SHOP UPDATE

In May, when I posted that I'd be reopening the shop later this summer, I really meant it! What I didn't realize at the time was that I was going to really push the definition of summer, stretch it to its September limits. But technically, my friends, still summer...

For all you faithful beast lovers, thank you for being so patient. The wait is almost over. The beast factory (aka me) is finally catching up on attaching legs to bodies, stuffing heads, and sewing up butts. There are still more faces to put on, frowns and smiles alike, and lots and lots of photography and editing that needs to happen.

Long story short: the shop will be restocked and reopened around the middle of September. If you have signed up for the newsletter, you'll get the notification of exactly when. And this time I promise to send out the newsletter with a little more advanced warning!

BLURRY DREAMY

There was a time I was quite obsessed with taking Polaroid pictures and as a result I have a box of old shots that blurrily document 2000 through 2009 pretty darn well. The collection is an out-of-focus diary of sorts and lots of shots were taken on expired film (I would hoard the stuff when I found it for sale).

The box has been sitting on a shelf, untouched, for years, until a couple of days ago when I was hunting online for some dreamy summer stock photography for a project, when I suddenly realized that I am my own photo bank!

I've been working on some marketing materials for SIMON showroom in New York for the past year or so and was happy that they wanted to try something new with a multi-page format for the Spring Summer '17 mailer. A perfect way to showcase my stash of Polaroids!

HOUSE DREAMING

Eventually Mr. D and I will leave our idyllic little (rented) farmhouse and make the leap into home ownership. The plan is to find a little piece of land with an old house on it that we can fix up, or a little piece of land with nothing and then find an old house and have it moved onto the property. I'm fascinated with the logistics of moving houses.

BUT then I saw this lake house by JRKVC and it itched my inner architect and now I kinda want to build a house. Or at least put that into the house-hunting equation. Drastic renovation?

Right now our house is this lovely little square, too small for corridors and each room flows into the next. Perhaps that is why I love this rectangle house with no corridors: each room is accessed from the central shared space, with extra sleeping and play spaces above.

The color of the built-in shelving alone convinced me I loved this house, but it just got better and better: the wall behind the wood-burning stove is masonry, absorbing heat, and the door jamb details on the bedroom interior is a nice surprise, not to mention more built-ins.

And of course the canoe storage and view. I'm rather obsessed with getting a canoe these days (especially after these devastating non-stop storms in Central Texas) and I'm a sucker for a porch and large overhang.

At the risk of making this my longest post ever, my extended dream would be to marry this house with another house by the same architect.

Again, the porch and the recessed door details and color! I do love the history, quirks, and the wear of old houses, but I'm surprising myself here by suddenly wanting something new. And I am totally in love with the charm of these traditional building forms, the warmth of the materials, and the smart, unfussy details.

via dezeen
lake house, here, and small glazed gable house here

SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS

This newly installed land art piece in the Nevada desert just about made my day.
Well, this and the fact that Mr. D almost finished building the tool shed today, but more on that another time.

Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

Installed just outside Las Vegas, it's called Seven Magic Mountains by artist Ugo Rondinone, and consists of fluorescent limestone boulders stacked vertically and standing between thirty and thirty-five feet high.

"Located a short distance from Nevada’s legendary Jean Dry Lake where Jean Tinguely and Michael Heizer created significant sculptures, Seven Magic Mountains is one of the largest land-based art installations in the United States completed in over 40 years. The work pays homage to the history of Land Art while also offering a contemporary critique of the simulacra in nearby Las Vegas."

I'm also excited to learn about the Nevada Museum of Art and it's Center for Art + Environment which is "becoming known for its expertise and holdings in materials related to art and the land, not just in the United States but around the world."

Next time I have bit of free time when I'm in California, I may just have to drive up so I can stand next to a huge pink boulder...and then I may just have to drive up to Reno to visit the museum. I feel a road trip coming on.

p.s. I have to say that I'm reminded of the work by Chioazza and their Domestic Monuments series and Cairn, which they installed last year.

p.p.s And I know not everyone thinks painted rocks are as cool as I do, take Mr D. for example, who gave me a huge eye roll when I showed him the pic of Seven Magic Mountains. To each their own.

 

BEASTS IN PRODUCTION

Whenever I am in Los Angeles for work, I always stop by my favorite thrift store, the Goodwill at Hollywood and Sunset, to peruse the sweater aisles. I have found the best sweaters there and so many beasts can thank this store for helping to bring them to life.

On my last trip I picked up these three. The patterned one in the middle looks like it had been shrunken, accidentally probably, and thus given away. And of course, I accidentally shrunk it again after I brought it home and washed it again. It's going to make a great medium sized beast pillow! And full disclosure: I may end up keeping and wearing the pink cardigan because the color is just so great. I can't decide. I often have this problem... I find some really great sweaters that I really have trouble cutting up.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying that new beasts are in production! I've been getting lots of emails and Etsy convos lately and I wanted to let y'all know that I'm working on it! I've closed the shop down until I get a chance to restock and will be reopening later this summer.

Sign up for the newsletter if you haven't already!

AIRCRAFT BONEYARD

What I love about my job is that every project is so different. And the research often leads me to some very interesting places. Most recently the Aviation Warehouse in Adelanto, California.

We were looking for airplane parts to include in a display for an aviation-themed restaurant, a project I've been working on for a while.

While we were looking for smaller bits, like panel instruments, nose cones, propellers and such, I was really taken by the eerie shells of planes. Many of them crashed, many of them decommissioned.

I certainly have a thing for boneyards. Remember my trip to the Neon Museum in Las Vegas? For me, there is something so beautifully melancholy about the discarded, broken, and forgotten objects in our everyday lives that we memorialize by gathering them in one spot.

FLOATING FLOWER GARDEN

Wishing I could be walking through this Floating Flower Garden by teamLab.

It was an interactive experience where the suspended flowers and plants, through sensors, move upwards as you approach, and back down when you pass by, creating a personal flower envelope as you move through the space. First exhibited at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, and then Maison et Object, last year.

Images by teamLab

Images by teamLab

I love this combination of digital technology and the natural world that we've been seeing in recent years with interactive installations. This reminds me of Rain Room a bit. What I love about these types of installations is that the digital technology presents itself through not-your-typical digital interfaces, but familiar and naturally occurring things (water, plants, etc.) and is fueled directly by our physical participation and sensory expectations... the surprise of a moving flower or plant, ushering you through space, or the surprise of not getting wet in the rain.

It also reminds me of an installation I saw in Paris almost 20 years ago. I tried to look it up online and I can't find a record of it, so now I'm starting to think I'm making this up, or at least have an exaggerated memory of what I think I saw and heard.

BUT if I remember this correctly, there was a temporary installation outside the Centre Pompidou, a forest of Christmas trees. It was December, so not a surprising sight. But as you talked through, the trees whispered to you: Merry Christmas in different languages, ever so softly. It completely took me by surprise and I stood there in the trees for a while.
Talking trees. It was magical.
Which is sort of what I think walking through the Floating Flower Garden must feel like. 

p.s. I'm really hoping someone can back me up on the existence of this Christmas tree installation and confirm that I was NOT hearing voices in my head back in 1997.

JOSEF FRANK

The New York Times arrives in our driveway every morning and I am guilty of either not reading it at all, or turning to a very select number of sections, namely the Food and Arts sections. I know... it's terrible.

But yesterday I didn't feel guilty at all and I was rewarded with loveliest of spreads about Josef Frank, Austrian architect and textile and furniture designer. I actually didn't know much about him, and given my architectural background and soft spot for the decorative arts, I'm kinda mad at my younger self for not having discovered his work sooner.

Textile: "Brazil", 1943–1945. © Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden. Interior, Villa Beer, photograph by Stefan Oláh.

Textile: "Brazil", 1943–1945. © Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden. Interior, Villa Beer, photograph by Stefan Oláh.

The article points to an extensive exhibition, Josef Frank: Against Design, currently at the MAK in Vienna. The curator, Sebastian Hackenschmidt describes Josef Frank as “one of the most underrated architects and designers of the 20th century. His work is impossible to categorize, as he refused to align with any of the design movements of the time, or to develop an identifiable style.”

Sofa, fabric covering "Celotocaulis", 1940s. © Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden

Sofa, fabric covering "Celotocaulis", 1940s. © Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden

Photography courtesy MAK / Aslan Kudrnofsky

Photography courtesy MAK / Aslan Kudrnofsky

The NY Times article continues: "His output was bafflingly eclectic, from Cubist-influenced houses to reinventions of Shaker chests and 18th-century English wooden chairs. Determined to use design as a means of enriching daily life, Frank created objects to last and focused on then-unfashionable qualities like comfort and ease in the hope that people would feel relaxed with his designs."

I am wishing I could teleport myself over to Vienna for this exhibit. Tout de suite! It looks like an beautiful and thoughtful installation. An article in Wallpaper further describes the exhibition:"In tribute to Frank’s own individual spatial planning strategy, 'The House as Path and Place', which was based on differentiated room levels and heights, open circulation spaces and galleries, a balcony will be installed in the MAK Exhibition Hall to allow the exhibition to be viewed from above and experienced three-dimensionally." It's nice to see a gallery space activated spatially like this.

Photography courtesy MAK / Aslan Kudrnofsky

Photography courtesy MAK / Aslan Kudrnofsky

Interior, Villa Beer, photograph by Stephan Huger. Textile: "Teheran", 1943–1945. © Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden

Interior, Villa Beer, photograph by Stephan Huger. Textile: "Teheran", 1943–1945. © Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm, Sweden

The NY Times article ends on a rather depressing note about Frank's own feelings of career disappointment, but I feel so inspired by these wild bursts of colors and textures alongside these clean and quiet architectural spaces.  For me, it's a reminder that one's creative work can successfully oscillate between varying styles and tastes and time and place, and still represent a fantastic aesthetic wholeness.

And, of course, now I dream of reupholstering my couch.