Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Josh Vogel's Reflections On Turning Wood

Josh Vogel from The Scout on Vimeo.

This video was produced by The Scout on Josh Vogel of Black Creek Mercantile & Trading Co. Released this past fall and beautifully done, I have watched it many times and have recommended it to many people. Everyone comes back to me saying how much they love it.

What makes this video so special is how eloquently Josh talks about his relationship to the material of wood that he uses in his craft of turning. In a time when most people are so disconnected with the work they do daily, it is refreshing to see someone who works thoughtfully and with intention.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

McQueen's Reigning Exhibit at The Met

Image pulled from The Met's website.

I cannot even begin to explain the influence this exhibit of Alexander McQueen at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has had on me. I am still reeling two weeks later from seeing it. 

I was able to go with my dear friend Jessica Cadmus of The Wardrobe Whisperer and her adorable baby. Let me say, I had no idea how hot it was going to be that day or what mothers, who live in NYC, have to go through with traveling by subway. It was no easy feat to make it to and from the museum. Jessica and baby were tough troopers and despite the craziness, I was so happy to go with them. Jessica is an amazing stylist, personal shopper, and fashion blogger. The whole ride to and from on the rockin' subway, while delicately feeding her baby, she dispensed wardrobe advice to me. I now have my summer look all planned out!

Image pulled from The Met's website.

We were lucky that we showed up to the museum mid week and early in the day. As we made our way through the museum, we started to see signs that denoted lengths of wait- 1 hour, 30 min, 15 min, etc. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait at all and breezed right in. By the time we made our way through the exhibit it was getting crowded. The show has been so successful The Met has decided to extend it through August and are opening the museum on Mondays with a $50 ticket for special viewings of the exhibit. I'm trying to figure out how I can swing going back for a Monday viewing...

Image pulled from The Met's website.

It has taken me so long to post about this exhibit because I am still processing everything that I saw. Alexander McQueen was exceptionally gifted and its a shame he decided to take his own life. His career spanned 19 years and I can only imagine the work he would have produced if he had given himself another 19.

His body of work is profound. The Met did an excellent job of transforming the galleries to suit his clothing. I can't imagine the money they spent to produce this show. While the environment was spot on, McQueen's work vibrated throughout the galleries. What was so overwhelming to me was his ability to evoke emotion through garments. Its something I have never experienced before. 

When I look at fashion, I think about how clothing is used to express a person's personality. With haute couture, I mostly look at how beautiful the clothing is, how well it is made, and how it fits the wearer's body. The clothing is usually secondary to the person wearing it. The combination of clothing is what expresses the personality. I have never felt a piece of clothing to stand alone and inspire emotion. Somehow, Alexander McQueen did it. When I walked around the exhibit, I would look at a piece and feel anger, death, betrayal, serenity,... It was overwhelming and thoroughly inspiring.

In addition, the craftsmanship of the pieces are amazing. McQueen started his career on Savill Row as a tailor. The details of the stitching, the placement of a lapel, his use of materials was perfect and inventive. McQueen understood construction and material. What he was able to do with leather, fabric, and wood is incredibly impressive.

I left the show all fired up. I was reminded of what I have wanted my work to be to people. Like McQueen, not only do I want it to be well made, I want it to evoke emotion in the viewer. If you happen to be in NYC now through August 7th, check out the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty Exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Trials and Triumphs of Coming Up With Creative Ideas

Looking, researching, collecting, reading, watching.... 

I have been gathering and developing information, shapes, colors, and texture into ideas for my next round of work. Its all been going slower then I want for the final ideas to develop. My sister always makes fun of me when she asks how's it going and I respond, "I'm waiting for the idea to come". She'll giggle and start whistling like I'm hanging out in a rocking chair until miraculously an epiphany occurs. Listen, I know how funny it sounds when I say it, but I can't help myself!

In my head, it takes some time for an idea to develop. Until I have a concrete form in my mind, I do not go ahead and start building. I also usually don't start sketching until that form appears. This is completely contrary to how you are taught in school to design or make art. You are taught to do research and immediately start drawing and making models until the final product develops. I have always had problems with that method. While I understand how it can be beneficial and on plenty occasions have used that method, it mostly leads to me becoming frustrated. I usually feel like I am wasting my time because my lines don't make sense or the materials and composition are all wrong, and I give up on the idea. If I ruminate over an idea and give it enough time, it will start to materialize into a finished piece in my mind. When I go to make it, about 95% of the time, it will come out exactly as I imagined. 

However, all of this doesn't really matter when sometimes, no matter what, you cannot come up with anything. Not one stinking idea or desire to create anything. Believe me, when this happens, it really really sucks. Sometimes, it can be years that go by and you feel like this.

Several years ago, a good friend of mine gave me a book written by Steven Pressfield called The War of Art. This book was a real eye opener and I have read it many times over the years. I could try to sum it up, but this excerpt from Pressfield's site offers the best summary. -

"What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? 
The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success."
I am lucky that most of my closest friends are creative and we are able to lament to each when we are in a state of war. It will usually take one of us piping up to say, "All right, suck it up and get in the studio." Which sadly, is the only sure way of breaking through the road block and getting creative. The truth that none of us like to admit is that we, ourselves, are what keep us from achieving our goals. Sometimes, me sitting around waiting for an idea to form is just an excuse for avoiding getting into the studio. So, when I am done with this post, I promise that idea that is forming in my head- I will get in the studio and start doing it. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Saugerties Artists Studio Tour Count Down - 10 Weeks To Go

I just came out of our monthly meeting for the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour. Due to my work schedule, I have missed most of the meetings this year. Going to the meeting reminded me of the pending dates of the tour, August 13th and 14th; only 10 weeks away. I was also reminded, by looking around the room, of all the talented people involved in the tour.

One of the artists, Michael Nelson, put together the above video on about nine people who are on the tour. The video is really well done and captures the personalities and perspectives of the variety of artists that live in one town and one weekend a year, feel compelled to open their studios up to the public.

Barbara Bravo, who is featured in the video, is our fearless leader who connects the 40 plus artists together that make this tour happen. Have you ever tried to get a room full of artists to focus on one effort? Believe me, I would deem it impossible if it weren't for Barbara who gets everyone to help out, settle disputes, and unites us to make it happen. Besides all the hours she puts in year round organizing and promoting the tour, she is also a ceramic artist AND a master gardener. Barbara Bravo is a true compassionate unsung hero and leader.

This will be my second year on the tour. Unfortunately, because I am on the tour, I am unable to visit the other artists studios. The video is a joy for me to watch because I am able to get to know the other artists I am associated with. During our meetings leading up to the tour, we do not have the time to talk about our work. I believe I am still the youngest person on the tour. Most of the tour people have been working as full time artists for years. There is much I can learn from them and I love being around them. They have such wonderful personalities.

The tour is August 13th and 14th. For more information, visit the Saugerties Artists Studio Tour website for Artist bios, Tour Map, and general information. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Custom Nike Shox Design by Annick

Get a total customization experience at NIKEiD.com. You can customize colors and materials for a totally unique take on kicks, T-shirts and more. Start customizing now at www.nikeid.com.

I have been wanting to design my own sneakers for a while. My boyfriend and I are obsessed with cool trainers and are also very picky about the styles we wear. My current gym shoes are worn out and begging to be retired. I have been having a difficult time finding a style/color that I like, which is hard to believe considering how many stores I have been to.

Nike's online store has a Custom iD option which let's you pick out a style and choose every design detail. I have been wanting to try this out for a while. Today, I finally pulled the plug, designed and ordered these Nike Shox pictured above. I have found that Nike Shox work well for me at the gym. They have the right support and firmness for me. These will be my fifth pair! It was an easy process to design the sneakers, but a pain in the neck to get the order through. I had to call customer service and process the order over the phone. I should receive them in about four weeks. I will post once I get them.

Note: Nike did not sponsor this post. However,... if they ever wanted to sponsor me, I would be game!!! ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ICFF 2011 - Part Three

Part Three of ICFF Coverage -

Timorous Beasties!!! I love this new collection of Nottingham lace. This company exploded onto the market with their wallpapers and I am really impressed with the textiles they are producing.

I also love this Wool Voile Collection. The patterns are incredibly interesting. The influence is from traditional designs but Timorous Beasties put such a perfect dark modern twist on them. I hope that I have the opportunity to visit their factory or studio someday.

John Beck's Paper and Steel line is super masculine and refined. He knows how to finish metal well and that makes all the difference in his work. A piece like the one above could be thrown into a Steam Punk, Motorcycle Club, or Aspen Ski Home interior and it would look good. For such a stylized piece, it has potential to used in a variety of ways.

Ok, I have real weakness for chandeliers. So, of course, I was taken by the Studio Baccarat booth. There is something mesmerizing and impressive about light being transmitted through cut glass. I am happy to report that I was not the only one oooing and aahhing.

I was delighted to see this installation/piece, called Marie Coquine,  by Philippe Stark. I adore humor in design and M. Stark always has a joke for us. Although I am not M. Stark, I not-so-secretly dream that someday Baccarat will ask me to design a chandelier.... Please?

In the vein of traditional european design houses, I continued on to the spanish Lladro. Known for their themed collections of ceramic, this new collection called Naturofantastic is stellar. The combination of the shiny white pared with the matte gold accents exudes luxury. Sometimes, it feels good to just go over the top. Lladro can sometimes go way far over the top, but this collection shows just enough restraint to be perfect.
Part Four to come...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ICFF 2011 - Part Two

Part Two of my ICFF review- As I mentioned in the earlier post, my photos didn't come out great. Here is a continuation of my notes, in no particular order.

I love the above set up for Heller. This backdrop image of Frank Gehry cracks me up! The booth was simple, but effective. Ironically, this collection isn't my favorite work by Gehry. It is made of roto molded polymer, which is a great material for outdoor furniture. I find that some of the forms look outdated. But, hats off to the display!

This isn't such a good photo, which stinks, because this collection by the British company Rapture & Wright, is beautiful. They make handprinted fabrics and wallpaper that are modern, bold and subtle at the same time. The weight of the fabric was really nice. If you like a pattern, but need it in a different color way, they can do it. The line is available in NYC at Lucy Rose Design.

Photo taken from Rapture & Wright website.
I had to add a photo from their site because the patterns need to be seen properly!

This wine display by Vin de Garde, called Nek-Rite, est formidable. It is such a simple, single part, but looks incredible in repetition. This could be a great solution/installation, for a restaurant or store, used on an interesting textured wall.

Manulution uses traditional hand carving techniques from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is shocking because I thought the carving details were all done on a CNC! Whoever is doing the carving is immensely talented. Unfortunately, a lot of the furniture line is overdone. The carving should be the highlight, but it often gets over shadowed by the billowing edge shapes and busy metal bases. Although, I am excited by the line's mix of tradition and craft with a modern sensibility.

There is a lesson to be learned from Groundwork's booth. They get it. So many companies worked hard on the pieces and forgot about the environment. When a client walks into a booth, they should be completely wrapped in the design. Groundwork literally worked their aesthetic from the ground up. When I looked at the booth, I thought- Here is a company that has it together. They have a distinct look and style and they are creating a story, with the environment, of what their products are about. It is the kind of booth that would make a person buy several pieces from it to create the same look for themselves. In most of the other booths, the pieces weren't strong enough to sell themselves. If the owners had taken more care to design the environment and create an overall experience, I would be blogging about the pieces. Only a very small sector of the show, got it. So, I applaud you Groundwork.
I will continue, tomorrow, with Part Three of ICFF.