Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Studio

As the temperatures drop and nature goes into hibernation I return to my studio. I pretty much abandon it in the warmer months except for a few freelance projects here and there, but certainly nothing too creative is happening until it turns cold.

I have many lists of things I want to accomplish this Winter, all piled up on a shelf and ready to be tackled. One thing I demand from my work space is that it be clean and organized. Each project may be as messy and space consuming as it needs to be however everything must be put away when it's finished. It's easier for me to go from drawing to painting on to writing and then sewing in an organized space. Each day is a clean new slate.

A few of my favorite things in this space include my beautiful pantone cabinet knobs from Anthropology. I bought them when I lived in Chicago having first laid eyes on them in a CS product spread. Love at first site, I went out and immediately bought a dozen even though I had nowhere to use them at the time. The deer skull on the top shelf is another favorite. My father, a farmer, spied this gem at the edge of field and forest during Spring planting one year while I was in college. The last time he saw it he said 'Wow! That's really neat, where did you get that?" They say the memory is the first to go... just kidding Dad!

I just recently made a new cover for my office chair, underneath that cover is a bright orange two-tone chair stained and filthy. I love it. I inherited it from a design studio I worked at when I first moved out West. We were doing a little redecorating and it was getting tossed, I'm a sucker for orange.

The orange chair below is from the Milwaukee Airport pilots lounge. My mother found it at a garage sale while up at their cabin. The woman who was selling it told my mom that her husband had been a pilot and when they renovated the airport way, way back in the day he had rescued this chair. Are you starting to see a theme of rescued chairs?

The gold chair below is from the Rhinelander Public Library. Joan at Brown Street Books bought it from them years ago, note the dangerous 4 legs ill suited for public use, and when she closed up shop last year I bought it from her.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Steven Heller

I love Steven Heller. Not only does he write and edit the best books on design but he is an amazing and insightful advocate of graphic design.

My first Steven Heller book was Graphic Style. My copy is well loved, having purchased it in my college years and having referenced it a hundred times over since.

But this post is about a more recent volume of his and Louise Fili (can you say FABULOUS designer?) I was reminded of it after a post I made a couple of weeks ago in which I vaguely reference styles bygone but now back in heavy circulation. I would love to tell you more about said referenced styles but when I picked up Stylepedia, I found it hard to direct my attention to any one entry but rather to get lost in the history of so many.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Last Fall and now again this Fall I've noticed a significant increase in squirrel insanity. When the first chill arrives they begin to liberally take their lives into their own hands as they make mad dashes, in droves, into the streets barely missing moving car tires, and some not so much.

There's also a park I frequent that on early Fall mornings hundreds of squirrels appear, spread out into a pleasing composition on the leafy expanse of park grass, and just sit there. For a very long time. All of them, just sitting there in the morning Fall light, it's weird and the first time I noticed it I was a little spooked. So here I am in my second Minneapolis Fall and alas, the squirrels are once again answering an early morning call unheard by any other animal to do nothing but sit, evenly spread out, in the park.

It comes as no surprise then that this is also the time of year that I dig out A Really Super Book About Squirrels.

I love this book so much, I really do. When I lived out West working in publishing one of the other book designers had it sitting on her shelf like you would a birthday card. Every now and then she would bring it down and read it, and it made her smile. Every now and then I would take it down and read it, and it made me smile. And so I finally bought my own, and you should too :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hibernation Test Complete

I was in Northern Wisconsin over the weekend and awoke on Saturday morning to blustery winds and... snow. It's always a delight to see the first snowfall of the season but the feeling soon faded when I remembered that it's only the first weekend of October. If this weather keeps up it's going to be a very, very long Winter.

Compared to true deep Winter though, I know that I should be outside soaking in the last bit of color out of the forest, pocketing whatever warmth the sun is offering and taking long brisk walks in reasonable shoes before it's nothing but slow snow trudges and ice dancing that often ends in a bruised ass. But alas, I tried hibernation on early this year and found it fit well. Unfortunately that also makes me boring and so I had to dig around inside for something to post today.

This is a collection of lichen, mosses, shells, grasses, leaves, etc. Most of the things in here have been collected over time in disparate locations, different seasons and with a variety of intentions. However, here they sit in this box and I have to say I'm so fond of the collection of it all, and being able to haul it out in the dead of Winter and look through it that this may in fact be the only purpose it ever serves.

The rest of the images today are from a couple of pieces of retro packaging I picked up over the Summer. I love the colors and styles of both pieces, it's rare to find specimens like this in such good shape. It's also easy to see some of the same style influences in these as in modern day fashion and design.