I went to music school as an undergrad. Though I studied classical voice, I hung out mostly with jazzers and composers, folks that not only performed other people's music but improvised and created new music. One of the things we did together was to listen to music. Constantly. If we already knew the record, we'd point out … Continue reading Design in Time and Space
As a designer, I spend a good amount of time curating images for my own image library. For original images I use google photo. For other people's work I use pinterest. What I like about both of these platforms--google photo and pinterest-- is that they allow me to organize and file images into albums. In … Continue reading Image Libraries
These days there's a lot of talk about STEAM in education. STEAM is a spinoff of the term STEM which stands for "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics." The A in STEAM stands for "Art." Why is it important to explore Art within STEM? Because time and time again, artists have helped us envision the future. … Continue reading Artists Help Us See the Future
As a designer, I have a few odd obsessions. One of them is observing how one material attaches to another material. I even have a pinterest board dedicated to this. So how do materials attach to other materials? They can friction fit (or just fit) into other things. They can be woven. They can be sewn or … Continue reading How Materials Attach to Other Materials
When we invented industrial manufacturing, we looked to Victorian era products and mass-produced everything from dishware to ovens with Victorian ornamentation. We did this until the Bauhaus came along and demanded that new technologies require a new aesthetic. The members of the Bauhaus "listened" to modern materials and processes and "heard" that they wanted to be simple and … Continue reading from ‘What We Know’ to ‘A New Aesthetic’
This is a picture of the inside of lamp I made this past fall. It's based on a textile design by Aurelie Tu. To make it I trimmed paper grocery bags into 12x12" squares then cut the pieces on a vinyl cutter and wove them together. To be honest, the lamp is prettier on the … Continue reading Prettier on the inside
I've been thinking a lot lately about the cascade effects of mass production. The unintended consequences that happen when you mass produce and distribute stuff. Some artists capture this theme extremely well. Charles Sheeler, whose painting titled "Water" is pictured above, was commissioned to paint American factories in the early 20th century. His paintings position the buildings … Continue reading Beyond Out-of-Phase
There's a formal principle in art called "The Figure-Ground Relationship." In a painting, for example, the figure is the subject of the painting and the ground is the background. But great artists don't think of the background as something that is secondary to the subject. Instead, they think that backgrounds are just as important. This is … Continue reading Nile Rodgers and Figure-Ground
I like how the use of SCALE in art is so different from the use in economics or manufacturing. Both manipulate power-structures but artists do so with irony, econs and engineers, not so much. Welded Shovel Pine Cones by Floyd Elzinga. Beautiful. HT J. Parry-Hill
This wax lamp by London based designer Merve Kaharan may seem silly but the concept here is deep. What if more of our products and systems had "regeneration" built into their design?
I saw an exhibit of Ganson's work at MIT this past March and I find myself thinking about it almost every day. This demo on how to make wire gears is so great. I love this jig he's using (and probably made).
Which is fine. With some products, the efficiency of industrial systems is probably a good thing (economies of scale). With other products, smaller and slower production processes are probably a good thing (economies of scope). The hard part, I guess, is figuring out what's better when and for whom. For more: Is Efficiency Effective?
Paper is a fantastic medium for prototyping and building models. Check out more work from the British Illustrator, Helen Musselwhite, here
I love the work of Ottawa-based illustrator Helen Dardik and how she's been able to translate it into 3D objects. The little bag above is an example of a "simple" transfer from 2D to 3D. For a more complex transfer, check out her toys right here
Art and design students are trained in formal design elements that include color, value, texture, pattern, proportion, scale, and so on. The elements are guidelines for making stuff that is cohesive. This artist photographs mundane objects in tiny architectural models that he builds. He's manipulating scale and the result is fantastic. Check out more work from … Continue reading Scale
I haven't tried this but would love to. These rugs are made from roving which is combed wool. It's the stuff you use to make yarn on a spindle. It's a luscious material and you can find it in huge bolts for reasonable prices if you look around (ask a sheep farmer if you know one). This … Continue reading Braided Roving Rugs