Jedediah Corwyn Voltz is an artist based in Los Angeles who works as a movie prop builder. This project—making miniature tree houses for houseplants—is called Somewhere Small.
Voltz build tiny tree houses around bonsai trees and other plants. He adds tiny furniture, rugs, and pictures on the walls.
“Building miniatures for stop motion always leaves me with a huge bin of scrap balsa, basswood, various fabrics, etc. and I found myself making little fantasy constructions out of that stuff during my downtime. Those little scrap forts led to me building some more serious ones in little diorama settings, and last year I built my first living treehouse. Since then, I’ve made almost 25 of them, from tiny watchtowers in secluded forests, to quiet treetop meditation platforms, to giant bustling windmills and waterwheels.”
“I started build elaborate forts for my GI Joe toys when I was nine or ten. I’d dig into hillsides, move rocks to make fortifications. When winter came around, I turned to my mothers large selection of indoor house plants. It was pretty common to have 4-5 of these secret bases going simultaneously. Later in life, I began working my way into the stop motion and toy commercial industry. I found myself with big bins of tiny pieces of scrap materials that were left over after jobs. During my down time, I’d start haphazardly glueing some of these together to make crude forts and towers. Nowadays its tough to find a plant in my house or yard that doesn’t have some sort of architectural adornment.”
Follow Jedediah Corwyn Voltz on Instagram: @jed_voltz
Shop on Big Cartel: https://jcv.bigcartel.com
The basic gist of the project is this:
"Words and images
have a profound and long lasting affect
on how we perceive things and people."
As the internet confirms with ever-increasing frequency, a compelling photograph along with brief (think: tweet) but thought-provoking narrative gets liked, pinned, shared, and talked about. If the image and message are intriguing enough, you'll click on it to find out more, or look up that billboard ad on your phone as you wait for the bus.
What if you could use that concept to make the world a little smaller, a little friendlier, a little more familiar, and a little more compassionate? This is what I Am Just Like U strives to do.
This project needs your help. IAJLU is raising money via Indigogo for the following:
Check out IAmJustLikeU.com, and read a few stories.
Look at the faces of your neighbors and really see them.
No two people on this planet are exactly the same,
and yet all of them are just like you.
Donate a few bucks, won't you?
It's not that I'm trying to prove that I knew he was cool before anyone else. It's more that I'm trying to prove to myself that I have good taste, and that it was worth it to remember his name.
You see, that original venue was the ill-fated 1000 Markets. You've probably heard of Etsy; 1000 Markets was the same idea, except, well, beautiful. Selling one's wares involved a few hurdles (the site was curated; your product photos had to look good, or you wouldn't be accepted), which ensured that any page on the site looked clean and professional. I loved the way my products looked on 1KM. I loved the way everyone's products looked on 1KM. It became the shop I sent people to, because that's how I wanted them to see my products for the first time.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, and 1KM URLs now bounce to Bonanza. Double-unfortunately, Bonanza is ugly (I actually just poked around after typing that, to see if their site design had improved at all. I thought for a few moments that I was wrong, and they had improved—it didn't look so bad! But then I found the mother of all reasons never to sell my wares there: all-caps extra-large comic sans. In three different colors. Granted, it was an individual seller's shop policies, but it shouldn't even be an option. I didn't go hunting for it; it was the first item I clicked on).
But, back to my impeccable taste. So, Frank Chimera had a shop on 1KM, and I found his art and loved it, and blogged about it in 2009. What I didn't know (until I don't know, today maybe?) was that Frank was also responsible for the beautiful site design of 1000 Markets. Chimero said, "Artisanal selling is the only model of selling things where there's delight on both sides: delight in making, and then delight in consuming. It's a transfer of delight."
It turns out, delight is a bit of a specialty for Frank Chimero. You may have noticed that everything in this post that can be a link is a link, except for Frank's name. That's because I'm making you wait for the delight. His newly launched website, and this other thing of his I found, are absolutely delightful. You need to see them. I promise they're worth the wait.
As far as I can tell, this personal / professional landing page doesn't even exist anymore—at least not in this form. Then, posted a week later, but it's possible I saw them the same day, was this mention of Frank's newly redone website on Swiss Miss.
So take a few minutes for the delight. Scroll down. Slowly. Maybe a few times. Then come back here, because I'm not done showing you the awesome yet. http://FrankChimero.com
Are you back? Are you impressed by that delightful scrolley business? OK, now go here: Frank Chimero's Lost World's Fair: Atlantis. Scrolling all the way to the bottom of a ridiculously long web page has never been so delightful!
There are many interviews with this design master out there, and all of them leave you wanting to be a designer if you're not one already, or to be a better designer if you are. He just wrote a book: The Shape of Design, if you want to delve deeper. This talk he did at the Build Conference is pretty good, too, though I think his audience is a bit of a dud: they don't laugh at his jokes!
One more thing I found impressive, though not at all surprising: almost all of the websites I could find that feature an interview with Frank, or his art, design, or ideas, itself is an example of great design. It's reassuring to see that the people who praise Frank Chimero the most actually know what they're talking about. They recognize great design because they strive to create it themselves.
Below are some of my favorite well-designed sites talking about Frank Chimero:
Oh, also The Mavenist is pretty awesome. Frank explains what it is here, using my all-time favorite exchange from The West Wing as an analogy. Can this fool get any better? Oh, wait, he's a Portland boy, so—yes, yes he can.
This photograph was taken by Desto of Ser Verdadero. Both the photograph and the mural's message deserve to be shared as often as possible.
Muralist Salvador Jimenez created the work with a group of young artists, ages 16-21, as part of the National Museum of Mexican Art's exhibit: A Declaration of Immigration in Chicago, IL. The exhibit featured over 70 artists, all immigrants to the U.S., and was curated by Cesáreo Moreno.
Though the exhibit and the mural both serve to depict some of the experiences and political struggles of communities of immigrants within the U.S., there is an essential larger message here:
No human being is illegal.
I don't know if you heard me. Let me say that again:
NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL
_No human being is illegal. Please apply that to everything. Always. Any scrap of dignity you feel entitled to for yourself should be given to every human being on the planet. No exceptions. I can think of zero circumstances in which dignity should be denied to another citizen of the planet. Or any other planet, for that matter. No human being is illegal. No human being is illegal. No human being is illegal. Keep saying it until you believe it. Now say it to everyone else.
So, there I was at 4 am on the banks of the Willamette River, just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, all ready to watch an incredible lunar eclipse. I was able to get 2 or 3 shots as the moon peeked in and out of the fog—but then the fog won. It thickened and covered the space-where-the-moon-should-be and never relented.
I waited patiently on the Esplanade, hoping for a hole in the fog so I could capture a perfectly timed glimpse of the moon setting behind the city, but no such luck. There were a few other intrepid eclipse-watchers and photographers, but all of them arrived after the thickening of the fog. At least I got to see a little bit.
Timing is of the essence in quests such as this one. My friend John Waller of Uncage the Soul is pretty good at the timing thing. I saw some preliminary shots he and a friend nabbed during the eclipse of not only the moon in full red eclipse mode, but also with an airplane right in front of it! Timing for the win! John's most recent epic adventure in excellent timing is chronicled below:
Conflict, 7th Grade:
Taking a break from the chess boards for a bit, we began studying one of our masterworks today. Know Hope is a street artist creating works primarily in Israel. While his website gives a good sampling of his gallery installations, his true genius lies with the art he creates in the context of surrounding conflict. This Google image search ("know hope" art) shows his more powerful works.
In the context of the conflict project, the students are exploring chess as a metaphor for two ideas being unable to occupy the same space at the same time. Know Hope's art is a thought-provoking juxtaposition of hope and conflict, painted directly on the physical evidence of that conflict, to be pondered and appreciated by the everyday participants of it.
Exploring the same ideas of juxtaposition, the students will be creating a piece of art to represent their conflict of study. Each student chose an image of their conflict, and traced the image onto translucent vellum paper. The image will then be enhanced with watercolor, and finally affixed to a page of text in such a way that the text shows through.
Here are some of the designs in progress. The students chose some really powerful imagery, and the final pieces should be pretty impressive when they're finished.
All Culture and Conflict posts can be found under the topic heading: Diversion Audit.
One thing I love, and it happens nearly every time:
I go to a live performance, and find a little unexpected treasure. You know, like when you go to a concert with an opening band you've never heard of, and now the opening band is one of your favorites, like these blokes.
So, a little while ago (OK, August 2009), I went to see some live ballet in Washington Park accompanied by the Portland Cello Project. I love me some cello, and there's almost nothing better than free performances in parks. It seemed like a lovely way to spend a summer evening.
The unexpected part was this little bit at the end where Brian Perez lent his voice to the lovely collection of cellos. The cellos started out slow and haunting, and as John Brophy's bass guitar began, Brian Perez let loose that voice of his. I was taken aback by the clarity and power Perez packed into each note. Even with the wide open outdoor venue, and me sitting near the back of 3,000 people, Perez effectively filled the space with his slow croon.
I thought to myself, "who is this guy?" I didn't really wonder why I'd never heard of him. I don't really pay attention to these things. Interestingly, though, I haven't heard anything about him since. It seems Brian Perez is well known (on the internet, anyway) for that particular song, but there's not much else about him out there. No solo career, not much in the way of other songs that aren't bad video of karaoke. Oh well; I'll have to be satisfied with that one live performance.
You can see a video on YouTube or Vimeo of Brian Perez singing "One More Try" with the Portland Cello Project at the Doug Fir, or a lower quality video of the same song in Washington Park, where the above photo was taken. The Portland Cello Project's latest album is available now.
You know those pants? The ones with the zip-off legs? Those pants that look like they'd be a good idea, but as pants they look awkward, and as shorts they still look awkward.
You might think the same standard of awkwardness applies to a dress, but Sarahbeth Larrimore of Unabashed apparel can work magic.
In its long form, the dress has a row of detail that fits in brilliantly with the rest of the dress. It is also the stopping point for the slit in the front, so it doesn't look out of place. It has the same purposeful scrunchiness (I'm sure there's a more designery word for that) as the shoulders and midriff.
It fits in so well, in fact, that I did not even realize the bottom part could be removed until I saw the next photo. It blew my mind.
The Unabashed apparel Sapona River collection will be available in March. Photos by Jana Busbin.
This month's advertising contest in the category of "business savvy" was all about banners. Entrants submitted their shops, and I judged banners based on a variety of criteria, including overall clarity, text, balance of composition, reflection of shop contents, and how much the banner would inspire the viewer to continue on into the depths of the shop.
Jewels by Johanna scored the highest overall. The color palette of the banner echoes each of her product listings, and the text is clear, crisp, and tasteful.
Jewels by Johanna is headed up by Johanna Shaw of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Johanna's work is showcased in her Etsy Shop and on her Main Website, but the most complete selection of her work can be seen in her Photo Gallery. Johanna's Curling Themed Jewelry (pictured below) is my favorite.
Spring is here. Blossoms are bursting forth on the trees. I wondered just yesterday what it would look like when the rosemary was blooming, and there it was. Tiny and lavender, in case you wondered.
It appears as though it has finally warmed up a bit in North Carolina as well, though still raining, where my good friend Sarahbeth has just launched the new spring 2010 line for Unabashed Apparel.
Captured by brilliant photographer Jana Busbin, Sarahbeth's organic daily wear collection boasts fairly traded organic hand-dyed fabrics, as well the impeccable classy style of a sassy southern woman.
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