Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bromeliads & Terrariums

I stopped in at Wagners Nursery on Penn here in Minneapolis for the first time this week. I was just down the street on other business when I decided to quickly pop in and buy a replacement bromeliad for the one that didn't make it through my learning curve on keeping them alive. They used to hang in our guest room windows, a great place for them to be forgotten. The glass vessels below are an updated hanging terrarium version from what I have but still very similar and from the same source, CB2.

Now my bromeliads hang in the bathroom window where it's bright but diffused and often steamy so that when I forget to spray them they can keep on keeping on. Anyway, I stopped in at Wagners and ended up with two bromeliads, a small one and a big one that doesn't fit into any of my hanging terrariums but being an air plant, is perfectly happy sitting on a shelf.

I also bought a planted bowl terrarium. I've long wanted a proper terrarium but I haven't had the room. Well, we finally bought some shelves to display the minerals and fossils that were crowding my plants and the sales woman at Wagners is going to hook me up with some esthetically pleasing plant lights which means all of my succulents can get moved in with the others and, well, I think I finally just snapped, I've wanted a multi plant terrarium for so long.

I'll see how this goes but I may fill in the other side with some moss I've had my eye on, in the Spring of course as it's currently sitting under a couple of feet of snow. I also want to put a top on it so it maintains it's own little ecosystem but there's some household debate about whether or not the plants would get enough oxygen.

I've had a long love of terrariums and I think it's because my Grandma Rose had an amazing one she kept on her stair landing at the farm. Unfortunately it was destroyed when my cousins and I were playing upstairs and, this is all very foggy, we somehow managed to not only crush it (it was plastic) but we also sent it flipping down the staircase spraying dirt, plant bits and miniature deer sprinkled with gnome shards everywhere.

I have a very clear memory of getting kicked out of the house en masse immediately following the incident. All five of us standing forlornly in the front yard quietly arguing about fault while sneaking furtive looks at the house to see if my grandma was watching.

The Biome Smart Terrarium
, designed by Samuel Wilkinson, contains sensors that monitor its needs, such as water, light or nutrients via an iPad or iPhone. It was created for the very awesome exhibition titled Slow Tech – Designs for Digital Downtime

This Biome Smart Terrarium pictured and linked above is very similar in size and shape to the terrarium my cousins and I destroyed however my grandmothers had it's own base so that the dome was about 2-3 feet off of the floor. If you ever see anything like what I just described please send me an email, I've been searching for one for a very long time!


Sometimes just figuring out the right keywords does the trick, I found the terrarium my grandmother had shortly after finishing this post!

It was an original Tiara Casa Terrarium, thanks to the ModFruGal blog I not only learned where the original came from but also a source to one that is identical at $150 is steep though and I have nowhere to put it so for now I'll just be happy knowing they're available in a seemingly endless supply.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Eva Zeisel

Self described as a 'maker of useful things', a ceramic artist and high-end ceramic design mass production pioneer, Eva Zeisel had a long and productive career. She was still designing up until she left us at the age of 105.


Her client portfolio was vast and in later years included Crate and Barrel and Design Within Reach. Eva taught at Pratt, developing their ceramics department, and has had numerous exhibitions including her first one-woman show at the MOMA. While the word organic has been severely abused in the past five years Eva Zeisel's design approach was truly organic. The salt & pepper shakers below are how Eva landed on my radar. My mother found a set at a garage sale and thought they looked like something I would like, she was right.


Eva Zeisel had a prolific career and her fascinating life is well documented, I would love to find an institute in the Twin Cities that is showing her documentary Throwing Curves: Eva Zeisel. As you peruse the images below and perhaps start your own research on Eva I'm sure you will find that you have not only seen her work but quite possibly own a piece or two yourself.


I found this on the blog, it's from

A great resource for all things Eva can be found at

A great article in NY Magazine on Eva is here

A wonderful NPR All Things Considered piece is here

Monday, February 11, 2013

Seattle Spring

I spent a long weekend in Seattle and came home on a red-eye flight this morning. Mt. Ranier snow hikes, great food, wonderful company and many long walks out on the town... it was a great time but I'm happy to be home.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

NEW Happy the Hodag T-shirts & Watercolor Studies

Announcing the 2013 Happy the Hodag t-shirt design!

It's been a couple of years since I've launched a new design, I was doing one new design each year previously. I stopped because my inventory went a little wonky when I stopped selling at festivals and so I took a break on creating new items.

Obviously I screenprinted these myself, yesterday actually, it's part of my new inventory control method. Screen what I need, keep blanks on hand to be more responsive to requests. I was playing with mixing my inks so these are a little funky yet, I'm in the process of deciding exactly what I want to offer.

I experimented with a silver ink, the intent being for the boys to look back lit by the fire, and I think they do, but I also think Buddy looks a little creepy. The white is my preference and I'll probably either mix in a wee bit of silver or get some white metallic ink. I'm really liking the brighter, darker colored fabrics, I don't think I'll go with the softer colors this year and no brown, I'm done with brown (for now).

The new t-shirts will 'launch' in May and so that is when you can expect the new design to be available for purchase on my website and at my retailers.

I also did some scene painting practice yesterday for Eleven Odd Mushrooms 2013. Most of what I did was too heavy handed for what I'm envisioning, somehow I just couldn't let it stay soft, I kept layering and layering. These things are a process though, I must have needed to get it out of my system. All of these pieces are tiny details of larger ones. I'm starting to see how it will come together, it's exciting but daunting, a longer book means a lot more artwork.