April 20, 2012

link love

Today I want to profile four designers/crafters and their wares. As someone with design and crafting skills, I endlessly appreciate unique, handmade, well constructed things. I also understand even those without such talents long for lovingly crafted treasures. The people you will get to know here I originally stumbled upon through Instagram and I must admit it was their photography skills that originally grabbed my attention. After being baited, I took a moment or two to look into their posted websites. By doing so I happily discovered small companies and entrepreneurs bursting with wonderful goods for sale.

Herriott Grace
If you are anything like me you may gravitate towards handmade things carved out of natural materials, most especially wood. This is a company you will love. Herriott Grace was founded by father (Lance) and daughter (Nikole) living clear across the continent from one another in Canada. Along with hand carved wooden spoons, trays and cutting boards they just recently started producing a line of porcelain dishware and beeswax candles and salves. Indulge yourself here.

Folk FIbers
Maura Grace Ambrose comes from a background in Textile and Fiber Design. She somehow effortlessly combines her talent with her loves of travel, farming and working with young children and came up with Folk Fibers. She produces the most exquisite natural, hand-dyed, hand-sewn quilts and moccasins creating cherished one-of-a-kind gifts and heirlooms. She also has been known to tour around the U.S. in a vintage VW bus. Check her out here.

Up The Wooden Hills
I have a a real penchant for calico and ditzy florals and if you are anything like me in that department then say hello to Lisa Marie Andersson of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is designing and producing the sweetest line of well constructed, feminine and timeless garments. I find her frocks are not too girly or too trendy and they are always cut in 100% cotton. What more could you ask for? Maybe that they were a little easier to find. Until then you can find them online or possibly at a small boutique near you. Look here to read more and see about availability.

On the hunt for a serious travel bag? A handbag that will be with you for life? A small satchel to throw your bits and pieces in before dashing out the door each day? Look no further. Alice Saunders personally breathes new life into old duffle bags, feed bags, mail bags and odd leather goods. Based out of Boston, Forestbound just added custom brass keychains to their line of one-off, incredible bags. Get into it here.

April 14, 2012

capturing a mood

Today Google celebrates Robert Doisneau's 100th birth anniversary. I've posted on him before and wanted to share some of my favorite images that he captured.

April 10, 2012

faded & worn

3 images by Francesca Woodman, a photographer of recent interest for me.
There is currently an exhibit at the Guggenheim in New York City. It is the first major American exhibition of her work in more than two decades, and the first comprehensive survey of her brief but extraordinary career to be seen in the United States. The retrospective continues until June 13th.

April 6, 2012

food for thought

I am in the middle of a very enjoyable read at the moment. The book is, The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik. The title originated from a conversation Gopnik had with famed English chef, Fergus Henderson. He quotes Henderson as saying, "I don't understand how a young couple can begin life by buying a sofa or a television. Don't they know the table comes first?" From there Gopnik expands and reels us in:
The table comes first, before the meal and even before the kitchen where it's made. It precedes everything in remaining the one plausible hearth of family life, the raft ride down the river of our existence even in the hardest times. The table also comes first in the sense that its drama--the people who gather at it, the conversation that flows across it, and the pain and romance that happen around it--is more essential to our real lives, and also to the real life of food in the world, than any number of arguments about where the zucchini came from, and how far it had to travel before it got here. If our questions of food matter, it is because they imply most of the big fights about who we are--our notions of a clan and nation, identity and the individual.
This passage and the simple idea it stems from is something that fascinates me and I couldn't agree with more. It was also the hook that baited me into reading this book with a ferocious appetite. A day in and just about halfway through the book, I am enjoying it so much that I wanted to share. Thus far, the book is establishing itself on the history of public, communal eating--also known as the restaurant. The name, "restaurant" and it's concept is a relatively modern one (200+ years) and specifically French. In short, restaurants are a product of the Revolution, growing out of cafe (think wine & coffee) culture and the table d'hôte. In looking back at the origins of this thing we call dining it becomes clear how much of life is tied up in it. It is not just food we are filling ourselves with when we pull up a chair, there is also love, romance, caffeine, alcohol, family, history, emotions, pleasure... so many additional things.

For the Francophile, the history buff, someone who has worked in the restaurant industry or found solitary joy preparing a meal in their humble kitchen, I recommend this book. It will transform the way you look at your kitchen table and much, much more.