October 21, 2011

modern burl

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Modern Burl, coming soon to a downtown location near you. "Near you" that is if you happen to live in the Yukon Territory. If you're further afield, don't despair - visit us online at http://www.modernburl.com

September 14, 2011

coming soon!

It's been a busy couple of months. Work on the Eames inspired living room addition continues. and continues. sigh.

So does the scheming and planning for a wee venture involving a few of my favourite things and favourite peeps. Stay tuned.

July 10, 2011

urban dog stick

The Urban Dog Stick by Paul Gort. (Shown in walnut. Contact for other options.) For the dog lover who has (almost) everything.

Listed in the Canadian Design Resource. A commentary on the appalling lack of good sticks in the inner city. As Gort puts it "would you let your best friend chew on something he found just lying on the ground"?

May 15, 2011

at last!

After years of scheming, dreaming and anticipating, the "Great house addition of 2011" kicks off tomorrow. As planned, the new living space will be modeled after the Eames house with a few rather significant modifications for the realities of life north of 60.

charles and ray hanging from the rafters

charles eames: what is a house?

April 17, 2011

steal like an artist

I hesitated to post this since it's been making the rounds so heavily, but there are some gems in here. Austin Kleon's "how to steal like an artist and 9 other things nobody told me" can be found here. I really like most of his observations with the exception of "fake it til you make it". I've always hated that expression. Of course most of us, especially artists, walk around feeling like phonies. That's part and parcel of the human condition. I'd argue, if you don't feel like a phony at least part of the time, then you need to have a good long talk with yourself. But the idea of deliberately putting on a big fake face and pretending to be somebody you aren't or to know something you don't is really unappealing to me.

Here's #9 and #10 stolen from the artist himself. Check it out in its entirety.Be boring. It’s the only way to get work done

9. Be boring. It’s the only way to get work done.

As Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

I’m a boring guy with a 9-5 job who lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife and his dog.

That whole romantic image of the bohemian artist doing drugs and running around and sleeping with everyone is played out. It’s for the superhuman and the people who want to die young.

The thing is: art takes a lot of energy to make. You don’t have that energy if you waste it on other stuff.

Some things that have worked for me:

Take care of yourself.

Eat breakfast, do some pushups, get some sleep. Remember what I said earlier about good art coming from the body?

Stay out of debt.

Live on the cheap. Pinch pennies. Freedom from monetary stress means freedom in your art.

Get a day job and keep it.

A day job gives you money, a connection to the world, and a routine. Parkinson’s law: work expands to fill the time allotted. I work a 9-5 and I get about as as much art done now as I did when I worked part-time.

Marry well.

It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make.

And marry well doesn’t just mean your life partner — it also means who you do business with, who you befriend, who you choose to be around.

creativity is subtraction

10. Creativity is subtraction.

It’s often what an artist chooses to leave out that makes the art interesting. What isn’t shown vs. what is.

In this age of information overload and abundance, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s important to them.

Devoting yourself to something means shutting out other things.

What makes you interesting isn’t just what you’ve experienced, but also what you haven’t experienced.

The same is true when you make art: you must embrace your limitations and keep moving.

Creativity isn’t just the things we chose to put in, it’s also the things we chose to leave out. Or black out.

April 8, 2011

Iggy Peck, Architect

The perfect marriage of style and rhyme - Iggy Peck, Architect is a must have for art and design enthusiasts of any age.

Things are going pretty well for Iggy Peck, young architect until he hits the 2nd grade where teacher Miss Lila Greer makes it known:
"Gothic or Romanesque, I couldn't care less
about buildings - ancient or new."
She said in her lecture about architecture
that it had no place in grade two.
Miss Greer has her reasons as we soon learn but she comes around in the end after Iggy's skills save the class from certain doom when a field trip picnic goes terribly terribly awry. Clever clever clever story by Andrea Beaty and super cool illustrations by David Roberts. More please!

February 28, 2011

euro trash

Some might think it strange to covet a garbage bin. Those people have probably never seen a Vipp.

I first laid eyes on one, the Vipp 13 to be precise, in the bathroom of our rented apartment in Copenhagen. A thing of beauty that came with its own special roll of Vipp 13 liner bags, I knew at once that this was no ordinary trash can.

The first Vipp was designed in 1939 by Holger Nielsen for his wife Marie to use in her hair salon. Today, the family owned company is still going strong and has also branched off into kitchen tools and the like but it's that simple pedal bin that has earned them a place among the icons of Danish design.

February 12, 2011

evil people in modernist homes

I think it's a crying shame that modernism has become synonymous in popular culture with cold, clinical and minimalist to the point of monastic. Why is it that the evil, cold-hearted movie villain/pharmaceutical exec/global arms trader always resides in an uber-cool modernist pad while America's sweetheart would never be caught dead in a home boasting fewer than 3 shingle-clad dormers? Ben Critton writes about the phenomenon in "Evil People in Modernist Homes". Get your copy here.

It's lovely when a book comes along that showcases the humanist face of modernism. Leslie Williamson's Handcrafted Modern offers a peek into the homes of over a dozen seminal mid-century architects and designers. I was really happy to see new (to me) pictures of the Eames' upper rooms and found inspiration in the images of private work spaces and studios. I think my favourite picture is the one of George Nakashima's humble yet so perfect front door.

January 21, 2011

cool is just conservative fear dressed in black

I love a good manifesto. Yesterday I happened upon an interview on CBC Radio's "Tapestry" with industrial design guru/architect-of- the-creative, Bruce Mau, in which he expounded on his highly inspirational Incomplete Manifesto For Growth. Read it in its incomplete entirety here.

Reading through it last night, one of the tenets sounded bells and alarms in my mind, causing rusty dusty synapses to start firing and jolting me out of my (literal and creative) hibernation. Let's see where it leads.
A few selections:

1. Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

9. Begin anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

14. Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

29. Think with your mind.
Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.