Category: the things we make

Joys of Jell-O

Monday 04.08.13

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My personal favorite: Ring-Around-the-Tuna. For some history, go here.

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mais padrões / more patterns

Thursday 12.20.12

Something a little happier and lighter today. Oh, what it would be to live with such gloriously patterned floors! Alice Bernardo is the proprietress of the very lovely and engaging Portuguese blog: Noussnouss. She is also the brains and brawn behind Saber Fazer, a multidimensional project that seeks to create a narrative for time-honored Portuguese methods of fabrication, on both an artisanal and a semi-industrial scale. She highlights such things as basket making, shoe making, weaving, spinning, needlework, etc. The bicycle baskets are my personal favorites. Alice says she “likes beautiful things and wants to know how stuff is made.” Don’t want to argue with that. These photos are hers.

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Craft. Circa 1972.

Monday 10.22.12

Despite the fact that this slim volume was intended for younger children, it tells a compelling story about how far we have come in the world of craft. Among other things. I wonder what Martha would say.

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The Devil’s Rope

Tuesday 09.25.12

Before I touched anything in the rusty package that arrived the other day from the Devil’s Rope Museum, I called my Doctor to make sure that I was up to date on my tetanus shot. After getting the A-Okay, I proceeded, delicately, to open up my bundle of 55 different kinds of barbed wire. If I had more cash I might have sprung for the “Super Bundle” containing a whopping 215 different varieties of barbed wire. As it is, 55 is just fine.  In fact, more than enough. Knowing that there are over 450 patents and over 2000 varieties of barbed wire found by collectors is enough to make one dizzy. To read more on the history of barbed wire go here, here or here. Original kernel of barbed wire visuals Via Partners & Spade. I think a trip to the Devil’s Rope Museum might be in order someday real soon.

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Uncle Tom Bendell

Wednesday 09.12.12

My friend Dave has many heirlooms in his family. I, on the other hand, have almost none. I’ve also known Dave for well over 25 years, so whenever he pulls out a box and casually says that I should see what he’s dragged out of storage, I know enough to pay attention. So, this day I am visiting and he comes over to his dining table with a box that should properly hold a board game. He thinks I should take a look at what’s inside. And boy is he right. The box is filled with these incredible hand-carved utensils. We marvel at the detail and the odd way in which the carver has copied tools that are more typically made out of metal. Specifically the hinged meat fork and the wooden tongs. I delight in the spoon that has white string wrapped around its neck. We speculate that it’s in place to secure a break. He’s got a vague idea that a relative, maybe an uncle, was responsible for the handiwork. But he’s not sure. So, he asks his father. This was his response. Which I find charming, and proper and old-fashioned in its manner of speech.

Re the carved utensils:
Uncle Tom Bendell was married to a cousin of Grammy Ida’s. He was an architect by occupation, but a consummate artist by ability. Mom always referred to Tom’s daughter as El Bendell, a teacher by education, but outstanding guidance counselor by happenstance. You may remember a baby’s cream colored “dresser” that came through every Williams move and now sits in our storage area. Uncle Tom made that for El, I think, El never found another love to replace her man who had gone down in flames so she deeded it to Mom. Tom was as sweet a man as you’ll find, according to Mom.. He was taken early by cancer at something like 55-60. Some of Tom’s art work are on walls here, but it would take some Holmesian deduction to know which they are. Love Dad.

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Rituals of Preparation

Wednesday 08.22.12

A word to the wise: Don’t watch these videos if you are in the least bit hungry. The mastery of these food preparations earns my great admiration and respect. I am also fascinated by how ingrained and fluid the actions are. I remember not that long ago watching a bricklayer build a wall and was completely hypnotized by the motion. Equally so for the women across the street from us, when we lived in Chinatown, who used make dumplings.

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