Some fall in love; I shatter

In case you haven’t already seen this on 100 other blogs (e.g. itsnicethat) it’s a collaboration between designer Craig Ward and photographer Jason Tozer. They both have some pretty amazing stuff in their portfolios, though this one really gets me. Here’s a writeup on the making of it.

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When I saw You Blow Me Away a few weeks back, I was reminded of another photographer whose frozen explosions are pretty phenomenal: Martin Klimas. I was first introduced to him via the always-fantastic Morning News galleries (which feature several works + an interview with a different visual artist, regularly updated: hundreds of ’em since 2001!)

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Inspired by looking at these artists’ work, I looked on flickr for high speed photography, to try to collect my thoughts, when I found this lovely lovely shot by Aden Tranter that to this designer’s eye is a few words of type away from being an amazing album cover, say for this single for the Handsome Family.

I had nothing to say on Christmas day when you threw all your clothes in the snow. When you burnt your hair, knocked over chairs, I just tried to stay out of your way.
But when you fell asleep, with blood on your teeth, I got in my car and drove away. Listen to me, Butterfly, there’s only so much wine you can drink in one life, and it will never be enough to save you from the bottom of your glass.

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What is it about these shots that impresses me so? Certainly content has something to do with it: Ward and Tozer’s shattering of that phrase of type, and Klimas’ shattering of kung fu figurines each add layers of delicious meaning… And though Tranter’s shot is of a simple bottle, his choice of reddened water and a dull green backdrop are critical, and if you were to crop the Jim Beam logo out leaving only liquid and glass, some the resonance with drunken abandon is lost.

But content aside, I think the root of the appeal can be found in the design-professor-favorite phrase “happy accidents.” Photography and design both involve impeccable, balanced, beautiful composition/layout — and it is usually achieved through careful planning, staging, grid and so forth. And yet sometimes you have a happy accident — whether it’s mistakenly dropping in the wrong cropping of an image or splashing ink or a light leak — which makes the composition work, usually by virtue of its unpredictable disorderliness.

What these high-speed photographers have done is carefully arranged happy accidents. They can’t be assured how the pane of glass, figurine or bottle will break… but they can capture, and then exercise their judicious cropping and editing on, the compositions that the physics of destruction create. The process must be tiresome, messy to clean up and aggravating at times, but when you can catch something as beautiful as these, it is totally worth it.

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(Klimas, again)

Etsy Schmetsy: matryoshka

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It’s no mystery why Russian nesting dolls are as popular as they are. Check out some of these great finds from etsy:

Row 1:
Block-printed magnets by Amanda Kindregan; Hand-printed cotton handkerchief set by HippieJo

Row2:
Photographic print by Angie Muldowney; Hand-sewn journal by art kitten

Row 3:
Organic T-shirt by maryink; Acrylic brooch by A Skulk of Foxes

Row 4:
Set of hand-carved rubber stamps by Cupcake Tree Designs; Adorable baby shower invites with coordinating thank you notes by inky livie

Row 5:
Set of 5 unpainted dolls from sherla; wrapping paper from enna

Keep Calm and . . . full circle

Y’all know about this poster, right?

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The classic sfgirlbybay edition as seen in the final issue of
Domino magazine, RIP.

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Maira Kalman’s version from
The Principles of Uncertainty. She’s wrong about the WWII thing, sort of (more on that later).

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Threadless typetee
‘s clever reversal (note inverted crown); the 1937 original poster hung in an old bomb shelter, apparently.

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Optimistic crafty homage by Matt Jones, available on 20×200; snarky, but true parody by Osborne Villas from flickr.

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Printable 2009 calendars by etsy seller littlebrownpen, available in a version for Women and one for Men.

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Rubber stamps
from Rubber Soul; lip balm from etsy seller leastlikely2breed (these should totally say keep calm and carry balm instead…)

But OK, what about these? Yikes!

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These are very very real though I think they are not intended to be quite so creepy as they come across. via BoingBoing via David Byrne!

I trace and analyze this phenomenon as best I can after the jump.

Continue reading Keep Calm and . . . full circle

pomme-pomme prettiness

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I wanted to have a supermodel photo shoot with the two new Blythe dresses that I just received from pomme-pomme, but I sadly haven’t had the daylight to do it. Unfortunately, these photos don’t do them justice, but I just had to share as soon as I could. They are so crazy adorable and well-made, I absolutely wish they came in my size.

the adhesive drawer

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I love tape. Owen and I have so much tape that it has its own drawer in our apartment. In fact, “the adhesive drawer”  was even mentioned during our wedding ceremony (in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that the adhesive drawer houses glues and pastes in addition to tape).

When I was in Japan, I bought some MT Masking Tape. It is beautiful tape made of Washi, and it comes in a ton of really great colors. I wanted to buy some more. After doing some tape research the other day, I learned that MT is now available in 32 new patterns. Unfortunately, you cannot place international orders on the MT site. This sent me into a fit of online searching which was, in the end, fruitful.

I was able to purchase a few of the patterned tapes from Ginko Papers. My tape arrived today, and I am thrilled with it.

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But, Ginko Papers only sells a few of the MT tape patterns. And, I wanted more of the solid tape. So, I turned to etsy, where I found not only more of the MT tapes, but some other fantastic tapes as well. I am loving some of the lace tapes, too, but I thought I’d dedicate this post to more traditional and printed tapes.

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Row 1: washimatta My set of 20 is en route from Japan!
Row 2: hebeaccessories, RetroNaNa
Row 3: nothingelegant, lovepetitzakkajapan
Row 4: cottonblue, RetroNaNa

Here are a few more useful, tape related sites:
UK based blog dedicated to tape: I Love Sticky Tape
Really nice patterned taps: Tape Swell
updated: a large selection of MT masking tape is also available at Happy Tape

b’ART

Part of my commute every day is on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). I’m lucky in that I’m commuting from south of downtown San Francisco to Millbrae: against the tide; I never have a problem getting a bench to myself. Sometime around January, something caught my eye on the platform. It was a great big bird.

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Wow. There are a lot of things that these say to me. After the jump.

These are the works of Berkeley artist  Mick Wiggins. If you’d like to read his statement or other outsisde context before my observations, feel free. I only came upon this context after writing this.

Continue reading b’ART

two-dee into three-dee

I randomly came across Peter Callesen while searching for a paper artist who plays with dimension and gives depth to something that was originally flat (like Cornelia Odonovan and Jason Jagel, but I’ll get back to that in a minute). Now I am obsessed. He has too many incredible works to share that I don’t know how to pare them down to one post. Using only cut white paper and glue (and sometimes pencil or paint for color), Callesen creates three-dimensional sculptures that truly boggle my mind.

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So, back to the original inspiration for this post. Jason Jagel and Cornelia Odonovan do amazing work layering planes of two-dimensional pieces to create three-dimensional environments.

Noah was kind enough to introduce us to the work of Jason Jagel. I was immediately drawn to his sculptural work. To see more, visit his website.

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Katja, in turn, shared with us the paper art of one of her favorite artists, Cornelia Odonovan. To see more, visit her website.

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kat heyes

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Illustration artist Kat Heyes really knows how to work with color.

scientific adornment

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ve probably come to know that I love when design and science collide. One medium that lends itself naturally to that marriage is jewelry. Be they realistic or abstract representations, chemical or biological, natural or laboratorical (!), all of these lovely pieces were inspired by the shapes and forms found in science. The next time you need a geeky—yet fetching—gift (for anyone, including yourself), perhaps consider a purchase in the name of science. It’s for the greater good.

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Row 1: Nervous System, Beth Cyr
Row 2: seapod, emily e.p.s.
Row 3: Molecular Muse, Itsnoname
Row 4: Nervous System (both)
Row 5: Nicholas and Felice, Contrariwise

Christiana Couceiro

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While we’re on the subject of modernist collage in the current day, let me give big props to Ms. Christiana Couceiro. I’m not sure where I first saw a link to her stuff at Seven Days, but it looks like art director/design curator superstar Steven Heller caught on too. She made the cover for the last issue of the New York Times Book Review (3.19.09) story on Barthleme and I sincerely doubt it’s the last we’ll be seeing her. Her colors and compositions are remarkable, and she’s both high-modern and refreshingly contemporary at once.

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Some more pics and thoughts after the jump. Bunches more at her site.

Continue reading Christiana Couceiro

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