Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hearting Pinterst

Well, I know I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but lately I've fallen just a tiny bit in love with Pinterest. I reside there under the handle of watsonpayne and, while I haven't become totally crazy-town obsessed the way I know a lot of folks get (and I can clearly see now why they do), what I've been really enjoying is creating pinboards around specific colors. My first one, seen above, is all about the Pantone Color of the Year, tangerine tango. Just recently I've started another, below, around my current obsession with all things gold (not a ton of images on that one yet, beyond those that appeared in my original blog post on the subject, but, hey, the day is young).

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Spring Crop

This is one of those posts where I blatantly toot the horn of my own work. Because all the books and goodies on my Spring list are now finished! And here the advance copies sit, a happy family, at my desk. They are, from left to right:

Instant Love: How To Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids by Susannah Conway, Amanda Gilligan and Jenifer Altman

Little Paper Planes: 20 Artists Reinvent the Childhood Classic by Kelly Lynn Jones

Alcatraz: History and Design of a Landmark by Donald MacDonald and Ira Nadel

Pictorial Webster's Artist and Writer's Notebook by Johnny Carrera

An Invisible Flower by Yoko Ono

Doodling in French: How to Draw with Joie de Vivre by Anna Corba

The Littlest Birds Sing the Prettiest Songs Folk Music Illustrated by Jennie Smith

Pantone: 35 Inspirational Color Pallets

Pantone Color of the Year 2012 Journal: Tangerine Tango

SnApp Shots: How to Take Great Pictures with Smartphones and Apps by Adam Bronkhorst

Everything Is Going to Be Ok Notes

I love each and every one of these projects, and I'm hoping others will too! All are available for preorder on Amazon. Ok. This concludes today's episode of shameless self-promotion. Thanks for playing. 

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

I cannot get over this book! Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was by many measures the number one visual culture book of 2011, and it's no mystery why. Not only are these clothes some of the most beautiful you're ever going to see, but the book itself is so exquisitely designed and produced that is nearly makes my head fall off. Probably my only major regret for last year is not making it to New York at a time when I could see this show at the Met. But now, thanks to a kind birthday gift, I can enjoy the swagger, excitement, and style of Mr. McQueen's astonishing brain and eyeballs and hands whenever I like.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Ongoing Poem Series About the Autumn of 2005 Continues With This Installment

November 2, 2005
Completely absorbed today by a new mental project

the planning of my pink and black thirtieth birthday party
party planning a great way of getting through a dark day
creativity a good place to escape into
Though I do worry it keeps me from seeing what’s around me
turned inward as I am
There’s a larger question for debate lurking there
about the primacy of
the inner creative life
the seeing one must do to provide food for creativity
The stuff of life as opposed to the stuff of the mind
But today it’s just as much fun to visualize
pink and black paper lanterns
make lists of pink and black foods
as it is to see the late-looking light of a post-daylight-savings morning
and the hot bright green pea soup pureed in batches in the blender
(Been making a lot of soup this week because soup is soothing
potato leek
green pea
corn chowder)

And did I mention the two fuzzy balls of multi-muddy-colored yarn
I bought in the giant big box store in ohio
at one in the morning
to knit into scarves?
They are lovely soft in a way that jumps out
even when you're half asleep under florescent lights
and makes you covet
I think you’re entirely justified
in giving in to their wee silent yarn voices crying out to you
Later still you can eat mini cheeseburgers from White Castle
which you’ve never had before
sitting with your friends on the hotel room floor
and feel secure in the knowledge that your
muddy pink green and
muddy red blue yellow
fluffy balls of yarn are safe
in the plastic bag at the foot of the bed

image source is here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

Mabel and the Christmas tree, late afternoon on Christmas Eve. This was her second Christmas, but since she was only four months old for the first one, this was really the first year that she understood something special was going on. In the weeks leading up to the big day she loved to point at our stockings and tree (the glass ball ornaments on which she called "bubbles"), and to point out trees and wreaths and lights we saw out in the world, as well as any images of snowmen or santa clauses, all of whom, according to her lights, say "ho ho HO!" (emphasis heavily on the final syllable).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can You Tell Me How To Get...?

This is my neighborhood. Tenderloin Heights, we like to call it. Tallish masonry apartment buildings, fire escapes, little bodegas, people on the sidewalk. Throw in some aluminum trash cans, a stoop or two, maybe a wall made out of old doors, and, I recently realized, to my eye it looks a lot like...

Sesame Street. I've come to think that my notion of what adult life ought to look like, the deep-seated feeling I have that urban equates to homey, even wholesome, stems from my late-70s television viewing of, let's face it, the best children's program ever made.

When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs, the favorite game of the neighbor kids I played with was called "Apartments." A modified version of "House" it consisted mostly of assigning each long suburban driveway a locale--this one was my apartment, this one was your apartment, this one was the grocery store, this one was work--and then riding our bikes up and down the block between these various locations in a sort of parody of adult life. Is it a coincidence that, if I'm not mistaken, all five of those kids, plus myself, now live in apartments in either San Francisco or New York? And the glamor of urban life for us, I'm now convinced, started with the work of the Children's Television Workshop.

Side note: while I was looking up images for this post, I stumbled upon this article about how Sesame Street, in the 70s and 80s featured breast feeding pretty regularly, and since has stopped. Longtime readers may recall that censorship and shame around breastfeeding in public is something of a hot button issue for me. I mean, come on, how could you not love this:

Maria: "Sometimes I feed her this way and sometimes I feed her with a bottle ... But you know, I like this way the best. It's natural, it's good for her and I get a chance to hug her some more."

Get it together Sesame Street, bring back the boob. 

top image source is here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Birthday Polaroid

Yet another shot I obviously didn't take, but still, I love it so. Mabel and I sitting on the porch with our baby friend in Portland on the occasion of my birthday. Armfuls of adorable babies! What birthday present could be better?

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Wonder

I am pretty much totally in awe of this book, I Wonder by Marian Bantjes. A collection of essays and musings on visual culture as it relates to "wonder, honor, and memory" is used as the occasion to illuminate every single page with a different astonishingly complex design. Bantjes work truly is unique among graphic designers--she takes design elements and typography to places no one else does. The amount of work that must have gone into this project is simply staggering.  As are the effects achieved with what can only have been a hefty production budget--a cloth case printed all over with gold and silver foils, gilt fore-edges on the book block, and metallic gold ink used liberally throughout the interior. Regular readers may recall I mentioned this book recently when posting about my current gold obsession, and it's easy to see why--

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another Poem in the Continuing Series About the Fall of 2005

November 1, 2005
Halloween wedding in a backyard in Columbus Ohio

Travel is tricky
On the one hand there’s so much to see your eyeballs can get overwhelmed
on the other the zombie numbness of airports starts to set in
Until in the midst of the blur there’ll be some searing sight

like the huge stand of pampas grass
waving around in the wind
next to the runway on our layover in Texas
the late afternoon sun hitting it and turning it gold

or the eggs you could buy
one by one
in the produce department of the world’s largest Whole Foods
in many shades of white and brown and blue and green
and the little straw-lined baskets to put them in
how happy I felt looking at them
precious though they were
in both senses of the word
And then how moved right after
when Bill revealed he was feeling low about school
even thousands of miles away
next to the endless display of cut fruit in plastic tubs
We wandered around alone together in the big store
talking about it
stopped at a random moment to hug
and I happened to look sideways and see they had real sweet-tea in jugs
the perfect thing to cheer him up
Maybe the fortuitous is never that far off

(when we get home I’ll buy
tomato juice! hash browns!
travel broadens your ideas of things to eat)

The little house was adorable
with small wooden shelves and cabinets and cupboards
all painted the same colors as the walls
Every room a different color
Muddy murky shades of butternut and chartreuse and tomato and seafoam
The old ragged brick fireplace full of
empty picture frames
earthen urns
and yellow Christmas lights

The wedding itself was low key and jolly
the bride in slinky black standing on a hay bale
with a bonfire afterwards
When we got home my Holly Golightly cocktail dress and wig
came out of the suitcase smelling like coming back from a camping trip

image source is here

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book in the Mail

This is where the friendly neighborhood mailroom guy drops off packages for me--on the wooden stool beside my desk.

And what should I find there yesterday but a surprise package from my favorite online source for fabric and other sewing-related items, Purl Soho?

What could it be, lurking inside this luscious pink and orange wrapping?

(these are, coincidentally, a very close approximation to the colors we had at our wedding...)

Why, it's an adorable sewing book! A gift from my super nice Dad. Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha.

Now, as you might guess, I spend a lot of time thinking about books. But that mental energy is devoted almost entirely to art books and to fiction. 

So, while I know there is a booming market in Japanese sewing books (both imports from Japan, and English editions of originally-Japanese books from American publishers, like this one), its an area I really know very little about.

Which, in a way, makes it all the more of a pleasure to page through a volume such as this one. Because the conventions of the genre within which is is operating are unknown to me, it's loveliness feels very fresh and serendipitous--even a bit mysterious--to me.

The enjoyment of looking at something with untrained eyes, particularly when you are used to looking at similar somethings with all your critical faculties in play, is a delight not to be underestimated.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christmas in January

Finally getting around to going through the pictures from the week I had off with Bill and Mabel between Christmas and New Years. We had so much fun! Among other adventures, Mabel visited the farmer's market and the Christmas tree at Union Square, helped with the laundry, and took her first ever trip to the science museum.