Tag Archives: musings

A Terribly Tardy Music Tuesday

Yup, I’ve been bad this week.  Not sure what’s up, but I am so so tired and have been a delinquent blogger (and stained glass-er!)  Not to mention that I crunched through all my tax paperwork last night… that’s enough to make anyone pass out!

But enough with the excuses.  To cheer us all up — it’s Friday, after all! — here is my Tuesday Music post just a few days late.  And this has been an anticipated one for me, because this week marks the release of Bonobo’s new album, The North Borders.

Bonobo_The North Borders

It is all sorts of exciting, especially because it features one of my favourite artists ever, Erykah Badu, on the song Heaven for the Sinner.  I see a long future of listening to the album on repeat.  It’s chill, interesting and intelligent (you can read a review that pretty much sums up how I feel about Bonobo here).  The rhythms and layered sounds just suck me in and mellow me out.  How about you?

Tagged , , , , ,

Prairie Stained Glass Musings

Today I made Marty haul me out to an art event some friends told us about – the Market Collective.  It was really cool, and really inspiring!  There were a ton of really great artists and craftspeople there, and for the rest of the afternoon while we ran errands, I kept thinking about stained glass…  Nothing like being surrounded by so much creative energy to amp up that desire in me as well.

And I’ve been thinking about the pieces that I’ve really loved making, and those have been the lamps I’ve created over the past several years.  It’s hard to put together a studio because of the mess – the water, the chemicals, broken glass, glass dust – but I really would like to give it a better try here.  My favourite recent pieces was the Prairie Gold lamp that I made for Marty, because I love the geometric shapes and the contrast of horizontal and vertical lines that are predominant in this style (throw in a little diagonal or curve to add some energy!).

Prairie Gold Table Lamp

I started doing some sketching based on some of these ideas – I think in the back of my mind are some thoughts about the literal prairie (hey, I live in Alberta now…) so wheat and grasses are in some of those repetitive diagonal lines.  There are two designs with a couple of checkmarks beside them – obviously, these are the winners (and I think one was re-proportioned off of the first), so hopefully stay tuned for something to materialize before too long!

Prairie Glass Sketchbook

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Design in my Backyard: Richardson Street

I was dog-sitting this weekend, and found some time to get out and go for a walk in Fairfield, an area of town with lots of beautifully maintained character homes, many of which have a distinct Arts & Crafts vibe that I really love.  That is where my personal taste sits – solidly in that Craftsman style of building and design.  I find it balanced, comfortable, accessible (not abstract or overwhelming) on an emotional and intellectual level, and with lots of character and detail…  All elements of design that I think are incredibly important to creating an amazing space that resonates.  In this case, Arts & Crafts is what really resonates with me.

So Craftsman style aside, there I was on my walk, and this house caught my eye.  To be honest, lots of houses catch my eye every day, and especially in Fairfield, but this one had something about it that seemed very inviting and welcoming, even on a cold February day.  I present to you, 1249 Richardson Street:

To be fair, there are some elements of this house that I don’t really love, but a lot of elements that I do.  Let’s dig in…  First thing is that I don’t really like the use of the stone on the front porch area.  In fact, the whole front porch area isn’t fantastic in my view.  I think it would be better if it were raised up another one or two steps off the ground.  The way it’s situated, I feel like someone missed a level in there somewhere and just plonked the house down without remembering to set it all at grade, or to raise it up so it feels intentional.  I think that’s a really important thing for me in design… Something that tells me very clearly that someone made an intentional decision to design or produce a home (or aspect of it) in a particular way.  I want something that feels like a very clear decision has been made.

I’m also not a huge fan of the roof over the porch area, and off the side of the house, with the second storey looming over it.  Something feels unbalanced and out of proportion there to me.  I’m also not a fan of the one random round window.  Again, give me a clear rationale for decision-making that follows through visually in the design.

I do, however, really like the cedar shakes and the stain of that siding.  It looks weathered and welcoming, and I love the corbels underneath the roof gable at the top.  I really enjoy the balance of the gables on the roof.  The asymmetrical placement adds to the casual feel of the exterior.  I really love windows with muntins, and that throwback to original wood framed windows (I currently have about five old windows sitting in storage waiting for me to make some kind of funky stained glass and mirror project out of them…  I’m a sucker for an old window!)

I really dig the front door of this house.  I like the side lites, and I love any door that balances the top half with windows and the bottom half with heavy-looking wood.  Nothing like a solid door to make one feel like home.  I like the balance of all the vertical lines in this arrangement: the columns at the porch entrance, the side lites on the door, the framing and panels on the door itself.  Even the taller-than-wider windows add to the effect.

Overall, I think this is a good example of a nicely balanced home that feels larger and lighter than its footprint probably actually is.  While there are some areas with room for improvement, I have to say that my overall impression of this home was good – I probably wouldn’t have stopped to snap a photo otherwise!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

This is a bookshelf.

This is a bookshelf.  I took the photo on my iPhone at my parent’s house on Texada Island, BC.  My dad built the bookcase and the books on it have been around since my very early childhood.  I can’t even recall the circumstances in which I took the photo – the when or why – but when I look at it, something inside me that gets caught up in my busy everyday life just chills out a bit.

This image might be a little tiny one – a phone photo – but it makes me pretty happy inside.  I’m reading “The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton right now, and a lot of his book centres around the idea that we are drawn to spaces, places and objects that “speak” to us of what we want ourselves to be.  We surround ourselves with scenes and items that remind us, somewhere deep in our brains, of what we believe in and the qualities and ideals we hold dear.  That’s a pretty small part of what the book is about, but it’s one that is capturing my interest right now.

Following this theory, then, what does this bookshelf say to me?

It reminds me primarily of the simplicity I seek in my life.  The bookshelf is unfinished fir, unpretentious and serviceable first and foremost.  The books speak to me about playfulness and fun – their jaunty colours and tilted angles seem casual and relaxed.  The book collection itself speaks to an unfussy air – the titles are anything from philosophy to history to children’s bedtime tales.  The two artworks on the wall are block prints.  I love the sturdy, steady nature of this art.  It grounds me, echoing the simplicity of this scene.  It reminds me to slow down in my life.  Take the time out to read the book titles, perhaps actually spend an hour reading with a cup of tea.  This bookshelf says to me, “Don’t forget about the basics.  Don’t get so caught up in wanting things and running around trying to get them that you forget about the joy in the little things, and taking time out to appreciate them.”

I think the message is one that is close to my heart, and says a lot about who the best of me is.  So thanks, bookshelf, for reminding me that joy is attainable in the details of the world around me and pushing me to be that better version of myself.

Tagged , , ,