Friday, May 31, 2013

A Celebration of Art

I'm excited that today marks my 500th post (and 100th Art Friday post) here on the Cabinet! In honor of this red letter day I'd like to celebrate with a few artworks that have caught my attention and admiration lately. Above, a photo from Ourit Ben-Haim's brilliant series of people reading books on the New York Subway (discovered via Cup of Jo).

Teeny tiny microscopic flower sculptures grown from crystals by Harvard scientist Wim L. Noorduin (via Design Boom).

Historian Suzannah Lipscomb's renderings of what historical figures might look like today (via the Telegraph).

Surreal images by fourteen-year-old photographer Fiddle Oak (via Beautiful Decay).

Radical new food photography by Lux Stockholm (via Trendland).

The paintings of Andrea Kowch (via Sweet Station).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The 100th Poem in the Ongoing Series

February 7, 2006
Cooking like grownups

more often
more elaborately
and with more side dishes

but also with
increased ease
and assurance

is pretty neat

Having turned thirty
I’m finally starting to notice
more and more things
that make me feel adult

Maybe one really does acquire
the knack for happiness over time
as well as a taste for white wine

image source is (hilariously) here

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Publishing Lucky Dip

Sometimes the stars just align, you know? Specifically, sometimes a bunch of disparate events converge to remind me how much I like my job; how lucky I am to get to make visual books all day for the fine publisher for which I work. For instance, above, two of my coworkers review proof sheets for a big upcoming Dorothea Lange book I'm working on which is going to be (shameless self-promotion alert:) utterly amazing. I've never met people more engaged in their jobs. Don't they make this kind of work look exciting and fun? That's because it is. The photo is by the book's author Betsy Partridge and originally appeared here.

And then there's this--a caricature of yours truly buying a book from an agent for a fistful of dollars. I really can hardly convey how much I love this drawing. It appeared as part of an incredibly sweet and moving blog post by two of my fantastic authors that tells the story of how their book came to be--starting way back when they first began making creative things all the way up through receiving their first finished copies of Ten Thousand Stories in the mail. Their story is inspiring, informative, endearing, funny, and well worth a read (and I don't only say that because they say some very nice things about me in there).

And last but not least my office is throwing one of our huge and delectable bake-sales today to benefit the Red Cross in Oklahoma. I mean, come on! How great is this? Hardworking folks rallying to bake for a good cause. Delicious treats. Adorable flyer. If you're in the neighborhood be sure to come visit this afternoon, I hear there are going to be a LOT of different kinds of chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I am by no stretch of the imagination a music person--I don't keep up, I'm not anyone's fan--but every now and then I get the urge to hear, and even get pretty excited about, a whole bunch of new music, most (though not all) of it on the relatively pop end of the spectrum.

I never really understood why this happens, where the peeks and valleys in my interest come from. But the other day I was talking to my friend Kristen and she mentioned she experiences the same thing and that, for her, it has to do with the ebb and flow of her mood or state of mind. I thought the way she put this was quite clever, so I asked her if she'd share a few thoughts on the subject here. This is what she had to say:

"When i come out of a fog enough to feel a tad bit more alive, music is one place i turn. Something moving or resonating, or more catchy and poppy, anything that helps you feel, helps you know you are alive and this, this music is a part of that.

"i have plenty of music i stew in when i am sad or pained, but when i am flat and numb nothing really connects. Anything could be playing.

"But then i was There and Hearing it.Wanting to make mixes, even just in my head, was a sure sign i was awake again, here, present.  If i can relate to music maybe i can be with people more, maybe i start being with myself more.

"Music is a wonder of humans and when it moves my booty, my soul, or my brain it is worthwhile, it deserves to be heard as much as needed to keep that feeling going as long as possible, to stay alive while living, as much as i humanly can."

Thanks so much to my pal K for sharing her open and thoughtful musings here on the Cabinet. I particularly like the parallels she draws between happy/sad, open/closed, awake/asleep, present/absent, and the way appreciation of music functions almost like a barometer for all of that internal weather.

Images in this post represent musical artists' whose work has been resonating in my own brain lately (several of whom, indeed, Miss Kristen introduced me to). From top to bottom: Macklemore, Florence and the Machine, the National, Zoe Keating, Gweneth Paltrow on Glee, Wild Cub, Icona Pop.

Egg hunt!

Neither words nor images can really do justice to how excited and happy Mabel was on Easter to zip all over the apartment Very Fast looking for, and finding, these dozens of plastic eggs and then depositing them in a pile right on this particular spot on the floor which she had designated, right from the beginning, as being their best and most ideal home.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Up There

Above is a sculpture by Tage Andersen on the grounds of the Gunillaberg estate outside Bottnaryd, Småland, Sweden.* Below is a photograph by Dillon Marsh of the nests built by the Sociable Weaver Bird on telephone poles in the Kalahari Desert. I stumbled upon both these images in the past few days (the first via The House That Lars Built, the second via Honestly WTF). And as with this grouping, or this one, or this recent pair, I find that chance may have thrown them together in my view, but, once it did, they seem to me absolutely right and wonderful together.

*photo by Brittany Watson Jepsen

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Poem Series About the Long Ago Winter of 2006 Continues With This Installment

February 6, 2006
Over the weekend

we went with my parents
to see Swan Lake
for my father’s birthday

I have serious doubts
that I can describe
how incredible it was

yes all the dancers
and the sets
and the costumes

and all that good fun
rah rah

But the real thrill
was on
a completely different plane

Papa’s favorite dancer
Yuan Yuan Tan
as Odette and Odeil

simply impossibly good
She makes you want to
throw around words

like Brilliant

Odette with a kind of slow wild joy
always moving
so sinuous it was as if she had no bones

Odeil sharp
crackling and sneering
and always only human

image source is here

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Color of Fiction

Am utterly enamored with artist Jaz Parkinson's "color charts"--visual representations of the colors mentioned in various novels. I ask you, could anything be more perfectly tailored to the tastes of a book-lover and color-lover such as myself? Seriously, I think these fit neatly into some sort of special receptors in my brain. Not to mention they'd make great book covers. Anyhow, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vintage Photo Fun Time

Between it being Mother's Day and then my happening to spend a recent Throwback Thursday at my mom's house I've been recapturing a bunch of old photos lately. Something about having a girl of my own makes me especially like these shots of my own wee self, especially with my own Mama. And then the photo at the bottom is from my senior year in high school, just for kicks and hilarity.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kisses from Daddy and Nooe

Last month Mabel was super excited to receive a week-long visit from her paternal grandmother, known in our affectionate family lexicon as her Nooe. In this week's Polaroid the three generations snuggle and smooch on the sofa in a sunbeam.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Brief Hiatus

Here's something I like to do, though I'm not sure why: when for this or that reason I need to put the Cabinet on a short break (which I don't love doing), I find it encouraging to leave you with a good old Abstract Expressionist painting. In this case "Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 54" painted in 1957-61 by our pal Robert Motherwell. Image source is here. See you next week! xoxo b

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Poem Series About the Winter of 2006 Continues (Though Spring is Approaching)

February 3, 2006
Last night I had just about entirely convinced myself

to take the bus home

when I stepped outside
and was seduced
once again
by the sky
into walking

A big soft pink spring sky
and soft spring air too
impossible to resist

And on the way home
I saw a small brown paper lunch bag
that someone had put over the top of a fire hydrant
with a frowny face drawn on neatly
in black magic marker
the effect was comical

And the workers seen through the window of a restaurant
bustling around in their sweatshirts
getting ready for the dinner service
reminded me of actors backstage before a play

image source is here

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Art NYT Bestsellers

Ever wonder what an art, design, or photography New York Times bestseller looks like? Probably not. But in my line of work it's certainly relevant. Here are a few recent examples. I love the idea of people wanting to read about and look at these topics, to the degree where books about them end up ranking on the famous list of the Paper of Record. Above: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Below: Building Stories by Chris War, Underwater Dogs by Seth Castee, and Just My Type by Simon Garfield.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Muppet Magazine

The other day the always excellent Brain Pickings posted the Muppet Star Wars spoof from the fine periodical below--a 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine. Though this was a little before my time (the familiarity of certain other covers posted here lets me know that I was a loyal subscriber in 1985 and 1986), it nevertheless sent me back in that classic Proustian way. Muppet Magazine! Like the set of Sesame Street, those ALA reading posters, and the Espirt catalog, this was part of the seminal visual language of my childhood, a touchstone object over whose pages I would pour for hours. Sure, I read a lot of novels and watched a lot of cartoons in the 80s too, but it was this sort of image-driven printed matter that got into my brain and, I am convinced, turned me into a person who would grow up to want to be a visual book editor. Just saying.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Afghan from Grandma

I've had the luck to hang out with several small babies lately, and whenever I do that I can't help thinking to myself: really?! Was my own child really ever this tiny and sleepy and immobile--but mostly tiny? Well here is a Polaroid of Mabel at less than a week old, and only about three crocheted granny squares long, to prove to myself that yes, indeed, she was once quite wee.

Friday, May 3, 2013

White on White and Black on Black

Neutral monochromatic photographic brilliance from Tim Walker shooting the utterly amazing Tilda Swinton and Daniel Seung Lee shooting the utterly dreadful stargazer lily--both with inestimably fine results.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Next in the Ongoing Series of Poems About the Long-Ago Winter of 2006

February 2, 2006
I am virtually unconscious so much of the time it’s kind of amazing

Last night we came in from dinner
I went into the bathroom
looked in the mirror
and saw that my favorite lime green vintage broach was missing from my sweater
I was utterly despondent
sure I’d lost it
Bill even called the restaurant
and our sweet waitress said
she remembered me having it on at the table
We were actually putting our raincoats back on
to go out and look for it in the street
when he found it
put nearly away in my jewelry tray
Jesus christ
I’d come in
taken it off
along with my watch and my shoes
with no awareness whatsoever that I was doing so
my mind completely elsewhere
It’s almost crazy

However lettuce has a smell
I did notice that today

image source is here

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bookshelf Fantasies

Perhaps not surprisingly for a book editor, my home is very very full of books and bookshelves. But that never stops me from dreaming of more. 

image credits:
#1 Bookshelf Porn via The Daily Smudge
#2 Architecture by Moon Hoon as seen on This is Colossal
#3 and 5 Home of Victoria Suffield as seen on Design Sponge
#4 An unusual Portuguese home remodel as seen on Trendland
#6 Covet Garden magazine as seen on Poppytalk