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Things To Do In Austin When It’s This Weekend

We have reached the unfortunate time in the Austin weather cycle where local residents have 2 choices: retreat indoors or crowd into Barton Springs. Our 2 weeks of spring have ended and it’s officially hot here. Bleck. But hope springs high in the form of this weekends first ever Renegade Craft Fair hosted, ahem, indoors

After years of shows across the country, renegade craft has finally made it’s way south to austin and is bringing 200 + indie crafters with it. I know that indie crafter often means a booth full of crochet rock koozies, but Renegade is a juried show which helps to leave the hand felted ipod replica makers at home where they belong. Or so I’ve heard. Don’t believe me? Come see for yourself

Even yours truly will be there selling screen prints. I’ll be splitting a booth with my fellow craft mafia members, which is basically an excuse for me to get the hell out of my backyard demo and catch up on some much needed gossip.

The craft fair is this saturday and sunday from 11 am – 7pm at the palmer events center. Hope to see you there.

Oh, PS, speaking of prints, I only have THREE HORSEYS LEFT in the whole world. Buy the last ones never to be printed again here.

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Book Smarts

Guten Morgen!  I’ve got the travel bug (read: hot burning desire to stay in a dreamy hotel with room service and fancy cocktails) and today’s fine destination ist das Vaterland.  Germany.  Germany, people.

Pack your baggies, we’re about to check out the only hotel on the planet that manages to make craftiness look chic.

The Michelberger hotel was designed by a team of friends who wanted a space that would “feel like an ad agency.”  Great.  But let’s talk about these book lights.

Yep, thems is handmade, let’s get a closer look

I see some sort of nut and bolt action and the previous picture shows some sort of wire support contraption holding the whole kitten kaboodle together.  If someone out there wants to attempt this at home, photograph your process, we’ll put it on the blog.  You’ll be a star and see your name in lights.  Maybe then you will have enough money to stay at the Michelberger.

Ha!  Joke’s on you, the michelberger only costs 54 Euros a night, which is a good thing because this blogging thing don’t make diddly.

Anyway, make a lamp, send me a picture, I’ll shower you with love.  Moving on.

The Michelberger continues the book theme into one of the guest rooms

Another view of the wall of books.  Ok, this needs to be discussed.  This looks pretty awesome but have any of y’all been in a used bookstore recently?  Newsflash:  those books get moldy.  Like crazy moldy.  Like raging headache dirty hands if you touch them moldy.  So, lovely, but the, ahem, shelf life is pretty short.

I’m not crazy about this picture but this may be my favorite use of books.  I love that just the ends are used to create texture with minimal color.

So the Michelberger isn’t all books all the time: here’s a view of the restaurant with it’s sexy concrete walls.  That wasn’t sarcasm, i really do like them.  And, bonus!  no mold.

From the restaurant looking into the bar.  Still lovely.

One of the 85 guest rooms.  I really love when beds are next to windows, especially in bustling cities.

Ok, so when you dudes get back from your stay abroad, remember to toss together one of those book lamps for me, I can’t wait to see your handywork!

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Trend Alert: Cross Sections & Topography

Well, well, well, what will they think of next?  Certainly not butterflies, Mrs. Russell.  Sometimes it seems like just about anything could be a new trend, think of something you haven’t seen in awhile:  telephone books for example, when was the last time you saw them?  An item needs to be absent before it can be reborn with to a new perspective and adored.  Let’s explore this phonebook thing for a while, I’ll apply my scientifically formulated trend-worthy questions: Are they hovering on the verge of being nostalgic? check.  Easily recognized with bold colors?  check.  Firmly planted in the depths of the universal subconscious?  And Check.  hmmm, in my babbling I think I may be on to something:  phone books will be next season’s new black.  For now, I’m feeling something equally arbitrary:  cross sections and topography.  Totally random, right?  But still, somehow, it’s everywhere.

I caught my first glimpse of some trend-worthy cross sections when I purchased this Josh Keyes print from Tiny Showcase (ps, if you happen to know where the hell I put it, I will totally give you a dollar).  I instantly fell in love with the small sections of land Keyes meticulously slices off for his animals to live on.  His work speaks to the ever-growing human population and their encroachment upon natures little creatures, so it’s a bit sad, but man if it isn’t pretty.  Let’s see more:

I’ve been drooling over Keyes’s work for ages and skipping the starbucks in hopes to one day save enough dough for a real painting, not just a print.  I had never seen anything like it.  So imagine my surprise when I saw this ad campaign for a Ukrainian Travel Agency:

So similar to Keyes’s work, just without all that we’re stealing the sweet cute baby animal land stuff.  I have to admit, while these works are lovely,  Keyes is still my fave.  

If I wanted a real-honest-to-god cross section hanging around my house, I’d most certainly hunt down the work of Rainbow Monkey:

let’s play archeologist and get a closer look at this bit of earth we’ve discovered

I have blue rocks in my backyard, too, what a coincidence!  

With 3 confirmed artists creating cross section art, I started to keep my eyes peeled.  I began to notice cross sections popping up everywhere, from realistic shots of actual earth, to meticulous topographical paper carvings: 

Silver Lake Operations #1, Lake Lefroy, Western Australia, 2008 3/10

Isn’t it funny that, after looking at several fake cross sections, this real one seems like a bit of a bummer?  If you pull Edward Burtynsky’s Australian Minescape out of the context of this post, however the photographs become epic, and even mirror the work of Keyes:  documenting human destruction of the land.  Ok, on to something less depressing:  Birthday Cards, yay! 

Etsy Artist, Crafterall carves topographic wading pools and ravines into her notecards, combining enough color and texture to make the blank cards speak for themselves.  This is perfect for me because I never really know what to write in those anyway.  Thank you for the gift……you’re awesome?  (But don’t worry, I’m from the south and therefore have manners and, yes, I always send thank you notes, just not very interesting ones)

Noriko Ambe takes the whole paper-carving thing to a whole new level, carving entire landscapes into her works

Crazy-insane?  Right?  But so amazingly beautiful

Incase you designophiles were worried that I was missing the decor section of today’s post:  fear not!  I managed to find two home goods companies that are buckled in tight on the cross section-trend-bandwagon:

Forsberg has created a line of silver topographic plates.  I, of course, am waiting for them to come out in gold.  

And Gore Design Co. has a line of STUNNING concrete topographical sinks:

I usually lean towards the very simple when it comes to things like basins and tubs, shying away from anything as outrageous as, say, a pedestal sink but these topographic sinks really get my heart racing.  I strongly urge you to stop by their site to check out more of their lovely works.

So, next time you’re cruising along a ravine and see a big piece of exposed earth, remember who told you about it first.

Peace Out Homies!

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Get Felt Up

Remember how felt was always the material of choice for grandma’s special sequined fruit thingies? Well, leave the dentures in the Polident because felt is back, but not in a grandma kind of way. Check out a tiny sampling of always crafty Etsy’s amazing selection of hip felted objects:

felt quad

Etsy finds, clockwise from top left: Mix-tape Pouch by BraveMoonman, Red Felt Necklace by vaivanat, Custom Felted Likeness of Your Dog by AmeliaMakesArt, and Felted Goatee by bornlippy.

Need a place to play your felted mix-tape? How about this crazy felted boombox by flickr user blueblythemonster… it actually houses speakers that play music through your ipod!

felt boombox

(And check out her insane felted typewriter at notcot.org)

It so happens that the world of crafts and the world of home product designs often collide — sans blood, one hopes. Branch is featuring a number of felted goods, most of which are modish and streamlined, but I am particularly liking their felted egg crate:

felted egg crate

Mostly what I appreciate is its commitment to material, in that it looks just like what it is — shaped felt. It also makes me think that the common egg crate is a marvel of industrial design, such an economical use of material and such a functional form. So very Bauhaus (no, not the band). Hmmm. Maybe I’ll just cut up a regular eggcrate and put it on my table. Ok, that feels just a little too Vacation Bible School. Keep those dried-bean-and-paper-plate tamborines in the closet, please.

Speaking of the angelic, who knew felt could float? Check out this dreamy gigantic felt chandelier designed by Christopher LaBrooy at Innermost.

felt chandelier

That thing is a whopper. I mean, seriously, it looks like a jellyfish preparing to swallow your head. I want it.

Of course I am saving the best for last. The very French Florence Doleac‘s felt covered chair is a beautifully elegiac piece, sentimental and simultaneously stark:

felt chair

It reminds me of Joseph Beuys‘ nutty performance art that used fat and felt (and live coyotes. Yes, coyotes.) In Doleac’s statement she says the chair recalls a tradition in which a new bride is gifted a felt rug by her mother, and you really can see the dress, the rug, a bride’s flowing hair, in the lines. And of course I love this piece because I have a thing for chairs; they have so much presence. I mean, what takes up more space than an absent ass?

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