Call me a nerd: I'm a fan of mathematical signs, symbols, and drawings. (Though I sucked at calculus in high school AND college.) So naturally I was in awe of artist Tomoko Kataoka's stamps called "After Rain Arithmetics" (above). She has an art business called Hassak Rubber Stamp where she hand carves fine lines and incredible details in rubber stamps. I just can't stop looking at her work! [Discovered via PingMag.]
I can relate to a statement made on a Flight of the Conchords' (my fave comedy duo/band) website:
"Members of the band (Jemaine and Bret) have noticed that whenever they are doing things that could be reported on the website, they are too busy to update the website. In addition, whenever the band members have some spare time in which they could update the website, there is usually, as one member put it 'nothing going on'."
Yes, there is so much going on here I haven't had any time to post. Yet there's so much to post about, namely: the book launch party for Craft Inc.! I would like to invite each and every one of you to the party which will be hosted by the wonderful ladies of Rare Device.
When: Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Where: 111 Minna Street, San Francisco
As it says above, we'll be raffling off a TON of prizes. Literally, 2,000 pounds of Chronicle Books craft titles and goods donated by local indie businesses and the profilees featured in the book. Really nice stuff like an In Fiore body balm, a Lotta Jansdotter bag, fat quarters of Denyse Schmidt's new line "Katie Jump Rope", a gift certificate for Rare Device and so much more!
And the best prize of all (if you own an indie craft/design biz) is one month of free advertising space on design*sponge. I wish I could throw my own business card in the hat, but I gather it would look a wee bit suspicious if I won the prize.
So come to the party to buy a signed copy of the book and to meet me! Or if you already know me, then come to win a prize. Or if you don't care to win a prize, then come to see all the very nice-looking people that will be there. I've paid them handsomely to stand around looking pretty. Don't let my good money go to waste!
(If you're in LA: yes, I will be having a book party there, too, with Reform School in November. Details to come!)
Folk art motifs seem to be so popular these days. These colorful and elaborate Polish paper cut designs caught my eye (link from print & pattern). I don't know much about paper cutting, but it does seem to be a common folk art tradition in many cultures.
Can you believe that these designs were hand cut with sheep shears? I've seen sheep shear scissors and they don't exactly look like they could cut paper easily. I wonder if these artisans suffer from major hand cramps. Anyway I won't dwell on that....All I can say is that Tord Boontje sure took the easy way with laser cutting!
In 2000, when I was in architecture grad school at UCLA (mind you, I dropped out after a year to pursue my business), I think I was the only one in my class who truly enjoyed manual drafting. I would sit down at my table with my mayline and triangles while most folks faced their computer consumed with mastering the art of 3-D renderings. I'm certainly not alone in relishing making things slowly and by hand--and this book, "By Hand" evidences this crafting movement. The sewn artwork on the cover is really georgeous.
Though there were many, my favorite artist in the book is Kirsten Hassenfeld because her work explores her "ambivalence toward wealth and privelege." (Her sculpture below)
Reading this book made me think of Carol Sedestrom Ross, with whom I had the opportunity to speak with a couple months ago. She was instrumental in the US crafts movement in the early 70s, being the first to start large scale craft fairs (like the Rhinebeck and Baltimore shows) that catered to both wholesale and retail buyers. She did an interview with Craft Australia in 1998 and I like her explanation of the current resurgence of interest in craft:
"I think that artists are always the first to respond to social change so it doesn't surprise me that Charles Rennie Macintosh and William Morris and other artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement were the ones saying: 'Wait, wait, we can make these things, too'. But nobody was paying any attention to them, we do now but not then. That was a 'pushed movement' then, in marketing terms, the artists were trying to push their ideas onto other people. What is happening now is what is called a "pulled" movement because the public is very tired of mass produced things and prefers handmade so it is pulling the movement forward. There is now a huge appetite for craft in the US. I heard a lecture last Friday by John Naisbit who wrote Megatrends. He is most famous for his "high tech, high touch" concept, that is, the more technology we have in our lives the more things we need to touch to remind ourselves that we are human. It was the industrial revolution which started the craft movement and now it is the technological revolution 100 years later that is really pulling it forward."
I love the way Lauren Saunders creates pillows combining fibers of differing textures, like cotton, alpaca, and mohair. The outcome is quite sophisticated and elegant, without any pretension. The pillows are quite casual and comfortable, a very laid-back California feel to them, both in color and the design (the above pillows are from her Canyon Collection). Best of all, she is a skilled crafter and hand-looms each of these pillows in her Ventura County studio. See an image of Lauren in her studio here.
Continuing on the organic-process-meets-sea-creature theme for today, here's freeform crocheted goodies by the multi-talented Ana Voog. I found her on Plucky Fluff's website. She's got a whole lot of fantastic costume-y hats on her site. The mannequins are a bit creepy though...
When Santino (from Project Runway, of course) said his design process was organic, I remember thinking, that's a great way to describe your design method. And wouldn't it be nice if every designers' methodology was organic? That is certainly not the case with the world filled with Marlas (read: copycats)--short on inspiration and making small modifications in an effort to pass off someone's else design as their own.
Well, I hate it when talented indie designers get knocked off--especially by other indies. The indie design world is not that big--so if someone thinks they can take another person's designs without anyone noticing, they're wrong! Plus, as a designer, wouldn't you want to be recognized for producing work that is an authentic expression of yourself? Why get your work mistaken for someone elses?
(If you're wondering where I'm going with this and what this has to do with Plucky Fluff--I'm getting there.)
I'm not a needlecraft, spinning aficionado, but when I saw these freeform yarns I thought it was a perfect embodiment of an undeniable organic process. Freeform spinning allows Lexi to trust her instincts without being bogged down with the rigidity of reaching a specific end product. And she throws just about anything into her one-of-a-kind yarns: mohair, wool, felt...doll parts, zippers. It becomes a doubly organic creation when these yarns are made into inventive hats as well.
I think the yarns look like sea creatures.
You should also read Lexi's bio. It's a different way to communicate a chronological bio. And I can relate to it as her creative pursuits, like mine, have taken on several incarnations.
I've been so swamped lately with the upcoming sample sale and with trying to finish my taxes (always last minute, always) that I haven't had any time to really sit down and design or make anything. When you're running a biz all by your lonesome and wearing all the hats (designer, production, shipping, receiving, accounts payable, accounts receivable..etc etc)--you get saddled with all the mind numbing administrative stuff, while the stuff you want to do sits neglected.
After looking at Sarah Neuberger's site, The Small Object, I'm reminded of all the cool and fun things I want to get back to doing...drawing and making things by hand. (I haven't had a chance to screenprint in months!) Her collectors cards (a limited edition) is a mini collection of her collages. I'm so bummed that Set Two is sold out! I'm also a fan of her red and white embroidered albums.
And her blog, The Steno Pad is especially inspiring. Though she's last minute with her taxes as well, she had the time to make these little paper sleeves (bottom right image) and give us PDFs to make it ourselves. You don't find too many designers willing to share their designs or giving out free downloads of their work--so Sarah is definitely a cool, sharing gal for doing this.
Thank you Marie for introducing me to Sarah's site!
(Images from The Small Object)