I love this little image. It’s a cigarette card (1.375″ x 2.675″) which I bought a couple of years ago while in San Francisco. Almost nightly when I was little, my mother used to read us The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. One of my favorites was about how the Armadillo came to be. According to Kipling, these odd little creatures were formed out of an alliance between a turtle and a hedgehog. Click here if you would like to see the entire NYPL collection of Animalloy cigarette cards.
I have NO idea how I ended up on Houseplant Picture Studio’s blog. But there I was. And I saw this crazy collection of scribbles and notations made in the margins, actually…all over…the pages of The Spiritual Diary. As far as I can tell, the volume is a collection of writings by Emanuel Swedenborg who was an 18th century Swedish scientist, inventor, philosopher, and theologian. He was an influential and unquantifiable figure for a wildly eclectic group of writers ranging from William Blake, Jorge Luis Borges, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Jung and Immanuel Kant to the likes of Helen Keller, August Strindberg and W.B. Yeats. And he clearly inspired the owner of this little tome.
At a loss for words? Want to be fluent in Italian? Just pick up this gem of a book, practice the gestures, and before you know it you’ll be freely communicating the entire length of the boot. Speak Italian was first published in 1958 by artist, photographer, sculptor and all around genius, Bruno Munari. The photographs capture something from a time long since past. But the gestures themselves are still as current as can be. The book (a bilingual edition) was reissued a number of years ago by Chronicle Books, something for which I am very grateful.
Dave Gilligan (a very talented photographer and graphic designer) and his new bride were not your typical newlyweds. As he tells it, they didn’t want to go on a typical “sun holiday” so instead opted for a far more interesting honeymoon on the Trans-Mongolian Railway. These photographs of windows were taken in Irkutsk as well as around Lake Baikal. Apparently, all the windows are painted a shade of Green, White or Blue to hopefully ward off evil spirits. Each and every one seems to me like a small fairy tale. If something about these images grabs your imagination, there are two books on Siberia that I would highly recommend reading: Colin Thubron’s In Siberia, and Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, which was released only just last year.
One of my favorite books. It measures in at 5.5″ x 8″. Part of a series of volumes that the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris put out years ago that are sadly no longer in print. The hand in these drawings is both expert and full of delight. The book itself is intimate in a way that not many are. It is true about all design being found in nature. I go back to these pages over and over again. I am particularly fond of the curlicues.
In the process of emptying out my wallet, I found this fortune. I’ve been toting it around for the past month or so. At first I thought, hmnnn, this is good, I am almost there. The there part being where I want to be. But then I quickly realized that their “there” might not be the same as my there. I’m swearing off fortune cookies for awhile. I can’t handle this sort of ambiguity.
Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer chronicles the rich, visually-laden and wildly creative correspondence between these two men. I was delighted when I saw that my friend Jason tweeted this post. There is a broad and eclectic spectrum of people who take great joy in the late Edward Gorey’s work. I feel as though we all have something substantive in common, and that if ever thrown together at a dinner party, we would have endless matters of deep importance to discuss. This book is on its way to me now, and I can barely wait. Via Steve Silberman via Maria Popova.