Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maine Red

Honestly vacations are a brain softener for me. I try to keep my design edge but I benefit most from just using the time to see with no sounds strange but seeing is kind of my job. This week has been a lot of family time, eating (the organic and local Maine produce is the best) and for some reason the few pictures that I have taken are these images where the orange,crimson,red family is prominate. Summer time is Maine

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer Reading-Building community

I shifted away from the world of Marie Antoinette this summer and spent a little time reading an account of Lousia May Alcotts life with her dramatic father Bronson Alcott. The book is called Eden's Outcasts and was written by John Matteson. Alcott the only true transcendentalist was a mentor of sorts to Emerson and Thoreau. There is the most interesting account of his time as the founder of a Utopian community Fruitlands-where all commerce was looked down upon. The community was so rigorous as to make their own clothes of handmade cloth. The description of the working costume was that the men wore knitted leggings and tunics to plow the fields. I found this really interesting as I have been researching the artists/designers Natalie Chanin, Morgan J. Puitt and Andrea Zittel. These woman that have set up Utopian home sites, built creative communities AND established a rigor of fashion and clothing that sounds much like Mr. Alcott's. More on these connections this week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Building Dresses-again

We are packing up and getting ready to head up to Maine but one thing I will miss is Andrea Zittel's Smockshop is coming to Chinatown at the end of the week. I am so bummed. I have looked at Zittel's work for years and have enjoyed her"total vision" of her work and the world. The Smockshop is a touring shop and exhibition that showcases over 100 smocks designed by Zittel and interpreted by many other artists- these two are by V. Smiley and Maude Benson. They are orchestrated under Zittel's mantra that "rules make us more creative". The shop opens on July 27th.

Building Beauty

My friend Catherine sent me this great link of the company Lost City Products. Since I am an embroidery novice the site itself dazzles me. It also has these amazing films of Edison and early moving pictures-not to mention the blog that takes you to Turkey.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Building Epic Expressions of Capitalism

There I said it..... I suppose the point of art is to ask more questions so The Waterfalls project has got me going. Elliasson's propose for the project is to bring New Yorkers closer to to the river, But when I lived here I was close to river all the time. I walked over the bridge almost everyday, many summer evenings were spent getting ice cream at the pier and alot of holidays we would go to the edge for fireworks. So I have to say that although I went twice to view them before I put my hat into the opinion ring... I feel very removed from the river because of the project....very New Yorkish that you have to get on a boat (pay more money) to really see the events. It kind of makes me sad. I miss those goofy orange gates in Central Park.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chairs Thoughts

Just as we are finishing our day, I came across this mildly amusing video on the ever so chic New York Times blog-The Moment. Its a little glib for my taste but it is good for making some points to students. It is written and narrated by Nick Currie A.K.A. The Post Materialist, This post is entitled 5000 Years of Chairs.

I can't seem to get this link "live' as they say but go to the New York Times-The Moment Blog and it is there today.

Other Peoples Chairs-Tanya Aguiniga

I am constantly on the look out for young designers that are re-thinking materials, especially in the furniture realm. This work by Tanya Aguiniga-a Los Angeles based designer-is very inventive. It is the second felt covered "regular" chair that I have come across; the first being the chair by Bertjan Pot that I spoke about last month. This regular chair probably speakers more profoundly to an American. It really does wonders for that chair that you sit in during PTA meetings, right? The next chair seems to be made in the same manner as the "god's eyes" that you made in second grade when you were studying the the Aztecs. SO cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Building Ideas

One of the first things that Madeline and did do this week was "hit The Stand", which is the best bookstore the world. As I was saying surprises happen to you in New York and the surprise of this wonderful book about Madelon Vriesendorp found me. I had heard vague rumors of the woman who did the seminal drawings for Rem Koolhaus's Delirious New York, but the myth never was full until this little book appeared about Vriesendorp's work as an artist collector,collager,wife, mother and hostess. Quietly working away at making a seamless life-my theme! The book or catalogue for her show in London last January is a rare treat of surrealistic paintings, games and photos of her inner life of objects. She also has some cool friends.

Building Dances-National Ballet of Flanders

I got big pay back for all those American Girl Store trips this year. Madeline went with me to see the National Ballet of Flanders perform a work by one of my biggest heroes, William Forsythe. Forsythe was the director of Ballet Frankfurt up until two years ago when the civic funding was pulled from the company. I saw his work at BAM a number of times and those performances have been my best theatrical experiences. This performance of Impressing the Czar was a nice fix of beautiful theatrical design. I love Forsythe's sensibility! I really get a lot of ideas from how choreographers structure their work visually and intellectually. The traditional costumes are perfectly baroque, the modern costumes are sleek and not a parody- And who knew that masking tape and gold lame were sympathetic materials. This piece although wacky (Madeline did not get it) is a total "work" of the imagination. Go see it of you have a chance...the dancing is extra good too

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Building Blocks

New York is wonderful when you let surprises happen to you. Mad and I had nothing planned and its hot here so our default thing to do is to go to a museum. MOMA is our favorite, Mad likes to sit in the sculpture garden and say hello to the helicopter. We got to see the opening of the exhibit Home Delivery:Fabricating the Modern Dwelling. Go first to the exhibit on the sixth floor the historical perspective is at its best here; complete with a model of a poured in place concrete house designed by none other than Thomas Alva Edison and at the opposite extreme the model of the Teddy Cruz project of housing made out of building refuse-complete with model guys walking up the hill with a door. Mad really got the idea of pre-fab when she saw the case of Legos and building blocks. The houses on 54th Street are an amazing array of the IDEA of pre-fab. I felt a little nervous in some- the "feel" of the houses were distinctly exhibition quality-the lessons of longevity and sustainability are not part of the conversation here. But how wonderful to be in the middle of the summer city and hop in and out of these ideas.

Monday, July 14, 2008

End of Mississippi Summer

Okay, Just as the tile is going into Little Building, the walls painted, my brother here and my tomatoes are ripening; I am going to Brooklyn and Maine. Mad and I are going to see what those Waterfalls are all about, eat some pizza and check on clients. Then on to Maine where I will contemplate utopian communities-you think I am kidding....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Buildings

We are getting ready to leave for the east coast on Tuesday for the rest of the summer. Part of this ritual is this idea that we will get real artistic work done during our time up in Maine. As a way to gear up for this aspiration I found these travel sketches of our friend Adam Golinczak from his time in Europe last year. The wonderful thing about these drawings is that they go beyond the picture post card impression of the place and take a flight of imagination- a world is constructed where any young architect can design over the ancient sites of Rome and Florence-well that's a little about Adam too. Please click on each drawings to see the depth of imagination........

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Work-Erin Wilson

This is the work of Erin Wilson of Brooklyn. We are working on Erin and her partner's house in Brooklyn and we jumped at the chance to make a project with two very talented young Brooklynites. Erin' quilts can be viewed on her web site To me these are really quilts made by a painter and a rather intense one at that, each square is a painting on its own and then the effect of them all together is mesmerizing. You also need to look under her Bed Quilts and see how undisciplined color can actually be. She is currently working toward showing her work at the New England Quilt Museum, opening August Go see it in person!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Little Building

The Little Building project has now entered the Chinese Water Torture column of life......It is hard to get people to work for someone they do not really know AND during the hottest time of the building season. So next week the windows are getting trimmed out, the solar hot water heater gets installed as does the tile and maybe the sign gets started. We still have along way to go. But it will be beautiful and my brother Ted makes a good biscuit.

Summer Work-Cindy Neal

About a year ago I got my friend Cindy Neal in Atlanta to do a portrait of Madeline. Mostly because Madeline was taking pictures of herself on the cell phone since her parents were too stressed out to "document" her. I am so glad I did. Cindy has developed this amazing experience for the child were she interviews them, photographs them and the artifact is the child's story of themselves and this beautiful image. Her web site is and she describes the process really well. Madeline feels really connected to the piece, really connected to Cindy (and has treatened to move in with her family a number of times) and we have this beautiful document of Madeline at nine years old.....Think about it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chairs on a Building

This image is via The Brownstoner Blog. Its a project in a vacant lot on Columbia and Sackett. The name of the chair piece is "63 Chairs" Things like this are the exciting part of living in Brooklyn; a very high quality art installation on a vacant lot in your neighborhood. I can not quite figure out who the artist is but I will run over there next week when Madeline and I are in Brooklyn. Time to promote more of this in Starkville......

Summer Work-Karen Deans

Everyone I know seems to be madly working towards a show or exhibition these days. My best friend Karen(since we were two years old) is getting ready for the The Chicago Market -July 19-22 at the Merchandise Mart. She has a company called Wooden Tile were she makes beautiful Bloomsbury- like images for the home. They are really lovely and the most important thing about them is they exist in the decorative arts tradition of production pieces but you can not get away from Karen's distinctive hand. Check out her web site and she how many things she does at once, children's author, mom, business woman, public speaking, got to get going.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Work-Jean Glenn

This year I have re-connected with a high school friend, Jean Glenn that is doing amazing work out of Atlanta. I have mentioned her before and this next week she is having an opening at Timothy Tew Gallery. The body of work is amazing; its been great to see Jean work go from strong to awesome in one year. Please go see it in person-the show opens July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Walker and Louise

If Walker Evans and Louise Nevelson fell in love and drove down south to spend a year, they would make chairs like this for their garden party. They would never be compatible in the traditional sense of the word, but they could throw a good bash.

More Chairs Completed

Nels Long finished the construction last week and this weekend I finished this round of chairs. These are basically "dare chairs". While I was getting ready for the show in Brooklyn this spring I would ask Caleb's opinion and he would look at the polaroids that I took and say "These are the chairs I am interested in". So there you have it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Building Girls

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. We did and I saw the "Kit" movie, which equals a plus in the good mother spread sheet. Its close to the first year anniversary when the American Girl phenomenon entered our household. Three of the kids that worked for us last year gave Madeline her first doll and the dam was broken. I am forever torn as to what these dolls mean for Madeline and for women in general. I am happy that the books attached to the products are educational and historic, I am sad that my daughter gets such joy out of "buying" things for them. I am happy that the quality of the product and the quality of the production(movie) are of the highest value. I am happy that the girls portrayed are really ten, eleven and twelve years old's and not baby teenagers but bummed that all moral lessons get so buttoned up neatly and the complexity of racism, "classism" and general American inequality is never really explained...I guess that's my job.
This interview on Slate is a good discussion of what these dolls might mean to young woman today,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Building Books

This is a reading, looking at books family. In fact I saw that Madeline's stack of American Girl and Judy Blume books is very low and a sense of panic set in... But one of the high points of this summer was a new Blue Balliett book The Calder Game. Favorite characters from Chasing Vermeer and The Wright Three joined forces again to solve the mystery of a missing Calder sculpture and a boy named Calder. Balliett's books have won a high place in our household, as if Caleb and I had written a book about renaissance painter, a book about Frank Lloyd Wright and a book about Alexander Calder just to insure a visually literate child. Oh, and I ordered this beautiful book about Calder jewelry to, uh, back up Madeline's experience with understanding Calder's work.......

Friday, July 4, 2008


Madeline and I just drove out to the highway and went to the fireworks tent. This is our first encounter with such an establishment, a culture very new to us. We got some sparklers. Happy Glorious Fourth!

Furniture of the City

As I said, for someone who does not dig driving from neighborhood to neighborhood, Atlanta can be a drag. Although the now system of urban pockets, Virginia Highland, North Highland Ave.,Westside and newly constructed pockets namely Atlantic Station are efficient in there own right-its still a driving town. But the encouraging thing is that sometimes the spaces in between get designed and used. This park in back of the Public and in front of the Target is brilliant. I looked online for the designer but no luck, please help! These pictures are shot early in the morning but the previous evening they were many a "courting" couple sitting on the funny chairs and enjoying the cool night.