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.
I went to art school with Scott Kelley. We lost touch a long time ago but, today, in my search for rope, I accidentally came across his obsessive paintings of these warp lines, which are traditionally heavy ropes used for anchoring, towing or mooring a boat. In this case, the warp is called pot warp, and it is specifically the line used by lobstermen to secure their traps. Scott does, after all, live in Maine. For more go here. And Scott, sorry for the crop here and there. Just wanted to get up closer to the detail.
I’ve made no secret of my love for the cigarette card collection at the NY Public Library. Here is a single painting broken into 45 parts. Click here to see the who and the what.
Paintings of steak by Vincent Kohler. Never would have found these if not for the always interesting blog over at Present & Correct. Saw some other paintings of wood by the same artist, and then promptly jumped down the rabbit hole.
Delightful and slightly wicked drawing by the grandchild of the late H. D. Stephens, the creator of this flow chart. Talented gene pool!!
When my friend Molly gave me this book years ago, I couldn’t figure out if she was sending me some kind of subtle message. Did she think I had issues? No, she did not. It’s just a great book. This volume may be a catalog of one man’s fears, but what’s crazy is that it turn out to be an inventory of all of our fears. More or less anyway. Hats off to Creativity Explored, in San Francisco, for giving Michael the support to create something so unique, yet so very universal. For more info on the book, go here.
The other day The Improvised Life posted this video created by artist Sipho Mabona. There must be an innate fascination with seeing something realtively complex “literally” unfold in reverse.