Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thesis Presentation #2

The Courage to Screw Up: Why DIY Is Good for You

Why DIY Is Good for You? by Mark Frauenfelder (The huffington post)

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mark Frauenfelder
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive
  1. A deeper connection to the things that keep us alive and well.
  2. An appreciation for the things you have and the systems that make it possible.
  3. An opportunity to use your hands and your brain.
  4. A connection to other people.
  5. A path to freedom.
"The DIY movement is growing every year, with no signs of slowing down."

Original article come from here.
 Video clip come from here.

Two Great British Obsessions – Tea and DIY

Why DIY?

The reasons why people engage in DIY have always been numerous and complex. For some, DIY has provided a rare opportunity for creativity and self expression. For others it has been an unwelcome necessity, driven purely by economic considerations. Then there has been a group which feels that a building can never be a home unless it has been altered and modified to reflect a change of occupancy. A final group has traditionally taken the line that if you want a job done well, you must do it yourself.
The same four basic species of DIYers exist today, although these various motives may now overlap very substantially. The perfectionist in search of the good job done well is often also driven by a desire for creativity. There are also two new categories of motive – the pursuit of DIY as a leisure activity and DIY as a form of occupational therapy. These, again, overlap with other reasons.

- DIY as necessity
- DIY as territorial marking
- DIY as self-expression
- DIY as perfection-seeking- DIY as leisure activity
- DIY as therapy

Original article come from SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre),
to read Original article, click here.

I Wanna Live Here

"Director Anna Brownfeld is the winner of the first I Want to Live Here film competition. She interviews Rayna Fahey of Radical Cross Stitch on her fence stitching of vacant land."

 Original article come from here.

What are you reading right now?

Handmade Nation - The RISE of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design
by Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl

The Culture of Craft
by Peter Dormer

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thesis presentation

Contemporary Craft by Conceptual Metalsmithing

"Contrary to what many artists think, I believe that aesthetic choices in art are wholly suffused with the economic circumstances of life. This is nowhere more evident than in the field of contemporary craft. I am a woodworker and a craftsman who has spent many years learning his skills. So it pains me to say this, sort-of. However, craft is pretty much dead. Maybe it’s not all dead. There’s still a little bit kicking around, but, by and large, it’s breathing its last breaths. Contemporary craft has lost its main purpose for being and has devolved into a form of media-based sculpture. Both the recent dropping of the word “crafts” from the name “California College of Arts and Crafts,” as well as the renaming of the “American Craft Museum” to the “Museum of Art and Design,” exemplify recent shifts toward an honest acknowledgement of the state of craft. This is also exemplified in the proliferation of non-functional craft work.

What does it say when a functional item cannot be used? Let’s say we have a chair. The chair is made like a chair, displays the fabrication methods and the skilled labor of a chair, but cannot be used. Is this chair a sculpture? Perhaps it is. However, I would argue that it is also the symbolic and final degeneration of a field of endeavor that has become obsolete. This is craft that embodies its own tragedy, the symbolic death of the craftsman’s relevancy to culture. Because craft’s traditional usefulness has become depleted, the motivations of contemporary craft artists have begun to align with the motivations of fine artists. Because these motivations are nearly identical, the field of contemporary craft has taken up the same preoccupation with concept and theory that typifies the practice of modern fine art. How woeful it is that craft artists need to concern themselves with a “Theory of Craft.” Unfortunately, theory will never resuscitate that which has died by economics.

William Morris complained, more than a century ago, about his work finding an audience only among the well-off. He wouldn’t have been able to make his work if he hadn’t come from a wealthy family. Industrial culture doesn’t need art in the way it needs the things of everyday life. And the things of everyday life are made less expensively (and often better) by the methods of mass production. Granted, mass produced products don’t carry the uniqueness of a handmade item. However, when shopping for value, the cost benefit of manufactured goods far exceeds that of handmade ones. Therefore, the traditional role of the craftsman, someone who provides his/her community with the items needed for everyday life, has nearly ended. Without strong consumer demand for handcrafted items that can compete in the market with manufactured goods, where else but into theory, introspection, and self expression can the virtuosic energies of craft artisans go?

Of course, there are plenty of people who will disagree with me, who will claim that it is their personal vision that drives their creative work. I believe it is their personal vision. However, without very specific economic circumstances, the making of hand-crafted work, functional or nonfunctional, would not be possible. In fact, it is my assertion that the career of most craft artists will end on the day they graduate from their craft program. It will end the day their student loan payments become due. Otherwise, some alternative form of financial support is required. They may hang on for a while, but only a lucky few will find long-term employment in the field of contemporary craft or will be able to develop a viable niche market for their work.

My own graduate study in the field of crafts asks what can be done about these economic circumstances. I am focusing on the niche market. Craft, particularly furniture-making, requires the same space and tools of a regular business. In order to truly survive outside of academia, craft artists need to study the business aspects of what they do. Because of their high price, craft items necessarily serve a luxury market. However, which luxury market they serve could be the difference between losing money and being profitable. I believe that new technologies can make crafts a somewhat profitable endeavor once again. For woodworking, software tools like AutoCAD combined with newly developed low-cost CNC routers may make artisan furniture a viable enterprise. Custom furniture will never compete with low-cost, imported furniture, but it may be possible to develop a niche furniture business that utilizes these newly developed tools and caters to a market that isn’t only “the rich.”

The question for every craft artist who aspires to sell his/her work is this: “How do I create value in the work I make.” This could be work of technical virtuosity, or “green” work, or work that is interesting and unique, or work which steps into the realm of sculpture. However, work which does not find a sufficient niche market and is supported financially by the artist can only be someone’s pet project. The work may be fine art, may be significant in some way to a cultural dialog, but, in the true and traditional sense of craft that serves the utilitarian needs of a culture, its purpose for being is mostly gone. In addition, the traditional skills that exemplify the best work are going as well.

Skill, however, is relative always to the task at hand. As traditional skills die away, others are created. Today’s craft artists, in addition to the “hard” skills needed to make their work, must also master the skills of marketing, sales, and other “soft” skills to gain and maintain a market presence. Those whose success carries them beyond a niche market will inevitably find themselves in the realm of product design and will need to turn to outright manufacturing. Those whose work is celebrated and widely popular, who don’t pursue manufacturing, may find their ideas stolen by the likes of Target or others who are willing to utilize manufacturing to its fullest. Whether craft artisans are willing and able to use manufacturing to their advantage, or whether their livelihood will continue to be destroyed by it, remains a challenge for the field as a whole."
Original article from here.

Contemporary Craft: A Brief Overview by Bruce Metcalf

"Craft still stands against the anonymity of mass-production, and for the personalized object."

"Craft still stands against ugliness, and, on occasion, for beauty."

"Craft still stands against big-money capitalism, and for small-scale entrepeneurship"

"Craft stands against corporate labor, where most workers are replaceable parts in a bureaucracy, and for individual self-determination."

"Craft stands for the rich potential the human body at work, and against disembodiment in all its forms."

"Craft continues to be a social movement, often intuitive and without leadership. I see craft as a collective attempt to relocate personal meaning in a largely indifferent world. As a teacher and observer, I constantly see how craft functions as a vehicle to construct meaning, and how it gives substance and dignity and grace to individual's lives. Furthermore, I suggest that any history of contemporary craft would have to account for this fact."

Original essay from here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Art Nouveau Movement

  Jules Chéret
French (1836-1932)
La Loïe Fuller, 1893
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
"One of the means through which Art Nouveau reached a mass audience was the poster. It was used to promote products and entertainment and assumed new heights of artistic expression in the late nineteenth century. Printing technologies such as multiple-color lithography allowed for a more sophisticated range of tones, attracting painters to the medium.
One of the most successful poster designers was the artist Jules Chéret. In this 1893 poster he shows the American dancer Loïe Fuller performing at the Folies-Bergères. A wildly popular figure, Fuller used diaphanous veils of silk to transform herself on stage into a flower, butterfly, or bat, and she was one of the first performers to use colored electric lights in her act.
Here Chéret captures the freedom of Fuller's movement through swirls of color. The strong contrast between the silhouetted figure and the black background recalls Japanese prints, an important source of inspiration for graphic artists of the period.
Fuller described her flamboyant dancing in her autobiography "My dress was so long that I was always treading on it. I automatically lifted it up with both hands, then lifted both arms high in the air and went dancing around the stage like a winged spirit. Suddenly a voice called out from the auditorium: 'A butterfly! A butterfly!' I turned in circles. Another voice cried out, 'An orchid!'"
Called the "idol of the symbolists" by Oscar Wilde, Fuller was seen as embodying the energetic spirit of the modern age and even had a special theater designed for her at the Paris World's Fair of 1900. Because electric lights played such an important role in her performances, Fuller was depicted on lamps wired for electricity."

Original article and photo come from here.

Art Nouveau

Casa Milá, Barcelona, by Antoni Gaudí, 1905–10.

"An international style of decoration and architecture which developed in the 1880s and 1890s. The name derives from the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, an interior design gallery opened in Paris in 1896, but in fact the movement had different names throughout Europe. In Germany it was known as 'Jugendstil', from the magazine Diejugend (Youth) published from 1896; in Italy 'Stile Liberty' (after the London store, Liberty Style) or 'Floreale'; in Spain 'Modernista', in Austria 'Sezessionstil' and, paradoxically, in France the English term 'Modern Style' was often used, emphasizing the English origins of the movement.

"In design Art Nouveau was characterized by writhing plant forms and an opposition to the historicism which had plagued the 19th century. There was a tension implicit throughout the movement between the decorative and the modern which can be seen in the work of individual designers as well as in the chronology of the whole. Its emphasis on decoration and artistic unity links the movement to contemporary Symbolist ideas in art, as seen in the work of the Vienna Secessionists, but the movement was also associated with Arts and Crafts ideas and, as such, Art Nouveau forms a bridge between Morris and Gropius (recognized by Pevsner in his book, Pioneers of the Modern Movement, 1936).

"In Britain the style was exemplified by the architecture of Rennie Mackintosh, and the design work of the Macdonald sisters. The lingering impact of Morris in England slowed down the progress of the new style in design although Mackmurdo, Godwin, Townsend and even Voysey were influenced towards Art Nouveau. It was in illustration that the ideas were most keenly felt, through the new periodicals and presses - the Yellow Book, the Studio, the Savoy, the Hobby Horse - and though the work of Beardsley, Ricketts and Selwyn Image.

"In France, despite Guimard's famous glass and iron Metro designs, the movement was best expressed in the applied arts, especially the glassware of Lalique (1860-1945) and Galle (1846-1904). In Belgium, the style was promoted through the Societe des Vingts (Les Vingt) established in 1884, and including Ensor as well as the more characteristically Art Nouveau architects Horta and Van de Velde in its members. In Spain the style was concentrated in the eccentric hands of Gaudi in Barcelona. In Vienna, architects like Wagner, Hoffmann and Olbrich, and artists such as Klimt gathered to promote the style through the Secessionist magazine Ver Sacrum. In Germany, the movement split between the decorative tendencies of Otto Eckman (1865-1902) and the Pan magazine, and the streamlined design of Behrens. In America architects like Sullivan and Wright were influenced by European ideas but conceived Art Nouveau in different terms, whilst designers like Tiffany enthusiastically embraced the movement.
- From The Bulfinch Guide to Art History

Original article come from here.
Original photo come from here.

Art and Craft Movement - William Morris

 William Morris

English craftsman, poet, and early socialist, whose designs generated the Arts and Crafts Movement in the later half of the1900th century. Morris encouraged to return to handmade objects and rejected standard tastes. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and a close friend of the painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his sister Christina Rossetti, also a poet.
"If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe tom be beautiful." (from 'The Beauty of Life', 1880)
William Morris was born in Walthamstow, Greater London, the son of William Morris, a successful business man, and Emma Shelton Morris. He attended Marlborough College in 1848-51 and in 1853 he entered Exeter College, Oxford, where he met Edward Burne-Jones and Charles Faulkner. Morris thought for a while of taking Holy Orders, but he renounced the Church, and after taking his B.A. in 1856 Morris began his studies in architecture. Morris's early poems were published in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine – he also financed the publication. In 1858 Morris worked with Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and others on the frescoes in the Oxford Union. He published THE DEFENCE OF GUENEVERE AND OTHER POEMS (1858), which contains much of his best work, including 'The Haystack in the Floods', 'Concerning Geffray Teste Noire', 'Shameful Death', and 'Golden Wings'. They all have medieval settings - Morris was obsessed with medieval world. In the prose fantasy 'The Hollow Land' (1856) an unjust knight enters an eartly paradise. He departs it, becomes aged, and finally regains the land through devotion to pictorial art.

In 1859 Morris married Jane Burden and worked as a professional painter (1857-62). Their home, Red House at Bexley, was designed by Philip Webb. It was an important landmark in domestic architecture. Literary fame Morris gained with the romantic narrative THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON, which appeared in 1867, and was based on the story of Jason, Medea, and the Argonauts. It was followed by THE EARTHLY PARADISE (1868-70), and BOOK OF VERSE (1870). Morris's visits in Iceland in the 1870s inspired The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Nibelungs (1876), which is regarded his principal poetic achievement. This period in Morris's life was marked by marriage problems - his wife had an affair with Rossetti and he was involved with Georgiana Burne-Jones.

In the 1860s Morris started revolutionize the art of house decoration and furniture in England after founding the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. The firm first specialized in providing stained glass and fittings for churches, but gradually won a cliente for domestic wares. Morris himself was an energetic craftsman, who learned to dye for himself, when he decided that the firm should turn to printing of textiles. His "Daisy" wallpaper, designed in 1862, became famous - his wallpapers have never gone out of fashion. Other sought-after products were tapestries, carpets, stained glass and stencilled mural decorations etc. "I do not want art for a few, any more than I want education for a few, or freedom for a few," he once said. In 1877 he founded the Society for the protection of Ancient Buildings in protest against the destruction being caused by the restorers.
Morris defined art as "the expression by man of his pleasure in labor". In the Middle Ages art, according to him, artist were plain workmen. The things which are today's museum pieces, where common things earlier. Art should become this again: "a happiness for the maker and the user." Morris derived his art theories partly from Ruskin, who hated contemporary style and has said that a railway station could never be architecture. Ruskin advocated free schools, free libraries, town planning, smokeless zones, and green belts – ideas that presupposed social reforms.

The Morris family moved into Kelmscott House at Hammersmith in 1878. In 1883 he joined the Social Democratic Federation and subsequently organized the Socialist League, with its own publication, The Commonweal. In 1887 he and George Bernard Shaw led a political demonstration in London.

Morris's love for old handsome books and illuminated manuscripts resulted in the founding of the Kelmscott Press. It produced from 1891 to 1898 53 titles in 66 volumes, among others The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. He also designed three typestyles for his press, and translated Virgil's Aeneid (1875), Odyssey (1887), and Beowulf (1895). Morris's novel The Well at the World's End (1896) was a forerunner of J.R.R. Tolkien's kind of secondary word fantasy literature. The protagonist is Ralph who drinks from the youth-giving and life-prolonging well. The utopian romances A Dream of John Ball (1888) and News from Nowhere (1891) were first published in serial form in The Commonweal, the newspaper of the Socialist League. Both were cast in a dream setting. Erich S. Rabkin dismissed News from Nowhere as "a Communist tract" but C.S. Lewis praised Morris's style and language. "No mountains in literature are as far away as distant mountains in Morris," he wrote about the author's fantasies.
"The Kelmscott Press reduced the matter to an absurdity – as seen from the point of view of brute serviceability alone – by issuing books for modern use, edited with the obsolete spelling, printed in black-letter, and bound in limp vellum fitted with thongs. As a further characteristic feature which fixes the economic place of artistic book-making, there is the fact that these elegant books are, at their best, printed in limited editions. A limited edition is in effect a guarantee – somewhat crude, it is true – that this book is scarce and that it therefore is costly and lends pecuniary distinction to its consumer." (from The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, 1953, originally published 1899)
The narrator of News from Nowhere, William Guest, wakes up in twenty-first-century London, in a radically changed society. The socialist revolution has abolished capitalism, money does not play any role in the bucolic harmony, there are no factories or industrial waste in the word of artisans, which evokes the spirit of the Middle Ages. Because the whole people is the parliament, the Houses of Parliament have lost their former function, and they been turned into a dung-market. Like Thoreau in Walden, or a Life in the Woods (1854), Morris rejects mass society and argues for the ideal of the simple life.

On his death, Morris was widely mourned as 'our best man' by his fellow socialists. His view that the true stimulation to useful labor must be found in the work itself is still relevant. His designs brought about a complete revolution in public taste, though he was aware that only the rich could afford the products of his firm.
For further reading: Life of William Morris by John W. Mackail (1889); William Morris, A Critical Study by John Drinkwater (1912); Rehabilitations and Other Essays by C.S. Lewis (1939); William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary by E.P. Thompson (1955); William Morris: His Life, Works, and Friends by Philip Henderson (1967); The Work of William Morris by Paul Thompson (1967); William Morris by Holbrook Jackson (1971); William Morris: The Man and the Myth by Robert P. Arnot (1976); Worlds Beyond the World: The Fantastic Vision of William Morris by Richard Mathews (1978); William Morris: A Reference Guide by Gary L. Aho (1985); William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary, ed. by E.P. Thompson (1988); The Romances of William Morris by Amanda Hodgson (1987); William Morris: A Life for Our Time by F. MacCarthy (1994); William Morris: The Critical Heritage, ed. by Peter Faulkner (1995); Art, Enterprise and Ethics: The Life and Work of William Morris by Charles Harvey, Jon Press (1996); William Morris: Redesigning the World by John Burdick (1998); William Morris and the Aesthetic Constitution of Politics by Bradley J. MacDonald (1999) - See also: Snorri Sturluson

Selected works:
  • The Defence of Guenevere and other Poems, 1858
  • The Life and Death of Jason, 1867
  • The Earthy Paradise, 1868-70
  • Books of Verse, 1870
  • Love is Enough, 1872
  • Aeneid, 1875 (translation)
  • Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs, 1876 (4 vols.)
  • The Decorative Arts, 1878
  • Chants for Socialists, 1884-85
  • Odyssey, 1887 (translation)
  • A Dream of John Ball, 1888
  • The House of the Wolfings, 1889
  • The Story of the Glittering Plain, or the Land of Living Men, 1890
  • News from Nowhere, or, An Epoch of Rest, 1890 - Ihannemaa (suom. J.K. Kari, 1900-1901) / Huomispäivän uutisia (suom. Ville-Juhani Sutinen, 2008)
  • Poems by the Way, 1891
  • The Wood Beyond the World, 1894
  • Child Christopher, 1895
  • Beowulf, 1895 (translation)
  • The Well at the World's End, 1896
  • The Sundering Flood, 1898
  • The Collected Works of William Morris, 1910-15 (24 vols., ed. May Morris)
  • Stories in Prose, Stories in Verse, Shorter Poems, Lectures and Essays, 1934
  • William Morris, Artist, Writer, Socialist, 1936 (2 vols., ed. May Morris)
  • The Letters of William Morris to his Family and Friends, 1950 (ed. Philip Henderson)
  • Unpublished Letters, 1951
  • Selected Writings, 1963
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, 1984
  • Political Writings of William Morris, 1984 (ed. by A.L. Morton)
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, Part B: 1885-1888, 1987
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, Part A: 1881-1884, 1988
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris: 1889-1892, vol III, 1996
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris: 1893-1896, vol. IV, 1996 
Original article come from here.
Original photos come from here.

Formations of the Modern Movement 3

Reading response from Graphic Design History; a critical guide - chapter 8.

When Art Nouveau banalized by population, artists and consumers were thirst for new style in the end of the nineteenth century. The ‘modern’ design spread through German, Belgian, and Dutch designers and they developed a workshops to explore the fundamental modern elements such as geometric shapes and line elements, etc, it convinced that modern graphic designers should adopt the industrial methods into formal account. One of sponsored artiste at this time was Peter Behrens who designed AEG new type designer in 1907. One of his posters of AEG is made in 1910 and it clearly shows that he had a innovative vision for use of geometric pattern and fundamental elements in here. He used repeated use of circle shapes to illuminate the echo of light sparkling and those circle or dots forms circle, square, and triangle shapes creates overall shapes of monumental stability. His poster ad inspired many graphic artists and this style dominated for decades and obviously, it sat the base for modern graphic design for us. While I was looking at this poster, I again realized how you can play with simple geometric shapes and fundamental elements to great interesting patterns and how simplicity powerful is without saying a lot. 

Formations of the Modern Movement 2

Reading response from Graphic Design History; a critical guide - chapter 8.

The Jegendstil movement came along in late nineteenth century by graphic designers who were struggle with solving problems in from, function, and decoration. Jegendstil movement comes from an idea of gesamkunstwer that means total, unified work of art, in German and graphic designers integrated this idea in the use of patterns and models. This popular German movement represents the contemporary lifestyle and it embraced industrial production include poster design, mass-produced furniture, and typography. The characteristic jegendstil movement was sensual freedom, female form, floral, organic motifs, and sense of eroticism. It emphasized a spiritual, holistic integrity, and organic unity.

Formations of the Modern Movement 1

Reading response from "Graphic Design History; a critical guide - chapter 8.

"London: The Studio. 1893-1910., A complete run of the first 17 years, with 100 original graphic works. The preeminent art journal of the Arts and Crafts movement. All volumes with original graphics are present including the five lithographs by Whistler. The Studio commissioned original graphic works for inclusion in its periodical magazine (as opposed to the Special Numbers).The artists include Whistler (5 original lithographs), Pennell, Nicholson, Brangwyn, and Riviére, among others. 20.5 x 28.5 cm. Original cloth. Some front covers dampstained. A list of all the prints is available."

Source from here.

When this chapter started with explains the art and crafts movement, I was wondering what’s the relationship between art and crafts and it was interesting that this early nineteenth art and crafts movement evolved into productive dialogue and how it developed into my favorite movement, which is Art Nouveau. The interesting part was where described relationships in the industrialism, first thing said the gap between aesthetics and production methods that are form and surface between means and materials, the second things are the distinction between made and designed in terms of traditional or production way. Fine art and mass media tried to resolve the contradictions between them during this industrial era and they developed stylistic graphic art form and this arts and crafts movement was reaction to the industrialization. The first independent art journal ‘The studio’ cover in 1893 show the movement of arts and crafts well in terms of organic and decorative motifs along with stylized layout.

“Renaissance Design: Standardization and Modularization in print”

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, ca. 1497–98
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)
15 3/8 x 11 in. (39.2 x 27.9 cm)
Gift of Junius S. Morgan, 1919 (19.73.209)

"The third and most famous woodcut from Dürer's series of illustrations for The Apocalypse, the Four Horsemen presents a dramatically distilled version of the passage from the Book of Revelation (6:1–8): "And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come!' And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and its rider had a balance in his hand; … When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given great power over a fourth of the earth; to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth." Transforming what was a relatively staid and unthreatening image in earlier illustrated Bibles, Dürer injects motion and danger into this climactic moment through his subtle manipulation of the woodcut. The parallel lines across the image establish a basic middle tone against which the artist silhouettes and overlaps the powerful forms of the four horses and riders—from left to right, Death, Famine, War, and Plague (or Pestilence). Their volume and strong diagonal motion enhance the impact of the image, offering an eloquent demonstration of the masterful visual effects Dürer was able to create in this medium."
Source: Albrecht Dürer: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (19.73.209) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you look at the ‘Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ by Albrecht Durer in 1498, his delicate will amuse you and beautifully woodcut print. During seventeenth century, only small portion of European could read even though the visual and typographic texts established in printing industry, in order to produce information for European, the visual literacy grow rapidly. During letterpress era, typographic texts printed separated from visual imagery and the artist’s level of skill got improved through copperplate engraving developed. Copperplate engraving allowed them to explore in intaglio printing which is the various lines are carved in the clean plate surface and the lines were the one where the printed so that it brings the close effect to the drawing. Durer’s illustration is great example of this and his illustration depicts biblical apocalypse with indelible figures with his line work technique produced lighting effect of tonal differences through density, which brings his imagination well captured in his print. During Renaissance era, majority prints illustrate the concepts of bible along with faith and culture behind in it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hippie Patchwork Clothing

"Hippie Patchwork clothing was first seen at Grateful Dead concerts in the 60's. First worn by a group called "The Spinners." The Spinners were known back then as The Family of Unlimited Devotion. They were a communal group of young people who would twirl in circles at Grateful Dead shows. The Spinners would be the first to wear, make & sell these handmade items at the concerts. At that time, a group of them would make the items together & all were sewn by hand. This unique style of clothing had alternating colors & patterns of materials, sewn together in pannels on skirts, pants, shorts, dresses & tops that resembled aprons. Today, Hippie Patchwork is a great way to recycle fabric scraps. The style is still very popular & is in great demand. Most Hippie Patchwork today is sewn by machine but still designed & created by independent artists."

Original article from here.

Steampunk eyecandies

Gelaskins offering steampunk look in your ipod with their vinyl skin.

"Jake von Slatt (not his real name) is quickly becoming something of an icon on the steampunk scene. In his Steampunk Workshop, he's constantly cranking out fabulous fabrications and conducting thoughtful experiments in brass etching, electrolytic machining, kerosene lamp making and other steam-era arts. But Jake's probably best known for his computer mods, namely his steampunk keyboard, and most recently, his steampunk monitor."

"Steam-Driven Dreams: The Wondrously Whimsical World of Steampunk" written by Gareth Branwyn. Original article can be found here.

Motor cycle meets steampunk and it's done by Zeel Design.
Steampunk bluetooth
For more information, click here.

What is Steampunk?

Steampunk is a sub-culture that arose in the 1980's and it reflects the Victorian era and early Edwardian eras; roughly 1801-1910. It's one of an extraordinary world of literature where everyday items can perform unconventional tasks, the style of steampunk is similar to traditional goth's back garb, along with steampunk's main theme which is brass.
Photo: Nadya Lev /

Like many other recent sub-cultures around the world, the steampunk community grew through the internet and they share DIY (do-it-yourself) tips and information on how to handcraft their own items. Even steampunk apparel and jewelry is quickly growing in popularity throughout the western world with their themes of their neo-Victorian and gothic styles. It emphasizes the handcrafter's nature of producing everything by oneself, even modifying household items into fantastic new inventions and designs.

"I never really imagined [steampunk] would become mainstream," says musician Voltaire.

Original article came from here. "What Is Steampunk? A Subculture Infiltrating Films, Music, Fashion, More" by Andrew Ross Rowe.

DIY sites


DIY Network



DIY Life

Monday, September 27, 2010

Awesome Crafty Blogs

Anything Indie



Design Sponge

Etsy's Storque

Extreme Craft

Funky Finds

Hello Craft

Indie Fixx


Naughty Secretary Club

Plush You

Resources from Grace Dobush, author of Craft Superstar

Thesis Outline Draft

This is my first thesis outline draft.

     - Why Handmade Crafts?
    - What is DIY?
    - What is "Indie"?
    - Motivation and Inspiration
    - Art and Craft Movement
    - Interviews with handmade crafters
    - How to handmade and modern tech can coexist
    - As a handmade crafter
    - As a consumer
    - Finding balance
Resources (Cites)

Handmade Hypothesis

This hypothesis presents the concept of a peaceful coexistence between traditional crafters and artisans and modern technology. It will seek to build a bridge between the artist and consumers purchasing their crafts and improve their way of life through decoration and crafting, rather than just with modern devices, without being overwhelmed by the technology that stands to challenge and replace them. The hypothesis encourages both the consumer and crafter to update their habits, providing active information channels between the two, and giving the crafters a distinctive voice to provide the information and products they create to a community of like-minded consumers and fans.

Are you Etsy?

What is Etsy?

Etsy is one of the most popular interactive websites throughout the world. Etsy's mission is to "Enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade."

Who is Etsy?

 "Etsy was founded in June, 2005. We are a community and a company. Click the image to the right for a view of the community, and see below for who works at Etsy Inc."

Where is Etsy?

"The Etsy community spans the globe with buyers and sellers coming from more than 150 countries. Etsy sellers number in the hundreds of thousands. If each of these sellers stood outside at night with a really bright flashlight pointed towards the sky, it might look something like the image to the right."

Original post from here.
Visit Etsy, click here.

Who Are You?

As a Student : Graduate Communication Design at Pratt Institute in NY.

I was born and raised in Korea, moved to the US about 8 years ago for school. I currently am mastering in digital design emphasis at Pratt Institute.

As an Illustrator

I am working on a children's book with Adam Munger under the psuedonym 'Arimo'. I also do fantasy illustration and still love to use traditional mediums to do my illustration, along with digital medium.

As a Crafter: PoppyEater

I am a handmade crafter and own a shop on Etsy. Currently, I do jewelry, felting, sewing, and knitting. PoppyEater is a pair of artists working out of their little niche in one of the greener parts of Brooklyn, New York. PoppyEater seeks to overlap their interests, skills, and materials in a single symbolic artform. As neither artists are professional taught in jewelry design, PoppyEater, in the future, will not be limited solely to beaded jewelry pieces.

As a Foody

I love to eat and cook. It's the most simple way to make myself happy. I often go on adventures to find great places to eat out.
I can't decide who I truly am and I often get trouble when I thinking about it. However, I believe all of these parts are in me and it's the elements that make up myself.
It's just that I can't really be satisfied to limit myself to only one occupation or interest. So, what about you? How many aspects are in you?

Going Back to Beginning...

Food vs. Craft

I have been thinking about this problem non-stop for the past few weeks; whether I am sticking with my original plan or going back to the very beginning and doing something that is helpful to myself as well.
So, I decided to going back to the very first step and start over again.
This topic is another one that I was thinking about a long time ago too.

One, two, three... Step by step...

Monday, September 20, 2010

2nd Hypothesis Draft

This hypothesis presents the concept of improving human health and well-being through the open sharing and accumulation of knowledge of consumer eating and cooking habits. In contrast to the traditional informative methods of nutritional and financial health, which are oftentimes unreliable, the hypothesis encourages the consumer to approach their health with innovative and usable strategic solutions with a distinctive voice to modern society. By proliferating food enthusiasm through active and interactive channels, it opens the consumer up to more engaging ways to obtain the information they not only want, but need, and encourages group accumulation to further expand the nutrition information database.

"History of RICE" - USA Rice Federation

[Rice, throughout history, has been one of man's most important foods. Today, this unique grain helps sustain two-thirds of the world's population, yet little is known about the origins of rice cultivation. Archeological evidence suggests rice has been feeding mankind for more than 5,000 years. The first documented account is found in a decree on rice planting authorized by a Chinese emperor about 2,800 BC. From China to ancient Greece, from Persia to the Nile Delta, rice migrated across the continents, eventually finding its way to the Western Hemisphere.

Enterprising colonists were the first to cultivate rice in America. It began quite by accident when, in 1685, a storm-battered ship sailing from Madagascar limped into the Charles Towne harbor. To repay the kindness of the colonists for repairs to the ship, the ship's captain made a gift of a small quantity of "Golden Seede Rice" (named for its color) to a local planter.

The low-lying marsh lands bordered by fresh tidal water rivers of the Carolinas and Georgia proved to be ideal for rice production. The soils were rich, reasonably flat and highly fertile. They also were so soft a man could hardly stand on them, with twice a day tides pushing fresh river waters onto the flood plains, nothing else could be grown there.

By 1700, rice was established as a major crop for the colonists. That year 300 tons of American rice, referred to as "Carolina Golde Rice," was shipped to England. Colonists were producing more rice than there were ships to carry it.

Rice farming's extremely high hand-labor requirements is credited with having started the plantation era of the Southern States. Even with ox and mule-drawn equipment of those years, rice "farms" or plantations of only a few hundred acres required from 100 to 300 laborers to prepare the soil, plant, harvest and thresh their production—all by hand.

By 1726, the Port of Charleston was exporting about 4,500 metric tons of "Carolina Golde," which later became the standard of high-quality rice throughout the world. When America gained independence 50 years later, rice had become one of her major agricultural businesses. Then came the War Between the States and an end to the plantation era. This, together with the ravages of hurricanes and competition from other crops, moved rice westward. The sprawling plantations of the Gulf Coast, parceled out to soldiers returning from the war, became a new home to rice crops. Still, high labor costs kept the industry from expanding. Not until mechanized farming methods came into use would the Gulf Coast rice industry become viable.

In 1884, the Machine Age was beginning to affect every aspect of American life. It was the year an Iowa wheat farmer pointed out that the broad prairie land of southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas has solid soils which could hold up heavy equipment like the machines used for the production of wheat in Iowa. A revolution of mechanization followed, establishing what are today's major Southern rice growing states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas.

Meanwhile, the 1849 gold rush brought people from all nations to California. Among them were an estimated 40,000 Chinese, whose staple food was rice. To feed the immigrants, rice production became a necessity. Farmers in the Sacramento Valley found rice would adapt well to heavy clay soil conditions that were largely unsuited to other crops. By 1920, California was a major rice-producing state. More recently, farmers of Southern Florida began growing rice.

Technological improvements have evolved over the years to make American rice production the most efficient and advanced in the world. New mechanization and techniques have helped the American rice farmer reduce the costly time spent in the field to only seven man-hours per acre. Some Asian countries continue to require 300 man-hours per acre.

From its meager beginnings in South Carolina, rice has become a major U.S. agricultural product. Nearly 90 percent of the rice consumed in the United States is produced within its borders. Today, the United States is the world's most advanced, innovative rice producers. One of the largest exporters of rice in the world, the United States is respected worldwide for its abundant production of high-quality rice.]

By USA Rice Federation:

Food Consumption in America by Visual Economics

What Are We Eating? What the Average American Consumes in a Year

"The average American is 36.6 years old and eats 1,996.3 lbs. of food per year. The average man is 5’9” and weighs 190 lbs. The average woman is 5’4” and weighs 164 lbs. Each year, Americans eat 85.5 lbs. of fats and oils. They eat 110 lbs. of red meat, including 62.4 lbs. of beef and 46.5 lbs. of pork. Americans eat 73.6 lbs. of poultry, including 60.4 lbs. of chicken. They eat 16.1 lbs. of fish and shellfish and 32.7 lbs. of eggs. Americans eat 31.4 lbs. of cheese each year and 600.5 lbs. of non-cheese dairy products. They drink 181 lbs. of beverage milks. Americans eat 192.3 lbs. of flour and cereal products, including 134.1 lbs. of wheat flour. They eat 141.6 lbs. of caloric sweeteners, including 42 lbs. of corn syrup. Americans consume 56 lbs. of corn each year and eat 415.4 lbs. of vegetables. Every year, Americans eat 24 lbs. of coffee, cocoa and nuts. Americans eat 273.2 lbs. of fruit each year."

"These foods include 29 lbs. of French fries, 23 lbs. of pizza and 24 lbs. of ice cream. Americans drink 53 gallons of soda each year, averaging about one gallon each week. Americans eat 24 lbs. of artificial sweeteners each year. They eat 2.736 lbs. of sodium, which is 47 percent more than recommended. Americans consume 0.2 lbs. of caffeine each year, about 90,700 mg. In total, Americans eat an average of 2,700 calories each day."

Insight on Asia - Noodle Road

"Noodle is a food that has captured the taste buds of people all around the world. But who invented it in the first place? Why in such a shape? And how did it go all the way to Italy in the name of pasta? Join our journey tracking down the meandering road this simple but unique food has taken in human history. Now you are on the road never trodden before, the NOODLE ROAD." By KBS World

Interesting Blog "Serious Eats"

I found this interesting blog the other day call "Serious Eats".
This blog provides many useful recipes, how-to-cook tips, and best tasty restaurants information. Check out

Monday, September 13, 2010

1st Hypothesis Draft

This thesis presents a simplified design solution to encourage users to obtain knowledge in improve their overall physical health and financial well-being. In contrast to the difficult to follow, traditional solutions to nutritional health and obesity, which are oftentimes unreliable, my hypothesis presents various strategic designs and innovative approaches which provide simplified and usable solutions to society. Such a hypothesis could create the right format to act as an information database, opening the audience to fuller and more readily accessed information.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

10 Surprisingly Healthy Foods

Sometimes I have to convince my friends that some foods are healthy for you in order to get them to eat it, so I researched a bit and found this fun article from the Cooking Light website, revealed by Katherine Brooking, MS, RD.

1. Mushrooms
According to Katherine Brooking, mushrooms are the only vegetable source of vitamin D and mushrooms like white portabella and crimini are good sources of vitamin B, like riboflavin and niacin.

Pork can be a healthy choice for protein and is great source of vitamin B, such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and B-6(pyridoxine). Just be sure to trim off the fat!

Okay. Who doesn't love chocolate? And guess what, it's good for your body too. Why? Small portions of dark chocolate may reduce high blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol known as LDL. It also boosts insulin sensitivity, so it also helps reduce the risk of diabetes.

Katherine Brooking emphasizes the key to knowing the healthies cuts of meat. She says beef tenderloin is rich in protein and vitamin B12 and is a good source for selenium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

She also says one egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality proteins, and healthy unsaturated fats for just 75 calories. If we watch our cholesterol, eggs can be a very healthy source of protein.

Coffee is my favorite drink ever! Her studies show that drinking coffee regularly may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and even headaches. Even other scientists believe that coffee may play a role in memory improvement and decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but drinking too much coffee (more than 3 cups per day) could be poison to your body.

Her research indicates that turmeric and cinnamon are among those studied by for their potential disease-fighting compounds. Preliminary studies have shown that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric powder, may carry a broad range of anti-inflammatory and potential cancer-fighting properties.

Her research shows that pistachios offer more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration. Pistachios are one of the nuts lowest in calories and fat, so you don't have to worry about calories.

I used to hate avocados, but what she's saying is fascinating to me. While avocados are high in fat, most of it is “heart healthy” mono and polyunsaturated fat. One-fifth of a medium-sized avocado has about 50 calories, but it containing nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. It's not bad at all.

One medium-sized potato (with skin) has just 160 calories and is one of the best sources of potassium and fiber in the produce section.

Eating too much of anything is bad for you. If you prepare it well and watch what you're putting in your stomach, it could turn into healthy, nutritious, and inexpensive meal for you and it taste just so good, right?

Original text by Katherube Brooking, Original article can be found from here.

Obesity and Taste buds?

This last April, I came across an article, while researching about obesity, about the relationship between taste buds and obesity.

A study at Deakin University in Australia found a new result that human taste buds can detect a sixth taste, fat, and they argue that this may be the key to reducing obesity. The researchers found that humans have a fat-taste threshold and and the subjects were found to have lower body mass with higher sensitivity. They believe that developing new low-fat foods and diets will reduce the obesity problem.

Researcher Russell Keast says, ''We are now interested in understanding why some people are sensitive and others are not, which we believe will lead to ways of helping people lower their fat intakes and aid development of new low-fat foods and diets.''
He also says, "So when we understand one of the factors involved in developing obesity - which we think this certainly is - it could help us look at a set of strategies to reduce obesity.''

The original article can be found from here.

Back to blog with new name! TASTY PLACE!!!

I am back to blogging! It's been awhile since I have posted here. I took Direct Research class at Pratt Institute this last spring and this place will turn into my data base platform for my Thesis project. Here's my Direct Research Design Problem Statement.

Direct Research
Spring 2010
A-Young Lee

Direct Research Design Problem Statement

When I would go grocery shopping with my friends from school, I often saw them head directly to the frozen TV dinner section or grabbing junk food for their meal. So I asked them why they don’t just cook something simple and healthier than that premade crud. They said me that they are either no good at cooking or don’t know how to cook in the first place. They also told me that they have tried before, but cookbooks don’t help them, because they’re too hard to follow and they always need to go buy a lot of extra ingredients or equipment to finish. I understand that they are busy college students, but I am concerned about their health probably more than they are.

It’s not surprising to hear that eating frozen TV dinners, junk food, and fast food is not good for people. While I was researching to collect data about direct relationship between your health and the food a person eats, I found out that those who have poor eating habits like that often have serious health problems occur in their lives from high-cholesterol foods like cheap fast food. Eating cheap is great for our wallets, but what matters is if you are eating smart or not. The average person who loves eating fast food for lunch and dinner is much more likely to be overweight, compared to other people and they often have higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so they a greater chance to have a heart attack or diabetes.

Then how can we encourage people to cook more often for both themselves and their loved ones or friends? Why do they have so many problems to cook a little something? The major problem of most current cookbooks are that they are hard to read, since there’s more than often no walkthrough to assist the reader with their step-by-step help. Even on-line cookbooks also contain these problems. They’re full of text instructions on how to cook certain dishes, but they’re still difficult to read in most cases and this makes it hard to focus with measurements and using luxury ingredients that most cooks do not know much about. Most new cooks don’t know how to read the measurements properly and they get often overwhelmed, even before they start to cook. I believe that major cookbooks and on-line recipe sites don’t show enough clear and legible information step by step; too often relying only on short snippets of text, hoping that the audience understands.

However, with the current economy, more and more people are trying to cook at home, but they are still unsure where they can find easy-to-follow recipes to pair with their low budgets. I think cooking also needs a lot of practice, like anything else, but the process of learning how to cook can be simplified and we need a solution to solve this problem in order to encourage people to cook more often and to think more about their health. We, as designers, need to come up with solutions for our audience, which must be easy and clear information contained for them. I think writing a recipe is a job for a cook and creating the right format to act as our information container is our job as designers. We need to think about how we can approach our audience easily and freely, without overwhelming them.

The most common and easily accessible medium to create the information container will be web-based. It’s easy to use; one just needs to get access to the Internet through a computer or smart phone, which is common enough. With wide-open, web-based recipe data and instructions, people can easily gain access to these design solutions and learn something useful to improve the quality of their everyday lives and their health at the same time. Once you learn something basic in cooking, it stays with you for a long time, because your tongue and body will remember what you learned. Nowadays, people are into more personal health and body issues and they want to know what is in the food that they are getting from restaurants, where nutritional data just isn’t available to them. When they realize their favorite fast food contains too many calories, trans fat, or carbs, I believe that they will try to cook more at home, instead of eating out all the time. It’s a good way to save money in the current economy as well. With good marketing and branding on the design solution system, people will find out about or come across the easy, simplified design solution and find that it will give them help to improve, not only cooking skill, their lives in a healthy and positive manner.