Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Modern Gingerbread Home

What better way for the hipster to celebrate the holiday season than a modernist gingerbread house by RedEnvelope? Via Black Eiffel.

Note: I'll be on holiday for the next few days, so I won't be posting until 2008. Until then, thank you for reading, and have a Cool Yule!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holidays on Display

Rosecrans Baldwin interviews William L. Bird Jr (historian and curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution) about his new book, Holidays on Display, in The Morning News. Holidays on Display is a history of this specialized area of merchandizing, from its modest beginnings as holiday decorations in shop windows, to building exteriors and then out into the street in the form of parade floats. Read the interview and see a gallery of selected images from the book here. Shown here is the Marshall Field main aisle, ca. 1956.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tale of a Teapot

The Model No. MT 49 Tea Infuser by Marianne Brandt sold for $361,000 at Sotheby's in New York on Friday––a record price for a 20th-century teapot, for Brandt's work, and for a Bauhaus design, too. Read Alice Rawsthorn's International Herald Tribune story on its history and eventual sale here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Extreme Knitting

"Using extra-large knitting needles produced specifically for her enterprise, (designer) Christien Meindertsma's Flocks Pouf (2006) is hand knit using strong wool from New Zealand crossbred sheep. The pouf is available in two sizes (medium: light grey, large: dark grey) to accommodate use as a seat, occasional table, ottoman or even as a purely organic sculpture." Now that's some serious knitting. Available in January 2008 through Design Within Reach. Via swissmiss.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Ornament

There's an ornament exchange at the staff Christmas dinner each year, and, working with a creative group as I do, most are handmade. This is the one I made for this year's celebration, based on the holiday-card ornament design from the Martha Stewart 2006 Holiday special issue. Martha's design uses recycled Christmas cards, but for mine I used several sheets of a beautiful Japanese paper, and added a suede-like red ribbon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Shopping Bag

Something a bit more stylish than the usual reusable bags to tote your groceries in: the Vintage Shopping Bag by Showpony (Scottish-based product designer Emma Henderson's company). Each bag is screen-printed with water-based inks onto an organic, fair-trade cotton bag. Pretty and sensible at the same time. See more designs by Showpony (as well as other artists) at the Julianna Grove Presents online boutique. Via the wonderful Bloesem blog.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Potluck Dinner

Another illustration I've done recently for the Globe and Mail, for an article on the modern potluck dinner party. It runs in this Friday's (December 7) edition, in the Facts and Arguments section.

Update: If you looked for my illo in the Globe and Mail online, it wasn't there ... it only ran in the print edition this time around.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Nice Space

Found this lovely photo on the blog, one of my favourite places to visit. I really like the lightness and simplicity of this room (and, of course, the wonderful Eames chairs).

Update: Just discovered that the photographer of this room is Sharyn Cairns. Be sure to check out more of her great work on her website.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Clutch Spaghetti Western

This is one of two pieces I did for the Clutch Spaghetti Western-themed show, on this month at the Mercury Lounge. It's called Once Upon a Time in the West: Hope.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Clutch Vernissage

The Clutch art collective, which consists of Clare Brennan (founder), Alain Brunet, Jim Kohan, Michael "Zeke" Zavacky and myself, rides off into the sunset at the Mercury Lounge (56 Byward Street, upstairs) this December with a Spaghetti Western theme show! Our vernissage on Sunday, December 2 kicks things off in style, when we're joined by extra special guests The Bible All-Stars! The show starts at 8, and the band will be on at around 9. It's going to be a great night. Listen to the Bible All-Stars here. Have a look at Clutch here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pretty Veggie

Sophie of the Mostly Eating blog took this pretty still life photo of an aubergine (or eggplant) that became a first place winner in last month’s Does My Blog Look Good in This? photography competition (aesthetic category). The aubergine went on to become a winning part of an aubergine, courgette and tomato stew with quinoa and feta...

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Wild Ones

The Guardian has an interesting review by the eminent writer AS Byatt on a new illustration exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Called The Age of Enchantment, the show features works made between 1890 and 1930 (the golden age of the illustrated book), by such luminaries of illustration as Rackham, Dulac, Nielsen, and Ricketts, plus the effect of the Ballets Russes on book design, and fairy pottery from Wedgwood. Read the review here. It was the work of these classic illustrators that inspired me as a child to become an illustrator. Shown here is one of Arthur Rackham's illustrations for Christina Rossetti's darkly disturbing poem Goblin Market.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Romulus and Remus

In Rome, "Italian archaeologists on Tuesday unveiled the underground grotto believed to have been worshipped by ancient Romans as the place where a wolf nursed the city's legendary founder Romulus and his twin brother Remus. Decorated with seashells and colored marble, the vaulted sanctuary lies buried 16 meters (52 feet) inside the Palatine hill, the palatial center of power in imperial Rome, archaeologists said at a news conference." Read the rest of the International Herald Tribune article here. Very cool, seeing ancient mythology come to life...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Favourite Book Covers of 2007

Joseph Sullivan of the Book Design Review has compiled his annual list of favourite book covers. Have a look at his picks here. Shown here is one of my faves from his list––Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, designed by Greg Kulick.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Beard Cap

The ingenious (and playful) Beard Cap is by the Iceland-based design group Vik Prjónsdóttir, and is available in three colours and styles. Perfect for cheering up a gloomy Canadian winter day. Have a look at more of Vik Prjónsdóttir's creative work here. Via Kitsune Noir.

Update: Bobby of Kitsune Noir reports (via Herman at Doodybrain) that Scandinavian Grace in Brooklyn NY carries these caps. They retail for $135 (US) each, and are available in two different styles, long and short beard, and 4 different colors. Call or e-mail the store if you'd like one...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bookshelf: Eiji Tsuburaya

This looks like a fun read--August Ragone's new biography of Eiji Tsuburaya, the brilliant visual effects supervisor for Japan's Toho film studios. Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman, Godzilla, and Friends in the Golden Age of Japanese Science Fiction Film is also packed with stills and behind-the-scenes photographs of Tsuburaya's productions, so hours of happy browsing are in store. Read the review at Powell's Books here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Linden Tree Home is a Year Old!

Linden Tree Home, my friend Lindsey's beautiful shop in Merrickville, is one year old this month! It was a privilege for me to design the identity for the store, and it's been exciting to watch Linden Tree grow from a dream to a reality. Happy Birthday! A website is in the works, which you can bookmark here for future reference.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sweden Meets Tokyo

PingMag has an interesting writeup on the strong Swedish showing at this year's Design Week in Tokyo––read the article here. Shown here is the Bourgogne chair by Mikael Ling. Have a look at more Design Week work by the Swedes here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Eva Zeisel!

Brilliant Hungarian-born industrial designer Eva Zeisel turned 101 yesterday. She's still going strong (for her 100th birthday she celebrated by designing her first tea kettle) and has, over the course of her long career, won a slew of awards in recognition of the excellence of her work. Many of her designs continue to be produced decades after they were first issued, such as the 1950s Classic Century dishware shown here, recently reissued by Crate and Barrel in a cream colourway. Zeisel is even more remarkable once you know about her eventful and at times harrowing life--Arthur Koestler based his book Darkness at Noon on her wartime experiences. Find out more about her at her website here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

On The Street

Welcome Books has just published a selection of Amy Arbus's photography, from her On the Street photo-column for The Village Voice. Between 1980 and 1990, On the Street documented downtown New York's "... most vibrant, creative dressers and personalities." The Morning News has an interview with Arbus, plus some of the photos featured in the book here. Shown here is Miranda Pennell on Columbus Avenue, 1984.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Lightness of Being

This extraordinary portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II is actually a holograph by light artist Chris Levine. You can read an interview with Levine and view more of his work on the Creative Review site. Levine's Royal portrait, titled "Lightness of Being," was shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2007. Via NOTCOT.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

So Hee

So Hee is a Norwegian company that designs simple and elegant clothes. Their website is just as lovely, with beautiful photos (I particularly like the ones by Siren Lauvdal, shown here). Via a new favourite blog: Montmartre's Sketchbook.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Washing-Line Portraits

Miles Thistlewaite has a lovely watercolour series of clothing hanging on the washing-line. I think his work reveals as much personality in a well-worn shirt (such as Ned's pajama top, shown here) as a lot of regular portraits do. You can see more of his paintings at art dealer Nicholas Bowlby's website. Via things magazine.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Absolutely love the clothing designed by the Japanese studio 45rpm. Have a look at the current line here. Sadly, they don't ship to Canada, but they do have two shops in New York, so it's not too far away. Another discovery made while browsing the lovely hoping for happy accidents blog.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Curtis Moffat

Happy Hallowe'en! And, something spooky for the day, too. Shown here is a photograph of a dragonfly by Curtis Moffat, part of an exhibition of his work at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Moffat "... created dynamic abstract photographs, innovative colour still lives and some of the most glamorous society portraits of the early 20th century. He was also a pivotal figure in Modernist interior design." The photo here shows the influence of his collaboration with Man Ray in Paris in 1923, producing portraits and abstract ‘photograms’, or 'Rayographs’. The exhibition runs until January 13 2008.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Street Camouflage

Quirky story by Martin Fackler in last week's New York Times about the work of Aya Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, who is working on a line of street camouflage clothing, such as a skirt panel that unfolds into an actual-size photo of a vending machine, allowing a woman walking alone to elude pursuers by hiding behind it. Ms. Tsukioka is developing several versions, "...including one that unfolds from a kimono and a deluxe model with four sides (shown here at left) for more complete camouflaging." Read the article here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rock n Roll Hellbender!

My brother Greg's amazing band The Bible All-Stars will be opening for Ladymilk and Good2Go tomorrow (October 27) at Irene's Pub (885 Bank St. in the Glebe) in a special Hallowe'en treat: a Rock n Roll Hellbender! Dressing up in costume is encouraged. Love the poster for the show, too ... I'll post a credit for who designed it once I find out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Minor History of Giant Spheres

Joshua Foer has another fascinating article in his series "A Minor History of..." for Cabinet Magazine. This time it's giant spheres. Have a look here. Shown at left is visionary French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée's 1784 Cenotaph design for Newton, "...a giant sphere punctured by holes that create the illusion of suspended stars".

Monday, October 22, 2007


Textile designer Kirsten Hecktermann also designs these beautiful spoons, hand carved from local managed hardwoods from East Africa (mainly mvule wood). I think I'd be more inclined to put these on the wall rather than using them in the kitchen. Via the lovely blog hoping for happy accidents.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Zombie Embroidery

Rachel (a.k.a. Average Jane Crafter) writes on her blog: "I'm a big fan of Floresita - I love her amazing embroidery and her incredible generosity to scan, clean up and post vintage transfers for folks to use. One of those transfers struck me when she posted it ... and not in a good way. The Workbasket Jitterbug Girl always seemed a little creepy to me. Something about her face ... that smile ... those somewhat vacant eyes. On the surface, she seemed like a clean-cut, wholesome gal, but I saw her true identity underneath those carefully placed dimples.

And so she became ... Zombie Jitterbug Girl."

I for one salute Average Jane Crafter for her truly inspired makeover. Via Boing Boing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Animal Scales

Something fun to cheer up your bathroom, courtesy of Angry Retail: animal weighing scales. Step on it and see what animal you weigh. Via Swiss Miss.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bookshelf: Seven Hundred Penguins

This looks like an interesting read: Seven Hundred Penguins, from Penguin Books. The blurb describes it as "(a) collection of Penguin covers ... represent(ing) the personal favourites of Penguin staff from offices all over the world, and run from Penguin's birth in 1935 to the end of the twentieth century." Check out the Amazon UK site for a peek inside.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Groovy Designers

Love this photo that Victoria posted on her sfgirlbybay blog, from a 1961 Playboy article called Designs for Living. Posed with chairs of their own design are (from left to right) George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom. So cool.

P. S. My apologies for not posting lately, but my Mac had a meltdown on Tuesday, and was in the shop for repairs...all is well now.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a cool and grey Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada, but this inviting photo of pumpkin pie by Brooklyn-based photographer Jennifer Causey (discovered via her Flickr photo blog) makes the day feel that much warmer. Jennifer also sells prints of her beautiful photos on Be sure to have a look--it's truly lovely work.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

Drawger has a fun show going right now: The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies. Looking at the objects on display, I've just realized that I still have some of this stuff around, like the green ellipse shown at left. Huh. My studio is also a museum ... Via Swiss Miss.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Deep

The deep ocean (below 650 feet) is teeming with mysterious creatures still to be discovered (it's been estimated that 50 percent to 90 percent of the animals hauled up from the deep are unknown). From the Smithsonian Magazine website: "A new book, The Deep (The University of Chicago Press), by French documentary film producer Claire Nouvian, may be the most comprehensive look at this mysterious world that we surface dwellers will get for a long time. The more than 200 photographs—most taken by scientists from submersibles and ROVs, some shot for the book—show just how head-shakingly bizarre life can be." Extraordinary creatures that look like a surrealist's dream. Read the rest of the Smithsonian article here. (photo MBARI)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thinking About Burma

Today's Red Shirt for Burma event was an all day reminder of the current worrying situation there. I've been keeping updated on the latest breaking news via the Buddhist Channel (as well as other sources such as the Guardian and the BBC), and I encourage you to do the same. Shown here is a Burmese Seated Buddha dating from the Pyu period (8th–early 9th century), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Minor History of Miniature Writing

In a recent issue of Cabinet magazine, Joshua Foer examined a fascinating sidelight in the history of the written word in his article A Minor History of Miniature Writing. Read it here. Shown at left is a Sumerian cuneiform clay tablet from 2060 BC, measuring 1 5/16 inches by 1 5/8 inches––the earliest known example of miniature writing. (Collection of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Home Sweet Work

The Balcom Agency in Texas recently took a long, hard look at their work surroundings (standard office fare of white walls and grim little cubicles) and realized that it didn't at all reflect the creativity of the people who worked there (not to mention the decor was really getting everyone down). Grace of Design*Sponge reports that in an interesting move, the management decided to let the employees redo their own spaces, " each employee a $300 allowance (some used additional funds of their own) plus a new desk and new chair to redo their cubicles. Cassie (one of the employees) said that at first they thought it might end up looking like a carnival, but they all were pleasantly surprised." Have a look at the inspiring results at the Design*Sponge website.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Trade Card Place

The Trade Card Place recently created a permanent, on-line Reference Library of articles about various aspects of trade cards and trade card collecting, dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Illustrator Amy Crehore notes on her blog that this is "... an incredible resource for artists or anyone who loves Victorian illustration, humorous advertising and the color lithography of the late 1800's." She's so right––it's fascinating stuff. Have a look here. Check out Amy's blog here. Via boingboing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fall Promo

The Fall 2007 promo mailer has just arrived from the printer! If you're an art director, art buyer and/or designer and would like to receive one, please send me an email and I'll mail one out to you ASAP.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wall Type

I love the typography used in old store signs, and recently started collecting carved wooden letters. This is what I'd do if and when I get a sizeable collection. Photo from LivingEtc, via Black Eiffel.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Utne Reads Burnt Toast

The Fall 2007 issue of Burnt Toast magazine (with a cover and inside illo by me) has a nice review in From the Stacks, the Utne Reader's online highlight "... of 1,500 magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box bookstores, newsstands, or even online." See the Utne Reader review here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Sartorialist

One of my favourite blogs to visit, The Sartorialist started out as a personal project for fashion industry insider Scott Schuman, featuring his own candid photos (and expert commentary) of stylishly dressed people encountered on the street in his home town of New York. It's now blossomed into something of a phenomenon––still street photos, but now they're also the streets of Paris, Stockholm, Milan, London and more as The Sartorialist travels on assignment for some of the biggest fashion magazines out there. But wherever he is, he stays true to finding good style, whether it's flea market vintage or designer cool. Truly inspiring.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Three-Pronged Chopsticks

Introduced at The Milan International Home Show (which wrapped up last Friday), these three legged chopsticks are the tableware equivalent of a bicycle with training wheels, designed for those who find using regular chopsticks a challenge. Via

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Bible All-Stars CD Release Party

My brother Greg's band, The Bible All-Stars, will be hosting a CD release party at the fabled Dominion Tavern (33 York Street) on Saturday September 8. They'll be joined by local bands 90lbs of Ugly and Lucky Ron, so it looks to be a stellar night--be sure to get there early to get in!

You can read some great press about the band here. The fab poster for the show is by Tim Huesken.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Breakfast Portraits

Los Angeles-based photographer Jon Huck has an intriguing series on his website called Breakfast. Each work features a portrait accompanied by a photo of what that person ate for breakfast. Surprisingly intimate, and a little window into the personalities of the people photographed. See the series here. On the left is Camilla. Via yumsugar.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Retro New

It's designed to look like a 1950's vintage record player, but the TCU-350SD by Japan's Scitec not only plays your old vinyl records, but also CDs, music from your iPod, iPhone or other media player--plus it has an AM/FM radio, too. One of its nicest features is being able to record from vinyl and CD into MP3 format. Perfect for the mid-century modern home. More info here. Via the raw feed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Book Trade Labels

A gallery of book trade labels, courtesy of Greg Kindall of Seven Roads. Greg writes, "Anyone who handles old books will have come across these small and sometimes beautiful labels pasted more or less discreetly into the endpapers. Publishers, printers, binders, importers, distributors and sellers of books -- new, second-hand and antiquarian -- used to advertise in this way their contribution to bringing the book to market." View the collection here. Shown here is a book trade label from the collection of Donald Francis. Via Design Observer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


From designboom: "Timeflex by Maria and Igor Solovyov is a non-permanent, self-adhesive time piece designed for use in situations where time keeping is essential but wearing a watch is not practical (such as during sports, sunbathing, laboratory work etc)." Very cool idea. See more good design ideas at
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