Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. I wish I had enough scarves for everyone. The random number generator picked #113 – Rebecca. Congratulations!
“Architecture is a social act and the material theater of human activity.” Spiro Kostof
It’s almost the end of the year again. That means I’ve been posting here for over 3 years. It truly doesn’t seem that long. Lately though, I have to admit this journal has felt a little stale and I’ve wondered if it has reached it’s end. I find a lot of value in writing about my process and going back over old posts to see how things evolved. I think in general there is a consistency to my work and my process is iterative. It is naturally how I work. But sometimes it’s good to do something different – to introduce a change. This is something I talk to my students about all the time.
In architecture you are never really done with a project. There just comes a point where you need to stop. For me, many ideas and ways of thinking from that project are then carried forward to the next context, with new constraints and forces acting upon it.
I have come to that point with this journal. I’m not done thinking or writing about process, but in this context it is time to stop. So this will be my last post for the year, and the last post here in this space.
To me this space has come to feel a little bit like an architectural space – a social act. I feel overwhelmed when I think of the people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, inspiration I’ve found, conversations I’ve had and opportunities that have arisen all from just writing here. Thank you isn’t really enough, but it’s all I have. So thank you.
I’m still thinking about what the next context will be, and wondering what new constraints and forces will arise. Although my process and thinking and ideas will continue just as they always do, I need to introduce a change. I will share that with you in January.
Wishing you all much happiness and peace in the new year,
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
When I was in the planning stages for my HANDCRAFT holiday collection, I had initially wanted to make some armwarmers or fingerless gloves. This is something I wear all the time, both inside and out since I’m always cold and you can sew, type and take photos without taking them off. I offered some in wool last year and they were quite popular.
In the end, I wasn’t completely happy with how these came out so they didn’t make it into the collection. The hemp + organic cotton jersey just isn’t as stretchy as the wool jersey was, so they don’t hold their shape as well.
I still like them though, and these will become gifts for family and friends. Armwarmers are really a great gift -they are ageless and can be unisex as well. If you leave out the thumb hole, they can be used as legwarmers, which would be perfect for those hard to shop for teenage girls. And legwarmers are adorable on babies.
Here are a few free patterns I found for making your own arm and legwarmers. Most of these can be made with thrifted t-shirts or sweaters for quick and inexpensive gifts:
A pattern using knee socks.
This one uses a felted sweater.
These are made from a t-shirt.
Leg and armwarmers for babies! Made from adult socks.
A knitting pattern for armwarmers with and without a thumbhole.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Hello December. I can’t believe it is almost the start of a new decade. Remember Y2K? It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.
Just a year ago, Habit was started by two women who wanted a format to document their daily lives through photographs and a few words. Each month they invited some friends to join them and I was part of the group that posted last April. Now, a year later, they’ve invited everyone back, and all 33 of us will be posting during the month of December.
I look forward to seeing the new dynamic that is sure to occur with everyone sharing the space at once-like one big crazy holiday party.
Friday, November 13th, 2009
marfa path print scarf, HANDCRAFT holiday 2009 collection
note: I now have a twitter account. This is just an experiment-I’ll see how it goes. It is here, although I haven’t actually posted anything yet….
I’d love to hear your thoughts on twitter. Do you use it? how and why?
Yesterday I had some “found time”. Does that ever happen to you? Where something that is scheduled gets canceled, and you suddenly find yourself with time you weren’t planning on? I used part of this time to clean my studio, which was a complete disaster. It helped to clear my head, and in a time where I’m feeling overwhelmed with work and life and other projects, this was exactly what I needed.
My holiday collection, HANDCRAFT, will launch next Thursday, November 19th. Since I’ve been thinking so much about holiday and gifts lately, I thought I’d post a few “gift guides” of items I’d love to give (or receive) this holiday season.
Since I love all things geometric, this first one is all about geometry:
- Geometric laser cut prints by molly m designs. I love every single one of these.
- Honeycomb necklaces by smallthings. These remind me of the pinhole piece that Heather Smith Jones made me.
- Hive cuff bracelet by silvercocoon. I can’t decide between the white or grey…..
- Cubeoctahedron ring by Bandada. I’m not normally a gold person, but this gold plated sterling silver has a nice dull finish that looks burnished.
- hope SEEDS lithography print by Heather Smith Jones. Heather does such exquisite work. I’m enamored with what I call her “Buckminster Fuller” geometric work.
- Faceted Vase by etcArts.
- Where I End and You Begin print by Lisa Congdon. Such beautiful, bold colors.
- A mountain for president wall vinyl by Principals of Geometry. Also see the video here.
- Lattice pamphlet blank books by Orange Beautiful. Great stocking stuffers.
- Oversized Optical Sweater by Micaela Greg. WANT.
And if you’d like to make something geometric to give this season, here is a tutorial for making your own geometric necklace. I actually like the one that Park and Cube made better…
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
I realized I don’t talk about fashion much here. That’s strange, because I do think about it. And I’m curious about what others think about it. How important is fashion to you?
A little of my fashion history:
- When I was very little, my mom made most of my clothes. She knit and sewed and I was thrilled to have interesting, unique items.
- When I was in elementary school I became obese, and only wanted to wear loose, shapeless things. I tended to wear a handful of items over and over. There was something about not having to figure out what to wear that was comforting.
- Towards the end of middle school I began to shed some weight and suddenly clothing became really interesting. I knew how to knit and sew (from my mom) and making things I could wear became really fun. My dad loved fashion (still does) and liked taking me shopping, searching out unique places and items that were different than the usual mall stuff. We would also go to art galleries and museums, and in my head I think I started to think of fashion and art as related.
- In college (architecture school) I was all about wearing plain blackish clothes and blending into the background. Too busy discussing design and being cerebral to care about fashion:)
- In grad school I went through a period where I thought fashion was frivolous. I wanted to save the world through design and thought fashion was not important, socially conscious work.
And now? Well, now I’ve come to realize how clothing can simply make you feel good. If you feel good in what you are wearing you are a happier person and a better friend/employee/spouse/partner/parent/person. It can make you feel confident. I think the best fashion is something that you don’t have to think too much about. You can put something on and feel yourself and yet special.
Personally I think I am at a collecting and layering stage. I like finding unique and interesting items that work with what I already have. Putting items together for an outfit is an enjoyable passtime for me at the moment, and I especially like texture and layers. I guess I’ve come full circle.
And those are two of my favorite fashion magazines up there – MetroPop and surface. Have I mentioned I have a bit of a magazine problem? um, yeah.
So, how do you think about fashion? Do you look at fashion mags? Which ones are your favorites?
Friday, October 16th, 2009
One of my favorite parts of design is the time when I test out ideas full scale, with real materials. I love playing with materials to see what will develop. I have boxes filled with little textural fabric swatches where I’ve tried out various techniques and dye processes. It’s fun to go back through them to see what I’ve forgotten.
The above image is a shot I took during the gleaning photoshoot of a parking lot I was especially enamored of. I’ve been experimenting with denim and wool, trying to recreate the texture.
My reading pile of design inspiration is getting quite tall, and I plan to spend some of my weekend going through it. My new issue of Uppercase magazine arrived yesterday and in this issue there is a nice little article written by Heather Smith Jones about me (pg. 14). You can preview the whole issue here.
I’m also still making my way through the NY Times Style magazine from a few Sundays ago. When I opened it I was surprised to see an article about Yestermorrow Design Build school, a school in Vermont that I attended for a summer when I was in Graduate school. That summer had a big impact on the way I thought and continue to think about sustainability. It was the late 90’s, and the whole “green” revolution had barely begun. For everyone practicing and teaching architecture out there, being eco conscious was just a way of life. Simple solutions for problems like solar gain (large overhangs, trees for shade) were the norm, rather than high tech, new fangled “green” products.
I was a little nervous when I arrived and realized I might not quite fit in to the crunchy granola aesthetic that seemed to be the norm. But everyone was friendly and welcoming (if not a little crazy) and didn’t laugh too much at my first lame attempts to swing a hammer. Making buildings at full scale was an amazing learning experience and something that has shaped my working process ever since.
The other thing I am going to do this weekend is of course go see “Where the Wild Things Are” with my sons. It feels like I’ve been waiting forever. I just bought the soundtrack a few days ago, and it’s been on constant repeat.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Monday, October 12th, 2009
We woke up to white skies this morning, with everything coated in heavy, wet snow. Even though it’s quite early in the season, I can’t help feeling that flutter in my chest when I see it. I love snow, but the first snowfall of the season is pure magic.
I was trying to pin down what I like about having everything covered in white. I think it’s like a black and white photograph. All the colors are toned down and what stands out is texture, light, shape and space.
The snow helps me see more clearly.
Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
Even though the College of Design at the University of Minnesota has a
new, contemporary building designed by Steven Holl Architects, there isn’t enough space for all the studios to be housed there. So the first studio in the undergrad program (the one I normally teach) is held in the old YMCA building, which was built in 1922.
The building is made of stone and has steel framed windows. Our studio is in a grand 2+ story space on the main floor with a walk-in sized fireplace, paneled walls and ornate chandeliers. It’s all very dark and timber-y, and we fondly refer to it as the “Harry Potter Room”.
The students are always a bit upset that they aren’t in the new building, but over time we try to convince them how wonderful this space in the Y is in terms of light, space and proportion.
I really love the light in here and I think I must have 100 photographs of the windows.
More photos of both buildings here.
Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Today I have a bunch of random tech things:
My new favorite web site is Minimal Mac.
I’ve been using We Heart It, an online inspiration album, for quite awhile, and it seems like the site has been down more than not. But recently they made changes to their site, and it seems like all is working now. I wish you could organize your images somehow, but maybe that will come in the future. My stream is here. Let me know if you are a member, I’ve just started adding people as contacts.
Do you use Google Reader? I’m late to this I know. I was on Bloglines, which is cumbersome but was familiar to me. Google Reader is so much easier to use and organize, I find I actually read more and read quicker, and don’t feel as overwhelmed. And with Helvetireader, it’s minimal and beautiful too. But maybe people don’t read blogs anymore….they seem quite ancient, in digital years.
As a non-facebook user, the article Facebook Exodus in the Sunday Times was quite interesting to me. Many of the reasons people are leaving facebook are reasons I never joined in the first place.
I use flickr a little like I might use facebook if I was on there, but it has the common denominator of photography linking everyone, which I like. I wonder if people are tiring of this as well though. It seems like online social networks have a time frame, just like real life social networks.
Maybe everyone has moved on to Twitter. I’ve been tempted to join this site but haven’t. I like the quick, off the cuff nature of posts. Seems more like a conversation. There is a club like aspect of it on some people’s feeds that I don’t like though. Like a secret language only the cool kids in high school understand. I also don’t have a cell phone, and it seems like this is set up for people to send and receive quick text messages. And do I really need another time suck?
I do think this twitter site is hilarious though. Seems perfect for this format.
so, what social networks do you use, and how?
Monday, August 31st, 2009
One of my favorite events of the summer is the Minnesota State Fair. And one of my favorite things to do at the fair is to go through the poultry barn. I love birds, as do my boys, and we go up and down every row, looking at each and every chicken, duck, goose, dove, turkey and pigeon (I’m sure I’m forgetting a species).
I am always amazed at the variety of chickens and how varied their patterning and colorings are. It’s hard to pick a favorite. I loved the soft grey feathers with the darker grey outlines (upper right image) but the little one with the black outlined feathers stole my heart with one look.