(bottom photo by ettubrute)
Mysterious Eastern origins, thin, ragged edges, great patinas, and the aroma of 50 years of chickens and goats laying on them. Luckily we planned on keeping them outside on the porch anyway, in a kind of Moorish hangout we're making. But, word to the wise- if you don't have a high-powered hose or access to a DIY carwash I would not buy anything that's been around a barnyard for any period of time, especially Persian rugs. Pin It
A beautiful book, Historic Design in Printing by Henry Lewis Johnson, $1 from a yard sale last weekend.
Printed in 1923, it essentially espouses the virtues of decoration and ornamentation in book design, through a slew of 16th century graphics, Johnson's smoothly explanatory text, and a well-curated selection of quotes from graphic designers, typographers, writers, and artists of the day. Here are some good ones:
"We know that the letters of the alphabet were once pictures, symbols, or abstract signs of entities and actions, and grew more and more abstract until they became arbitrary marks- the familiar characters that we know. Letters formed into words; words increased and multiplied with ideas and their interchange; ideas and words growing more and more abstract until the point is reached when the jaded intellect would fain again return to picture in writing, and welcomes the decorator and the illustrator to relieve the desert wastes of words marshalled in interminable columns on the printed page."
"Ornamental art, pure and simple, is like the measure and rhythm of a verse. A verse may scan, may have a proper accent and cadence. In short, may have all the music of harmonious versification, and yet be made up of words which are mere nonsense; and so in ornament, it is not necessary to its beauty, as ornament, that it should have any meaning. It is quite sufficient that it should be beautiful."
"Originality is a quality which is very much misunderstood. It is in truth easy enough to be original if one does not mind being ridiculous. If any man was master of Renaissance ornament it was surely Alfred Stevens; yet the number of fresh ornamental motives which he was able to produce during his lifetime can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand."
-G. Woolliscroft Rhead (author of Chats on Costume)
"To follow precedent wisely does not mean to imitate slavishly one great exemplar, but to study all masters faithfully, letting their great achievements sink slowly into the mind in order that we may patiently derive from the richness of our acquired knowledge and organized system an attitude of our own."
- Lindsay Swift
"The successful designer should have a thorough knowledge of the historic styles, not for the purpose of reproducing their forms, but in order to discover for himself he methods by which the old artists arrived at the successful treatment of nature and of former styles, so that by the application of his knowledge, derived from the study of nature and he works of former artists, he may be enabled to give to the world some original and interesting work."
There are plenty more, all equally thought-provoking and inspiring. The ornaments and type designs are fantastic and so well laid out and printed, but ironically it's the writing that was the page turner.
Early one August morning in 1976 the French director Claude Lelouch mounted a camera to the front of his Ferrari and filmed his breakneck drive through the streets of Paris, from Porte Dauphine to Sacre Coeur. After "C'etait un Rendezvous" was shown publicly Lelouch was arrested and the car confiscated.
Antoine De Saint-Exupery and Ludwig Bemelmans, two wonderful author/illustrators, from L'Ecole Francaise du Maine's yard sale in Freeport. (Actually it was at the church across the street; but for context's sake...)
Another lame forecast again this weekend, to add to the already drenched summer.
Above: A great, huge, older (80's) L.L. Bean umbrella, bought from a nice older (80's) couple who both worked at Bean for years.
Next to that is a really nice Swaine, Adeney, Brigg, and Sons, Ltd. fortuitously found at a yard sale last summer when we were looking specifically for umbrellas to stick in Tossed & Found's umbrella holder project. Interestingly at the time we were also working on a project called the Eiffel Mantel, which involved hammering hundreds of nails into 1x2 boards, a la Enzo Mari, who wrote, "...two nails should never be planted along the same grain of wood." Advice Swaine & co. should've heeded when they nailed their name plate onto the handle. (click to enlarge).
$1.50 and $3, respectively.
From a quick trip out to Long Island (Maine) on the 4th-
2. The Corto Maltese, Hugo Pratt's sailor. When I lived in Italy I had a girlfriend who wrote his name, in gum, on the bottom of a bookshelf. The shelf was only about 2 feet over her face when she was in bed, and before she fell asleep each night she'd stick her gum on it. I remember she proudly showed me the multicolored cursive Corto Maltese, among other dots and asterisks and swirls.
3. A broken stool at the boatyard. I actually took this photo last year, and the stool was going to turn into a bike rack for Tossed & Found, but I left it on the island and never found it again.
4. The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, illustrated by Alexander Calder. We found this at the bottom of a box, at a yard sale with kids, kids, everywhere.
5. The ferry back, Casco Bay looking a little like the Mekong, with a crowded whale watch boat.Pin It
A view of my old apartment. I know this looks more low-life than high life, but it did have a cool, 70's-Laurel Canyon quality to it, and got me a few early jobs where people wanted, believe it or not, the same look. Not easy to acheive, as you need a certain patience, or laziness, not to water a spider plant that's hanging next to a sink.
This came to mind because we're reorganizing, and that David Hamilton photo was in our guest room, above the bed (see below). I don't know what ever happened to the Miller can-in-a-bottle, times were tough- it may have been returned as a two-fer.
Time for a new chapter in the guest room/library.
Tomorrow we're dismantling it and bringing the bed and furniture downstairs for the new guest apartment, which should be a pretty fun project. This upstairs room will turn into something completely different.
It'll be nice to free up the space- the bed is looking a little Erwin Wurm-ly, and there are four pieces of nice George Nelson furniture, books galore, and an old Pfaff leather sewing machine that all need some newfound appreciation. On the other hand it'll be somewhat sad to uproot them, as their Sanford & Sonned arrangements are part of what gave the room its Gypsy/Bohemian charm.