Archive for March, 2009

scientific adornment

March 31, 2009

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ve probably come to know that I love when design and science collide. One medium that lends itself naturally to that marriage is jewelry. Be they realistic or abstract representations, chemical or biological, natural or laboratorical (!), all of these lovely pieces were inspired by the shapes and forms found in science. The next time you need a geeky—yet fetching—gift (for anyone, including yourself), perhaps consider a purchase in the name of science. It’s for the greater good.






Row 1: Nervous System, Beth Cyr
Row 2: seapod, emily e.p.s.
Row 3: Molecular Muse, Itsnoname
Row 4: Nervous System (both)
Row 5: Nicholas and Felice, Contrariwise


once you go blackbird fly…

March 30, 2009


It takes pictures on standard 35mm film, and seemingly can do all the graininess, double exposures, vignetting and oddball colors we’ve come to love in film (I’m convinced Holga and Lomo benefitted from the rise of digital photography while those cameras that tried to rise above film’s vicissitudes were destroyed by it)


Oh did I mention it can be set to shoot square and to expose the film out to the sprocket holes?


It’s called the blackbird, fly. It’s available here for those of us in the US. There’s a great flickr pool from which the above shots were taken (credits plastic nico, artpunk, and miho+miho+) And… it’s really cute and it comes in orange.



Someone get Samantha one of these, stat.

via sub-studio

Keep your pants on.

March 30, 2009

The other day at work I was asked whether I had a special place at home where I kept all my cool belt buckles. The answer is no, but I should. Belt buckles are a great place for a guy or girl to accessorize, and etsy is a great place to connect to a belt buckle maker that has your sensibilities.

Narrowing my search only to belt buckles made from recycled/reclaimed/upcycled materials, I’ve found ten buckle/shop picks for y’all.





Row 1:
– only one of the woods is specified as reclaimed, so it just scrapes by on my criteria. However it’s one of the cleanest, sharpest belt buckles I’ve seen on etsy. If you want to be buying direct from the artisan but look like you’ve been shopping in a bougie boutique, this shop is for you.

MaxineDear – The belt buckle I was wearing the other day when asked was from these guys. I love their well-considered croppings of vintage textbook covers, often to very aesthetic, abstract effect.

Row 2:
randitan – I love the type and colors of old license plates. While this is maybe too colorful and patchwork for my taste, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it as a gift to a hippieish friend.

MuKee – all this duo’s jewelry and buckles is from reclaimed heavily used skateboards. The fascinating combination of pattern and wear makes for some beautiful pieces.

Row 3:
BuckleUp – I nearly got this the other day; I love it. But as neither a musician nor a vinyl-phile I felt I’d be faking the funk as it were, to be wearing a belt made from a record. That said, this buckle is so rockstar it’s ridiculous. It would outclass nearly all my pants.

celtsmith – Mad props for anyone who can make what appears to be the logo for a 007 Villain organization out of two forks, and then have that work to close a belt.

Row 4:
fledglingstudio – I have a buckle from her in the mail right now. Like MaxineDear she repurposes mid-20th century book illustration. But her croppings are a little more straightforward, usually capturing a scene rather than an odd slice of it. I think the one of Jesus about to knock on a door with a brass knocker is sort of hilarious.

adornnatural – These two are serious woodworkers (they have another shop that’s furniture design, also extremely nice) and their belt buckles and inlaid wood jewelry all uses reclaimed wood. This one for instance is from “at least 150 year old Pine that was used for flooring in our shop in Leeds, Massachusetts.” If the link to this one is dead by the time you read this it’s because I love it so much I have just bought it.

Row 5:
– I for one don’t like guns, really. At all. That said, if I knew someone who was badass enough to want to adorn their waists with shell casings, I know what shop I’d turn to. They are sort of beautiful in a scary way.

littlegreenthings – I like her sense of humor a lot. What she clips from old books and magazines has a lot of personality. Take this one: a belt buckle with a photo of a pewter championship belt buckle on a pair of houndstooth plaid pants on it. Awesome.


March 30, 2009



I was in Munich last year and came across what may go down in history as my favorite store: Obacht. You know you’ve found the perfect store when you covet, or are lucky enough to already own, everything they sell. Lots of deer, lots of woodgrain, lots of clean lines, lots of hearts fluttering dreamily above my head.

The co-owner of the store (Marion) explained that Obacht roughly translates to something made with “care and attention to detail,” and never was there a more fitting name. The store’s design is my idea of heaven (the owners gathered and chopped those logs themselves) and each item they sell is meticulously chosen (they highlight and support local artistans, often commissioning them to create exclusive products). T-shirts are packaged in amazing glass-lidded canning jars, and each item you purchase is lovingly hand-wrapped (and in my case even re-wrapped when she tried to prep something for packing in a suitcase, but worried that the first wrap job wasn’t “beautiful enough”).

Unfortunately, I don’t speak German, so I’m not sure what is available online and what is available only in the store, but if you’re ever in Munich, stop by and say, “Guten Tag!” Obacht is a wondrous little place and a perfect state of mind.

Behind every clever girl…

March 30, 2009


For me, this card by egg-a-go-go, falls into a similar category as the magnets for married people, but I think it is just hysterical.

In addition to the cards, this design is available as a print and, according to her shop announcement, there will be t-shirts soon too.

Christiana Couceiro

March 29, 2009


While we’re on the subject of modernist collage in the current day, let me give big props to Ms. Christiana Couceiro. I’m not sure where I first saw a link to her stuff at Seven Days, but it looks like art director/design curator superstar Steven Heller caught on too. She made the cover for the last issue of the New York Times Book Review (3.19.09) story on Barthleme and I sincerely doubt it’s the last we’ll be seeing her. Her colors and compositions are remarkable, and she’s both high-modern and refreshingly contemporary at once.



Some more pics and thoughts after the jump. Bunches more at her site.



March 28, 2009

Sunshine and Rain

Spoonflower, seems like such an awesome new site. You upload a design and they print custom fabric for you. I really want to try it out. It costs $18/yard, but you can get a swatch for $5, so I think you can try it out before committing fully.

The fabrics above are by Spoonflower user Katherine and Strawberry Luna. You can check out some more of the fabrics people have made at the Spoonflower Flickr gallery.

matthew partridge

March 28, 2009





Matthew Partridge’s collage work is impressive. He’s definitely been bookmarked on my computer!

Inky City

March 27, 2009

I love living in the city, but on the other hand I’m glad I don’t live in THE the City. That is to say: I have a love/hate relationship with the gritty, eroding city cityscape. Part of the love part of that is, I love drawings and prints of urban spaces, especially when they’re done sloppily in ink (clean crisp geometry of buildings has a place in my heart too but it doesn’t remind me of the reality of city life). Giant creatures optional.

Some of my favorite chroniclers of offkilter urbanity follow: if you have any suggestions of folks I should check out, note em in the comments.

pietari posti [I am amazed we don’t have one of her prints yet; I can only surmise it’s because we can’t decide which]

kozyndan [they do really great very wide format urban panoramas, usually involving hundreds of bunnies, giant color amoebas, or some sort of strange mutants]

josh cochran [his work, like pposti or james jean or not too many others I can think of, is perfection to me]

paul pope [Does cities very well. Also, people doing weird sigils whilst sitting on the surface of mars.]

brian wood [loves urban blight more than most anyone]

Now back to your regularly scheduled loveliness.

gray day

March 27, 2009

A few gray finds from etsy:






Row 1: Allen Company Inc, Crafterall
Row 2: Hillarie Tasche, Sleep Dream Play
Row 3: A Little Luster, Love Janice
Row 4: Overcast, Cyberoptix Tie Lab
Row 5: Minus, Run Amok

Font-y Friday: Japan

March 26, 2009



So, we went to Japan a year ago with our friends and RISD classmates Tim, John and Alex. Three graphic designers, an architect and a uh fashion designer/graphic designer/architect. For those of you who are one or more of these things, take it from me: Japan is so frickin’ awesome.

We went around taking pictures of everything because seriously everything was so rad. We shot manhole covers. We shot shrines that seemed more picturesque than possible. And being designers we took pictures of a lot of type. On this, our second installment of font-y Friday, we’d like to show you a few.


copper octopus!

March 26, 2009


Thanks to Noah for being an art pusher. Once I saw this print by Barnaby Ward (Bosley, copper), I had to have it. Cute girl with her cephalopod friend? How could I pass up something so tailor-made for me?

Each limited-edition print in this series (available at Pictures on Walls) is a three- or five-color screenprint with pearlescent, metallic ink, and is signed and numbered. For non-limited-edition (thus, less expensive) work, head over to the artist’s own site.

Science + Art

March 25, 2009




Artist Michael Bartalos has teamed up with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco for a special project that brings together two of my favorite things: science and art. His current project is an ongoing piece called The Long View, wherein he will create sculptures using recyclable goods found in Antarctica. He’ll document his progress on the Academy of Sciences blog, as well as on his own website. I, as a lover of found-object art with a purpose, am excited to see something that promotes sustainability awareness with flair.

kate towers

March 25, 2009





I have been a fan of Kate Towers’ work since the first time I came across it. I am amazed every time I read that she makes every piece by hand! Her work is so beautifully thought out…right down to the locations of her shoots, styling, everything. Although I’ve not been able to purchase any of her pieces (yet), they just seem like the type of clothes that would make you feel beautiful and unique the moment you put them on.

Dear Gretchen,

March 25, 2009


I came across Gretchen Nash‘s work last night, and was basically blown away by (and pretty envious of) her book Dear Gretchen,. I haven’t seen the actual book, but it looks pretty fabulous — I am a big fan of art that catalogs fairly mundane life events, old letters, and interesting charts and graphs (in this case, charts made of paper).




This is what she has to say about her book:

An extensive book that investigates letters that I have kept inside a luggage case since my childhood. The process of the book included finding the word and phrase frequency of the letters, categorizing them by sender, by date, and finally writing personal reflections about each of the senders. Graphs were constructed to reveal the word frequency and each of the 187 letters were thoroughly documented inside of the book.

Gretchen is a recent graduate of California Institute of the Arts, and her book Dear Gretchen, was selected as a finalist in the 2008 Adobe Design Achievement Awards.

via Quipsologies


March 25, 2009

I believe it was Jessica Troy who first brought the greatness of someecards to our attention. In a sea of painfully unfunny, unclever e-greeting sites that offer cards you’d be embarrassed to send, they stand out as the kind of place that actually makes you want to search for a reason (any reason) to send an e-card.

For all of you prudes out there, be forewarned that some of the cards on the site are a little graphic, but that makes their often ironic imagery that much more amusing.




Lightwriter iPhone app

March 24, 2009


I know where I’m spending my next ninety nine cents. I’ll show pictures with funner text than this one once I’ve got it working. And I’ll be the one totally flashing messages at incoming and outgoing BART trains….

Oh, readership: do you have iphones/ipod touches? Is it cool for us to post about why you should, if you don’t?

megan whitmarsh

March 24, 2009




I’m not sure where I read about Megan Whitmarsh‘s work, but it’s amazing. I love her simplistic approach–yet very detailed embroidery work, use of color, and touch of humor in almost every piece.

Creebobby Comics Archetype Times Tables

March 24, 2009



These Times Tables are fantastic. Each time we look at them, we choose a new favorite combination. Right now, we’re really liking Platypus-T. Rex. Thanks to Suzee for bringing these to our attention.

Tiny Showcase

March 24, 2009

Jen Corace

I love having art in my house, but don’t have the budget to be buying it all the time. My favorite go-to place for affordable art is Tiny Showcase. Tiny Showcase releases a new limited-edition print each week on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM (eastern time). They work with a variety of artists so if you don’t like the print one week, chances are pretty good you’ll like one in the next few.

The print above is a sold-out letterpress piece by Jen Corace that is still available as a t-shirt.