Misc. Six

It’s been nearly a year since my last Misc. Six post! Although I can’t believe how fast the time has flown, I’m not surprised that with the addition of Baby, my hobby of collecting and chronicling the interesting design/art/fashion related items I come across has fallen a few notches on the priority list. That being said, I don’t think I’ll ever stop noticing these types of special things that catch my eye and if anything, I now feel compelled to expose our child to a similar range of great design, culture, nature, etc. On my recent trip to Copenhagen, I brought him back this very cool photo-real shirt from the always fun and progressive Danish kids brand, Molo (1a). I also couldn’t help but pick up a couple traditional Scandinavian wooden toys for his room – a sparrow and baby elephant, which are original mid-century designs by Gunnar Flørning that have been reissued by Lucie Kaas (1b).

But the design-inspired gifts didn’t stop there! While shopping in Iceland, I bought our 8-month-old baby this Fishbone Model Making Kit, made for 8 years and up (1c). Although he’ll have to wait a while to enjoy it, I couldn’t resist because it was such a unique (read: cool, gross, creepy) toy that you would never find in America. The packaging is equally as appealing, done in a retro style that harkens back to that wholesome era of un-restricted playthings. I can’t wait to watch Hunter’s imagination run wild making scary monsters out of Icelandic fish bones!

In a similar spirit of bringing art into his life, last month we took Hunter for his first visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We were there to see the John Singer Sargent Watercolors show, which was excellent and the baby did great, but the piece that I remember most from the day was from the current fashion exhibit called “Think Pink” – a small show featuring pieces that illustrate the history of the color from the origins of its name to the evolution of its social significance. While I’ve personally never been a big fan of pink, I’m sure I was drawn to this photograph because of its impressive exercise in color assemblage. As a long-time collector of turquoise things who has more recently jumped on the bandwagon of color-organizing our bookshelves, seeing this image of the bitty girl surrounded by a vast sea of her pink collection warmed my heart. Of course JeongMee Yoon’s piece is speaking more about gender politics and consumerism and I also enjoyed finding the other half of her thesis – a little-boy-blue version of the same concept (2).

SeoWoo and Her Pink Things 2006 by JeongMee Yoon

Jake and His Blue Things 2006 by JeongMee Yoon

3. Back in December, my Aunt Donna sent me an email about an artist named Simon Beck who creates massive drawings in the snowfields of the French Alps. Using cartography skills and a pair of Tubbs snowshoes (which happen to be made in Donna’s hometown of Stowe, Vermont), Beck must battle the elements with painstaking precision to execute each design. While it seems a bit tragic that this meticulous art is so temporary, its harmony with nature is also what makes it so beautiful. “The mountains improve the artwork and the artwork improves the mountains,” Beck explains in this 5-minute video about his process. Another cool video posted on Beck’s Facebook page just a couple weeks ago shows a recent project for Audi where Beck was commissioned to recreate their Quattro logo in the snow at the base of a Swiss ski resort!

Simon Beck in front of one of his designs from this winter at Arc2000 ski resort in France.

The 4th item on this installment of Misc. Six is my requisite ode to Matthew Williamson – this time, specifically his AW13 collection, which was a refreshing departure from the tight mini dresses and flowing chiffon gowns he’s most known for. Although I always admire his prints and color combinations, I loved even more that this line infused these elements on more winterized and casual silhouettes. My favorite piece is this chevron rabbit sweater, in the inky blue, of course. Without even trying it on I can tell that the oversized boxy cut with ¾ length sleeves and strategic hits of rabbit fur would make for the perfect fit. Coupled with these Fair Isle jacquard skinnies from the same collection (as styled by Maison De J) and you’ve got an outfit that’s as chic as it is comfortable and right up my alley.

4MWsweater

5. Another exciting reinvention comes from David Yurman, which I was tipped off about a couple of months ago from a mysterious photo of a striking purple bracelet on Glamour Magazine’s Instagram. Just last week David Yurman sent out an email blast officially launching a multi-tiered collection that honors the 30th anniversary of their classic cable, which includes the reimagining of the Renaissance style in anodized aluminum. Offered in a range of 10 mono-colors, it definitely feels like Yurman is taking a cue from the Apple playbook and at just $350, I don’t think it will be too difficult to add this beauty to my own collection (I’ll take one in black, thanks). While my husband informs me that this price is still outrageous, considering the aluminum part probably costs only a couple of bucks, I think it’s a small price to pay for this modern twist on a timeless classic.

My final Misc. Six topic for this installment (6.) is all about Jeff Soto, an artist from Southern California who recently gave an inspiring presentation about his career to the design team at Converse. It was a rare opportunity to hear the anecdotal stories and influences that has brought him to where he is today – an accomplished and highly sought after fine artist, illustrator and muralist. It was especially interesting to see his artistic progression after he walked away from a life of graffiti and honed his skills at Art Center in Pasadena, but I think the most touching aspect of his story was how the birth of his daughter affected his work. Like many artists, Jeff is a very sensitive guy who has often felt the weight of the world’s problems on his shoulders and he explained how his awareness of that intensified after his first daughter was born – to the point where he lost the motivation to pursue his own work. A couple years later, it took a new found activity of coloring with her for Jeff to find a renewed purity of inspiration and get back into it. I can totally relate to how a baby changes your perception of the world and your priorities in life, although in my case, the only excuse I have for my reduced artistic output is that there aren’t more hours in the day. Better stop all this writing and get back to more making!

One of Jeff’s most recent and largest murals to date (Fall 2013) – a collaboration with his friend Maxx242 in Luxembourg which “explores themes of death and rebirth, the cycle of life and love.” via Jeff’s blog.

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