Well, almost exactly five years and four months to the day from when it opened (yes, I am a little embarrassed about this), my husband and I finally decided to take a stroll on the High Line. It was a perfect early fall morning in NYC: wind blowing, sun shining, thickets of tourists wandering about, and the din of jackhammers and excavation trucks filling the air. The High Line is truly a marvel of architecture, vision and extraordinary landscaping. And yet, I am left feeling that it is a part of a city to which I no longer belong. I know there are a lot of voices on this matter of change, and loss of what was, and I don’t wish to delve into that conversation right now. However, let it be said that, while I don’t necessarily begrudge New York for what she has become, I don’t recognize her any more. In all of the ruminations, I did manage to catch this little snippet of ivy…undulating in the storm.
Hansel and Gretel immediately comes to mind. Or, perhaps a dacha in Russia, after the Bolshevik Revolution. So does Tiny, A Story About Living Small. This house is magical, set back among the white pines. The color scheme is obviously not for everyone, including myself, but it catches me off guard every time I pass it by. It’s the insulation (called “chinking”) between the logs that ultimately draws me in. The bold white lines appeal to my graphic self. Yesterday, as we sped by and I let out my now predictable gasp, P. kindly turned around and pulled off the road so I could traipse onto the property for a few close-ups.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just what it says: a few signs to liven up a hot humid Monday.