Mildred’s Complexity

Friday 08.22.14

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I mentioned recently that I had taken a bookbinding class. It was held at Mildred’s Complexity, which, in loose terms, is the studio portion of Mildred’s Lane. I can’t fully define the place, because it is so many things. A breeding ground for art, design, thinking, and anything else you wish to add. All of that aside, when I walked into the 2nd floor space I couldn’t believe my good luck. It is a visual feast. From the white padded floor (was it covered in felt or linen or some other material?) to the hanging clothing patterns, to the piles of stacked packages and papers and fabrics. And that just touches the surface. Anyway, I took a few quick photos of the orderly piles. Here they are. To learn more about this very unusual place, click here.

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How Big is Your Egg?

Friday 07.25.14

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Medium? Large? Or Jumbo? Ever wonder how, in the pre-mega-industrial age of farming, they graded eggs? Well, the Acme Egg Grading Scale is the answer. Friends of mine have one, and, for the past three or so years, I have seriously thought about swiping it. No need. This year, for my birthday, my friend Craig sent me my very own egg grader!!! Best present ever, if you aren’t counting the vintage apple peeler that arrived in the same package. Anyway, fast forward to a hot summer weekend. Some other friends of ours were visiting us upstate. Over cocktails and dinner preparations, they decided to start grading our eggs. Here is the end result. Lovely type treatment…don’t you think? Keep in mind that just because an egg looks large, it may not rate as highly as a smaller egg of denser proportion.

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Psychedelic Leaves

Wednesday 07.23.14

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I would attribute my weakness for pink and green to those formative years spent in ultra-preppy New England. These brilliant leaves are being shed by a maple tree that is, tragically, on its way out. Regardless, I can’t stop picking them up off the ground.

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A Bookbinder’s Tool

Tuesday 07.15.14

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I recently took a short but inspiring bookbinding class in upstate NY. It was hosted and organized by J. Morgan Puett, of Mildred’s Lane and The Mildred Complex(ity), and it was taught by one Leon Johnson. He, along with his wife Megan O’Connell, and son Leander, are the founders of Salt & Cedar, a letterpress studio located in the Eastern Market district of Detroit. They produce custom design work and printed matter – an extremely prosaic way of saying that they are extraordinary designers and  thinkers. They also appear to have created a modern day salon of sorts, encompassing performance, food, film and more. This scarified hunk of beeswax is one of Leon’s tools. Bookbinding uses waxed thread as a means to hold together the sets of pages, which are called signatures. You can buy prewaxed thread, but most serious bookbinders prefer to wax their own. I was told that this piece, which, at the time I saw it only measured about 3.5″ x 2″ x 3″, began as quite a large block. Figure one or two pounds. It wasn’t just the beeswax that caught my attention. It was also the way Mr. Johnson used it to wax the thread. When someone is so accomplished at their craft/artform, they do things with complete ease and confidence, and a kind of artful rhythm. A ritual motion that is part of them, unlike the halting actions performed by relative neophytes.

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Midday Monday Signage

Monday 07.14.14

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Just what it says: a few signs to liven up a hot humid Monday.

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Malolactic Chromatography

Friday 07.11.14

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Chromatography is a broad range of testing methods which helps separate or analyze complicated mixtures. Malolactic Chromatography is a specific test used in winemaking which aids in determining the presence of malic acid and lactic acid, and hence gauge the stage of fermentation for a particular wine. It is both complex and simple. If you wish to know more, there is a wealth of information available on the Interwebs. Thanks Jennifer and Andrew of Eminence Road Farm Winery for drawing my attention to the accidental beauty of this test.

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Hotel Soap

Monday 07.07.14

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A few months ago, my husband and I were in Madison, Wisconsin. We were staying at the Hilton Hotel. Never one for heavy fragrances, when I travel I tend to bring my own stash of soap and shampoo. But there was no soap by the sink, so I ventured to open what was clearly intended for the shower and bath. This is what emerged from the package: a “massage bar” by Peter Thomas Roth. Whoever he is. Not too stinky and fairly effective at cleaning my hands. But surprising and odd nonetheless.

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