the kooky New York gold digger. Ten roles that changed hands, most of them after filming had begun:

Eric Stoltz - Marty Mcfly/Back to the Future (replaced by Michael J. Fox)
Buddy Ebsen - The Tin Man/The Wizard of Oz (replaced by Jack Haley)
Harvey Keitel - Captain Willard/Apocalypse Now (replaced by Martin Sheen)
Chris Farley - Shrek/Shrek (replaced by Mike Myers)
Judy Garland - Annie Oakley/Annie Get your Gun (replaced by Betty Hutton)
Michael Keaton - Tom Baxter/The Purple Rose of Cairo (replaced by Jeff Daniels)
Gene Hackman - Mr. Robinson/The Graduate (replaced by Murray Hamilton)
Stuart Townsend - Aragorn/The Lord of the Rings trilogy (replaced by Viggo Mortensen)
Tom Selleck - Indiana Jones/Raiders of the Lost Ark (replaced by Harrison Ford)
Ryan Gosling - Mr. Salmon/The Lovely Bones (replaced by Mark Wahlberg)

Townsend...the once, NOT future king

Saturday, January 16, 2010


painting by Max Beckmann
painting by Alice Neel
painting by Roger Fry

There are many beautiful paintings of seated women: seductive nudes, wealthy patrons in satin and velvet, bejeweled royalty, idealized muses and the tender Blessed Mother. The portraits that embody intelligence and intensity always stand out from the others; they transcend lust, status and perfection and are more compelling as a result.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Crowd looking at Apollo 10 Liftoff, Kennedy Space Center, USA

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite, Sputnik I, starting the space race between the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R. The world changed, as did the way mankind looked toward the future. The idea of space exploration and what's 'out there' was endlessly fascinating, and naturally influenced modern design.

Vintage tin toy space guns
Sputnik lamp

Atomic pattern barkcloth

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If it is

Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities is the kind of website I hope to discover while searching the Internet for fascinating and captivating content. I lost track of time (the best measure of being mesmerized) reading the articles and studying the unique artifacts and photographs. The website features acquisitions from the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Curated by Tim Young, Curator of the Modern Books and Manuscripts Collection, and Nancy Kuhl, Curator of Poetry for the Yale Collection of American Literature, the material is presented with great appreciation and thoughtfulness, breathing new life into rare history.

These images of vintage handmade posters for hair fashion, are from the James Weldon Johnson Collection. Apart from the humor and attractive typography, the posters capture the essence of fantastic design: an unmistakable spirit, and distinct vision.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Duane Michals

"This photograph is my proof. There was that afternoon, when things were good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen. She did love me, look see for yourself!

"My shirt was wet with perspiration. The beer tasted good but I was still thirsty. Some drunk was talking loudly to another drunk about Nixon. I watched a roach walk slowly along the edge of a bar stool. On the juke box Glen Campbell began to sing about "Southern Nights." I had to go to the men's room. A derelict began to walk towards me to ask for money. It was time to leave."

Photography easily describes the exterior reality of events, people and places. The photographs of Duane Michals, especially the images combined with his writing, reflect his interior stream of consciousness. His humor and melancholy give shape and weight to the invisible.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Core values

I had a great experience buying and exchanging an item at Zappo's. On their website 'about us' page, their core values are listed:

1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More With Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble

Core values for Zappo's, and wonderful New Year's resolutions for the rest of us!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gene Kelly

"I was twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver... I looked better in a sweatshirt & loafers anyway. It wasn't elegant, but it was me."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tossed and Found

There's a movement in the design world to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Yes, this is an ethical and 'green' approach, but considering how well made and nicely designed some vintage items are, it makes perfect sense.

Tossed and Found, a book by Linda Wary and John Meyers, is a guide to transforming trash into treasure, with how-to instructions, sketches and photographs. The authors (who are married) have a design firm; Wary Meyers Decorative Arts in Maine. John Meyers worked as the Corporate Display Director for Anthropologie, and the projects in the book share that quirky sensibility. Even if you're not one of the do-it-yourself set, the book is inspirational and sparks a new way of seeing things.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Hovis is a UK brand of flour and bread.

The name 'Hovis' was created by Herbert Grimes, who won a national competition held in 1890. The name is derived from the Latin phrase 'hominis vis' meaning 'the strength of man.'

Pedlars, a unique store in the UK, offers vintage Hovis tins for bread, or other uses.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Advertisements aren't just selling a product, but also a lifestyle or fantasy. Who could predict avocado-green would be a stylish color in the 1960's, or that a television set would become the hearth of a home? These images are from the fun and interesting site, Vintage Ad Browser.