The importance of nature versus nurture is mostly one for the scientists. However, for myself, the lay person, the question presented itself during a recent visit to my father’s home. You know how family behaviors or environments can be so familiar, to a point of near invisibility? Well, on this particular day, as I was sitting in my father’s study, his desk chair slowly came into focus. I’d looked at it many times before. I’d even sat in it. But never had I taken full stock of its Frankenstein qualities. As you can see, the seat is an assemblage of pillows and straps, all bound together with rope. It’s neither pretty nor comfortable. Although there is an interesting graphic quality to the way in which the rope weaves in and out of the holes. As an industrial designer, one who espouses simplicity and function, as well as comfort, I don’t in any way consider this to be a viable solution to the vexing question of what to sit on while at one’s desk. I’ve pondered the fact that the owner of the chair is indeed my father, and that I am his daughter. Dad, how did this happen?
In another installment of my analog design world, I’d like to present these teeny tiny sketches of lamp shades. I am currently working on a lighting project and, as reference, wanted to aggregate all the possible shade shapes that I like onto a few sheets of paper. Now to choose…
In the darkest, coldest days of winter, these yellow enamel plates will offer a glimpse of optimism and light. (At least that’s what I told myself when I decided to bring them home.) With the added bonus of making eating, while watching a movie, that much tidier and easier. Two of these will soon leave my possession for friends, who will hopefully enjoy them the way I do.
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 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.
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.
A moderately sad roadside rest stop at exit 5 on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. I wonder why they didn’t bother removing the adhesive padding on the wall next to the Gojo dispenser. Though, I do enjoy the graphic on the pull down shelf.
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