Sunday, November 25, 2012

Acorn Ornaments

This past year I have done a lot of spray painting. Mirror frames, rusty vintage kitchen carts, display stands and on and on.

They were calling for such beautiful weather for Thanksgiving day this year that I made sure to bring a couple of projects up to the cabin with me. It was indeed great weather and while spray painting something completely different I noticed the paint covering some of the acorns strewn across the gravel driveway, they looked pretty awesome. So of course I gathered some together and painted them glossy white, but I only had enough paint to do the one side of the group.

I had a little silver paint left and so finished the other side with that, and it ended up, to me at least, looking like snow on a silver acorn.


I was so taken with this unintended project that I did a quick collection of more acorns and tops before I ran out the door for one of many Thanksgiving dinners for the day. I was being picky about the ones I chose and so ended up with a small collection.

That night I decided to collect a bucket full... in the morning as I was pretty full from the many dinners I had partaken in. While I had been told it was going to snow the next day I did not realize they meant in the wee early hours of the morning. I awoke to a few inches of snow on the ground and thus no more acorns.

I intend to use fishing line to complete this project but I only have twine at the cabin studio. I think you can still see how pretty a decorated tree would be with these though. I also think a nice red and gold metallic paint would look great mixed in with the silver.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Connie Helke Pottery

This weekend was beautiful weather to head to Marine, MN on the St. Croix and visit the studio of Connie Helke. Yesterday was the final day of her holiday sale and today she'll be turning the heat off. In one of those 'small world' moments that happen to me all the time here in the Twin Cities, it turns out that Connie spent the first seven years of her life growing up in Rhinelander, WI. Specifically on a little peninsula on Boom lake, the same lake my mom grew up on. Additionally her father was a pilot for the Rhinelander Paper Mill executive plane that my grandfather, a paper mill employee, used to catch rides on to Florida in the years previous to when he and my grandmother began Wintering there. It also turns out that one of my Aunts on my dad's side now resides in one of the four houses that occupy that very peninsula, I can't wait to find out which house she's in...

This is the studio shop that Lyle, Connie's husband, built for her. It's so gorgeous and has amazing light.

These pieces are from a new series Connie started in 2012 that she calls 'Dancing Ladies.' I really, really wanted one of the two pieces below, but of course, they were sold by the time I got there.

I did, however, score this amazing piece. As a friend who was over for dinner last night commented, it looks a lot like the style I'm currently illustrating the updated Eleven Odd Mushrooms in. Yes!

On our way home my husband suggested stopping at a little antique store in St. Paul that he's had his eye on. I picked up all of these pieces for under $10. AWESOME. Vintage typography and design can be so beautiful and finding paper tools, one of those pieces is a Bridge scorer, is all the better.

[crummy photos complements of my forgetting my camera up North again]
This last photo is also a Connie Helke piece, a series she worked on last year in which she pressed knitted pieces into the porcelain. The exterior has no glaze but the inside has the most beautiful glaze, like a geode, is how I think of it. Look at how my minature vintage tools (perfect for mini sketch books) fit so perfectly in this piece. I had one little white shelf left in my studio that needed something, and this is perfect.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Multidisciplinary = Design Excellence

Today I was going to talk about information design, which of course was going to centralize around the great Edward Tufte, but his website derailed me. He has this absolutely wonderful video posted on his site, and now I find myself waxing nostalgic.

Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See from Edward Tufte on Vimeo.

This film covers seeing beyond the object, finding form, and creating and manipulating spatial relationships within drawing, graphic design, typography and information design. There is a little bit of color theory and practice in there too. This would have been a great piece to watch in my early college years.

I don't often pine for my past but I found myself thinking back quite fondly on some past professors. Rebecca Alm: Color Theory and 2D Foundations, Piotr Szyhalski: Poster & Web Design (also my first introduction to Wim Wenders - is this available yet? *swoon*), Dean Arnold: 3D Foundations and Furniture Design and last but not even remotely least is Peter Seitz: Foundation Design Principles and Master Abstracter.

Anytime I think about what I learned in school and have practiced personally and professionally I am racked with guilt. One of the top things that is etched into each students brain from the very beginning is to keep sketch books and to fill them up often. I've been alternately awesome and horrible about this over the years. The books below are from a particularly focused period of time and have provided hours of inspiration for other projects, just proof that sketching can be a powerful muse in and of itself.